Two New Art Galleries Move Into 4411 Montrose
The chic, concrete-and-glass complex of art galleries at 4411 Montrose, home to the Anya Tish Gallery, the Barbara Davis Gallery, and the Unix Gallery, recently got two new tenants: established Houston gallerist David Shelton and newcomer Cindy Lisica. Shelton, who started his gallery in San Antonio before moving into Houston’s historic Isabella Court building in 2012, said he was looking for more exhibition and storage space.
With its prime location in Montrose close to the Menil Collection, the MFAH, and CAMH, 4411 Montrose suited his needs perfectly. The first-floor gallery Shelton now occupies was once the Houston headquarters of well-known gallerist Wade Wilson. “This was actually my favorite space in Houston,” Shelton said. “So it’s kind of strange to now be in it. It’s large enough, but not overwhelmingly large.”
Currently on view in the gallery is a one-woman show by Kelly O’Connor, a San Antonio artist whom Shelton has represented for years. O’Connor’s playful, postmodern collages feature 1950s-era imagery spliced together with colorful scraps of paper, cardstock, and even wool. “She examines the duality of the public and the private—the difference between how Shirley Temple was portrayed, for example, and what her real life was like,” Shelton explained.
4411 Montrose’s other new tenant is Cindy Lisica, who was born in Pittsburgh, received a Ph.D. in art history from the University of the Arts London, and worked at the Tate Modern and as an independent curator in Paris. Her most recent job was at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, where she also opened her own gallery. Lisica first visited Houston two years ago to attend the Texas Contemporary Art Fair, and came away impressed. The following year her Pittsburgh gallery participated in the fair, and the year after that she decided to relocate to Houston.
As soon as she learned that 4411 Montrose had space available, she knew she wanted to open her Houston gallery there. “The architecture is very striking—the high ceilings, the physicality of it,” she said. “And of course it couldn’t be in a better location. All the things about Houston that I love are in Montrose. I love being able to walk around, to have all these lively businesses, and parks, and trees. That was really a big draw.”
The fact that the building’s other tenants were some of Houston’s top gallerists was a major draw for both Lisica and Shelton. “It’s essentially like a block of galleries in one building,” Lisica said. “It’s great because we can have concurrent events and exhibition openings, and visitors get to see five galleries at one time.”
For her debut show, Lisica chose to feature her fellow Pittsburgh native Travis K. Schwab, who paints realist, largely monochromatic canvases, many of them portraits. Because Schwab is colorblind, his paintings use fine gradations of light and shadow to delineate their subjects. In sharp contrast, her next show, which opens June 3, features riotously colored multi-media works by the rising young art star Jamie Earnest.
Lisica encourages visitors to her gallery to strike up a conversation with her about the works on display. “You know you have a solid show when people see the work through the window and are just drawn in,” Lisica said. “Sometimes you see them have a physical, visceral response to the work—they want to talk about it, ask questions. One of the things I like to do is talk to every single person who comes in about the work, and hear what they have to say. I like a lot of dialogue.”
David Shelton Gallery. 4411 Montrose, Suite B. 713-393-7319. davidsheltongallery.com
Cindy Lisica Gallery. 4411 Montrose, Suite F. 713-807-7760. cindylisicagallery.com