Monday, March 14, 2011

Houston launches first international arts fair as Latin American hot spot

Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center

First annual Houston Fine Arts Fair, 15 – 18 Sept. Houston claims to be North America’s third largest art market. 

The jury’s still out as New York's Armory Show increases cadence of sales and media hype for its ARCO-Madrid-like “focus” on emerging Latin American artists and galleries.

In typical Texas style, there’s nothing small about Houston’s inaugural fine arts fair inside the George R Brown Convention Center.

The four-day fiesta hosts about 80 international, US and Texas galleries, according to the fair’s news release.

Fair organizers expect about 500 “respected artists” exhibiting.

The city of Houston hired Rick Friedman and his Hamptons Expo Group Management to organize and promote the fair.

Friedman, in turn, selected Fran Kaufman to direct and curate the four-day event.

Carlos Slim’s Museo Soumaya (video), Mexico City: The admission’s free but everything has a price.

Ask Carlos Slim Helu’, world’s richest man ($80 billion mas o menos). 

Slim collects art, businesses, important people and power.

Museo Soumaya, Mexico City

The Wall Street Journal and New York Times are falling all over Slim, praising the Soumaya—well deserved--but lurking below the surface, Slim, ever the Bull shark, has a voracious appetite.

In 2007 and again in 2009, he bailed out the New York Times, which is bleeding to death financially.

The Times on 20 Jan. 2009 ran an 8-inch story about Slim’s latest investment in the trouble media giant.

The Times conceded its $400 million credit line needed transfusion to leverage more than $1.1 billion of debt.

Ad revenues continue flagging as the cyber cloud engulfs it and other print newspapers.
Carlos Slim Helu'

For the Times, Slim became lender of last resort. The main price: a reported 14 percent interest.

Slim now owns 17 percent of the newspaper.

Rumors are rife on the web he’s gearing up for the kill--swallowing the New York Times whole.

What does his 17 percent stake in the Times buy Slim? Not a voting seat on the board of directors, yet.

But it does purchase spin, sometimes silence.

Remember the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq War: the Times and Washington Post purchased George W. Bush’s lies about WMD in Iraq (for which both papers have since publicly apologized).

Nonetheless, based on my own tormenting experience at the South Florida Business Journal (trying to keep the Chinese wall between editorial and advertising from crumbling), the Times owes Slim big time.

And the payback is patently obvious.

Times’ editorial staff effusively profile and praise him while ignoring an ugly, ongoing, high-profile federal lawsuit that sniffs of scandal, implicating Slim.

Meanwhile, back at Museo Soumaya in Mexico City, 66,000 works of art are being installed: Toulouse-Lautrecs, Picassos, Riveras, Da Vincis, Renoirs, a treasure of Spanish coins and a Rodin collection reputed to be second largest in the world.
Diego Rivera, self portrait
If you visit Soumaya, you will also see Slim’s equally ambitious, recently opened commercial complex.

The whole package cost him an estimated $800 million, about 10 percent of the mogul’s estimated net worth, according to Forbes.

Rock on and practice peace and love.

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace,” Jimmy Hendrix, who paraphrased William Gladstone (1809 – 1896), who wrote: “We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”
William Gladstone

Stefan, the ArtTraveler™.

Consider a walking holiday in our Andalusia mountains or a week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop; see: and

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