LAUNCH @ Avenida Houston

Printable Art Map (PDF)

Avenida Houston expands the cultural landscape of downtown through the addition of many new works of public art. Two monumental and sculptural works, Soaring in the Clouds by Ed Wilson and Wings Over Water by Joe O'Connell and Creative Machines welcome visitors to the Avenida district. Additional works, all by artists who live and work in the area, have been placed throughout the George R. Brown Convention Center and Partnership Tower as part of Houston First’s “Houston Infusion” initiative. Complimenting the impressive international collection in Discovery Green, these works imagined by a diverse group of artists explore themes of space and technology, Houston’s natural flora and fauna, reuse and recycling, the city’s vibrant cultural communities and its entrepreneurial history.
 

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Photo by
Micahl Wyckoff

Wings Over Water

Artist: JOE O'CONNELL and CREATIVE MACHINES

Location: Avenida Plaza

"The connection between avian and human migration reflects our diverse population, but also the idea that people come to Houston from throughout the Americas and beyond," stated artist Joe O'Connell. Completed in 2016, Wings Over Water is a kinetic sculpture that stands 30 feet high and spans 70 feet wide. With a huge pool of water at its base, the structure includes massive wings made of stainless steel, aluminum and Stamisol fabric "feathers." The wings move in a smooth and natural motion - inviting viewers to spend a few minutes watching the mesmerizing movement of the undulating surfaces the fountain cycles through.

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Photo by
Nash Baker

Soaring in The Clouds

Artist: ED WILSON

Location: GRB - Center atrium, Levels 1-3

A 67-foot mobile of bird and cloud forms made of perforated stainless steel, Soaring In the Clouds is suspended from the ceiling and dramatically lit by changing LED theater lights. More than 200 individual forms, each molded and shaped by hand using a pneumatic press designed by the artist, hang from cables on the ceiling and move with the airflow in the building. In 2015, Wilson was awarded a commission to produce a large-scale work of art as the centerpiece of the George R. Brown Convention Center’s major renovation.

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

Creatia

Artist: REGINALD C. ADAMS, RHONDA RADFORD-ADAMS and AMY MALKAN

Location: GRB - Charging Station Level 2, South (Pictured: Power of the Port, created November 2004, located at 800 Clinton Drive, Houston)

Labyrinth, an ancient archetype for self-discovery, is the central theme of Adam’s installation. Creatia pays homage to the spirit of Houston as a dynamic, multi-cultural, urban metropolis and the anchor for space exploration in the U.S. Labyrinths of various designs and patterns are layered on each other like planets orbiting across the universe. Easily viewed from within the building, the mural imagery will engage the viewer on a visceral and cerebral level.

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

Skype Scape

Artist: JOE AKER and TAMI MERRICK

Location: GRB - Welcome Entry, South

Skype Scape is a vibrant art installation conceived to celebrate Houston’s urban context, and economic, commercial and cultural diversity. The work promotes the George R. Brown Convention Center and Houston as a green, sustainable and livable city center with a brilliantly diversified future. A three-dimensional, geometric and photographic wall-mounted installation appears to float within a contrasting color-field background. Two sides of the forms are Houston photography emphasizing a distinct, directional color palette on either side. The forms have intermittent inserts that rhythmically dance via the gesture of viewers walking by the installation in either direction. A momentary pause offers a glimpse of geometric patterns.

More About Joe Aker More About Tamie Merrick

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

Earth and Skyline

Artist: SHANE ALLBRITTON

Location: GRB - Welcome Entry Wall, North

Captured in this piece are images of Houston environments from multiple days, merging to create a singular gesture. Time-lapse techniques and digital manipulation are used to compose distinct moments that express the passage of time. At a distance the overall mural reflects a lively, vibrant impression of Houston's vertical elevations, from bayou images near the bottom, merging upwards into images of city life and nature, and further upward into the skyline. Upon closer inspection, the viewer will discover many details that give away specific locations.

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

Lifting Off, Houston

Artist: GONZO247

Location: GRB - L-Shaped Large Column, South

This is a tribute to Houston’s connection to the national space program. On a deeper level, the piece speaks of Houston’s diverse fabric as a city and community. The space shuttle represents the City of Houston. The people who live here are the thrust propelling it to new heights. The bright colors and patterns represent the diversity of the city in terms of the languages we speak, the many ethnicities of the residents and the variety of theater and the arts. There is a city beat that keeps things moving. All of these things are what make Houston a great city, a premier destination and drives all to shoot for the stars.

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

Flight Plan

Artist: LORENA MORALES

Location: GRB - Charging Station, Level 2, North

Flight Plan is inspired by the movement migratory birds create when flying together in a wave pattern as observed from the ground. Likewise, Houston is a hub where the flight plans of people from different cultures, industries or professional backgrounds intersect. From there patterns of trade, commerce and human migration can be observed. This vantage point has launched Houston as the epicenter of the energy, medical and aerospace industries, and is home to many impossible achievements that span decades of innovation.

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

Formulaic Transformation

Artist: Angelbert Metoyer with 2016 Art Students from Texas Southern University: Raheem Bellard, Derrick Brown, Miguel Miranda, Prell Pickens, Robert Riojas and Bradley Ward

Location: GRB - Restaurant Mural Location, Hall B

For this special project, internationally recognized artist Angelbert Metoyer led a group of TSU students in the making of this mural. Recalling structures and other works of public art in the building and surrounding neighborhoods the mural pulses with energy supplied by Moondog and Sun-Ra whose rhythms were the soundtrack of its production.

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

Houston's Own Tall Forest

Artist: PAGE PILAND

Location: GRB - Charging Station, Level 3, Center

Piland’s assemblage is inset with Houston area indigenous woods that are shaped, cut and painted to reflect silhouettes of the city’s iconic tall buildings and nearby San Jacinto Monument. About half of the building silhouettes are actual cut-outs of wood planks inset into the canvas surface and attached to the canvas via back wood supports. The other wood shapes are painted trompe l’oeil style in oil onto the canvas. From afar, the viewer will not be able to determine which building is constructed from actual wood or which is painted to look like wood. The Houston skyline is one of the most memorable in the world. Visitors will recognize our beautiful forest of tall buildings, which are indicative of the city’s business success, and its center of ongoing pride and optimism.

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

Tying Time

Artist: RE:site STUDIO (Shane Allbritton and Norman Lee with Michael Gonzales of I/O Studio)

Location: Partnership Tower, Garage Elevator Lobby, Level 1

Featured in the city seal since 1840, the train image celebrates Houston's historical role as the largest railroad center and deep-water port combined in the South. Tying Time celebrates this history through the use of railroad ties as the substrate for a mural relief. Viewed from the side, the textural grain of the ties is revealed. The artists utilized digital design techniques to carve an image into railroad ties from a parametricly generated pattern translated from a historical photograph. The work connects past and present, using modern fabrication techniques on traditional, historically utilized materials.

More about the Re:Site Studio More About Shane Allbritton

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

Metallographic Cosmos

Artist: BRITT THOMAS

Location: GRB - Restaurant Mural Location, Hall D

Metallographic Cosmos works within the themes of space exploration and discovery, as well as the oil and gas industry that characterizes Houston. Thomas utilized a Scanning Electron Microscope provided by Stress Engineering Services to create this piece. The microscope allowed her to zoom in on a particle that may be no larger than the tip of a pen and enlarge it up to 100,000 times its original size. While using the microscope for her job as a metallurgical photographer, she was awestruck by how planetary a few millimeter-sized welding spatter particles looked under the microscope. She instantly thought about how amazing it would be to create a “spacescape” out of the SEM photos. Thomas printed Metallographic Cosmos on digital wallpaper, a material that is used in commercial settings and touted for its durability.

Britt Thomas Website Stress Engineering Services

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

The Brown is Green

Artist: BEN WOITENA

Location: GRB - L-Shaped Large Column, North

While acknowledging that Houston is a petroleum capital and national financial hub, it also has 49,643 total acres of park space, allocating 12.4 acres per 1,000 residents and providing living and migration areas for wildlife and plants. Taking the significance of green spaces into consideration, Woitena selected images based on the “Brown is Green” theme, placing wildlife and plants that inhabit Houston’s extensive recreational spaces into the expansive space of the convention center on what might appear to be a large-scale old photo album.

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Photo by
Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola

Night Trees

Artist: PABLO GIMENEZ-ZAPIOLA

Location: GRB - Charging Station, Level 2, Center

This artwork consists of three photographs from the project Night Trees. During Gimenez-Zapiola’s nightly walks, he usually carries a camera and photographs different characteristics of the neighborhood and surroundings. Illuminating the trees with a flashlight and isolating them from everything else revealed aspects never before realized. Perhaps night has the quality to reveal details that during the day are imperceptible. Seeing the trees in a situation of apparent rest, almost inert and beautiful, compelled Gimenez-Zapiola to acknowledge how alive the trees are and how important it is to protect nature. These photographs are dedicated to generating awareness in the community about that importance.

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Other Points of Interest

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Fountain of the Americas

The Fountain of the Americas welcomes visitors to the newly renovated "front porch" of the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Avenida Houston plaza. One hundred water jets dance in varying programs throughout the day, energizing the area and highlighting the monumental kinetic sculpture located within the fountain. Colored LED lights in the fountain create their own show and may be programmed to coordinate with the lights on the Plaza and Wharf. Also unique, is a mysterious but gentile fog that emanates from the base of the fountain and drifts along the plaza at timed intervals. The Fountain of the Americas honors the countries and territories of North, Central and South America. The names of these countries and the colors of their flags brighten the bollards lining the plaza with the Colors of the Americas. Each pays tribute to the diverse cultures and peoples of the two continents.

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Photo by
Jeff Fitlow

Synchronicity of Color

Artist: Margo Sawyer

What is also known as "Art Boxes," Synchronicity of Color is one of the most-photographed art pieces in Houston. The two-piece architectural installment of red and blue-themed aluminum boxes conceal stairwells that lead to the Avenida Central Parking Garage. More than 1,400 boxes were used to complete the piece. Margo Sawyer is a professor of art at the University of Texas at Austin, conceived and fabricated the metal boxes that have varying positions. As much as it seems like it though, guests are not allowed to climb on this art piece.

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Photo by
James LaCombe

Monument Au Fantome

Artist: Jean Dubuffet

Visible from all around Avenida Houston, this art piece's title translates to "Monument to the Phantom" in French. It is located in Discovery Green along Avenida de las Americas, and rises up with colors of red, white and blue, while its shape is a mystery. The piece is by Jean Dubuffet, and internationally-known 20th-century French sculptor who passed away in 1985, two years after the sculpture was completed. Dubuffet was inspired by the art of outsiders, which he called "L'Art Brut." Monument Au Fantome is painted fiberglass over steel frames, and the tallest piece is 33 feet. It is part of the Hourloupe series, which has companion sculptures in New York, Chicago and Europe.


Temporary Art

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What's Your Primary

Artist: Floyd Newsum

Location: Partnership Tower

Artist Floyd Newsum was recently honored when two of his works were donated to the permanent collection of The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Floyd has been an art professor at the University of Houston Downtown for over 35 years. His paintings are expressive and deeply personal, often incorporating family photographs, drawings, materials from his studio, and found objects embedded in the swirls of thick colorful paint. The three works on display in the Partnership Tower delve into Newsum's concerns about climate change and man's impact on the planet. They were first exhibited in New York as part of an exhibition organized on the occasion of the United Nations Eighteenth Session of the Commission of Sustainable Development. Those interested in seeing more of his work, may visit Nicole Longnecker Gallery, where many more works will be on display through February 18, 2017.

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Now Screening in the GRB

Visitors to the GRB may encounter excerpts from the following films screening on the large LED screens in the Welcome Entries on Level 1:

Art on the Avenida by Paper Brain Productions
Brandon Ray of Paper Brain Productions filmed over 100 hours during the creation and installation of the GRB's two major sculptures, Wings Over Water by Joe O'Connell and Creative Machines and Soaring in the Clouds by Ed Wilson. In a few seconds, Ray illustrates the amazing efforts of these artists unfolding into monumental works of public art. 

GRB Video Board
 

City of Houston Video Art Collection
In 2009, as part of the Civic Art program, the City of Houston purchased both new and older experimental art works in film and video. Thirteen artists have works in the collection: Kate Balsley, Nell Breyer, William A. Brown, Victor Ingrassia, Be Johnny, Noah Klersfeld, Arthur Liou, David Montgomery, Mark Nelson, Relja Penezic, Alex Schlegel, Anita Thatcher and Marcus Young. 

Children's Animations from the Aurora Picture Show's Workshops and Outreach Programs
Aurora Picture Show is a Houston-based non-profit media arts center that presents artist-made, non-commercial film and video. They offer year-round youth education that empowers children through hands-on creative expression, exploring techniques such as animation and green screen.

New from NASA
Located in Houston, the Johnson Space Center is the home of the nation's astronaut corps, the International Space Station mission operations, the Orion Program, and a host of future space developments. On view are some of the most recent films from the ISS, Hubble Telescope and other NASA programs. 

ONE SMALL STEP (excerpt) by Peter Lucas and Camilo Gonzalez
Commissioned by Rice University's Space Arts Initiative on the 45th anniversary of man's first steps on the moon, Houston artists Peter Lucas and Camilo Gonzalez transformed film footage taken along NASA's Apollo moon missions to create a homage to humanity's first journeys away from its home planet. 

Independent Films Made in Houston
Houston is home to a thriving film community with the help of the Houston Film Commission. Featured are excerpts from feature films and documentaries recently made in the area, along with stills from the making of a few more familiar films from the recent past. 

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