Upcoming Surls Dinner Proves It’s Easier to Move Big Collectors than Big Sculptures

by Bill Davenport July 10, 2012

James Surls is cropping up in unexpected places: Garden and Gun magazine features an informative feature on James Surls’ contributions to the Houston art scene as founder of the Lawndale Art Center and his larger-than-life career and personality.  Last year, Surls radically restructured the way he does business, firing all six of his national dealers, focusing instead on an annual by-invitation-only dinner/sales event at his studio outside Carbondale, Colorado. The Second Annual Studio Exhibition is set for July 28, and will feature saxophonist and artist Dickie Landry, The Art Guys, the Flatlanders, starring Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely, a monograph by noted art critic Thomas McEvilley, several hundred guests, beer, guns, BBQ, and of course, new large scale sculpture that Surls will NOT  spend tens of thousands of dollars shipping to remote dealers.

The fundraising flows two ways: The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum outside Boston has a pair of tickets they’re offering for a donation of $36,000, all with no middleman. At last years’ Texas Contemporary Art Fair in Houston, a single piece represented Surls in the Blue Star Art Center booth, attended by Surls’ personal sales rep!


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Robert Boyd July 10, 2012 - 09:05

I’ve heard that Michael Tracy handles his sales in this way, and Richard Stout here in Houston does something similar. For artists with a certain history and already existing collector base, it seems like a pretty good option.

Carla Hollis July 10, 2012 - 15:47

James Surls was one of my professors at SMU in the 70’s. He was great then. How wonderful to see him doing so well now!!


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