G Spot Contemporary to Close After Current Exhibition; Final Show Opens this Saturday

by Brandon Zech September 1, 2023
The front facade of an art gallery.

G Spot Contemporary’s current location, on 11th street in the Houston Heights

G Spot Contemporary, the art gallery owned and operated by Wayne Gilbert and his wife, Beverley, will be closing after its next exhibition.

Although the space has been in operation in its current form since 2008, it has a long history in the group Rubber: An Art Mob, which Mr. Gilbert co-founded in 1992 in Houston with artists Bill Hailey and Ramzy Telley. The Rubber Group co-ran Gallery 101, a space, which according to an interview with Mr. Gilbert in the book Impractical Spaces: Houston, an Anthology of Artist-run Galleries, Occupied Warehouses, Co-operatives, Pop-ups, & Other Ad-hoc Venues, was in a warehouse located across the street from a Houston Police Department building. In the interview, Mr. Gilbert says that Gallery 101 ran until he opened G Gallery in the Heights in 2008.

The gallery moved several times during its 15-year run. Its second location was adjoining the Redbud Arts Center; during these years, the two galleries, which were the main spaces for contemporary art in the Houston Heights neighborhood, would hold contemporaneous openings, attracting hundreds of people.

A man stands in front of the door to an art gallery.

Wayne Gilbert in front of the 9th Street location of G Spot Contemporary, 2015

In late 2015, Mr. Gilbert relocated the gallery to a one-room building a few blocks away, at 310 E 9th Street. He used this move as an opportunity to change the space’s name, from G Gallery to G Spot Contemporary. Although the name was a bit of a joke, Mr. Gilbert was adamant that the “G” stood for his last name. There the gallery continued to host monthly exhibitions by artists such as I Love You Baby (the now-defunct Houston collective), M. Kelly Olsen, Bryan and Jeff F. Wheeler, Cresandra Thibodeaux, David Politzer, Toby Kamps, Rahul Mitra, Angel Lartigue, and many others.

In June 2021, the gallery moved back to 11th Street, this time just across the street from the Redbud Arts Center, which had since expanded to take up the gallery’s former location. While the space wasn’t as conducive to shows as the 9th Street location, its proximity to Redbud, combined with a growing audience for openings as effects of the COVID-19 pandemic lessened, gave the gallery a vibrant energy.

The interior of an art gallery, featuring many colorful paintings.

A show by Leo Di Buelna at G Spot Contemporary. Photo: Molly Glentzer/Houston Chronicle

G Spot was a for-profit gallery, but Mr. Gilbert was candid that it was more of a passion project since it rarely broke even. The space sometimes sold work, but oftentimes it was less-expensive pieces to friends of artists or to smaller-time collectors. This fit with the spirit of the space — Mr. Gilbert didn’t program art that was meant to sell out or that was market-forward; instead, he wanted to show artists who, per G Spot’s website, “are unafraid to challenge convention.” The statement goes on to describe G Spot as “a space with a decidedly grassroots approach to cultural exchange,” which showcases “eclectic and often provocative work by emerging and established artists from all parts of the globe.”

Mr. Gilbert was serious about his goal of the gallery being a space for everyone. He oftentimes extended invitations to artists or community members to guest-curate shows, and was open to more avant-garde ideas. The gallery was additionally the longtime meeting place for an Alcoholics Anonymous group hosted by Mr. Gilbert, who was himself publicly sober.

A man stands inside an art gallery.

Wayne Gilbert at G Spot Contemporary’s current 11th Street location

Since the gallery was run and funded by Mr. Gilbert, it was expected that, following his death last month, it would close. The space’s final show will open this Saturday, September 2, with a reception from 6-8 p.m., and will run through September 30. The exhibition features work by musician and psychotherapist Dan Workman. Appropriately, keeping with the spirit of G Spot’s mission, this will be the first time Mr. Workman has shown his artwork publicly.

In a statement in the show’s press release, Mr. Workman says that Mr. Gilbert encouraged him to show his artworks, which are made using ink, and set up the exhibition earlier this year. While he says that neither of them knew that this would be G Spot’s final exhibition, he notes Mr. Gilbert’s support of him and his desire that the work be shown: “While I hate the idea of Wayne not being here to guide me, his final text to me was him making sure I’d keep my obligation for a September show… I’m both sad and honored to be the closing show at ‘The G.'”

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