The toughest thing about Houston Modern Market Week is figuring out where to slot it on the highbrow/lowbrow scale.
Houston Modern Market
Oct 24 and 25
10-6 Sat, 10-5 Sun
$10 (2-day pass)
Winter Street Studios
2101 Winter St.
It is, after all, first and foremost a shopping experience. Can shopping be intellectual? Sure, when it's centered around art and design, classic highbrow material. Houston Modern Market launched in 2010 to fill a void for local sellers of vintage, mid-century and contemporary modern goods and furnishings looking to reach a general audience and has grown to be one of the largest annual cultural devoted to mod in Texas.
"It started inititally because I've always been a big fan of mid-century modern architecture and I collect that period art, design, furniture, etc. We would go to the Lawndale show when they were doing more of the modern stuff, but they switched to a design fair so a lot of the collectors that do resale and those types of vendors no longer had brick and mortar place to meet clients. I basically just said 'Why not?'," said Brian Hoffner, the founder and director of Houston Modern Market Week.
Now in its fourth year, the Modern Market now has events that spread out over a week, with free lectures, guided driving tours of Houston's modern notable architecture and even a vintage car show. (Some of these events are free, others require additional tickets. Go here for full schedule and ticket information.) But the main attraction remains the market, returning to Winter Street Studios this weekend with nearly 50 vendors.
The goods span from high-end mid-century furniture designed by iconic names—last year a seller from Dallas brought a showstopping malachite secretary by Fornasetti—to modern-inspired wares by contemporary craftsmen, as well as paper goods, jewelry and art, meaning you don't have to be in the market for a Hans Wegner chair to make the cost of admission worth your while.
"I want to bring in people who don't even know they like design or art or architecture yet. It's a way to educate more Houstonians on what is good design, art, or architecture," said Hoffner. "Mid-century modern is in a resurgence right now, which I'm excited about. I want it to grow even larger and faster. The more who find out about it and get excited about it, the faster it will grow."