Mondriaan Fund: Day 8 Houston – Project Row Houses, a bike tour with Dr. V, Station Museum of Contemporary Art and DiverseWorks

Full post by Mondriaan Fund

On a sunny Monday morning we are met by the amazing McKenzie Watson, artist and ‘guest services representative’ of PRH, who gives us an extensive tour of the project. Project Row Houses was founded by a group of artists including Rick Lowe in 1993; during McKenzie’s introduction to the project Rick walks by and says hello to the group – it seems ‘presence and production’ is the key term here, with everybody involved in PRH taking up crucial roles in the local community in order to be able to create social transformation by relational-artistic means.

One of the main physical sites of PRH is a block and a half of 22 shotgun shacks: cheap wooden architecture that has its design roots in West Africa, purposefully developed to provide comfortable living conditions in the hot and humid Southern climate, where ventilation and communal outdoor space are important issues. PRH restored the shotgun shacks (that derive their name from their elongated rectangular design with successive rooms whereby one woud be able to fire an imaginary shotgun through the front door and out through the back) and repurposed them as exhibition and residency spaces for both local artists and invited guests.