It’s been 70 years since David Adickes danced the jitterbug in the old Huntsville High School gym. Now, at age 85, he pauses at a flight of schoolhouse stairs, uncertain if his knees can stand the climb. Still, there’s a rare bond between Adickes – the Houston artist who has charmed and shocked with his giant concrete statues – and this 1931-vintage backwoods temple of learning.
Only four years ago, the long-vacant brick building with a leaky roof and cracked walls seemed destined for demolition. Then Adickes, looking for a suitable showcase for a lifetime of paintings and sculptures, learned of its plight and made an offer.
Later this month, he will host a private reception to open the refurbished, 80,000-square-foot school as a gallery for more than 300 paintings and undetermined number of statues. Initially, the site will be open to curators hunting works for museum exhibits. Eventually, the Huntsville native hopes to open the school as a museum of his work.
“If not now, when?, to quote Jack Kennedy,” Adickes said. “I’ve always wanted to do this. … I think every artist is concerned about what’s going to happen to his work when he’s gone. Permanence always has had a great value to me.”
As you well know, I love me some Adickes artwork. Looks like I’ll need to plan a road trip at some point.