Bill’s Junk: It’s Only Art If You Don’t Buy It

There’s a lot of junk for sale in this tiny Norhill storefront: Thermoses from the 1970s, a bouffant-hairstyle catalog, a 1967 Delta Zeta sorority photo, hand-painted cans of Campbell’s Soup, and — writes Kelly Klaasmeyer in the Houston Press — “what is possibly the world’s largest extant collection of macramé owls.”

Who would want any of this stuff? Even the owner wants to be done with it:

[Bill] Davenport decided to get rid of stuff because of a move. “I had to move all my junk over from storage, and I thought, ‘Oh no, this can’t go on.’ I had to look at everything as I unpacked it.” As a result, he started thinking that maybe he didn’t need all of it.

Davenport and Francesca Fuchs, both artists, bought the 4,320-sq.-ft. 1930 commercial building at 1125 E. 11th St. (off Studewood) more than 2 years ago. After 16 months of renovations, they recently moved in upstairs with their kids. And Davenport opened Bill’s Junk in one of the retail spaces downstairs:


“This is my ideal living environment,” he explains. “It’s undiluted by any practical use. It’s just the crap room; you can just cover every surface with crap and spend your time rearranging it. This is like 17 years of thrift store shopping, but just the stuff that I could bear to part with.”

Anderson and Fuchs opened a gallery, called Optical Project, in the adjacent downstairs space.

But which space is the art gallery and which is the junk shop? None of the paintings in Optical Project’s current exhibit are for sale. Bill’s Junk takes MasterCard and Visa.

And although the prices are generally quite reasonable, trying to pick up something of recognizable artistic value from Bill’s Junk might might prove a frustrating experience: This summer, every item in the shop that hasn’t sold will be featured in an exhibit at the Contemporary Arts Museum — “along with Davenport himself, minding a replica of the store,” reports Chronicle art critic Douglas Britt.

Photos: Bill Davenport (Bill’s Junk storefront) and Loopnet

3 Comment

  • THIS is exactly why I love the Heights!

  • It’s wonderful that Bill and Francesca took over and cleaned up this former eyesore and rat haven. The place is very close to Norhill, Studewood and Brooke Smith and worth a walk over to visit — right across from Hogg Middle School’s nice new track & field, and just a few doors down from both the fabled Andy’s 24-hour Mexican restaurant and Texas Tamales Factory.

  • I go to Andy’s over there all the time and I thought “OPTICAL” was a Latino Optometrist.