Biographical / Historical
Bert Long Jr. was an active and prominent Houston artist, who was exhibited locally and internationally. Born in the 5th Ward of Houston in 1940, Bert worked throughout his childhood to support his family after the death of his father. He had a diverse career, first joining the Marines at 19 (discharged in 1965), and then becoming a chef, working his way up to Executive Sous Chef at the Las Vegas MGM Grand and owning his own restaurant in Oregon. He officially gave up cooking in 1979, and with the support of his wife Connie (whom he married in 1964) and their children, dedicated himself to making art. It was a long journey, bringing much financial hardship on his family, but eventually he found national and international success through his elaborate paintings and monumental ice sculptures. He won numerous grants, awards, and many of his work have been shown at the MFAH, CAMH, and the Metropolitan in New York. Bert had studios in Rome, Italy, and Berzocana, Spain throughout the 90s, officially returning to Houston in the late 90s after the death of Connie. Long was key in establishing a connected artistic community in Houston, asserting Houston as a major art center in the art world. His personal philosophy was to never plan and to go with the organic flow that life provided. Bert Long saw art as his ticket out of the Fifth Ward. Art was a way of elevation, which is a common thread in Long’s work. He used his work to elevate his subjects, humor, materials, and the way the viewers interact with his work. He passed away from Stage 4 pancreatic cancer on February 1st, 2013 with his partner Joan B. Batson and his children by his side.
Note Author: Micaela Caadungog, Emily Citino, and Mary Manning
Source: Davenport, Bill. “Bert Long, Texas Art Paradigm, 1940-2013”. Glasstire. Glasstire, 1 Feb 2013. Web. 05 Apr. 2016.
Feldman, Claudia. “Acclaimed Artist Long Leaves Legacy of Caring, Determination.” Houston Chronicle. Houston Chronicle, 1 Feb 2013. Web. 05 Apr. 2016.
Klaasmeyer, Kelly. “Long Life.” Houston Press. Houston Press, 13 July 2006. Web. 05 Apr. 2016.
McEvilley, Thomas. Bert Long: The Artist’s Journey. Houston Artists Fund, 2016.