Otis Houston Jr.

Otis Houston Jr.

Otis Houston Jr. (b. 1954; Greenville, SC) lives and works in East Harlem, New York. A self-taught artist and musician, Houston Jr. began making work after taking an art class while incarcerated. Since 1997, he has maintained an ongoing presence under the Triborough Bridge on the FDR Drive in New York, where he stages impromptu performances and a site-specific installation of signage and sculpture.

Houston Jr. has presented solo exhibitions at The John Michael Kohler Arts Center and Art Preserve, Sheboygan, Wisconsin (2022); Gordon Robichaux, New York (2021); Room East, New York (2017), and two-person exhibitions at Gordon Robichaux, New York (with Florence Derive, 2018), and Cave, Detroit (with Miles Huston, 2016). His work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including at Vielmetter Los Angeles (curated by Mark McKnight), Los Angeles; apexart (curated by Sam Gordon), New York; Room East, New York; The Broodthaers Society of America, New York; Socrates Sculpture Park (curated by Chelsea Spengemann), New York; and CANADA, New York; Parker Gallery, Los Angeles; Marc Selwyn Gallery, Los Angeles; Rebecca Camacho Presents (curated by Bob Linder), San Francisco; and F Magazine, Houston, Texas.

Profiles of the artist and his art have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Hauser & Wirth’s Ursula magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Art Newspaper, the Brooklyn Rail, ARTnews, Hyperallergic, and Contemporary Art Daily.

In 2022, the first monograph dedicated to Houston Jr.’s work, Can’t GO Unless WE ALL GO, was co-published by Zolo Press and Gordon Robichaux.

Images and videos of his work taken by daily commuters and passersby populate YouTube and numerous blogs. Houston's album of original songs, America, was released in 2006 on iTunes and reissued in 2020 as a vinyl record published by Post Present Medium. BLACK CHEROKEE, a twenty-two-minute documentary on the artist directed by Sam Cullman and Benjamin Rosen, was released in 2012.


Mother Sadie

Found and altered objects

27 × 15 × 17 1/2 inches


The Enemy

Marker on found painting

15 × 20 inches


Otis Houston Jr., Mind (view a)

Marker, pen, and colored pencil on paper; tape, spray paint, and marker on found board

18 x 12 inches



Marker on found object

80 × 27 3/4 × 1 1/4 inches


A Happy Death

Spray paint, screws, paper, found and altered objects

41 1/4 × 17 1/2 × 15 1/4 inches


What You See Is What You Get

Marker on found painting

15 × 20 inches


Workers Come Together

Two-color silkscreen on paper

20 × 30 inches


Otis Houston Jr., The Thinker

Marker on found painting

28 x 20 inches


Otis Houston Jr., Advertisements

Marker, rope, tape, and collage on found boards; laundry bag

41 x 31 x 3.5 inches


The Thangofmajig

Mixed media found and altered objects

38 × 26 3/4 × 14 1/2 inches


Otis Houston Jr., Miss Thing (side a)

Marker on found board

24 x 36 inches


Otis Houston Jr., The Man

Mixed media (found and altered objects)

68 x 15 x 15 inches


Otis Houston Jr., Ogilvy

Marker on found board

39.75 x 29.75 inches


Otis Houston Jr., STOP (side b)

Marker, oil paint, and spray paint on found framed print

17 x 21 inches


The Chief

Marker and tape on found framed print

28 × 20 inches



Otis Houston Jr.

All Eyes on Who?

Mar. 10–Apr. 21, 2024

Otis Houston Jr.

Mar. 14–Apr. 25, 2021

Did I Ever Have a Chance?

Helène Aylon, Leilah Babirye, Jenny Holzer, Otis Houston Jr., Corita Kent, Clifford Prince King, Reverend Joyce McDonald, Lorraine O'Grady, Martha Rosler, Hannah Wilke, David Wojnarowicz, Martin Wong

Aug. 15–Sept. 19, 2020

A Page From My Intimate Journal (Part II) —

Wilder Alison, Leilah Babirye, Matt Connors, Jenni Crain, Stephanie Crawford, Florence Derive, DW Fitzpatrick, Gillian Garcia, Daniel Marcellus Givens, Janice Guy, Otis Houston Jr., Miles Huston, KIOSK, Marco ter Haar Romeny, Clifford Prince King, Elisabeth Kley, Wayne Koestenbaum, Siobhan Liddell, Rosemary Mayer, McDermott & McGough, Reverend Joyce McDonald, Matt Paweski, Signe Olson, Sanou Oumar, Kerry Schuss, Dean Spunt, Tabboo!, Ken Tisa, Boris Torres, Frederick Weston

Mar. 1–Apr. 19, 2020

Florence Derive, Otis Houston Jr.

The image Always Get the Last WORD: Otis Houston Jr. and Florence Derive

Nov. 11–Dec. 16, 2018

A Page from My Intimate Journal (Part I) —

Wayne Koestenbaum, Frederick Weston, Otis Houston Jr., Jenni Crain, Matt Connors, Florence Derive, Miles Huston, Siobhan Liddell, Sanou Oumar, Matt Paweski, Schorr Collier, Kerry Schuss, Martin Wong, Elisabeth Kley, Math Bass, Hawkins Bolden, Guy de Cointet, Lucky DeBellevue, Liz Deschenes, Shannon Ebner, Melvin Edwards, Vincent Fecteau, Denzil Forrester, Barbara Hammer, James Hoff, Marc Hundley, Shirley Jaffe, Caitlin Keogh, Shigeko Kubota, Magic Markings Anonymous, Darinka Novitovic, Bernard Piffaretti, Howardena Pindell, Charlotte Posenenske, Michael Queenland, Stuart Sherman, Amy Sillman, Alison Smith, Gwen Smith, Martine Syms, Tseng Kwong Chi, Stan Vanderbeek, Melvin Way, Karlheinz Weinberger, B. Wurtz, Amy Yao

Feb. 11–Apr. 8, 2018


Independent New York: Janet Olivia Henry, Otis Houston Jr., Sanou Oumar, Ken Tisa

May 11–May 14, 2023

Dallas Art Fair

Apr. 21–Apr. 23, 2023

Performance and Book Launch at White Columns

Nov. 3, 2022

Frieze New York: Otis Houston Jr.

May 5–May 9, 2021


May 1, 2020

Sound & Vision

Mar. 7, 2020

Otis Houston Jr. & Agosto Machado

Dec. 16, 2018

Readings & Performances

Apr. 1, 2018


Otis Houston Jr., Can't GO Unless WE ALL GO


Gordon Robichaux and Zolo Press


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Gordon Robichaux