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 TheNew York Times, The New Yorker, Hauser & Wirth’s Ursula magazine, TheWall 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.