Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Texas Design Now

Texas Deign Now Opening at CAM photo by Alton DuLaney August 2015

On a recent balmy Friday night, that familiar art itch surfaced that needed to be scratched. So with my artsy friend Ruby Surls in tow, we packed up the convertible and headed to the arts district of Houston, Texas to get our fix. Of our many conversations during the significant drive into town, we bemoaned the fact that Houston lacked a certain amount of style readily found in other large cities, particularly within the art community. Where was the fashion, the quirkiness, the eccentricity for which artists and art patrons are known? After a few lackluster openings, we found our answer in the Texas Design Now exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum.

Not only was the design on display worth seeing, but the crowd was a see-and-be-seen must. Men in skirts, couples in matching outfits, over-sized lucite jewelry, hand-painted garments, statement-piece accessories, and tattoos and piercings adorned the crowd.

Denis Nance shirt wall at CAM photo by Alton DuLaney August 2015

Many of the designers and their collections were noteworthy: Garza Marfa's thick leather home furnishings combined rustic materials with a modern design, Finel's geometric handbags appeared as if they were carved from stone, Rhinestone Rob's encrusted accessories became objets de arte, a ball gown with enormous train looked ready for any pageant or  parade, Denis Nance's wall of shirts could have graced any 5th avenue window display, and Michael Wilson's beautifully carved wooden furniture left the viewer wondering if one should sit on them or simply admire them.

Michael Wilson carved table at CAM photo by Alton DuLaney August 2015

But perhaps my favorite collection, so tiny it might be missed, was Johnny Dang's  Diamond Grillz. These teeth caps fabricated from gold, diamonds and gemstones, added new meaning to the term ghetto-fabulous. With a long list of celebrity clients, these Grillz were truly captivating works of pop art, and seemed just at home in a museum as they would in a rap video. 
Johnny Dang's Diamond Grillz at CAM photo by Alton DuLaney August 2015

An evening and a museum full of style and fashion, the exhibit Texas Design Now at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston is a terrific overview of Texas designers from all across the great state of Texas. 

For more info check out the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston.

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