PaperCity Magazine

October 2014 - Houston

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GRAFFITI ROCKS + RAINBOW CAKE With such a loose theme, decor maestro Rebekah Johnson was given free rein for a very loose interpretation of the art world — and she went big and wild. While past CAMH Galas have featured light beams, a man-sized tractor tire and acres of iridescent cellophane as party props, the order of this night was about graffiti. Everywhere. Johnson and her crew got in some serious aerosol action, spraying gargantuan cubes and towering canvases bearing riotous designs, then suspending them from the ceiling or resting them against the walls. The waiters also were walking paintings, donning black tees individually graffiti-ed up for the occasion. Against these florid backdrops, the 300 sleek guests stood out in their minimalist tuxes and gowns. Another elegant paradox was the Jackson and Company-seated dinner, informed by such clever touches as miniature soups evoking paint cans, a substantial tenderloin of beef and our fave moment: an eight-layer rainbow cake, served downstairs beside the band (Big Blast and the Party Masters entertained). Did the hue of the dessert subconsciously allude to the infamous CAMH rainbow-colored bread riot of 1977? That's what we construed. Nancy Littlejohn Heidi Gerger David Gerger Denny Kempner Honorary chairman Sissy Kempner Bob Cavnar CATHERINE D. ANSPON COUNTS THE CANVASES AND CELEBRATES THE CANDLES. PHOTOGRAPHY JENNY ANTILL. … AVANT-GARDE! Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's Big Birthday Blowout Gala OCTOBER | PAGE 12 | 2014 SIXTY-FIVE AND STILL AUCTION RAMA Contributing to the soaring bottom line were art-auction goodies, reflective of long-standing artist friendships and gallery favors astutely called in by director Bill Arning. While the silent auction is eagerly contested, it's the live auction — always presided over by Christie's Steven Zick, in from Chicago — that typically draws the greatest drama. This year though, the top lot was actually in the silent auction: The mythic James Surls' eight-foot drawing (the artist came in from Colorado) went to a lucky home for $41,000. Generating brisk bidding in the live auction was the chance to have William Wegman snap your portrait ($29,000) and a serene Maya Lin crystal sculpture, Blue Wave (realizing $23,000; its new owner is a long-time board member, but we're sworn to secrecy). The greatest buy of the night was the $6,500 live-auctioned bronze of a Polaroid camera by R.E.M. vocalist Michael Stipe — the singer, a good pal of Arning, happily contributed to the CAMH bottom line. (Maybe R.E.M. will play next year.) WAAAAAAAY OFF THE CHARTS By evening's end, the total had surpassed everyone's wildest estimates — edging to $900,000, a measure and reflection of the CAMH's relevance in Houston's contemporary arts community. (When this scribe began 10 years ago, the galas brought in a third of that and were staged in beautiful destinations devoid of any art connection.) Thank goodness CAMH Gala and the CAMH itself are back, and if you doubt that, check out the current show for Houston headliners Debra Barrera, Nathaniel Donnett and Carrie Marie Schneider (through November 30). To be continued: For more Gala moments, and reflections from five of our faves, turn to page 14. A LITTLE HISTORY How many museums can boast a bread riot, insects run amok, fist fights in the parking lot (between an artist and director) and landmark early shows for the likes of Cindy Sherman (her first museum exhibition ever), Frank Gehry, Gilbert and George, Yoko Ono, Dorothy Hood, the YBAs and nascent Pop art — all in a sleek parallelogram of a building that visitors are always surprised (nay, shocked) to discover opened in 1973. The dynamically agile, ever inventive, occasionally contentious (in a good way) CAMH is an institution at the epicenter of our art world. So, the occasion of its 65th anniversary was commemorated in the best way possible: with a gala co-chaired by a pair of graceful power couples, Susie and Sanford Criner alongside Marita and J.B. Fairbanks. In keeping with a sense of history, the deconstructed black-tie night, abstractly titled "Keeping It Now," also featured three honorary chairmen who have been on the board through some epic times: Carol Ballard, Sissy Kempner and Marilyn Oshman. Read on. Mark Hull Leslie Ballard Hull Gracie Cavnar Barry Young Dean Daderko Honorary chairman Marilyn Oshman Randy Powers Mark Sullivan Eddie Allen Chinhui Juhn Allen Diane Lokey Farb Elizabeth Satel Young JooYoung Choi Trenton Doyle Hancock Angelbert Metoyer Becca Cason Thrash Co-chairman J.B. Fairbanks Co-chairman Marita Fairbanks Co-chairman Sanford Criner Co-chairman Susie Criner Bill Arning Carol Barden Judy Nyquist Jo Furr Barbara Gamson Steven Zick Connie McAllister Rainey Knudson Michael Galbreth Sam Lasseter Dance fever Russell Sherrill Barry Young At the end of the rainbow Benjy Levit Valerie Cassel Oliver Page Kempner Andy Lubetkin Nancy O'Connor Passing in the night

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