A shot of Patrón or Cosmo? As a file of servers in jeans and black shirts splattered with streaks of neon paint offered liquid fuel as amuse bouches, some of the impeccably dressed throng — Becca Cason Thrash in Naeem Khan, Claire Cormier Thielke in Christian Dior and Diane Lokey Farb in Chanel — at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's 65th Anniversary Gala and Art Auction "Keeping It Now" Friday thought exactly as this reporter did.
Why not both?
You could hear many of the 300 guests oohing and aahing as a grungy-yet-refined milieu bathed with street art grit unfolded.
Inspired by an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York that features the works of graffiti artist and social activist Keith Haring, whose aesthetic responds to iconic issues of the 1980s, Rebekah Johnson created a striking ambiance that burst with color in the many square fabric chandeliers that hung from the ceiling (repurposed from last year's Menil Collection's "Bleu Electrique" soirée), large canvasses that enveloped the space and table bases.
Earning top dollar above the estimated value was a portrait commission, studio session from William Wegman, for which an anonymous bidder via proxy was willing to pay $29,000.
Of course anything chaired by Susie Criner, as the owner of Gulf Coast Entertainment, and hubby Sanford is guaranteed to have wicked tunes. Fitting for the reception and dinner, great songs from the big hair era filled the museum as guests enjoyed an herb-crusted tenderloin dinner catered by Jackson and Co. We thought the trio of cold soups served in paint cans topped with a tiny light bulb was quite clever.
Adding to the party prowess that honored Carol C. Ballard, Sissy Kempner and Marilyn Oshman were chairs J.B. and Marita Fairbanks, who looked like a million bucks in a gorgeous off-one-shoulder red hot number, particularly when she was spotted on the dance floor busting a move to soul tunes courtesy of the Big Blast and the Party Masters band.
Works by Barnaby Furnas, Jason Villegas, Melissa Miller and Dario Robleto enticed collectors during the live auction with Christie's Steven Zick. Mack Fowler, recalling the time he served in Vietnam, was set on winning a crystal sculpture by Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Earning top dollar above the estimated value was a portrait commission, studio session from William Wegman, for which an anonymous bidder via proxy was willing to pay $29,000 — well done.
Celebrating the second oldest art museum in Houston with director Bill Arning and partner Mark McCray were Lucinda and Javier Loya, John Thrash, Gracie and Bob Cavnar, Judy Nyquist, Cece Fowler, Tim Moloney, William Middleton, Caroline Starry LeBlanc and Jared LeBlanc, Winnie Simmons and Nic Phillips, Fredericka Hunter, Lewis and Peggy Metzger, Dr. Penelope Marks and Lester Marks, Dean Putterman, Cristina and Jim Buaas, Mark Sullivan, Gerry and Bruce Fehn, Karen Farber, Isabelle David and Rick Thielke.