"Stonewall 50" at the CAMH

A review of the exhibition Stonewall 50 at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, originally proposed by Bill Arning and re-structured by Dean Daderko upon Arning’s departure from the CAMH.

In late June of 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a prominent gay bar in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. This raid sparked a series of demonstrations by an outraged, oppressed community, often referred to as the Stonewall Riots or Stonewall Uprising, that are seen as the precursor to the Gay liberation movement and the continued fight for LGBT rights.   50 years later, the Contemporary Arts Museum hosts Stonewall 50, an exhibition conceived by Bill Arning and later curated by Dean Daderko that purports itself to be “a snapshot of the complexion, interests, and activities of a diverse group of queer and allied artists.”

While the exhibition seemingly accomplishes what it sets out to do, it falls a bit flat and feels only vaguely linked to its namesake, becoming more of a group exhibition of notable Queer artists when perhaps there should be more dialogue between the work and the events.

GRLZ + VEILS

An interview with New York-based artist Cheryl Donegan on her recent work featured in the exhibition GRLZ + VEILS at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston

Up-cycled dresses on mannequins, paintings of deconstructed tracksuits, and massive lengths of cloth made with consumer technology fill the upstairs of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The works carry with them a balance between heavy abstraction and a DIY culture that will have you saying, “My kid could make that!” and artist Cheryl Donegan would not only agree with you but encourage you to try it yourself.

On view at the CAMH through March 31, Cheryl Donegan: GRLZ + VEILS presents a collection of works by the artist ranging from the 90s to recent years, with the subtitle referencing multiple aspects of her practice. GRLZ, which most commonly references the riot grrl subculture, which holds a great deal of significance and inspiration for Donegan, here also refers to the grills of the air conditioners that decorate the streets of New York and inform the designs in many of her dresses and paintings. The artist considers VEILS a representation of her relationship to material, drawing connections between her paintings and clothing.

Nicolas Moufarrege: Recognize My Sign

A review of the Contemporary Art Museum Houston’s exhibition of works by the late Nicolas Moufarrege, curated by Dean Daderko

“Younger artists today are inspired by artwork and activist models created by these people in the eighties – a time we can still see as aesthetically exciting and expansive – but because so many of these folks are no longer with us, the history can easily get lost. It’s silenced.”

—Dean Daderko in DUETS

The story of Nicolas Moufarrege is a sad one. Lost to the AIDS crisis in New York City at the age of 36, the artist had only been in practice for a decade and undoubtedly had much left to produce. Curated by Dean Daderko and on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston through Feb. 17, 2019, Nicolas Moufarrege: Recognize My Sign is the first solo museum exhibition for Moufarrege.