Arts / Museums

Reliving One of the Art Parties of the Year — The Exciting Return of the Dallas Contemporary Gala

Global Art Stars, Activists, and Surprise Performances Celebrate Thought Provoking Public Works

BY // 01.11.23

This is the final installment in a series detailing outrageous, inventive, and important art parties. It’s time to anoint one of the most sizzling soirées of 2022. 

What: The Dallas Contemporary honored two premier artists and activists — Gabrielle Goliath and Shepard Fairey — at its 2022 annual gala.

Where: The East Quarter, a prime historic block in downtown Dallas.

The evening kicked off with a cocktail hour featuring craft libations provided by Greenhouse Gin and premier wine from Whispering Angel. As guests clinked glasses under the setting sun, East Quarter representative Patrick Todd of Todd Interests offered a toast to honoree Fairey’s recently commissioned mural, While Supplies Last. The mural stood just across the street from the party, providing the perfect backdrop to this elevated evening.

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Honoree Shepard Fairey’s mural, While Supplies Last, made a bold statement at the gala entrance. (Photo by Jonathan Zizzo)

The art-smart crowd then ambled to their tables for an elegant seated dinner prepared by celebrity chef Kent Rathbun: smoked salmon, beef tenderloin, and smoked Gouda mac and cheese. Dallas Contemporary chairman of the board/Dallas Art Fair co-founder John Sughrue delivered inspiring remarks, followed by a rousing welcome from Dallas Contemporary’s Carolina Alvarez-Mathies, making her first gala appearance as the museum’s executive director.

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Gable Shaikh, Dallas Contemporary chairman of the board John Sughrue, Ed Shaikh at the Dallas Contemporary Gala (Photo by Jon Furlong)

“We are so grateful to our friends at East Quarter for making this new public artwork possible, and delighted that it can add to the vitality of this thriving part of downtown, helping further Dallas Contemporary’s mission to make the experience of art more accessible for all,” said Alvarez-Mathies.

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Next, the honorees were anointed, a pair of artists whose exhibitions debuted that weekend at the DC. First recognized was Gabrielle Goliath, the South Africa-based artist whose work focuses on marginalized communities. Dallas Contemporary assistant curator Emily Edwards movingly said about Goliath’s exhibition, titled “Chorus”

“Gabrielle asks us to mourn the many black, brown, femme, and queer lives that have been lost to gender-based violence in her native South Africa. For this, her first museum exhibition in the United States, we as an audience have the chance to share in this act of mourning, to consider our own nation’s violence against these groups of vulnerable people, and to be moved to seek substantive social change to prevent further harm.”

The second honoree of the evening was street artist-turned-contemporary museum talent and activist Shepard Fairey, who was recognized by his longtime friend, musician, and writer Henry Rollins, who himself burst upon the scene as the punk-rock frontman for Black Flag. Rollins spoke of his admiration for Fairey’s work ethic and intellectual courage, citing him as a long-time personal inspiration.

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Honoree Shepard Fairey, Dallas Contemporary executive director Carolina Alvarez-Mathies, honoree Gabrielle Goliath at the Dallas Contemporary Gala (Photo by Rebecca Patton)

Following remarks by the honorees was a surprise musical performance by musician Chuck D of the hip-hop group Public Enemy, who brought the crowd to the al fresco dance floor with an iconic performance of rap hits such as “Fight the Power.” The celebration continued at The East Quarter’s historic Waters building, which was decorated with floral installments from Bottega de Flores, a long-time collaborator of Dallas Contemporary. Guests danced into the night to raucous hip-hop beats by celebrated DJs Sober and Z-Trip, as well as Fairey, who manned the decks himself.

PC Seen: The inventive and connected gala co-chairs Karla McKinley and Shelby Wagner; Dallas Museum of Art’s Agustín Arteaga; American professional tennis player John Isner and wife Madison McKinley Isner; Leisa Street; Zoe Bonnette; Sheryl Adkins-Green and Geoff Green; Maxine Trowbridge; Kasey and Todd Lemkin; Gable and Ed Shaikh; and Dallas Contemporary team including adjunct curator Pedro Alonzo, who organized the Shepard Fairey exhibition, joined by recently minted director of external affairs Lucia Simek

“Shepard Fairey: Backward Forward” on view through July 23, 2023. “Gabrielle Goliath: Chorus” on view through March 19, 2023.

Additional reporting Catherine D. Anspon 

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