Out & About: Dallas Contemporary’s Annual Gala and Auction

Dallas Contemporary, the leading contemporary arts museum in Dallas, celebrated its 45th anniversary on Sept. 22 by hosting a gala and auction to raise funds for the institution. 

The sold-out gala raised more than $1.6 million. Presented by Headington Companies and Sewell Automotive, the event benefited the institution’s dynamic exhibitions, educational initiatives, programming schedule, and celebrated the upcoming fall exhibitions with a glamorous crowd of artists, collectors, and fashion designers.

The gala was co-chaired by Jacquelin Sewell Atkinson, William Atkinson, Brandon Maxwell, and Jordan Jones Munoz, with Sarah Calodney as art chair. The event was hosted by Dallas Contemporary’s executive director, Carolina Alvarez-Mathies. 

Alvarez-Mathies greeted the guests and thanked the previous directors for the work they put into the museum. 

“The full Dallas Contemporary team and I have not forgotten that the imaginative work we do now to move this museum forward — from exhibitions to education to programming — is because of the work you did in the decades before us,” she said. 

The room was decorated with many artist interventions, including a sprawling floral landscape crafted by Jackson Durham and a mural free-handed by Kyle Andrew Steed at the entrance. The gala was planned and executed by Daniella Giglio. 

The silent auction included works by artists Sarah Awad, Nikki Maloof, Trevor Paglen, Pedro Reyes, Sarah Miska, Alex Katz, Eduardo Sarabia, and more. 

Cocktail hour by Midnight Rambler also highlighted a collaboration between Greenhouse Gin and artist Cynthia Mulcahy with specialty cocktails named after climate-threatened birds in Texas and featuring plants from Mulcahy’s urban garden. 

Lalo Tequila and Francisco Moreno teamed up for a commission of a painting called Los Tres Carnales he created for the evening. The work features an agave plant surrounded by three symbolic Mexican animals: a quetzal, a snake, and an ocelot, plus a custom cocktail menu.

Dinner included a culinary tour of restaurants brought by Headington and its powerhouse of catering and culinary talents, including a trifecta of courses from three of its award-winning restaurants, powered by Joule Catering. The restaurants took over a course, Tango Room presenting the appetizer, Sasetta giving the main course, and the soon-to-be opened Mirador featuring one of their desserts. The dinner servers were wearing aprons with an image from Big Bend State Park along the Rio Grande in Texas, screen printed by Zeke Williams. 

A projection of gently-paced dancers from the film “Space for Sweeter” by Tramaine Townsend was played to accompany the dinner. 

Then an auction animated by Rebekah Bowling, senior specialist and head of 21st-century art at Phillips, took place. The auction included works by Oliver Beer, Jonathan Gardner, Eddie Martinez, Alicja Kwade, Patrick Martinez, Will Boone as well as a one of a kind shopping experience with Brandon Maxwell and an ultimate Dallas sports packet.

The after party kept the night going with floral animations by artist LILKOOL projected on the dance floor, a pop-up bar from the Midnight Rambler, and DJ Sober dropping the tunes.

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