March 5, 2014

La Frontera
May 30 – September 7, 2014
Main Gallery at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
4848 Main Street, Houston, TX  77002

Opening Reception – Friday, May 30, 5:30 – 8:00 PM
5:45 – Artist Talk by Sandie Zilker (Texas Masters Series)
6:00 – Curator’s Talk by Mike Holmes (La Frontera)
The opening will also feature Texas Masters Series: Sandie Zilker in the Front Gallery.
Open studios by current resident artists to follow talks. 

Hours & Admission
Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday, 12 – 5 PM.
Summer Hours: Closed July 4th and Sundays, July 6th – Labor Day.
Admission is free.

(HOUSTON, TX) March 5, 2014 – Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is proud to present La Frontera (The Borderlands), an international exhibition of contemporary jewelry that explores the physical space where the complex relationship between Mexico and the United States is most evident. With startling results, 90 artists from the U.S., Mexico, Europe, Australia, and Latin America explore the underlying currents of the border environment within geographic, political, social, cultural, and ideological contexts.

At 1,969 miles long, the U.S.-Mexico border has the largest number of legal and illegal crossings in the world. An estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants currently live in the United States, according to studies by the Pew Hispanic Research Center. Concerns about illegal immigration, combined with the increase in drug trafficking and violence, instigated the controversial construction of the border fence, which is now 700 miles long and counting. This timely exhibition occurs as the U.S. Congress is considering an immigration reform bill that would extend the Border Wall an additional 700 miles and add another 20,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents. Still, the border is a vibrant and vital corridor, and its extremely porous nature allows not only the passage of illegal arms and drugs but also valuable ideas and projects, families and culture.

Inspired by the border’s tumultuous environment of deserts, mountains, rivers, and flow of diverse nationalities, the artists of La Frontera created 150 pieces of contemporary jewelry. The materials range from canvas, polyester, porcelain, water bottles, photos, and paint to more precious ones, such as steel, copper, silver, and gold. Cristina Celis, one of the participating artists from Mexico, explains her necklace, Dactilar, made of porcelain, gold, and silver: “The practice of erasing the information on fingers is common.  Knives, acid, fire, and even surgery are some of the mechanisms that undocumented immigrants are turning to in order to erase their fingerprints and avoid deportation.” The dangers of the border are also explored in U.S. artist Julia Turner’s brooch, Three Days Walking (Mourning Brooch), which features red dots that refer to the NGO Humane Borders’ map identifying the places where people die while attempting to cross the border.

In his essay for the exhibition catalog, Mexican writer, Benito Taibo, poetically described the show as “conceptual art that uses the body, the neck, the wrist, and the shoulders as a canvas to shape, in all its splendor, the bewitched, the fantasy, and also the sadness that is the frontier and what it signifies. It’s a final frontier that eats its children and the children of other territories and then spits them all over the land, transforming [them] into different beings, with different passions, all in search of a place in the world.”

La Frontera includes work by three celebrated Houston jewelry artists—Edward Lane McCartney, Olga Starostina, and Demitra Thomloudis—all of whom have shown work at HCCC in exhibitions or in the Asher Gallery.  HCCC Curator, Elizabeth Kozlowski, commented, “The works included in La Frontera cannot be easily categorized.  There is an impressive range of techniques, materials and personal interpretations regarding border issues. The exhibition comes to Houston at the perfect time, when immigration and U.S.-Mexico relations are at the forefront of current sociopolitical issues.”

La Frontera was curated by Mike Holmes and Elizabeth Shypertt, founders of Velvet da Vinci gallery in San Francisco, CA, and Lorena Lazard, from Mexico City, who has been a practicing jewelry artist for more than 20 years. The exhibition opened at the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City in June, 2013, to wide critical acclaim from press and visitors.

Participating Artists

Rameen Ahmed, Pakistan | USA
Mayte Amezcua, Mexico
Eliana Arenas, Mexico | USA
William Austin III, USA | The Netherlands
Iacov Azubel, Argentina
Maria Fernanda Barba, Mexico
Brooke Battles, USA
Ela Bauer, Poland | The Netherlands
Victor Beckmann, Mexico | USA
Kristin Beeler, USA
Aline Berdichevsky, Mexico | Spain
Jesse Bert, USA | Mexico
Elvira Bessudo, Mexico
Raquel Bessudo, Mexico
Linnèa Blakèus & David Alexander Calder, Sweden | Mexico | Norway
Arturo Borrego, Mexico | Ireland
Sandra Bostock, Mexico
Alejandra Bremer, Mexico | USA
Gabriela Campo, Mexico
Jorge Castañon, Argentina
Cristina Celis, Mexico
Celeste Christie, USA
Thea Clark, USA
Kate Connell & Oscar Melara, USA
Bruno Cuervo Aceves, Mexico
Jessica Davies, USA
Alberto Dávila, Mexico
Clementine Edwards, Australia
Beate Eismann, Germany
Danielle Embry, USA
Nicolas Estrada, Colombia | Spain
Brenda Ligia Farias Lomeli, Mexico
Sol Flores, Argentina
Andrés Fonseca, Mexico Christine Forni, USA
Monica Guerra, USA
Elisa Gulminelli, Argentina
Heidemarie Herb, Germany | Italy
Thomas Hill, UK | USA
Holland Houdek, USA
Marta Hryc, Poland
Kevin Hughes, USA
Mary Frisbee Johnson, USA
Tammy Young Eun Kim, Korea | USA
Barbara Knuth, USA
Alejandra Koreck, Argentina
Claire Lavendhomme, Congo | Belgium
Lorena Lazard, Mexico
Ria Lins, Belgium
Criselda Lopez, USA
María Eugenia López, Puerto Rico | USA
Jorge Manilla, Mexico | Belgium
Alix Manon, Belgium
Carmen Marcos Martínez, Spain
Gigi Mariani, Italy
Wendy Maruyama, USA
Judy McCaig, Scotland | Spain
Edward Lane McCartney, USA
Emma Messer, USA
Molly Mitchell, USA
Katharina Moch, Germany
Nancy Moyer with Mark Clark, USA
Dawn E. Nakanishi, USA
Alja Neuner, Austria
Brigid O´Hanrahan USA
Mabel Pena Argentina
Chiara Pignotti, Italy | Spain
Ramón Puig Cuyàs, Spain
Kerianne Quick, USA
Alexander Romero Reyes, Colombia
Poleta Rodete, Mexico
Jacqueline Roffe, Mexico
Zinna Rudman, Mexico
Elizabeth Rustrian, Mexico
Carmen Lucia Sandoval, Mexico
Chiara Scarpitti, Italy
Agnes Seebass, Germany | Mexico
Marina Sheetikoff, Brazil
Alejandra Solar, Mexico
Maria Solórzano, Mexico | Argentina
Martacarmela Sotelo, Mexico
Olga Starostina, Russia | USA
Rachelle Thiewes, USA
Demitra Thomloudis, USA
Sabina Tiemroth, Argentina
Julia Turner, USA
Martha Vargas, Mexico
Elizabeth Wilson, Australia |USA
Jette Zirpins, Mexico

For more information and photos of the Border Wall:

Reviews of the La Frontera opening at Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City

Time Out Mexico
“La Frontera” review, ★★★★, by Alejandra Villegas, 6/21/13
“La Frontera is proof that art and beauty are not at odds when trying to raise public awareness about social issues. This collection of contemporary jewelry translates ideas of social, economic and political aspects in an intelligent and subtle way.”

El Pais
“La frontera de México es un collar” by Raquel Seco, 6/22/13
“Diego and Pachilú, visitors to the exhibition, are people of the border. They have lived in Nogales, Mexicali, Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana. It is not strange to them to see immigrants hiding in the streets waiting for the opportunity to make the jump, fences and helicopters, and other complexities of living in a passage zone. But they are moved looking at the show and she sheds a tear. It is not just because they are the aunt and uncle of one of the artists, they can’t help but be touched by the experience.” 

Vogue Mexico
June 2013 and
“When art is universal it has no limits. This is demonstrated by “La Frontera,” a dialogue among different artists who use jewelry to express how they understand this geographic reality…”

The Monitor
“Surface Tratment: La Frontera” by Nancy Moyer, June 24th 2013
“These modestly scaled works explode with big ideas, as La Frontera offers relevant and often poignant viewpoints regarding the social, economic and transient nature of the U.S.-Mexico borderland.”

About Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is a nonprofit arts organization founded to advance education about the process, product and history of craft. HCCC serves as an important cultural and educational resource for

Houston and the Southwest—one of the few venues in the country dedicated exclusively to craft at the highest level.  HCCC provides exhibition, retail and studio spaces to support the work of local and national artists.  In addition, HCCC is a wonderful resource for art educators and provides mission-related educational programs in schools and underserved communities. Visitors enjoy viewing innovative exhibitions, visiting the resident artist studios, creating their own crafts in monthly HANDS-ON HOUSTON events, and shopping for one-of-a- kind gifts and home décor in the Asher Gallery.

Located in the Museum District at 4848 Main Street, HCCC is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday, 12 – 5 PM. Summer Hours: Closed July 4th and Sundays, July 6th – Labor Day. Admission is free. Free parking is available directly behind the facility, off Rosedale and Travis Street.  HCCC is three blocks south of Wheeler Ave. MetroRail station on Main Street.

HCCC is funded in part by grants from The Brown Foundation; Houston Endowment, Inc.; the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance; Texas Commission on the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Kinder Foundation; the Morgan Foundation; Windgate Charitable Foundation; and the Wortham Foundation. For more information, call 713.529.4848 or visit  Follow HCCC on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @CraftHouston.

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4848 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is located in the Houston Museum District, two blocks south of Highway 59, near Rosedale St. Visitors should park in the free parking lot located directly behind the building, off Rosedale and Travis Streets, and enter through the back entrance. 

Free Admission


4848 Main Street, Houston, TX 77002

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is located in the Houston Museum District, two blocks south of Highway 59, near Rosedale St. Visitors should park in the free parking lot located directly behind the building, off Rosedale and Travis Streets, and enter through the back entrance. 

Free Admission


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