In 1993, shortly after Rick Lowe and some other people, who nobody seems to mention anymore, discovered the block and a half of abandoned homes in Houston’s Third Ward, those houses now commonly referred to as Project Row Houses, he had a dream. And in the dream he was wearing a suit of gossamer and coriander petals , and perched precariously on the edge of his head was a hat made from a hummingbird wing. And when he awoke from the dream, he realized that what he had dreamt was intimately connected to the future of those 22 soon to be demolished buildings. But the other people, whose names we have forgotten, and who no one really seems to care about anymore, had other visions for the row houses, ones that were socially conscious and high minded, and if you were being completely honest, a little boring, but you would never admit it or else you would find yourself burning to a crisp, spinning around on a rotisserie spit from here until the 12th of Never.
And so Rick Lowe, always the good soldier, shut his mouth, and sat on his beautiful hummingbird hat, and did what ever the other people told him to do, knowing that some day some how, he would be able to realize his dream.
And over the years lives were changed. Single mothers went back to college, aesthetically pleasing low income houses were built and occupied, and underprivileged children wove nwentoma on looms while discoursing on the paradoxical nature of entropy in respect to equilibrium and irreversibility in thermodynamic systems.
And then once, when Rick had flown abroad to give a speech, he had a life changing experience. “I was in Nepal. And on my last day there, I was driving in the taxi to the airport, and on the way I see the worst sort of suffering you can imagine. Crippled people, people with leprosy, corpses laying in the street, and then the worst of all of them is this guy I bump into as I am boarding the plane. Not only is he flying economy class, but he has no carry on luggage, and he refuses to watch the in flight movie. What The Hell???!!! That was when I threw up my hands and said, there is no helping people. And at that very moment, I decided to follow my original dream, and make Project Row Houses what it was always intended to be—a reality television show centered around the fashion industry, which from here on out will be known as “Rick Lowe’s Project Run Way!” Bravo Rick! Bravo.
“Rick Lowe’s Project Run Way!” is sure to bring in record viewing numbers, with its not to be missed contestants. A real scene-stealer is contestant Jonatan Lopez. One of the funniest episodes this season is when Jonathan designs a dressmaker’s harness after dealing with one tweeking model too many. “I understand the importance of speed and cocaine to the modeling industry, but pleeeeeeaaaze sister,” says Jonatan, his mouth full of pins. Another standout in the crowd is Michella Fanini who takes sans-cullottes to the extreme, with her Jacobin inspired collection. Says Lowe’s of Fanini’s chimerical creations, “They are great, and she told me she would be through with them as soon as I gave her a little bit more gold thread. She sure has used a lot of that stuff.” The most controversial of the aspiring designers is Rosane Volcan O’Connor, who pronounces her name Hallelujah. Praise the Lord, as she is known to her friends, combines high fashion and population control in a clothing line she likes to call I. U. D- licious! “This line is in the prototype stage. I just need to work on them a little bit, maybe make them a little smaller.” After inserting one, I think you would agree with her: “Ow wow wow lady, smaller it is!”
also by Beth Secor
- "The Art of Gaman" at the Holocaust Museum Houston - July 28th, 2015
- Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty at Contemporary Art Museum Houston - June 3rd, 2015
- Perry House at d.m. allison gallery, Houston - May 20th, 2015
- eState Sale - January 24th, 2012
- Beth Secor’s Observations on the Texas Contemporary Art Fair - October 31st, 2011