K8 Hardy Challenges, Provokes at the Dallas Contemporary

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Warning: The art of K8 Hardy will shock you. It may leave you uneasy. Through her masterful creations, she forces us to think about what we see.



You may have never heard of K8 (pronounced Kate) Hardy. She’s not exactly a household name among her fellow native Texans, though she grew up right here in Fort Worth. Now residing in Brooklyn, she’s an accomplished contemporary artist through many different mediums, including photography, sculpture, and performance art. She’s been featured twice at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art and has galleries in New York and Paris.

Now, Hardy’s brought it all back home, so to speak, with her September Issues exhibit at the Dallas Contemporary.



Hardy’s talent also translates to fashion, an industry to which she is no stranger. Through past work as a stylist, and as the publisher of an online fashion zine, FashionFashion, her personal style and overall view emerged as a form of creative rebellion.

Last Thursday, October 4th, during the Dallas Contemporary’s Legendary fundraiser, Hardy presented an edgy unrunway show that took aim at the fashion industry.

The subjects of commercial advertising and the means by which women are marketed in major media were up for discussion as the audience was shown representations of common ideas in an alternative manner. Talking was encouraged as new opinions were formed.



To be sure, this was no typical fashion show. The artist mixed ready-made pieces with unusual objects and styling to create entirely new garments and looks.

A top was constructed of lace panties, a dress made out of bras. Little pink hair rollers were fastened with roses and ribbon onto a vintage tulle gown.



The models, all sporting a spray-tan-gone-wrong skin tone and sculptural wigs, walked the runway in increasingly awkward poses.



Their hands flew up to block the harsh lights and uncomfortable stares.



Some of these mad muses even hopped sideways down the runway, while others walked in slow motion like zombies.



In hindsight, the unreal affair conjures a screwed-up monster mash, eerie and strange. Somehow both utterly beautiful and strongly provocative, K8 Hardy’s cohesive presentation was a risky showing here in Dallas. Before a busy crowd of familiar faces, however, it proved to be a success. Our city will always respect the person with something to say.




K8 Hardy: September Issues runs through December 30th at the Dallas Contemporary.

All photos, credit Shayna Fontana


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