Troy Montes Michie: Rock of Eye
September 22, 2022–January 29, 2023

at Contemporary Arts Museum-Houston

Image collage from the print publication, Troy Montes-Michie: Rock of Eye (October 2021), edited by Andrea Andersson and Lisa Pearson, and co-imprinted by Siglio Press, Rivers Institute, and California African American Museum (CAAM). Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Siglio Press.

To tailor a garment by “rock of eye” is to rely on the drape in the fitting process—that is, to rely on experience over mathematical measurement. Draping is a kind of drawing in space: a freehand, an intuition, a trust of materials. Troy Montes Michie: Rock of Eye, an early-career survey, collects his collages, drawings, and sculptures to draw the contours of body and place. The exhibition begins with, and departs from, his past assemblages and collages that center magazine images of the Black male body and trace the social history and form of the zoot suit, a garment at the center of the 1943 attacks primarily on Mexican American, African American, and Filipino American youth in Los Angeles known as the Zoot Suit Riots. Montes Michie was born in El Paso, Texas, and his practice reflects his experience growing up along the United States and Mexico border. His works are studies in ambiguity between portraiture and landscape. His are the cuts and folds of patterning and mapping. With Rock of Eye, Montes Michie’s stitches suture histories and geographies; they establish thresholds for crossing. His needle hits rock.

Rock of Eye is the second exhibition organized by Rivers in collaboration with the California African American Museum and is generously supported by The Edith & Bernard Stolbun Family Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Exhibition Views

Publications & Conversations

Reviews and Press
“The Elasticity of Line: Troy Montes Michie’s “Rock of Eye”“
By Rosa Boshier González

January 9, 2023

“15 LGBTQ Art Shows That Are Spicing Up Global Museums This Fall”
NBC News
October 4, 2022

“Zoot suits inspired an El Paso artist’s garment sculptures, collages in new CAMH exhibit”
By Amber Eliott

Houston Chronicle
September 29, 2022

“Collage as a Strategy of Cultural Collision”
By Adam Lee
July 25, 2022

“From El Paso to Harlem: Troy Montes-Michie explores the subversive history of the Zoot Suit”
By Monique Long

Document Journal
July 21, 2022

“Your Concise Los Angeles Guide for April 2022”
By Caroline Ellen Liou
March 29, 2022

“Fugitive Practice: Troy Montes-Michie: Rock of Eye”
By Sharon Mizota

Bomb Magazine
March 16, 2022

“Zoot Suits, Border Towns, and Collage Works: A Conversation with Troy Montes-Michie”
Interview with Troy Montes-Michie and Jeff Martin

Museum Confidential for Public Radio Tulsa
Aired March 11, 2022

“Book of the Week: Troy Montes-Michie: Rock of Eye”
By Laura Larson

Photo-Eye Blog
February 21, 2022

“At California African American Museum, Troy Montes-Michie Offers Up Meditative Collages That Mine Histories of Violence”
By Alex Greenberger
Published February 16, 2022

“Troy Montes-Michie’s Rock of Eye
By Megan N. Liberty

The Brooklyn Rail
Published February 4, 2022

“Troy Montes-Michie: A Selection of Artworks from Rock of Eye”
Published January 15, 2022

“The Beholder”
By Rasheeda Saka

Alta Journal (Online)
Published December 20, 2021