Troy Montes Michie, America is Woven of Many Threads #1, 2019. Graphite, colored pencil, grease pencil, and polyester thread on magazine paper, 11 x 18 inches. Courtesy of Jeffrey Lee.

Image caption: Troy Montes Michie, America is Woven of Many Threads #1, 2019. Graphite, colored pencil, grease pencil, and polyester thread on magazine paper, 11 x 18 inches. Courtesy of Jeffrey Lee.

Past Exhibition

Troy Montes Michie: Rock of Eye

September 23, 2022 - January 29, 2023
Nina and Michael Zilkha Gallery


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, the El Paso-born artist’s first museum solo exhibition, brings together collages, drawings, sculptures, and installations that draw the contours of body and place, and is heavily informed by his experience growing up along the United States and Mexico border. The exhibition combines Montes Michie’s previous collages and assemblages that center magazine images of the Black male body with sculptural works that trace the social history 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.

CAMH’s presentation of the exhibition will feature a new addition: a 2022 collage piece that spans forty feet in length titled Was the Beautiful Woman in the Mirror of the Water You or Me?. The work stitches together disparate elements including catalogue pages, wire hangers, garment bags, and articles of clothing, all of which are overlaid with images of women donning zoot suits. This monumental piece is an ode to the Chicana matriarchs and blends the artist’s tailoring and collage skills.

Montes Michie subverts dominant narratives and investigates the ways in which bodies of marginalized communities are frequently erased, fetishized, idealized, and criminalized. With Rock of Eye, Montes Michie’s stitches suture histories and geographies; they establish thresholds for crossing. His needle hits rock.


Troy Montes Michie: Rock of Eye is a collaboration between the Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought and California African American Museum (CAAM). The exhibition is curated by Andrea Andersson, Rivers Institute Founding Director & Chief Curator; with Jordan Amirkhani, Curator, Rivers Institute; and Taylor Renee Aldridge, Visual Arts Curator & Program Manager, CAAM. Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH)’s presentation is coordinated by Patricia Restrepo, Assistant Curator.


Troy Montes Michie: Rock of Eye has been made possible by the patrons, benefactors and donors to CAMH’s Major Exhibition Fund: Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Sissy and Denny Kempner, MD Anderson Foundation, Rea Charitable Trust, Louisa Stude Sarofim, The Sarofim Foundation, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. CAMH’s presentation of Troy Montes Michie: Rock of Eye is supported by a generous grant from Company Gallery, New York.

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is funded in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.

Houstonia Magazine is the exclusive media sponsor of CAMH’s presentation of Troy Montes Michie: Rock of Eye.

Rivers Institute extends particular thanks for the support of the Edith and Bernard Stolbun Family Foundation.

Extended Media



Exhibition labels are available in English and Spanish.