Last Tango

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Client: La Colombe D'or

Location: Houston, TX, United States

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Project Manager

Lea Weingarten

Weingarten Art Group

Project Manager

Ady Avivi

Weingarten Art Group

Artist representation and production management

Brian Greif

2:32 AM Projects

Overview

The mural “Last Tango” by the famed French artist Blek Le Rat features two dancers with golden doves flying overhead. The design embraces the classic imagery evocative of the sensibility of the historic La Colombe d’Or hotel in Houston with the charm and understated beauty of its inspiration – the region of Provence from the era of Picasso, Matisse, and Leger. This is balanced by the bold and contemporary approach of Blek le Rat in his now iconic street art style with figures boldly rendered in black and white and created using large-scale stencils. This is by far the artist’s largest ever mural at 45 ft tall.

Blek Le Rat was a trailblazer in European street art in the 1980s and 90s in Paris. Blek was one of the first to use stencils, often pulling imagery from iconic art history paintings – like Madonna and Child – to make sociopolitical statements. He now has a strong studio practice, though he continues producing street art.

Goals

The Residences of La Colombe d’Or was designed with a beautiful open canvas in the form of this large-scale street-facing stucco wall that demanded a timeless mural to both match the level of sophistication of the building’s design and also honor the site’s rich history.

Hines, the Zimmerman Family, and TIAA Global Asset Management commissioned “Last Tango” as a cornerstone for The Residences of La Colombe d’Or and hotel. Visual art is an integral feature throughout its interior, and the mural serves as a landmark public artwork for residents, guests, and the greater Houston community, as it is visible and accessible from the street.

The magic of street art is not only that it often appears overnight but that you come upon it unexpectedly. It’s enormously effective in grabbing your attention. Part of the intent here, in addition to personifying the ethos of La Colombe d’Or in a mural, was also to create a public landmark that would do the same for Houstonians driving down Montrose Boulevard. It can be read in an instant while driving down the street while also offers something more, in its grace and elegance, to guests who’ll be enjoying the plaza underneath it.

Process

Weingarten Art Group worked closely with Brian Greif of 2:32 AM Projects to manage this process. Weingarten Art Group managed the artist selection and oversaw the entire project and 2:32 AM Projects represented the artist and assisted with production.

The tango dancers were selected because they represented the grace of La Colombe d’Or's vision and design and because spray paint would make that vision feel even more relevant to a new generation of guests and residents.

The artist and assistants created the mural by attaching large scale stencils to the wall and spray-painting the figures. The mural took 4 days to complete.