Loy Bowlin (1909–1995) gained notoriety in his hometown of McComb, Mississippi, as the self-proclaimed “Original Rhinestone Cowboy.” In the late seventies, Bowlin started transforming his small home into a fitting backdrop for this illustrious persona; it became “The Beautiful Holy Jewel Home: The Home of the Original Rhinestone Cowboy.” After Bowlin’s death in 1995, the home was scheduled to be razed, but luckily, a Houston artist and collector by the name of Katy Emde purchased the house, carefully documenting and dismantling it before it could be destroyed. Through the assistance of the Kohler Foundation, Inc., Loy Bowlin’s art environment found a permanent home at the Arts Center.
The preservation of art environments is a complex undertaking, and usually occurs behind closed doors in conservation labs. For the first time, and throughout the entirety of 2016, the Arts Center is offering visitors unprecedented opportunities to observe, in real time, the processes involved in the preservation and presentation of an art environment.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.