K8 Hardy's work is truly original.

In the shadow of the city?s museum titan, the Dallas Contemporary has a low profile.

But after enjoying its recent spate of spectacular exhibitions, we can?t help but gush.

Here, a few reasons to add it to your personal art-walk rotation:

Emerging artists Since opening in the late ?70s, the free institution on the outskirts of the Design District has been dedicated to raising the profiles of up-and-coming artists. In fact, the museum is so serious about new talent that it shirks having a permanent collection. Instead, it?s devoted to showcasing emerging artists, such as Fort Worth native K8 Hardy, who parodies our status-obsessed society through outlandish installations like a ceramic assemblage of faux handbags.

Mixed media Painterly exhibitions are all well and good, but the Dallas Contemporary advances the art cause with wildly diverse mediums and treatments. We?re digging the current show, which features the work of Belgian fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck.

Downtown soirees With five galleries available to rent and a convenient setting adjacent to the city center, this space is just waiting to host our next big party. Email events@dallascontemporary.org for reservation info.

Dallas Contemporary, 161 Glass St.; 214-821-2522 or dallascontemporary.org

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