Thedra Cullar-Ledford featured in “A Matter of Choice: Mastectomies Without Reconstruction”

By Erin Moriarty, CBS Sunday Morning on CBS, March 12, 2017

For women who’ve had mastectomies, what to do next is, increasingly, a matter of choice. And what some women are choosing to do may surprise you. Erin Moriarty of “48 Hours” takes a candid look.

Dr. Lisa asks artist Thedra Cullar-Ledford inappropriate questions in front of her teen-age son.

By Lisa Levy, Dr. Lisa Gives a Shit on Radio Free Brooklyn, January, 2017

Artist Thedra Cullar-Ledford is super out-there and fabulous as is her work, but I’ll bet she wasn’t prepared to elaborate on her sex life in front of her 15-year old son, Sage. Check out Thedra’s work and you’ll get a taste of why this mother/son relationship is not like the ones you see on TV.

Breast cancer support groups can provide significant help

By Kim Hogstrom, The Leader, October 8, 2016

Celebrated Heights artist Thedra Cullar-Ledford is not only a breast cancer survivor, but the challenge has motivated her remarkable artwork. Some of her conceptual art is funny, some is angry, but most of it is about being a woman which includes strong statements about “women’s boobs, both having them and losing them,” she states.

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Breasts on display in ‘Lady Part Follies’

By Britni Riley, Texas Medical Center News, September 29, 2016

Breasts. Several shapes, sizes and colors are on display in Lady Part Follies at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Thedra Cullar-Ledford’s mixed media works examine this touchstone of female beauty, leading viewers on her personal journey through anger, vanity and new-found freedom.

In 2013, Cullar-Ledford was ready to donate a kidney to a dear friend when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Doctors at Houston Methodist Hospital performed a double mastectomy and removed all of the cancer.

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Show of force: CAMH spotlights hometown trio in solo retrospectives: Contemporary Arts Museum Houston spotlights hometown trio in solo retrospectives

By Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle, August 26, 2016

The curators call it the “whiplash effect.”

“Right Here, Right Now: Houston, Volume 2” is a trio of smallish mini-retrospectives by artists who appear to have little in common aside from being strong, mature Houstonians. Because the three shows are displayed equitably, visitors entering the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston quickly face a decision: Where to start?

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Three Powerful Women Rebels are Spotlighted in Houston, Proving Hometown Talent Rules

by Catherine D. Anspon, Paper City Magazine, August 15, 2016

As part of an increasing emphasis on hometown talent, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston follows up on 2014’s well-received solos for Debra Barrera, Nathaniel Donnett and Carrie Marie Schneider in “Right Here, Right Now” and the mammoth survey of Mark Flood’s painting practice and film-making (anti)prowess. Late summer, CAMH is rolling out the second iteration of “Right Here, Right Now,” an aptly titled triple play presenting three single-person exhibitions in the museum’s expansive first-floor Brown Foundation Gallery (no longer are Houston artists relegated to the basement).

Each of the curators — museum staff director Bill Arning, senior curator Valerie Cassel Oliver and curator Dean Daderko — homes in on one artist — and this fall, they are all female. (Guerrilla Girls will be pleased.)

Arning organizes a sprawling exhibition for Thedra Cullar-Ledford, the Oxford-educated Texas-born painter/performer/breast cancer survivor/feminist known as much for her brash, warm personality as for being a den mother at the Independence Heights Studios (co-owned with her husband, artist Stephen Cullar-Ledford), where pot-luck suppers, unscripted salon dialogues and poetry readings happen around a fire pit. Watch for Cullar-Ledford’s brazen take on Barbie dolls and breast cancer.

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Up Close: Houston Loves Eccentrics

by Bill Arning, Art in America, May 1, 2016

I arrived in Texas in 2009 to direct the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston after a lifetime on the East Coast, and the first lesson I learned was that Houston loves eccentrics. It is, in fact, something of a tradition and likely why I have been able to thrive as a museum director here.

I’ve found Houston to be a progressive and intellectual city—a bright blue dot in a massive field of red. We have had an arts-friendly, out-lesbian mayor for the last six years. There are more artists’ talks, lectures, performances, film screenings, and concerts than one could ever attend. This makes it easy to forget the regressive elements of the political machine working against equality and sanity in the state. But despite the truly heinous political realities—especially around guns and reproductive rights—there is broad bipartisan support for the arts. Even the conservative community brags about the city’s openness to controversial art.

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Women embrace being ‘Flat and Fabulous’

By Kim Hogstrom, The Leader, October 13, 2015

“Flat and Fabulous has been wonderful and empowering,” said celebrated Heights artist and married mom of two, Thedra Cullar-Ledford who was diagnosed at 43. “I have many friends across the world now, and so much support from them. We laugh and cry together. I may still be adjusting, but I have never felt less feminine without my breasts, not even for one second.”

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Powerful Babies

25 Sep 2015 — 3 Apr 2016 at Spritmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden

Wall Street International, September 7, 2015

Powerful Babies: Keith Haring’s Impact on Artists Today brings together a diverse group of contemporary artists from across the United States and Northern Europe to celebrate the legacy of Keith Haring on the 25th anniversary of the artist’s death. Curated by Bill Arning, Director of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Rick Herron, New York-based independent curator, the exhibition reconsiders Haring’s career and achievements through new commissions, recent work, performances and events to highlight the ubiquitous influence Haring has had on contemporary artists working today.

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Thedra Cullar-Ledford: Drawing the Eye to Nothingness

by Olivia Flores Alvarez, Houston Press, April 23, 2015

Technically, “Thedra Cullar-Ledford: Drawing the Eye to Nothingness” is an art exhibit. Actually, it’s more of a visual intervention-slash-street brawl-slash-party. With a mammogram truck and nipple cupcakes thrown in for good measure. In just 12 short months, Cullar-Ledford (the street brawler) found out she had breast cancer and had her breasts removed. (Actually, breasts remind Cullar-Ledford of chickens, so she uses the term boobs.) She started and then stopped reconstruction surgery, and became an outspoken advocate for Flat and Fabulous, a group supporting reconstruction alternatives. All the while she produced an enormous amount of artwork focusing on boobs (nipples, in particular).

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Boobs, Breasts and Tits: Socially Conscious Cancer Survivor Fights Back With Body, Mind and Art

by Susie Tommaney, Houston Press, April 6, 2015

Upon receiving a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer, as 1 of every 8 women in the United States will, it is natural to want to fight the disease with every arsenal in the medical toolbox. Thedra Cullar-Ledford, in her Drawing the Eye to Nothingness exhibit at G Gallery, has launched a full-scale attack against what she refers to as tit cancer, but her weapons of choice are her body, her mind and her creativity.

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Thedra Cullar-Ledford: Perfect, With or Without a Bra

by Richardine Bartee,, November 13, 2014

“Cancer is a cunt.”
At the end of September, I interviewed my former college instructor. I know they say you’re not supposed to express “favouritism” but Thedra was my favourite college professor and I was one of her favourite students in New York City, and perhaps, that’s why I’ve had such a hard time putting this piece together.

I’ll tell you why.

The valuable and undated lessons I’ve learned from Thedra during courses in Fundamentals of Design and Colour Theory are what helped me to understand the importance of composition within the realms of design and communication, the importance of visual perceptual properties: tones, hues and shades, and how each hue affects the human brain, emotionally. In a roundabout way, I believe it is why GrungeCake looks the way it does now.

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Artists, developers create niche for studios: Studio landlords seek to fill needs, sometimes with off-beat properties

By Lindsay Peyton, Houston Chronicle, December 31, 2012

Houston has no shortage of working artists, and providing studio space for them has proven to be successful business ventures for a few visionaries, among them some artists who needed supplemental income and a developer with a soft spot for the arts.
The business model is not new, said Jon Deal, owner of the Deal Company Developments and Investments.
“Art studios have been around in Houston forever,” Deal said. “They generally were just more underground.”

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REVIEW; Courtly Bow to Tradition And Those Who Revere It

By Ken Johnson, The New York Times, April 10, 1998

“The academy’s 173d Annual Exhibition, which was open this year to nonmembers, as it is every other year, steers safely away from anything too novel. Sixteen jurors picked 180 works from 2,000 entries, a collection of almost suffocating familiarity. Only one piece really departs from tradition, a sculpture by Thedra Cullar-Ledford consisting of a cubic assemblage of paperback books capped by a slab of concrete. Called ”5,000 Trashy Romance Novels,” it looks as if someone delivered it to the wrong museum.”

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