Inside the Art Nest of Kirk + David

%26ldquo;We don%26rsquo;t really want to be known as collectors,%26rdquo; Kirk Baxter says%26nbsp; about his stuffed-to-the-gills Montrose bungalow %26mdash; a residence that is part Wunderkammer, part ever-changing, continually expanding installation and always a madcap work in progress. (Horror vacui is a vast understatement.) Baxter wants visitors to understand that his and David Waller%26rsquo;s casa %26mdash;%26nbsp;which they share with a rabbit named Pepper %26mdash; is an ode more to rescuing wayward objects than to purchasing pristine finds in an antiques shop or blue-chip art from a white-box gallery. Waller shares that dealer/art doyenne Barbara Davis pronounced upon her first encounter, %26ldquo;There%26rsquo;s real magic here.%26rdquo; Peruse these pages to voyage inside a wondrous cabinet of curiosities crafted within the interior of a once unassuming domicile.

A 1930s Woodstock typewriter produced in Baxter%26rsquo;s hometown outside of Chicago. The vintage piece of office equipment, which also references the designer%26rsquo;s first summer job in that same typewriter factory, is now installed in his office in a separate space at the edge of the garden. (Woodstock%26rsquo;s most famous user was Alger Hiss; a Woodstock typewriter was at the center of the government%26rsquo;s case against Hiss.)

In the living room, a potty chair holds court with the art. Clockwise from top: acclaimed Austin talent Lance Letscher%26rsquo;s work on paper; a canvas by Marie Chagall (perhaps the sister of Marc, muses Baxter), acquired during a trip led by Houston gallerist Gus Kopriva to Lima, Peru; and a figurative painting by Navasota visionary artist Leon Collins.

In Baxter%26rsquo;s office, a sign acquired from a street artist in Manhattan signed Bokov, dated 1998. Below, a folk art find, circa 1940s. Hanging from the picture rail is the Enron sign, which Baxter designed for the corporation%26rsquo;s downtown Houston headquarters.

A found sign from the Poe Elementary School garage sale. (%26ldquo;Please don%26rsquo;t give away all our sources,%26rdquo; implores Waller.)

A vignette in the sunroom stars a 1980s canvas of a femme fatale by Tony Locastro, discovered curbside at Texas Junk. A sculpture by New York glass artist Hank Adams rests upon a Philip Johnson%26ndash;designed pedestal, circa 1950s.

Gary Retherford sculpture, circa 1990s. Retherford showed with his wife, Kathleen James, one of Houston%26rsquo;s major dealers in the 1980s and 1990s. The gallery shuttered when the couple moved to Arizona.

In a bedroom, art dominates. Front and center, one panel of a two-panel masterwork by outsider artist Robert Glover depicts a blacksmith.

Waller describes this, ahem, unique item as %26ldquo;a primitive potty chair with a vintage Mexican ceramic figure, gift of a friend.%26rdquo;

In the living room, an Alain Clement sculptural photograph (middle left) stands over a collection of art volumes. To its right, War of the Worlds puppet, 1937, once in the Enron art collection. Above, Jesus on the Cross by blind potter of Beaumont M.P.G.; below, Lance Letscher%26rsquo;s Crown of Thorns, circa 1980s; village of carved buildings depicting the town of Round Top, Texas.

In the bedroom, Haeger Potteries%26rsquo; figural bookends (foreground) contrast with mid-century abstract bronze bookends by Ben Seibel and a cardboard sculpture by Houston talent Charles Collette. On the back wall, a work on paper by international artist John Alexander predominates. (Alexander, a former UH professor, was the patriarch of %26ldquo;Fresh Paint: The Houston School.%26rdquo;)

Bedroom as gallery. From left: expansive canvas by Lance Letscher, 1990s; sculpture by Wes Hicks above a Richard Fluhr painting; lamp by a Brazilian designer; James Magee work on paper above a John Alexander creation.%26nbsp;%26nbsp;

In the bath, a vintage mannequin once modeled hosiery at downtown Foley%26rsquo;s. Wooden birds were scored at the Guild Shop.

A rare Alexander Calder manual on Animal Sketching for art students tops the stack of vintage titles.

An estate-sale discovery, Houston%26rsquo;s Neuhaus family, circa 1913.

Pepper, a rescued Holland rabbit, came from the SPCA.

Baxter%26rsquo;s mania for vintage Polaroids, late 1960s, is in evidence in the bedroom. %26ldquo;It was my first big purchase in life, $21 in 1967,%26rdquo; he recalls.

In the sunroom, a Howard Finster sculpture reigns over mid-century glass.

In the sunroom, Lubbock artist William Cannings%26rsquo; inflated metal sculpture offers homage to Andy Warhol; and a carnival toss from the 1940s.

A truly important find was the Thomas Glassford psycho-sexual sculpture employing gourds. Also in the bedroom: a Robert Motherwell lithograph to the left, and above, a Donald Roller Wilson work on paper.

Curated walls in the studio exhibit works by mostly Texas artists. From top: a geometric canvas by Scott Carothers, 1980s; Sleep by Max Standley; a Michael Collins work on paper.

The living room as art installation, featuring Lance Letscher%26rsquo;s pre-collage masterwork in lead Washing Jesus%26rsquo; Feet, 1980s; Eames Eiffel Tower chair; Houston artist%26rsquo;s Jeff DeLude%26rsquo;s The Visitors, 1981.%26nbsp;

In Baxter%26rsquo;s Dsignage office, a maquette for the Enron sign, which he designed (another artist designed the actual logo). Next to the infamous sign, a box holds a miniature Seattle Space Needle, one treasure from the graphic designer%26rsquo;s collection of little buildings.

Waller%26rsquo;s trove of antique potty chairs takes over a bathtub.

A table in the living room holds, from left: a glass sculpture by Hank Adams, Norwegian glass vase, 1930s photo on Masonite and a Murano glass flower.

The dining room%26rsquo;s display of mid-century Italian and Scandinavian glass is counterpoised by late Houston artist Frank Martin%26rsquo;s dramatic, large-scale skyline image of downtown Houston, circa 1980.


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