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CADD's 1st Street Vernissage
— The Unvarnished Truth

Part Two — Continued from Part One

Front Stairs - cpry

Front Stairs at 333

A carpeted elevator didn't seem worth waiting for, up or down. It reminded some of the one at 3200 Main Street when Conduit was upstairs. That elevator had a warmer decor, a comfy couch and the soft floor. Not much soft about this front steel stairway, but the enclosure with all those angled lines and differing textures, White On White (a continuing theme here) with its short strip of warning yellow-orange made it elegant, if slightly strenuous (something about step height). I saw several people strain to get up it, as did I, and down. I chose this lady because she was there, and her on-black polka dots went well with the monochromaticism.

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White On White - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White On White with Black

More White On White opened my eyes to other, more subtle textures and living art in the people and wrinkles all around. Dark shapes silhouette, identities hidden. Counting legs and dividing by two equals one more person than I expected in this unposed art, no smiles group photo.

Flowers - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Flowers

Despite the cool, fenced-in security outside, the inside of 333 First Street was warm, elegant and friendly. The supposedly invitation-only crowd, many of whom must have paid $40 to be here, was also. Since I'd got comped, I felt honor-bound to report details.

I was sitting in the aforementioned white frame couch eating my second glass of ice when I noticed the bamboo vases and flowers, in the middle of the fair and the hall and the common area along the gallery spaces. Something about its anciently traditional spareness sets off this supposedly contemporary affair.

White On White - The Guys

White On White with Wavy - The Guys

I hoped the wavy shirt right would be brighter in this scene of white and white on white and wavy wrinkled long-sleeved shirts. Isn't it late in the season for long sleeves? Or do we have to wait till June?

Karen Erxleben Weiner, Rick Brittell & Somebody - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Karen Erxleben and Richard Brettell and

Almost a Stand & Grin, although nobody's smiling, and it just happened. All looking serious and likely discussing serious topics. I've always been sorry Brettell did not continue as Director of our ultra-Conservative Dallas Museum of Art. His bright wit and depth of art wisdom might have brought that archaic institution into the realm of at least the last century, if not all the way in to contemporary contemporary. If you've never heard him lecture about the Impressionists, you owe yourself a treat. I've photographed him many times. He hardly notices anymore.

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Hand - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Hand - Connie Rees, Christina Rees' mother

I'm a sucker for photographing hands, usually in the singular. The glove fits this category as well. The trouble in essentially low light situations is that hands tend to move, gesticulate and swirl, rendering them sometimes unrecognizable. Seldom are they seen in such gentle detail. I like that this hand and watched wrist are sharp, the striped sweater, hair, space all around and background soft.

Janet Kutner & 2 Guys - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Former Dallas Morning News art critic (There isn't one anymore.)
Janet Kutner with husband Jon and Burt Finger of PDND

I assume the man with his hand on Janet's shoulder is her husband. When I pointed my camera, she brightened, and this is the fourth or fifth shot into the quick series. By far the best. Bright, happy smile and the informal sort of composition Degas formalized more than a century ago, rich with dimension, informal shapes and Larry in the background.

White On White - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White On White With Stripes

Yup. White On White With Stripes And Black & White Purse and a Guy in White Collar and Black Suit. Even most of the art seems white, which must be The New Black. Decades ago, absorbed into the aesthetics of dense color, textures and wrinkling shadows in fabric, I started another series of the backs of people's shirts, of which these more contemporary shots are an extension.

Pink - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Marty Walker speaks to collectors Nancy and Rick Rome.
The man in background is collector Leland Burk.

Tom Orr, Waterfall H, 2004
screenprint and paint marker on paper
37 x 24 inches
Frances Bagley, Trophy, 2007
orange drapery and Styrofoam
68 x 24 x 18 inches

The orange-pink draped, Borzoid sculpture object is Frances Bagley's. Next to it, framed in white a pirnt of one of his optically illusional sculptures by husband Tom Orr, both of whom were in attendance, as were many Dallas artists, exhibited or not. I wondered whether Marty's top was white or reflected pink/orange. (It's pink.) Both men are wearing long-sleeved white, wrinkly and smooth. Slivered between them in the photograph is a woman in vivid red. Interesting mix of colors to ponder now. Then, I just shot.

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White With Slinky - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Silver With Slinky

Not sure how contemporary is this concept, but much of the glossy fashion during The Varnishing seemed intriguing, with folds and shadows and shimmers, though perhaps not really right-now contemporary. Not that I'd know, as anyone who's observed my fashion choices could attest. Note the short spectrum from the snippet of orange (a sleeve?) upper left, through yellow brown jacket, beige dress, an homogeny of skin colors, white shirt against the ever-present black. Then, finally, top and bottom right, the hints of dark blue.

White With Imagine - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

White On White with Goss' Imagine Book

I wanted one of Goss' Imagine books but could not have balanced it and camera while shooting, then forgot when I left. Everyone who attended the Vernissage got a LFT — Life Fashion Terminal-branded green "goodie bag" upon departure. In it were:

Man with Drinks - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Man With Drinks - architect and artist Steven Bourn

Art critic Charissa Teranova, ever bouncing among competing economic theories, tells us there definitely is "good and bad art."

Outgoing DMA Director Jack Lane talks about "the ghetto of contemporary art that artists do not want to see themselves in," while reminding us that Dallas is "one of the great cities on the planet for collecting contemporary art."

Claude Albritton, owner of the building that houses The MAC, who is labeled on screen as its "Founder" — which is not entirely true; The Mckinney Avenue Contemporary started with DARE's nonprofit status and DARE had its own founders — rambles about contemporary art.

As does Richard Brettell, who says, "It would be great if art were sold in shopping centers," forgetting that it often is. He likens the experience to consumers figuring out what movies to buy and clothes to wear by regular experience with those products, suggesting mall art would lead to us "trusting our own taste."

Finally, lending the notion that this video was produced for The Contemporary, Dallas Center for Contemporary Art Director Joan Davidow finishes up saying, "Contemporary art is about thinking" and "pretty pictures are in the past."

Nancy Whitenack - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Conduit's Nancy Whitenack

Also in the bag:

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Yellow Taxi - photograph prominent

Yellow Taxi Purse

Would have been fascinating to sit in on the gallery meetings deciding what to show here. So much to choose from. So compressed a space. How to set the character and each gallery's space apart in such close company where usually are miles between.

I'd thought I should pay the ten bucks to go back for the fair and study their selections and get I.Ds for the ones I shot, but we had more pressing matters, and I did most of my tracking with email and attached images.

Studying Sculpture - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Studying Studiers Studying Sculpture

When I first read about CADD on a blog well before the official announcements, I wondered why we needed another dealers association. But DADA has lately been taking in anyone, forgetting their two-year waiting period for new members, and letting their standards slide.

According to CADD's mission statement in the art guide, "Member galleries are committed to represent the highest standards of contemporary art, while recognizing the importance of integrity and responsibility in working with artists, collectors, museum professionals and the cultural community of Dallas."

Nice that artists rank both first and middle mentions in that list. Be interesting to watch implementation.

Pomara - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

John Pomara Smiles One of Those Smiles

I still wonder what exactly makes art contemporary, if it is not about when it was created. Right now is contemporary. Anything else is history. Is art made last year still contemporary? How can it be? Now is now and then was then. Contemporary with what? What about art made in the waning moments of last century? How long can this keep going on?

The guy (on the CD) talking about "our artistic legacy in contemporary art" lost his grip on time. We can't call today and tomorrow's art by any specific movement yet, because agreeing on a name for those things takes decades. But when we get to "looking back at legacies," it won't be contemporary art anymore. It'll be what's left. Same as all the other old art.

Modern isn't modern or even Post-Modern any more. How long can Contemporary last?

Wine Glass Video - Copyright 2007 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in Any Medium Without Specific Written Permission.

Two Guys at And/Or

DVD video projected: Blood Fantasy, 2007
John Michael Boling and Javier Morales (New York)

 

Continued from Part One

Return to Home.

See also The Contempoarary? Which Contemporary?

I've made little attempt to identify all the people pictured on this page. I'll be lucky if I can I.D most of the art. If anyone knows missing titles or names of humans prominent in these photographs, I'll match them up. No way I can I.D everybody in crowd scenes.

Special thanks to And/Or, Valley House, PanAmerican Projects, Gerald Peters, Marty Walker, Craighead Green, Conduit, Road Agent and Holly Johnson galleries for caption information and to CADD for the comp.  —J R Compton

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