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We didn't exactly follow the map for our tour of what we thought of as this year's DADA Art so-called Walk today, we wandered. I had a list I made from the DallasArtsRevue calendar — places I've been needing to try out, figure out or whatever — I don't even remember if they said they were open today, but we set out, piecing our art geography together, but not always geographically sane.
Our best moments included
Panel 1 Smiles for a Camera - Enrique Cervantes, Joan Davidow,
Steve Carter, Dorothy Kosinski and Missy Finger
I started the day with the Dallas Art Dealer Association-sponsored Art Panels at the Bath House Culture Center on my favorite lake. The 10:30 AM panel, For Artists - How to solicit a gallery, museum or nonprofit art space with panelists Dorothy Kosinski, Dallas Museum of Art; Enrique Cervantes, Bath House Cultural Center; Missy Finger, Photographs Do Not Bend Gallery; and Joan Davidow, Dallas Contemporary. Moderator Steve Carter, Modern Luxury Dallas, drew an amazing 88 artists.
Nobody was ready for that many people. Truly Standing Room Only in the gallery of photographs in Forgotten War, about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, far from the minds of these artists eager to learn. Lots of trouble with the amplifier. People couldn't always hear. But they crammed in, hoping to learn how to get their work shown, known and maybe sold.
88 Artists crammed into the main gallery at the Bathhouse
for the panel discussion of For Artists -
How to solicit a gallery, museum or nonprofit art space. The only empty chair is mine.
This rehash will be mercifully shorter than the original. Artists always want to know how to get into a gallery, museum or nonprofit art space. Moderator asks, Missy Finger of PDNB answers that only 1% of artists who show their work get in. Contemporary Director Joan Davidow quintupled that, saying 5%.
With 88 artists in attendance, if they all sent their slides or CDs (Joan, who may still be computer illiterate, insists on slides; Missy prefers CDs.) Missy might choose one (.88 person) to develop a professional relationship with (if all 88 were photographers, of course). Joan would take 4.4, but I can't see that happening. Maybe if they were from Austin or Austria.
Missy doesn't like cold calls or mailings from people who've never bothered to visit, finds photographers to show in Dallas at Houston's annual FotoFest, meaning Dallas photogs haven't a prayer unless they get a show there. The DMA's Dorothy Kosinski said that at the museum, she was known as the specialist in "dead White men," a particularly offensive and insensitive statement in a culturally diverse crowd, none of whom would qualify.
Members of the Audience Meet, Greet and Ask
After the First Panel - Joan Davidow in white, sliver of Steve Carter, far right
Which leaves Enrique as the only hope anyone here has. He is a great hope. The Bath House shows many local artists, and it sponsors competitive exhibitions, introducing dozens of artists every year. (Joan says she visits all local art competitions.)
Particularly apt that DADA chose the Bath House for thee panels, since it is the best chance a Dallas artist has of getting their work seen. They even sometimes sell pieces. Except for the mumbo-jumbo of how to be a professional artist and submit your slides, etc., much of which could probably be learned better from books, the panel was minimally effective, though it seems to have inspired hope. Or not seriously dampened it. We probably should all drop by the Bath House to talk with Enrique, show him our work.
Enrique and Joan startled by responding to most questions with eloquent, quick answers that shared information, instead of obfuscating it. I'm learning that many people on panels behave in much the same way as do people on nonprofit boards of directors.
At another point Enrique elucidated the Artist's Statement question. He said there were two kinds of art appreciators, those who look at the work and get it or not and go away thinking about it. And those who need more information. An artist statement or bio nearby helps the second class of citizens. I renewed my plan to cook my bio down to one page, including only the fun bits.
If you want to show your work in Dallas, go to the Bath House. If you want to show your work in a Dallas gallery, follow the advice of the owner of the Angstrom sometimes-gallery here, who was not on the panel: Make friends with someone who is already showing at a gallery. Cold, hard networking. He did not add that if you want your work in a museum, become world-famous, White and dead.
A Sliver of Lisa Taylor's face, Bob Schutze, Jeanne
Chvosta, Kevin Vogel, Rufino Jimenez and James Ard
I was paneled out by Panel II, which drew 22 people that early afternoon when we should have been out looking at art.
That panel was advertised as For Art Buyers: How to start and maintain a fine art collection — The Basics: Framing, lighting, conserving,etc. With panelists Bob Schutze, Beaux Art Gallery; James Ard, Ard-Knox Insurance, Inc.; Rufino Jimenez, Centerline Art Handling; and Jeanne Lil Chvosta, The Rachofsky House. Moderator Kevin Vogel, Valley House Gallery.
Main Street Contemporary Clock
The bold print is how I always thought of it. For collectors only. At the first panel, however, Lisa repeatedly announced that it was for everyone who wants to conserve their art, a last-minute redirection that seemed a change-up to attract more attendees. It didn't work. I paid for the first panel, then they let me in for the second one free. If more people knew that, they might have returned for a second panel.
But two panels is one day is at least one too many.
Like some of the first panel, second panel panelists answered questions with what they wanted to talk about, which was what they do during when they're getting paid, not what the questions or the panel were about, although many of the questions were on target. Moderators tend to act like shy inquisitors. They rarely moderate.
We learned what panelists do and some of the ins and outs of their work. I hadn't heard much about the basics of conservation when my mind started wandering off. What I remember most was Kevin Vogel introducing Jeanne as "the most attractive person on the panel." Lil seemed startled but thanked him for the compliment. What he said might not be offensive to a male heterosexual, but to others... I thought we got past that decades ago.
That second panel may have eventually wound around to the
advertised point but I was too weary of words by then and wandered away.
I drove home, uploaded my pictures and some notes, scribbled a list of places I wanted to visit today, met up with Anna, and we began our circumnavigatory tour of DADA and Beyond, starting with beyond.
Shooting Through My Shadow in What's Left
of Main Contemporary's Front Window
The DallasArtsRevue Calendar had (till today) listed a show continuing at Main Contemporary downtown. With the aid of a friendly concierge across the street, we tracked it down to this building. Nearly empty, at 1217 Main Street. No signage, no art, a placard facing the wall.
The Awning on the Building at 2933 Main Street
On our second stop, we began to warm to the notion of nothing being where we wanted it to be, including us. We were looking for the Annual Best of the Eye Candy show at 2933 Commerce, in one of the county's few art spaces that was not a member of the ever-expanding DADA. This decrepit building at 2933 Main Street is where we stopped and took pictures. We thought we were on Commerce, so we missed the Eye Candy, if it was even open. No reason to believe it were, us wandering around lost on very familiar streets.
Kettle Gallery Front Window
We found Kettle easily. Been there before, always enjoy the experience. Interesting art and good art and strange, strange art is a happy mix in a big airy space, and Deep Elm parking was easy in early afternoon. At the all-women's show called Another Little Piece of My Art, we found several pieces to enjoy and wonder about.
Erica Felicella - Corporate Static
Erica Felicella's photographs varied in subject and technique but united in quality, confusion and mirth. We used this small jpeg to promote the DADA panels, but it fits the diversity here well. Erica's large lilting color image of a rooftop party with downtown beyond, rendered as scraps and snippets of paper-like shapes was impossible to photograph with all its reflections or it might be here, too.
Lisa Lindholm - Something About It - $550
But what we especially enjoyed at Kettle were Lisa Lindholm's people studies, often with birds. Another, slightly more aggressively female-assertive painting — showing a woman in a short dress pulling it down in front (to hide, not expose) — in the front window insisted on reflecting white cars across the street. Show curated by Havi Frost was a wild mix of harsh and gentle images.
Deepest Elm Reflected in Barry Whistler's Window
DallasArtsRevue Photograph by Anna Palmer
Next stop was Barry Whistler. I'd read they'd done some reshaping inside and was shocked to find their large deep space on the right now significantly shallower, more like an ordinary room, although taller. I'd learned to love that usually minimized space scattered with minimal art.
Great feeling of depth and space now seriously shortened to make more office and client space behind. The reception area is more accommodating, more practical; it was always such an unlikely space, like it was just tacked in. Now it looks official. I'm sure they see it all as improvement, but I already miss the spatial depth.
Road Agent Installing the Show
Immediately next door, Road Agent was installing work for their opening, apparently tonight, during the Deep Elm openings, if that relationship even exists, if there even were Deep Elm openings. We did not attend this time. Last time, it was better organized and better promoted.
The Deep Ellum Enrichment Project sends out gobs of garish promotion in an almost every-day onslaught, promoting the music and food and oh, yeah, the art in the area, promising a gallery walk featuring:
"Over 20 galleries, most within walking distance, will showcase African, Modern, Abstract, European, Low Brow, photography, sculpture and more. Art featured in Deep Ellum's galleries range from $100.00 to $5,000.00."
A Crack in Road Agent's Wall — and a
fissure among Dallas Art Dealers (DAD)
But they only finally announced the date two days before the event, then named and numbered ten galleries, some of which are not in Deep Elm, on a tiny, nearly illegible map, then the night before finally added 14 more "venues w/ Art" without addresses or map numbers — the night before. "Enriching a community by bringing it together." Uh-huh. Looks like they spend more time on the annoying, amateur, flashing ad-jumping email barrage than organizing. Art is a nearly forgotten stepsistly ugler.
So I'm wondering whether DEEP actually organized anything or, if maybe just the galleries did. Hard to imagine intelligent gallerists giving the deep bozos any time at all. Frank Campagna of Kettle has a much higher opinion of what he calls
"passionate unpaid folks who care about Deep Ellum. Granted they may be disorganized or [not] know much about art, but their intentions are pure. Their Gallery Walk had been in the works for months only to be blindsided last week w/ the last minute notification of the September 19 deadline for nightclub Special Use Permits. ... btw - The Art Walk they produced was a major success and I agree the e-mails are garish but what do you want from a group of volunteers?"
Conduit Shuttered Tight
We were startled to discover Conduit Gallery closed and shuttered tight. Sat there in the car in quiet awe till I shot this. Wow. Big change in the world of Dallas Art Dealers. Must be a deep and troubling rift when important commercial galleries won't even take advantage of a free (for them, since they're not paying their DADA dues any more), highly publicized "gallery walk" many assume they're on and expect to visit, like we did and did not today. A blatant statement. No smiles.
Several artists we talked with expressed concern DADA might be imploding. Holly Johnson, I'm told (by someone who knows first-hand), started it. Many followed, are following, will follow.
New White Socialite DADA map / brochure
Gerald Peters (moving soon to a Dragon Street near you), Barry Whistler, Conduit, Dunn & Brown, Holly Johnson, Marty Walker, Road Agent, Mulcahy Modern and probably others I haven't snapped to yet, are not listed on the new, blue, kinky-haired White woman looking up, DADA brochure, that DADA Executive Director Lisa Taylor insisted at this morning's panel is complete and correct.
When I asked her about it a couple days later, she listed only four of the above as defectors, claiming she did not know why they left; I should ask them. I persisted and she resisted, did not wish to be quoted.
Barry Whistler and others in Deep Elm were open that day. Others opened the night of the DADA "walk" that few would be willing to walk all the way of. Eventually, soon maybe, most of the galleries will be in the Dragon Street Area the kinky blue brochure calls the Design District, and we will have genuine walkable walks, but the DADA Art Walk never has been one.
Or maybe they could hire a tram like The Cedars Tour uses.
Darryl Lauster - Haiti's Ark, 2007
cedar, gumwood, hickory, stoneware, cotton, steel, brass, polychrome
46 x 34 x 14 inches - at Barry Whistler Gallery
DallasArtsRevue Photograph by Anna Palmer
Finding any gallery in the five-fold folder is difficult, because they are listed, not alphabetically, but by area. Perhaps that's a strategy to create confusion after the defection of so many former DADA galleries, many of whom have jumped ship to the new Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas (CADD), although personally, I'd rather be a DAD than a CADD.
Although their next space is a half-inch off the left edge of the new blue map, the Dallas Contemporary is listed, as are The MAC, The MADI, the Latino, Ice House and Bath House Culture Centers, the Arlington Museum of Art, the Gallery at UTA and the Irving Arts Center — several of which are not in Dallas and not a single one of which are Art Dealers and all of which probably belong in some other Association.
Which is another likely reason for defections from DADA which isn't even DAD anymore. Just another A.
Dragon Street Scene with UNT Students handing out flyers,
Dog-walker and ArtiZen's band under the canopy across the street
Craighead Green is in both. So is Valley House, PanAmerican-whatever, Goss — now The Goss Michael Foundation. Who could ever keep up with all their names, renames and respaces? Norman Kary and I talked recently in a gallery that belongs to both orgs and decided to revive the photo-based series we did in DallasArtsRevue on paper a decade and more ago online soon: Dead Dallas Galleries always needs updating.
I never thought to ask before today's oddly-truncated tour, but some of my gripes about DADA are that they lately accept any entity with claims to gallery-hood, even if it's in somebody's garage with their studio stuck between exhibition rooms. They no longer have a two-year waiting period to see if the noisy young pups make it that long or meet any ethical standards. You'd think selling art would be an essential for belonging to a dealer's association.
The Best Thing About Studio 2600
A place we will probably not return — unless we need a colorful bauble for a quick gift — was our next stop Studio 2600. They've sent such a steady barrage of email promo for work by artists I've mostly never heard of, I didn't know what to expect, but wanted to check them out, because I hadn't, yet. We knew soon as we stopped in front that we didn't want to go in, but we did.
It's a kitschy gift shop, not a gallery, and there is a difference. Some of its objects d'art are nice, but they're crammed together with so much color blaring it's difficult to see any one item. I looked up to escape the visual noise and found this lovely lamp glowing from the comparative simplicity of the ceiling and just stood there and watched it while waiting for Anna to complete her tour.
Maybe that's what the kinky haired woman was looking up at. I can't imagine why the 2600 is not in DADA and in the DADA brochure. Everybody else is. Except some of the best of those who used to be.
Juvenile Grackle Outside Afterimage
I hadn't been back to Afterimage in too long — and we both wanted to — so did. As always, many beautiful and thought-provoking photographs. I've always felt at home there. Nice people — I like Ben Breard and the people he's employed — and a wonderful array of fine photography. When I did a Student Gallery Tour of Dallas several years ago, I had to include it. An old-line gallery with a forever young feeling in a medium only accepted as a fully fledged art medium in the last half of the last century.
I wanted to stand up and call down Missy Finger this morning when she answered the panel question, why did you start your gallery, "because the only other photography gallery in Dallas (meaning Afterimage) only showed landscapes — a gross exaggeration. And rude besides.
The Juvenile Great-tailed Grackle was wandering around outside the gallery, led us back to our car, staying just ahead all the way to the front stairs of the Quadranlge, a subtle blond on blond geometric progression you have to watch every step of if you don't want to go tumbling.
Michael Starr - The Day I Looked Outside
Lithographed book images on canvas - 12 x 9 inches
Next stop The MAC, which this time at least, is retrieving its founding purpose by showing two Dallas artists with potential and past. James Michael Starr is a friend and a Supporting Member of DARts. We knew his show was there and we veered off our track to the main galleries immediately, so we could wonder at his latest work. I have been amazed at his work since the first moment I saw it at a studio opening in the Continental Gin Building.
He's come a ways since, shows regularly at Conduit, and this new series in The MAC's Project Room is another departure from the collages he's been up to the past several years.
Gallery Shot of the Susan kae Grant Retrospective at The
Note the dark door right of Susan final touching her show.
A chapel-like divided room comprises the main gallery of Susan's work so far. The dark walled far end feels dark inside with darkish ideas and imagery, but this dark is no dark like the dark to come on the other side.
This side of the above photo is gray and comes with textured word wall and handmade books to the point of protecting our animals, which I wouldn't have twigged if I hadn't read the attached, typewritten Artist's Statement (so I guess those are useful in some rare occasions).
Susan kae Grant - Targets, 1983 - color coupler print - 20 x 24 inches
For pure wow effect, Susan's show was the most amazing thing we saw all day. Not the chronology of her work in the well-lighted right main gallery or even the gray scrimmed off altar — although those are informative and fascinating in a historical view of a unique artist/photographer — but the amazing dream-sequence night scene through the black portal off the light side of her past. Which we almost missed.
Polishing the Plex Outside the Light Gallery
I'd seen the dark door but no signage, so I didn't feel right going in there, believing they'd closed it to concentrate on the big room on the right. Wrong. Luckily, I asked on our way out, past Susan's friend polishing the Plexiglas on her big, familiar for one who's followed her career, shadow photographs outside the gallery. Yes, there is something in there. I heard them talking about signs when we came out somewhat later, awed and moved.
Susan kae Grant - Large Installation of Dream
Scene screens in The MAC's Dark Gallery
Inside the dark portal was dark without light and dark with ideas, wispy with little breezes and very large shadows lading screens hanging loosely at angles through the room, like a fun house fat with memory and dark thoughts. A spare few bare bulbs glowed, but seeing took minutes in that dark, dark room of whispering voices and shadowed shapes layered back in time — timely for a retrospective, though we usually don't get to go back that far.
Susan kae Grant - Large Installation
I was surprised I got this much detail in two-second hand-held photos at enormous high "film" speed, but it wasn't nearly as bright as these photos show. Shapes and screens barely visible, a sense of space nearly only felt. It was possible to walk around the room between the shadow scrims, but impossible not to sense the dark visions and memory.
Out Into The Light
Outside I was startled by the light of a corner of shadow and, nearly bisecting a door stop. Willing to meet the colors of life again, and day. And boy, howdy, fate had a bright plan for our next stop.
A Color Slightly Enhanced Vision of the MADI
Where better to see that and those than here, where I'd often imagined a thin slice of contemporary art lost irretrievably in the geometric past. Today, however, it was a bright fun house of color and light and art and art and art. Visible math and shape. Everywhere inside.
Salvador Presta - MADI's Vibratile and Metric Sculpture
Plexiglas - 83 x 60 x 50 cm
Amazing geometric colors upstairs and down in the wild Geometric Madi Museum that handily disproves my oft-repeated notion that "All of Dallas' best museums are in Forth Worth." Our sister city to the west has nothing on the Madi. You'd have to drive all the way to Houston to find anything near this weird. Individualist vision.
Free Popcorn at the MADI Museum
Free popcorn and drinks helped our hunger for food and wild arrays of geo, metric and art assuaged our intellectual hunger for amazing shapes to feel and see with eyes and mind.
Looking Down on the MADI's Foyer
There was no place in the law library and offices the MADI holds not ripe with bursting colors. And the view out the upstairs windows was like into a dark green forest. Delightful little and large discoveries every step all the way through. Whew!
One of our favorite pages of the 64 artists on 64 pages in the new EASL Coloring Book, this looks like it'd be fun to color. I'm already imagining several possible color combos, including light turquoise field with little yellow dots, although white dots 'd be easier. I've always wanted one of Susan Lecky's panels (not the whole painting, which are too big for my spaces), and this book includes one, though I'll have to do my own coloring.
When they were advertising for colorable pages, I didn't have any ideas. Now, of course, I keep seeing photographs as outlines needing some child or adult's colors instead of mine. I had a piece in the second EASL Coloring Book, hope to get it together for the fourth, but that could be awhile.
The EASL Coloring Book table at Craighead Green — original
at $100 each. Coloring Books minimum donation $10
The EASL scene and Craighead Green was quiet when arrived, but Chris Fulmer (above center) told us there'd been a big long line of artists and people wanting artists to autograph their pages on their coloring books earlier. Always glad to see EASL doing well financially. I've used them before, may try again if the VA doesn't pay off my big horse pistol bill from my bout of acute pancreatitis last Thanksgiving.
Talk about a good place to show new artists. Any EASL event or publication is worth its weight in experience and benevolent association.
UNT Students Pose with Their U-Haul Truck Full of Photography
I probably should have read the flyers they were handing out, but we tracked up the ramp into the photo filled truck gallery from Denton and were pleased by much of what we saw as well as these student's chutzpah to park it in a parking lot, up the shutter and lower the plank onto a Dragon Street lot.
According to the flyer: "The U-Haul U-Haul Show with artists Kelsey Foster, Monet Robbins, Tim Leininger, Lhmi Lee, Erin Mazzei, Jerrell Jones, Nikki Adair, Darcy DuBose, Lekki Haltom, Bobby Beam, Lloyd Lowoe, Flossie O'riley, Kenneth Close, Brice Clendenin, Julie Barnofski, Judy Hinojosa, Blake Jones, Kristen Sizemore, Casey Mancuso, Hope Dickens, Myong Park, Stephanie Quates, James Brandon, Jennifer Fulp, Michael Herbert and Adam Baker.
Thunderbird Radio in the U-Haul
I remember those colors on early (mid-50s) Thunderbirds (Yeah, and I remember a new guy named Elvis shaking up the airwaves.) and those shapes from Edsels when they were new. I don't remember the music coming out of it in the truck, however. I remember it was hot.
Roger Winter - Stray Dog
Then to The Contemporary for their Legends show. At his best, Roger Winter's work evokes a quiet darkness and gentle luminosity, like deep urban shadows with warm colors in cold light amid his rippling, stippling, almost paint-by-numbers textures, city-scapes and portraits of people and places and animals. We know it's all real.
An Andy Hanson photograph of me moo-ing in front of a Roger Winter cow scene, was published years ago in D-Magazine on the same inside back page as Jimmy Jones and Tom Landry playing poker. We go back.
Roger Winter - Washington's Birthday, 1999 - oil on canvas
Winter does with his busy textures, muted tones and light lilting in the trees what I try to do with photographs, establish a mood with spatial relationships, color and shadows that says something to viewers we can't put in words and have to feel.
That made looking up at this dark cloud just out the Contemp almost meaningful that late afternoon with the full vertical skyline of Dallas just over the horizon. Still wandering in the muted tones, city shapes and places in another affecting artist's vision, it all seem planned.
Front Window at And/Or Reflecting In and Out
Off then to And/Or. I overheard two gallery professionals months ago decide not to take visitors there, because they thought the name goofy. As if they identified it with Ampersand or Asterisk. Missing by that ignorant misjudgement, one of the more contemporary of contemporary art spaces here.
And/Or is always a mind-boggling, thought-provoking wonderment, pocked with visual puzzles to wrap our minds around — like 500X did in alternate new vision member groupings back through local history but not so often anymore. We'll keep going back and back and back to And/Or.
Rinpa Eshidan - Room, 2007 -
From And/Or, we walked across the street to our second favorite Thai restaurant (first is the other Bangkok City on Greenville at Yale.), ate dinner, talked about our tour, what we liked and what we learned, the best moments. I started this story that night and haven't finished it yet. May never.
More Dallas art in FWADA
pre-DADA, a wrap up
of Dallas and
Fort Worth galleries that opened the week previous to this.