Sculpture Gardens   Dada Duty   Snake   Flying Furry Freak Brothers   Rick Maxwell   Andy Hanson   Janet Kutner   Charles Dee Mitchell   Valley House Wood   Kittrell Riffkind Art Glass


Friday, May 23 

It's not exactly art, but it's growing in a
Sculpture Garden, so maybe it's sculpture.

Sometimes I just get so sick of looking at art, figuring it out and writing about it, that I just can't anymore. So, for the last couple weeks, I haven't. I needed the rest — although we did go off to New Orleans, and I took a lot of photographs there and back.

Mostly, I've been art relaxing, not going to shows, openings, etc, although I usually like the summer, its slower pace and higher liklihood of something new and less commercial. 

Today [Friday May 23] my Dada duty finally impelled me to go look at something art. It was an Orange Ozone Alert Day, but, in the words on a memorable but anonymous jaywalker in one of Texican Gilbert Shelton's Flying Furry Freak Brothers comix, I got that needy, "I think I gots to walk across the road" feeling.

Said character felt compelled to walk across the road in front of one of the brothers' driving a car whose horn sounded funny. So I waltzed across Dallas in my little blue Honda, whose 'hawn' actually does go 'bleat-bleat.'

Aimless, mostly.

I thought I wanted to photograph the new sculpture garden at the Art House on Routh. But that was just a cluttered and graveled back yard with too many sculptures stuck in it. Nice burnt ended ones of Rick Maxwell's, but I'd seen them and written about them before. I shot one photo of the cluttered back yard through the locked gate, then got back into my air-conditioned car.

an underlit blob of green glass
at Kittrell/Riffkind. See below.

Next stop was Andy Hanson's show at Photographic Archives.

Ennui kept me from my old darkroom buddy's opening — we shared a temperature controlled, cool running, chemical filled, old fashioned darkroom at The Dallas Times Herald back in the early 70s. I've always liked Andy, so I pretty much owed it to him to see his show — besides the fact that he stopped Kathy recently somewhere and pointedly told her I had not visited his show yet. The implication was I should. And it's true. I should.

Elements at the show at PA were pleasantly informal and personally revealing — early teen self-portraits in a face I strained to recognize. Lots of fun mail art and clippings. But the photographs were presented as history and photojournalism, not art exactly. Andy's photo journalistic career has seen a lot of fame and glory.

But it was more Texana and Dallasana than yet another bleeding art exhibition. So I do not feel compelled to write more than this about it, except to say that I especially liked seeing the photos of Lightning Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb.

I was pleased to see that Janet Kutner (who is juring Craighead Green's New Texas Talent show that closed entry today) wrote a long, positive review of Andy's show in the Dallas Morning News last week.

I didn't read the story, because I hadn't seen the show yet. And, besides, I'm too easily affected by other people's writing.

Except for Dee Mitchell, whose writing I enjoy immensely. He always writes stuff I didn't know but needed to and never feeds back PR pseudo-info that newspaper art writers tend to fill pages with, like we need to know how the show happened more than what the art in it is. I still remember Dee's long-ago stories on 'girl art' and 'high muck.'

He obviously doesn't feel obligated to write about everything. But when he does write, he nails it. I only wish I could afford to pay him to write for these pages sometime.

From Lovers Lane, I wandered north through the lush green hills and expensive estates, up toward Valley House, which is so north into North Dallas that I rarely attend. But I always feel comfy there. I know and like the people. They're friendly, and they show lots of good Dallas artists — David Gibson, Art Shirer, Sherry Owens and the late Hari Bert Bartscht to name just the few that leap to mind.


Philip John Evett - Guide, 1990-99
maple, 25.3 x 14 x 16.5 inches

David Everett - Night Heron, 2002
polychromed mahogany
11.5 x 13.5 x 8 inches

I was enthralled with much that I saw at that busy little show, especially Guide, above, which just seemed so elegant, angular and guarded, yet revealing. One-armed and single-footed, balanced. The more I look at it above, contrasted with the Night Heron, the more similar they appear. I like the startled, orange fish, and I love herons.

After meeting, greeting, and photographing my many favorites in their busy show that's going down tomorrow (Great timing, Mr. Art Critic), I wandered around the grounds of what is surely Dallas' best and most beautiful Sculpture Garden.

Thomas Woodward - Sudden Flight, 2003
93 x 73 x 102 inches

Oh, the Dallas Museum of Art has a big, fenced in, exterior, concrete apron, patched with grass, that they call a sculpture garden. And there's that graveled pad behind the Art House.

The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art (D-Art) has an area they sometimes call a sculpture garden, but it's usually empty so doesn't quite qualify. The Irving Art Center has a big busy field with a walking fence around part of it. And there's probably more places that I can't think of now, that call themselves a sculpture garden...

Merashe Kadshman - Segments, 1968
170 x 59 x 12 inches
What other local sculpture garden has
its own, real, live rabbit?
or a brace of orange flowers


Does Connemara still exist? (No. The neighborhood around it, always some problem, grew into a subdivision full of much more trouble. So it wasn't rural and remote anymore.)


But Valley House has a real, capital letter Sculpture Garden, and as it usually does, it both soothed and fed my art-weary soul.

John Brough Miller
Wind Sweep, 1996
192 inches

John Brough Miller
Whimsical Homestead, 1996
detail, 78 inches


Then came another soul-soothing visit.

As is always happening, a couple more Dallas galleries dropped off the face of reality recently. I was thinking about that — and the chore of eventually putting them and the bunch more that have kicked off since we last devoted DARts word and picture space (back when it was printed on paper, DARts featured a long-running series of photographs by Norman Kary and brief stories of many of our more prominent Dead Dallas Galleries) into some sort of historic context.

I got a little panicked by the ongoing offing, and decided that I had to visit one particular gallery I never had, but have long wanted to. I like their postcards, their neatly scribbled logo, their friendly PR manner, and I was pretty sure I'd love their gallery.

I imagined it as a crowded little storefront with one big window letting lots of light transluce tiny treasures of liquid sand.

It was bigger than I thought. Crowded some and spare some, too. Glass in many dimensions, forms, styles, presentations, shapes and colors throughout.

Oh, my! I was a kid in an eye candy shop. I acquired a broad grin, and the more I saw, the more I grinned.

I am a major fan of translucing color. If you are, too, you might appreciate some photos in my My Windows story or the couple of pieces [Jim Bowman blown-glass bowl or Alex Troup's Love Box] in JR's Collection.

The gallery took me awhile to track down. It's in the plot of shops sidled up next to the Tollway tucked back in the south east corner at Beltline Road. Now I finally know where it is, I'll go back and back. And back.


What joy.


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