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Interviewing
Dallas Center for
Contemporary Art
Director
Joan Davidow

Footnotes   More Info on The Dallas Contemporary 

by J R Compton   

Joan Davidow speaks at the 2002 Texas Mud show
at The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art.
J R Compton photo.

 

This interview was held in the main gallery at the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art on Friday, January 29, 2005 — almost exactly where she's standing in the photo above.

My words are in purple. Joan's are in black, with green accents.

This conversation is presented word for word, with unintelligible phrases noted in brackets [[[ ]]]. Nothing of substance is edited. I was extraordinarily careful to exactly quote both of us. My addenda is below.

Joan's changes will be added later.

I hoped to show this to Joan before it was published, since she feared being misquoted. But she's out of town again, and I want this thing out and need something on the cover.

As always DallasArtsRevue welcomes comments. E-mail the editor. Feedback is on our Feedback page.

 

 

 

Joan:That’s got a lot of power.

JR: What?

Joan: That’s got a lot of power (pointing to the tape recorder on the chair). I used to have to put a mic like this (gestures holding a mic to my mouth to record an interview).

JR: Oh, yeah. Was that when you were with KERA?

Joan: Uh-huh.

JR: Tell me how you got that job.

Joan: Oh, well, I will. But first, tell me what you’re doing and the reason for the interview and what you are hoping to accomplish.

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JR: Uh... I wanted to sit down and talk with you and find out what you are planning. I’m much more interested in what you’ve got going than what I’ve got going. DallasArtsRevue reaches something like 40 or 50 thousand people every month — I assume it’s the same people coming back —

Joan: (whispers) That’s a lot.

JR: Yeah. Which is sort of amazing because of all those — I remember when I first started DallasArtsRevue on paper, people — “experts” would say that no more than about one hundred and fifty or two hundred people would ever subscribe to an art magazine in Dallas. And I got my subscription level up to a hundred and fifty, when it was on paper.

But who knows who comes. On some web sites I can run statistics on where people come from, what states. Like I did the Creative Arts Center web site for awhile, and most of the people came from Virginia. Because, apparently, there’s a Creative Arts Center there. And they mistake it.

Joan: But the same name.

JR: Yeah. So, sometimes it’s disconcerting to find out where people are really from. But I can’t do geographic on DallasArtsRevue.

Joan: So, are you interviewing other directors?

JR: No. I’ve been wanting to interview you for a long, long time. Since you first came on to this (gestures around the building).

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When you first came on, here, there was a lot of hubbub. Then they changed the name. And that frightened a lot of people. It always does — of course, D-Art keeps changing its name, over and over, and that’s fine, but interesting.

Any time people’s expectations are altered suddenly, that frightens them. Whether that’s on the road or the art community, or anything like that. Uh... I just want to find out.

Early on, I probably wrote some negative things. I did write some negative things. I’m certain of that.

Lately, I don’t know if you’ve tuned in lately, but lately the comments — and I recently looked up D-Art, DCCA and all that stuff, DVAC, throughout the site, and there’s a page where everything’s linked. There’s a lot of negative stuff there, and there’s also really some positive stuff that I’ve been saying.

I don’t really care for this to be about me and what I do, because people who come to the site and read it, will know what it is, or this will be their first experience, but they can find out just by clicking around.

It’ll be on the cover for at least ten days or so, and then it will go someplace inside, and then something else will be on the cover. Right now, there’s not much on the cover. I haven’t been reviewing art shows lately.

I get art ennui every once in awhile, and I. Just. Don’t. Care. And it’s best that I don’t push myself on those times.

Joan: I like that term, art ennui (writes in her notebook). Ah. Yeah.

So what did you want to know about when I got here?

JR: Okay. When you got here, you changed a lot of things. And it startled a lot of people. That’s when I first started thinking, you know, it would really be interesting to find this stuff out, because she’s really pissed a lot of people off, ya know, right then.

Joan: And I don’t know if that was necessarily [[[undecipherable]]]. You know, I think any new person would have come along and changed things.

JR: I remember there was a mosaic on the floor that a lot of people had grown to love and you got it ripped up, and it’d only been there for a little while, something like a month or something, but how’d you feel about all that?

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Joan: Well, I’ll tell you what I bumped into. Which I did not know. We had discussed for about four months before I took the position. And what I had been hired to do was to raise the bar of the institution. I don’t know if you know that.

JR: No.

Joan: That was the direction from the search committee, and the search committee was five people. And I asked as many questions as I could to get to know the stability of the institution, and I had asked about the finances, and the institution hadn’t been audited since 1994.

I asked for three years of income reports and financial reports, and they were three different kinds of compositions of numbers. It was hard to put it all together.

And so I knew what the carryover was from the end of 00, because I started here in May of 01, and I asked three questions, What was that carryover — confirming it. How much does the board get involved in raising the money of a $250,000 budget. And how much has the board raised in the first quarter of the year?

So I knew there was a carryover of about $45,000, and I heard that the board was responsible — or that the board’s participation was raising about 1/3 of the income. And the board had already raised $45,000 for the first quarter of the year.

So that told me that at least the carryover was stable, and the institution was stable. And I had interviewed — like you’re interviewing me — I had interviewed other arts professionals, who were colleagues, “This is what I’m going to do, what would you advise me. Because I’m going into a known institution, and yet I’m hired to do something different.”

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And the advice was to go slow, go slow. And that, by nature, is not my way. But I also knew that it was good advice. The first day on the job, what I learned was different from what I had heard. And there was a $40,000 deficit.

JR: Oh.

Joan: For the first four months.

JR: A mere $85,000 off.

Joan: Right.

And I actually was shocked. And realized I never would have taken the position. —

JR: Hmm.

Joan: Because I left Arlington with $100,000 in carryover. Now, a lot of it was committed —

JR: Did you still have that job?

Joan: No-no-no-no. No, I had left Arlington the end of September.

JR: Well, okay.

Joan: But dealing with an institution this comparable size, comparable budget, comparable focus, and time in history. It was the best economy in the world.

JR: Right.

Joan: And faced this and realized — and it got as bad as $50,000 deficit by July, with $3,000 in the bank. And it cost, at that time, $20,000 a month to keep the door open.

JR: Does it cost less now?

Joan: No. It costs more, because we’ve raised more money and increased the programs. So I realized, okay, I didn’t plan on this. This isn’t what I expected. The advice was go slow. That’s a luxury I don’t have. Either I roll up my sleeves and turn this around, or it dies a natural death, and it wasn’t on my watch.

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How to do that? How would you do it?

JR: I’d change everything.

Joan: Because what it told me. First of all, I was hired to change. But not so fast, until I saw that it was a deficit, and I had to find other sources of income just to keep going.

JR: Did the Search Committee or whomever hired you, give you an idea of what kind of changes they wanted? Or was it just it “to change?”

Joan: Raise the bar. Show more serious contemporary art. Appeal —

JR: Because it had often been a lowest-common-denominator, community organization before that, and I had written against that many, many, many times. And I remember — I heard later that I’d made Patricia [Meadows, D-Art's second director] cry because of what I’d said about — the low bar here. And raising the bar here makes all the sense in the world.

Was this about the time when I said something about you, that you — you said there was some quote from early on that — when I spoke to you?

Joan: You mean on the phone? Uh-huh. [nodding]

Well, I usually don’t pay attention to these things. But what I learned from somebody else on the staff, when they Googled, they Googled us, they read what you were writing. And when someone googled me, they read what you had written.

And still to this day, because somebody on the staff just did it, if you Google me, the very first thing you get are the [[[negs?]]] from your response about the organization, still to this day.

JR: I know that. I realize that, because I Yahood myself — I refuse to say the google word — recently. First you, and the organization, and I was astonished. I clicked on it, before I realized, “This is my page.”

How can this be? There should be a connection to your web site somehow.

Which one was it?

Joan: I don’t remember, by heart. But it’s about —

JR: You said you wanted to straighten it out, is why I’m bringing it up now. On the phone you said you wanted to —

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Joan: No, what I said to you was, I’m uncomfortable about your interviewing me, because I’ve read what you write. And it’s not complimentary.

And even though more recently, at times, you have been complimentary, and I do — of course, everybody likes to do hard work and be recognized for it.

JR: Sure.

Joan: But you can’t automatically always get positive feedback. But what I would see is almost a positive and a negative at the same time, so that there’s no way, almost, for it to balance. So, if it’s negative and positive, you can’t decide which one it is. Is it still going back to negative?

Or is it negative with a little hope for positive?

JR: I feel honor-bound to state all my opinions. So that people now can kinda take away what they want to take away. But I have to be honest about all the feelings I have about something, whether it’s a painting or an institution.

Joan: Sure.

JR: So.

Joan: I understand that.

JR: Yeah.

Joan: So I just barrel led ahead, and continued to hope to save an institution that I thought was worthy of saving. And that I was hired to do that. And, of course, it’s because I love what I do, and I hope to have opportunities to show the art of the region, and this gives me that opportunity.

JR: Was part of the mandate of the board to go regional, rather than community Dallas?

Joan: It was always Tex — since I knew about it, it was always Texas focus, and I believe the Barretts were instrumental in that, as they were instrumental in Arlington.

Because they gave money and guided the institutions, both, at times when they were open to such ideas, to focus on Texas contemporary art.

Because I remember in the old warehouse, when you’d walk down the stairs to exit, there was a plaque that said, “Texas Art [[[Supported?]]].”

JR: Oh, there were plaques all over the place over there. The place was held together with plaques. [laughs]. All those nasty pegboard walls and such.

This is a much nicer facility.

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Are you going to stay here? Beyond the original eight years? I understood there was an eight-year limit at one time.

Joan: Oh, you mean about staying here. We were given ten years.

JR: Okay.

Joan: And we’ve been here for five. And we have another five years. To 2009. And we’re in the process of surveying our customers to find out about our — the feasibility of our readiness to make a move. Where we might be. What’s our potential for raising money to do such a thing. If we can or cannot do it. What would our options be.

JR: Are you good at raising money. Such massive amounts like that?

Joan: I have some experience. I began the capital campaign in Arlington and raised a fair amount right away and have taken this institution from a three-year deficit into a two-year in the black in the worst economy of the world — that we know — in our lifetime.

JR: Well, not the worst. But. In our lifetime certainly.

Joan: In our lifetime.

JR: Not my father’s lifetime. The 30s was much more.

Joan: Right. But in our lifetime, it is the worst economy. I came in in May oh-one, and then there was 9-11, and then there was the weakened economy, and then there was the war. So we were behind and trying to play catch-up.

JR: Is this —. A lot of people think that this place is supported by its members, which it can’t possibly, it seems to me.

So can you tell what sort of a mix it is?

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Joan: It breaks down a third, a third, a third. Upper level donors, which accounts for individual, private giving and corporate giving accounts for a third. Events count for a third. And the other third is basic membership —

JR: That’s —

Joan: That’s the auction and the Legends. Those are events.

JR: You still have specialty groups?

Joan: And then the other third is basic membership, which is $250 and below, and public money, which is the City and the State. Money from Figure Drawing classes and other ancillary parts of the budget, and that’s how it breaks down.

So we finished the year with $383,000 income for the year. And that’s how it breaks down about how the money comes in.

JR: At first, I suspect the membership was up in arms because things were changing without their — without them knowing about it and without them setting the direction themselves. Of course, they never would have set this direction.

Joan: Nobody knew. Nobody knew.

JR: What was their reaction early on, and what is their — the membership — reaction now?

Joan: Well, one of the first things we had to do was raise the sources of income as best we could. So it was across the board. It was raising membership from $40 to $50. Raising the Figure Drawing from $5 per drawing time — it took us four jumps to get to now, $10 every time.

Develop a level for giving for Board Members. Initiate a way of getting higher level private giving. Approach the City for more than one program for funding, rather than program funding to go for operations funding. To write to the State, instead of one proposal, to write three proposals to the State.

So all of that happened. The membership — Well, the board, which you didn’t ask, at that time became a two-headed board. Because the search committee understood —

JR: The search committee wasn’t the board, was it?

Joan: It was made up of board members.

JR: A subset.

Joan: Yeah, a subset, if you say.

JR: Was Karen Erxleben on the board then?

Joan: No. Huh-uh. She was not.

JR: Was she on the search committee?

Joan: No. The search committee understood what the situation was.

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JR: But they didn’t tell you? You mean, the financial situation?

Joan: Yeah. There wasn’t a lot —

JR: Because they would have [[[scared?]]] you off, if they had.

Joan: The board was not an active board. There was information the board never knew. They would get reports and it would not register. What the reports were. And they did not question.

JR: Because they weren’t — businessmen?

Joan: There were businessmen on the board. But they didn’t question. And it wasn’t presented to them in a way of questioning. I had always presented five years of earning on a report with an monthly analysis from past year and current year and budget money.

JR: At AMA?

Joan: Yeah. But there was no such document here. So I had to create such a thing. So you could see exactly where you are, based on where you’ve been and where you have to go. And the board didn’t ask questions. It was almost like a Yes board.

JR: It was an honorary board, rather than a do-something board?

Joan: Well, yeah, but also, from I understand, the board were people that got involved in planning exhibitions and participating in installation and coming up with ideas for curating shows. It was a participatory board that way, but not in the fiscally responsible way. It was in the exhibition way.

JR: Do you remember early membership response?

Joan: Oh, everybody was upset.

They didn’t like being charged $50 membership, instead of $40 membership. Although if people —

JR: That’s pretty minor.

Joan: I still have to keep the lights on. I say it doesn’t make any difference how good the art is if we don’t have money to open the front door. It doesn’t matter.

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JR: How good the art is has a lot of bearing on the membership. Because membership shows here — last year's — not the year before that — I think, I assume you had some control over the year before that —

Joan: I had no control over that.

JR: Really? Because the year before that was a really good show, and I wanted to be in that show, which is why I joined, why I am a member now. The last show was the usual run of shows here — of membership shows here. Which is to say kinda dreckish. And —

Joan: Yeah, I read that you said that. And I would not agree. I believe that the two years ago was the first time that I brought in the idea of using the Critic’s Choice and combining it with the Membership show —

JR: That was a beautiful show.

Joan: Thank you. There were artists who joined so they could be seen by an outside curator.

JR: Sure.

Joan: And the potential for being chosen for Hall Works. And I felt the same happened last year, too. And there were way more than five artists deserving of one person shows.

JR: Oh, yeah, sure.

Joan: So I

JR: We all thought we were that one.

Joan: It always interests me, but when you give a curator that directive, then you go with it. And I did think there were a lot of good things to choose from. But no, the only direction I gave the member — well, I gave the direction in two ways, or three ways, I guess, if you count picking the curator.

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Joan: One, that there was a size limitation. There was lots of anger about that.

JR: Yeah.

Joan: But when you ask about membership. Artists said, “But I don’t work that small. I only work in a size that’s bigger than that, and I have nothing to offer,” and —

JR: Yet years ago, we flocked down to Houston to show something in a two by four inch show.

Joan: And so people got the hang of it, and interestingly enough, now The MAC uses exactly my size dimension, so that’s kinda funny.

JR: Because it works.

Joan: Because I thought that the work deserved air. And if everybody thought, “look at me, look at me. Big is going to get attention. And there was art everywhere. It was over the windows and under the water fountain and over the door, and you couldn’t see anything, because — too much to look at. And if we limited the size, then everybody would be seen respectfully, and that was my goal.

And so that’s taken a little while for people to get the hang of. Sometimes always there’s still a little dissension about that.

JR: Are you aware of any substantial number of members who didn’t come back?

Joan: I can’t tell you the numbers exactly of who didn’t come back in numbers, but what I can tell you. Because I heard from the beginning that we had about a thousand members. But I don’t know that we’ve had a thousand, because it wasn’t tracked as carefully as we track it now.

But we now sit at about 800 members, and that’s a lot for an institution our size.

JR: Sure. Almost enough.

Joan: And what happens is people cycle off and people cycle on. And we get ahead of it by a bit but not a large enough percentage, and we’re constantly working at that. And we have new initiatives that we’re working on now, to do that. But there was a core of membership that left and never came back. There are some members who did —

JR: What, about 200?

Joan: Oh, I don’t know, but there was a core that was called Collectors Members here, and at that time it was $500 a member, and we raised the Collector level to a thousand, because a $500 member would get a print as a gift. Well, the prints were worth $500.

JR: Maybe.

Joan: And I — well, na na na.

And if I —

JR: Whose prints?

Joan: Oh, we have like six or seven years of prints by — Luis Jimenez, James Surls —

JR: Top Texas artists.

Joan: Yeah, and those we chosen before I got there, and this whole program to do this was chosen before I got here. So there —

JR: So you raised that to balance off —

Joan: To a thousand —

JR: The so-called poor membership that left either in anger or just cycled off.

Joan: No, raised it because I had to keep finding ways to find income and if it cost — if it was only worth $500, we’re not making it earn anything for us.

JR: Is there a substantial number of people who pay that? Who pay the $700 —

Joan: Who pay the $1,000?

JR: $1,000?

Joan: Yeah.

JR: Good.

Joan: I can’t tell you by memory how many.

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JR: I think there was a lot of upset about you steering it away from the members, who’d always owned this place, to the collectors, whoever they might be.

We members had no idea who that was, except they must be rich, and they don’t make art.

Because there’s been fewer opportunities for members to exhibit here, since you’ve taken over.

Joan: Yeah, because there was no way for me to raise the bar if I kept all the shows that the institution [was] doing. Which was a membership show, a juried show — a critic’s show, and a Legends exhibition.

JR: Yeah, sorta.

Joan: So that’s four exhibitions. Because the way I see it —

You still have the Legends, because that’s a money-maker, isn’t it?

Joan: Well, it’s — it’s one of the events.

JR: Sure.

Joan: So there’s no way for me to raise the bar, if I’m going to do all the way that’s been done before.

JR: You can’t really count the Legends.

Joan: No. So this is a constant, which the institution demands.

JR: Sure.

Joan: Mix or — which was Mosaics, is a constant. Which had been done before. Which was wonderful. All I did was change the name. And make a broader appeal. So I needed the three other exhibitions to raise the bar, to show the kind of art that would bring in, hopefully, the kind of patronage that we hadn’t been getting.

JR: Does this show do that?

Joan: I, I would hope so.

JR: You’ve certainly got some response from it?

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Joan:Yeah, I have. But it’s a beautiful exhibition. Clint Willour was just here from Galveston Arts Center. He said, “There’s only two artists in here that I know.” He said, that’s why I come here. Where did you find these artists? Janet Kutner said, “Where did you find these artists?”

That’s my job.

JR: That’s your job. It’s certainly not her job. But yeah.

Joan: John Pomara said, “Oh, it’s installed beautifully. Love the way the work talks to each other.”

JR: It seems like this room has changed since you got here. Not very much. Subtly, if — The foggy windows came in on the Pairings show, I heard, so that it would qualify for the museum to show [their] pieces here.

And I know of people who miss being able to see outside, but — so what. Different spaces are different. It is an elegant space, and the Pairings show, I think, might have been — was that your first show, or was that already set on the schedule before you got here?

Joan: Oh, no-no-no-no. The first exhibition I did was the beginning of Oh-Two, and I have catalogs to give you.

JR: Oh, good.

Joan: And that was Building Blocks. Pairings was the first of Oh-Three. We didn’t publish catalogs in Oh-Three, because we realized we really didn’t have the funding to do it.

Right, it’s a very small —If we were going to try —

JR: Clientele.

Joan: To get back on a budget in the black, we had to give up that idea, which was too bad. And then in Oh-Four, we started the catalogs again, so we published two [[[for our fall/vote]]], and we have the other two in process.

And I don’t know if we’ll be able to continue doing that, because it is an expensive endeavor. And it is a worthy endeavor, so we figuring about modifying it, so it would be more affordable to us.

JR: Put it online. It’s so much cheaper to publish online.

Joan: Uh-huh. That’s certainly an idea.

So how the gallery looks was another thing that I addressed as soon as I got here.

JR: They were starting to paint the back halls red and Feng Shui colors, I know, was part of it behind that.

Joan: They did.

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So the colors were brick red and turquoise and marigold and lilac. And all the front halls were painted that way, and the back hall also.

JR: And that was a real hubbub. Just to change their colors was something powerful.

Joan: And the Meadows never knew what happened. They had a fit.

JR: The Meadows?

Joan: Well, the Meadows Foundation owns this building.

JR: Right. They had a fit about the color or that it was —

Joan: That it was done. And they were not aware of that.

JR: It was ad hoc. Done because a couple people wanted it that way. And one person was willing to paint it that way. And so it happened.

But, at the time, there wasn’t any leadership here, so that’s how the mosaic got stuck on the floor, that’s how the paint got stuck on the walls, because somebody was willing to do it and could find the paint. That’s all.

There were a series of interim directors. Some of whom were just caretakers?

Joan: That’s why there was no money.

Right. Because there was no ongoing effort. I don’t know how long they’d been looking for a director. Or if they even were. Because —

Katherine announced retirement in — well, she was sick. She was seriously ill. She announced retirement in September, but she was not leaving until December.

So I believe that 2000 was basically a lame duck year. And they’d only been in the building a year before that, 1999. And then there was an interim director from January to May —

JR: Camera [Clifton]?

Joan: I think the same one. So the walls did go white before I got here. That happened.

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JR: Oh, man. That caused a hubbub.

Joan: Then the mosaic on the floor was a mosaic exhibition, just like others had been, so it had its time an exhibition, just like every other, and that’s why it came up off the floor. And the front gallery was a gift shop, and the office was wedged into that first little office, and the middle office was filled with furniture and computers and —

JR: There was, in that middle office, if we’re talking about the same space, something of a place people could look for grants.

Joan: Yes.

JR: That was something else that people were upset about, far as I know. Is there an area now for that? Where?

Joan: Down the hall. It’s called the Opportunities Wall.

JR: Oh, the wall. It was replaced by a wall?

Joan: It was a wall.

JR: It was?

Joan: It was in the office with the side wall with stuff hanging up, and then there were shelves with available packets, pamphlets. And we have shelves in the hall that still have available packets that people bring to us. And so, the way I saw it, it wasn’t such a good use of space, and that we could move the gift shop into the first —

JR: Yeah, that looked great in there.

Joan: Thank you. But we had to close it, because it really did not pay for itself.

JR: Well, that’s not too surprising. It’s not really a high traffic area, and you really need high traffic to have a gift shop. It’s not amazing, at all, to me at least.

Joan: And all that work was on consignment. So the artists got 50%, and — There’s got to be a break.

JR: Yeah, you can’t make it on 50%.

Joan: No. We couldn’t. And so we moved everything out of the middle office into the library and into the halls, so we could function that way, which was computers for artists to come and use them, because in the early days not every artist had a computer. And we still have a resident artist who still comes in to use the computer.

JR: Oh yeah?

Joan: And —

JR: The computer?

Joan: No, we still have four. And the art library. So we still have subscriptions for the artist to come in and peruse current art subscriptions. And we moved the wall into the hall. And we change all the information regularly.

JR: Yeah, I noticed it was very up to date, and I appreciated it.

Joan: Thank you. Thank you.

JR: I’m someone who pays attention to art opportunities. I was sorry that day that I hadn’t brought a pen and copied down stuff. But I am a writer who almost never carries a pen with me.

Joan: Then we continued Business of Art Seminars. What was called Affinity Groups, although we changed the name to Salons. That was going on for free, and I just —

JR: Why did you change that name?

Joan: Because, to me, that was just — It was like Dallas Visual Arts Center, and I didn’t change the name, the board did. And I can explain about that.

JR: That’s alright. I’m more interested in your changes than theirs.

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Joan: It was a mouthful and it didn’t actually say anything, but Salon for art groups have been going on since the 1920s. I mean that has a history.

JR: Before that, actually.

Joan: That has a history, and if this is the way they were functioning, they should be called that. So, that the were not paying anything extra, and we were administering a little bit by sending out letters and having meetings here, and so that was more trying to find income.

So I asked the person who was heading it up, what we could charge people in addition to their membership. First of all, they needed to be members.

JR: Right.

Joan: Because it was a service we were providing.

JR: Sure.

Joan: And secondly what would it be if you were taking a course, and this was a course. So might it be $25 a semester. From January to June. Well, she didn’t want to charge people, and she thought that was too much, and she —

JR: She?

Joan: I don’t remember her name who was organizing Affinity Groups at the time. She came up with the idea of $16.23.

[Mutual laughter]

Okay. Okay. So that what happened —

JR: That’s pretty peculiar.

Joan: Another one of those little silly things. So the next time it became $25, and then — So then, back on how the gallery looked, behind — there was no signage, there was no direction. You walked through the gift shop till you sort of found out that art was in the middle.

Because in the beginning area there were the painted colors and there was a bench, and you didn’t know where you were or what you were coming for. And then there were a lot of mobile walls here. And behind the angled wall was all the pedestals storage and the chunk of mobile wall storage. So pedestals and walls around it.

And I said, huh-unh. This is an architectural space. If we never hang art back there, you have to be able to walk around it.

JR: Yeah.

Joan: And we’re going to find places to put all those things. You could hardly walk into the storage room.

JR: I remember that.

Joan: You could not get into the door. You do remember that.

Everything came out of the storage room. We found places for pedestals and walls and reorganized that completely, so there was air around the angled wall. And the very first exhibition I curated, an artist chose that as a site-specific place.

JR: Was that the blue paint?

Joan: No, prior to the blue paint was masking tape.

JR: Oh, yeah. Okay.

Joan: It was Jennifer Agracova. And then used the signage walls to direct people to where they were coming and what they were going to come see. And then slowly upgraded the gallery, because the other problem that we had here, besides all the natural light coming in from the open windows. There were 150 windows — there were — in this space. Because it was built as a multipurpose space.

JR: Right.

Joan: No one knew how we were going to use it. Because there were four banks of windows with Venetian blinds on them, so there was more light coming in and casting shadows all across the art. So, with permission, we built false walls.

JR: Permission? From the Meadows?

Joan: From the Meadows. That we would not drill holes in concrete and that they would be able to be dismantled, easily. So we built four bands of fake walls — false walls.

And on one there was a horizontal band of windows here that we built. And the last thing that we did, and the scrim — and the etching of the windows we did in two rounds, because it was what we could afford. First we did the lower ones and then we did the upper ones.

Then, most recently, last year, we changed all the black molding to white molding, because when you would walk in here your eyes would go to the floor instead of to the art. And then, we also built covers for all the outlets, so your eyes didn’t go to the holes.

JR: Yeah, that was a little busy.

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Joan: Very subtle. All that is subtle. But it has something to do with how you experience the space.

JR: Another bone of contention was the use — the sculpture garden. I know there was a program in motion or it had been established. I can’t say that it was really doing much.

But there was a program to have sculptors come in and install their work. And you stopped that. Do you want to say anything about that?

Joan: Well. That work had been up for a long time. It had not cycled, at all. It was a group of artists who were sculptors who had their work out there.

JR: There were more coming, supposedly. I talked with someone who said his work was —

Joan: That really could be. But for me, it — just like in the inside part that I curate, it didn’t have a direction.

It was an extension, really, of the membership show. And so I developed it as —

Mix was a small focus show for an artist who was doing ethnically diverse works. I saw the outside space as an opportunity to give us a sculptor who was focusing on work that could be seen outdoors as an opportunity to have a Focus show.

And it’s the same kind of thing. I looked at slides all the time. To determine who shows out there. And it cycles every two months just like everything else does.

JR: Oh, it does?

Joan: Oh yeah. Oh, yeah. So we have five bands of exhibition — one, two, — four bands of exhibition that cycle five times a year, so we actually show 21 exhibitions a year.

Meaning this space, that space, the next space over —

Mix and Hall Works. That’s the four. Making it possible to have an multitude of experiences when you come here. And giving artists a different opportunities to be seen — in the large group exhibition, the outdoors, the ethnically diverse and recognize the membership shows.

JR: How long do you expect to remain director? Is this a lifetime position?

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Joan: Oh, I never know about that. As long as I feel challenged, and I am making things happen that I think are worthy.

JR: Don’t you think it’s going to take several more years before — . Okay, your direction is pretty much set. I think it’s going to take several more years before your audience catches up with where you’re going and really gets excited about it. I don’t think they are, yet. And it just takes time.

So, you don’t have a retirement date in mind or anything like that? Just sorta keep at it — till you kick off?

Joan: As long as we feel like we are making things happen, and the community is supporting what we do. As soon as the community stops supporting it, it’s an automatic that we’re not deserving to be here.

JR: But that’s not “as soon as.” That could take a year or a year and a half before they figure it out.

Joan: Sure. Sure. Of course. As you say, it takes time to be established. The hardest thing we deal with is is we’re a 23 year institution that still a secret —

JR: Uh-huh.

Joan: To the greatest population.

JR: Yeah. But changing your name every six months doesn’t help.

Joan: Well, you said you didn’t want to talk about something that was not something that I did.

JR: Well.

Joan: That was a direction from the institution. There was a reason for that just like there was a reason for the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth to change its name.

JR: Well, yeah. Didn’t it used to be called the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art — FWAM. Yeah.

Joan: And the next name was the Art Museum of Fort Worth. Then the next was The Modern. So it’s had three or four names since I’m here.

JR: But it’s much bigger and has more clout. So they could probably change their name a couple more times and not have nearly the problems that this institution would, if it changed its name a couple more times.

Joan: Do you know what? That is an issue. And I wasn’t here to hear the rationale for early names.

JR: You wouldn’t have wanted it called the DVAC anyway. Nobody in their right mind —

Joan: And why, because people thought it was a vacuum cleaner.

JR: I always thought it sounded like a MASH unit — moving out — De. Vac.

Joan: [Giggling laughter] That’s cute.

So D-Art was a problem, because DART came in and because people couldn’t say D-Art. So the reason to change the name then was because DART became an entity, and if people were saying D-Art, DART, there was a conflict. So that was the reason to change then. There’s always been a reason. So Dallas Visual Art Center, nicknamed DVAC —

JR: DVAC was closer to the absolute original concept — [Dallas Visual Art Center]

Joan: Of D-Art. But it was only the innies that understood what DVAC meant. The outties didn’t understand. So Dallas Visual Arts Center. You still had to explain what it was, because nobody understood what that meant.

JR: Yeah, plus there’s Dallas Visual —

Joan: Communicators.

JR: Some communicators —

Joan: Right.

JR: So it’s really confusing.

Joan: So, if, in fact, the direction was to raise the bar, the name then, according to the board, at an early retreat, when I first got here, in long range planning, was, in doing a SWOT analysis, which is —

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JR: A Swat?

Joan: Do you know about a SWOT?

JR: No, I don’t. Sounds like a bunch of cops coming in on ropes and helicopters.

Joan: Strengths. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats.

It’s standard for an institution to learn about itself, and I’m sure corporates do it, too. It’s something you have to do as you look to the future. It’s standard in professional and in corporate circles.

JR: With a name like DCCA —

Joan: That was never our name, and we’ve never printed it anywhere.

JR: Dallas Center for Contemporary Art? Is not your name?

Joan: Yeah. Yes. But it’s never been shortened that way.

So the idea was, that because what institutions have learned is, if you have a nickname that only the innies know, you defeat your service. You defeat yourself.

So what the goal was, was to develop a long name that would explain the institution and a short name within it that it could become.

And what happened was, the short name, which was The Contemporary — in Fort Worth, the Modern became The Modern —

JR: That’s a lot of confusion.

Joan: Then we saw ourselves as The Contemporary. But then there was confusion that it was too close to The MAC.

JR: Who came up with that name? It is too close to The MAC.

Joan: That was — And now we’re calling it —

JR: The Swiss Avenue Contemporary and the McKinney Avenue Contemporary —

purloined from the DCCA web site

Joan: So now we call it the Dallas Contemporary. So that’s our shortened form. So that’s the part that’s getting blackened in the — er whitened, whitened in the logo.

JR: Was that the board who came up with that name?

Joan: Well, that was a committee —

JR: Oh, a committee. Was that before you?

Joan: No, it was while I was here. But it was a committee that then brought it to the board. Because there was also the Dallas Center of Contemporary Art. And then it could have been D-COCA.

JR: You mean the one in the 50s?

Joan: The Dallas Center Of Contemporary Art.

Well, we were playing with this name. It could have been D-COCA, because COCA is a familiar name for contemporary centers like MOCA and MOMA was.

And the idea was to pick something that anybody who travels around the world looking for contemporary museums can find. So that’s how we got to DCOCA, but the board was not as comfortable with the OF contemporary art as FOR contemporary art.

(JR chortles.)

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Joan: So that’s how we got to the Dallas Center for Contemporary Art and the shortened name being The Contemporary. Now it’s the Dallas Contemporary.

JR: So somebody from out of town who doesn’t know that, was looking at a list someplace wouldn’t find that.

Joan: But the logo would have been different. It would have been the anachronism. The — Anachronism’s not the right word. The. The —

JR: Yeah. That other word that sounds like that is.

Joan: The word that starts with an a when you get all the letters together.

But then we decided that we weren’t going to do it with the letters, because that’s the thing about the innies and the outties. It’s only the press that’s picked up on that DCCA thing. Or —

JR: Well, it’s easier for us to say.

Joan: But we’ve never published it.

JR: But it’s obnoxious.

Joan: Right. And then the goal is to drop the The.

But we’re going to wait, because there are places that alphabetize us with a T.

JR: Oh yeah, sure.

Because people don’t know how to alpha anymore.

JR: Right. Well.

Joan: But that will cycle slowly. So the name has been a problem, I do agree. But that was chosen with a lot of consideration.

JR: Well, sure, but by a board not necessarily in the game of publicity.

Joan: Right. But the people who brought it to the board were advertising people.

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JR: Yeah, but they didn’t know what they were doing.

Joan: Oh, true. It wasn’t a good pick, but [sigh], that’s one of those things.

JR: There’s just so many ‘contemporary’ things. I’m beginning to develop a theory that Modern — that’s an era. That’s a distinct era. And we’re in Post-Modern, so it’s pretty much over — The Modern Era is.

I’m wondering whether The Contemporary Era is over. If we have a name for it —

Joan: We don’t have a name for it.

JR: It’s in the past already.

Joan: But we don’t have a new name.

JR: Yeah. But we don’t develop new names, generally —

Joan: I know. So something will come, but it hasn’t come yet.

Yeah.

Yeah, it’s true. The post, post, Post-Modern.

 

 

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[Break while Joan talks on her cell.]   

 

JR: Nearly an hour. What time is it? Does anyone know?

Joan: It’s about five till five.

JR: I can’t think of anything we haven’t covered. I’m supposed to take pictures, but the light in here is dismal, and I do need a photograph of you sitting at your desk or something like that. Or if you —

Joan: I have one that Paul had taken. But it’s at home.

JR: Paul?

Joan: Paul Abbott is the artist that works on the computers, and he’s a photographer.

JR: I’d be happy to use that. [But I never got it.]

 

Joan: Um... What would you want this place to be?

JR: I would want it to be a mix of Dallas and Texas, with Dallas first.

That’s what it was planned originally when Mary Ward brought her concept to the Artists Coalition of Texas, which is what the Non-Profit Status originated as.

That was the plan — to show Dallas artists.

That was also our plan originally with DARE, which became The MAC. You remember, you were on that board.

And it just never happens. Always, Dallas artists get left out of the mix, because we’re not commercial. But that was the reason to have these institutions, was to have a place to show.

Not necessarily me, but people who’re really good at it, who haven’t achieved gallery success. A place to show. That’s what The MAC was all about— was supposed to be all about.

That’s certainly what DARE was all about. The MAC was a throw together at the last minute sort of thing. That has stood the test of time.

That’s the McKinney Avenue Contemporary. This is the Swiss Avenue Contemporary — SWAC and MAC. Talk about acronyms — that’s the word you were looking for.

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I want something where Dallas artists can show, but also a place that would show Texas artists. So we would get the cachet of Texas artists. It probably wouldn’t be Surls and Luis Jimenez and those guys anymore.

Joan: It would be these guys [gesturing at the paintings around us in the gallery].

JR: Yeah, I guess. I don’t know these guys.

Joan: The emerging artists.

JR: Well, I think you’d need to show — I’m not saying you would need to show. In my dream, it would probably be these guys, right, I just don’t know these guys.

I don’t know people — artists — outside of Dallas.

I am just absolutely honing in on Dallas. I like, personally, Texas artists, and I am willing to write about them and list them on my Artists With Web Pages page and things like that.

But D-Magazine had it right when they called me “The Best Dallas Arts Promoter,” because I’m not interesting in promoting Texas artists.

I’m not interested in promoting national artists, at all.

People think that they’re thrilling me when they send long, wordy PR statements about their show of somebody who’s “internationally renowned.”

You know what? I don’t care. That’s just not my interest, at all.

My interest is Dallas artists.

So when Dallas artists seem to be left out of the mix, I get worried. I get concerned.

That’s one of my concerns about here and The MAC. And the two institutions can claim all they want that they are not in competition, but they are — The MAC is your most direct competition, absolutely.

The names almost the same. What you’re doing is very very similar. They’re doing traveling shows.

Joan: Competition, but also the two that serve the community in a similar way. They’re competition not only for audience but for membership.

Uh-huh.

JR: Which is a third of your budget. And I suspect of Mind Space.

Joan: Uh-huh.

People tend to be either pro this place or pro The MAC. They’re some overlap —

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Joan: Is it healthier for us to have two?

JR: It is much healthier to have two, but neither of them are serving Dallas artists specifically.

Joan: It’s true. I have never heard the Dallas part, and our 501 (c) 3 says “to support and promote the art and artists of Texas.” I never saw the Dallas part.

JR: The Dallas part — you asked me —

Joan: Yes, I did.

JR: The Artists Coalition of Texas was trying to become a statewide organization. I was very familiar with those people. They actually published DallasArtsRevue for awhile. And I’ve always suspected that them calling DallasArtsRevue “DARt” around the office led to naming this, earlier, D-Art.

Joan: When did you start publishing?

JR: December 1979.

Joan: Yeah. This institution started in 81.

JR: Well, there’s some question

Joan: I don’t know about it. You know more about the history. But that’s when we got our 501(c)3.

JR: I don’t remember the date right now.

Joan: That’s when we got our 501(c)3 — [19]81.

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JR: No. You had the 501(c)3. The 501(c)3 was from the Artists Coalition of Texas. It was established already.

Joan: But our 501(c)3 says, “D-Art, a visual art center.” D-apostrophe, a visual art center.

JR: Right. The 501(c)3 was established, and then that [D'Art] name was applied to that. You changed the name. But you needed that [the nonprofit status] to start with, so you can ask for tax-free funds.

Joan: But it still exists that way.

JR: Right.

Joan: So, just to tell you, while thinking about the art in this room, that’s a Dallas artist, that’s a Dallas artist. In the other room —

JR: Name them, please. This is a tape.

Joan: Sure. This is James Ryan Moore. This is Rachael Stein. That is Kirsten [sigh]. I don’t remember Kirsten’s last name at the moment. And around the corner is Arronn Guy and across the gallery from her is Chris Jaggers. Those are all Dallas artists. And in the hall there’s John Breziel, Dallas artist.

JR: One of the guys from the Critic’s Choice selections.

Joan: Denton, if you count that.

JR: Yes.

Joan: And outside is Fort Worth, if you count that. That’s Cam Schoepp.

JR: Yes. Did you — oh, that’s Cam Schoepp.

Did you curate this show?

Joan: Yes. That’s what I do when I do.

JR: So this is your decision. This is your taste.

Joan: Exactly.

JR: What would you be doing if you had your druthers? If you didn’t have to worry about financial?

Joan: Just curate.

JR: Just curating?

Joan: Uh-huh. Oh, wrong, Amy Adelman did the reflectors. Denton.

JR: On the front wall.

Joan: Uh-huh.

You’d just be curating. That’d be much happier for you than directing —

That’s what I’d love to do. That’s what I love, what I do.

JR: Than directing a semi-major arts organization?

Joan: I raise the money to make it possible so the art can be on the wall. Because if I didn’t have the wall, I couldn’t show the art.

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JR: Isn’t that what a director’s job is for an art center, in general, is to raise enough money to pay themselves and all the other expenses? It’s more of a financial thing than the other — ah, it’s all the same thing.

Joan: It’s reality. No-no-no. It’s reality. This the luxury. That’s the reality.

JR: Your institution, because it exists — bricks and mortar, they call it — has to be funded at a considerable expense to somebody.

Mine, because it exists in pixels is a whole lot cheaper. Mine is $57 a month, almost no matter what. I pay some of my writers now, and there’s a little more expense to it. But not much.*

I would go crazy, if I had to — I’m not a good enough people person, at all. I’m the reclusive guy who sits back and reflects and writes and pisses half the people off half the time anyway.

Joan: Listening to what you say and having an exhibition on the web is certainly a much more reasonably priced way to go.

JR: Yeah, but nobody goes there. I have an exhibition [online].

Joan: But I wouldn’t be satisfied unless I could stand in front of it, and see how it talks to the other works and how it talks to the public.

JR: Yeah, me too. Now there’s not so much of that going on here, but I like the impasto, the texture of paint. That’s what excites me. When I’m standing in front of this, much of the —

Joan: Much of this work is flat. Yeah. You have texture there. And you certainly have texture in the Mix pieces. And you certainly have pictures in the hall and out in the garden and in those wood pieces.

Much of this is very interesting. It is the direction of much of the artists at the moment. And it’s much more about flatness.

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Joan: Some of the artists.

JR: It’s — I saw the show, and in my art ennui period, so I didn’t say anything about it, but the way I summed it up to myself was “without passion.”

There’s not much — it’s “Medium Cool.” That’s the other phrase that came.

It’s — There’s not a lot of excitement going on. It’s colors — that’s a silhouette or a it’s a —. The medium here, is cool. So it’s a play on words. It’s a nice —

Joan: Yes, yes it is. It’s a nice name.

JR: Yeah.

Joan: A very nice name.

JR: Yeah, you’d like it. I think of it as sorta nugatory.

Joan: For you it’s a negative.

JR: Yeah. But that’s okay.

Joan: It is. It’s abstraction, and abstraction by nature, other than Abstract Expressionism, is cool.

JR: Sure. As a photographer, naturally I would be in favor of realistic. Even in the abstractions, I see real objects, sure.

Joan: So there’s two artists here are more figurative than others, but then you’ve got this one that —

JR: But those pieces are not —

Joan: No-no-no. Those are very flat. It’s very much about abstraction.

JR: It’s not into any kind of passion or —

Joan: No. No-no-no. And then, as far as surface on these two —

JR: Or excitement.

Joan: You might talk about the imagery, but there’s definitely a sense of texture.

JR: Sure. Yeah.

Joan: And then on the text pieces, the texture goes inside rather than outside. Yeah, because they’re carved in.

JR: Now, is that a reflection — since these are selected by you — is that a reflection of your inner self somehow?

Joan: Well. When I come up with an exhibition idea, it’s based on what I see artists do.

JR: Uh-huh.

Joan: And it rolls around in my brain — this idea — for about one and a half to two years. Since I last did a painting exhibition, which was 2002.

It was the second exhibition that I did here. It was called Wall Power. It was over-sized paintings.

And it was time to do paintings again, because we hadn’t focused on paintings. And when I know that I’m seeing enough artists

 

[End of Side One of the tape]

 

Joan: ... what artists are doing, based on my eye.

JR: Sure.

Joan: And this, came together. But there’s also a whole other show I could pull together post haste, as Painting Attack II. Because when I look at art like this, I find more than I can hang at one time.

JR: Sure. One hopes so.

Joan: It would become the next range.

JR: What are plans —

Joan: Okay.

JR: Next and after next?

Joan: Okay.

JR: Near horizon and far horizon?

Joan: So, short and farther away. Auction comes next, of which is almost 100 Dallas artists

[Laughter]

JR: But they’re donating their work.

Joan: Yes, but they’re invited to do so.

JR: Sure.

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Joan: It is very much about people walking home with Dallas artist’s works under their arms. Then Pairings, so we’re doing Pairings again with Dallas Museum of Art, with another set of artists.

[To Christie] Are you leaving to leave to leave to leave? You must excuse me. Christie is —

JR: Sure. We can just call a halt to this right now.

Joan: Yeah. But I just want to tell you about future projects, just real quick.

 

[Tape starts again.]

 

Joan: Once again, which we had hoped for as a biennial, but it will probably be maybe four years again, before we do it again. Because they need more advance — The Dallas Museum of Art — to get that kind of thing going.

We can turn quicker, because we’re a smaller institution. And then the summer show, which is the Members, and some juror that will choose for Hall Works, then the Legends, and we’re getting ready to get the nomination forms out for that. And then the last show of the year will be called Moving Pictures, and it’s co-curated by John Pomara and Dean Terry up at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Artists who are using technology, but the work is more about painting than it is about photography. So using technology to produce —

JR: Of course, that school, since —

Joan: Painting-aligned work

JR: Since Jerry Hunt was a teacher there, has been always been thick with technology.

Joan: So the idea is that we would always focus on Texas. But that we would get to a place where we could also incorporate a national or an international artist within each group exhibition.

This is a way of showing the world that this work is as good as what is being done globally. And I travel a lot — in my opinion it is, and I travel a lot.

JR: Wouldn’t hurt your publicity, either.

Somebody called Joel — I work one day a week at Joel Cooner Gallery. They called him and asked his opinion of “starting a gallery to sell unknown artists,” and Joel just thought that was ridiculous. And of course it is financially ridiculous, but to sell known artists, you can make some money at. And if you show national artists.

Joan: But I’m not saying no. I’m saying it’s still gotta be something we can afford to do.

So it’s got to be some emerging artist that’s going to fit in with our theme that’s doing something that relates to what we’re doing and has something new to say, from someplace else that we wouldn’t see it.

It’s one thing to look within yourself — within the state, but you have to look outside your self and see, oh, how do you stack up.

JR: Uh-huh.

Joan: And so we see a little bit of that when these artists come from, well — the parameters they come from are “lived, worked, schooled or born, here. Now, when they don’t travel elsewhere, and they still are a Texas artist, based on that, then we get to see the influence of the national exposure.

JR: Hmm.

Joan: But also bringing in other artists that have international exposure, and how do our artists look next to those? And what’s their mentality, creatively.

So to get to that place, and then what we’re doing, as I told you, is surveying what’s our potential for finding our own home.

Because I really believe that’s the part of why we’re not seen as — why we don’t have our own identity. Because we’re nested in Meadows Community that has been very lovely for us, but it’s also not given us our own, singular self.

JR: One of the things — one of the ways — one of the techniques The MAC uses is these shows where they’ll show a name Dallas artist — usually someone who’s left here — like John Alexander or all those guys — at the same time as a major gallery is showing their work, so the major gallery can bring people in and back and forth, and so they can sell work and help support The MAC.

It seems — I can see why they do it, but it angers me when that happens over and over again. But one of the nice offshoots of all that is great publicity.

And you have several times mentioned — at least one time today — “The best center that nobody knows about.” And I think it’s probably not a good idea to repeat that very often, because then you start thinking that way.

Joan: Oh, right, right. And I don’t.

JR: You really want more people to know about it, and one of the ways you can get more people to know about it is by showing more famous artists.

Joan: But then you are not showing the emerging artists, which is what we are doing —

JR: Yes. I know. Then I’d write about it. So, I understand —

Joan: Then, as Karen said, we’re an incubator for young artists. You came in and you don’t really know these artists, because they’re the young artists making work that’s worthy of being seen. And why Clint Willour hadn’t seen it yet.

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That’s our job. To give these artists their jump on a career ladder. And then let them go, and see where they go. And so that doesn’t — we do show the established artists — at Legends — That’s when we see the established artists.

JR: One.

Joan: Or during something like Pairings. And that was because DMA — because we wouldn’t have — I would have shown emerging — but DMA had to have a comfort level about who was coming in to look at the work to determine what they were picking. And it needed to be artists they were familiar with.

JR: Sure.

Joan: They were not going to accept some young stud. They would have accepted [[unintelligible]]. Yeah.

So that became another time to show the established. Those are the only two times we show established artists. Everything else is emerging — and often times these artists’ first opportunity in a public venue. That’s why we do what we do.

JR: ‘kay.

Joan: And do you know why Texas?

You, of all people, probably know why Texas.

JR: Because that’s what the 502(c)3, among other things, says, is your —

Joan: But also because Texas has the third largest artists population in the country.

JR: Hmm.

Joan: So we want to keep the talent in the state. We don’t want a talent drain.

JR: Right.

Joan: And if we’re going to give these artists these opportunities, there’s reason for them to stay here. And then they can watch — and see a David Bates can create his own career here still in the state.

JR: Well, he had some help from outside, after all.

Joan: A Vernon Fisher can still create art in his own state.

JR: Right.

Joan: So that’s why. There’s plenty of good art being done here.

JR: Yeah, but —

Joan: We’re giving those artists an opportunity to be seen.

JR: Good.

Joan: Maybe not as much a Dallas focus as you would hope for, but hopefully balanced.

But enough also to keep it interesting for the people who do pay attention and keep up with these things. That there’s new blood for them to discover.

JR: Thank you very much.

 

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Footnotes

  1. Joan's changes: I'd like to E-mail her and have her check this story out, but she doesn't use E-mail or the Internet.  Back to introduction.
      
  2. Tape recorder: It's a Sony TCM-200DV, the best interview taper I've ever had — $30 at Best Buy.  Back to text.
       
  3. Texas focus: The D in D-Art was Dallas — it was always Dallas focus, from the very beginning, though Mary Ward's tenure, through Patricia Meadows' tenures, through Vicki Meek's tenure, through Katherine Wagner's tenure. Before Joan Davidow, D-Art, D'Art, DVAC were always focused on artists in this area.  Back to text.
       
  4. That page was created in 2001, and it was true then. Newer mentions have been added. You can visit the D-Art Index page or go back to text.
      
  5. The tape mosaic was a temporary installation by DARts Supporting Member Sonia King. You can see a picture of it and the story from on the DARts old News page. You can see more images by Sonia on her DARts Supporting Member page.   Back to text.
      
  6. What I'd actually do is take it back to what D-Art founder, Mary Ward (also on the old news page), planned when she originally proposed an art center for Dallas artists — and what Patricia Meadows made of it — except I'd be more discerning and invite a variety of curators.  Back to text.
       
  7. The page that search engines still dredge up is from 2001. You can visit that page or  go back to the text above.
       
  8. Why Texas? Because that's where we are.  Back to text.
      
  9. Size Limitation: Visit the old News page again to read a poem by Bill Verhelst expounding on the limitations of size Back to text.
      
  10. Pairings: DARts' extensive coverage of that show mixing Dallas artists and Dallas Museum of Art art, is here.  Back to text above.
      
  11. The Feng Shui colors were professionally applied, and designed to draw money, of which DVAC had little. The colors were attractive and similar to walls at the DMA during Richard Brettell's directorship.   Back to text.
      
  12. Now Joan Davidow wants everybody to call it The Dallas Contemporary. Before, she wanted us to call it The Contemporary. During this whole long interview she never once called it anything but "the institution."  Back to text.
      
  13. In the 50s: The much-abused term, Contemporary, has been applied to many Dallas institutions. Visit our Which Contemporary? page for more info, including a short history of the Oak Lawn museum of that name, set up in the 50s.  Back to text.
      
  14. DARE Board: Both J R Compton and Joan Davidow were founding DARE Board Members. J R did PR and was board secretary. Joan found the first DARE building.  Back to text.
     
  15. Artists With Web Pages lists all Dallas and many Texas artists who have web pages showing their art.  Back to text.
      
  16. Actually, "I said D-Arts had it right," which had to be confusing. It confused me. But, of course, it was D-Magazine. For more information, including the whole blurb in the August 2004 issues, visit the DARts Best Promoter page.  Back to text.
      
  17. Best Dallas Arts Promoter: There's a story about this honor, including the full text of the citation.  Back to text.
       
  18. Web cost: Neatly forgetting the expense of computers and software and cameras, gas, electricity, phone bills, my time, energy, etc, most of which I pay with money from other pursuits, like doing web pages and taking photographsBack to text.
       
  19. Geographic: It doesn't really matter where visitors come from. DallasArtsRevue promotes Dallas art and artists to readers all over the world.  Back to text.

 

For additional information about The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art, DVAC, and D-Art, visit the DARts Index of Stories about D-Art on this site or the official Dallas Center for Contemporary Art website.

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