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Letters from  2014-16 on this page
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E-mail the editor with positive, negative or other comments or feedback to anything on this site or in Dallas art. State full www address for any page you are referring to. Sign it or don't sign it or use a fake name, if you'd prefer. Note if you do not want your letter published — although I'd prefer to get your opinion without a signature than not get it. Letters will only be edited for space and sense. If you're mean about it, I won't edit at all. I love opinionated letters.

September 11, 2016

Thank you so much for the sensitive and kind review. It has brightened my evening. I am presently in OK helping care for my mother … . All of those thoughts about the fragile and impermanent human condition in my work are very real today. I appreciate all of the work and thought you put into your reviews.

Marilyn (Jolly)

August 12, 2016

Hi there,

I came across your artwork, and I'm quite impressed with your aesthetic and technique. I'm the Head of Artist Recruitment for VIDA, a company where artists can create their own fashion brands based on their artwork. I wanted to email to you to introduce myself and to get VIDA on your radar. VIDA is backed by Google Ventures, and I'm responsible for identifying top artistic talent, which is why I am writing to you.

I wanted to reach out and see if you'd be interested in working with us to adapt your artwork into elevated fashion products. Your work is impressive, and I think it will translate into apparel and accessories beautifully.

VIDA is also 100% committed to socially-responsible manufacturing, as we donate 10% of every sale to fund literacy for our factory workers. Additionally, we offer a significant percentage of any given sale of your work back to you as artist commission. Plus we handle all of the manufacturing, order fulfillment, and shipping for our artists.

Please let me know if you have any questions about working with us. In the meantime, feel free to check out our artist studio page to fiddle around with out product creation tool and begin setting up your collection url. Also, I've added a few images below to illustrate how we translate our artists' works into stunning apparel.

So looking forward to the chance to work with you! Let me know if I can provide more information as you are considering the collaboration.

Best regards,

VIDA & Co.

image sent by Erica at VIDA & Co.

Image sent by Erica at VIDA & Co.

Erica is obviously a superb judge of artistic quality. - J R


December 19, 2015

One of the links in the David McManaway article states that Murray Smither operated the "Cranfield" Gallery. It was the Cranfill Gallery. I am unclear as to the identity of "Mary Wright" mentioned in the article. Betty Cranfill Wright was the name of the woman who backed Murray in the gallery. She later committed suicide in the DalPark garage (the garage built in the 1960s across Commerce Street from Neiman Marcus).

The late arts patroness Nona Barrett, back in the days when she was known as Lucy Norsworthy, was employed by Murray at the Cranfill Gallery. She would frequently get her meals at The Happy Daisy in the old Quadrangle (the "old" Quadrangle having later been demolished to make way for the current Quadrangle). The Happy Daisy had great burgers, far better then those foisted on the unwitting public by Hop Doddy, Liberty Burger or Village Burger Bar.


September 30, 2015

J R,
Thank you so much for your great images and thoughtful comments on my show at Barry's. I've never said this to you but I really value the part you play in the Dallas art community. You always report on galleries and events that you think are important and some are not the most popular or of the moment venues. This broad all encompassing view of the Dallas art scene is a rare thing to find today. Thanks again for your interest in both my work and Frances'. Over the years you have always documented our work with insight and visual beauty. Thirty seven years goes by fast.

All the best,
Tom [Orr]

February 22 20144

April 20, 2015

Thanks for the show review...always interesting to read...and thank you for liking my photograph Book Light

Oscar Duran


April 13, 2015

Thank you for focusing your attention on Dallas galleries, and thank you for all the mentions about our artists. Valton Tyler's label [was] attached. Sometimes in the installation of labels, the adhesion causes a problem, hence the absence of it when you visited.

The Mark Messersmith painting in our booth will be reproduced on the Earth Day Dallas poster and Messersmith will be in town to autograph it at the end of this month.

Thank you again,

Cheryl [Vogel]


April 4, 2015

I was going onto your site to list an up-coming exhibition and I noticed someone had posted one of my images already...? Any who, if I might include the following info as a caption that would be great:


I reviewed your work I saw in a gallery somewhere. Standard caption format in DallasArtsRevue.com is artist's name, title, year date, mediums, price if available. It is not an opportunity to advertise your email or website, although I wouldn't mind including your site in the text somewhere. I was impressed by your work and hoping you were from around here. NTSU grad is good enough. I like my version of your painting much better. Do I have the title and medium correct? I guess you did not read the text.

J R Compton


My apologies JR - I didn't click on the review - missed it completely. I'm grateful for everything you wrote, even the comment about the "pasted on boats" that now look... "pasted on" to me. Thanks for doing what you do with the website- I'm now a regular follower from now on.


February 22, 2015

Hey JR...

Thank you for the thoughtful and deeply researched commentary on the Water Theatre "controversy" at the Bath House.

Placing artworks in a lake will always be problematic and this should have been obvious to the selection committee right from the start. The maquette for this public work was exquisite, but any expectations of its physical condition remaining pristine and intact were extremely optimistic.

This site-specific art was certainly an adventurous challenge and limit pushing experiment in how art survives in a difficult exterior environment.

My first thoughts have been much like yours, do not destroy this installation, but refurbish it as is, in the most practical way possible. A good scrubbing and a fresh coat of phosphorescent paint to renew its nocturnal glow might be a welcome start.

The concept of granting the artists a new commission at another White Rock location as an alternative to restoring this installation is curious logic. If such a site is identified and funded, it makes more sense to invite Tom and Francis to present a proposal along with other finalists for such a project.

It will be interesting to see how this situation is resolved and what precedents the Public Art Committee chooses to set with their actions.


It was resolved in typical City of Dallas fashion. It was destroyed, then deleted. But they're going to pay the artists to do something else some other time and where.

;j r


March 1, 2015

Dear Mr. Compton:

In addition to his commentary on this debacle, I would like to have Dave Hickey's commentary on life with M. J. Smith and where she is now.

Seriously - I thought your piece was very well done and brought up a number of interesting topics such as the wealthy neighbors (who really can't view the piece as they claim they can) and the bird issues. It surprises me how little people know about birds and how many believe that one can easily "get rid of" them.

Another issue left untouched - I know there are some people (some artists, some not) who are resentful because they feel that Frances and Tom should either realize that such projects are finite or that they should have engaged engineers or other professionals who might have had some useful ideas about the construction or installation which would have increased the longevity of the piece. Some public art "goes away" quickly. I'm sure you know of other pubic art works which just disappeared or were lost or covered over (and possibly "uncovered" years later). Something else which I think bothers some people is that Frances and Tom are being "rewarded" by receiving payment for creating another piece and this seems like a reward for their careless and sloppy execution of a piece which must now be destroyed because it wasn't done with an eye toward permanence. Susan Magilow used to have a piece in a second-story glass-enclosed passageway of the Love Field parking garage, which piece was visible from the auto approach to the terminal but it's gone. I haven't heard anything about the disappearance of that item. What about that Robert Irwin piece downtown which apparently will have to be moved, removed or altered to facilitate a change in the nearby traffic patterns?

Anyhow, enjoyed your commentary,

James King


October 24, 2014

JR –

I read with interest your article on the White Rock Lake Water Theater. I am a big fan of the natural environment at White Rock Lake and a such I would like to comment on several of the points that you made.

1) Please don't lead with a picture of how the art looked when it was brand new, properly maintained, and at night. This is really unfair to the reality of the situation we have today where the artists refuse to maintain it; the city can't afford to maintain it; most lake users are there during the day; users rarely go up on the Bath House porch to properly view the display, and when they do they see decaying, leaning over poles. I don't know how many nights it looked like your photo, but it was surely very few compared to the years and years we have seen it in dilapidated condition in broad daylight.

2) Its not "Patinated" its "Dilapidated." The display is missing pieces, falling over, discolored, broken, and faded. Even the artists have admitted that they made poor selections for materials and that they are now beyond their useful life. The artists made a mistake when they designed and built this piece. Imagine what would happen now if this area was clear (like the rest of the lake) and the artists asked to install this material as it is. I think installation of this display now would be laughed at.

3) It is not just residents of the Peninsula Neighborhood who want the material removed from the lake. Also endorsing removal are the White Rock Lake Task force (26 area neighborhood and user groups, representing thousands of people) and For the Love of the Lake (which has its mission "To Preserve and Enhance White Rock Lake as an Urban Oasis.") In addition, I polled (pun!) around 100 people one day at the Bath House and all but one found the display to be confusing (old fishing dock?) and unattractive – and signed a petition to have it removed. Maybe you or the "art experts" do like rusting, leaning poles sticking out of the lake water, but I think you are in the minority.

4) Thanks for pointing out that the "cormorants dominate those perches" and that use by other birds is rare. There is a good reason that people don't like cormorants – stinky guano. Go to the north end of the lake this winter and smell it for yourself. I sure hope we don't get that kind of infestation and smell near the Bath House, and the first step of avoiding it would be taking out man-made cormorant attractors from the area.

The situation lately continues to make some people laugh, and others cry. You mentioned divers and guess what?!? - The City is about to pay underwater divers to go and study the foundations. Surely, that is money that could be spent on something far more valuable to the arts community. But, it gets worse - to fix and maintain this display at the level that it was originally intended, could cost something like $400,000 over the next ten years including repair and annual maintenance. Surely the arts community and the city can find something better to do with that kind of money. Maybe the Nasher with its millions should step up and buy this "internationally famous art work" and display it there – "patina" and all.

Instead, let's just all agree to do what is best for the lake and remove the remnants of this art work. Yes there are a few "art experts" who are using this situation as a pawn in some great game to rally support for arts funding. But the overwhelming majority of lake users just want it gone.

Rich Enthoven
For the Love of the Lake

When you grow up and have your own online art magazine, you can organize it however you wanna. This is mine, and as I have been since June 1979, I am and always will be "fiercely independent." I led with a photo of it in its early glory, kinda where one might think a writer/editor/publisher might put an historical image for a fairly balanced story about a controversial work of art, that I still loved.

I did not publish your insipid letter until the year after the idiot City of Dallas made their dumbwad decision to kowtow to the rich and infamous.

I published it now (January 29, 2016, because I'm finally catching up with feedback letters, and hope I'll post them when I get them instead of waiting years. I always wanted a lively feedback page.



June 19, 2014

I came across your web pages How to Photograph Art whilst looking for help on photographing calligraphy pieces. I belong to the Mendip Calligraphy Group, in Somerset UK. We hold a biennial exhibition and try to photograph as many of the pieces as possible for the archive we are building up. By then the majority of the pieces have been framed, so finding your very helpful instructions will be very useful for next year's exhibition.

This weekend we are doing a special taster workshop, where various members will share their particular areas of expertise, in small groups so that it will be possible to try more than one during the day. Foolishly, I volunteered to show people how to take accurate photographs of their work before framing it. Your instructions have enabled me to come up with a an aide memoire for what to tell them, and I shall feature your web URL prominently, but I would like your permission to quote: 'The best way to photograph art behind glass is to take the glass off' as I think it will really get the message across that it's easier to take a photo before rather than after the piece is framed.

Thank you for your very helpful tips, I hope to make good use of them in the coming months.

May 23, 2014

I just stumbled on your Dallas Arts Revue article, "How To Photograph Art or just about anything else." I needed it, I wanted it, and I didn't really expect to find it. Many thanks for a knowledgeable, informative, truly helpful piece, composed in an easy-to-absorb, humorous, but no-nonsense style. I've permanently bookmarked it.

My only dissent is, I have to use Elements because "full-bull Photoshop" is too cantankerous, highbrow and pricey, and at 82 I don't have the dough or the time to master it!

Grateful regards,
Larry Perkins


Arpil 6, 2014

J R,

That was such a great piece you wrote about the Water Theatre. Well said. It is questionable that there should be any public art at White Rock however, Frances and Tom did a superb job at creating a piece that spoke to the poetry of the lake. While there is discussion about a public/private maintenance plan for this piece, I marvel at that bottomless pit of wealth that flows into the manufactured piece of nature next door to the lake called The Arboretum. An institution that has a continuous running spigot of water paid for by the city of Dallas and an ongoing facelift from private donors. It is really a struggle for our city to show signs of age whatever that may look like. I have heard that they are also voting to deaccession the Robert Irwin. We should have our art card taken away from us as a city who doesn't deserve its lesser understood riches.

Thanks for your ongoing documentation of the lake and its inhabitants. I turned Sue Benner onto your website. Hope you're doing well. I emailed you after you did the piece on Love Field and it bounced back to me. So thank you for that as well.