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May 2002

Photographs by © 2002 by JR Compton

feedback follows

 Last Updated  Friday, 03-Jun-2011 15:03:59 PDT     

Other Rambles are listed on the Ramble Index

Hi gang, it must be that time again.

(Thinking ahead for a change, I sent this Ramble to myself at my other E-mail address. It came in truncated in less than a half — meaning I'd have to send it in three separate E-mails to get it to you, and that didn't seem very intelligent, so I abandoned the idea for awhile.

Eventually, I realized I could put it on a web page not linked anywhere but in a terse E-mail to you all. So here it is. Now I'm wishing I had some illustrations. It may be a little desperate, but I'll find something...

As I used to tell my students in Desktop Publishing Classes at Richland College, "No page is complete without a picture or two." )

This format also offers the opportunity, maybe even necessity, of updating it sporadically. That's one of the greatest things about publishing online. My obsessive little perfectionist heart can update update update all day and well into the night.

No particular subject this time around, perhaps, as usual. Just another ramble. It might go somewhere. Maybe.

Promoting yOur Pages

I've been going over the hit reports I get from EarthLink whenever I get around to it, which seems to happen on Tuesdays. The first week of this month - May - was the site's most popular, ever. It was so good, in fact, that I haven't dared return to the chart facility.

I'm attributing the surge of popularity — see the chart — to individual promotions of four pages:

It helps gobs when members promote their own pages on their own favorite, public places on the web.

Using E-mail Signatures

An easy way to promote your membership pages, is to use a signature — a simple text file saying something like: "See my new web page at http://www.DallasArtsRevue.com/members/C/Crowe.shtml, ( or whatever your URL actually is ). You might want to get a little more descriptive.

Then instruct your E-mail program to use that file as a signature, so it will automatically be attached at the bottom of every E-mail you send out. It's probably a Preference you set, under the Edit menu.

Thanks for the Feedback last time

Speaking of E-mail, thanks for all the positive — and other — feedback about my trepidatious and truly long shot bid for Legend Award status at next fall's D-Art ceremony.

The most interesting response was that I should settle down and wait, since I've only been doing DARts Online now for about two years — deftly neglecting the historic fact that I've actually been doing DARts for more than 23 years now, so far. Nearly a quarter of a century must surely qualify as legendary, me thinks...

You also reported several other possible nominees, whom I also favor — Barbara West (!) and Bill Verhelst. I like just being in that company, even if I did put me there myself...

Feedback from this edition of the Ramble is below.


Another, slightly disturbing bit of feedback I've got over the past month from three different people, who hadn't been talking to each other, was that I should remember that I have power in this community.

Power? me?

My initial response all three times was a tightening of shoulder muscles, sudden fisting of mitts and involuntary grimacing repetition of those dreaded words. "Power?" much like Maynard G. Krebbs' classic "Work?"


But, jokes aside. It's a sobering experience.

I've been even more careful lately. To tell truths and promote good things. And _try_ to stay out of stuff I know nothing about. And to stay in things I do know stuff about and maybe can help.

One member told me I should continue to be "D-Art's conscience." I suppose they really need one.

One of the things I actively try to do is keep myself human and involved as a human being and a fellow artist, which sometimes involves positive and negative, personal feelings. I think it's important to keep the subjective, human element in Dallas Arts Revue.

After all, DARts is me (and, of course, you), and us is it.


As I pointed out in the recent 500X Open Show critique, "I should probably note here that I have never believed that objectivity was either possible or a particularly desirable trait, and that you'll find darned little of it on the pages of this site."

Something else I try always to do is sign my opinions. It may seem egomaniacal, but when overt opinions are expressed on DARts, I want the readers to know whose they are.

I should also posit that I sometimes change my mind. Those opinions may be set in pixels, but not in stone.

Which brings to mind the Visual Arts Center of Dallas, which in addition to its close-copy of D-Art's previous name (DVAC) (D-Art is now The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art) has the rather long-winded hope to

"Create a unified voice for the visual arts in the Dallas community, to seek professional exhibition space in the Dallas Arts District, in the new Performing Arts Center, and in the downtown area for local artists and art shows sponsored by Dallas arts organizations, to acquire suitable, affordable meeting space for workshops, demonstrations and cultural exchanges; to assist community organizations to create visual art opportunities in Dallas; encourage community artists to contribute to the cultural identity of Dallas; and to establish a registry for visual artists and patrons and act as a clearing house for local arts opportunities and information."

Having a unified voice for the visual arts in Dallas frightens me even more than getting the government involved in art.

We are way too diverse for a single voice to represent us all.

That the organization wants to represent groups as diverse as the Craft Guild and Texas Sculpture Association on one end of the balance, and groups like the Porcelain Art Guild, Wear Artists of Dallas and the Dallas Bead Society on the far end of the other, only makes me nervous.

An exhibition space in the Performing Arts Center sounds benign enough, even valuable for us all. But that bit about contributing to the cultural identity of Dallas sounds too much like the horse pucky, me-too-ism of the Dallas Sores project — that engendered ugly, painted statues that still blot our urban landscape — hollow plastic monuments to somebody's lack of taste.

But there's a lot I don't know about this bunch. They claim to represent 5,000 Dallas artists. I'm not even sure there are that many.

There's obviously still a yearning among a lot of Dallas artists and craftspersons for a genuine Dallas arts center — the kind that D-Art, under various names, tried to be for so long and that The MAC never even aspired to.

First person singular involvement

Something else DARts has been doing all along is putting my and other contributors' selves in the stories we write about art. That we are all actual artists helps significantly. We're not just critics, we make art and show art and sometimes even get paid for art.

And so we attempt to keep our first person singular and plural art selves in the mix, not shying too often away from exposing our soft underbellies.

Well, we try, at least.

We have finally finished an interview with Norman Kary, and it's even been updated some.


We're thinking of at least thee other people to do interviews with — and we're trying to keep the genders balanced. We think talking with Dottie Love might be fascinating. And an interview with Barbara West is long overdue. She may know more about Dallas art and artists than anybody.

As the feedback below indicates, several members think it's a great idea to interview Joan Davidow, which we'll attempt in July.

If you have any nominations to the DARts Interviews ( newly linked to its own subindex ), please E-mail them to us.

How to spell DallasArtsRevue.com

Quite without planning to, I've set a new policy about spelling DallasArtsRevue.com with capital letters, instead of all those lowercase ones. It looks spiffier and, dare I say it, more professional. I tried it out many months ago, and it works just fine.

Oh, and I fully realize there's a bunch of busses and trains out there calling themselves DARTS, but I just want to remind anybody who'll listen that the correct and proper way to nick the name for DallasArtsRevue.com is to call it DARts, not DAR, although you'd think I'd be tolerant of that and other near misses.

I still think that someday I'll get around to doing a simple GIF annimation whereby a few seconds after you get to a page full of opinions back there in the DARts stacks, you'll be startled by three darts whistling across the screen somewhere in the big middle of gray paragraphs of text. By the time you realize that the darts have each found their target, the vibrational thunk each made will only be an echo in your ear.

Thoop, thoop, thoooop! throb-b-b-b-b!

500X and other organizations

Thanks to those of you who put work in the 500X Open Show. It's one of my long-term goals to greatly increase the quality of that show, although even I have to wonder if the current crew there is worth it.

It turns out that quite independently over the years, both Kathy DelloStritto and I have been invited to be on the board of that hallowed institution. And both of us were subsequently, and inexplicably turned down.

I've let my D-Art membership lapse, and joined its arch enemy, the other Contemporary — the one on McKinney Avenue. I rarely belong to more than one of those things at a time, though it's really nice to have someplace where it's relatively easy, or at least possible, to show my work a couple times a year. I must say I really felt at home over on Swiss Avenue till Joan took over. Last several times I've been there, I've just been totally nervous. I feel bad there.

Does anybody else have this problem? Or is it just me?  

Out 500X Window, 2002

The photo I have in the 500X Open Show is of 500X itself, a tradition I started at last year's D-Art membership show, which was of my friend Karen Erxleben Weiner spokesmodeling a Cindy Sherman book during an early Art Movie Night, when Anita Horton still ran it, and it was in one of the back board rooms there. Coincidentally enough, Anita was run off by Joan D, and Karen is titular head of the group now, although neither Joan nor Karen showed up the last several times. Like all but one of the original group, Kathy and I have quit going.

Karen ERXleben Weiner Spokesmodeling Cindy Sherman Book at Art Movie Night, 2001 

I already have a piece potraying The MAC that I want to use there. I just love that bright blue and building with its yellow accents. It's hard to imagine two gaudier buildings in all of Dallas — The McKinney Avenue Contemporary and the Swiss Avenue Contemporary...

Walls + Floors at The MAC, 2002

I'm not really a big fan of either right now, but I need a place to show my work until the DCVA gets their building up in the Arts District, so my photos can share space with the Dallas Bead Society and the Calligraphers. I can hardly wait. The new Hispanic Art Center probably won't let me in once they find out my very conservative father used to be a grower...


Questions needing answers from you

I'm seriously considering adding yet another benefit of DARts membership — the promise that I won't say negative things about your art. I can think of at least two of you that I've started to in the last few weeks. Then I demurred. Should I promise you that?

I think it would be a distinct conflict of interest to negatively critique work by member artists? What do you think?

Also, I'm about to make it a policy that once I get members' pages put together, and I can't get their E-mail attention for a week or so, I'm just going to put their pages online, without waiting the forever it might take for them to respond, proofread their pages and have us get on with it. Any dissent?

That's 1,715 words, so far. Probably enough for awhile.

Except I should welcome David Hickman and The White Rock Lake Artists' Tour ( separate memberships - the Tour joining as an event, thus becoming DARts' first-advertiser, which is wonderful, even though I try to promote the event anyway. They're gonna put DARts' web address on 10,000 flyers! ).

Joining in May were: Richard Ray, who joined independently several months after his wife, Marty Ray, did, and Robert L Berry, Jr from Fort Worth, and Norman Kary, who tried to get away with just donating money but I insisted on a page of his work, and Chris Bergquist Fulmer of Coppell, all of whose pages are up and ready for your perusal.

Thank you all so very much. — ; j r


Feedback from JR's May Midnight Ramble

Commerce or Compromise?

Don't bite my head off this time! You are asking for feedback — so here is what I think with regard to the question of saying/not saying negative things about your members. ( I assume you ask for feedback in order to continuously perfect your product, and that is the spirit I give it in. )

I think that your website serves at least two functions: to inform and to critique. The issue with promising your members that you won't say anything negative about them is that it could be interpreted as saying: support me monetarily and I will compromise my honesty.

On the other hand, when someone becomes your member, they are becoming comrades in the cause — what truer friend do you have than the one that gives you his hard earned dollar and puts his trust in you? That's why I suggested last month that opinions be segregated from facts.

Maybe there's a better way to deal with it — but it's the area of trust that was my concern. I don't think members want you to be dishonest, but maybe there's a way to be honest with a clarification that this is one man's opinion ( subject, as you say, to change ). Anyway, must go — I can tell you enjoy what you do and that's so important.


Smart Marketing?

Hello JR

I just read your "rambling" ( too bad it is for members only ) — It seems I have just visited with you for a few minutes in person — you write as you talk — and with honesty — always!

As far as making negative comments about members' work — that might not be a smart marketing idea, but who wants to be smart in marketing — I would rather you feel uncensored about making honest comments about art ( any art ). I say, stay the same JR, speak your mind.

We artists can take it — after all it will be SIMJROP — SIMply JR's OPinion.

To answer your other questions — why not interview Joan!

That's all for now.

Marty Ray

Local Art in an art center?

The Texas Sculpture Association has moved its mailing address from DVAC to the Creative Arts Center. It's a much friendlier environment — and actually has local art!

Texas Sculpture Association
2360 Laughlin Dr
Dallas, TX 75228

Jeff Green

Interview Joan?

Interview Joan? YES, DEAR. Great idea. I hope she'll do it.


Honest critique

I expect an honest critique to my face, which I think, based on past comments, I receive, so I expect the same in print. I also expect that in any critique of my work, you not use as many commas as I am using in this reply.

J.R. you are.



Thanks JR - I think your web page is a service that's really needed.



Sensitive Creatures

Couldn't get the feedback page to work. Not your fault but mine. About critiques of member's work. If we are going to put our work "out there" for everyone to see, then we should be able to accept people's views of our work whether we agree or not.

Otherwise, we may as well just keep the work under wraps in the studio, or better yet, not even make the stuff. Artists are generally sensitive creatures and having opinions stated about one's work may seem like a personal attack. If someone doesn't particularly like my work, I am not offended. After all, there are many styles of art and most of us have some of which we are not very fond.

I think though that all work has some value, and even if the piece is something we would not necessarily make or want to buy, we can possibly find something about it from which to learn or appreciate. I do not believe that membership should offer a screen from critique.


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