We attended my first-ever
Blue Yule at The MAC Friday, and I don't think I'll need to do that again. Some traditions may be best left unrepeated.

Lots of people there, including many artists. Close parking was, of course, full. This is one art center obviously not prepared to have a large audience. Mine was the only car parked at the school down and across the street. Inside The MAC wasn't packed. But it was close.

Mexican food was great and plentiful, but there wasn't an unsugared drink in the house, and this diabetic can't do sugar or alcohol, so it was drear in the wet department from the start. But as social it was nice, and I saw folks I hadn't in years.

I'd donated a ormanent (See Artist's Notes.). And for a radical change, I felt good about the donation. Most times artists get conned into donating stuff to benefit auctions, they lose every which way.

Buyers buy cheap and get full tax break, while artists legally may only expense materials. Work is devalued, and established prices are trashed. We think we're doing it to make a name, then ours gets misspelled or lost, and we rarely discover who got our work. Usually donating art is a rip.

EASL auctions are an important and exceptional exception to this depressing rule.

But The MAC offered free, one-year memberships, and I still feel kinda okay about Dallas' more original Contemporary art center -- after despising them for years for abandoning their founding principle of showing deserving Dallas artists while eschewing Big Time Art Guys from Out of Town.

At least they give more than one annual opportunity to show members' work (unlike D-Art) and lately, the company in those shows has been superior (unlike D-Art). My piece sold early -- to a nice MAC person, who expressed delight at snagging it early, although she left it up awhile, so it didn't look like she'd grabbed it pre public. She obviously appreciated it. I even got a chance to photo it, strung up on one of the long, suspended pipes that looked nothing like Christmas trees.

Time Stood Still - in Neiman's downtown windows
 

Blue Yule had some of the makings of a great party. But I was weak from a nasty cough all week, and a little tentative anyway. We didn't mind so much the relative darkness that made scoping out the 'art' a challenge, but we were not ready for the screaming PA and obnoxious auctioning in the already noisy room.

I found myself talking back to the ill informed auctioneer whose repeated bleating that a small, limp painting by Pam Nelson -- the auctioneer insisted they were starting with the biggest name artists first -- had to be worth five thousand dollars. "No thing has intrinsic monetary value," I flatly argued, my curmudgeonly voice luckily lost in the din.

"Any piece of art, or anything else, is worth exactly what you can get for it. It's that simple," I tilted the stars. The bidding began at a hundred bucks, which seemed a bit low. But rather than extol the work's individual aesthetic or historical place in the artist's career arc; or the fact that Ms. Nelson's work is in the collection of the President; or that she's a personal friend of the First Lady; or that her work was marvelously witty and fun and folky at the peak of her local popularity back in the 80s... 
 

Time Flies in Neiman's window
 

Or that it's since turned deadly serious and significantly less sellable. No facts of historical or aesthetic or folkloric value. Just the shrill hammering that it was worth five thousand dollars, because it was painted by a famous painter, whom we must all love and appreciate, because, because...

Well, we never did find out because why, because at that opportune moment, we made our hurried mid-screech exit.

The Pamela Nelson painting realized $500,  
 

It was calmer outside. Slightly chilled. Gentler.
 

We drove into the night, seeking visual thrills in a quieter key. The sunroof was back, and I wanted to look up at lights or towers or something in the cool night sky. We got enmeshed in a sports jam near the Penis Arenas, then veered off into downtown lights and quiet darkness.
Where we stumbled across a marvelous series of windows celebrating
Time, as in Neiman Marcus's 95th year of it. Each window portrayed a different aspect of that elusive dimension, and we were hooked early, and eventfully had to get out and walk around, soaking up the unexpected visual treat.
 


 

Unfortunately, it being an imperfect night, the wonder petered out round the corner and down Main Street, as we further investigated an entrancing, collaged window treatment version of too many artists' studios, full of easels, paint and palettes.

95 artists had, the windows spelled out, created 95 works of art (their description) for auction (uh-oh) to benefit Children's Medical Center and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The windows were wowers, but when we looked closer, through them at the 'art' inside, we were sadly disappointed with bad copies, badder originals and only maybe one partially decent piece in sight.
 

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