Posts Tagged 'Contemporary Art'

State of the Arts: Contemporary Artists

We’re kicking off our fall season with our first State of the Arts program, our collaboration with Art&Seek and KERA. Join us Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. for a discussion with three DFW artists: Devon Nowlin, Arthur Peña, and Darryl Ratcliff.
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Uncrated was able to ask them a few questions beforehand:
1. What is the most appealing aspect of being a working artist in Dallas?
Devon Nowlin (artist; founding member, Homecoming Committee): As an artist who also works full-time, I have had good employment opportunities in my field and see some good job prospects for artists in both Dallas and Fort Worth. Along with exhibitions, teaching opportunities, and other work-work, one can construct a patchwork of professional activities for one’s self here.
Arthur Peña (artist; founder and Director, WARE:WOLF:HAUS and VICE PALACE): The two very prominent aspects I can think of are pragmatic ones. First, it is extremely affordable to be a working artist in Dallas. It’s not unheard of to have an apartment and a studio for under $600. I don’t know what other major cities can offer that and also boast world-class museums and an established art scene. Second, the accessibility to the Dallas art world is shockingly overlooked. If one wanted, they could meet and shake hands with other artists, gallery directors, collectors, and museum directors at one gathering. And they would be cordial and welcoming. Try that in NYC and see what happens!
Darryl Ratcliff (artist; Community Engagement Associate, National Center for Arts Research & Initiative on Arts+Urbanism): Affordability and opportunity. The access one has to cheap space is truly unique in Dallas, and the general cost of living is far cheaper than in other major cities. Also, there is significant upward mobility in the art scene. There is a willingness to experiment and embrace new ideas and artists.

2. What is something you are thankful for in your art community/peers/scene and how it/they have contributed to your practice?
DN: I am very thankful for the Education Department of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. I have benefited greatly from their programs both as a participant and audience member over the years, and as an artist-instructor in their programs. They give professional, and yet experimental and creative, teaching opportunities to artists in the area, and I have cherished my experiences there. So that is one of the many things in my community that I am very thankful for.
AP: Quick story: The recently retired WARE:WOLF:HAUS operated on limited funds for every show and especially the last fall season. Because of its location, security was needed on top of insurance for liability purposes. Not once did I pay out of pocket for any of that. WWH was able to operate and host shows strictly through donations from my fellow artists and supporters. People would toss whatever they had into the donation bucket, or specific people in the art community donated large funds to keep the door open and allow shows to happen. Considering that WWH was not a nonprofit art space and people were throwing down hard cash, I find this willingness to support the artists and work as a truly collaborative effort inspiring.
DR: It is cliché but I am very thankful for my fellow creatives in this city. My work is collaborative by nature, so I couldn’t have had any success without the constant support and cooperation of literally hundreds of creatives and lovers of creativity over the last five years.

3. How would you improve the Dallas art community/scene ?
DN: In Fort Worth, we are also in need of the facilities and funding that Darryl would like to bring to Dallas. What we don’t have that would really help elevate the local Forth Worth scene is more critical attention in both print and online publications. If artists here could get some press, I think it could help push the dialogue in Fort Worth in ways that I see happening in Dallas. I am encouraged by a level of interaction that is happening among artists between Dallas and Fort Worth, though it tends to be a one-way street with artists going from Fort Worth to Dallas. I’d like to see us mix things up a little more!
AP: Besides the obvious need for an influx of funds either through more grants or private donors, I’m not sure how one could improve the community other than more involvement from the community at large. There needs to be a cultural and psychic shift here in Dallas, and Texas as a whole, when it comes to the arts. Without a steady stream of interest starting at the city’s top level, the city at large will continue to view the arts as pure entrainment rather than as an agent for change and critical thought. We need more artists—not just those who make but those who have the discipline and vision to want to transform this city. I don’t think it’s about improving, rather it should be about energizing, invigorating, and giving everyone a swift kick in the a**.
DR: I would create at least 500 units of subsidized studio/living space for creatives in five geographically diverse parts of Dallas, award at least two million dollars per year in small grant funding to individual artists/projects/collectives, and create an international curator-in-residence program to help top curators become familiar with Dallas-based talent.

Be sure to join us tomorrow night to hear more from these artists.

Liz Menz is the Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA.

The Museum is History

This weekend, explore works from the Museum’s modern and contemporary collection in a new installation by the DMA’s new Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Gavin Delahunty. The Museum Is History: Modern and Contemporary Art from 1950-1990 installation, featuring work by Jackson Pollock, Atsuko Tanaka, John Chamberlain, and more, will be on view through November and it is included in the DMA’s free general admission.

 

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Artist Talk: Jim Hodges

With quiet determination, artist Jim Hodges has, over the past twenty-five years, produced one of the most affective bodies of sculpture, drawing, and installation of any artist of his generation. Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take brings together works in all media–from modest objects to room-sized installations that engage the viewer in sensory experiences–to fully reveal the breadth and complexity of Hodges’ inventive vision.

Comprising over eighty objects produced from 1987 through the present, the exhibition also includes works never before seen in the United States, along with a major new piece, Untitled (one day it all comes true), created especially for this exhibition.

I’m proud to have worked so closely with Jim Hodges and Olga Viso, executive director of the Walker Art Center, to bring this remarkable exhibition to fruition, and I invite you to be among the first to see it at its US premiere in Dallas, before it travels to Minneapolis, Boston, and Los Angeles. Please join me in the Horchow Auditorium for a conversation with Jim Hodges tomorrow evening, October 3, at 7:30 p.m., and join us for a sneak peek on Saturday, October 5, a day before the exhibition opening.

Jeffrey Grove is the senior curator of special projects & research at the DMA.

Getting Ready to Give More

We have just under two weeks until we open the U.S. premiere of a major traveling exhibition, Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take . The exhibition is an exciting one not only because it is the first comprehensive retrospective of Hodge’s career in the U.S. but also because it is co-organized by the Museum and the DMA’s senior curator of special projects & research, Jeffrey Grove.

The nearly eighty works on display in the exhibition consist of hundreds of items, from brass chains to denim, from napkins to head scarves, from silk flowers to light bulbs. If you passed by the DMA’s Barrel Vault during a recent visit, you may have seen some of the detailed installation, which began in early September. Get an up-close look at the installation below, and mark your calendars to meet Jim Hodges on October 3 during a special Artist Talk at the DMA!

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Calling all Dallasites

“Birds on the wire” Photograph from the opening of a 500X Gallery show, February 13, 1978. 500X Gallery Records, 1977-1996.

In 2013 the Dallas Museum of Art will celebrate a milestone in our institutional history: the 1963 merger of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Art with the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. The DMA is marking this occasion by launching an initiative to show how this moment was a starting point for community-wide interest in and support of contemporary art.

Brochure for the “Dallas Art ’78” exhibition at Dallas City Hall, Publications and Printed Materials.

By looking at the North Texas art scene over the past five decades, we hope to bring greater public awareness to the richly varied but widely undiscovered history of the area’s contemporary art avant-garde. People, places, and events are the subjects of this project, as we look outside the Museum to topics like the emergence of the gallery scene in the late 1960s with galleries like Valley House, C. Troup Gallery, Haydon Calhoun, Mary Nye, and more, and the establishment of an artists’ community as collectives take shape (the Oak Lawn Gang in the 1960s, the Oak Cliff Four and the “842s” in the 1970s, Toxic Shock in the 1980s, A.R.T.E. and the Good/Bad Art Collective in the 1990s, etc.) and artist-run spaces emerge, like A.U.M. Gallery,  D.W. Coop, 500X Gallery, and Stout McCourt Gallery.

Gallery announcement for David McCullough’s studio exhibition of his work with James Surls in December, c. 1976. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

Gallery announcement for “Dubious Edge” exhibition at Theatre Gallery, c. 1987. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

Gallery announcement for “el clumsio” group exhibition at Angstrom Gallery, November – December, 1996. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

Over the past year, we have developed the content that will form the basis of an exhibition scheduled to open at the Museum in May 2013. During this time, I have conducted oral history interviews with artists, arts administrators, collectors, and writers; waded through thousands of gallery announcements dating as far back as the late 1960s; burned my eyes from looking through miles of microfilmed collections; and done my best to get the word out that the DMA wants to know YOUR story.

Poster for the Old Oak Cliff Kinetic Sculpture Parade sponsored by the Oak Cliff Preservation League, September 21, 1985. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

So let’s hear it – do you have anything you would like to share with us regarding your experience with contemporary arts in North Texas? Is there anything you are certain MUST be part of this project? This is my formal open call to Dallasites: as we develop the content for the exhibition, we are going to do our best to represent Dallas and its surroudning arts community over the past fifty years, but we do need your help. What is sitting in your closet? Do you have photographs from gallery openings or performances? Records from your gallery? Press releases announcing your show? Publications that help to document the “scene”?

Toxic Shock page from Bwana Arts, vol. 3, 1982. Paul Rogers Harris Papers, 1959-2001.

The exhibition is only the first step as we present to you what we have found. In the coming years, we hope to add to the DMA Archives, making it the primary repository for the history of contemporary art in North Texas. So if you have something you’d like to share (be it tangible ephemera or abstract memories), please do not hesitate to contact me at larnold@DallasMuseumofArt.org. I look forward to hearing from you!

“500X in a Box,” box of a single work by every member of 500X in 1989. Charles Dee Mitchell Collection.

Leigh Arnold is the Dallasites Research Project Coordinator at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Riding That Train

'Afternoon Train' (1944) by Doris Lee, a print in the DMA collection.

While famous songs about trains by Gladys Knight, the Grateful Dead, or Bob Marley* might not exactly bring to mind Dallas’s DART system, a quick, easy, and scenic trip to the Museum by light rail or trolley does offer much to sing about.  The DMA is a short walk from DART’s St. Paul Station, and the McKinney Avenue Trolley lets off visitors right at our front door.

Every day, more than 220,000 passengers ride trains, light rail, and buses to move across our city. Whether they’re on their way to the DMA and the Arts District or to another destination, everyone who rides DART encounters works of art. Through the Station Art & Design Program, local artists are commissioned to envision the design concept and theme for every DART station and to lead teams consisting of architects, engineers, designers, and contractors to create unique installations and environments at each stop. In addition to site-specific works of art—including mosaics, sculpture, and photography—the artists also design structural and functional elements like columns, pavers, and windscreens unique to each station.

Hatcher Station. Artist: Vicki Meek. Image: Courtesy DART

Lovers Lane Station. Design Artist: Pamela Nelson. Photo: Courtesy DART

Southwestern Medical District/Parkland Station. Artist: Susan Kae Grant. Image: Courtesy DART

If you travel through one of DART’s fifty-five stations, look for the work of some well-known members of Dallas’s artistic community, such as Benito Huerta, Vicki Meek, Susan Kae Grant, and Pamela Nelson, among many others. You might also encounter works by artists who are represented in the DMA’s collections. Tom Orr and Frances Bagley, for example, were individually commissioned by DART for several stations. Orr was the station artist at DART’s Bush Turnpike Station, which is surrounded by both a large freeway as well as open, green space. To respond to the location of the station, he designed large steel and wire columns that were planted with vines to create large-scale topiaries.

Tom Orr's Installation at the Bush Turnpike Station. Image: Courtesy DART

Frances Bagley served as the station artist for Union Station, Convention Center Station, and Cedars Station (all along the Blue and Red DART lines); on each project, Bagley collaborated with other artists to create installations that reflect the particular site of each station.

In 2009 Bagley and Orr collaborated on a gallery-scaled installation that was included in the DMA’s special exhibition Performance/Art. The piece was based on the pair’s design for the Dallas Opera’s 2006 production of Verdi’s Nabucco. The installation recalled the setting for the opera’s biblical story and portrayed the artists’ interpretation of the Euphrates riverbank, the idol of Baal, and the Hanging Garden of Babylon.

Mural Detail from Union Station. Image: courtesy DART

Tom Orr and Frances Bagley's Installation in the DMA's "Performance/Art" exhibition.

Take advantage of this great spring weather and DART to the art . . . but don’t forget to explore the works of art along the way. Use DART’s guides to learn more.

* Take a look at this list of one writer’s Top Ten Train Songs.

Lisa Kays is Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art

Two Debuts

Our exhibition, Concentrations 54: Matt Connors and Fergus Feehily, opens soon (Sunday, April 3 to be exact). I’ve been lucky enough to work on this show from start to finish with Jeffrey Grove, The Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. Each artist has their own dedicated space in the Marguerite and Robert Hoffman Galleries. The first museum exhibition for both artists, we worked closely with them to decide the works presented as well as the logistics of each installation. Berlin-based Irish artist Fergus Feehily is integrating three objects from the DMA’s collection into his installation: a bead, a dressing cabinet, and an Indian miniature. New York artist Matt Connors, on the other hand, is installing 10 completely new paintings (finished very recently, as a matter of fact) and also a work of his that we acquired in last year Soul Error (Vertical), 2010.

We’re really excited to have both artists in town for the installation and opening events. See for yourself…

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On March 31, 2011 at 7:30 pm, Jeffrey will join both artists for a discussion of their work. Hope to see you there!

Erin Murphy is the Curatorial Administrative Assistant for Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art


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