The Mac-inations

The McKinney Avenue Contemporary has survived a turbulent birth, but its artistic mission remains more confused than cutting-edge

Metz says that Albritton likes to be on the edge--but it has to be a pre-approved edge--and that Brettell is the "visionary nut," as well as a scholar and a philanthropist in his own right, who gives that approval. "He's the real glue that's held the board together and kept the money coming in and got the Artist Advisory Committee reinstated," Metz says. Metz believes that the Artist Advisory Committee will lend the MAC a uniquely shifting perspective--constantly changing, avoiding a single point of view. In any case, the MAC is what DARE became, he says, and "It's not the cutting edge, it's not the top, it's what links the grassroots with the patron. It's the middle management of the art world."

"DARE was really about the artist," Metz says, "and the MAC is about the art scene. The building that is the MAC changed the idea of DARE. The emphasis became the things inside the building, not the community."

Dallas artist Robert Barsamian, who has chosen to remain outside and uninvolved with the MAC, agrees. "Originally, the premise was interesting. But all it did is involve itself with the same people who have run Dallas art and have had the money strings in the art community from the beginning. The MAC is really not so different from DMA--it doesn't include many outsiders, ethnic communities, people of color. People who provide money naturally want power to go with it. Money lends authority. The conceptual premise of these places is always great, but when they get the validation of money and society, the original group loses artistic control. Still, I'd rather see the MAC than nothing. And nothing is what tends to happen here.

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