Two big names in art criticism are coming to Dallas, and neither one of them is New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who last week added his name to the list of politicians bent on shaping American minds about art. "It's not art. It's disgusting," is Guiliani's succinct review of the Brooklyn Museum of Art's current Sensations: Young British Artists From the Saatchi Collection exhibition. While you can fault him or applaud him for his involvement, at least he's concise. More wordy, and infinitely more respected in the art world, is Peter Schjeldahl, art critic for New Yorker magazine who's set to speak on "The Future of Beauty" at UT Dallason November 8. The former poet and former Village Voice art critic is known for his ability to make art accessible to the regular guy. "He has this incredible knack for describing art," says John Pomara, the UT assistant professor who hustled to get Schjeldahl to town. Before his talk at the Jonsson Performance Hall, Schjeldahl is making himself accessible at an informal reception at UTD's visual arts building...In Fort Worth, the Modern Art Museum's "Tuesday Evenings" lecture series will feature Cal Arts professor and art critic Lane Relyea speaking October 19 on 1960s abstract painting. Mayor Giuliani will be there, but only in the abstract.
Some of the people in Dallas who can make or break a local artist's career will convene at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary on October 6 for an open-to-the-public panel discussion. Dallas' leading commercial gallerists Edith Baker, Talley Dunn, Cynthia Mulcahy, David Quadrini, Barry Whistler, and Nancy Whitenack will discuss the state of North Texas art. Whistler says he'll show slides highlighting 15 years of the talent he's discovered here. "I'll provide the comic relief," he says. Mulcahy plans to contrast Dallas' art scene with Houston's, and, according to her experience, Dallas is catching up. "The art media here is decidedly better than Houston's as far as supporting local galleries and local artists," she says, particularly within the last three years. "They [Houston] have two people covering art, and we have at least seven." Noticeably absent will be Ted Pillsbury, new partner with Gerald Peters in Pillsbury and Peters Fine Art. He will speak at the MAC on November 17, on "What is art and why it matters." Apparently, he merits his own place in the sun.