Lose It

Your art virginity is a precious gift you can only give once.

Never let it be said, concupiscent readers, that we don't have your best interests at heart. We slog and grind through the week, compiling these pages filled with little trifles for your amusement, as if your very lives depended on it. We want you to have fun, try something new, experience something different, in hopes that your own daily grind will somehow seem more significant, or at least, less inconsequential.

We realize your limitations though, particularly when we try to steer you toward the visual arts in our vast local array of galleries, art centers, and museums. We know that 7.975 million of you don't give a rat's ass about art, as evidenced by your mighty poor attendance record at the spiffy, semiannual, free gallery events that the Dallas Art Dealers Association sponsors every fall and late winter. But we don't begin to think it's because you're lackadaisical, or ignorant, or devoid of culture, or hung over, or more interested in golf on TV. Nope. We've come to realize that the only possible reason you wouldn't cruise by some art galleries at least twice a year to get out of your heads, gawk at something beautiful and/or weird, and get all warm and gooey inside is that you're afraid. It's fear of the unknown, we expect, and the first time is always the hardest--but occasionally the best.

We'll protect you. We've printed this handy "Art Virgin" badge for you to clip and wear to the 24 galleries that are all set to welcome you with open arms this Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. We've contacted each and every one of these galleries and made them swear on a stack of last week's Dallas Observers that they won't ask you any hard questions, give you any sort of sales pitch, or even speak to you unless you seem to want them to. Once they see your badge, the participating gallery owners say, they'll give you the respect and admiration you deserve for daring to be different, and they'll give you plenty of room to roam.

Particularly first-timer friendly on the DADA trail February 17 are the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Deep Ellum's Conduit Gallery, and Barry Whistler Gallery. The MAC and Whistler are showing Ann Stautberg's photographs, and Conduit has paintings by Annabel Daou and photos by Monika Merva. Stone by Stone Gallery is easygoing as well, with a large group show with works in every medium. A little more uppity are the galleries along Fairmount Street, including Pillsbury and Peters Fine Art, showing Wayne Thiebaud's and Tom Wesselmann's brilliant work, and David Dike Fine Art, with a permanent collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century European and American paintings. DADA members on Fairmount show everything from very old, traditional paintings to the very best in contemporary art. Karen Mitchell Frank Gallery is hip, with Angus Macpherson paintings this weekend; Dunn and Brown Contemporary is ruthless, featuring Joe Havel's solo show; and Edith Baker Gallery is classy, with paintings by Bruno Andrade and prints by Judy Youngblood.

Wear your unspoiled status on your sleeves, or your chest, or your pocket as a badge of honor, because you may never qualify again. Get lucky at some local galleries this Saturday. People will wonder why you're glowing and walking kinda funny on Monday.

 
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