Inner-City Kul

It's too cool for school, but can we call it art?

The odd thing about Kül is that you might find yourself questioning "is it art?" And "it" in this instance is, in a counterintuitive turn, the art installed in the gallery space down below, not the trendy and high-design tchotchkes upstairs. If you're looking for good form and valuable aesthetic experience at Kül, you are, in fact, better off spending your time upstairs, where you'll find a passel of designy pleasure in the form of interior accoutrements--everything from dog bowls embedded in bent-wood pedestals to low-slung wire-frame Danish modern chairs. Upstairs you'll indeed find more elegance. Formal satisfaction is guaranteed. Moreover you can actually touch the objects--rub a soft-fuzzy purse or pillow or take a mod swivel chair for a test spin.

Shane Pennington's Download is in the basement (above), but cooler stuff can be found in Kül's retail store.
Mike Simmons
Shane Pennington's Download is in the basement (above), but cooler stuff can be found in Kül's retail store.

It's funny how the double gesture of naming and installation can be cause for confusion. While calling the space downstairs a "gallery" and hanging flat work on the wall may signify authenticity and art in name, the better form is upstairs--the mass-produced industrial furniture and functional objects located in the retail space opening out onto Main Street. If we are to gauge exactly where Kül falls in the greater tradition of art spaces, it is more in keeping with the economy of Bauhaus assembly-line production-consumption than Leo Castelli art-house exceptionalism. Kül offers not the imprimatur of historically significant artistic form but rather the rejuvenation of Dallas' downtown business district. And that's worth something--perhaps more than "art" in name.

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