The art of war

Though Gerald Peters, president of the gallery that bears his name, has yet to formally answer the lawsuit filed by his former gallery director Talley Dunn, her pre-emptive strike in the form of a petition to invalidate her no-compete clause and seek $1.4 million in damages has already cost him plenty. Peters gave away half the store last week, literally, to Ted Pillsbury, announcing that the former Kimbell Art Museum director had become his equal partner in the profitable gallery on Fairmount Street. Peters even renamed the place -- and put Pillsbury first -- in the partnership that will be known as Pillsbury and Peters Fine Art. Dunn is starting her own gallery in partnership with Lisa Hirschler Brown, former assistant director of GPG. Peters' alliance with Pillsbury, whose reputation as an international art player is legendary, is a strategic coup. If anyone can stop the bleeding of GPG-represented artists to the Dunn Brown Contemporary Gallery, it's Pillsbury.

Dunn's latest cut is Austin painter Melissa Miller (see Framed, "Brushtroke of genius"), who confirmed at the Dallas Visual Art Center's annual "Legend" awards gala September 16 that Dunn Brown will represent her. Dunn introduced Miller at the awards dinner, and hugged and kissed the artist in a chummy public display on stage at the Fairmont Hotel's International Ballroom.

But the GPG artist positioned to do the most damage to Peters or Dunn is consummate nice guy and hometown art star David Bates. Peters touted Bates as his gallery's artist in his announcement of his new partnership. But Bates says he does not have a written contract with GPG, and he's too busy with East and West coast commitments to worry about it yet. He's getting ready for a November exhibition of his paintings and sculpture at Manhattan's D. C. Moore Gallery on the heels of a similar show at John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco slated for October. Still, you have to wonder why some artists seem downright cavalier about going with Dunn, when her legal wrangling with Peters could put any new relationship in jeopardy.

Upcoming Events

Kitchen still closed

The MAC's Kitchen Dog Theater expansion-renovation project is taking longer than expected, and founder and board member Claude Albritton says the displaced staffers and mayhem-inducing parking lot won't be back to normal this month as originally planned, in time for KD's Dan Day-directed Othello opening October 16. "Now we're saying definitely November," Albritton says, noting that Naomi Wallace's One Flea Spare, directed by Adrian Hall, will debut November 20 in the spiffed-up space.

Annabelle Massey Helber

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