From the outside, the Dallas arts world is filled with enigmas. Certain projects, galleries, or even artists, demand definition or exposition or at the very least a label that says, "This is art." Two puzzlers linked arms last month, skipping into the much deserved spotlight. The local anachronistic zine, semigloss. invited the oft-mentioned, rarely explained citywide art show, Dallas Biennial -- referenced commonly as DB14 -- to fill the pages with art, essays, and poetry. The result not only cracks open what semigloss. editor Sally Glass is attempting to do with the magazine, it also offers a meaningful glimpse into DB14.
In her introduction to the issue, Glass defines the magazine as "part curated exhibition, part art object and part forum for conceptual and aesthetic discourse." In previous issues, she's accomplished all three with a deft sweep through Dallas art, inviting artists to fill her pages with challenging photography, meaningful words on myriad topics, and write lines of ideational poetry. Her magazine is at once beautifully simple and academic to an obtuse effect. But flipping through the pages of a magazine that stands in clear defiance to the death of the printed word has a sort of rebellious thrill all its own. And we've become quite taken with Glass and her creation.
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But this issue is a personal favorite. The collaboration with DB14 gives the project's founders Jesse Morgan Barnett and Michael Mazurek a forum to compile some of the participating artists, as well as document this iteration of the enterprise. Barnett and Mazurek also participate in Glass' introduction discussing the origins and purpose of DB14, unmasking the acronym to reveal a simple goal of art advocacy and the act of curation as an extension of artistic practice. Flipping through the pages, there is work I recognize from attending the gallery shows, as well as work I may have missed.
Just as DB14 placed the work of international artists into the fray of Dallas-based art, so semigloss. gives Michelle Rawlings and George Horner precedence alongside Los Angles artist Tom Lawson or Belgian artist Kate Mayne. It's not about hierarchy, but about collaboration and creation. And in a way that only print products can, it takes the ephemeral nature of a gallery exhibition and memorializes it for anyone who picks up the magazine.
I grabbed my copy at the Nasher Sculpture Center bookstore, but semigloss. is also available at several galleries throughout Dallas and will eventually be available for purchase on the Web at semiglossmag.bigcartel.com.