Dragon Street is a bit like the Diamond District of Dallas Art. By localizing their galleries in one, walkable zone, art dealers are able to share the same client base. This is especially true on those magical nights when most spaces offer new shows, and new shows means new opening parties. Precisely that happens tomorrow, June 23, when a bunch of Dragon's best give us a first look at their favorite new works. Oh yeah, and they have free drinks. It's a "look smart/be cheap" perfect date. To help guide you on your journey of art education and wine grifting, here's a guide for who to see and how to do it.
I like starting at Galleri Urbane. It's a drivable/bikeable distance from Dragon proper, it tends to open slightly earlier, and well c'mon -- they always have amazing shows. Saturday's offering is no exception. If you visited their room at the Dallas Art Fair, you got a sneak peek at work by Misako Inaoka. Video cameras act as heads on taxidermy animals. Forms of once-birds chirped as you walk by. This mix of nature and technology is a fun and interesting one, and that's something we've come to expect from Galleri Urbane. Also convenient is its lovely neighbor, Cris Worley Fine Arts, which will open its new show "Suddenly this Summer." An open wall connects the two galleries, so you and your bevie can flow casually back and forth.
Occasionally folks overlook Conduit Gallery, and that's a damn shame. This is due strictly to its location on Hi Line, which is slightly removed from the collection of spaces on Dragon Street, but it's an easy stop between Urbane and the rest of the galleries. This free radical art space has three new exhibitions for you: "Orange Sunshine" by Rex Ray, "Blinding Pain" by Gabriel Dawe, and "New Woodcuts" by Jill Storthz. Whether you feel more connected to Ray's psychedelic collages, Dawe's exploration of masculinity meets textile work or Storthz's woodblock prints, you're in luck. They're all in one spot for you.
After Conduit, you'll want to park your wagon on Dragon. That way you're free to roam on foot and check out anything you find interesting. Start off at Holly Johnson Gallery, there you'll get a first look at a collection by Jim Martin and also another visit with "Freefall," a series of ten paintings by Jackie Tileston, which opened in May.
Have you visited Circuit 12 yet? This new gallery is big on collaboration and provides a necessary launch pad for up-and-coming contemporary artists on Dragon Street. Circuit 12 has only had two previous exhibits, but each were interesting, thoughtful and refreshing -- a welcome youthful nudge for this little arts district. Tonight they're reaching out to neighbor Mary Tomás Studio Gallery and presenting a show called "Lightning Strikes Twice." Curated by Circuit 12's Dustin Orlando, "Lightning" brings together dozens of artists from all over. I'm interested to see where the balance lies in this show. Circuit and Tomás are showing wildly different styles in the effort, an inevitability when offering work by a couple dozen different artists. For example, Miami's favorite visual heartbeat, Francesco Lo Castro is going to go all psychedelic on your ass, while Pratt M.F.A. grad Jonathan Millet, presents his organic, juxtapose prints made in his Rowlett, Texas barn/work space. It's something to watch for on Saturday, and an excuse to find a new, great artist.
You'll want to check out Red Arrow Contemporary next. This still new gallery is a joy. Past exhibitions have focused on high-end street art. (Banksy works have been known to show up.) This time you'll get a look at pop culture, literature and identity as Red Arrow presents its new show "1,000 Words." Showcasing the artwork of three tough creatives -- sculpture artist Ken Little, playful attacker of retro sentiment Gary Sweeny, and Rickey Armendariz, who's dangerous paintings combine organized Mexican crime lords and overly simplified romantic ideals. This is a show to see.
Go out on Saturday and catch it all. These shows close early, so if you're still itching to get more, head over to the opening of the new Smoke and Mirrors Gallery on S. Haskell, at 406 Arts. (There's a ten dollar cover and you'll need to pay in cash, but it includes unlimited drinks and a dance party by DJ Hammertimez.)