It was highway robbery, but no one called the cops. Sunday evening's ArtSlam saw walls of high-quality, locally-created paintings, photographs, and schwag walk out the doors of Steve Paul Productions in Deep Ellum for just pennies on their estimated values. However, every name scribbled and every hand raised during the auction amounted to "pennies" well spent, with each red cent going to support Dallas' premier literary nonprofit, WordSpace.
We reported on Friday that, per WordSpace program director Karen X. Minzer, in addition to the organization's regular dynamic programming, they are currently in talks with perennial Mixmaster favorite and Brooklyn-based performance artist, Hennessy Youngman, regarding a potential saunter down Dallas way to cause a "Happening." As a result, we headed out more urgently than ever to drop some cold hard cash on that shit.
What we saw when we arrived, however, was so much more than a mere philanthropic fundraiser with passable tchotchkes whose purchases were justified by the old charity auction standby, "Well, it's for a good cause." Instead, we witnessed a symbiotic collision between literature and art, where some of the community's most notable names snagged coveted items produced by similarly significant monikers. International Man of Letters, Ben Fountain, took home one of three watercolor paintings by Turtle Creek News theater critic, creative writing professor and WordSpace board member, Martha Heimberg. On the other end of the spectrum, Ro2 gallery owner, curator and consultant, Susan Roth Romans took home work by R. Mateo Diago that her son and business partner, Jordan Roth, says she had coveted since Diago's last show at Ro2. Did WordSpace take home enough to make our Youngman dreams come true? We'll let you know in the coming months.
Until then, here are some of our favorites pieces sold last night.
Ray-Mel Cornelius, "Big"
Peter Ligon, "The Kessler"
Gabriela Elguea, "Commerce"
Which piece did you swipe? Did you really love one that got away? Let us know in the comments below.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.