A smart gallerist wants the work they show to be in conversation with the contemporary international art market, but much of the year it's more likely you'll speak in Dallas terms. You'll compare one Dragon Street space to another. Perhaps this is why it's quite wonderful to wander the Dallas Art Fair every year and begin to see the local in a new, more valuable context. For the most part, the Dallas galleries are holding their own next to bigwig galleries like New York's Maccarone, Bortolami, or London's HUS Gallery.
To wander through the 90+ exhibitors is like breezing through an array of curated exhibitions. Some of them are impressive solo shows, like Barry Whistler's presentation of the Dallas-based artist Nathan Green, or Hales Gallery's Frank Bowling exhibition, whose map paintings you can currently see at the Dallas Museum of Art. There are also fascinating, and challenging group exhibitions, like two Dallas spaces, Zhulong Gallery, which exhibits artists including Mark Tribe and Renee Cox, and Conduit Gallery, which has a lovely Jeff Gibbons painting, along with Juan Fontanive's Ornithology P, which I recognized from a different booth last year. You'll also find hidden treasures, like a tiny Mark Rothko in the closet of a gallery (I'll have to go back today to find out which gallery this was...). It's a lovely adventure of artistic discovery, and hell, if you can afford it, you can take home a treasure at the end of the weekend.
Here's what I would buy with a
bit lot more money in my wallet. It's by no means meant to measure the fair, these are just my favorites. There is so much more to see. (In other news, it looks like I'm finally overcoming my color fixation.)
I've been a big fan of Zhulong Gallery since it landed in the Design District last year, but I've always wondered what kind of video art with which I'd want to share a house. I think I've found in Gorczynski. She embeds videos into images of ancient sculpture. It's smart, and completely mesmerizing.
I'll stay with Dallas galleries for a minute, and add this painting by Nathan Green to my wish list. All the work that Barry Whistler brought to the fair is good, but this is my favorite.
Enter the big leagues for a second, where we're adding a Frank Bowling painting to our cart. A master of color, Bowling is the only painter that can enter the Easter Egg dye spectrum and give it a serious treatment. That pink, though.
I, for one, have not given into the Kindle craze, and continue to buy physical books. But I think that if I were to go the digital route, I'd need the photograph you see in the back of this booth hanging on my wall, because books also have a lovely decorative quality, and there's something ironic and funny about hanging someone else's bookshelves on my wall.
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If we're not going to go with the bookshelves, I'll settle for this piece from Bryn Lloyd Evans made of ceiling tiles. The missing tile that reveals a few wads of gum would make me smile everyday. Are they there to hold it all together or has someone mischievous been depositing them for a while? Is this a ceiling or a floor? So many wonderful, puzzling things.
This concrete and steel sculptural work by Oscar Tuazon sits heavy on my mind, but the specks of concrete share this intimate space in the piece that is so lovely. In spite of its materials it has a kind of fragility that makes you want to care for it like the art object that it is.
It shouldn't come as a surprising that I like work with elements of text, sometimes quite a lot of it. This series contains a story about Lee Harvey Oswald and a Salisbury steak. You'll have to see it to find out the connection.
Exactly how much I like these drawings came as a surprise to me. They are a series of portraits called "Deadly Friends," and they are so photorealistic and human they are hard to look away from. I would imagine these would sell quickly. (Of course, the only one sold when I walked through the space was of the white man, but perhaps we shouldn't dwell on that.)