While we hear a lot about Dallas' emerging artist movement, what's less publicized, though equally compelling, is the emerging gallery force.
In the last couple years we've watched makeshift spaces spring up everywhere, many of which are artist-run or double as homes and studios. At these start-ups you'll find folks doing critically engaging work in contemporary settings, tucked away from the bustle of Dragon Street or the more established Deep Ellum circuit of Barry Whistler, Kirk Hopper, Public Trust and CentralTrak.
Since most of these business' curators and founders would consider themselves artists first, they've extended invitations to show each other's work on their own walls, creating a reflexive, referential web that connects each smaller neighborhood hideout to a larger, more cooperative community.
Here's a roster of newbies to the scene that are expanding the dialogue of "What is a gallery?" and taking that conversation into new directions, many without the aid of a formal gallery dealer alliance.
Studio Don't Fuck This Up (DTFU) The gallery's name should be an open plea to all of us: fellow galleries, funders, patrons, landlords and the like. Artists, partners and S.C.A.B. members, Lucy Kirkman and Justin Hunter Allen founded the gallery last year as a manifesto on maintaining independence through low overhead and fostering a community of Dallas-based, artist-run exhibition spaces. Programmed from their living room in Fair Park, Studio DTFU thrives on risk-taking and a dedication to DIY aesthetics, while showcasing confidants, confederates and co-op minded artists working in experimental mediums. Address: 841 1st St.
RE Gallery Located in the heart of the Cedars Neighborhood, a stone's throw from watering hole Lee Harvey's and next door to Homeland Security, sits Wanda Dye's RE Gallery. It's a clever experiment: a renovated house, re-purposed to a commitment to thoughtful curating. Let's hope Dye's project becomes a blueprint for a larger and eventually well-funded city trend. For now we can enjoy the forward-thinking exhibits such as Ricardo Paniagua, Kristen Cochran and Jack Sanders earlier this year, and the current show of Alex DiJulio and Samantha McCurdy. Address: 1717 Gould St.
Homeland Security I remember asking co-founder and S.C.A.B. member Kelly Kroener if she had ever received angry letters directed to the government's Department of Homeland Security. She hadn't, but agreed, "That would be pretty cool." While those collected letters would make for a pretty interesting exhibition, Kroener and partner Eli Walker have been busy curating intimate and affecting shows at their gallery, which they also live in. Both Kroener and Walker have shown this year as well, with Walker exhibiting Regional Quarterly Vol.2 - CONCRETE JUNGLE at Circuit 12 and Kroener exhibiting next door for a solo show at RE Gallery. Address: 841 1st St.
W.A.A.S. Nestled between Fair Park and Deep Ellum, W.A.A.S. owner Brandy Adams is working hard to build an all-inclusive community as much as a gallery. Adams is expanding that vibe into full-fledged events, like fashion shows housed in W.A.A.S.' well-decorated walls. Address: 2722 Logan St.
The Safe Room Located on the second floor of the historic Texas Theatre, founder and curator, Lauren Gray has filled a gap for Oak Cliff art lovers by providing a unique gallery space that reflects the experimental and challenging nature of their work. Address: 231 W. Jefferson Blvd. Oliver Francis Gallery It's interesting to see OFG age. Still only a couple years young, the East Dallas gallery run by Kevin Ruben Jacobs has become one of the city's most established spaces showing emerging talent. Jacob's space carries a "don't give a fuck" mentality when dealing with naysayers or second guessers, while at the same time, giving a huge fuck about the quality and diversity of the local, national and international talent he exhibits at his space. Address: 209 S. Peak St.
The Reading Room Also residing in the artistic hub of Expo Park is The Reading Room. Opened in 2010 by Karen Weiner, the space presents dynamic, interesting shows, ranging from performances to, of course, readings. Events have included Tom Spicer of Spiceman's 1410 giving a demonstration on mushrooms detailing their qualities and various uses, and a Bloomsday celebration with excerpt readings from James Joyce's Ulysses, accompanied with themed music and art. Address: 3715 Parry Ave.
Ware:Wolf:Haus Curated by artist Arthur Pena, this warehouse space in the Trinity Groves neighborhood will serve as an exhibiting space/performance venue, with an already art-star-laden show that opened the venue in May. The performance featured Sir Name and the Janes, Nomb Squad and Pierre Burger and in scene-stealing style, George Quartz. Look for future projects at this newly popping venue. Address: 425 Bedford St.
Fort Worth Drawing Center Founded by artist Francisco Moreno whose studio sits in the backroom, the FWDC warehouse is deep in an industrial area of Fort Worth -- but that's part of the solution, not the problem. With two shows under its belt already, The Fort Worth Drawing Center looks to move forward on the concept as "a physical and digital space for the preservation and exhibition of contemporary drawings in Fort Worth." Address: 6324 Hart St., Fort Worth
That That S.C.A.B. members Alex DiJulio and Samantha McCurdy's studio sits upstairs in a nondescript Expo Park building. Once inside, you're prone to find a thoughtfully curated exhibit of Lucy Kirkman's paintings, or perhaps the third issue release party for semigloss. Magazine. But most of the time, you'll find these two artists at work on their next project, like their recent Lite Brite sculpture that used food-colored water bottles as plugs. That That is a great example of the DIY spirit and its ability to blur the lines between work and home, creating an intimate and unique gallery setting. Address: 3901 Main St.
Apophenia Underground Headed by Justin Ginsberg and Jeff Gibbons, Apophenia Underground operates in large, empty warehouse spaces in Deep Ellum along Main Street. The idea behind the gallery is nestled within The Deep Ellum Windows Project banner, presenting a "pop-up" style exhibiting space for up-and-coming artists, grad students, and group shows to present challenging sound, video and installation projects to the viewer. It's also a play between the environment, thoughts on habitat and how those tie in with local history. Follow AU as they tour the country through August; they've been dutiful with documentation via Tumblr updates. Address: 2000 block of Main St.
(Wo)manorial Taking the next step into last frontier, (wo)manorial, founded by Haley Kattner Allen and Jessica Iannuzzi Garcia, works as a collective with other female artists and creative thinkers to document the ever-evolving notions of femininity. After a group show at The Goss-Michael Foundation earlier this year, (wo)manorial curated its first online gallery show, consisting of video, textual, image and interactive pieces. Address: womanorial.com
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
RO2 Art This space, or rather collection of spaces, run by mother/son team Susan Roth Romans and Jordan Roth have been providing experimental real estate and gallery walls for artists since 2010. (Though Susan began her first gallery in Fort Worth back in the '70s.) It began as a pop-up venue, doing shows that often overlapped at various town addresses but snatched up a permanent space on Akard in April of 2011. They now handle the concession-gallery in the Magnolia and work with a space in Addison as well. In their Akard hub, you might see anything from an 80-artist-deep group show to an exhibition of modern dance or a night of video and performance art. RO2 is part playground, part showroom and entirely dedicated to lifting up local talents. Address: 110 N. Akard St.
The Power Station There's a treasure hunt feeling at any Power Station show. This not-for-profit is committed to providing a platform for wholly ambitious work. For example, there was Virginia Overton's Chevy truck parked in the middle of the first floor and ready-made for tailgating, or how about when Norwegian artist, Matias Faldbakken spilled bullet castings across the ground as part of the installation. That's just a sample of the inspired works The Power Station supports, and maintains in its quest for re-contextualization. Address: 3816 Commerce St.
Bonus Galleries Within the Design District: Circuit 12 While it sits on Dragon Street, Circuit 12 is injecting fresh blood into the typically drab, and sometimes homogenous Design District hood. With an emphasis on innovative contemporary art, gallery owners Gina and Dustin Orlando bring a fresh perspective, framing their gallery as a cross-cultural hub with an array of unique events and pioneering exhibits. They also represent some of the best emerging artists in the nation with Clark Goolsby, Josh Reames and Andrea Myers. Address: 1130 Dragon St., Suite 150
Red Arrow Contemporary Just a corridor away from Circuit 12 is Red Arrow, which has picked its talent from both the state-wide and national pool since opening a year and a half ago. They launched with a show of street-art-turned-gallery-work by folks like Shepard Fairey and Banksey, but have also expressed regional art's vernacular with talents like Ken Little and Gary Sweeney. Through this weekend you can catch Blow Up, a show of charmingly inflatable, sewn fabric sculptures by Parisian artist Anne Ferrer. Address: 1130 Dragon St., Suite 110