In Oak Cliff Last Night, the Shoes For Bush Exhibit Was a Real Kick, But No Joke At All

The Farewell Shoes for Mr. Bush show at Decorazon Gallery in Oak Cliff was a great success last night. Across the street from Hattie's in Bishop Arts, the gallery was wall-to-wall, cheek by jowl and elbows with artists, lookers, glancers and general voyeurs. I was there, of course.

But I came with the wrong attitude. For some reason, I had been taking this thing lightly. But there was nothing light about it. Gallery owners Hugo Garcia-Urrutia and MK Semos brought in more than four dozen submissions from artists all over this country and Canada, all based on the cultural, political and moral intersection of George W. Bush and shoes.

It wasn't a joke. Many of the works -- some 20 of which you'll find in our slide show -- were very powerful and evocative, some caustically funny, some extremely dark and angry, and some of them just absolutely heartrending. One that brought tears was a simple pair of work boots below a printed tribute to a man who had been a good father and hard worker but who died without health insurance. The artist was his widow.

I feel like a very bad reporter: I got home without my notes somehow. I penned this in the wee hours, and I didn't trust my memory for the names and correct spellings of the winning artists in this juried show. I promise to post them as a comment later, when I can get in touch with the gallery.

I told Hugo and MK afterward that I thought they had created an important little moment in the city's history. But for them, the only story about Dallas and the return of George W. Bush would have been those welcome-home yard signs up in and around North Dallas. One day Dallas will be very glad for Decorazon Gallery and a show that depicted the city's better nature.

UPDATE: For more, check out our video from the night.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze