TRAVEL HERE: CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS STRUT THEIR STUFF
You’re right, I’ve been neglecting you. You’ve had to make do with tales from my December jaunt to Cancun. With the exception of our time at Chichen Itza, that’s been one long rant about bad food and mediocre accommodations. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking of you. I’ve just been incredibly busy and personal blogging fell to the wayside. In fact, I have a stack of tickets and programs on my desk I’ve intended to blog about, but good intentions haven’t created a single word.
Then the Cultural Counsel found me and invited me to some Dallas Art Fair events. My love for all things ART lured me out of my lair and what I found wouldn’t allow me to keep it a secret. The Dallas Art Fair will be in Downtown Dallas’ Fashion Industry Gallery Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Gallery is at 1807 Ross Avenue, squeezed in between the Dallas Museum of Art and the Fairmont. Friday and Saturday hours are 11-7 and Sunday 12-6. Admission is $25.
Yes, It’s Contemporary Art, but I Liked It
Frequent visitors to this blog know that while I embrace the cool sleekness of some modern architecture, I haven’t been able to fall in love with much of what is touted as modern art. In fact, I’ve railed at the Dallas Museum of Art for its constant menu of contemporary artists, who seem to produce pieces which are more gritty than gorgeous. Admittedly, I’m a fan of gorgeous. The ancient Greeks dismissed what I like best as craft, while they saved their highest regard for philosophy.
Contemporary Artists seem to agree with the Greeks. The idea has gained superiority over craft in recent works I have viewed. I made points on an Art Appreciation exam for understanding this phenomena. I explained how the value of written notes for a potential art installation were, in some ways, more valuable than an actual installation. Not only will the installation begin to deteriorate as soon as it is completed, but the idea is original and unique, while the execution of it could be repeated over and over, often by someone with no artistic talent whatsoever. Being able to answer the question correctly and embracing the idea have not proven to be the same thing. There’s a very personal reason for this. While I have the ability to describe, in detail, the idea of a potential art installation, I’ll never be able to carve a Pieta, paint an Impressionist masterpiece or mold a Meissen vase.
To illustrate my point, I have fond memories of visiting the now defunct American Craft Museum in New York City, many years ago. They were exhibiting uber realist artisans who painted and sculpted remarkable pieces. I will never forget a ceramic suitcase which looked as if it had somehow wandered in from La Guardia and decided to stay. I also remember a quite vociferous visitor to the museum. He was passionate about letting all of us know this “art” was a waste of his time. He was declaiming his dissatisfaction to visitors in general, anyone he could engage and most of the guards. I’m not that person. I enjoyed the work. I wouldn’t want it in my living room, but it showed skill.
I haven’t been so fond of many of the DMA’s more recent exhibits. Take Truth: 24 Frames Per Second and All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, for instance. Though it might make me seem like a troglodyte, I will confess I found no personal value in Truth. Pumpkins on the other hand was fun, but it seems more like an amusing circus sideshow than real art. There, I’ve said it, which might mean my DMA membership could be revoked.
I’ve shared my credentials as a troglodyte for a reason. Even if you are one of us, the folks who like the old stuff better than the new stuff, I think visiting the Dallas Art Fair is a good investment of your time and money. Before the press conference on Thursday, I had time to stroll around the galleries and while I didn’t love everything, I found plenty to like. There’s a little something for everyone. There are even figurative paintings in which you will recognized every item being depicted. If, on the other hand, you embrace the modern forms of artistic impression, you will be in hog heaven – from the moment you spy the cat cut-outs on the lawn, to the rose petal strewn gallery with odd bits I can’t identify.
Friday was a busy day. I had just enough time to peek into the galleries and convince myself there is a more than adequate number of items worth coming to see again. Some could only be described as gorgeous, while others rated more highly on the intriguing scale. I can assure you I will be taking full advantage of my press pass, dragging as many people as I can to this extensive exhibit of Contemporary Art. I hope I will run into you there.
And while you are Downtown and right next to the DMA, I want you to know the current exhibitions can only be fully described as glorious. Berthe Morisot’s Impressionistic paintings are, in a word, gorgeous. Right down the hall, the items in the The Keir Collection of Islamic Art are beautiful. The Focus II Gallery is hosting a sweet collection of Women Artists in Europe from the Monarchy to Modernism. Jonas Wood in the Hoffman Gallery explores psychological ideas in large whimsical paintings. That’s not all, but it should at least get you into the museum. (May I please have my DMA membership card back now?)
I’m warning you, this won’t be the last I have to say about the Dallas Art Fair. I attended one of their events at Riverbend in the Dallas Art’s District on Thursday and I have some observations on the Press conference I want to share, but for now, just go to the Fair this weekend and then we can compare notes later.