Fall Gallery Season Is Here. So, Too, Is Our Guide To Properly Taking In Its Big Opening Night.
Welcome to Canvassing, our weekly look at the conversations that surround the Dallas art world. Pull up a chair. Stay with us for a while. The view's pretty nice from here.
It's the start of fall gallery season here in Dallas.
Yes, finally. And, while I still strongly recommend that you check out Michelle Rawlings at The Goss Michael Foundation on Thursday evening and the closing of “Draped Up and Dripped Out Part 1” at The Oak Cliff Cultural Center on Friday evening, it's really Saturday that area art lovers have been craving all summer long.
On days like these — single dates on the calendar upon which an exceptional amount of art openings take place — I like to embark on what I call “The Art Parade.” In short, it's my humble attempt to suggest a proper gallery viewing order that will enable one to view all of the openings — if that's even humanly possible — in a single evening.
Because, hey, it's just a fun thing to try. So, come Saturday, here are my recommendations on how to slate your own parade through the Dallas art world.
• “Draped Up and Dripped Out: Part 2” curated by Giovanni Valderas at The Cliff Gallery (Mountain View College) at 2 p.m.
Someone should give Giovanni Valderas an award. The guy's quietly doing the lord’s work as director of The Cliff Gallery at Mountain View College. Critics often overlook our community college galleries, but since 2008 at least (and probably long before), they have been some of the most consistent, adventurous spaces in town. Valderas' Houston to Dallas curatorial adventure started this summer in the Oak Cliff Cultural Center and concludes in his home space. If “Part 2” is as good as “Part 1,” it will definitely be worth the trip to Mountain View to check it out.
• “The Yellow Room” by Paho Mann at The Reading Room from 6 p.m to 9 p.m.
• “Studio Swap Meet” at Oil and Cotton from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
• “Ceramics Magic” by Brooks Oliver at Ro2 Art (Downtown) from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
I don't understand why galleries in Dallas don't open by geographic cluster. For example: Why is The Reading Room hosting an opening in Expo Park on the same time as eight galleries in the Design District, all the across town? I feel the same way about Oil and Cotton's “Studio Swap Meet” event in Oak Cliff. Ro2 is literally in the middle of these two scenes, though, so I guess I don't blame them for having their opening this evening. Nice move on staying open until 10 p.m., by the way!. Still, I feel like Ro2's space is more aligned with the Deep Ellum and Expo Park galleries than Design District ones. I'd like to see R02, Public Trust, Barry Whistler, Kirk Hopper, WAAS Gallery, Oliver Francis Gallery, 500X, Power Station, UTD's Centraltrak, Cohn Drennan, Beefhaus, Ash Studios and the Reading Room brand their own weekend. Why not? The Design District galleries already have their weekend. Hey, the Oak Cliff galleries could have their weekend, too. And The Cedars' galleries could have their weekend. This is the type of regionalism that I can get behind. Until then, just try to catch these three shows if you can.
Where To Start.
• Winston Lee Mascarenhas, Jeri Ledbetter and Linda McCall at Craighead Green Gallery 5 p.m. from 8 p.m.
• “Natural Selection” by Brett Weston at Galleri Urbane Marfa + Dallas from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
There are a few tricks to successful gallery hopping, and they all center around where you start and how long you stay at each gallery. Wanna really go deep? Try to start at the gallery that opens the earliest — in this case, Craighead Green. Is five o'clock a little too early for your blood? Start at Galleri Urbane and buy yourself an hour. Typically, the earliest spots have decent shows, great drinks, and friendly and knowledgeable gallery staffs. I try to spend 15 minutes at each — and maybe 30 minutes, if it is a great show. Don't like a show? Don't spend the full 15 minutes.
It's Not All About Dragon Street.
• Margaret Meehan, Ludwing Schwarz, and Claire Colette at Conduit Gallery from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• “Land's End” by David Fokos at Cris Worley Fine Arts from 6 p.m to 8 p.m.
When many people talk about the Design District, they focus on Dragon Street. Uh, two of the best galleries in the area — Conduit Gallery and Cris Worley Fine Arts, aren't even on Dragon Street. Conduit is the most consistently excellent gallery in town and, even after 30 years, it's showing no signs of slowing down. Margaret Meehan and Ludwing Schwarz, meanwhile, are among the best artists working in Dallas right now. If you were to only go to one show this evening, I would recommend this one at Conduit.
But It's Mostly About Dragon Street.
• Scratching The Surface” at Mary Tomas Gallery 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
• Geof Kern at Photographs Do Not Bend 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
• “Gordian Knot” by Tommy Fitzpatrick at Holly Johnson 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
• RE-SURVEYING: Measuring Site by James Geurts at Zhulong Gallery 6p.m. – 9 p.m.
• “Problem Child” by Gary Sweeney at Red Arrow Contemporary 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
• “Of Land and Sea” by Casey Gray at Circuit 12 Gallery 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
There is an art to navigating Dragon Street. Basically, it boils down to knowing which galleries close first. After one goes to Craighead Green (if you haven't already) and Mary Tomas, it's tempting to just head over to Red Arrow. DO NOT DO THIS. Red Arrow closes an hour later than many galleries in the areas. Save it for later and skip over to Photographs Do Not Bend and Holly Johnson to see their shows before they close at 8 p.m. Then go across the street from Holly Johnson to Zhulong Gallery, which should win every “Best New Gallery Award” in town, and check out their show. Now it's time to look at Red Arrow. Then head over to Circuit 12, which is often the last gallery open in these things. Basically, there is no excuse for missing their opening — and you shouldn't, considering that the recent solo shows by Alex DiJulio, Joshua Van Ammon, Lucas Martell and James Rizzi have put the gallery firmly into “must-see” status.
See? It's not that hard, is it? Want a little hand-holding? Feel free to join me.
If you have neither the time nor the inclination to see everything, just be sure to check out Conduit Gallery, Xhulong Gallery, Red Arrow Contemporary and Circuit 12 when you can.
Regardless, I'd implore you to try to go to at least one gallery this weekend. There's plenty worth seeing.
Here's hoping I see you out there.
• “The Space Between” by Adam Ball curated by The Future Tense at The Goss Michael Foundation from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Michelle Rawlings (FEATURE) at The Goss Michael Foundation from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• “Bridging The Gap” by Ruth Pinnell at The Power Station from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
• “Draped Up and Dripped Out Part 1” at The Oak Cliff Cultural Center from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
• Chocolate and Art Show at WAAS Gallery from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
• “Euphoria (U.4.i.a)” at Ash Studios from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Cover photo of Margaret Meehan's “Southern Golem,” 2014. Courtesy of the artist.