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Visual Arts Preview: The Gallery and Museum Shows You Can’t Miss This Fall

From galleries and universities to museums, here are five fall visual art picks you won’t want to miss.

Selfless. Selfish. Selfiness at Brand 10 Art Space featuring Annie Arnold, Carol Benson, Shelby Cunningham, Val Hunnicutt, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Kerry Pacillio, Terri Thornton, Kathy Webster and Tiffany Wolf: (Sept 9 – Oct 15): Self-full work with a strong list of artists who are alternatingly sensual, silly, serious, significant, and slight (though rarely thin). Be sure to keep an eye open for Kerry Pacillio and Wura-Natasha Ogunji’s thoroughly enjoyable videos.

Tony Cragg at the Nasher Sculpture Center (Sept 10 – Jan 8): In the late 1980s, on the eve of the YBA explosion, British sculptor Tony Cragg was one of the British artists. Representing his country at the Venice Biennale in 1988 and winning a Turner Prize that same year, Cragg’s work offered a way forward from minimalism, arte povera, and Duchampian readymade trends that dominated the field. Instead, Cragg’s work returned sculpture to an exploration of intelligent forms, creating work that, much like Henry Moore, delights in its own sense of personality and works to broaden our own visual language and sense of material curiosity. Now that the pop-crazy, celebrity artist market glut of the 1990s and early 2000s has subsided, Cragg’s work feels both increasingly relevant and satisfying. The Nasher – and only the Nasher (this show won’t travel) – is hosting the artists’ first major American show in 20 years. With Cragg, the sculpture center is lock-step in its intended institutional role: showing us the way forward by flipping a few pages back.

Jennifer Rubbell Made in Texas at the Dallas Contemporary (Sep 22): One of the odder, more entertaining, offbeat, awkward, and thoroughly on-point moments of the Peter Doroschenko era at the Dallas Contemporary was the performance piece by Thai artist Surasi Kusolwong during last May’s PEEK event. During the event, Kusolwong auctioned off cheap manufactured products for a buck to the gathered gaggle of art world gawkers. In part two of what we may dub the “Conspicuous Consumption Series,” artist Jennifer Rubell brings a food-based performance to this year’s Legendary fundraiser event. Food preparers, as well as other behind the scenes laborers from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, will do what they do – make tamales, press linens – in full view of the ogling culturati. Yes, beneath the Contemporary’s new glitz and glam tone, Doroschenko is proving himself a social sh*t disturber. And I love it.

Also opening: Jennifer Rubell: Nutcrackers, on view at Dallas Contemporary from September 25 through December 4, 2011.

Gaffes and Informations: Kevin Todora and Jeff Zilm – Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, Sept. 17 – Oct. 30: Jeff Zilm and sometimes FrontRow contributor Kevin Todora last collaborated on that little WaMu bank show back in early 2010, and their post-conceptual riffing on all things flotsam and finance – including a paint-splattered photo of Ben Bernanke – earned their collaboration a hearty nod on NPR’s Marketplace. Fort Worth Contemporary Arts’ Christina Rees, one of the bank show curators, has tapped the two artists for a second collaboration, promising Glasstire’s Lucia Simek (yes, there’s a relation)  that they will deliver some “f*cked up s*it.” That’s one way to sell a show.

The Charles Dee Mitchell Show: Wordspace, the MAC, and the Reading Room: Dallas writer/curator/collector Charles Dee Mitchell’s perennial exhibitions are usually need-to-see’s, such as last year’s war photography exhibition at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center or the The Program video series at Conduit he curates for the Dallas Video Festival. This fall, Mitchell is spreading his wings with three exhibitions at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary, a companion show at The Reading Room, and a theatrical happening via the local literary organization WordSpace, of which Mitchell is board president. The intersection between textual and visual mediums is the thread that runs through Mitchell’s curatorial work this fall, which will include writer/artist Bill Davenport’s mundane archeological exploits; the late-Douglas MacWithey’s Selections from the Seals of the Philosophers, inspired by 17th century alchemical texts; and an exhibition for smart phones and the internet. Some of MacWithey’s work will also be on view at The Reading Room, and Wordspace will host a trippy theatrical competition called “The Plutonian Games” on September 28 at the MAC. Here are the details on each individual events:

Opening September 17 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary:

Bill Davenport and the Golden Treasures of the Pharaohs, in the large gallery.

Douglas MacWithey, Selections from the Seals of the Philosophers, in the square gallery

Between Covers: An Exhibition for Smart Phones and the Internet presented by WordSpace, in the New Works Space

Opening September 17 at The Reading Room:

Douglas MacWithey, how it is the dead man suffers the loss of his loved ones

September 28 at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary:

The Plutonian Games Expo

Image from Douglas MacWithey, how it is the dead man suffers the loss of his loved ones at The Reading Room.

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