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Why the DMA's new free admission policy is both a symbolic and tangible move in the right direction for Dallas. Plus, a few commercial spaces offer interesting group shows.

This Week’s Visual Art, Nov 29-Dec 2: Gallery Openings, News, Reviews, and More

There really aren’t any out-of-box shows, pop-up curatorial projects, publication launches, or other novel oddities this week. Just a load openings, solo shows and group shows, largely centered around the Design District. And somehow that makes it feels like an off-week.

So, if you’re interested in evocative and emotive work, suggestive and clean, landscapes, painterly photographs, photo-ish paintings, and generally unoffensive and perfectly acceptable designer art, then you’ll have a number of options this weekend. There are also a couple of interesting groups shows from the pluckish set of Dallas artists, at Oliver Francis, naturally, and also Plush Art, which brings together work by Justin Hunter Allen, Randall Garrett, Daniel Kurt, Michael Mazurek, and Michael Wynne in a show called Ver·i·si·mil·i·tude, an exploration of the realities of space, in-and-out of the gallery.

Also, with all the shows opening in the Design District, that offers a good excuse to check out Circuit 12 Contemporary which quietly opened a show called White Noise over the Thanksgiving weekend. I haven’t seen the work yet, but the curatorial premise is intriguing: painting that examines cultural feedback, the derogation of information and semiotics, the fragmentation and randomized recapitulation of material and meaning. Circuit 12 is one of a few galleries in Dallas that seems to have responded with gusto to the desire to see more commercial spaces in Dallas stage exhibitions with robust curatorial ideas as their driving force. Artists here include Andrew Falkowski, Ron Ewert, Josh Reames, and Adam Scott.

The big news this week, of course, was the announcement that Dallas Museum of Art will begin offering free admission and free memberships in January. As Bradford mentioned on FrontBurner, it’s a development we’ve been expecting, particularly since free admission was a priority for new DMA director Maxwell Anderson during his tenure at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I’ve harped on the DMA before about eliminating their free Thursdays, and was once told by a spokesperson that returning the program would take an influx of sponsorship dollars. So I’m curious to hear about some of the financial wrangling that went into making the free admission policy pencil out on the DMA’s financial statements. I believe the key aphorism here, though, is “where there is a will, there is a way.”

If you attended the DMA’s free Thursdays, you’ll know that the complexion of the crowd changed dramatically during those free hours, with broader racial and generational diversity apparent, which is one reason why free admission is so positive for the institution and its role in the community. But for me, I always thought free admission was important for an art institution because it facilitates a disposition on the part of the museum visitor that is more conducive to the way, I believe, art is best viewed. When you don’t pay to go into a museum, there is no economic pressure to try to get some sort of return on your small investment of the admission cost. You feel less inclined to rush and see as many exhibitions as possible, to make an event out of the visit. Rather, an office worker on his or her way back from lunch can feel more inclined to stop in and spend time with a favorite painting, to see one or two works and give them full attention, to begin to build a more intimate familiarity and relationship with the work in the DMA’s collection.

Yes, a membership also afforded this luxury, but the free admission policy is a much more magnanimous way for the museum to offer itself to the community. You don’t have to calculate how often you may visit the museum and wonder if that justifies the cost of membership. It just eliminates economics from regular Dallasite’s casual experience of art. I once interviewed a museum benefactor who said that in order for someone to have a hand in shaping or even be in a position to comment on the role of the museum, he or she had to have “skin in the game.” It struck me as a very off-putting attitude (if not exactly surprising, given the general political climate of Dallas), the equating of financial ability to the ability to provide insight on the healthy functioning of a public cultural institution. In whatever way, Maxwell Anderson’s push for free admission represents a move — symbolically and tangibly — away from such economically-stratified understandings of culture and access in Dallas.

Here are all the listings:

“Jeff Parroll: Spun,” presented by Ro2 Art and Town of Addison at The Gallery at ‘Visit Addison’—November 29: 6-8 p.m. — 5100 Belt Line Rd., Ste. 400 Addison, TX 75254.

“Next Topic: CentralTrak Artist Talks with Brittany Ransom” at CentralTrak – November 29: 7 p.m. – 800 Exposition Ave. Dallas, TX 75226.

“Secret Fun (vol i): Ver·i·si·mil·i·tude” at Plush Art – December 1: 6-9 p.m. 918 Dragon St. Dallas, TX 75205.

“Drawing” by John Altoon, Corbin Doyle, Ewan Gibbs, Linnea Glatt, Lia Halloran, Terrell James, Lawrence Lee, Christiane Loehr, M, Catherine MacMahon, Victoria Neel, John-Paul Phillipe, Adam Raymont, Andrea Rosenberg, John Holt Smith, Carl Suddath, Lorraine Tady, Robert Wilhite, Danny Williams, Mark Williams, Eric Zimmerman  at Barry Whistler Gallery – December 1: 6-8 p.m. 2909-B Canton St. Dallas, TX 75226.

“Reality/Unreality” by Fran Forman, at The Afterimage Gallery – November 30 : 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. 2800 Routh Street, #141, Dallas, Tx 75201.

“A Tree in a Field: A Texas and Israel Connection” at LuminArte Gallery – November 30: 5-10 p.m. 1727 E. Levee St., Dallas, TX 75207.

Spawn Gallery Show #1 at Spawn Gallery – November 30: 8 p.m. 3003 Commerce St., Dallas, TX 75226.

“John Hold Smith: Infinite Boom” at William Campbell Contemporary Art – November 30: 6-8 p.m. 4935 Byers Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107.

“Now! That’s What I Call Art: Vol 2” at Olver Francis Gallery – December 1: 7 p.m. – 12 a.m. 209 S. Peak St. Dallas, TX 75226.

 “A Rock in the Sky” by Elaine Pawlowicz, and “POP!” by Irby Pace, at the 500X Gallery – December 1 : 7-10 p.m. 500 Expositon Avenue, Dallas, Tx 75226.

“Michael Kenna” at PDNB – December 1: 5-8 p.m. 1202 Dragon St. Ste. 103, Dallas, TX 75207.

“microcosm” by Henry Austin, Terry Cockerham, Kay Dalton, Annie Davis, George Davis, Cassandra Fink, P. A. Jones, Trent Mann, David Marsee, Lottie Minick, Michelle Morris, Al Moore, Georgia Lange Moore, Nic Noblique, Steve Prachyl, Morton Rachosky, Cathy Shepherd, Sharon Shero, and Bonnie Sir Kegian, at Gallery @ 1300 – December 1 : 4-8 p.m. 1300 Dragon Street, Dallas, Tx 75205.

“Painting God’s House: The Folk Baroque Churches of Mexico” by Carolyn Brown, and “Vanishing Dallas: Architectural Preservation by Five Photographers” by Lyndall Dyer, Bob Johnson, Gary Skotnicki, Nelson Spencer, and Alan Whiteside, at the Bath House Cultural Center – December 1 : 7-9 p.m. 521 E. Lawther, Dallas, Tx 75218.

“387km” by J. Antonio Farfan, John Jenkins and Christopher Olivier, at the Cohn Drennan Contemporary – December 1 : 6-8 p.m. 1107 Dragon Street, Dallas, Tx 75207.

“Denise M. A. Brown, Jeanie Gooden, and Bill Weaver” at Craighead Green Gallery – December 1 : 5-8 p.m. 1011 Dragon Street, Dallas, Tx 75207.

“Soft Cell” by William Cannings, at the Cris Worley Fine Arts – December 1 : 6-8 p.m. 1415 Slocum Street, # 104, Dallas, Tx 75207.

“Frontline Report” by Marcus Jansen, at the Gallerie Urbane – December 1 : 5:00 PM – 8 p.m. 2277 Monitor Street, Dallas Tx 75207

“WITHIN” by Casey Williams, at the Holly Johnson Gallery – December 1: 6-8 p.m. 1411 Dragon Street, Dallas, Tx 75207.

“Furniture + Repurposed Goods + Art + Vintage” at WAAS Gallery – December 1: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 2722 Logam Street, Dallas, Tx 75215

“Salon Style” at the Mary Tomas Gallery – December 1 : 6-9 p.m. 1110 Dragon Street, #1080, Dallas, Tx 75207.

“Across The Universe” by Lea Fisher and Allen Kirsch, at Samuel Lynne Galleries – December 1 : 5-9 p.m. 1105 Dragon Street, Dallas, Tx 75207.

“TWILIGHT” by Gary Faye, at SMINK – December 1 : 5-8 p.m. 1019 Dragon Street, Dallas, Tx 75207.
“Voices: invitational Art Show” by Deborah Dinell Berry, Jane Elder, Sue Gordon, Susan Shiels Johnson, Audrey Legatowicz, Ellen Buie Niewyk, Larry Pile, and Trestie Design, at The Addison Visitors Center – December 1: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 5100 Belt Line Road at Montfort, Addison, Tx 75254.

Illuminations at RE Gallery – Decemeber 2: 6 – 8 p.m. 1717 Gould St. Dallas, TX 75215.

 

Image at top taken from Plush Art’s Secret Fun blog, a part of this weekend’s Ver·i·si·mil·i·tude exhibition: Detail shot of Michael Wynne, Untitled, 2012. Search for / 1976 Plymouth Grand Fury / parts (any)