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Billy Hassell (American, b. 1957) Egypt on the Brazos, 1985 Oil on canvas 78 x 90 inches (198.1 x 228.6 cm) From the Belo Collection.

This Weekend: A Historic Moment for Texas Art, and Whippersnappers in Oak Cliff

Last week I made reference to things picking up around here art wise with the winding down of summer. Well, we’re going to have to wait one more week. This weekend is very, very light on art events. Next week, though, judging from the invitations and press releases landing in my inbox, is going to be completely over-packed. So, take a breather and prepare yourself. For now, this is what the week has to offer.

THURSDAY

The Belo Collection at The McKinney Avenue ContemporaryThursday, 28 6-9 p.m. 3120 McKinney Ave. Dallas, TX 75204.

Heritage Auction Gallery is previewing its Belo Collection auction, which will take place on October 18. Highlights from the collection will be on display at the MAC trough Friday, with a reception Thursday evening. Belo began collecting art in the 1940s, and over the past 70 years, the corporation has amassed what amounts to a significant historical survey of Texas’ visual art history. Highlights include a David Bates from his grassy lake period, as well as works by Otis Jones, Annette Lawrence, The Art Guys, Vernon Fisher, Tom Sime, Dan Rizzie, James Surls, Danny Williams, and Ted Kincaid. There are also some pieces from non-locals, like Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, and a rather nice Lichtenstein. Another highlight: historic photography from the Dallas Morning News.

There’s one interesting aspect of this to keep in mind. A lot of these artists don’t have very active markets, primary or secondary, and so this public auction represents the first real market test many of them have had in years. That may be giving a few local gallerists sweaty palms.

 

FRIDAY

THRWD Presents: #NorthOakCliffDoesNotExist at Ezra’s HouseFriday, Aug 29 8:30 p.m. 323 S. Briscoe Blvd. Dallas, TX 75211.

I find the straining defiance that some of our homespun cultural promoters have adopted of late to be kind of cute. I mean, there’s something rich about a self-proclaimed “cultural renegade” shuttering operations of a pop-up venue by issuing a press release doubling as a civic booster-ish screed about the significance of his efforts, which is what Arthur Pena did when he announced the closing of Ware:Wolf:Haus a few weeks back. Or, when the same associated crew hosted a panel discussion at CentralTrak on DIY culture, the idea had a self-congratulatory tone which whiffed of that blend of self-awareness and obliviousness that powered the comedy of Waiting for Guffman.

The host of that panel, Lee Escobedo, the man behind THRWD (and erstwhile FrontRow contributor), is back this week with a party whose name may be read as a defiant stance against gentrification or maybe a tongue-in-cheek admittance of the complicity of these cultural renegades as branding agents in various attempts to flip dirt around town. As often seems to be the case with their efforts, the object of opposition is elusive and undefined, and defection is adapted as a kind of fashionable disposition.

Regardless, what you care about is the party, it actually looks like an entertaining affair. It’s hosted by my favorite faux-naif of the moment, Randy Guthmiller, the guy whose artistic practice consists of discovering the endless novelty and possibility of shapes (a very worthy follow on Instagram: @randyrandyrandyrandyrandy).  Other highlights include poetry, a “secret room” performance by Thor Johnson and musical headliner Jenny Robinson. Actually, it kind of sounds like a Ware:Wolf:Haus show.

  • Lee

    Hey Peter,

    Thanks for the mention! Cute “Waiting for Guffman” reference BTW, I love that film. Wanted to clarify this event is the community engagement arm of THRWD, where we present a line-up of intriguing experimental acts to engage and inspire our readership. This time around we brought it to the heart of Oak Cliff, making it easier and more empathetic to their interests and accessibility to the event.

    Never meant to be intentionally vague, just don’t want to over-explain, letting the audience figure out what works best for them at the event and present a open mic portion for them to be a part of in their own backyard.

    I titled it as such to reaffirm an linguistic opposition to language that creates separation and otherness within the community (Oak Cliff), of which I was raised in. Oak Cliff is for everybody, and we all know what happens when you break things down into North and South, at least historically.

    Thanks for the mention, we appreciate your voice and look forward to seeing you at the event!

    Best,

    Lee

  • Michael Morris

    Peter, I can only speak for myself when I respond here, but I’m going to push back a little against your description of the object of opposition in artists’ stance being undefined. I think you hit it on the head with the previous sentence, so I’m a little confused as to what’s elusive. There’s a general feeling of being upset about gentrification and extreme dissatisfaction with the knowledge that we as artists are part of the process. As I remember, I saw an article by Charissa Terranova written years ago that described that situation in Dallas very well. I, personally, am tired of feeling like there are people just waiting for us to generate enough grassroots cultural energy that it can be monetized and we won’t be necessary anymore. Arthur’s comments in the panel you referenced made it clear that he was aware of his complicity by running his venue, and he went forward knowing that he would eventually be priced out, feeling like it was still important work that needed to be done.

    Clearly you’re aware of all this and I think you’re sympathetic to it as well, but the idea that “the object of opposition is elusive and undefined” feels strikingly similar to the response to the occupy movements. In my mind, there too was a clear object, but that object was so big and hopelessly abstract, encompassing the very matrix of our society, that it’s presence seems as essential as air and our ability to imagine a different world or scenario is lacking. Perhaps the rebellion, if there is any, isn’t properly scaled to the problem, and maybe that reads as diminutive or “cute”, but how could it be to scale?