Art for Art's Sake
Houston's coup d'art at Dallas fair
It’s Day Two of the Dallas Art Fair, and the contemporary contingent from the H continues to make a stir.
Following Friday's nine-hour spree at Fashion Industry Gallery, the scene moved uptown for an opening of work by Michael Craig-Martin at the Goss-Michael Foundation.The crowds swelled around a new digitally animated portrait of George Michael and epic acrylic renderings of quotidian objects and – a first for Craig-Martin – abstracted typography. Gallivanting about the gallery were the erudite Till Richter accompanied by a glowing Mallory Colbert, Judy Nyquist conversing with artist/curator/writer Rachel Cook, and duo Deborah Colton and Carolyn Farb clinking cups with securities magnate Ignacio Martin-Duarte and spouse Pamela.
Following Saturday morning’s first installment of a symposium on authenticating obscure works credited to Frida Kahlo, the public packed the entrance of f.i.g. to get a glimpse of the galleries.The mood among the Houston contingency was characterized by general positivism, as reports of securing crucial contacts buttressed smoldering sales.
The impact of visiting Houston collectors could be felt across the maze of white walls, as 4411 Montrose’s Jeff Shankman and Antonia Caliboso spoke of acquiring the fair’s showcase lobby piece, a Plexiglass-clad C-print by Angel Musco, and Lester Marks imparted his art world wizardry upon a group tour of the art arcade. Also making the rounds were arts organization leaders such as Blaffer Gallery's Claudia Schmuckli and DiverseWorks headmistress Diane Barber.
Those craving more of Michael Craig-Martin bopped down Ross Ave. for a special engagement with the conceptual colorist at the Nasher Sculpture Center.Admiring the renowned mentor of the Young British Artists movement was Houstonian Fredericka Hunter, taking pause from the throngs circling her Texas Gallery booth at the show. Lecture attendees dispersed back to the fair, while a few indulged in the Nasher exhibition of Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa (whose show is complemented by a must-see installation, Sho, at the entrance to Southern Methodist University's Meadows Museum).
By late afternoon, the teeming corridors had quieted down, allowing visitors a more intimate inspection of the art.Yet the vibe bordered on that of a low-key museum exhibition, rife with ambling tourists – and unlike Houston, the Dallas collectors were nowhere to be seen.Despite the presence of chief New York, San Francisco and London galleries, it remains unclear whether Dallas Art Fair will hold a candle to Basel, ARCO or The Armory. But you would also be hard pressed to spot Ross Perot at any of those expos.
On tap for Saturday evening: a performance by the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts on the f.i.g. lawn, followed by the unveiling of the new artspace Dallas Contemporary and its inaugural exhibition, James Gilbert: Warnings and Instructions.
Check back for choice event photos and up-close art coverage – expect big hair and small wonders.