PATRON's Art Influencers | June/July Issue

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June / July 2023

You might say the late Vernon Fisher was the impetus for our Art Influencers issue. In keeping with a summer tradition, 2015 found us emphasizing the Best of the Arts (which has since morphed into Art Influencers). Back then, via Talley Dunn, Vernon invited me and photographer John Smith inside his Fort Worth studio to photograph our cover story. While there, in a clumsy move, I caught my heel, slipped, and fell, experiencing an excruciating albeit tiny fracture beneath my elbow. Vernon kindly asked if I thought it was broken but I denied this. Instead, channeling those erasure marks for which he was known and dismissing the pain, we pressed on with the shoot.

Curators, prominent museum directors, critics, art historians, gallerists, and other art professionals revered the artist and educator, wanted to be like him, paint like him, and teach like him, but perhaps none more than his students. During our studio visit he mentioned that he wasn’t fond of the word “impact.” I can’t recall why exactly; nevertheless I won’t use that here. Influencer— that he was.

Thus, in remembering the great Vernon Fisher and his wry, effective ways, we meet the influencers of today. Artists and filmmakers, a museum director, a playwright and theater professor, a family foundation, and art-meetstechnology festival producers, they are David-Jeremiah, Amanda Dotseth, Tramaine Townsend, Gregory Ruppe, Adam Green for Green Family Art Foundation, Ayvaunn Penn, Thaddeus D. Matula, and AURORA founders Joshua King, Shane Pennington, and Veletta Forsyth Lill. Each compelled by their own arts-passionate niche to generously push the cultural conversation forward, together they represent the best of the arts

On that note—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise—summer remains chock-full of opportunities to take in the arts, specifically exhibitions within our air-conditioned North Texas museums and art spaces. We highlight four of them here. Eve Hill-Agnus previews Motherwell: Pure Painting , the monumental retrospective for the eminent postwar abstract expressionist at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in A Legacy Looms Large. In The Sounds of Silence, Danielle Avram shares Elizabeth Turk’s Tipping Point, her poignant recollection of the songs of extinct birds through sculpture installed on the grounds of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Nancy Cohen-Israel writes of the Mingei Movement exemplified within Japan, Form & Function: The Montgomery Collection at the Crow Museum of Asian Art. In The Body Politic, Eve discusses Full and Pure: Body, Materiality, Gender, opening at Green Family Art Foundation.

Recognizing the power of music, Lee Cullum regales us with the virtues of Kim Noltemy, president and CEO of Dallas Symphony Association, who keeps the band not just playing on but thriving under her tutelage. Read about her and the DSO’s powerful business and artistic team in Marvelous Moxie

Heading East this summer? Chris Byrne invites readers through the 92-yearold Guild Hall of East Hampton, where history meets robust music, theatre, and exhibition programming, all within a newly modernized building and refreshed gardens in anticipation of the institution’s forthcoming centennial.

Issue’s end brings us back to Vernon Fisher. Brandon Kennedy, a student at one time, remembers him in Furthermore as “an artist of vast influence here, a man and thinker who helped others chart the turbulent waters of art practice and contemporary theory.”

Portrait Tim Boole, Styling Jeanna Doyle, Stanley Korshak
214.219.4528 /




Delightfully risky, original, and courageous, these 10 vanguards exploit the endless possibilities of art in its myriad forms.


Robert Motherwell’s retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth thoughtfully presents a titan of abstraction.


Elizabeth Turk’s The Tipping Point examines endangered and extinct bird species.


The Montgomery Collection explores the expanse of Japan’s art of the people at the Crow Museum of Asian Art.


6 Editor’s Note

10 Contributors

18 Noted



In Full and Pure, Green Family Art Foundation takes a powerful view of gender fluidity.



Newly renovated, Guild Hall of East Hampton amps up.

Interview by Chris Byrne


Dallas Symphony reaches a crescendo through the daring intent of Kim Noltemy.





Revered North Texas artist and educator Vernon Fisher remembered. By Brandon Kennedy

On the cover: Row 1:

photograph by

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Ayvaunn Penn, Chris Plavidal; Adam Green, Christi Hockel-Davenport, Scott Beard, Thaddeus Matula, Jason Carter, photographs by Victoria Gomez; Row 2: Amanda W. Dotseth, David-Jeremiah, photographs by Victoria Gomez; Row 3 Tramaine Townsend, Joshua King, Veletta Forsyth Lill, Shane Pennington, photographs by Victoria Gomez; Gregory Ruppe, photograph by Kevin Todora.
crystal case STUDIO ORNARE Ornare Dallas Design District 1617 Hi Line Dr,190A, Dallas, TX, 75207 | (214) 377.1212 ornaredallas | CLOSETS • KITCHENS • SYSTEMS



is an artist, writer, and curator. His art practice includes photography, sculpture, video, and performance. Exhibitions include Christopher Blay: SpLaVCe Ship at Barry Whistler Gallery and in Marfa, Texas. He penned essays for Richard Prince and Letitia Huckaby, and is the chief curator of the Houston Museum of African American Culture, where he mounted his inaugural show, David-Jeremiah: Early Career Survey, about whom he writes in Art Influencers


is a curator and writer who has held positions at Texas Woman’s University; Southern Methodist University; The Power Station, and The Pinnell Collection, among others. She has an MFA from the School of The Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University, and a BA from UT Dallas. In The Sounds of Silence she writes of Elizabeth Turk’s The Tipping Point, on view on the grounds of the Amon Carter, which examines endangered and extinct bird species.


has over two decades of experience in advertising and marketing. As a principal with L+S Creative Group, she consults with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations and businesses in many sectors, including retail, real estate, and hospitality. Lauren is a Dallas native and a graduate of SMU with a BA in advertising. Her clean, contemporary aesthetic and generous spirit make Lauren the perfect choice to art direct Patron



is a writer, art historian, and educator at the Meadows Museum. Always looking forward to Patron ’s annual Influencers issue, this year she was delighted to profile Joshua King and Shane Pennington, the founders of AURORA. Another highlight was touring the Montgomery Collection with Jeffrey Montgomery and curator Luigi Zeni. She looks forward to enjoying it with many more visits to the Crow Museum.


is a journalist covering economics, politics, and public policy. Nothing has brought her more pleasure, however, than writing about the arts. For Patron she reviews the Noltemy years at the Dallas Symphony, and she has been intrigued by the emergence of two teams crucial to the organization: the Kim Noltemy / Terry Loftis group heading business operations and, on the artistic side, the happy band around Fabio Luisi and Katie McGuinness.


is an artist and poet with a writing and curatorial practice whose work engages communities and mobilizes social issues. He builds collaborative, durational cultural projects that promote civic engagement, and increase community health. As a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 10 Fellow, he works on prototypes addressing climate change and racial equity. He is also the founder of Gossypion Investments.


Chris Byrne is the coeditor (with Keith Mayerson) of Frank Johnson, Pioneer of American Comics Vol.

1: Wally’s Gang Early Years (1928-1949) and the Bowser Boys (19461950), published by Fantagraphics in 2023. He is the curator of Peter Halley: Paintings and Drawings 1980-81, currently on view at Karma and Craig Starr Gallery in NYC, and wrote the essay for the accompanying catalogue.


is a benefactor for the arts, education, and social services and is a partner of Custard & Pitts Investment Company, LP. She served as trustee of SMU and was honored as Trustee Emerita. She chairs the advisory council of the Meadows Museum. Husband William A. Custard and she endowed the Meadows School of the Arts’ Museum Director and Centennial Chair.

Spain’s H.M. King Felipe VI awarded her the Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel la Católica.


graduated from the University of North Texas in December 2022. Her practice includes editorial and fine art photography while her personal work focuses on themes regarding femininity, identity, culture, and intersectionality. For Patron, she brought her camera to an artist’s studio, museum, exhibition space, a filmmaker’s home, and outdoor locales —The Texas Theatre and Carpenter Park— to capture this year’s crop of Art Influencers

EVE HILL-AGNUS is a writer, editor, and translator with roots in France and California. She has been a teacher of literature and journalism; an awardwinning dining critic who also covers art and dance; and a freelance writer/editor of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Her joy recently has been translation, whether the translation of one language to another or of art into words. Eve explores the Green Family Art Foundation's summer show and Motherwell’s blockbuster exhibition in A Legacy Looms Large



is an occasional artist, book scout/collector, curator, and writer who also serves as a Texas Regional Representative for Bonhams Auctioneers. This September sees the publication of Pastures of the Empty Page: Fellow Writers on the Life and Legacy of Larry McMurtry from UT Press, in which he profiles the bookman’s early scouting days. In these pages, the former student of Vernon Fisher pays tribute to the late North Texas artist and educator.


Extended through October 15, 2023

Organized by the Denver Art Museum in collaboration with The Phoebus Foundation, Saints and Sinners explores the artistic styles and subjects that flourished between the 1400s and 1600s in Flanders—better known today as the Southern Netherlands. Flanders was home to revolutionary artists, including Hans Memling, Jan Gossaert, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens, and Anthony van Dyck, who found new ways to depict reality, portray humanity, and tell stories that continue to resonate with viewers today. Featuring roughly 140 extraordinary works of art in a variety of media, from paintings to manuscripts, the exhibition opens a doorway into the past, telling the story of enterprising townspeople, prosperous cities, and an ever-developing society. These stunning artworks also detail stories about dreams and ambitions, fears and desires, and what it means to be human.

Learn more and get tickets at

Image: The Mocking of Human Follies (detail), about 1550. Frans Verbeeck. Oil paint on canvas; 62 3/4 × 84 in. © The Phoebus Foundation, Antwerp. FREEMAN FAMILY EXHIBITION FUND MARGUERITE HOFFMAN AND THOMAS WOODWARD LENTZ The exhibition is co–presented by Texas Instruments and PNC Bank and is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture. Saints, Sinners, Lovers, and Fools: 300 Years of Flemish Masterworks is co-organized by the Denver Art Museum and The Phoebus Foundation, Antwerp (Belgium).


Terri Provencal


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Michele Rodriguez


Danielle Avram

Christopher Blay

Chris Byrne

Steve Carter

Nancy Cohen Israel

Lee Cullum

Linda Custard

Eve Hill-Agnus

Brandon Kennedy

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A Sea of Love



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Victoria Gomez

Joan Marcus

Chris Plavidal

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John Smith

Eric Stoner

Kevin Todora

Can Turk

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is published 6X per year by Patron, P.O. Box 12121, Dallas, Texas 75225. Copyright 2023, Patron. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without express written permission of the Publisher is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed in editorial copy are those of experts consulted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, publisher or the policy of Patron. Unsolicited manuscripts and photographs should be sent to the address above and accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope for return. Publisher will take reasonable precaution with such materials but assumes no responsibility for their safety. Please allow up to two months for return of such materials. 12 PATRONMAGAZINE.COM


Cheers to delicious, Napa-inspired dishes at Ellie’s, curated by Executive Chef, Anthony Hsia. Located within HALL Arts Hotel, in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, our showstopping dining experience will leave you ready for an encore. 1717 LEONARD STREET, DALLAS, TEXAS 75201 | 972.629.0924 | ELLIESDALLAS.COM

Photography by Studio Love List


ca. 1870, oil
WHAT YOU SEE? We’ve got more where these came from ALWAYS FREE
(details): William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), Idle Hours, ca. 1894, oil on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, 1982.1; Livingston Schamberg (1881–1918), Figure, 1913, oil on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, 1984.16; Frederic Remington (1861–1909), A Dash for the Timber 1889, oil on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Amon G. Carter Collection, 1961.381; William M. Harnett (1848–1892), Attention, Company!, 1878, oil on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, 1970.230; Morton Lewis Wickes Hine (1874–1940), Steamfitter, 1921, gelatin silver print, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, P1981.80.3; Arthur Dove (1880–1946), The Lobster, 1908, oil on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Acquisition in memory of Anne Burnett Tandy, Trustee, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1968–1980,
Stuart Davis (1892–1964), Egg Beater No.
, 1928, oil on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas,
George Morrison (1919–2000), New England Landscape II, 1967, wood, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas,
Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902), Sunrise, Yosemite Valley,
on canvas, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas,

Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting

June 4–September 17

Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting is the first presentation in more than a quarter century to fully examine the mastery of Robert Motherwell (1915–1991), a major figure who shaped postwar art.

The exhibition features a selection of visually compelling works chosen from throughout the artist’s lengthy and influential career. Beginning with the abstracted-figurative works that dominated Motherwell’s first decade of painting as he emerged

in the New York art world in the early 1940s, the exhibition highlights the subsequent key series that defined his oeuvre, offering new insights into his evolution as an artist. Although he was equally proficient as a collagist, a printmaker, and a draftsman, it is Motherwell’s expansive sense of painting that this retrospective explores.

Above: Elegy to the Spanish Republic, ca. 1962/1982. Magna and acrylic on
72 x 96
purchase, The Friends of Art Endowment Fund. Acquired in 1993. © 2023 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
MODERN ART MUSEUM OF FORT WORTH 3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76107 • 817.738.9215
inches. Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Museum
Photograph by Kevin Todora
The exhibition catalogue was published with the support of the Dedalus Foundation.




Discover the hidden gems of Southern African art in If You Look Hard Enough, You Can See Our Future . Curated from Nando’s vast archive of over 25,000 pieces, the exhibition marks its global debut at the African American Museum. The restaurant group Nando’s, one of the world’s largest collectors of contemporary Southern African art, brings together nearly 90 extraordinary pieces from over 60 artists. Free and open to the public, the exhibition continues through Aug. 13. Image: Stephen Hobbs, If You Look Hard Enough, 2014, Letraset, aquatint, and drypoint. Courtesy the artist and David Krut Projects.


Emancipation: The Unfinished Project of Liberation visualizes what freedom looks like for Black Americans today and the legacy of the Civil War in 2023 and beyond, through Jul. 9. Christina Fernandez: Multiple Exposures invites viewers to reconsider history, borders, and the lives that cross and inhabit both, through Jul. 9. Timed with the 100th anniversary of Richard Avedon’s birth, the Carter showcases 13 works from In the American West, which the museum commissioned in 1979 and premiered in 1985, through Oct. 1. Elizabeth Turk’s The Tipping Point: Echoes of Extinction is the third installation in the Carter’s multiyear outdoor sculpture program, through May 1, 2024. Arthur Dove: Miniature Laboratories examines work from 1940–46, the last years of Dove’s life, through Aug. 27. Leonardo Drew, renowned for his large-scale, multidimensional installations, will create a new site-specific commission for the museum’s first-floor galleries. In this project, he will feature “planets” as central sculptural pieces, surrounded by hundreds of smaller objects, emphasizing interconnectedness. On view Jun. 17–Jun. 30, 2024.


Japan, Form & Function: The Montgomery Collection features more than 240 works, subdivided into themes and categories, throughout the museum’s galleries. For the first time, the Crow Museum has dedicated the entire museum to a single exhibition over an extended period.


Cerámica Suro: a story of collaboration, production, and collecting in the contemporary arts is the first comprehensive American presentation of the studio’s influence on contemporary art vis-à-vis the collection

amassed by José Noé Suro and his wife, Marcela, curated by executive director/chief curator of Guadalajara’s Museo de Arte de Zapopan (MAZ) Viviana Kuri, through Dec. 21. In This Must Be the Place, Eduardo Sarabia’s multidisciplinary work is expressed in the setting of a home showcasing the varied elements of the artist’s practice, including hand-painted blue-and-white Talavera-style ceramics made in collaboration with Cerámica Suro; paintings that serve as metaphorical windows; handmade ceramic kitchenware; and a site-specific mural of vine motifs; through Aug. 27. Image: Cerámica Suro: a story of collaboration, production, and collecting in the contemporary arts installation view. Courtesy of Patron.


Closing Jun. 18, Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement, created to mark the 50th anniversary of a June 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village, explores the modern LGBTQ rights movement in the United States. The protests that followed the raid were a pivotal moment in the modern gay liberation movement and the ongoing fight for LGBTQ civil rights.


Movement: The Legacy of Kineticism showcases the work of artists from three historical eras who use optical effects or mechanical or manipulable parts to engage the viewer physically or perceptually, through Jul. 16. Saint, Sinners, Lovers, and Fools: 300 Years of Flemish Masterworks explores a rich repertoire of themes that reflect the societal changes of the time while also adeptly mirroring contemporary circumstances surrounding the human condition. This unique presentation of artwork engages visitors in the detailed and sometimes passionate storytelling of Flemish masters such as Hans Memling and Peter Paul Rubens; through Jun. 25. Concentrations 64: Ja’Tovia Gary, I KNOW IT WAS THE BLOOD, on display through Nov. 5, brings together five artworks and related ephemera created by the Dallas-native filmmaker and visual artist over the past three years. Displaying glowing neon script, a newly commissioned sculpture, film sourced from the artist’s family archives, and paintings, this multimedia installation is an evocative memoir that celebrates the power of ancestral knowledge. In Picasso’s Muses: Between Inspiration and Obsession, the DMA presents works on paper from its collection. Image: Ja’Tovia Gary, installation view of Precious Memories, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, 2020.

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Photograph by Steven Probert. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.

Freedom Matters, through Dec. 31, uses rare artifacts and historical documents, interactive activities, and personal perspectives to examine the concept of freedom: where it comes from, what it means, what free societies look like, and the role of the individual in protecting and spreading freedom around the world.



Through Oct. 4, The Kimbell at 50 celebrates the history of the museum with dedicated events. Told through nearly 100 rarely seen masterpieces and recent discoveries, Lives of the Gods: Divinity in Maya Art depicts episodes in the life cycle of the gods, from the moment of their birth to resplendent transformations as blossoming flowers or fearsome creatures of the night. Created by masters of the Classic period (A.D. 250–900) in the royal cities in the tropical forests of what are now Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, these landmark works evoke a world in which the divine, human, and natural realms are interrelated and intertwined. The exhibition continues through Sep 3. Image: Censer Stand with the Head of a Supernatural Being with a Kan Cross, Maya, Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico Late Classic period, c. A.D. 690–720, ceramic with traces of pigments, 44.87 x 21.50 x 11.50 in. Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth.



Through Jul. 1, Marginal Universe examines the evolution of Giovanni Valderas’ multifaceted oeuvre from 2011 to 2023. The exhibition features an array of works, from his early paper collages to his contemporary sculptural paintings, incorporating materials such as wood, duct tape, bamboo, papier-mâché, and tissue paper, reminiscent of traditional piñata artifacts. Image: Giovanni Valderas, A Necessary Taskmaster (Si Se Veinen), 2023, tissue paper, bamboo, wood, papier-mâché, zip ties. Courtesy of the artist.


I Make My Own Weather features the work of Bonny Leibowitz, who deconstructs landscape-painting traditions using synthetic materials to challenge conventional ideas of nature and the human relationship. Gabriela Morawetz’s video installation Healing explores the interconnectedness of the metaphysical and the real, and the process of seeking equilibrium. Both through Jun. 17.


In the Shadow of Dictatorship: Creating the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art sees more than 40 highlights from the Museo de Arte Abstracto

Español’s remarkable collection that tell the story of this pioneering artists’ museum and explore the rich panorama of abstract Spanish art during the middle of the 20th century and under Franco’s regime; through Jul. 30.


Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting is the first presentation in more than a quarter century to fully examine the mastery of Motherwell, a major figure who shaped postwar art. The Modern is a fitting venue given its institutional commitment to the artist’s work, with holdings of over fifty works by Motherwell in a variety of media, and as host of the final retrospective organized during his lifetime in 1991. The career survey is organized by guest curator Susan Davidson. On view Jun. 4–Sep. 17.


Piero Fenci: The Grand Voyage exhibits ceramic sculpture by the artist and professor that includes influences from pre-Columbian architecture, American Shaker design styles, Etruscan pottery, and Japanese armor; through Aug. 15.


Mark di Suvero is renowned for monumental, abstract, steel constructions that grace urban plazas, bucolic sculpture parks, and public spaces. Featuring 30 sculptures ranging in size from handheld to monumental and more than 40 drawings and paintings spanning the artist’s career, Mark di Suvero: Steel Like Paper reveals the power of the artist’s monumental vision; through Aug. 27. For six decades, Thaddeus Mosley has taken felled trees near his home in Pittsburgh and transformed them into inventive abstract forms to create large sculptures, five of which are presented in Forest through Aug. 20. Image: Thaddeus Mosley, Aero Intersectional, 2018, 76 x 46 x 40 in. Courtesy of Karma, New York


Through Sep. 4., immerse yourself in The Science Behind Pixar, featuring over 50 interactive elements.


John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation examines the life, legacy, and assassination of JFK within the events of November 22, 1963, and their aftermath. The multimedia experience advocates for cross-generational dialogue.


Observations: Works by Melissa W. Miller emphasizes works surrounding environmental events, portraying both natural occurrences and those that are a result of human interaction. On view through Aug. 6.

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10 - SEPTEMBER 24, 2023


SparkFest returns for the third time with a Texas-wide acting competition for MENASA actors and artists. The finalists stand a chance to win $18,000 in cash prizes. Additionally, the festival will feature the development and showcasing of new plays along with other engaging events; Jun. 1–14. Childhood best friends Matthias and Aloysius must pass the ultimate test to procure a wife: A mother’s intuition, in Miss Molly ; Jul. 21–Aug. 13.


PNC Patio Sessions presents Taylor Pace on Jun. 1; Clover the Violinist on Jun. 15; Kane Vinson on Jun. 22; and DJ Ursa Minor on Jun. 29. Josh Gates: An Evening of Legends, Mysteries, And Tales of Adventure takes the stage on Jun. 1. Poems for Broken Screens, Jun. 1–3, is a transmedia performance art project spanning multiple genres and disciplines. Heather McMahan brings the giggles on Jun. 2–3. Laurie Berkner: The Greatest Hits Solo Tour stops in Jun. 3. On Jun. 10, celebrate the legendary Meat Loaf and experience his hit songs performed brilliantly by The Neverland Express with American Idol winner Caleb Johnson. On Jun. 10–11, Grace sees the Bruce Wood Dance 2022-2023 season finale featuring world premieres by artistic director Joy Bollinger and Emmy Awardwinning choreographer Ben Needham-Wood, plus the return of Rhapsody in Blue. Lea Salonga brings her powerful voice and perfect pitch to the stage on Jun. 17. Join Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria from Madagascar the Musical as they escape the zoo and hit the stage in this live musical spectacular, Jun. 23–24. B. MOORE DANCE presents a classic night of sultry jazz, soulful harmony, and the funkiest funk at the Wyly Theatre, Jul. 21–23. See Boz Scaggs live on Jul. 22 followed by Keb’ Mo’ on Jul. 25. Told over three acts, The Power of Collision shares a familiar story that expresses how fragile life can be, how heavy things can get, and how exciting life can become, Jul. 28–30. Rob Lake’s mind-blowing illusions come to Dallas on Jul. 29. Image: Photograph courtesy of B. MOORE DANCE and AT&T Performing Arts Center.


Hadestown weaves together two mythic stories: the love tale of Orpheus and Eurydice and the power dynamic between King Hades and his wife Persephone through Mitchell’s enchanting melodies and Chavkin’s poetic vision, Jun. 22–Jul. 2. The Book of Morman is a musical comedy that chronicles the escapades of an unlikely duo of missionaries, dispatched to a distant land to share the Good Word, Jul. 28–30. Image: Matthew Patrick Quinn, Hannah Whitley, Dominique Kempf, Nyla Watson, Belén Moyano in Hadestown North American Tour 2022. Photograph by T. Charles Erickson.


Experience Riverdance, the electrifying Broadway musical that will sweep you off your feet, Jun. 6–8. See Jill Scott, a Grammy Awardwinning singer-songwriter, New York Times best-selling poet, actor, and multimedia entrepreneur on Jun. 17. Spend An Evening with John Cusack & Screening of Say Anything on Jun. 24. On Jun. 25, Love, Jazz & Romance. Mughal-e-Azam is a Broadway-style musical based on the 1960 Bollywood film of the same name, directed by K. Asif and produced by Shapoorji Pallonji, Jul. 21–23.


Miss Saigon is one of the most stunning theatrical spectacles of all time; see it live at Casa Mañana Jun. 3–11. The Reid Cabaret Theatre heads back to the ages of hippies and disco as we groove our way through the One Hit Wonders of the 60s and 70s. Ring out those infectious earworms Jun. 13–24.


The BIG Dance 2023, Jun. 3, is a citywide Dallas extravaganza showcasing live music from local artists such as Havana NRG!, Fusion Latina, and Mariachi Zacatecas. NBC 5’s Maria Guerrero will host the event, while Amanda Cristina Salsa teaches dance lessons in various styles. Attendees can enjoy food, drinks, festive decorations, and professional performances by DBDT dancers, capturing the essence of Latin and Afro-Latin culture for a night to remember. Image: DBDT’s The BIG Dance. Photograph by Kent Barker.


The Unicorn’s Birthday opens as the first concert of the summer for the DSO on Jun. 3. Stravinsky and Brahms ring out for the Highlander Concert Series as the Highland Park Chorale, Chancel Choir, and Orchestra join forces to perform two monumental pillars of the repertoire on Jun. 7. The best 13- to 17-year-old pianists from around the globe are coming to Dallas for the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition Jun. 8–17. A special onenight-only concert experience, Teen Scene, features Jack Roueche, the 2023 Lynn Harrell Concerto Competition winner, and a sideby-side performance from the DSO and Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra on Jun. 9. The DSO hosts EarShot Readings on Jun. 21, with four featured composers: Moni (Jasmine) Guo, Diallo Banks, Ricardo Ferro, and Iván Enrique Rodríguez. Discover the origins of blues music as the DSO honors legendary artists like Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ma Rainey, and Louis Armstrong, Jun.23–25. Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts performs Jul. 13. Each summer, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brings together the brightest young players from across the country to form the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America; see them live on Jul. 22.

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The Queens of Cool perform at the Meyerson on Jul. 29. Image: Shayna Steele. Photograph courtesy of Ashley White.


A red, white, and blue musical salute to Mom, apple pie, and the American way takes place on July 4, Dallas Winds style.


See 25 Years of Memories by Studio 3 Dance Jun. 1–4. The M.O.M. Crew Foundation takes the stage Jun. 11. Liverpool Legends features four musicians/actors assembled by Louise Harrison, sister of the late George Harrison, to honor her brother’s legacy and recreate the band that changed the world; see them live on Jun. 17. Celebrate Chita Rivera in a unique concert event, returning to Eisemann Center Presents for one performance only. Rivera will recreate signature moments from her legendary Broadway career, from West Side Story, Sweet Charity and Bye Bye Birdie to Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Visit, and more, on Jun. 23. My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy, Brad Zimmerman’s hilarious and inspiring story, mounts Jul. 6–30.


Principal guest conductor Kevin John Edusei will conduct the orchestra’s final performance in Bass Performance Hall for the 2022–2023 season. Featuring bassoon soloist Joshua Elmore performing the Mozart Bassoon Concerto, as well as Kodály’s Peacock Variations and Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, this will be a season finale to remember.


The Last Truck Stop, directed by co-artistic director Christopher Carlos, opens Jun. 8. Through Jun. 25, the play is a 1975-meets-2045 tale of loss and renewal, underpinned by the surveillance state as it faces its toughest challenge yet: our desire to hit the open road. Now in its 25th year, KDT’s Staged Reading Series will showcase some of the most promising playwrights working in contemporary theater today along with some of DFW’s most accomplished actors and writers, Jun. 17 and 24. PUP (Playwrights Under Progress) Fest features six staged readings of jury-selected scripts written by high school students.


Lady A returns on Jun. 2 and Mary Chapin Carpenter returns on Jun. 4. 19Keys presents The Highest Level Tour on Jun. 14. The Bored Teachers “We Can’t Make This Stuff Up” Comedy Tour stops in Dallas on Jun. 15. The Witch of all Witches is ready to cast her next great spell. Two-time RuPaul’s Drag Race winner and Broadway

breakout star Jinkx Monsoon presents her biggest concert tour to date with Everything at Stake on Jul. 28. Natalia Lafourcade will take the Majestic Stage on Jul. 29. Image: 19Keys. Photograph courtesy of AT&T Performing Arts Center.



Transforming lives through the arts, TACA nurtures arts organizations and provides visionary and responsive leadership to the arts community. By providing flexible funding and muchneeded resources, like professional development workshops, TACA allows arts organizations to spend less time on keeping their doors open and more time on running effective programs.



The Goodman family is just a “normal” family: Dad’s an architect, Mom packs lunches and makes birthday cakes, and their daughter and son are bright, wisecracking teens. Under the surface, their family is anything but. Next to Normal explores a family’s emotional journey with a mother struggling with bipolar disorder as they navigate a world of therapists and medication. Jun. 1–Jul. 2.


A TITAS favorite returns to Dallas. See Ballet BC’s incredible dancers and repertory onstage Jun. It is rare to find a company where just everything works: vision, dancers, repertory.


From June 29-30, the Turtle Creek Chorale celebrates Sin City in the way only it can.



The Way She Spoke is a haunting and theatrical one-woman play that reveals the treacherous streets of Juárez, Mexico, where thousands of women have been murdered in an epidemic of violence that has yet to stop. Written by Isaac Gómez based on their intimate interviews, the play is a raw and riveting exploration of responsibility: one playwright’s journey to give voice to a city of women silenced by violence. Jun. 1–18.



In the world premiere of Goin’ Hollywood, Alice Chandler and her best friend and writing partner Garson Stein are magically transported back to 1949 Hollywood after making a birthday wish. As they navigate the golden age of movie musicals and land a dream job at MGM, they encounter the glitz of Hollywood stars and the dark reality of a crumbling studio system and the blacklist, Jul. 19–Jul. 30.

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Emily Furr: Extra Strength and Fernanda Mello’s Boundless Little Darkness in the back room close on Jun. 3. The Range centers around contemporary representations of the cowboy figure. Artists in this exhibition include Caleb Hahne Quintana, Gray Wielebinski, Michael Lombardo, Dave Muller, Janet Werner, Grace Kennison, Andrea Heimer, Oscar yi Hou, Kenneth Tam, Adrian Norvid, and Karla García; through Jul. 29.


Established in 1978, 500X provides one of the best exhibition spaces to up-and-coming artists in Dallas.


A collection by Matthew Alexander is coming soon.


A solo show for Ben Horns, which displays their intimate interior landscapes, closes on Apr. 8. Next, the work of Coco Young fills the gallery through Jun. 10. A group show with Ben Horns, Kathryn Kerr, and Leslie Martinez will be on display Jun. 24–Aug. 5.


Artspace111 presents three new exhibitions through Jun. 17: Benjamin Muñoz’s Clean Hands celebrates Chicano culture and resilience through vibrant Calavera figures; David Wolske’s Iterations explores visual poetry by combining digital design with traditional letterpress and fine art printmaking; Kaima Marie Akarue’s I want to be famous examines the complexity of fame through nostalgia and fragmented reality. Artspace111 10th Annual Texas Juried Exhibition mounts Jun. 24–Aug. 26.


Luke Harnden: Dreams of You Too presents new works of manipulated images by the California artist. John Wilcox: Selected Paintings will inaugurate the comprehensive six-volume catalogue set that commemorates the exhibitions held in the Wilcox Space, the artist’s former studio. Both exhibitions run from Jun. 24–Sep. 9.


It Takes a Village features Daniela María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, Mikey Hernandez, Breanne Schwarz, Victoria Morales Walters through Sep. 2.


Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas, a nonprofit organization

consisting of 14 member galleries, engages in coordinated programming and scholarships to promote contemporary art in Dallas.


The gallery presents the reverse-glass paintings of Christopher Martin; the Rodeo series of photographer Steve Wrubel; the colorfield paintings of Jeff Muhs; Dutch image maker Isabelle van Zeijl; the acrylic constructions of Jean-Paul Khabbaz; California-based painter Chris Hayman; the organic paintings of Liz Barber, and rotating artists.


Susie Phillips and Carrie Marill will fill the main gallery through Jun. 25. In collaboration with Webb Gallery, Waxahachie, Dan Phillips highlights the project room. Michael Frank Blair will show a series of paintings, dated 2011 to 2021, in his first show with Conduit , and Stephen Lapthisophon will present a selection of works on paper and paintings that span the 20 years he has been living and working in Dallas. Both will be on view Jun. 24–Aug. 19.


Through Jul. 8, a summer group show will be held with rostered artists New Texas Talent XXX was juried by Scott Simons, who conceived and launched the first New Texas Talent juried exhibition, now in its 30th year. The exhibition will be on view Jul. 15–Aug. 19.


Lauren Clay: Threshold Drawings and Adrian Esparza: Emerging from Space both remain on view through Jun. 17. Next, Group Show: Summer Highlights and Focus: Paul Manes highlight the gallery Jun. 24–Aug. 12.


Emmy Bright: It Gets Better or It Doesn’t continues through Jul. 8. The exhibition brings together over 35 of Bright’s works, including prints, drawings, sculptures, quilts, and videos.


HEARD is a culmination of photographs and films Tramaine Townsend has captured over the past five years in Texas. Going to rodeos, riding along trail rides, and getting to personally know the Black people of this culture have played a large part in the American history he has also learned along the way. Told through a narrative of authenticity, Tramaine took the approach of not creating a story that could be easily digested but through which viewers would seek to discover more; Jun. 17–Jul. 29.




The gallery specializes in late 19th- and 20th- century American and European paintings with an emphasis on the Texas regionalists, Texas landscape, and midcentury modern painters.


Gary Goldberg: Continental Drift, through Jun.17, invites viewers a step closer, to explore how Colonial Mexican architecture transforms into landscapes and mythologies when photographed in close range. These images are then transformed into photorealistic textiles using a felting process at Taller Afelpado in San Agustín Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico. The main gallery also hosts Magdalena Rantica’s Domestic Landscape, while Sarita Westrup’s a tender line shines at Cluley Projects through Jun. 17. Image: Magdalena Rantica, 2023, acrylic and pigments on canvas, 37.5 x 29.5 in.



Founded by artists and owners Debra and James Ferrari, the gallery represents a select group of established and emerging artists.



Eucational programs, art scholarships, and art competitions are offered by Fort Worth Art Dealers Association.



Gail Peter Borden’s Dimensional Iterations is an extension of his ongoing exploration of spatial contexts, apprehension of form, and experiments in materiality. Additionally, the gallery hosts ‘vs,’ an exhibition of artworks by Pittsburgh-based artist Loring Taoka. Taoka’s work takes as its basis a pseudo- “X” shape, which the artist duplicates, layers, and takes apart until it dissolves, losing inherent meaning as a sequence of shapes while gaining abstract potential. Both exhibitions close Jun. 10. Arden Bendler Browning and Paho Mann highlight the gallery Jun. 24–Aug. 19.


Full and Pure: Body, Materiality, Gender, curated by Mara Hassan , will present a survey of contemporary art exploring the malleability of selfhood, with a central focus on the mutability of gendered corporeality and aesthetic forms. Works by 20th-century artists— such as Manuel Neri, Hugh Steers, Joan Semmel, and Ida Applebroog—are culled from the Green Family Art Foundation’s collection and will be situated in dialogue with an array of work by today’s artists; Jun. 10–Aug. 18.


James Lumsden: STRATA , an exhibition representing a recent

ensemble of paintings by the Scottish artist , continues through Jun. 17. Lumsden’s work is primarily concerned with process—a building up of translucent glazes until an illusion of light and depth is achieved. Liz Ward’s The Grove will be on view through Jul. 29 featuring new works on paper informed by her study of classical Chinese landscape painting and Tantric art. Image: Liz Ward, Twin Pools, 2023, watercolor, pastel, graphite, and collage on Japanese paper, 49.75 x 50 in.


In Rhythm don’t Rhyme, on view through Jun. 23, Eric Sall will showcase eight new paintings that deal with “push and pull,” two opposing forces, within his work. Sall plays with dichotomies via his fields of color, pushing the works into a new rhythm. The gallery will return to regular programming in August.


ATM/DFW closes Jun. 3. The exhibition sees work from Taro Waggoner, Xxavier Carter, Brian Jones, Brian Scott, Keer Tanchak, Joshua Goode, Celia Munoz, Andrea Tosten, Celia Eberle, Tabatha Trolli, Heyd Fontenot, and Erin Stafford Carlos Donjuan will display his creations Jun. 24–Aug. 13.


The 29th Annual Goblet Invitational will feature drinking vessels from functional to fantasy from over 70 contemporary artists Jun. 10–Jul. 29.


REWRITTEN, featuring works by Max Steven Grossman, Paul Rousso, and James Verbicky, remains on view through Jun. 17. Next, the gallery presents a group show, Art on Paper.


Through Aug. 5, Myra Barraza’s El Dorado reexamines the story of El Dorado with a post-colonial lens. Congruently, Michael Corris and Tino Ward: “Move along, there’s nothing to see here” A Thought Experiment, Illustrated sees nine red monochromes made of handmade paper accompanied by nine panels of text printed in ink jet on PVC Image: Myra Barraza, GOLD LADY 2 – JANE , 2021, mixed media on paper, 6.6 x 5.5 in.


The Inseparable Nature of Land From Itself sees the work of Tom Jean Webb, Saint No, Nadia Rosales, and Steven Visneau though Jun. 26. Image: Tom Jean Webb, We Could Flow Together, We Could Flow Forever, 2023, acrylic and oil paint, acrylic pastel on canvas, 70 x 50 in.

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K ittrell/Riffkind Art Glass Gallery


Martin Lawrence Galleries specializes in paintings, sculpture, and limited-edition graphics including works of art by Erté, Marc Chagall, Keith Haring, and many other artists.


Elegidos, a solo exhibition by Johannes Boekhoudt , closes Jun. 6. Icons: Bowie to Beyoncé opens next and showcases photographer Markus Klinko from Jun. 8–Jul. 11.


Meliksetian | Briggs presents Adam Saks’ Everything The Light Touches Is Your Kingdom through Jul. 1. A solo show of new work by David-Jeremiah mounts Jul. 8–Aug. 5. Image: Adam Saks, Emit, 2023, oil on canvas, 59 x 47 in.


PoP will have a summer group exhibition from Jun. 8–Aug. 11.


PA hosts a solo exhibition for Naruki Kukita from Jun. 3–Jul. 1. The gallery will return to regular programming in September, after a summer break.


Through Aug. 19, Nancy Baron’s The Good Life highlights the gallery, exhibiting Palm Springs, California , as it continues to stay frozen in time. Image: Nancy Baron, Charlie, 2018, print.


Giangiacomo Rossetti: Through a Thin Wall , and Amy Yao’s Asian Clam in The Power Station Annex continue through Jul. 1.

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In its memory-laden exhibition, in memoria: Linda + Ed Blackburn, Dallas’ SITE131 recalls the vivid lives and works of two highly respected North Texas artists who died in 2022. Showing through Jun. 25, the exhibition features 25 dynamic works of these two inventive artists.


JJJJJerome Ellis: Loops of Retreat continues through Jul 22. The exhibition features an immersive video installation in SP2,

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based on Ellis’ groundbreaking 2021 album, The Clearing. The album explores themes of music, blackness, disabled speech, and time, taking inspiration from the artist’s own stutter, which he refers to as “clearings.”

37 RO2 ART

Mixed Metaphors, an exhibition of new work by Gillian BradshawSmith coinciding with the artist’s 90th birthday, remains on view through Jun. 10. Brad Ford Smith explores drawing and sculpture in two distinct but complementary bodies of work in his exhibit Outside Inside. In one series, Smith works from life, depicting often unacknowledged public sculptures around Dallas . Image: Brantly Sheffield, The Blessing , 2022, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 56 in.


Lea Fisher’s solo exhibition Reflections of an Artist’s Journey remains on view through Jun. 10. Fisher released her first book during the exhibition, which is a reflective journey of self-love and growth amid dealing with troubling memories illustrated by her Self Portraits Summer Socials is on view at The National location.


A showcase of fine design and furniture, SMINK is a purveyor of quality products for living. The showroom also hosts exhibitions featuring Robert Szot, Gary Faye, Richard Hogan, Dara Mark, and Paula Roland.


For over 50 years, Southwest Gallery has provided gallery-goers with the largest collection of fine 19th- through 21st- century paintings and sculptures. The gallery introduces Ukranian folk artist Roman Opalinski alongside hundreds of artists who work in a broad range of styles, all displayed in their 16,000 -squarefoot showroom.


Letitia Huckaby’s Bitter Waters Sweet, in the Main Gallery through Jul. 29, explores the legacy of Africatown, the historic community near Mobile, Alabama. The town was founded by a group of West African people who were enslaved and trafficked to the US shortly before Emancipation and long after the Atlantic slave trade was banned. Image: Letitia Huckaby, The Gathering Place, 2022, pigment print on fabric with embroidery hoop, 12 x 20 in.



A Closer Look featuring work by Kathy Boortz shows alongside Cindi Holt’s Nature’s Parade through Jul. 8. Opening Jul. 15, an exhibition of Texas landscape paintings by Jack Barnett will be on view at the gallery through Aug. 12.


From Jun. 3–Jul. 8, see Madeline Donahue: ART HOUSE at the Dallas location. For the remainder of summer, VSF will have a solo exhibition for Mark Yang from Jul. 15–Sep. 2.


Webb Gallery will have several events this summer at their Fort Davis location, Webb’s Fair & Square , including Tim Kerr: Music & Art on Jun . 16; Quintron and Miss Pussycat puppet and music show on Jun. 25; and Esther Pearl Watson and Sam Linguist pie pans on Jul . 1. The gallery mounts a show for Carl Block on Jul. 23.


John Holt Smith’s Curvature And Flow and Jeff Kellar’s Locate close on Jun. 10. A solo exhibition for Howard Sherman will be on view at the Foch St. Location from Jun. 17–Aug. 5 Image: John Holt Smith, Wildflower Oculus #35, 2023, oil on canvas, 72 x 72 in.



Art Quest presents an opportunity to explore three Dallas neighborhoods: Bachman Lake on Jun. 3, South Dallas on Jun. 10, and Pleasant Grove on Jun. 17. AURORA commissioned Eliza Au, Karla Garcia, and Hobbes Vincent to create three sculptures developed through the use of 3D printing technologies to be placed in secret locations on each event date.


HA has an extensive catalog of auctions for the summer, including, Selections from a Houston, TX Corporate Collection Showcase Auction on Jun. 6, Urban Art featuring APPortfolio Archive Showcase Auction on Jun. 7, American Art Within Reach Showcase Auction on Jun. 16, Texas Art Signature Auction on Jun. 17, the Wild Things: The Art, Literature, and Theatre of Maurice Sendak Signature Auction on Jun. 30, the Outsider Art Showcase Auction on Jul. 20, Art of the West Showcase Auction on Jul. 21, and the Obey Giant: The Art of Shepard Fairey Showcase Auction on Jul. 27.

May 7–September 3

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The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Kimbell Art Museum. It is supported in part by the William and Catherine Bryce Memorial Fund, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the Fort Worth Tourism Public Improvement District. Promotional support provided by


In Blueprints, Linus Borgo offers a moving self-portrait. Nothing deviates from the classical painting genre save the gender presented. The figure stands reflected in a hotel bathroom mirror, and the objects on the sink are both mundane and intimate: toothbrush, shaving cream, bottles of medication. But the transgender artist bears breasts and also the shadow of a mustache. Thumb tucked into the band of sweatpants, he gazes out, caught in transition, calmly, deliberately visible, vulnerable. This is the new frontier of intimacy, as explored in Full and Pure: Body, Materiality, Gender, the exhibition currently on view at the Green Family Art Foundation.

The Greens find themselves with the leeway to tackle a subject meagerly covered in museums that can prove polarizing. In planning the exhibition, they tapped guest curator Mara Hassan, who is completing a dissertation at Stanford University that explores conceptual portraiture and transgender abstractions. Beautifully, thoughtfully, philosophically orchestrated, hers is “a show on the mutability of form and the corporeal,” one “that questions gender, that questions the stasis of forms,” according to Hassan. The result is breathtaking and polyvalent, quiet at times, and also clamorous. It does far more than challenge the idea that fixity is a mark of selfhood.

The sculpture Pecadoras Series III by Manuel Neri showcases an Olympian body, and yet with a total omission of identity markers. Where there might be breasts are chisel marks; a smooth surface where

In Full and Pure, Green Family Art Foundation takes a powerful view of gender fluidity.
Above: Miller Robinson, Pillow Talking with a Compass During an Apocalypse, 2023, silicone rubber and Pearl Ex pigments on silk; cotton gauze, debris, invasive plants, tars, sand, concrete, ocean water, and river water; glass, feather, syringe, and testosterone, 24 x 26 x 16 in. approx. Courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Paasha Motamedi. Above right: Manuel Neri, Pecadoras Series III (A/P II), 2001, bronze, 31.25 x 6.25 x 5.50 in. Below: Breyer P-Orridge, Alchymical Wedding (Study), 1997-2012, hotrolled steel frame, hand-blown glass, cork, hair, nails, skin, 11.50 x 14 x 11.50 in.

there might be a gendered pubis or face. “It’s almost akin to a tabula rasa,” Hassan says. A site of pain or a place where creation can start.

Erasure of a different sort is the subject of the transfeminine multimedia artist and activist Mark Aguhar’s 2011 wall projections that spell out “JUST BECAUSE I WANT TO DESTROY YOUR SENSE OF BODILY SELF DOESNT MEAN I DONT VALUE YOU AS A PERSON” or “TAKING CONTROL OF MY PHYSICAL BODY IS THE ONLY WAY FOR ME TO EXERT AGENCY IN A WORLD DESIGNED TO DEMOLISH MY PERSONHOOD.”

The show brings out from the Green’s collection—and from loans—Patricia Ayers’ pneumatic-looking, body-evoking sculpture made of padding and foam; Joan Semmel, disorienting the viewer’s perspective on the body; and Ana Mendieta, in photographs, pressing her skin against panes of glass—her belly and breasts and buttocks. There is painter Nash Glynn’s Sunset : an idyllic, Edenic scene, with a transgender figure half reclining on a grassy knoll like a latter-day Eve, nude and looking over her shoulder at the viewer.

These are stellar works that on their own could anchor a show. But not all the works are figurative by any means. And that is part of the point.

The abstraction takes the form of Helen Frankenthaler’s Red Outline, with its willfully wayward pours of paint that drip and smear. Or the pinks of Maja Ruznic’s The Poet, the Search and the Mother, like dematerialized flesh tones that take on their own shapes. Daisy Parris’ tactile paint on faux fur. Or Dallas artist Leslie Martinez’s exquisite and vast Latent and Supine, whose materiality and structural laboriousness are stunning. Something ineffable about the cosmos rises from these abstractions; or as Hassan puts it, they function as “microcosms for a very universal reality.”

They are all about the same becoming, the same transformation. In each, paint asserts its materiality, as though the paintings are, as Hassan says, “unfurling in [their] own skin.” Or even more broadly: “The materiality of paint will bloom just as people will bloom, just as nature will bloom.”

The exhibition leads to questions: What is a body? What is skin? What is this envelope in which we dwell? Miller Robinson, in a commissioned piece, mimics endangered species’ skins as silk pillows. A transdisciplinary artist, their work points out that the degradation of the body and degradation of nature go hand in hand. The terrain for abstract connections is rich.

Up to half of the artists are not transgender. The show was never meant to be about merely trans figuration, although foundation director Adam Green notes that one goal is “supporting artists that haven’t been exhibited as widely or had as many opportunities as they deserve.” Rather, the show puts forward a sensibility that one could deem a trans-X sensibility. It is not merely about visibility politics or optics, but a philosophical exploration of something broader and universal.

Ultimately, the show deals with the liquidity of self, the evershifting nature of the body, and the ubiquity of change, the impossibility of stasis. It makes a claim for and champions beauty, and what Hassan calls “a capacious and generous understanding of the world.” To see that way is the one great challenge the exhibition asks us to take up. That, merely. P

From top: Maja Ruznic, The Poet, the Search and the Mother, 2017, oil on canvas, 96 x 72 in. ©Maja Ruznic.; Leslie Martinez, Latent and Supine, 2022, fabric, paper scraps, charcoal, fine ballast, pumice, and acrylic on canvas, 96 x 144 x 5 in. Courtesy of the artist and AND NOW, Dallas, TX.; Daisy Parris, Poem For it All, 2022, oil, acrylic, and canvas on faux fur, 70.87 x 59 in. Courtesy of the artist and Sim Smith, London.


Newly renovated, Guild Hall of East Hampton amps up summer programming.

Known for its white sandy beaches and cooler breeze, East Hampton is a magnet for Texans in the summer. Over the years, summer arts programming has become especially verdant, making the trip even more desirable, and the 92-year-old arts space Guild Hall reopens this summer after an ambitious renovation project.

Chris Byrne, owner and founder of the Elaine de Kooning House in East Hampton, visited with Guild Hall’s executive director Andrea Grover here:

Chris Byrne (CB): Guild Hall in East Hampton will reopen in July — what upcoming exhibitions and events can we look forward to at the newly renovated museum, educational space, and theater?

Andrea Grover (AG): Guild Hall reopens on July 2 after a yearlong facility-wide capital improvements project overseen by Peter Pennoyer Architects. Every square inch of our building and grounds— the museum, theater, classroom, offices, and gardens— has been thoughtfully modernized with state-of-the-art systems, mechanical, and technology while maintaining Guild Hall’s existing footprint and human scale. This near-total infrastructure replacement of a 92-year-old building was done with love and a collective effort to preserve the balance of intimacy and access to exceptional artistry that is a signature of Guild Hall. The theater will remain under construction until January, but all other areas of Guild Hall are ready to be experienced and enjoyed this summer.

CB: I understand that Peter Pennoyer’s design for the theater preserved many of the space’s historical architectural elements...

AG: Peter Pennoyer is a specialist in the preservation and restoration of historic buildings. He was charged with making Guild Hall’s museum and theater function for artists and audiences today while maintaining the character and scale of the 1931 architecture by Aymar Embury II. To do this, he partnered with Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, leading technological consultants, and Hollander Design Landscape Architects. The result is a facility that feels just like the Guild Hall so many people remember and love but functions like a new building.

Renee Cox, Miss Thang, 2009, digital inkjet print on smooth watercolor paper, 30 in x 40 in. Renee Cox, The Signing, 2017, digital chromogenic print, 48 in. x 84 in. Andrea Grover at R E Steele Antiques, East Hampton. Photograph by Lori Hawkins.

The newly renovated galleries will open with a solo exhibition by artist Renee Cox, organized by independent curator Monique Long. Renee Cox: A Proof of Being is a selection of the artist’s most well-known and celebrated photographs from 1993 to the present. This survey comprises selections from the artist’s most recognizable bodies of work, including her groundbreaking Yo Mama series and her iconic photographs devoted to Jamaican national hero Queen Nanny. The exhibition will also feature the New York premiere of a recent work, an immersive video installation, Soul Culture. The avatars Cox creates are variably historical figures, art historical tropes, cosmopolitan socialites, and Afrocentric superheroes—all imbued with sexual agency and resolute confidence. Renee lives in Amagansett and Harlem and is a member of the Guild Hall Academy of the Arts.

CB: As Century Arts Foundation Curator of Special Projects, you organized the exhibition Radical Seafaring at the Parrish Art Museum in 2016...

AG: Radical Seafaring was the exhibition I was born to curate because its maritime themes related to my childhood: my mother was an artist, and my father was a commercial fisherman turned boatbuilder/boat dealer. The exhibition featured 25 international artists who use the water as a performance space, the site of research, or for temporary projects. The exhibition was in the galleries and offsite on Long Wharf, Sag Harbor, where we docked a self-sufficient “green” houseboat called WetLand by the artist Mary Mattingly. This attracted a lot of attention, especially alongside 100-plus-foot mega-yachts. The exhibition won multiple honors, including ADAA and Tremaine Foundation awards.

CB: In 2010, you were awarded a Warhol Curatorial Fellowship, which led to the publication of New Art/Science Affinities the following year. Can you tell us about your research with artists working at the intersection of science and technology?

AG: My Warhol Curatorial Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry was focused on artists who work in science and technology from the 1960s to the present. This resulted in the publication and a related touring exhibition, Intimate Science, which traveled to several venues after CMU’s Miller Gallery. The show looked at how artists initiate scientific research outside of institutions. One example was the artist Phil Ross, who developed a technique for using reishi mushrooms as a sculpting material. Later he received an international patent for his process, founded the growing company MycoWorks, and is now developing mushroombased alternatives to leather and plastic. This all began with making art.

CB: And you were a Core Fellow in residence at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, from 1995-1997...

AG: Yes, Texas rocked my world when I moved there from Chicago in 1995 for a Core Fellowship. No zoning and cheap housing had given way to dozens of artist-run spaces like Project Row Houses, Zocalo, and Commerce Street Art Warehouse. It was lawless (or at least the law wasn’t enforced). After the Core Program in 1998, I founded my own artist-run space, Aurora Picture Show, a neighborhood “microcinema” housed in a former church building. Aurora is celebrating 25 years of moving-image art programs this year. The spirit of Guild Hall is close to Aurora Picture Show. They both have a founding mission to unite people through the arts and to realize artists’ visions no matter how complex or crazy. P

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Kim Noltemy, Dallas Symphony Association Ross Perot President and CEO, at the Circle T Ranch Music Festival. Photograph courtesy of the Dallas Symphony.


Dallas Symphony reaches a crescendo through the daring intent of Kim Noltemy.

knew she would be good,” says Cece Smith, chairman of the Dallas Symphony Association, recalling the arrival five years ago of Kim Noltemy to run the orchestra and its myriad affairs, “but we had no idea how good. I spent twenty years investing in CEOs [as a venture capitalist], and she’s the best. I had to push CEOs to stretch their goals, but not Kim.”

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Congenial, charismatic, farsighted, and indefatigable, Noltemy has the stamina of a long-distance runner and the nerve of a high diver. She works with two cell phones and wakes up early to cope with emails and exercise before beginning every busy day at the Meyerson, where she now is the landlord, having acquired the house from City Hall in a 99-year lease.

You might call it the audacity of necessity. Smith certainly thinks so. By phone she describes leaky roofs, broken elevators, and seats that still need replacing after 34 years of wear at the Meyerson Symphony Center. “If one of the prior CEOs had suggested taking it over,” Smith muses, “I would have said no, [but Kim] had run the facilities in Boston,” where she was chief operating and communications officer of that symphony before coming to Dallas. In addition, “She has an encyclopedic knowledge of other orchestras [and their] business models,” adds board member Marion Flores.

Smith notes that Noltemy has recruited “terrific people.” Principal among them is Katie McGuinness, vice president of artistic operations, who came to Dallas from Ireland by way of successful stints in London, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis. With accelerating capacities for the daring and the new, she shapes the schedule for the DSO, working with music director Fabio Luisi, the orchestra’s prized, priceless asset whose contract has been extended to 2029.

Wrapping up dinner with McGuinness I ask her about Noltemy. Immediately she mentions the DSO president’s commitment to women. “She does more than talk about it,” McGuinness points out. “She makes it a part of the mission.” That is true: Noltemy has commissioned several women to write new works and brought to Dallas two female composers-in-residence. The tenure of principal guest conductor Gemma New soon will end, and “for sure a woman” will replace her vows Noltemy, who created the Women in Classical Music Symposium to encourage the cause.

When the Colorado Symphony tried to lure McGuinness as CEO, it was Luisi, she notes, who persuaded her to stay in Dallas. Together they have assembled a concert season for 2023–24 that features the full Ring Cycle by Richard Wagner, a towering work looming over “the end of the romantic era and the beginning of a new idea of music and theatre,” the maestro explains in an email.

None of this can happen without people in the hall and revenue rolling in. To that end Noltemy persuaded Terry Loftis to move over from TACA, where as president he worked miracles during the pandemic, to join her as Dallas Symphony’s chief advancement and revenue officer. In an office painted bright blue with a picture of Ella Fitzgerald behind his desk, Loftis pursues donations and

presides over a group of 40 or so who do graphics, analytics, and everything else required for marketing, subscriptions, ticket sales, box office, and the shop, now rescued by Noltemy from the ground floor and happily reestablished in the lobby.

Loftis is especially excited about Kim Noltemy’s Diversity Fellowship Program, which will offer three musicians, mostly with college or graduate training, 25 paid weeks of total immersion in the DSO to prepare them for the grueling world of auditions. “Finding a job in music is super-competitive,” principal oboist Erin Hannigan tells me by phone. “Some have 50 auditions before they land a job.” Hannigan also praises the Kim Noltemy Young Musicians Program, named for the one who started it and for whom this is the “greatest honor my employers could give to me,” Noltemy says in an interview in her office. Mainly for children in Southern Dallas, it offers extensive training with an instrument.

Noltemy has accomplished a lot in her five years in Dallas. She has cut what is called the “structural deficit” in half, to $4 million. “Without Covid it would be gone,” she laments. Earned revenue almost reached her goal of 40 percent of expenses but during the pandemic slipped back to the low 30 percents. Even so, Covid could be called Kim Noltemy’s finest hour. Luisi agrees, pointing out that “the DSO [under her leadership] proved that nothing will stop them from bringing music to the community.” Finding a safe way to do concerts for small audiences, Noltemy kept the orchestra alive, also keeping alive everyone yearning for music that is neither recorded nor streamed, though she did that too, exceedingly well. Her crowning moment was on April 30 and May 1, 2021, when Luisi conducted Mahler’s First Symphony with 50 players from the DSO on the stage of the Meyerson along with 50 from the embattled Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York, whose members were locked in traumatic warfare with their management. Fabio wanted to help them; Noltemy made it happen.

“The number one thing Kim has done,” says Hannigan, “is keep us present, evolving [when] the arts are not known for flexibility.” Luisi is evolving the “Dallas sound,” which he describes as “a beauty of phrasing and a darkness of tone [that] makes the DSO a special, recognizable orchestra, far from the ‘globalist’ sound production of most other orchestras.” All this was on display in a ravishing concert at Carnegie Hall in March.

Noltemy is evolving as a master fundraiser, having just landed a $25 million challenge grant from the O’Donnell Foundation to shore up the DSO’s endowment and shield the orchestra from catastrophes to come. It’s her “sense of urgency” that makes Noltemy so compelling, Smith observes. When she comes up with an idea, “I had better think quickly [because] it’ll be done.” P

“We knew she would be good, but we had no idea how good.
I spent twenty years investing in CEOs [as a venture capitalist], and she’s the best. I had to push CEOs to stretch their goals, but not Kim.”
–Cece Smith, chairman of the Dallas Symphony Association

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Art Influencers

Delightfully risky, original, and courageous, these 10 vanguards exploit the endless possibilities of art in its myriad forms.

Life, work—it's all very organic and fluid, a laboratory. I always tell people: whatever your thing is, you just have to be in it. Jump in; you'll figure it out.



Conceptual Artist

The meteoric rise of David-Jeremiah as an internationally recognized artist could be seen as prophetic for someone whose name comes with some theological legacy. It is apropos of the dichotomies that coexist in the artist, named after the weeping prophet Jeremiah, who was known for urging repentance and foretelling the destruction of his people, and David, the improbable slayer of giants and champion to his people. Like David, David-Jeremiah was imprisoned and left to wrestle with his thoughts, which he meticulously inscribed in a series of notebooks. When he emerged four years later, these notes became the source material for a series of monumental works and narratives, which stream across dozens of paintings and sculptures the artist has created in his five short years as a conceptual artist. “It was during my ‘staycation’ that I became a conceptual artist because the physical was very limited, and the material was very limited, so I had to internalize and flesh out concepts. When I came out, I had composition notebooks full of bodies of work, and that’s why I have been able to

execute the work versus experimenting and contemplating.”

I worked with David-Jeremiah as curator of his first museum solo exhibition in the summer of 2022 at the Houston Museum of African American Culture. From before and since, the artist’s work has been acquired by the Dallas Museum of Art, been in exhibitions at Project Row Houses in Houston; Celine New Bond Street, London; and at CulturalDC in Washington, to name a few places. He also had a solo exhibition at Meliksetian | Briggs in Los Angeles, where he is represented; he has an upcoming show in July in the recently relocated Dallas gallery.

David-Jeremiah is an artist whose conceptual work is a resounding indictment of white supremacy, with the subtlety of a flying brick. Like his namesake the prophet Jeremiah— also imprisoned—he is fearless and precise even as he works feverishly and on his own timetable to create paintings, sculptures, and performances that both embrace the art historical and carve a path all his own.–Christopher Blay

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Conceptual artist David-Jeremiah in his studio. Photograph by Victoria Gomez. Amanda Dotseth pictured with Antonio Saura’s Brigitte Bardot from In the Shadow of Dictatorship: Creating the Museum of Spanish Abstract Art at the Meadows Museum. Photograph by Victoria Gomez.

Dr. Amanda W. Dotseth

Energy, enthusiasm, and intellect combine in dynamic proportions in the newly appointed director of the Meadows Museum, Dr. Amanda W. Dotseth. In March she officially began her tenure as the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair at the Meadows School of the Arts, following an extensive international search. As a specialist in medieval Spanish art with a long history of service to the Meadows Museum, Dr. Dotseth brings to this position a fresh perspective that will especially benefit the newly formed Custard Institute for Spanish Art and Culture.

Dotseth first came to Dallas to pursue her MA in art history at SMU, to work with specialists in the Middle Ages, and to benefit from the Meadows Museum’s world-class collection of Spanish art. Her first major curatorial project was the 2008 exhibition and research project, Fernando Gallego and His Workshop: The Altarpiece from Ciudad Rodrigo. In 2009, she moved to London, where she earned a PhD in the history of art and architecture from the Courtauld Institute of Art (University of London). With fellowships from the Fulbright Program and the Spanish National Research Council, Dotseth’s intellectual formation reflects three distinct academic traditions: American, British, and Spanish.

She returned to the Meadows Museum in 2016, first as the Mellon/ Prado postdoctoral fellow and then as curator. Working closely with the museum’s former director, the late Mark A. Roglán, and The Meadows Foundation, she organized myriad exhibitions and identified important acquisitions that have broadened the collection’s scope.

A vibrant scholar who has been deeply embedded in the culture of Spain since her youth, Dotseth has assumed her new role with a combination of expertise, vision, and joy. –Linda

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Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair at Meadows School of the Arts

There is a moment in the first third of Tramaine Townsend’s breakout film, SALLAD (Dallas in reverse), where a Black man in white shorts and shirt is flipping through the air in slow motion with nothing but clouds behind him. It is an arresting, beautiful shot, and also a metaphor for Townsend himself—a man, alone in rarefied air, solely focused on making the most beautiful and impactful art possible. There is no one more lovingly capturing and representing Black creative life, and by extension Black life generally, in Dallas, Texas, than Townsend. He is an ultimate craftsman, his images dripping in the soft purples and oranges that give Black skin a transcendent glow. His documentary short film SALLAD has been screened at the SXSW Film Festival, received special jury recognition at the New Orleans Film Society Festival, and most recently was screened in New York City at Lume Studios.

Additionally, Townsend’s photographs have recently appeared in

publications such as the New York Times, Texas Highways, Patron and D magazines, and his multimedia work has been exhibited at AURORA, Sweet Tooth Hotel, and Tractorbeam. This summer Townsend will have shows and projects at Daisha Board Gallery; African American Museum, Dallas; and Arts Mission Oak Cliff. Townsend also is investing in the next generation of filmmakers in Dallas, most recently as the director of photography on the award-winning student film #BlackatSMU

Tramaine Townsend achieves the rare alchemy of being simultaneously ubiquitous and elusive. He tends to like his projects to be fully complete before sharing them with anyone outside his closest collaborators. What one can bank on, though, is that Townsend is already working on his next mind-blowing project, and on a clear day, if you look hard enough, you can get a glimpse of him soaring amongst the clouds. –Darryl

Artist & Filmmaker Tramaine Townsend Filmmaker Tramaine Townsend at home. Photograph by Victoria Gomez.

In Dallas, it is something of a hallmark of our art scene to have artists also be curators, and perhaps no one exemplifies this more than artist/curator Gregory Ruppe. Best known as the director of exhibitions at The Power Station, Ruppe is also an influential and beloved artist who often works collaboratively.

I first encountered Ruppe over a decade ago during the exhibition Hands on an Art Body at Oliver Francis Gallery, which was produced by Homecoming! Committee, the influential collective he belonged to. He has had exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Untitled Art Fair in Miami, and in Los Angeles, as well as galleries in Texas and around the world. Ruppe often collaborates with Jeff Gibbons, and their 2016–19 curatorial series Culture Hole, in a crawl space underneath The Power Station, made a lasting impact on the North

Texas art scene.

Ruppe’s latest project is hand making surfboards and SUPs out of reclaimed wood. They are beautiful, minimalist, utilitarian sculptures. They also seem like really great surfboards. The poetics of Ruppe opening up a surf shop called Picnic Surf Shapes, in an elegantly designed space he made on the grounds of The Power Station, is enough to make you listen to “Land Locked Blues” by Bright Eyes. This project was subject of a glowing Texas Monthly article declaring it to be “Texas’ newest, punkest, surf shop”; and in a feature in Patron written by Danielle Avram it was hailed as “simply getting back to making art for the sheer joy of it.”

Whether one finds Ruppe helping present the latest exhibition at The Power Station or down in Galveston testing out his latest surfboard, he will always be ahead of the curve. –Darryl

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Artist, Curator, Collaborator Gregory Ruppe Gregory Ruppe is an artist and director of exhibitions at The Power Station, where he launched Picnic Surf Shapes. Photograph by Kevin Todora.

It is easy—perhaps natural even—to become desensitized by the sheer volume of senseless loss of life in this country. From racial violence to mass shootings, we are bombarded with stories of people going through their normal days and then suddenly, shockingly, losing their life to violence. Ayvaunn Penn is a playwright, director, lyricist, and composer who helps us remember these stories, provides a space for healing, and restores the humanity of the victims and, perhaps equally important, our own humanity.

At the start of the year, Penn presented a staged reading of her latest play, For the Love of Uvalde, which gives voice to the frustrations

of parents and loved ones of the shooting victims along with the voices of survivors, politicians, and others who have differing views on how to put an end to gun violence. This continues Penn’s legacy of theater as social change. Penn, a TCU theater professor, was a 2020 finalist for the prestigious Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference for her work For Bo: A Play Inspired by the Murder of Botham Jean by Officer Amber Guyger, and she also founded the #ForBo Initiative.

Penn’s work illustrates how one can create art of the highest quality and address the most urgent needs and issues of society and community. –Darryl

Playwright, Director, Lyricist, Composer, Assistant Theater Professor Ayvaunn Penn Ayvaunn Penn inside Hays Theater at Texas Christian University. Photograph by Chris Plavidal.

In a city with world-renowned art collectors, establishing status amongst their ranks can be hard. Yet since the opening of the physical location of the Green Family Art Foundation in the Dallas Arts District, next to the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Green family has done just that. By focusing on exhibitions championing women, artists of color, and LGBTQIA artists, the Green family is helping redefine the type of art and artists that are showcased in Dallas.

The passion for visual art started with the husband-and-wife duo Eric and Debbie Green and extends to their art advisor son, Adam Green. The trio handles the ever-growing family art collection and guides the foundation, which is directed by Bailey Summers. It is truly a family affair, and it is not unusual to see the Greens’ other sons,

Brian and Scott, in attendance at openings. Of note: the GFAF has an Instagram account boasting 31.8 thousand followers, and they are very active on social media. Yet, interestingly enough, Eric is just as likely to be manning the IG account as Adam, and both love the direct access and conversations that can be had with enthusiasts around the world. Whether it is the exciting, museum-quality shows in their own space at the GFAF—including their upcoming Full and Pure: Body, Materiality, and Gender —or their work helping museums such as the Guggenheim; Whitney; SFMOMA; DMA; Nasher Sculpture Center; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth acquire rising and diverse talents, the Greens have truly established themselves at the center of the contemporary art world –Darryl Ratcliff


For Green Family Art Foundation

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Adam Adam Green at the Green Family Art Foundation in the Dallas Arts District. Photograph by Victoria Gomez.

Joshua King, Shane Pennington, Veletta forsyth Lill

Founders AURORA

“Our mission is to provide arts access to millions of people,” states Joshua King.

Shortly after he met Shane Pennington, they discovered a mutual appreciation for the digital and video art being created elsewhere. They quickly recognized a need to do this locally. “We reached out to artists we knew and asked them to try new media and almost all of them agreed,” says Pennington. From these beginnings, AURORA dawned.

Its inaugural program took place at Heritage Village in 2010. Veletta Forsyth Lill, then executive director of the Dallas Arts District, was among the invited guests. “Veletta came in and asked some big questions and made it real,” King acknowledges. With her expertise and cooperation, AURORA made its Dallas Arts District debut the following year.

Now with seven additional staff members, their vision has since grown into a multifaceted program, with collaboration and accessibility still at its core. For Pennington, the constant rotation of curators and artists has the added benefit of widening networks for the

creative community. For King, making AURORA a signature event unique to Dallas also fulfills their early goals. Notably, their programs are largely free and open to the public. AURORA is currently looking forward to the return of the Biennial, a program in which local, national, and internationally recognized creatives transform City Hall and the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center into a celebration of architecture, art, and technology.

With Art Quest, artists are commissioned to create work that is hidden around town as part of a scavenger hunt. Its goal, as it returns this summer, is to bring art and people into often-overlooked neighborhoods.

The founders delight in their audiences’ enthusiasm. As arts advocate Lill states, “From the moment we flipped the first switch to today, we could have only dreamed of the joy and interest AURORA would generate. Those who attend AURORA walk away with the sense that they have experienced something special and unique.”

Aurora founders Joshua King, Veletta Forsyth Lill, and Shane Pennington at Carpenter Park. Photograph by Victoria Gomez.

Thaddeus D. Matula

As a college sophomore, Thaddeus D. Matula’s science-fiction film

The Dreamer proved his star power when it aired nationally on PBS and left festival audiences awestruck worldwide. Pony Excess, a Peabody Award-winning ESPN 30 for 30 documentary detailing the only NCAA-mandated “death penalty” sanction applied to a college football team (the SMU Mustangs) in 1987, cemented his career. He went on to make additional football documentaries including the Emmy-winning Brian and The Boz , about the outspoken star linebacker Brian Bosworth and his controversial years with his University of Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer.

Here though, we turn our lens away from sports to emphasize Matula’s Dallas International Film Festival premiere, Into the Spotlight, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Texas Feature along with the Audience Award for Best Documentary. Written, produced, and directed by Matula, Into the Spotlight presents a triumphant look at young adults with disabilities preparing for a musical, from casting to showtime.

Following a search spurred by the Highland Park United Methodist

Amid the pandemic, the film begins following the loss of cast member Christi Hockel-Davenport’s husband, Austin. Through her perspective and that of other castmates throughout the production of In Our Hearts, we experience their unique challenges (theater teacher Mark Guerra is tragically killed when a driver veers into his lane) and victories—Daniel Wade, a young adult with autism, finally gets to play the drums before an audience; Sally Smith, who dreams of playing a villain, falls in love onstage with Jason Carter, who performs as the charismatic and fancyfooted Johnny Domino; Andrea Parton, a transgender woman, blooms through theater and now teaches tap dance; and Jacob Kunko wants to be part of “something to help make a difference in the world.” As for Matula, he is “a fan of the human condition.”

He is next slated to direct the modern noir thriller Fair Park , a story of corruption, greed, and murder in his hometown Dallas. –Terri Provencal P

Church Belong Disability Ministry, Reverend Paul Rasmussen and Belong director Stephanie Newland chose Matula to capture this unique and rewarding theater program. Double Life Films Founder & Director Thaddeus Matula at the film premiere of Into the Spotlight, pictured with Christi Hockel-Davenport, Scott Beard, and Jason Carter. Photograph by Victoria Gomez.




This page: Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic XXXV, 1954-58, oil and Magna on canvas, 80.25 x 100.25 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman Collection, gift of Muriel Kallis Newman, in memory of Albert Hardy Newman, 2006. Copyright 2023 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by the Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

You may, if you are like most people, know Robert Motherwell for his brooding series of massive, blackand-white paintings titled Elegy for the Spanish Republic. Created over more than 40 years, they juxtapose ominous, shaggy, pitch-black ovoid and rectilinear shapes on a white background, like a calligraphy of violence and lyricism. Imbued with dense, emotionally emotive and rhythmic gestures and daunting ratios, the works are part of what inscribed Motherwell within the post-WWII American movement dubbed abstract expressionism, and they followed him throughout his long career.

But the exhibition at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting , intersperses the Elegies (a handful of them) chronologically throughout an installation that covers broader ground. And while it restricts itself to paintings, as its title suggests, the exhibition also showcases the vastness of Motherwell’s aesthetic sensibility.

The show comes about as a result of a triangulation among guest curator Susan Davidson, who has specialized partly in abstract expressionist artists; the Dedalus Foundation, which stewards Motherwell’s legacy; and the museum, whose director, Marla Price, made major acquisitions in two periods after Motherwell’s death in 1991 and is responsible for the institution having one of the largest and most significant holdings of his work. This retrospective will be the first in more than 30 years—the first, in fact, since a major exhibition, also held at the Modern, shortly after the artist’s death.

Both monumental in scale (as most of Motherwell’s works are) and modest in number (around 50 pieces), the exhibition is punctuated by idiosyncratic moments. Erudite, Motherwell was Stanford and Harvard educated and had his first New York solo show at Peggy Guggenheim’s then-gallery. While he was the youngest in the abstract expressionist group by 10 or 15 years—its luminaries by then included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman—he would later become its sage and “elder.”

Meanwhile, as Davidson points out in the exhibition catalogue, he had also been nourished by European modernism, Dada, and surrealist painters and poets. Known for bringing surrealist techniques to abstract expressionism, he brushed elbows with the European avant-garde—André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian—in New York during and after the war.

As someone who did a “deep dive” into Motherwell’s early collages more than 10 years ago, Davidson had worked with the artist’s elegantly lyrical, playful compositions made from ephemera for a show at the Guggenheim in New York. But it was fascinating, she says, to see how the works gathered for this exhibition “translate the cut-and-paste moments into full-fledged abstraction.” She was, in particular she says, “blown away by his handling of paint”—the scale and command of it.

In this historically significant show, you’ll see the establishment of his palette in cadmium reds, blacks, and yellows ochres.

In the 1950s, he was making easel-size work, and by the ’70s his massive, frieze-like canvases could measure 20 feet long. Over his more than 50-year career, Motherwell worked in studios in Lower Manhattan and Uptown Manhattan as well as Long Island; Provincetown, Massachusetts; and finally Greenwich, Connecticut, where in a carriage house divided into three studios—for collage, painting, and printmaking, respectively—he moved among his trifecta of talents.

You’ll see the development of Motherwell’s oeuvre, too, and note the rich textures that lend it such a startling presence.

The ponderous Elegies are interrupted by the Open series, which spanned a handful of years in the late ’60s and early ’70s—quieter, often more ethereal and atmospheric, with their distinctive “U” shape. There are representations from the gossamer Je T’aime series and Hollow Men series. Highlights include Two Figures with Cerulean Blue Stripe, with its lightning bolt of color; a few somber, nearly midnight-hued Iberia paintings, inspired by the bullfights Motherwell witnessed in Spain, a place with which he had such

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Robert Motherwell, l Face of the Night (For Octavio Paz), ca. 1977-79/1981, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 180 in. Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Museum purchase, the Friends of Art Endowment Fund. Copyright 2023 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by the Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
Robert Motherwell, Caprice No. 3, 1962, oil on canvas, 66 x 48 in. Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts. Eliza S. Paine Fund and gift of the Dedalus Foundation, 1997. Copyright 2023 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by the Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
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Robert Motherwell, Two Figures with Cerulean Blue Stripe, 1960, oil on canvas, 84 x 109.25 in. Private collection. Courtesy Locks Gallery, Philadelphia. Copyright 2023 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by the Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Robert Motherwell, Stephen’s Iron Crown, 1981, acrylic on canvas, 88 x 120 in. Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Museum purchase, Sid W. Richardson Foundation Endowment Fund. Copyright 2023 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by the Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

rapport; Je T’aime No. III with Loaf of Bread, with its luscious surface; Face of the Night (For Octavio Paz), an extraordinary late work and one of the canvases he named after writers or poets. Almost all black with color coming through, it galvanizes. Some early works that have not been exhibited in a while will, Davidson hopes, create surprises.

And within this panoply, the handful of Elegies figures. “I was keen to have a few Elegies punctuate a particular moment,” Davidson says. But she was also keen to make sure they didn’t get too much space. Instead, she hopes to show their development in relation to other work. They act as grace notes. “I was very conscious about not overloading the exhibition with Elegies,” Davidson says. “That was essential.”

A powerful, magnetic abstraction imbues Motherwell’s work in such a way that it shatters and moves the viewer. He called the paintings “laments, dirges, elegies—barbaric and austere.” They took up causes such as the Spanish Civil War. And while reading them in terms of historical equivalency would be reductive, “he was so concerned with the atrocities that were going on in his time,” Davidson points out. His ability to broach violence abstractly in a time of tumult is what makes him relevant—now as much as ever. Charismatic, powerful, violent, sober, imposing, the work presents stark contrasts. It broaches issues of humanity, although you never lose sight of the physical act of painting. He is able to hold conflicting forces; he’s a master of controlled turbulence. (Some have taken his work as a dialectic between the conscious and unconscious. Others read it as a Rorschach test.)

In his essay “What Abstract Art Means to Me” from 1951, Motherwell wrote that abstract art comes from a modern need for experience, which is “intense, immediate, direct, subtle, unified, warm, vivid, rhythmic.” Bring that litany with you and stand before the last Elegy painting, which he finished in 1990, a year before his death. To him, he said in a 1960 BBC interview, a work was complete when “everything that is necessary is there and nothing more is there.” See the Elegy looming, its darkness illuminated, and judge for yourself. P

Robert Motherwell, The Homely Protestant, 1948, oil and casein on Masonite, 97.75 x 48.25 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gift of the artist. Copyright 2023 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by the Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Robert Motherwell, Summer Open with Mediterranean Blue, 1974, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 48.12 x 108.12 in. Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Museum purchase, the Friends of the Art Endowment Fund. Copyright 2023 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by the Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
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2023 Dedalus
Robert Motherwell, Summertime in Italy No. 28, 1962, oil and charcoal on canvas, 96.50 x 72 in. Private collection, St. Louis.
Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by the Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
Elizabeth Turk in the studio. Courtesy of the artist and Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York. Photograph by Eric Stoner. © Elizabeth Turk

The Sounds of Silence


For the next year the front grounds of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art will be filled with the calls of endangered and extinct bird species. But rather than have their ears filled with avian chirps and tweets, visitors can expect quite the opposite: silence.

The Tipping Point: Echoes of Extinction is a series of largescale vertical sculptures created by California-based artist Elizabeth Turk. Modeled after audio files of bird songs, Turk’s totemic structures visualize the sound waves made by different birds, emphasizing the absence of these creatures through the manner in which most people would have encountered them: their vocals.

Absence plays a large role in Turk’s practice. Best known for her delicate, lattice-like sculptures, which she handcrafts out of marble blocks weighing hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds, Turk is fascinated by the interconnectedness of opposing realities. A weighty substance can be made to look weightless, the introduction of negative space reveals a positive form, the presence of one thing symbolizes the absence of another. Her works reside in the tension of power dynamics and the manner in which environments and their denizens are forever locked in a push-and-pull relationship.

“All my work is grounded in the physical world because we live inside those precepts, like gravity,” states Turk. “Working with natural materials pulls me into a deeper understanding of our environment’s mechanics and interconnectedness. Carving stone developed [in me] an intuitive habit of seeing negative space as a positive form in order to push material to inherent limits.”

Like most Californians, Turk’s life has been impacted by the cascade of devastating wildfires the state has experienced in recent years, a series of cataclysmic events heralded by human greed and a profound ignorance regarding the natural world. On hikes through onceverdant areas reduced to desolate ash-riddled landscapes, the artist took notice of the overwhelming silence. The songs of bird populations already dramatically altered by decades and centuries of human growth were now muted by fire.

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Elizabeth Turk (b. 1961), Bush Wren, 2022, anodized aluminum. Courtesy of the artist and Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York. Photograph by Eric Stoner. © Elizabeth Turk

“When I hike in the ash of burned areas after California fires, the absence of familiar sounds is overwhelming: leaves rustling, distant birdsong— silenced,” says Turk. “Losing a third of the bird population in less than a lifetime is a confluence of too much change, human and natural. The emptiness remaining feels vast because I remember what was before.”

Amidst the fires, Turk began researching bird songs, eventually collaborating with the Macaulay Library at the Ornithology Lab of Cornell University, which houses media for over 10,000 species of birds. In 2018 she began the process of transforming the sound waves into sculptures, using a variety of materials and methods such as 3D printing, waterjet cutting, lathe, and CNC milling. The sculptures on view at the Amon Carter are made of powder-coated aluminum and represent a selection of five bird species that currently inhabit the state of Texas or were previously found here, such as the bald eagle, bush wren, ivory-billed woodpecker, Carolina parakeet, and brown pelican. While bald eagle and brown pelican populations have come back from the brink of extinction due to the banning of DDT and other protective measures, the last ivory-billed woodpecker sighting was almost 20 years ago, and the Carolina parakeet went extinct in the 1920s. Considered an agricultural pest by farmers, and its colorful plumage prized by milliners, the parakeet was killed in droves by commercial industries.

Turk’s sculptures are at once singular—spindly spires jutting from the ground into the sky, like a bird taking flight—and the embodiment of the collective populations, human and avian, at odds with one another. “The birds of Echoes of Extinction are beautiful symbols of what the statistics mean. As the number of sculptures grow, they exude a scary power because they mark what is disappearing,” says Turk. They are tombstones, effigies, and beacons melded together, emblems of the dour circumstances surrounding their origins, but shooting towards the heavens as symbols of hope and perseverance.

Turk remains optimistic about the future and the power of collective forces. In addition to her solo practice, she has created the nonprofit ET Projects, which specializes in experiential events that merge, art, science, and nature as a way to encourage communal productivity through imagination. “I am always surprised by the power of collective creativity and, yes, the optimism,” she explains. “After events by our nonprofit, ET Projects, when people of all ages and backgrounds lose self-consciousness to dream and perform together, I am inspired. Watching a thousand strangers creating their version of galaxies as one proves we can still come together for hopeful change.”

To this point, each sculpture in Echoes of Extinction features a QR code that leads to an audio recording of the bird’s distinctive call (or, for those species that went extinct prior to recording devices, an audio file of the most similar call). A sea of silence is therefore punctuated by the poignant cries of what we have lost, and what we stand to lose, if we don’t come together to protect the ground upon which we stand and the sky above. P

Elizabeth Turk (b, 1961), Bald Eagle, 2022, aluminum, powder-coated opalescent white. Courtesy of the artist and Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York. Photograph by Eric Stoner. © Elizabeth Turk Elizabeth Turk (b, 1961), Ivory-billed Woodpecker, 2022, aluminum, powder-coated burgundy. Courtesy of the artist and Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York. Photograph by Eric Stoner. © Elizabeth Turk Elizabeth Turk (b, 1961), Carolina Parakeet, 2022, aluminum, powdercoated opalescent white. Courtesy of the artist and Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York. Photograph by Eric Stoner. © Elizabeth Turk



“I’ve always thought of being a keeper of culture,” muses Jeffrey Montgomery. From his first trip to Japan, at the age of 18, he says he “started gathering” objects. Now in his 80s, British-born, Swiss-based Montgomery has amassed the largest and arguably most important collection of Japanese mingei, or folk art, outside of Japan.

Japan, Form & Function: The Montgomery Collection is culled from his trove of nearly 1,200 objects. It is on loan to the Crow Museum of Asian Art of the University of Texas at Dallas, where it will remain on view in the Dallas Arts District galleries for one year. “This exhibition is the first of its kind to take over the entire museum,”

says Caroline Kim, the Crow Museum’s director of development. Its seeds were planted decades ago, when the museum first borrowed work from Montgomery for the 1996 Sun and Star celebration.

Devoting an exhibition exclusively to this now substantially larger collection fulfills a long-held vision. According to Amy Lewis Hofland, senior director of the Crow Museum, “This project is a ripple created in the 1990s by the late Neill H. McFarland and the late Richard Freling, among others, who wished and dreamed for deep engagement and understanding between the United States and Japan.”

Spanning 5,000 years, the Montgomery Collection offers myriad

Votive painting (ema) with two shrine foxes (kitsune) making an offering. Meiji period, dated 1887, wood, ink and pigments. Courtesy of the collector.
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Beckoning cat (manekineko), Meiji period, late 19th century, clay and paint. Courtesy of the collector. Installation views: Battle of Imjin River banner, one of a pair of banners depicting historical battle scenes with inscriptions on the right of both banners: “21st year of Meiji [1888], year of the Rat, auspicious day in the eighth month.” Meiji period, 1888, ink and color on cotton, hand painted. Courtesy of the collector. Photograph courtesy of the Crow Museum of Asian Art.
Interior view of the Mingei Room on the second floor of the Crow Museum. Interior view of textile galleries, Gallery IV. 18th to 20th centuries, various fabrics. Courtesy of the collector.

scholarship opportunities, aligning it with the museum’s educational mission. Hofland says that this fall, for example, the museum will work with campus partners to host an international symposium. Additionally, the university will offer courses designed around the collection.

Luigi Zeni, the exhibition’s Lugano-based curator, has spent considerable time researching the collection as part of his own academic pursuits in Japanese studies and East Asian art history. His thorough knowledge of it was useful as he winnowed the collection down to the exhibition’s nearly 250 objects. Using a novel approach, Zeni says, “I proposed a new concept for the exhibition, to explore Japan from south to north. It is a discovery of the art of the people— that is, folk art. It was more important to show the regions of the country rather than present it chronologically.”

The exhibition therefore begins at the southern tip of the islands, during the Ryūkyū Kingdom. It introduces the collection’s range of media, including ceramics, textiles, metalware, wood, paper, painting, and lacquerware.

Another layer of the exhibition is the influence of other parts of Asia, and even the West, on the art of Japan. In this first gallery, for example, a set of ten lacquerware dishes featuring landscapes,

Sake bottle (tokkuri ) with chrysanthemum and ivy leaves. Edo period, 18th century. Kyomizu ware, Kyoto prefecture, stoneware with overglaze enamel design. On right from above: Tenjin doll sitting on multiple pedestals, Edo period, 19th century; Izumo, Shimane prefecture, wood, sawdust, glue, gesso and pigments. Courtesy of the collector; Oil-plate (aburazara) with two chrysanthemums, Edo period, 18th–19th centuries, Seto ware, Aichi prefecture, stoneware with green glaze (oribe) and ironoxide designs of two chrysanthemums set in two circles; Storage jar (tsubo), Meiji period, 19th century, Shigaraki ware, Shiga prefecture, glazed stoneware with green trailed glaze decoration (haginagashi ). All courtesy of the collector.

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florals, and birds reflect Chinese influences. A gallery highlighting Kyushu ceramics explores the inspiration of Japan’s neighbors, including Thailand and Korea. One uniquely recurring Japanese motif, however, is the pine tree, revered as a symbol of longevity.

What is usually the museum’s Jade Gallery currently features art of the 20th-century Mingei Movement, which began as an antidote to the onslaught of industrialization in the early years of the last century. According to Zeni, the criteria for Mingei work are that it is anonymous, inexpensive, handmade, and locally produced. Its resurgence led by a group that included Yanagi Sōetsu and the Hong Kong–born Bernard Leach, embraces and celebrates regional craftsmanship. Their work, as well as that of other Mingei-inspired artists, including Minagawa Masu and Kawai Kanjirō, is on view, as is that of Kinjō Jirō, Hamada Shōji, and Shimaoka Tatsuzō. The latter three are Living National Treasures, a designation bestowed by the Japanese government to craftsmen who continue these traditions. Politically, Montgomery notes, the movement coincided with the “revival of identity in Japan by highlighting art of the people as Japan transitioned from democracy to a nationalist regime.”

The movement’s installation is juxtaposed with ancient vessels from the Jōmon period (5000–3520 BCE). This early experimental work provides a historic counterbalance to the 20th-century works.

Zeni’s thoughtful curation creates smaller, manageable microexhibitions. “What Luigi has succeeded in doing is that every room

Left: Sake bottle (tokkuri ) with chrysanthemum and ivy leaves, Edo period, 18th century, Kyomizu ware, Kyoto prefecture, stoneware with overglaze enamel design; Right: Four-sided sake bottle (tokkuri ) with floral design, Edo period, 17th century, Kyomizu ware, Kyoto prefecture, stoneware with overglaze design in colored enamels and gold. Courtesy of the collector. Photograph by Chadwick Redmon. Below: Four festival banners (nobori hata) with motif of plovers flying among the waves (nami chidori ) and coat of arm with bamboo and stylized flowers in a circle, Meiji period to Taisho period, late 19th to early 20th centuries, hand-spun cotton, ink, vegetable pigments, and various dyeing methods (tsutsugaki, katazome and aizome). Courtesy of the collector.

has a different theme,” remarks Montgomery. Zeni and Hofland both hope that this presentation inspires museumgoers to make multiple visits, focusing on a new space each time.

In one area, for example, he has created an intimate space replicating the way in which Montgomery displays the work in his home. A facing wall presents everyday wares. “These objects were made to be used,” Montgomery says. Similarly, the mezzanine is devoted to the Six Ancient Kilns, a 20th-century designation highlighting the most important ceramic centers of Japan. Zeni explains how the color of the earth and natural elements play significant roles in these works.

The transformed upper galleries across the skybridge feature ritual objects for religious as well as in-home use. Many of the latter, dating to the 18th and 19th centuries, were commissioned by members of the merchant classes who, Zeni offers, were quite wealthy despite being on the lowest rung of the social ladder. One corner of this gallery is a playful nod to this Year of the Rabbit.

Two vertical banners depicting the seven Buddhist gods of fortune add drama to the space. Because of their monumental size, this is the first time that they are being exhibited together. Equally impressive are two horizontal banners depicting battle scenes that wrap around the back gallery. The collection also includes an abundance of textiles, garments reflecting an array of weights, materials, and uses.

“Many of the artworks have never been shown before, and many haven’t been researched. Therefore, it is great to have the support of UT Dallas. There is still lots to find out,” explains Zeni. This scholarly quest will be enhanced by the museum’s educational efforts. “We will offer several thematic programs with the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, quarterly lectures by scholars from around the world, as well as Family Days and UT Dallas programs focused on Japanese culture,” says Hofland.

For Montgomery, sharing his collection, particularly in North Texas, with its large Asian community, is especially exciting. For the public the exhibition offers a year of rich exploration and deep discovery. P

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Backpack with lid and rain cover, Meiji period to Taisho period, late 19th to early 20th centuries, bamboo, horsehair. Courtesy of the collector. Hamada Shoji, 濱田庄司 (1894–1978), Designated Living National Treasure in 1955. Rectangular dish with black-and-cream design of abstract fish, Showa period, dated 1955, Mashiko, glazed stoneware. Courtesy of the collector.


José Noé Suro Kelly Cornell Celeste Miles, Ari Myers Ayona Anderson, Tamary Kudita John and Marlene Sughrue, Kathryn and Craig Hall John Paul Hossley, Cruz Ortiz, Erin Hossley Ricardo Partida, Wes Thompson David B. Smith, Darıya Bryant Kelsey Anne Heimerman


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Anna Katherine Brodbeck Maximilian Weidmüller Henry Miner, Madison Chase Amanda Brown, Laura Staub Evan Holtzman, Velia de Iuliis Rachel Hayes Connor Hustava, Sarah Blagden Carina Evangelista, James Kopp, Jennifer Klos Terri Provencal, Teresa Moeller Cristina Grajales, Mia Cruz


PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRUNO AT SNAP THE PICTURE AND KAITLIN SARAGUSA AT BFA Naeem Khan, Ceron, Todd Fiscus Dave Clark, Leigh Anne Clark, Bela Cooley, Chase Cooley Jessica Nowitzki, Dirk Nowitzki Ashley Longshore Bach Mai, Jodi Kahn Christian Siriano Gowri Sharma, Alex Sharma Brian Bolke, Alana Sada, Gonzalo Bueno Howard Rachofsky, Cindy Rachofsky Agustín Arteaga, Mary McDermott Cook


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PHOTOGRAPHY BY JONATHAN ZIZZO, A SEA OF LOVE, AND CAN TURK David Quadrini, Armadour, Matilde Guidelli-Guidi Nairy Baghramian Joyce Goss, Kenny Goss Grace Cook, Jeremy Strick, Mary McDermott Cook 2023 Nasher Prize Laureate Senga Nengudi Alden Pinell, Janelle Pinell David Haemisegger, Kristen Gibbins, Nancy Nasher Maria Elena Ortiz, Pablo Leon de la Barra, Yuko Hasegawa Thomas Maurstad, Lisa Dawson


Thai-lan Tran, Steven Roth Terry Loftis, Kim Noltemy Wycliffe Gordon and Adrian Cunningham Honorary co-chairs Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger Arturo Sandoval Honorary co-chairs Diane and Hal Brierley PHOTOGRAPHY BY TAMYTHA CAMERON Bob and Barbara Sypult Rachel and Luke Branyan Jens Lindemann


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PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSICA DALENE Carolina Alvarez-Mathies, Lucia Simek Muffin Lemak, Linda Ewing Liz Goldwyn, Eduardo Sarabia Lisa Runyon, John Runyon Kaleta Blaffer Johnson, Lisa Fortson Ivan Poole Santiago Jorba, Catalina Gonzalez Jorba, Joey Lico Shelby Wagner, Marcela Suro, Niven Morgan, Vivian Akuri José Noé Suro, Jeny Bania

The Most Oft-Requested Conceptual Goulash

Revered North Texas artist and educator Vernon Fisher remembered.

Ihad been told of a nearby yet distant art wizard while still in high school. A local artist known for his arid landscapes taught private classes to a small group of us who had won awards at a hospitalsponsored competition. I had entered a large sculptural shirt with a garbage tie and won “Best of Show.” The desert painter pulled me away from working on my still life one evening and told me, “Go study with my friend Vernon Fisher at [the University of] North Texas.” Pocketing a $500 purchase prize and stealing my artwork back after a paying doctor refused to pick it up, I eventually followed the advice of Fort Worth fellow artist Dennis Blagg and never looked back.

Soon afterwards, in a weekly paper, I saw mention of an exhibition of Vernon Fisher’s work at Barry Whistler Gallery, and I made my way to Deep Ellum from the suburbs one Saturday. I was floored yet confounded and went from one room to another looking intently, going back and forth several times. I had no idea what determined resolution lay within each object, or the tally of the images that informed its contextual, conceptual, and political allegories. I found room for some quiet contemplation within the chalkboard’s blankness and paint patches too. And a slow, rising smile between the potential meanings or obvious misinterpretations by the viewer, lovingly placed by a jester.

Vernon Fisher had no pretense, did not suffer fools, and told it like it was in a timely, direct manner. If a conceptually leaning artist seeking a college degree was to be serious about studying art in North Texas in the eighties through the aughts, they should’ve been seeking out this guru of serious nonsense. Otherwise, head to the coasts.

He opened up his vaunted Hybrid Forms class with a monologue outlining that his teaching philosophy was based on the character of Dr. Nick from The Simpsons. That is, a quack physician who pops out of nowhere to do his surgical task at lightning speed and then leaves just as quickly. Dubious credentials, questionable ethics, loud, and playing to the public when present. Fisher viably demonstrated the art of teaching as a Zen kōan misprinted in the funny papers.

UNT professors are still complaining about the teaching deal he was given, even in the documentary. True to the story’s arc, the world premiere of Breaking the Code at the Dallas International Film Festival was attended by artists, collectors, gallerists, art enthusiasts, former students, fellow educators, and many admirers just a handful of days after the 80-year-old Fisher shuffled off this mortal coil in late April. Documentary f ilmmaker Michael Flanagan discovered the work of the longtime Fort Worth resident at Words and Pictures: Vernon Fisher at the UNT Art Gallery in the College of Visual Arts and Design building in Denton. I attended the opening celebration almost four years ago, and it would be the last time I would see Fisher, an artist of vast influence here, a man and thinker who helped others chart the turbulent waters of art practice and contemporary theory.

After the screening at DIFF, Flanagan said that he had initially mistaken the latter part of the exhibition’s subtitle for the artist’s untimely passing earlier that same year; his rising curiosity would therefore, he thought, not be rewarded with a living subject. The subtle ironies were most definitely not lost on him as his master’s thesis blossomed into a full-length documentary and a working friendship with the confounding conceptualist. At festival’s end, the film about Fisher’s life and art was awarded the 2023 DIFF Historical Film award. At the close of Breaking the Code— a poignant ending to a life of both masterful artmaking and genuine intellectual inquiry and discovery the wry artist looks calmly into the camera and then starts to crack an ever-widening grin while asking, “How did I do, did I draw outside the lines too much?”

Not at all Vernon, but if you had, we would’ve followed. P

Vernon Fisher photographed in his Fort Worth studio for Patron's Best of the Arts Summer 2015 issue. Photograph by John Smith.

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