My thoughts on the SMU Meadows Prize Report is that most of what the report addresses is on target. I do think there is a lack of non-profit artist spaces but that the numerous university galleries take up that slack; though in an ideal world there would be plenty of both. The collectors are here and the artists are here but it would be, again, ideal if the collectors here were collecting more local and regional art. After all, many of the artists who have created the art now have national reputations. This is not to say that the collectors should stop buying national and international artists at all. The Metroplex is one of the richest museum repositories of art in the nation but do they reflect the richness of the regional art scene? Art criticism is the most difficult because the major newspapers are relegating arts writing to human interest and not criticism. Yet, they have movie reviews, why not art reviews? The readers could demand that the newspapers return to having a more extensive arts coverage. Thank goodness for A+C, Art Lies and Glasstire; but then again, there could be more.
One area that did not get addressed is the diversity of the art community. I feel that there could be more diversity not in the artist ranks, because it already is diverse, but in other facets of the community. Look at the roster of artists in commercial galleries, the curators of the museums, the university gallery directors. Not much diversity there. And as for collectors – what they collect usually reflects what they see in any of those categories. The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston has an African American Collectors Circle. They also have a Latin American curator (thought Latino, Chicano and Mexican American art is not her focus – and yet those categories I just mentioned are all American art). This is a big problem, and here it is the 21st century.
There are two factors that work against the Metroplex having a more cohesive art scene. One is geographical. Because the Metroplex is just that — a cluster of cities small, medium and large — it makes it physically difficult for that daily interweaving of artists from each of those communities. And speaking of interweaving, there could be more of a woven community between artists, gallerists, curators and collectors. The museums and non-profit artist spaces could be the conduit for such gatherings. The Rachofsky House does an artist night there, but imagine an art night like a museum mixer where all of those factions come together. Perhaps there ideas could get formulated, discussed, exchanged and later, even, realized. This would make for an even more exciting art scene in the Metroplex.