Dallas Museum of Art Doubles Down on Islamic Art
First off, an interesting announcement today from the Dallas Museum of Art: The museum has named Sabiha Al Khemir as its new senior adviser for Islamic Art. It’s a curious move for the museum, offering in one hire the opportunity for the DMA to both strengthen an area of the collection that hasn’t been a main focus, as well as broaden the museum’s relations with a number of international institutions. Al Khemir comes from the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, where she was founding director. She has also worked with the Met, the Louvre, and the British Museum, which alone tells you that the DMA’s new hire is a widely respected authority in the field of Islamic art. We can expect that Al Khemir, who will be serving a three year term with the DMA, will help the Dallas Museum broaden its reach to these museums and others, not only by way of organizing exhibitions and art loans, but also through the DMA’s work to accomplish new director Maxwell Anderson’s goal of expanding partnerships with other institutions, particularly through multi-media and digital initiatives.
“ILLUMINATIONS” by AGRUPPOArchitects, Anderson Architecture, William Baker and Liz Kerrigan, Scott Barber, Amy Barkow and Christian Lynch, Mary Benedicto, Michael Bessner, BIT, Christopher Blay, Kristen Cochran, Gary Cunningham, Wanda Dye, Sally Glass, LOT-EK, Albert Marichal Studio, Mark Martinek, Marc McCollom, Meyer Davis Studio, Michael Mazurek, Sherry Owens, Rael San Fratello Architects, Sam Schonzeit, Dan Shipley, Springer Design Studio, Alison Starr, Stash Design, Trent Straughan, TOPOCAST, and Jared white, at the RE Gallery + Studio – November 2: 7-11 p.m. 1717 Gould Street, Dallas, Tx 75215.
The newest art space in town is Wanda Dye’s RE Gallery, which comprises the front two rooms of a vintage Cedars shotgun shack where Dye currently lives. I spoke to Dye about the project.
FrontRow: So one thing that jumps out at me from the start about this project is your background in architecture and the idea of a gallery space that straddles the visual art and architectural fields in some way. What is that going to look like in practice? What can we expect?
Wanda Dye: The idea for the gallery/studio was conceived over a year ago. Its focus on RE practices emerged out of my teaching and also engagement with local designers, architects, and artists utilizing reclaimed and re-purposed materials, buildings and urban spaces. The term RE can also engage many other concepts as well. The last thing I want to do is create a venue for a new trend or aesthetic, for RE practices have been around for centuries. For example the first show I am having on light utilizing RE practices is extremely diverse in terms of aesthetics. That is what is so exciting about these ideas of RE – there is no overarching form or style, it is a moving target so to speak. Furthermore, for me, the interest lies in the cross fertilization between the disciplines that are implementing these practices. It provides a common ground, but at the same time the differentiation or diversity comes from the individual disciplines as well as the blurring of those boundaries. I would hope in terms of how this space would affect practice is that both artists and designers exhibited here continue the conversation and continue to what I like to call “contaminate” each other.
FR: I know this project has been bouncing around for a while, and you’ve hosted pop-shows before finding a permanent space/home. So how did the permanent space come together, and what advantages (or maybe even disadvantages) does that offer a nomadic existence?
WD: The nomadic existence through the pop up shows were a blessing in disguise. They allowed me to test the waters in terms of local reception of the work. It also allowed me to make mistakes and not lose too much in time and investment of leasing a space. This space was initially conceived as a supplement to my teaching, but I am now transitioning out of teaching and will soon be dedicating full time to the gallery and studio, therefore an economical permanent space was in order. It was about a year ago that I approached my landlord who is a designer/builder (Mark Martinek of Modern Construction). I proposed leasing the soon to be renovated shot gun home next door. The gallery space would be located in the two front rooms and I would live in the back. The home itself is a demonstration of RE practices as well – for he used a lot of reclaimed material in the project, so it made perfect sense. I also had the pleasure of working alongside Mark all summer, this allowed for a kind of shared vision of the space. It has all come together quite beautifully I think.
FR: The release sites a pretty wide-range of potential directions the RE space could go, including publications, film events, partnerships, etc. Are there any ideas along these lines that we can expect in the first 12 months, or are there publication or other ideas that you are dying to get working on will devote yourself to initially?
WD: The first twelve months are mainly exhibitions of artists and designers utilizing RE practices. Along with the exhibitions I would like to have informal talks, and screenings, where applicable. In terms of publications, I would like to write about some of the work shown in the space or examples of this kind of work going on in the DFW area. I just finished an abridged version of an essay on “place” for Semigloss titled, “Perfectly Imperfect: Local Contamination in Art, Architecture and Urbanism”. The essay also touches on RE practices, therefore I could foresee writing a few articles a year on such topics. On the more “studio” side of RE I have been collaborating with Team Better Block on a few projects as well as helping them develop curriculum for workshops where you can earn Better Block Certification. Our first workshop is scheduled for March. I also hope to tap into local schools and universities as well as non-profits. I have been having conversations with Janeil Engelstad, founder of NGO, Make Art with Purpose, as well as Dr. Michael Corris from SMU Meadows School of the Arts. In what capacity we collaborate is not flushed out yet, but they are both very interested in engaging the space in some way.
Once and Again: Rebecca Carter, Teresa Rafidi and Linda Ridgeway at Brand 10 Art Space – November 3 3418 W. 7th St. Fort Worth, TX 76107.
Brand 10 has teamed three artists who all deal at times with similar themes of memory, loss, and familial resonance. And despite diverging mediums and materials – Ridgeway’s sculptures, prints, and drawings; Rafidi’s photography; and Carter’s smorgasbord of materials – all three show frequent leanings towards evocative and ambiguous notions of beauty and melancholy.
“under the table” at Fort Worth Contemporary Arts – Novemeber 3: 6-8 p.m. 2900 W. Berry St. Fort Worth, TX 76109.
Margaret Meehan has curated a show including eight artists to tease out associations we bring to ceramics and the medium’s relation to kitsch and craft. The title of the show is taken from Paul McCarthy & Mike Kelley’s video Heidi (1992), which is discussed in detail here, and particularly a section of that video in which two puppets debate the associative dynamic of the kitchen table: “on the table” as “kitsch,” “under the table” as “perversion.” It is an intriguing starting point for a show that essentially a reconsideration of a material – clay.
“The 99 Names of God” by Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignolet, “Machine Time Blue with chairs hi.jpg” by Christopher Blay, and “Re: apologies to the Many Wonderful Iranians” by Morehshin Allahyari, at The MAC – November 3: 6-8 p.m. 3120 McKinney Avenue, Dallas, Tx 75204.
As if on cue, the DMA hires a new senior adviser on Islamic Art, and The MAC follows through with two complementary shows that explore frictions caused by cultural translation of the Islamic world. The 99 Names of God is a series of drawings by two Los Angeles-based artists that incorporate the names of Allah extracted from the Qur’an into renderings of the five airports and departure gates involved in the attacks of September 11, 2001. Iranian new media artist Morehshin Allahyari’s “Re: apologies to the Many Wonderful Iranians” uses collected personal memories from the Iran-Iraq war to challenge the political blindness of the effect current international sanctions against Iran have on the lives of common people.
And while Christopher Blay’s “Machine Time Blue with chairs hi.jpg” at first seems like a break from the theme, perhaps its Burroughs-like contraption-art approach to teasing out the connection between memory and machine, reality and manufactured experience, will leave a lingering resonance over the entire show nonetheless.
Stained with Blood and Whiskey by Roscoe Korngutt – New Work by Clay Stinnett at Mighty Fine Arts – November 3: 6-9 p.m. 419 N.Tyler St. Dallas, TX 75208.
I’d just like to point out the name of the pseudonym used by Clay Stinnett in the title of his show of wickedly garish paintings: Roscoe Korngutt. Now there’s an alter ego.
“FOUR INTO ONE” by Bruce Monroe, Michael Francis, Bernardo Cantu, and John Alexander Taylor, and “Mercury Retrograde” by Bradly Brown and Shelby David Meier at 500X Gallery – November 3: 7-10 p.m. 500 Expositon Avenue, Dallas, Tx 75226.
And another quick aside, one line from the artist statements on 500x’s website from this group show. It comes from John Alexander Taylor, who says that he hopes his “images invoke carefree memories of childhood fun.” Because, you know, sometimes, art can just be that. Well done.
Pastelegram’s Fundrasier / Art Auction / Exhibition / Music / party at X Art Space – November 3: 8-11 p.m. 3511 Locke St. Fort Worth, TX 76107.
It’s a Fort Worth-heavy weekend with this fundraiser for the wonderful Austin-based art mag Pastelegram serving as the natural after party for shows at Brand 10 and Fort Worth Contemporary Arts. The event features an art auction, an exhibition by Austin collective Lakes Were Rivers, and music by M. And, as they say, it’s all for a good cause. This time you can really believe them.
“Art at E-Bar Tex Mex” at E-Bar Tex Mex – October 30: 6-8 p.m. 1901 N. Haskell, Dallas, Tx 75204.
“Fall Sale” including unique, hand-crafted works of jewelry, glass, pottery, sculpture, hand-bound books, paintings, drawings, photography, and fiber art, at the Craft Guild of Dallas – November 1 : 6-10 p.m. 5100 Belt Line Road, Suite 400, Dallas, Tx 75254.
“El Dia De Los Muertos” by Jose Vargas and Jessica Salazar McBride, at the Cliff Gallery of Mountain View College – November 1: 7 p.m. Building W, 4849 West Illinois Ave, Dallas, Tx 75211.
“”Buzz” Baldwin Art Exhibit” by David “Buzz” Baldwin at the Granville Arts Center – November 1: 9-5 p.m. 300 N. Fifth Street, Garland, Tx 75040.
“Fall Sale” including unique, hand-crafted works of jewelry, glass, pottery, sculpture, hand-bound books, paintings, drawings, photography, and fiber art, at the Craft Guild of Dallas – November 2 : 10-7 p.m. 5100 Belt Line Road, Suite 400, Dallas, Tx 75254.
“Fall Sale” including unique, hand-crafted works of jewelry, glass, pottery, sculpture, hand-bound books, paintings, drawings, photography, and fiber art, at the Craft Guild of Dallas – November 3 : 10-7 p.m. 5100 Belt Line Road, Suite 400, Dallas, Tx 75254.
“4th Annual Artists of Texas Art Show” at the Dutch Art Gallery – November 3 : 11-4 p.m. 10233 E. Northwest Hwy, #420, Dallas, Tx 75238.
“For Your Amusement!” by Miki Mallow, at the Gallery at the Fairmount – November 3: 7-10 p.m. 1717 North Akard, Dallas, Tx 75201.
“Rendezvous with Fire and Art” at Trenz Gallery – November 3 : 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. 1315 East Levee, Dallas, Tx 75207.
“A Tree in a Field” by Eitan Vitkon, Etty Horowitz and Michael Lazar, Liz London, Leanne Venier, Matt Anza, Eitan Vitkon, Etty Horowitz, Michael Lazar, Liz London, Leanne Venier, Matt Anzak, Robin Antar, Esther Wertheimer, Jessica Manheim, Jennifer Morgan, Anica Shpilberg, Raquel Rub, Anabel Piecher, Michelle Lohr, Judith Seay, Jim Lively and Kay Dalton, at LuminArte Gallery – November 3: 7-10 p.m. 1727 E. Levee St., Dallas, Tx 75207.
“Fall Sale” including unique, hand-crafted works of jewelry, glass, pottery, sculpture, hand-bound books, paintings, drawings, photography, and fiber art, at the Craft Guild of Dallas – November 4: 11:00 a.m. -5 p.m. 5100 Belt Line Road, Suite 400, Dallas, Tx 75254 .
Photo: Drawing from The 99 Names of God by Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignole at The MAC.