Reaction to the Report: Curator and Writer Christina Rees

Dear Peter,

I think it’s very polite, very general in its specificity (or vice versa), and that every single item is so painfully obvious and familiar to me that I’m pretty sure I ate every thought on those pages for dinner last night and shat it all out in my toilet this morning. Like I do every 24 hours. So do you, and a lot of other people we know. So it bores me, and feels patronizing. But it’s not written for me, or at me, or you. It’s for everyone else in the “Metroplex”. Maybe it will all be totally novel to people, and really open things up.

But really?

I guess most Dallas people need a progressive and recognized group from New York f**king City to come down and lay it all out, in very plain language. Dallas people like to be validated by that kind of attention. They don’t want to hear what’s wrong with them, in critical language. Who does?

So I suppose Creative Time has achieved exactly what most hoped they would or could: they supplied the outside, authoritative voice, and built a clear “framework” for Dallas by typing out a set of ideas for a system that, if all the various moving parts are doing their jobs and working properly, should support a “world class” art scene.

And, in that sense: I should have gotten up earlier this morning but I didn’t, and I should have done one more load of laundry but decided to not waste the water that I will surely waste another way, and I still don’t have the money to get my car fixed, and my dog needs to go outside to pee right now, and why did I eat rice for the fourth night in a row, and I’m going to get started on building the gallery’s website from the ground up but I’ll let myself get distracted by that

Patti Smith book laying on the table, and no, I’m not gonna answer the phone today… . And I know none of that is ideal. I know it perfectly well.

Systems are like people, and our system is super f**king flawed. Bad habits, laziness, distractions, tight budgets and tight-fistedness, lack of ambition here vs too much ambition there, not nearly enough communication. Etc, of course. But don’t we all know that? What broken or underdeveloped part of the ideal system isn’t clear to anyone who cares?

Or are people really that blind to it? Maybe they are.

So, I guess Creative Time has to tell us: “Oh, honey, you have so much potential. If you just got a haircut, and got up a little earlier every day, and ran ten miles a week, ate better, and stopped taking drugs, and then of course became an amazing and tireless entrepreneur, you too could become rich and famous!”


Sorry about the tone. You caught me on a Sunday.

I certainly respect and admire Creative Time, and I really do think they were tasked with something unwieldy and ephemeral. They did what they could, as responsibly as they could. (I think. I hope.) And I can see myself falling back on their report with my own bosses when I need to make a larger point about something I need to move the gallery forward. Backup helps, and this report may offer that to those of us who are fighting the good fight.


  • Helen

    I must respectfully disagree. I believe this is an important moment for Dallas to self-reflect. Successful businesses do this. Successful relationships do this. Why shouldn’t the arts?

    The Dallas arts community needs more than ever to assess its triumphs and failures. This report seems to be a great conversation point. Lets get inspired and stop complaining!

  • Catherine

    I have always appreciated the saying “It is hard to see the picture when you are in it.” So I appreciate the feedback. We do have to keep in mind that the report is based upon interviews with our own people. My concern is more to do with representation across a broad spectrum of the art community. The Dallas art scene seems somewhat high school to me. You have to pay to play and dress the part. GO black turtle necks in Texas heat!