Artist Talk: Next Topic with Paula Gaetano Adi at Centraltrak – October 25: 7 p.m. 800 Exposition Ave. Dallas, TX 75226.
Argentine-born artist Paula Gaetano Adi recently joined the faculty of the University of North Texas as an assistant professor of New Media. For an introduction to her work, here’s a video from 2005 that walks through a piece that typifies her intriguing mashing of sculptural, biological, and robotic forms: a blob-like breathing sculpture that sweats:
Bob ‘Daddy-O’ Wade: Cowgirls and Critters at William Campbell Contemporary Art – October 26: 6 p.m. 4935 Byers Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107.
Bob Wade is perhaps best known these days for his giant Iguana, which sits perched atop the entrance to the Fort Worth Zoo and once lived atop the Lone Star Café in New York. Back in the 1970s, when Wade was known as one of the “Oak Cliff Five” he defiantly dragged his “Texas Funk” or “Texas Kitsch” art to the belly of the art world beast. For more on those colorful days, which included driving the Dallas North Tollway with a dead horse protruding from the back of his truck, check out this D Magazine piece from way back in 1981.
“twain” by The Art Foundation – October 27: 6-9 p.m. 113 N. Haskell Ave., Dallas TX 75226.
The Art Foundation’s first show since “Fountainhead,” the exhibition that landed their over-sized book homage to Marcel Duchamp in the Nasher, “twain” is dedicated to artists working in the guise of alter egos, exploring, the collective says, the idea that assumed personae can offer “an artistic method of expansion and safe haven.” One consequence of creating that “safe haven,” however, is that we don’t actually know what artists are going to be participating in this exhibition, even though we are assured that they include a “range of internationally recognized artists, art groups, and writers.” It’s a puckish twist on the star-mentality that often grips the upper echelons of the art world.
That said, I do know one artist who will be exhibited in “twain,” the Dutch-Dallas transplant Jans van Toojerstraap, who has occasionally stopped by FrontRow to leave comments. I reached out to Toojerstraap for this interview:
FrontRow: Mr. Toojerstraap, for our readers who aren’t aware of you or what you do, do you mind telling us who you are?
Jan van Toojerstraap: Jan is born in Newcastle, but his parents move to Rotterdam when I am 2 years away. So we are de only Geordies in Holland, except when de Sting comes to play. De Tyne bridge in Newcastle is de model for de Sidney Harbour bridge in Australia. only not so big. Now everyone wants de Calatrava. But de Tyne bridge is better. Also, dey paint it blue. And in Sydney. Dis is a better color. Why is de Calatravas always white? Maybe Dallas has de competition by de Peter Doroshenko to have have some new bridge colours and some more nutcrackers.
Jan is like an apparation. But not like a ghost. Not like dat artist Scooby Doo dat all de collectors buy – hey, you can make dis stuff yourself at de Home Depot witte de candle wax. No, I see myself as like de partition between two walls dat makes two separate spaces, one on eider side and one in de middle – dats three, actually, like Bruce Nauman’s sculptures. You turn de corner, and now you see de back of your head, but den you are gone. It’s an enigma. Like in Kung Fu witte David Carodine and de ping pong balls. Jan walks on rice paper, because its cheaper dan carpets, and if de dogs pee on it, you just throw it in de recyclables.
FrontRow: How did you end up in Dallas?
JvT: I was at de Ajax airport and dere was some confusions witte de baggage, but before dis, I was at dis club in Scheveningen – my home towns, and I was researching de music of de 80s like de Duran Durans, and dere was a Peters Stringfellows thong look-alike competioojms going on, and dis dude witte de greejyt mullet says, hey Jan, last time de Durans were spotted it was in de hot tub at de Stephen Pyles hotels in Dallas. So I say, dis is time for Jan to become de investigative music detective like Malcolm McLaridge and go dere on de homages. It was de pilgimmage in dis sense. Like on de Mayflowers. But hey, lets keep on de subject. What was your first question?
FR: Well, actually. I can’t remember. But I was wondering about your impressions of Dallas. How do you find the city?
JvT: Dallas is a very difficult place. Dey can’t know de first thing about fish. De fish is terrible. Why don’t dey fly in de good fish. No one is knowing how it tastes. And de road signs. Both are as bad as each udder. Maybe de police force should do de haddock, and de Stephen Pyles should do de highway exit signs. Den dere would be less problems and save on de emergency services and den we haff more schools. Smoked haddock is de best. You get dis in Scotts and witte de poached egg on de top and for de kedgeree. As Dr Johnson once says, “when a man tires of kedgeree, he has tired of Oscar Wilde” – or sometings like dis.
So Dallas is terrible for kedgeree.
FR: Have you been swept up at all in our political season? What’s it like watching it from this side of the pond?
JvT: American politics is not so good. What if Mr Romney stays at de Omni, and dey get de reservation wrong, and someone says, I’m sorry Mr Omni, dere is no space at de Romney. So den, where de hells bells would Mr Romeny stay when he comes to de Majestic to hear de Osmonds play Crazy Horses – which, by de way, is maybe his foreign policy. So dis is a bad name in Dallas for a repoojblicajn. Mr Bush is a less confusing name. Easier to remember.
Everything here is very far to de right. As Martin Amis says in Brooklyn, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were de same, and maybe haff similar hairdressers. But if Ronald Reagan tries to be de GOP now, all de Kock brothers say, hey what is dis, a liberal like Warren Beatty? Dis is no good. But in de Nederlands, and in Newcastle, dere would have been a revolt if de country had gone more to de right dan Mrs T, so we get Toni and Guy Blair instead and dis makes it maybe slightly better. But, hey compare Boris Johnson witte de Reppoblicans here – dere is a huge difference. Boris is a moderate person witte very charming edujcatioons and he does own hair. Roomney looks like a Brylcream ad from 1952 and maybe doesn’t know de ‘Eton Style video’ like de Gangnam style. Boris can probably do both, and Obama used to do de Beyonce dances witte his daughters – so he is more in touch witte de people. Dis is very touching for Jan. Also when Michelle Obama plants all de vegetables in de Whitehouse. Dis is symbolic and Jan has big respect for Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Mrs Clinton is much more important dan Madonna and de Lady Gaga, but Jeffrey Deitch at MoCA still hasn’t offered Hillary Clinton a one-person show dere? Dis is crazy. Maybe dey are afraid President Clinton will turn up witte his saxophone. Even Jan finds dis difficult to listen to. But, hey, President Clinton is very knowledgable aboojt Emerson Lake and Palmer and he makes a good speeches and is good witte de budgets- so, dis is proof dat he is a good guy. Imagine Mr Roomney in a de blue satin shirt like Keith Emerson at de keyboards doing Fanfare for de Common Man. No! He wooten know de words. So he woot do de Crazy Horses instead, and everyone woot run for de parking lot and de cup-holders.
But dey all think charity events is social policy. Dis doesn’t help de right peoples. I like Joe Biden. He is a normal human being. Dis is important to be totally normal. Like Jan.
[Ed note: The end of this interview was punctuated by the distinct sound of Jan flushing the toilet and the phone dropping to floor.]
“Image Atlas” by Brent Ozaeta, at The Public Trust – October 27: 6-9 p.m. 2919-C Commerce Street, Dallas, Tx 75226.
Ozaeta’s work mashes mediums – painting, installation, printmaking, zines, t-shirts, etc. – and sources (often clipping imagery from Japanese internet forums). So it feels appropriate that his show at The Public Trust won’t merely consist of paintings, prints, and installations (which in the past have included tangy collage posters plastered to the walls of the gallery), but also a digital element: QR codes that link viewers via their smartphones back to the original source material used in the work. Outside the immediate visual appeal of Ozaeta’s work, it’s this linkage between source material and finished project that brings to the surface an interesting blurring of the line between creation and appropriation, while directing our attention to the generative power of rapid-fire information exchange.
“David Bates – Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture” by David Bates, at Talley Dunn Gallery – October 27: 6-8 p.m. 5020 Tracy Street, Dallas, Tx 75205.
Bates is back. Arguably Dallas’ most accomplished native son, David Bates’ has wrestled with the label of “regionalism” since he emerged on the scene in the late 1970s. This recent write-up from Artforum on Bates’ show at New York’s Betty Cuningham Gallery in January shows that critics still struggle to place Bates’ figurative work in its proper context. Part of the problem, the author argues, is that his work most readily calls to mind “old fashioned” masters, painters like Picasso, Matisse, and van Gogh:
Bates, though, replaces Matisse’s flowing line and sense of cushioned luxe with something altogether more resistant, and rather wonderfully so: In both of the dogwood paintings but particularly in Still Life with Dogwood IV, the branches and their flowers, often delineated with patternlike lines of black, become stiff, jagged networks fitted together like jigsaws, almost comically unwelcoming to the touch while still sensual to the eye. Sunflowers and Thistles, 2010-1 1, recalls van Gogh, who made great paintings of both flowers; this and the knotty Oak Branches and Pear, 2010-1 1, in which the branches come close to an abstract mesh, heighten the feeling of dense, intricate, almost competitive interplay. There is real wit in these tense transformations of the still-life motif into something spikily vibrant.
“MITCH DOBROWNER” at the Fannin Performace Hall of Richland College – October 25: 7-8 p.m. 12800 Abrams Road, Dallas, Tx 75243.
“A Divided Heart and Mind” by Gary Swaim, at Davis Foundry Gallery – October 27: 6-10 p.m. 509 W. Davis Street, Dallas, Tx 75208.
“Toni Wengler” by Toni Wengler, at the Marshall-McPhail Gallery of Marshall Motors – October 27: 1:30-5:30 p.m. 11450 Sprowles, Dallas, Tx 75229.
“Tracking Changes” by Sherry Giryotas, at the Mokah Art Gallery – October 27 : 6-9 p.m. 2803 Taylor Street, Dallas, Tx 75226.
Image at top: Cain Nevaeh, Religious Icon, Digital Photograph, 2008, at The Art Foundation’s ‘”twain”