This weekend you can enjoy two ends of Dallas’ cultural spectrum.
In one, well-appointed corner, you have the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Soluna Music and Arts Festival, a well-funded, socialite-organized event that brings together a wide-range of world-approved artists, performers, art events, dance and music performances. Run down its schedule, and there are surely more than a few intriguing events and performances programmed for the event. But in my mind, this is about as close to the end game of the entire idea of the Dallas Arts District as we have seen to date — culture as an importable commodity, aimed at a certain subset of the population, framed in status marketing, and dressed-up in all the trappings of a image-conscious, event-driven city.
There’s good work to be seen for sure — Karina Canellakis’s Remix concerts are a local don’t-miss that will be surely missed when she leaves Dallas this fall; Dallas Black Dance Theater’s Spring Celebration is a highlight of their season whether or not it falls under Soluna’s grab-bag umbrella; extra offerings from Paola Pivi and Mai-Thu Perret supplement their exhibitions at the Dallas Contemporary and Nasher, respectively. But there is also something that feels contrived and intellectually fleeting about Soluna’s entire MO that makes it feel friction-less and more than a little out-of-touch.
Then, in another more out-of-the-way corner, there’s Frank Campagna, the artist, gallery owner, Deep Ellum gadfly, cultural persona, and inveterate punk who is a close to a spiritual godfather of this city’s scrappy, oft-ignored, give-no-shits, rabble rousing, outsider-leaning culture-shredding funkhouse as it gets. Campagna will be honored this weekend at The Lawley Art Group Gallery by a number of artists who have created works dedicated to Campagna. This city’s Frank Campagna’s keep Dallas in touch with something of its hardscrabble and bruised historical underbelly, cutting closer to the bone of what it means to speak, make, and eek-out some response to the mystery of being alive. To me, it seems as if the dichotomy of these two events perfectly describes Dallas culture, with everything else falling at some point in between.
Dallas Savages at The Lawley Art Group — May 20, 6 p.m. 1507 Dragon St. Dallas, TX 75207.
James Zamora: #interiors from Instagram at Ro2 Art at The Shotgun — May 20, 7-10 p.m. 1717 Gould St. Dallas, TX 75215.
SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival at Various Locations — May 20, 7:30-9 p.m. For more information, go here.
Oak Cliff Visual SpeedBump Art Tour 2016 at Art Spots of Oak Cliff — May 21, 12-6 p.m. For location details, go here.
SALUD – a solo exhibition by Joaquin West at Pariah — May 21, 3 p.m. – midnight 1505 Gano St. Dallas, TX 75215.
K. Yoland: Letters Without an Address at The MAC — May 21, 6-9 p.m. 1601 South Ervay St. Dallas, TX 75215.
Midtown ARTwalk at Gallery at MIDTOWN — May 21, 6-10 p.m. 13331 Preston Rd. Dallas, TX 75240.
SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival at Various Locations — May 21, 7:30-9 p.m. For more information, go here.