2013 in Review: Dallas Arts and Culture

DMagazineJAN2014 cover
The cover of our January issue has a moving story about Kidd Kraddick’s life and sudden death in July.

Take a little walk down memory lane in honor of 2013’s most notable moments in arts and culture. As with last year, I present them in particular order—except for the first one. Kraddick was the No. 2 Google search term for Dallas in 2013.

For an in-depth dive into the year’s best movies, local music, and theater, check out FrontRow.

1. Syndicated—and beloved—radio host Kidd Kraddick died in July. This didn’t just affect us here in Dallas, of course, but I know quite a few people who grew up tuned in to Kidd Kraddick in the Morning. Listeners felt more like family, which perhaps why his sudden death at a charity golf tournament in New Orleans was so devastating. Read the moving feature on Kraddick in the January issue of D. He was a keeping a big secret, but one that may make you like and respect him even more.

Artist's rendering of New York-based artist Rachel Harrison's contribution to the Nasher XChange project outside City Hall.
Artist’s rendering of New York-based artist Rachel Harrison’s contribution to the Nasher XChange project outside City Hall.

2. The Nasher Sculpture Center pulled off Nasher XChange (and celebrated its ten year anniversary). The public art initiative features ten newly commissioned works of art by ten local and international artists and art collectives at ten different sites. Chances are, you’ve stumbled on one or two just driving around. Others, such as Ugo Rondinone’s multi-colored pier at Fish Trap Lake in West Dallas or Ruben Ochoa’s piece at the Trinity River Audubon Center, take some deliberate seeking out. As the various commissions were unveiled, our arts critic, Peter Simek, wrote that many of location choices seem designed to “transform an otherwise marginalized area of the city into an attraction, simultaneously offering the community something that elevates their neighborhood, while challenging Dallas residents to encounter overlooked parts of the city.” Couldn’t have said it better. The pieces are on view until February 16, and you can read what Simek thought about the overall execution of Nasher XChange and what we can learn from it here.

3. November marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Nobody made a big fuss. Just kidding. Kennedy’s the cover of our November issue; approximately a million people released a new book somehow relating to the assassination; the Dallas Morning News dedicated a year to coverage and remembrance. And it was really cold outside for the memorial.

The poster for David Lowery's sophomore feature film.
The poster for David Lowery’s sophomore feature film.

4. Two filmmakers with North Texas ties release critically-acclaimed sophomore efforts. If you didn’t know their names in 2012, you do nowShane Carruth reemerged with Upstream Color, though he has since decamped North Texas for Los Angeles and New York, and David Lowery had a well-regarded festival hit with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. IFC gave the indie film one of its widest releases ever. 

5. Wendy Davis, who represents Fort Worth’s District 10 in the Texas Senate, taught us how to dress for a filibuster and subsequently entered the Texas gubernatorial race. In the meantime, she was honored for her work on Senate Bill 1191, legislature that provided funding to address the rape kit backlog (almost 23,000 in untested kits across Texas). We did the math on how she can win the governor’s seat in the October issue of D.

6. Jerry Russell, the founder of the longstanding theater Stage West in Fort Worth and the father of Wendy Davis, died in September.

Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld at the Chanel Métiers d'Art Fashion Show at Fair Park. (Photo by Kristi and Scot Redman.)
Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld at the Chanel Métiers d’Art Fashion Show at Fair Park. (Photo by Kristi and Scot Redman.)

7. Chanel returned to Dallas and transformed Fair Park. There were headdresses and pretty, important people, as well as some historical context for Coco Chanel’s first visit to Dallas in 1957.

8. Significant hires and appointments in the Arts District. Catherine Cuellar is the new executive director (taking over for Veletta Lill), Emmanuel Villaume is the music director of the Dallas Opera, Lee Trull is the director of new play development at the Dallas Theater Center. Villaume is only the third music director in the opera’s history, and Trull’s position was created to support new works.

9. The Dallas Morning News, with help from the University of Texas at Arlington, hires Mark Lamster as their architecture critic. Renzo Piano debuted his Piano Pavilion, the Kimbell Art Museum expansion steps from the original building. Lamster and Piano both continue to dislike Museum Tower.

South view, Renzo Piano Pavilion, September 2013. Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Robert Polidori.
South view, Renzo Piano Pavilion, September 2013. Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Robert Polidori.

10. It’s been a full year for both the Perot Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art’s free admission program. The Perot welcomed 1.4 million people, and The Economist recently reported that the DMA Friends program seems to be going well, too. Yay for gifts that keep on giving.

Honorable mentions:  Lawson Taitte, the city’s only full-time theater critic, retired from the Dallas Morning News in December, affordable artist housing became a real possibility in the Arts District, and George W. Bush came out as an artist. With high hopes for next year’s collection of presidential artwork, I remind you of the shower painting.