Last night the Dallas Museum of Art held their annual Art Ball fundraiser. As they have in years past, the museum created a parody video intended to stoke chuckles under the tent raised for the black tie hot spot on the city’s social calendar, and perhaps score a little internet buzz in the subsequent days. The video is chock-full of (white) people you should know if you circulate around the halls of power and money and art in Dallas, collectors and patrons, curators and museum administrators, scenesters and socialites. Notably featured is Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who hams it up alongside DMA museum director Maxwell Anderson, who plays the front man in a remake of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” I find the whole thing a little grating and embarrassing, for the museum and everyone involved, though as the DMA’s media relations will surely remind me, I am certainly not in the video’s target audience.
It’s not the first time Rawlings has appeared in an Art Ball video. You may remember the Downton Artsy-spoof shot a few years ago in which Rawlings stars as the servant of an aristocratic family made up the city’s top-tier cultural patrons. In hindsight, it is a curious image to project in light of the ongoing debate over the Trinity Toll Road and the perception that the road’s core support rests in the mysterious shadows of Dallas’ fading oligarchy. As a friend commented, “Ronquillo has no chance of being mayor because he would be so out of place in these Art Ball videos.” What that says about Dallas or how this city works, I’m not sure.