Donald Sultan: Industrial-Strength Painting
If an artist is someone who draws our attention to the ordinary that is overlooked, then Donald Sultan is a contemporary artist par excellence. Sultan’s subjects are drawn from the commonplace world: telephone poles, street lamps, factory smokestacks, and newspaper photos of fires and airplane crashes. But his treatment of those subjects is anything but commonplace.
Working on foot-square linoleum tiles coated with butyl rubber, Sultan builds up thick, scabbed layers of paint that look like the crusted, industrial surfaces of a steel mill. These powerfully physical works are surprisingly beautiful-paintings that have been strangely transformed into the objects they depict.
Sultan’s charcoal drawings are equally bold. Even subjects from nature, such as lemons and flowers, are rendered as looming silhouettes, squat and powerful as boxcars.
The first exhibit of works by :his important young painter runs Feb 14-March 20 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 1309 Montgomery. rue-Sat 10-5 pm, Sun 1-5 pm. (817) 738-9215. -Ken Barrow
Chekhov’s Back in Town
The Dallas Theater Center las always taken seriously its esponsibility as a major egional theater to perform classic plays, and to perform hem with excitement. But the works of Anton Chekhov, perhaps the most revered and nost performed playwright of he last century, have all too often been reduced to a stale exercise in theatrics. It is rare to see a fresh and inspired version of his work in any theater. But the DTC, in an effort to shine a new light on Chekhov’s work, has invited Fred Curchack to direct this season’s Uncle Vanya. Curchack, a nationally known performance artist who teaches at the University of Texas at Dallas, has a wider-than-normal vision of typical theater, and is certain to create a different and exciting rendition of the play.
Two of Dallas’s leading actors. Randy Moore and Martine Rayner, are scheduled to play the self-pitying Vanya and the visionary, embittered Dr. Astrov.
Dallas Theater Center, Arts District Theater, 2401 Flora. Feb 16-March 6. Tues-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7:30 pm. Matinees Sat & Sun at 2:30 pm. Tickets $ll-$22. 526-8857.
No Joke: Comedy Clubs Join Forces
Comedy is a cutthroat business. Out in the main room people may be laughing until tears pour from their eyes, but back in the manager’s office you can bet the boss is wondering when the new Robin Williams will show up or hoping that the competitor comedy club down the road will disappear. When the Funny Bone in Dallas closed its doors last November, it looked like Dallas’s other funny spot, the Improv on North Central Expressway, would have the last laugh. Think again. It turns out that the Improv and the Funny Bone are pooling their resources to open a new comedy club, to be called the Improv, in Addison. The closing of the Dallas Funny Bone was just a marketing strategy-the Im-prov will operate in Dallas, the Funny Bone in Fort Worth and the Mid-Cities, and the clubs will share talent in a sort of Dallas-Port Worth comic circuit.
The new Improv in Addison will have its grand opening the first week in February (the gods of comedy willing), and they’re going to celebrate with a month of shows by some of the best stand-up-and-coming comedians in the business: Ellen Degeneres, of HBO’s “Ladies of the Night”: Vic Dunlop, of “The Devil and Max Devlin”; Jay Johnson, the crazy ventriloquist of ABC’s “Soap”; and Rosie O’Donnell, of NBC’s “Give Me a Break.” The new Improv will resemble the old one on Central, but it will hold 500 people instead of 300, the menu will be expanded, and the club will be open, sans comedians, for lunch. The Improv Comedy Club and Restaurant, 4980 Belt Line Rd at Quorum, Suite 250, Addison. Sun-Thur shows at 8:30, doors open at 7:00, $5 ($3 Mon); Fri & Sat shows at 8:30 & 10:45, doors open at 6:30, $7 Fri, $8 Sat. Lunch hours to be determined.
The Opera’s Star-Studded Series
Soprano Susan Dunn has a special relationship with Dallas: she won the G.B. Dealey Award here in 1983 and went on to become one of the most sought-after young opera singers in the world. She returns to Dallas in triumph this month, opening the Dallas Opera’s 1988 Spring Concert Series in a joint program with two other exciting young singers. Tenor Gary Lakes is the rising young heldentenor in the German repertoire these days, with two new recordings on the Deutsche Grammophon label. And mez-zosoprano Delores Ziegler has been lauded at the Scala opera house in Milan and at the Paris Opera.
Later, the spring series will feature Tatiana Troyanos (one of the world’s reigning mezzos) on April 5, and superstar soprano Kiri Te Kanawa (best remembered by the general public for her solo at the nuptials of Prince Charles and Princess Di) on May 17.
Dunn, Lakes, and Ziegler will sing with an orchestra conducted by Nicola Rescigno on Feb 10 at 8 pm in the State Fair Music Hall in Fair Park. Tickets for the individual performances range from $10 to $49.50, with discounts available for subscribers to all three performances. 871-0090. -B.J.
Frank Lloyd Wright. A house, constructed on the museum’s Ross Avenue plaza, and a multimedia exhibit explore four essential themes in the career of this master builder. Through April 17 at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N Harwood. Tue, Wed. Fri. Sat 10-5 pm; Thur 10-9 pm; Sun noon-5 pm. 922-0220.
Power and Gold. Among the traditional island cultures of Southeast Asia, gold jewelry was used for more than just personal adornment-it was a sign of social standing and power. This is a showing of 250 objects-earrings, bracelets, anklets, and more-collected from Indonesia. Malaysia, and the Philippines. Through Feb 7 at the Dallas Museum of Art. 1717 N Harwood. Tue. Wed. Fri. Sat 10-5 pm: Thur 10-9 pm: Sun noon-5 pm. 922-0220.
Jeanette Paste Sloan. For her technically flawless still-lifes of commonly used items with reflective surfaces, such as silver bowls and pitchers. Sloan has gained a national reputation. Through Feb 27 at the Adams-Middleton Gallery. 3000 Maple. Tue-Fri 10-6 pm, Sat 11-5 pm. 871-7080.
Duane Michals. Love, life, and death (and sometimes what comes after) are the subjects of the photographs by this internationally known artist-focused by the words he often writes beneath them. Through March 13 at the Allen Street Gallery, 410I Commerce. Wed-Fri noon-5 pm. Sat 10-4 pm. Sun 1-5 pm. 821-8260.
Joan Miro. Witty, poetic, and sometimes intimately personal, these works in pencil, charcoal, ink, watercolor, and oil demonstrate the range of one of the modernist masters. Through Feb 14 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 1309 Montgomery. Fort Worth. Tue 10-9 pm. Wed-Sat 10-5 pm, Sun 1-5 pm. (817) 738-9215.
Francis W. Edmonds. Edmonds painted with one eye on the work of Dutch and Flemish masters of the 17th century, and the other on the everyday life of his fellow 19th-century Americans. Through Feb 28 at the Amon Carter Museum. 3501 Camp Bowie, Fort Worth. Tue-Sat 10-5 pm. Sun 1-5:30 pm. (817)738-1933.
Laton A. Huffman. Working out of his Miles City, Montana, studio from 1879 to 1910, Huffman photographed frontier life when there really was a frontier. Through March 6 at the Amon Carter Museum, 3501 Camp Bowie. Fort Worth. Tue-Sat 10-5 pm. Sun 1-5:30 pm. (817) 738-1933.
Jerry Bywaters Collection. Not a show of an, exactly, but certainly a show about an. this is the first exhibit of prints, catalogues, letters, photographs, and other memorabilia-a virtual history of the Dallas art scene from 1900 to 1950-presented to SMU by artist-teacher-museum director Jerry By waters. Through Feb 26 at the DeGolyer Library, Fondren Library West. Southern Methodist University. Mon-Fri 8:30-5:30 pm. 692-2303.
Berths Morisot. One of the mainstays of the impressionist movement, a painter of great tact, charm, and grave observation, finally gets her day. Through Feb 21 at the Kimbell An Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie. Fort Worth. Tue Sat 10-5 pm. Sun 11-5 pm. (817) 332-8451.
Drawings from Chatsworth. Another of the museum’s superb little drawing shows, this exhibit of works by old masters comes from one of the most renowned of English country houses, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Devonshire in Derbyshire, England. Feb 13-April 10 at the Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie. Fort Worth. Tue-Sat 10-5 pm. Sun 11-5 pm. (817) 332-8451.
The Burghers of Calais. One of the most famous of sculptures by one of the most famous of artists. Rodin’s monumental bronze of six martyrs who gave their lives for their city is on temporary display in the sculpture garden. Through Feb 14 at the Dallas Museum of Art. 1717 N Harwood. Tue. Wed. Fri. Sat 10-5 pm; Thur 10-9 pm; Sun noon-5 pm. 922-0220.
Dallas Ballet. A world premiere of a work by avant-garde choreographer David Gordon, “II Distratto” (a ballet set to a Haydn symphony by Balletmaster Robert Gladstien), and “The Lesson” (artistic director Flemming Flindt’s signature piece). Feb 16-21 at 3 pm. Feb 21 at 2 pm at the Majestic Theater, 1925 Elm. Tickets S5-$50. 744-4430.
Fort Worth Ballet. Two compact masterpieces by George Balanchine (“Square Dance” and “Allegro Brillante”) are paired with two pieces by new artistic director Paul Mejia (“Webern Pieces” and “Romeo and Juliet”). Feb 12 & 13 at 8 pm at the Tarrant County Convention Center Theater, Fort Worth. Tickets S3-S24. (817) 335-9000.