Sisters Hannah and Hilary Fagadau unveil their artistic vision at the new 12.26.
What significance does a random date hold? If you’re Hannah or Hilary Fagadau, quite a lot. The siblings—and artistic partners—share same birthday (December 26th), which also happens to be the inspiration behind the name of their new gallery on Manufacturing Street.
The Fagadaus’ art roots run deep—their grandmother dealt prints and multiple works out of her home, while the sister’s parents were art appreciators and collectors who took them to “a million museums” on family trips.
“I was really into art from a young age,” recalls Hilary. “I got my bachelor in fine arts in Painting at the University in Texas, and when I graduated, I assumed I would continue my practice. I worked for artist Kiki Smith for a while and then segued more into the art business world.”
Moving to Los Angeles in 2015, she joined what she calls “the second wave” of art aficionados colonizing the West Coast, serving as director of the city’s Parrasch Heijnen Gallery. Meanwhile, Hannah had nabbed a gig as a development associate at the Dallas Contemporary. When Hilary came to town to attend a work trip during TWO x TWO (the annual art auction benefiting amfAR and the Dallas Museum of Art), the energy of our city led her to propose a big idea to her big sister.
“I had this thought: someone’s got to open a gallery here,” says Hilary. “There already are a lot of (spaces), but I felt like there was room for one with more of an international presence.”
Having earned her master’s degree in Arts Administration from Columbia, Hannah was up for the challenge. She initially felt Hilary was a natural fit for the curator, while she would tackle sales. Sharing a sibling shorthand, the sisters soon realized they were equally adept at both roles.
“The thing I like to say about Hannah and myself is we’re not that different, we’re variations on a theme,” laughs Hilary. “We have a lot of the same strengths, but we can lift each other up in the weak spots. Recently, we had this moment in a studio visit, and we looked at each other and knew we had the exact same thought.”
Settling on a 3,000-square-foot space in between Erin Cluley Gallery and the Dallas Art Fair’s 214 Projects and down the street from And Now, the Fagadaus hope 12.26 will help colonize this particular corner of the Design District as the Chelsea of our city.
For its first show, 12.26 will feature the work of L.A.-based painter Alex Olson alongside sculptural works by New York’s Nancy Shaver. A smaller viewing room the sisters have dubbed “The Table” will feature ceramics from Portland-based artist Johanna Jackson. Next up in November are works from the under-sung pop artist Cary Leibowitz, who used to create under the name Candy Ass in the ’90s.
“The way we put together the first year of programming was pulling artists we’d been following with ones we’ve known personally,” says Hannah of the eclectic mix. “We’d been in New York and Los Angeles in our 20s, and have connections to those meccas. We want to bring what’s going on there to Dallas.”
Adds Hilary, “I think we’re going to pleasantly surprise people. We’ll show people things they don’t know they like yet.”
With a new exhibit planned every six to eight weeks, the Fagadeaus have a lot on their plate. But they’re excited about bolstering the community, as well as exposing talent to a new generation of art buyers. Prices will vary wildly from around $2500 to $60,000, so collectors of all ages can have a chance to delve into what 12.26 has to offer.
As inveterate collectors themselves, the sisters feel lucky they’re able to spend their days around work of this caliber. “I get to come in the gallery and live with this art for at least six weeks,” says Hilary. “Owning an art gallery is like having the coolest office; we just love being here.” —Kendall Morgan