Our Dallas Art Fair guide, led by arts writer Kendall Morgan
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—at least for gallerists, collectors and art aficionados. The annual Dallas Art Fair brings the best and the brightest in both national and international spaces to the Fashion Industry Gallery, and there’s plenty to see whether you splash out for a three-day Patron Pass or go for general admission.
If you choose the former, the pass includes soirees, panel discussions, private collection tours, and performances, including the SOLUNA International Music & Art Festival performance Eyes Bright as Diamonds with musicians Jen Ray and Sarah Jaffe, April 11 at the Meyerson Symphony Center; plus the Fair’s preview gala April 12, featuring a performance by Japanese artist Miwa Komatsu.
But if you’re on a budget, that’s okay, too, as a general admission ticket still allows you access to view the stable of blue-chip spaces such as The Hole NYC, Paul Kasmin Gallery, and Luhring Augustine, all participating this year for the first time. And truly, the satellite events, pop-ups, and stellar local shows (all of which are open to all) are what makes this week so exciting. To ensure you don’t miss a moment, here’s our guide to the highlights.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11
Curated by the San Antonio Museum of Art’s Erin K. Murphy, the Vignette Art Fair is the first substantial satellite fair to accompany the main event. Now in its second year, it focuses on under-recognized female talents and is aptly located in the former Women’s Museum Building in Fair Park.
Attractions include “Virtual,” an exhibit dedicated to New Media Art, “Venture,” showcasing interactive and performance art, and “Viewpoints,” a series of panel discussions with industry leaders. Kicking things off Wednesday from 6–9 p.m., Vignette will remain open daily through the weekend, with a public party from 7–10 p.m. Friday.
Francisco Moreno’s “The Chapel and Accompanying Works” is based on years of inspiration viewing major murals such as José Clemente Orozco’s The Epic of American Civilization and Diego Rivera’s The History of Mexico. Installed at Erin Cluley Gallery, the barrel-vaulted structure is an immersive experience inspiring awe and contemplation in even the most casual viewer.
Moreno didn’t intentionally plan on creating something so grand, but the artist’s creative spark was lit when he viewed the Spanish Romanesque murals from the Hermitage of la Vera Cruz de Maderuelo in Prado, Madrid. On view through May 19 along with a series of five small drawings that accompany The Chapel, Moreno’s modular sculpture will likely travel to other institutions after the show closes.
Artist Samantha McCurdy has returned to Dallas from her new home in Los Angeles, and her current show “Personal Boundaries,” at Galleri Urbane (through May 5), evolves her “snug technique” with a deeper look at what’s behind the surface.
“When I show my art people want to know what’s under (the canvases),” McCurdy explains. “They’re more into the private little spaces and what they can’t see than what’s in front of them.”
Her newest works incorporate the representation of body parts such as breasts or hands, playing with the seen and unseen in equal measure.
The multi-disciplinary work of Adam Gordon is on view from 7–9 p.m. at The Power Station. The artist’s first institutional exhibition in the U.S, “The Grey Room” is, according to curator Rob Teeters, “a totalizing installation…that transformed our entire space into a dimly lit highly orchestrated environment that is to be occupied by a single viewer. The installation will have sensory and psychological resonance.”
In other words, pretty unmissable. Viewers looking to experience it should email email@example.com to make an appointment after the Fair.
The #MeToo movement gets an artistic moment when the Goss-Michael Foundation unveils “Beauty and Subjugation from The Goss-Michael Collection.”
Curated by Filippo Tattoni-Marcozzi and exploring the representation or interpretation of women in art, the show includes works by Cecily Brown, Tracey Emin, Gary Hume, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, and Sam Taylor-Wood, among others, and will be on view through May 31.
If you haven’t yet joined the Dallas Contemporary, now’s the time, as its 7–9 p.m. members-only celebration features the first large-scale thematic exhibition of superstar painter Eric Fischl from 7–10 p.m. On view through August, the museum also features a look at the design process of architect Harry Nuriev, and Tehranian artist Sara Rahbar’s autobiographical sculpture.
THURSDAY, APRIL 12
In town to be honored at Friday’s MTV RE: DEFINE auction and gala at NorthPark Center, artist Tracey Emin will pop by Forty Five Ten from 2:30–4:30 p.m. to sign copies of her latest book, Tracey Emin: Works 2007-2017.
Artist Jay DeFeo focused and re-focused on such ordinary subjects as a tripod and a compass with a relentless eye that recalls the work of Duchamp. Viewers can take a deeper dive into her 1970s works on paper at Galerie Frank Elbaz from 3–5 p.m.
Although most patrons will seek out Conduit Gallery for the ambitious wire and paper pieces of Annabel Daou and Fort Worth artist Kirk Hayes’ trompe l’oeil paintings, Roberto Benavidez’s “Illuminated Piñatas” in the project room deserve a little extra attention. Formerly drawing from Hieronymus Bosch’s phantasmagorical creatures, the Los Angeles-based artist’s newest sculptures get their source material from medieval bestiary and the circa-1410 The Book of Hours.
“Five years ago, I wouldn’t have access to (those sources), but there’s a big push with scanning medieval manuscripts,” says the artist. “I like to bring these images to life, and I also like the whimsy of it, which draws back to the lightheartedness of the piñata.” Quirky and colorful, the show will be up through May 12.
A longtime participant in the Fair, eclectic art enclave Ro2 Gallery is shaking things up this year with “Sideshow,” a pop-up space in the former Jos A. Bank shop directly across from The Joule’s Weekend Coffee at 1508 Commerce Street. Open through Sunday, the space will also host a late-night Fair closing party with a performance at 11 pm by the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group and a DJ set by artist James Talambas.
FRIDAY, APRIL 13
The work of local artist Will Heron (better known as Wheron) has a cartoony appeal he explores through woodcut paintings, murals, and even tattoos. Erin Cluley Gallery is presenting the artist’s “Grey Area” featuring new works, as well as the one-time-only opportunity to get tattooed with one of 13 exclusive designs created by the artist. Pop by the gallery from 6 p.m.–midnight to walk away with an indelible memory of this year’s fair.
Artist Arthur Peña created his “One Night Only” invitational curatorial series as an offshoot of his painting practice. The latest features New York-based artist and MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant awardee Nicole Eisenman, who is known for her surreal imagery based on human emotion.
“She hadn’t shown in Texas yet, which is insane,” says Pena, who connected with the artist through her New York representation, Anton Kern Gallery. “I hope it will continue the legacy of Dallas being an international art city and that there are people here that care what’s going on.”
Eisenman will feature brand-new sculptures and a site-specific installation from 7–11 p.m. at an undisclosed location. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to get the details, or make an appointment to see the work from now through April 25.
SATURDAY, APRIL 14
Gregarious, gorgeous, and slightly goofy, The Haas Brother’s furry creatures are pretty irresistible—so much so, The Joule had to adopt the nine-foot-tall King Dong for its very own. For those intrigued to discover more about their process, Nasher Sculpture Center is offering a free chat with the artistic duo moderated by ARTNew’s Alex Greenberger at 10 am. RSVP@nashersculpturecenter.org
Also at the Nasher from 3–6 pm is the launch of The Circle Project featuring Pierre Krause, who also works as a bookseller in the Taschen Library at The Joule. Partnering with Guadalajara’s Cerámica Suro, Krause’s series of text-based plates emblazoned with phrases like “I Want to Swallow You Like Mad,” will be available to add to your collection.
It’s time to say, “bye bye” to Beefhaus, the artist-run Fair Park gallery with “In Loving Memory: 2011-Now,” from 8–10 pm. Founded by a group of young artists with a “beef” against Dallas art institutions, the space will be missed for its adventurous programming, so be sure to turn up in your all-black finery to show your respects.
Finally, we can hardly wait for Saturday’s Eye Ball. Hosted by Headington Companies, proprietors of The Joule, the fête has served as the annual grand finale of the Art Fair for the past four years. Stay tuned for more sneak peeks on Instagram throughout the week, and a full recap of the bash the morning after. —Kendall Morgan