Final days for the artist’s exhibition celebrating Philip Johnson
In “Liberty & Restraint”, Enoc Perez’s current exhibition at Dallas Contemporary, the artist explores the regional output of celebrated architect Philip Johnson. Perez has created a massive body of work exploring buildings by Johnson in DFW. In addition to the works onsite at Dallas Contemporary, he has created sculptures and paintings that will temporary live at designated Johnson sites in the area. The exhibition is a passion project—two years in the making—for Dallas Contemporary’s executive director, Peter Doroshenko and co-curated with the help and guidance of curatorial assistant, Abby Lockett.
Johnson was a complicated figure and Perez actively engages with his complex and fraught history. This tension is manifest in design elements as Perez turns Johnson’s buildings on their side or aggressively repeats them in exhibited sculptures and paintings. Each work is labored and layered.
Perez also delves into how the architectural landscape of an entire metroplex has been influenced by a single creative voice. Johnson is the visionary behind the JFK Memorial, the Crescent, and the Comerica Bank Tower—all of which have had a profound effect on the aesthetic of Dallas. These projects also span the entire career of the architect and provide interesting insight into the range of his creative vision.
Politics aside, Johnson is the creative behind two architectural marvels in Dallas—Thanksgiving Chapel and The Beck House. They both are sublime and otherworldly in a manner worthy of a science fiction film set. The most exciting aspect of the project is that it functions like a treasure hunt throughout the DFW area. In a sense, it is an invitation to see our city anew. —Justine Ludwig
The Details: Dallas Contemporary, 161 Glass Street. On view through March 18.