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Monday Morning Roundup


by Stephen Becker 26 Jan 2009

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW: It seems like forever since the Antiques Roadshow crew descended on Dallas in June to sort through our treasures. The results of that trip finally hit the air tonight at 7, when KERA (Channel 13) airs the first of three episodes filmed at the Dallas Convention Center. The other two episodes […]

CTA TBD

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW: It seems like forever since the Antiques Roadshow crew descended on Dallas in June to sort through our treasures. The results of that trip finally hit the air tonight at 7, when KERA (Channel 13) airs the first of three episodes filmed at the Dallas Convention Center. The other two episodes will be shown Feb. 2 and Feb. 9. It’s already out there that one North Texas woman learned that a painting that’s been in her family for six generations fetched an appraisal of $300,000-$500,000. What other discoveries were made that weekend? You’ll just have to tune in and find out.

KERA staffers and volunteers were on hand to assist the production. Click here to watch a slide show of photos from the weekend.

GEORGE SEGAL REACTION: On Friday, I wrote about the new exhibit of George Segal figures that opened over the weekend at the Nasher Sculpture Center. One of the works that caught my eye is called The Homeless and features two figures, one sitting and another lying down on the sidewalk. During the 1980s, Segal focused on some of society’s down-and-out people, and works like The Homeless, as well as Liquor Store and Dumpster, are the result. My personal feeling is that these pieces might make someone visiting a museum stop to consider the poor and downtrodden, who so often are invisible to us, But Eric Foster, of Gun Barrel City, sees it differently. Here’s an e-mail he sent over the weekend with his take:

A New Exhibit at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas allows art aficionados to see George Segal’s sculptures about street life. Below is a still life not surprisingly called The Homeless.
Ironically just outside the Nasher you could see the same thing for free on any given night. It would have been cheaper to have them come inside where it is warm and do “performance art” of this same scene. If they died it would have been even more realistic and cheaper still. You just need a few cans of white spray paint and you are done. A good sealant and the smell could be avoided as well.
My point is, a line was crossed here with this “work of art” and no one seemed to mention it, notice it, or care, either in Gaile’s [Robinson of the DMN] article or Mr. Becker’s Blog!

ART FROM ART: Those who create are inspired by just about anything under the sun. I find it interesting when one art form inspires another. That happened over the weekend when Dallas Black Dance Theater performed a new work inspired by the Segal exhibit. And according to a Boston Globe story, it seems visual artists and musicians have a back-and-forth admiration that leads to creativity on both ends.

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  • Bill Marvel

    What is the “line” that Eric imagines has been crossed? (He’s careful not to draw it, because that would open his assertion to contradiction.)
    So let’s guess at what he means. I think we can get pretty close.
    Eric is suggesting that the Segal work is somehow exploitive, that it exists at the expense of the real homeless who lurk outside the Nasher’s door. Better all that money and energy go into their pockets so they could purchase, say, a hot bowl of soup.
    We’ve heard such arguments before, of course, in one guise or another: Better life than art. Rescue the cat from the fire, not the Van Gogh.
    The premise is false, the logic faulty. In framing this as an either-or proposition, Eric seeks to make us squirm with discomfort. Our appreciation of an art work means that we’re necessarily indifferent to the poor.
    Who sez? Does Eric suppose those who look at the Segal then step outside and do not reflect upon what they see? If so, than Eric has no more understanding of how art operates than the Prince of Wales in the famous Black Adder episode who mistakes an onstage mudrer for the real thing.
    In fact, the purpose of art is to train the perceptions, to make us look at things we might not ordinarily look at, or see with sufficient clarity. Most of us, being ordinary humans, do not really look at the homeless. Even if we happen to be handing one of them a quarter, we tend to avert our eyes. But the Segal is there only to be looked at. To be stared at, in fact, contemplated. We’re meant to examine the details and thnk about what we see. What we think, of course, us up to us.
    Does this make us more likely to give the next homeless person we encounter a quarter? Who knows? That’s not Segal’s aim. His aim is to get us to see, because all thinking, all action begins with perception. The rest, the second act as it were, lies in life.
    So please, Eric, no more sentimental