Venice has one. So does the Whitney in New York. But did you know that Dallas has its own Biennial? It starts Saturday and runs til May. It’s attracting artists from around the world. And its venues range from well-known galleries like Goss Michael Gallery and the Power Station, to office buildings in the Stemmons Corridor, to a billboard in Fort Worth. Artist Michael Mazurek is the co-founder of the Dallas Biennial. He tells KERA’s Anne Bothwell how it was born.
Listen to the conversation that aired today on KERA FM
DB14 February Opening Receptions:
- The Goss Michael Foundation: Saturday, February 1, 6-8 p.m.
- Eastfield College: Friday, February 7, 5-7 p.m.
- Beefhaus Gallery: Saturday, February 8, 7-9 p.m.
- 8500 N. Stemmons Fwy, Suite 3025 & 3020-G: Saturday, February 8, 5-7 p.m.
- Oliver Francis Gallery: Saturday, February 15, 6-8 p.m.
- CentralTrak: Ongoing
Michael Mazurek just finished a show at Oliver Francis Gallery and is about to open another at Conduit. But when he stopped by the KERA studios this week, the conversation was all about the Dallas Biennial (DB for short).
Mazurek and Jesse Morgan Barnett, friends from grad school at UT Arlington, founded DB in 2012. With little money, they decided to create the exhibition, primarily online. And rather than a 2-month show every other year, the first DB stretched out over two years. (One advantage to that: You can still check it out.)
But they did have one exhibition with real walls: Curator Kevin Ruben Jacobs turned over the 300-square-foot office in his gallery, Oliver Francis. The room was christened the Dick Higgins gallery, after the Fluxus artist.
“To us, this was a very direct commentary on, you know, if you go to the Venice Bienale there’s a section there called the Arsenale and it goes on for miles and miles and miles. And it takes days to see everything.”
Eight artists from around the world were exhibited. Mazurek and Barnett learned that sometimes, an e-mail is all it takes to get big names to collaborate.
“We had artists like Artur Barrio who was in the Venice Bienale, Guillame Leblon, who was nominated for the (2011) Marcel Duchamp Prize. And we paired them with Stephen Lapthisiphon, from Dallas, who is making phenomenal work but also speaks directly to what Guillame is doing in France.”
DB14 reunites the DB12 artists, who’ve been invited back to display their work in 12 venues around town. But other artists, from North Texas and around the world, will be joining the original crew. All told, works from 50 will be represented over the next four months.
A few highlights from our conversation:
How DB14 encourages new work:
“We consider ourselves to be advocates of art making. What I found was that most of my opportunities to make an exhibit work have been given to me by other artsis. We wanted to do the same thing. And when you’re gigven an exhibition, the the nice thing is, it’s impetus to make work. It’s like a deadline”
Advice on how to approach DB14
I would just go for the experience and not be hung up on or worried about understanding anything. Too many people feel like, when they go look at art, that there’s a message that they’re supposed to be getting. And they’re like, I need to decipher this. What is the artist telling me? We’ve curated the various venues in very particular ways, so that there is something happening within the works. The works are speaking to one another, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not intentionally, just happenstance. Just go look at the work and not be hung on there’s something you need to be gaining from it.
The Dallas Arts Fair will be going on during DB14.What’s the difference between an art fair and a biennial?
“I think there’s a big difference. This is not a critique. I think art fairs do what they do very well In my opinion, an art fair is designed for galleries to display work, to find homes. So you’re walking around, it’s like a vendor trade show kind of. And the gallery is presenting particular work to you more as a consumer, rather than someone who is interested in looking at the work. A biennial, it’s akin to going to a museum where a show has been curated. The work is not for sale. We’re presenting it as culture to be taken in.
Is this going to be a regular thing?
“DB 16 is already in our minds”
Details from the DB14 Press Release
Six venues in Dallas host the launch of the 2014 Dallas Biennial.
DB14 begins February 1st at The Goss Michael Foundation, followed by exhibitions at Eastfield College, Beefhaus Gallery, DB’s office space, and Oliver Francis Gallery. UTD CentralTrak’s prelaunch with artist Jeff Gibbons will also be on view through February.
The Goss Michael Foundation kicks off the events with artists Conrad Atkinson, Derek Boshier, Joseph Grigely, Stephen Lapthisophon, Adrian Piper, Martha Rosler and a Thomas Lawson retrospective highlighting over 20 works spanning 27 years of production.
Eastfield Gallery pairs Texas artists Jeff Gibbons, Francisco Moreno, Marjorie Schwarz and Brad Tucker with Berlin-based artist Michael Vorfeld and recent Rhode Island School of Design graduate Tamara Johnson.
The exhibition at Beefhaus Gallery focuses on work addressing language and includes Mark Booth, Michael Corris, Petra Cortright, George Horner, Adrian Piper, Richard Roth, and Michael Wynne.
DB’s temporary office space in a generic high-rise on Stemmons Freeway will rotate exhibitions over the next three months and opens with a variety of a media from artists Sandra Binion, Lana Paninchul, Michelle Rawlings, and Lucia Simek. Oliver Francis Gallery also opens in February in its first of 3 exhibitions for DB14 where Aleix Plademut, Paul Anthony Smith and Penelope Umbrico examine the photographic process.
About The Dallas Biennial:
The Dallas Biennial (DB) is an artist run biennial and non-profit. “We look to the now ubiquitous format as a means to advocate art production and investigate formats of exhibition and curation. Each biennial will be labeled DB, followed by the year of its launch. This year is DB14.”
Directed by Dallas-based artists Michael Mazurek and Jesse Morgan Barnett, The Dallas Biennial commenced in 2012 with a two-year long internet based event entitled, DB12: Volume 1 – 4.
About the Curators:
Michael Mazurek and Jesse Morgan Barnett live and work in Dallas. They both received their MFA’s in Intermedia from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2011.
Alterazioni Video, Conrad Atkinson, Math Bass, Sandra Binion, Mark Booth, Derek Boshier, Bradly Brown, Gary Cannone, Asger Carlsen, Michael Corris, Petra Cortright, Jeff Gibbons, Matthew Girson, Geraldine Gliubislavich, Joseph Grigely, George Horner, Hannah Hudson, Tamara Johnson, Devin King, Lucy Kirkman, Stephen Lapthisophon, Oliver Laric, Darryl Lauster, Thomas Lawson, Karin Lehmann, Shaun Leonardo, José Lerma, Lou Mallozzi, Hubert Marécaille, Kristin Mariani, Margaret Meehan, Francisco Moreno, Miklos Onucsan, Lana Paninchul, Adrian Piper, Aleix Plademunt, Bonny Poon, Nancy Popp, Vincent Ramos, Michelle Rawlings, Ryder Richards, Martha Rosler, Björn Ross, Richard Roth, Michael Schmacke, Ludwig Schwarz, Marjorie Schwarz, Lucia Simek, Cauleen Smith, Josh Smith, Paul Anthony Smith, Konrad Smolenski, Brad Troemel, Brad Tucker, Penelope Umbrico, Michael Vorfeld, Michael Wynne and more.
The Goss Michael Foundation
The Power Station
The McKinney Avenue Contemporary
Oliver Francis Gallery
West Dallas warehouse (500 Singleton Blvd.)
Stemmons Corridor office spaces (8500 N. Stemmons Fwy, Suite 3025 & 3020-G)
Fort Worth billboard