Guest blogger Lisa Taylor owns Taylor-Made Press.
Since realizing the Dallas Art Dealers Association would be 25 this year, my mind has been full of what defines historical moments and good art dealing.
It all started because I knew that the story of Edith Baker, one of Dallas’ finest art dealers, needed to be told. Award-winning filmmaker Mark Birnbaum agreed to interview her for me and advised me to include others who were around for the founding of DADA and who knew Edith well. Kevin Vogel of Valley House and Ben Breard of Afterimage agreed. We all met in Edith’s home, nervous and unsure of why we were there. Then Edith started talking and Kevin started talking and Ben started talking. It all became clear. Art isn’t just vital; it makes people vital.
Each of our interviewees brightened when they spoke about working in art, and why they had chosen that career. It became obvious why artists need folks like them cheering them on. It is not about the money or the glory. Running a gallery is like running any retail space with overhead, employees and accounting. But the good news is that what they have to sell really turns them on … and boy can they sell it, if you are in the market.
Since that first interview, it became clear that there was more story here. Due to the serendipity of life, DADA’s research assistant Emily Sieker is a partner to film editor and director Colby Allen, who agreed to take on making a film that would be shown as part of DADA’s anniversary celebrations and would help archive the Dallas visual art scene. For a year, Emily, Colby and I have been interviewing gallery owners, curators, artists and collectors to flesh out the story. An excerpt will be shown at DADA’s 25th anniversary on Sept. 25 as well as at VideoFest on Sept. 26.
The hardest part of producing this has been not being able to cover it all … now I know that history is really about choices made while reporting.
Most importantly, I know this film has been made in honor of Edith Baker, who now has a scholarship in her honor because of her dedication to ethical standards and kindness to artists and customers alike. The Edith Baker Art Scholarship and Artist Career Development Fund provides cash, mentorships, internships, career fairs and professional exhibitions, all so that Dallas artists may continue to benefit from Edith’s wise and hospitable support of the Dallas art scene.