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Dallas Art Fair: Ones to Watch

by Gail Sachson 8 Apr 2011 11:41 AM

Guest blogger Gail Sachson guides you through some of the can’t-miss pieces at this year’s Dallas Art Fair.


Oil Stick Drawing by Cathy Daley, Newzones Gallery, Calgary

Guest blogger Gail Sachson owns Ask Me About Art, offering lectures, tours and program planning. She is Vice-Chair and Acting Chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission and a member of the Public Art Committee. To help navigate the Fair, she is teaching an Adult Education  workshop at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University this Saturday at 1 p.m.

Three years ago, when John Sughrue and Chris Byrne first organized the Dallas Art Fair, I wrote here that if you left your car in a meter, it was a six quarter meter. And that was a compliment to the fair. This, the third year of the DAF, I strongly suggest you leave your car with the valet , so as not to be filled with anxiety that your meter is running out. DAF 2011 is a Really Big Show.

As I wandered – no, moved as if on a mission – to see it all (70+ art-filled booths), I loved seeing old friends, and I don’t mean the gallerists, collectors or browsers. I mean the art itself. It’s great fun to see works in a fair setting which you’ve admired on gallery walls, in museum shows or merely in reproductions. Only a second or third walkthrough will allow you time to linger and see it all – or you might miss some of the art stars such as:

  • The motion sensor equipped painted plastic toys at Dallas’ Galleri Urbane by Japanese artist Misako Inaoko. Do make the bird chirp.
  • The 15-inch x 15inch poured oil on wood panel Separate by Lynn McCarty at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York
  • The table-top Mark di Suvero pieces  at Zane Bennett, Santa Fe, especially interesting to Dallasites because we have so many di Suvero architectural works at the DMA, the Nasher and the Meyerson. Ask the gallerist to turn the balanced elements for you and stoop down to examine the engineering.
  • The video within a painting within a box by Gregory Scott at the Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans. Warning: make time. The video is eight minutes long.
  • The exceptional pieces at our own Conduit Gallery, where Nancy Whitnack is showing Memory,  a 6-foot high  break-through work by Joan Winter, luminescent umbrella shaped cast resin pieces placed  upside down on top of each other, inspired by memories of Japanese umbrellas and Intolerance,  a work by Gabriel Dawe, vintage army pants pierced and penetrated with pins in a provocative manner.
  • And Cathy Daley’s headless (perhaps mindless) oil pastels of frolicking females dressed with an eye on fashion and fun, epitomizing a questionable ideal at Newzones Gallery, Calgary

There are videos, naked bodies, back rooms (What’s a gallery without a back room?), Picassos, drawings by Degas and Giacometti and photographs by Mapplethorpe. Mix great art with generous conversation, add background music, area rugs and flowers and you have a winning art fair with ambiance, no attitude and an A+ rating.