Art Notes

Dallas Art News for December

Catherine d. Anspon
November 23, 2011

Museum Mile: As we head into the season, we’re reminded of the riches of our museums, from the ground-breaking, chameleon-like Tony Cragg, whose new-material sculpture redefined the Bronze Age, at the Nasher Sculpture Center (through January 8) to the Jean Paul Gaultier blockbuster at the Dallas Museum of Art (through February 12). This is a time to embrace both exhibitions, for novel discoveries by those who raised the bar very, very high. And remember to include the Crow Collection of Asian Art in your Arts District trek; take in “Qiu Anxiong: Animated Narratives,” which bridges millennia of Chinese art with hot topics embedded into contemporary video and painting (through February 5) ... Pop over to Fort Worth for a provocateur extraordinaire, Brooklyn-based KAWS, aka Brian Donnelly, creator of cool-surfaced, idiosyncratic abstractions that steal from cartooning (Mickey Mouse to SpongeBob) and the energy of the streets, at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (December 11 – February 19). Also catch Richard Diebenkorn’s “The Ocean Park Series” (through January 15) … The Kimbell Art Museum continues “Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome,” revealing the master of light and shadow via canvases sacred and secular from saints to cardsharps (through January 8) ... We also recommend “John Marin: Modernist at Midcentury” at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, a peek at the jazzy terrain of Marin’s final decades in which the canvases are almost shimmy (through January 8).

Avant-gardists: We’re also enamored of far more than the polished and gleaming. Have you discovered the vitality of the experimental space owned and directed by artist/catalyst/recent UTA grad Kevin Rubén Jacobs? Jacobs’ entree, Oliver Francis Gallery — bordering Deep Ellum, downtown and Fair Park — emphasizes new media, installation and performance art of a Texas bent, curated in a concise 1,000-square-foot space (209 S. Peak St., 817.879.8231; Be there for OFG’s next happening: Michael Mazurek’s messy yet vital installation, opening December 3 ... Simultaneously in Fort Worth, Artspace 101 unveils a compelling group view for accomplished Texas trio Charlotte Smith, Paul Booker and Tudor Mitroi (also opening December 3). Pay close attention to Smith’s new surfaces, where cascades of stacked pigment strands dangle from the canvas like ribbons or hair, manifesting a new modality between craft and painting ... Back in the Dallas Design District, Plush Gallery’s solo for Daniel Kurt, “Saving Knowledge Stimpy,” features a wild pop ride through the annals of cartooning, early punk records, arcane historical references and  personal narrative (through December 17) ... Over in Oak Cliff, Mighty Fine Arts serves up painter Peter Ligon, whose impastoed canvases propose a novel, freewheeling form of realism (December 17 – January 8).

Public Art Rising: The buzz is all about the Omni (555 S. Lamar), a new hotel for the Convention Center environs, which gets high marks for both its Silver LEED certification and its commitment to Texas art, including headliners James Surls (the three-story Cascading Flowers) and Ted Kincaid (an epic 22-by-14 foot-photograph of a cloud formation sampled from the skies nearby) ... Meanwhile, Griffin PartnersPreston Park Financial Center has acquired an ambitious suite of abstract canvases by Houston-based Austin James for the lobby of its office building. More corporations need to do the same.

Party Arty: Indulge in the season and support the scene at Blue Yule, the McKinney Avenue Contemporary’s Noel-time fund-raiser. Watch out for the Blue Mystery punch, but do come home will some cool ornaments crafted by Texas talents (Saturday, December 3) ... See you in 2012. Have an artful holiday!

Image: Tony Cragg’s Eroded Landscape, 1998, at Nasher Sculpture Center. Photo Kevin Todora.