Arts / Galleries

Even the Rachofskys Have Impulse Buys — And They’re Currently on View in Dallas

"Fresh Faces" Features a Wide Variety of New Works by Emerging Artists

BY Rainey Knudson // 09.30.21

For more than 40 years, Dallas collectors Cindy and Howard Rachofsky have steadily added to their extensive holdings in American Minimalism and postwar Japanese, Korean, and Italian art. But although they’re best known for those areas, that’s not all they buy.

“We’ve always collected outside of the context of what the collection has been about,” Howard tells PaperCity. “It’s fun, and it’s part of an ecosystem. If you collect, you have a responsibility to go in directions that are not necessarily linear.”

To date, only a handful of shows have been curated exclusively from The Rachofsky Collection outside of The Warehouse, their exhibition space in Dallas. But this month, local art-goers have the opportunity to see an unusual take on the collection. Curated by Joan Davidow at SITE131 in the Dallas Design District, “Fresh Faces from The Rachofsky Collection” will feature recent works by 24 artists, all of whom lie outside the main areas for which the collection is known.

“ ‘Fresh Faces’ expands Howard’s eye to the public,” Davidow says. “People wouldn’t know that he would be attracted to these. I myself had come across very few of these artists.”

Only a handful of the works in “Fresh Faces” have previously been exhibited at The Warehouse, making this a unique opportunity to sample what might be described as the Rachofskys’ recent impulse buys. Davidow has selected 29 works, almost all of which were acquired in the past eight years. The artworks vary widely, from massive abstract paintings to intimate embroideries, as well as one whimsical bronze sculpture of a weed by Tony Matelli.

“I just chose for the show what spoke to me,” Davidow says. “It didn’t occur to me to make it all abstract, or all spare. I had such a great assortment to choose from, and I just picked the ones that winked at me. That’s how I curate.”

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Rebecca Ward’s “intimacy,” 2016. (courtesy of The Rachofsky Collection)

One standout in “Fresh Faces” is Italian artist Lauretta Vinciarelli (1943 to 2011). An architect who briefly taught at Rice University in the early 1980s, she has recently enjoyed a revival of her work. As a partner and collaborator with Donald Judd, Vinciarelli — who showed posthumously at the Judd Foundation in New York City in 2019 — designed an unrealized project in Marfa that influenced Judd’s residence at The Block (now part of the Judd Foundation), as well as architectural elements of the Chinati Foundation.

Vinciarelli was a brilliant watercolorist who used the medium in her later years to create luminous architectural studies. In two of these works featured in the exhibition, ethereal geometric forms appear to float in an imagined space. These are paintings by a mature artist and architect who has moved beyond the built environment to considerations of more metaphysical spaces. Subtle and glowing, they might be an idea of heaven itself.

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Katy Moran’s “Lucas,” 2007. (courtesy of The Rachofsky Collection)

Other standouts are British painter Katy Moran and American artist Rebecca Ward. Moran, perhaps the best-known artist in the exhibition, is represented by two works on canvas dated 10 years apart. Both abstracts draw on the history of painting: The tightly balanced composition of Lucas (2007) suggests French academic or Italian landscape paintings; the muted grid of New Landscape (2017) recalls a street view of the Ashcan School. Rebecca Ward, originally from Waco, plays with the materiality of the raw canvas itself. She removes either the warp or weft from her large canvases, leaving transparent negative spaces that reveal the wooden support behind in quietly elegant, minimalist compositions.

The sheer variety in “Fresh Faces,” by artists who are not household names, reveals the Rachofskys’ generosity of spirit and open-mindedness. These are not collectors who simply hunt trophies by famous artists. And the collection continues to grow.

“Fresh Faces from The Rachofsky Collection,” at SITE131, showing through December 18 at 131 Payne St., site131.com.

Connecting the inspired with the extraordinary

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