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Arts / Museums

Inside the Small Art World Where Connections Span the Globe — and a New Dallas Design District Space is Vital

A Form Bending Belgium Artist to Debut His First Solo Exhibition in the U.S. in Dallas

BY // 02.28.19

The so-called art world truly is quite tiny, or at least when you think of yourself as an official citizen and not a tourist. I feel as though I am always one degree of separation at any moment from meeting an artist from another part of the globe. Perhaps I am giving myself too much credit, but given the fact that my professional and social life for most of my life since college (and I guess during those years as well since I was an art history major) have been devoted to the field, I can stand by that statement.

I live in a very “artsy” loft in the fringe neighborhood — The Cedars. Located just across I-30 from downtown Dallas, it truly is convenient due to its close proximity to everything (for a point of reference, it generally takes me only 20 minutes via Uber to make it to a Highland Park cocktail party). For the past 10 years, it has been home to many artists and studios. However, with the recent amount of massive construction of townhomes with sales prices starting at $500,000-plus, I feel that gentrification is upon us and most of the creative types will be forced out.

Since I attend many of the exhibition openings at the Dallas Contemporary, I’ve gotten to know one of its tireless volunteers, board member Tammy Cotton Hartnett. She keeps a loft in my building to house some of her art collection, but also for some of her artist friends to stay in while they are in Dallas. I bumped into Hartnett at TWO x TWO First Look last year and she introduced me to a gallerist friend, Harlan Levey, who was staying at her loft while visiting from Brussels.

Originally an Ohio native, Levey has lived in Belgium for close to two decades and is the founder of Harlan Levey Projects. He recently emailed to tell me he was coming to Dallas for an extended stay to showcase an installation by one of his artists and to once again take part in the Dallas Art Fair.

I went up to Harnett’s loft to see Levey and to meet the artist he brought with him — Emmanuel Van der Auwera over coffee. Van der Auwera works with a variety of mediums including filmmaking, video sculpture, theatre and printmaking. We chatted about some of his past work and what the two of them were installing in Dallas.

Frequently Van der Auwera sets up encounters with images that provoke a questioning of our visual literacy: How do images of contemporary mass media operate on various publics, and to what end? This will be one of the questions posed through the work in his upcoming show.

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“White Noise” will be Van der Auwera’s first solo exhibition in the United States and will be installed at 214 Projects. This new space in the Design District is part of an outreach initiative provided by the Dallas Art Fair. 214 Projects is adjacent to the Fair’s new offices at River Bend on Manufacturing Street. This venue (outside of the downtown location for the April Dallas Art Fair) will allow exhibitors to present more ambitious gallery installations and special projects on a year-round basis.

As I said, the art world is quite small. It’s wonderful that I get to continually meet new people — and enjoy being with mutual friends from around the globe, You’ll likely see me at the opening night this Saturday, March 2 from 6 to 9pm. Come Saturday night and maybe you’ll become part of the small art world, too.

214 Projects, 150 Manufacturing Street, suite 214, Dallas, www. 214projects.com.

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