Dallas' Best Visual Art of 2012

Categories: Visual Art

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Russell Young in front of "Only Anarchists Are Pretty"
Russell Young at the Goss-Michael Foundation

Given that the name "Goss-Michael" so frequently translates to "star-fucking," it was no shock that the work of British artist Russell Young is in the collections of Brad and Angelina and President Obama, or that the content of this particular show last spring included portraits of Mick, Elvis, and Sid Vicious.

But the front gallery was a different beast, a sketchy beast. In the series called "Only Anarchists Are Pretty," colorless images of women in bondage were scattered over seven huge enamel screen prints. My first impression was "edgy," but after a while, I realized that maybe these women were not enjoying themselves and I got freaked out and went to look at the shiny pictures of celebrities in the back gallery, but it was too late - those seven panels were in my head, and I'd have to walk back through them to leave the gallery, and they'd be in my head for a long time after. That's art, baby.

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"Girl with a White Dog," Lucian Freud
BEST MUSEUM SHOWS

Lucian Freud Portraits at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Duh.

(duh /dÉ™/
Exclamation
--used derisively to indicate that something just stated is all too obvious or self-evident.)


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"Nocturnal Garden Scene," Mark Manders
Mark Manders: Parallel Occurrences/Documented Assignments at the Dallas Museum of Art

This weird show overlapped with the blockbusting Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibition down the hall. If the Gaultier show was the ballbuster, this Manders show was the mindfucker. The gallery spaces transformed into rooms of a factory, drained of color and proportion. It's not clear what this factory environment was trying to manufacture, but its vertical fragments of human figures, amorphous blocks not fully committed to be dogs, and a cat cut in half -- yeah, it was once a living cat -- made for one hell of an interesting afternoon.

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BEST NEW SPACE

Outside. Here's why:
- "Expanded Cinema" video art on the exterior of the OMNI hotel
- Chihuly at the Dallas Arboretum (though Chihuly Nights had a big lighting problem when I was there)
- "Seventeen Hundred Seeds," a temporary, site-specific, public art project by Robert Hamilton and Cynthia Mulcahy, wherein a team of farmers tended an empty lot in Oak Cliff until an army of sunflowers bloomed there
- Art collective In Cooperation With Muscle Nation lounging in bed in the middle of the Arts District during Aurora Glimpse 2012

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"Untitled (Apse)," Adam Rowlett
BEST NEW ARTIST

Adam Rowlett

UNT grad student Adam Rowlett had a solo show called "Gothic Abstract" at Mercantile Coffee House up until the coffee house closed halfway through the show's run. Ro2 Art Downtown offered their Akard Street location so Rowlett could see this exhibition through. His work is an alchemical hybrid of shapes, lines, and visual references to cathedrals, but those signs are dallied with, obscuring any associations in delicate materials, exacting artistic precision, and the resulting stark, stand-alone beauty.

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