“Maybe I’m doing too much,” says Paul Richert-Garcia, a director from New York’s Robert Miller Gallery. “But it is Dallas.”
Garcia is referring to his booth, which was lavishly hung with Paul Jenkins paintings (one of which was sold for a $160,000) and photos by Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, at last week’s Dallas Art Fair. Held at the Fashion Industry Gallery, this year the fair featured 95 galleries who, like Robert Miller, came from far and wide to sink their hands into the city’s deepest pockets. At the fair preview, which was populated with Dallas’ freshly botoxed big spenders, Garcia popped bottles of champagne to fete his good fortune. It’s evident in Dallas more is, in fact, more.
Just ask Marlborough Chelsea, who made use of every inch if their booth by hanging works by Tony Cox and Johan Freeman & Justin Lowe salon style. The sentiment was best described by a prominently displayed Mike Bouchet painting, which repeats the phrase “FUCK IT” 7 times.
Meanwhile the display that kept popping up on Instagram was artist Rachel Lee Hovnanian’s “Perfect Babies.” Resting in glass display cases, the creepy infants were aesthetically flawless but, like the oversized implants that adorn so many women who attended the fair, totally fake.
It’s not just the fairgrounds that ooze decadence. Dallas has parlayed it’s art fair into an entire “art week,” in which gallerists, journalists, collectors and artists descend on the city (many of which stay at The Joule, a hotel that just so happens to boast a killer art collection) to socialize, party and occasionally look at art. This year Art Week boasted solo shows by Paola Pivi, Dan Colen and Helmut Lang at the Dallas Contemporary Museum, a show by Karl Holmqvist at The Power Station and Oliver Clegg’s painting of a deflated Bart Simpson, among other popular characters, at his solo show at Erin Cluley Gallery. The week culminated the annual Eye Ball, a surrealist bash held in the shadow of Tony Tasset’s hideous eye sculpture.
By the time I boarded my plane back to New York, my brain was wrecked from free cocktails and I had collected more business cards than I knew what to do with. See you next year, Dallas.