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The Next Contemp —
Who, Where & Where
with Architectural Drawings by Edward M. Baum
History of D-Art
for an index of stories.
“A 1950s-era sheet metal plant will be transformed into the Dallas Contemporary new home. The plant, located at 161 Glass Street, off Industrial Boulevard, was purchased by the Dallas Contemporary in phase one of a campaign to move the organization from its current location in the Wilson Historic District."
They're sticking to their revisionist history, skipping their first year and have renamed themselves, again. — first came D-ART (with its three separate spelling permutations, D-ART, D'Art and D-Art); then Dallas Visual Arts Center (DVAC); The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art when Joan Davidow was hired as director, and over the last few years The Dallas Contemporary.
When I first read their extensive press release, I couldn't tell if that was" Our Contemp" or some slick new bunch, there was so much hype. Most startling was that there was no mention of current director Joan Davidow.
A Dallas Morning News story quoted board president Tom Lind hyping, "With the new Dallas Contemporary as its centerpiece, this section of the Trinity riverfront could grow into Dallas' version of Manhattan's Soho and Chelsea gallery districts," neatly forgetting (as they often do) that the institution was founded as a community center for Dallas artists — and that there's been a lively art scene a couple of blocks east, on Dragon and Slocum Streets, since the last century.
The building is long and solid, in an odd configuration whose angled front parallels Glass Street, which itself angles off Industrial Boulevard (See the Google Earth image below). There are interesting exterior details, including a gleaming fabricated metal rail into the indented current main entrance surrounded by piano-key brickwork that will probably be painted over. There's no grass except behind the lot, only concrete, so perhaps no exterior sculpture garden, and the neighborhood is iffy. The parking lot appears to be smaller than the one they have now that is often full.
The building directly across the street houses a major mailing center. With its bright blue awnings and other vivid colors, it is reminiscent of the colorful kitch on the facade of the second D-Art office a couple blocks down Swiss Avenue from their current digs in the Meadows Building.
That was the dilapidated building they moved into at the beginning of their second year, the move they now celebrate as their founding, because D-Art celebrated the first year of being in that building (Note the image from an early D'art newsletter above), and that concept got confused with their actual founding, and the mistake is now history handily and for them happily rewritten.
That first Swiss Avenue building was painted with a colorful, less than aesthetic façade, and later condemned because it was falling in on itself, and is indeed no longer there. That's when D-Art got to move into then new Meadows Building, use of which they had an [I believe] eight-year tenure.
The next building's already elderly neighborhood is mixed use industrial. Probably the worst building on the short street is barely held up by metal poles (perhaps because in Dallas, any frame left of a structure can be rebuilt without a new construction permit), has few doors or windows left, major walls missing and is variably inhabited by vagrants.
The one other modern building on Glass Street is at the other end, one block from the extensive, usually green, flood control area called the Trinity River, just over the levee, west of the center's next home. On the opposite end of the street, the area that actually corners on Industrial Boulevard is empty and potentially could be used for additional weekend parking.
There's long been rumors the center was looking at spaces on Dragon Street. Since they apparently did not find one big enough there they could afford, they're starting their own hot art area, again. Last time they moved, they hyped the neighborhood around them and now the Latino Culture Center as a center of artist's lofts, of which there are nearly none around the Meadows Building, where their lease is fast running out.
Note that Edward M. Baum's architectural projections are
copyrighted 2006, meaning this project has likely been in the works for more
than six months already, and they're just now (mid-July 2007) letting the
public know about the extensive and expensive new project.
Essentially, they don't know who they are, where they
came from or where they're going, but they're moving.
Read our accumulation of stories about D-ART's
as published on this site since 1999 and in the DallasArtsRevue magazine
on paper from D-ART's inception in 1980-81 till now.
Those stories are indexed in our Index of the History of D-ART.
All Contents of this
site are Copyright 2007 or before by publisher J R Compton.
All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction in any medium without specific written permission.