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  Renoir    Pinhead    Starting Places   


The DCCA Members Show

Kathy Boortz - Barn Owls
welding caps, metal, clay, beads

June 6

The DCCA Members Show almost made me wish I still belonged to D–Art. Kathy was less enthusiastic. We went early, because we were close and didn't want to come back after The MAC opening the same night. I  was mostly interested in quality. This show in past years hasn't had much of that valuable quidity. We were surprised to find lots, and only a little dreck. And we only saw work by one artist who'd bad-mouthed the new DCCA.

The show seemed edited. I mean, how could DCCA Director Joan Davidow run off all the worst artists? Were some members just not invited to show in the annual open show? Was the show really open? 

JR's not altogether sure it matters. If he'd re-upped, his piece probably would have been out front where Joan always puts the photographs. Kathy's landscape most likely would have been stuck on the back wall, although we didn't see any work facing out the back door like Kathy's got stuck at the last Critics Choice two years ago.

Melodee Martin Ramirez - Italian Study II
oil on canvas

See Melodee Martin Ramirez' DARts
Supporting member page
for more of her art.


Tritely grouped or not, the hanging is far superior to previous Davidow DCCA member shows. It looked good and was fun running around looking for the gems. There were a bunch. I might even have to go back to study the less obvious ones.

It was great to see something new by Chase Yarbrough, whose work I've missed for several years — and not at all surprising to see something this good from Kathy Boortz, whose work we've been watching for a while.

It was also good to see work by DARts Supporting Members Paul Rogers Harris, Robin Ann Walker and Melodee Martin Ramirez. If we missed somebody, let us know.


Starting Places

The shows at the MAC were less socio-historically fascinating but a definite crowd pleaser nonetheless.

Starting Places — Artchitects' Study Models — The Borderline Between Imagination and Reality provided a fascinating crowd study, and the work — underfoot, upended and/or lyrically hanging off the walls like sculpture — was intriguing in fanciful settings and imaginative presentation.

The seemingly tiny project room was packed. Almost no one toured the big galleries, although we made a cursory run-through. Kathy said that work was social satire. JR was much more interested in work by Dallas artists — Even though, as some old friends pointed out, there was only one woman in the crowded little show.


Renoir and Dallas

June 6

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
detail of Field of Bananas, Algiers, 1881
oil on canvas 51.4 x 63.5 cm
Musé d'Orsay, Paris

above detail photo by J R Compton
right photo courtesy DMA

Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Lise Sewing
, 1866-68
oil on canvas
22 x 18 inches
Dallas Museum of Art,
The Wendy and Emery Reeves Collection

We attended the DMA press opening for Renoir and Algieria. 60 journalists gathered for a free tuna surprise lunch that didn't quite match the Kimbell's Quest for Immortality chicken salad brunch, but it wasn't half bad, although Kathy thought the DMA's tuna had too many surprises.

According to the press release:

"In 1881, artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir fell under the spell of the brilliant light, colorful patterns and exotic life of North Africa. Fifteen little-known paintings by the impressionist master depicting subjects in Algeria and 16 albumen prints of Algeria taken in late 19th Century will be on view... at the Dallas Museum of Art from June 8 to August 31, 2003.

Moreover, the Dallas exhibition will expand the special focus on Renoir's Orientalist period to a wider survey of [his] career with an additional 38 paintings, drawings and sculptures from the Museum's collection, as well as loans from other public and private collections."


Kathy worried — again — that art presented at the Dmu makes the populace think this Impressionist art is the best there is — and it just isn't.


J R didn't care much what those people thought. He loved watching Renoir's brilliant brush stroke dance — especially the banana field — up close and personal, while the official press conference droned on in the next room.

There was to have been a tour of the show after introductory remarks by DMA Director John Lane and Dorothy Kosinski, who organized the expanded version of the show only seen at the DMA.

But Ms. Kosinski decided there were too many of us and took private questions instead, depriving journalists of many of the details of the show and better understandings of the paintings. Then, too, it might have gone on for hours.

We both wondered whether we'd jur into any shows some of the dreckier, more saccharine pieces shown — especially in the front room. We were sure they were expensive, but they were far from Papa Renoir's best work. And J R was dismayed at the whole back room filled with slick photographs of other work.

Althogh the DMA had CDs of images available for the press, J R took photos of the roomful of journalists and favorite individual pieces. Good thing, too, since the DMA's versions were comparatively colorless, probably because the museum hadn't learned about optimizing monitors yet — or they hired it out to some know-nothing boob.

Photog J R deferred to painter Kathy's superior color memory to choose the better versions above. Odd that the image files for the press muted so many of Renoir's colors.

The Fort Worth museums had no problem with me photoing the art at their press openings, but after I'd shot for awhile, a DMA art guard insisted I stop, mumbling that the DMA owned the work I was shooting. I hadn't thought any other museum late to Impressionism would have bought this junk.

See also our reviews of recent press openings at the Kimbell and the Amon Carter museums in Fort Worth.


Pinhead Renoir

June 19

When we saw the headline on Dallas Observer art critic Christine Biederman's column — Renoir the Pinhead — using the very adjective Kathy had pinned on the too vaulted Impressionist, we had to read her article — though we usually let the DO slide.

I should note that several of the paintings in the DMA show were of pinhead looking people. Not surprisingly, I didn't photo any of them. Now I wish I had.

Lots of artists have complained that the Phoenix-based rag no longer covers local art. Some art professionals insisted that Ms. B "hates art." That page indicated otherwise on both counts.

In fact, despite filling 1/3 of the page with Renoir's insipid Lise in a White Shawl, the story was clear that Biederman loves art. We loved reading her call herself "a cynic and habitual DMA-basher."

Yeah. Us, too.



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