Healthy, vibrant, and ever changing, the local gallery scene just gets better as time goes by. In the last year or so, ambitious young entrepreneurs have opened significant new contemporary spaces, broadening the focus of what Dallasites can view — and collect.
Although we can hardly wait to see what art world doyenne Joan Davidow and her son, Seth, have up their sleeves for the new Site 131 exhibition space, five newly established venues that have become favorites with critics and audiences give us a lot to look forward to in the year ahead.
Already making headlines outside the city for showing the likes of Dan Colen, And Now’s founder James Cope has an iconoclastic approach to his curation, mixing “objects, painting, video. ... It’s more about keeping the gallery alive and interesting with a variety of shows.”
Unafraid to devote his space to a single work, the former director of sales at Marlborough Gallery in New York has a unique aesthetic that should grow throughout 2016. On tap is a solo show from photographer Rose Marcus opening in January, followed by an exhibition of works by Jeff Zilm — who is part of the Dallas Contemporary’s January show — during April’s Dallas Art Fair. The 2016 fair will also mark And Now’s first booth, a milestone that is sure to garner the gallery even more attention on the international scene.
Goldsmiths graduate Hanh Ho debuted her clean-lined space in September 2014 with an ambitious show that blended performance, video, and painting, and she hasn’t slowed down since. Ho will continue to push the envelope in the coming year with exhibitions that delve into an enticing mix of the parameters of painting, the definition of the sublime, and Simone de Beauvoir and Simone Weil’s attitudes on beauty.
First up are Swedish-born Mexican transplant Oscar Berglund’s post-conceptual canvases, followed by Dutch artist Sybren Renema’s inaugural American solo show. Known for his sculptures, collages, neon, and digital prints, Renema’s an Artforum favorite famed for updating the Romantic age.
A group show including both stable artists and new discoveries explores the parameters of loveliness in the summer and — finally — fresh off a successful show at Art Berlin Contemporary, Julieta Aguinaco will explore multiple mediums in her second Cydonia solo show in September.
Liliana Bloch Gallery
Although she debuted in 2013 in a tiny space inside the Public Trust, Liliana Bloch’s eponymous gallery could really be considered coming into its own upon a move to the Design District in 2015.
“It feels very new, almost like I’m starting over again,” the gallerist says. “And it’s unfolding in a very interesting way. I’ve always thought I am doing something good because the artists are so wonderful. In around 700 square feet of gallery space, it’s like they’re doing magic.
“When you have good artists, all you need is space.”
Describing her aesthetic as “intelligent and refined; I like things that make me think,” Bloch’s eclectic roster challenges both herself and her audience. Starting off the year with Austin-based, Polish-born artists Bogdan Perzynski’s geographic coordinate and periodic table-influenced photographs in January, Bloch will hit the road to coordinate an exhibition at the Algodon Mansion boutique hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
With a public piece in the works for Dallas Arts Week and a collaboration between Laray Polk and Marcos Lutyens on the calendar for the summer, Bloch says “it’s going to be a bigger year for the gallery, and [the work] will really make the public think.”
Erin Cluley Gallery
Having honed her eye for talent during her years as director of exhibitions at the Dallas Contemporary, Erin Cluley is celebrating her first successful year. Leaning toward artists whose practice is rooted in painting, she nonetheless can swing from conceptual to formal exhibitions, with a focus on work that can be playful, beautiful, and smart all at the same time.
This next year will find her busy with a show opening February 20 titled “Not Photographry.” Catalyzed by local talent Kevin Todora, this group exhibition will also show the work of Texans Hillary Holsonback and Emily Peacock, and Cuban artist Adrian Fernandez, all of whom interrogate the photographic medium with unconventional treatments and processes.
During Dallas Arts Week, witty British artist Oliver Clegg will open his first-ever U.S. solo exhibition of paintings, interactive pieces, and sculpture, a rare opportunity to snag a work from this star on the rise.
Cluley, who helped colonize Trinity Groves as an artistic destination, feels the best is yet to come as more homegrown talent arrives to the area. “The neighborhood is definitely changing near the gallery,” she says. “One thing I’m advocating for is for artist studios to occupy some of the empty houses. I’m thrilled that Kevin Todora and Luke Harnden moved their studios across the street a few months ago.”
Originally branded as a “new media gallery,” the state-of-the-art Zhulong has evolved to broaden the scope between art and technology. For that, local art fans have director Aja Martin to thank, as her keen eye made the space more inclusive, if no less impactful.
“I see us as having a niche of technology, but I also think we try to be a bit more of a cultural hub and do cultural activities,” says Martin.
Continuing in this tradition, January 29 will see conceptual artist Johanna Billing taking over Zhulong with her filmic practice, followed by a collaborative performance by Billing with local musicians on January 31.
During arts week, controversial talent Renee Cox will debut her work in Dallas, followed by sound sculpturist Michele Spanghero in the fall. A continuing focus for Zhulong is the exposure of its often groundbreaking exhibitions to local students and teachers.
“We do school tours for probably every one of our shows, from MFA professors to elementary professors,” says Martin. “We always have these groups wanting to come and, to me, this is special and significant.
“We’re really proud that the gallery can be a teaching school and play into the local curriculum.”