You can’t accuse the Dallas art world of not getting into the holiday spirit this year, even if their attitude is occasionally more “Bah Humbug” than “Season’s Greetings.” Whether you’re looking to express your disdain for Christmas with a charming greeting card or shopping for your favorite collector, there are plenty of alternatives to the ordinary in this most celebratory of seasons.
Holiday Presence 10 at Kettle Art
Exhibition dates: Through December 24
For a full decade, Deep Ellum’s Kettle Art has been giving collectors a reason to stay out of the mall. Bringing together a “greatest hits” of both new and older work from local artists, the gallery presents its annual “cash and carry” show of affordable paintings, photography, illustration and digital work. All of the nearly 200 works from North Texas artists retail for $200 and under, with most pieces selling for under $100.
Says owner Frank Campagna, “If you don’t have an art collection going yet, this is an opportunity to start growing one. On any given night it turns into a party. It’s a beautiful get-together to celebrate the holidays.”
Crappity Elves: Brian K. Jones Solo Show at Ro2 Art
Reception: December 5, 8 am-11 pm
Exhibition dates: December 5-January 1
When one gets compared to a character from Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is it any wonder that one might develop a slight resentment toward Santa’s Little Helpers?
Artist Brian K. Jones says, “I don’t dislike elves, but this is the problem — I’ve heard so many times I look like that awful little Hermey elf. I had a boss that made me say I wanted to be a dentist over the intercom while she would hit me with inflatable Christmas ornaments.”
Thus, the genesis of what would eventually become his “Crappity Elves.” Created with the motto “Christmas stinks and so do they,” the elves arrived last year on canvas as a gift for friends, and that original collection of 10 characters has been transformed into a new series of Christmas cards that retail for $30 at Ro2 Art. He’s also debuting a second collective of Crappity canvases that will be on view in — where else — the gallery’s bathroom.
“These are the Walmart shoppers of elves,” Jones says. “Some of ’em work retail; they’ve got that miserable worn look. They don’t get Christmas off like most Walmart people. I thought about putting nametags on some of them, but they don’t have names. I’m not even sure how long they live to tell you the truth!”
Jones’ mythical creatures may not last past the season, but his work will live on: The elves unveiled this weekend will make an appearance on a 2015 set of cards. Brian and his partner Brian K. Scott are also set to make an impression in the new year. “Who’s Afraid of Chuck and George?” featuring works inspired by the dynamic artistic duo, will make its debut in mid-February at CentralTrak.
El Mercado at Erin Cluley Gallery
Reception: December 6, 11am-6 pm
Exhibition dates: December 6-27
Sure, peace love and hope are important, but we’d like to add art, design, music and chocolate to things that make this the most wonderful time of the year. Gallerist Erin Cluley has brought all of the latter elements together in her must-shop exhibition/market hybrid “El Mercado.”
Inspired by concept spaces that take retail in ambitious new directions such as Dover Street Market in London/NYC and Colette in Paris, Cluley has curated some of her favorite items, including clothing by M. Patmos and Ryan McGinness, books by Faile, housewares by Toiletpaper magazine, art by Dallasites Zeke Williams and Rob Wilson, and a site-specific chocolate installation by Kate Weiser.
“Grouping art, design and apparel together in the gallery setting creates interesting relationships between the work,” she says. “The selection of artist came together thematically with the idea of ritual and pattern in mind — not to mention I’m a huge fan of each and every artist that will be featured.”
Shoppers may not be able to lick the cocoa-coated gallery wall, but they will be able to take home jewelry by BuDhaGirl and clothing and bags by Wheron Art along with the rest of the Mercado’s offerings.
Drawing: A Group Exhibition, various artists at Barry Whistler Gallery
Reception: December 13, 6-8 pm
Exhibition dates: December 13-January 10
Exploring the “diversity of drawing,” this group exhibition at Barry Whistler has also become a holiday tradition. The meticulous tea-stained works of Lawrence Lee, Andrea Rosenberg’s abstracts and Jay Shinn’s preparatory outlines of his geometric installations are just a few aesthetics on offer in this nine-artist show.
With talent from Berlin, LA, New York and Dallas, the works in “Drawing” are sophisticated options for the hard-to-please on your holiday list.