Dallas’ Edgier Art Museum

By Alexis Wulf

Entering the Dallas design district one would not expect to find much nestled in between the multiple bail bondsman storefronts and warehouses. But on Glass Street lies a hidden gem: The Dallas Contemporary.

The lesser-known of Dallas’ art museums, the Dallas Contemporary is a non-profit that’s been in Dallas for 35 years, offering an edgier collection of art than other local venues.


The Dallas Contemporary. Photo via artandseek.net

The Dallas Contemporary just celebrated its 35th anniversary with a Birthday Bash that included a 35-hour celebration ending in a party. The celebration featured 35 artists from the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well as performances throughout the night.

This was no fancy-shmancy boring museum gala though. One of the art exhibitions featured was live tattooing. That’s right: Dru Bias and Will Card of Saints & Sinners Tattoo in Carrolton were inking people while guests looked on.

Other entertainment was provided by the Harem Jewels, a belly dancing troupe, a group of performing drag queens, and performance artist James Gilbert whose interactive “art” involved wrestling any party guests who volunteered.


photo via dallascontemporary.org

Exhibitions at the Dallas Contemporary constantly rotate to provide current and diverse art each season. One of the most notable past exhibits was Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin’s “Pretty Much Everything.”  The exhibition is “a nearly 700-page tome that documents their photographic journey from fashion campaigns to cover stars.” (vmagazine.com)

Lamsweerde and Matadin’s work has been featured in Vogue magazine and W magazine, among others, and their photographs have appeared in ads for brands such as Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Givenchy and Chanel, to name a few. This collection was featured at the Dallas Contemporary in the fall of 2012.

Wallflower Management, a local Dallas modeling agency, hosted a party at The Dallas Contemporary during the Pretty Much Everything exhibit. Creative Directory Tammy Theis used one wall of the museum to display the agency’s prints next to the exhibition pieces. Theis said: “Our images focus more on art and fashion combined.”  The result — an intersting juxtaposition of art and fashion, design and commerce.

awstory3 Anja Rubik Descending a Staircase – Vogue Paris via dallascontemporary.org

Currently five exhibits are on display at the DC and four more were just announced for spring of 2014. However, the most anticipated exhibition will be this summer. The “Playboy Marfa,” a 40-foot-tall neon Playboy bunny logo, has been on display in the artsy Texas town on Highway 90.

Best known for the “Prada Marfa,” a display of “pop architectural land art,”(culturemap.com) Marfa had some residents who showed concern about the Playboy logo in their midst.  The Dallas Contemporary has accepted the sign for exhibit indefinitely, since the Texas Department of Transportation deemed its roadside location in the Texas town illegal.

The DC’s decision to harbor this controversial artwork has created some buzz, but that is nothing the avant-garde? museum can’t handle.

awstory4 photo via culturemap.com


photo via ballroommarfa.org

Be sure to check out the exhibitions – by George Herold, Faile, Kevin Todora, Kristen Cochran and Lucia Simek – on display now, too.  Admission is free and hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Student memberships are available for $35. For more information visit dallascontemporary.org.

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