In the 1950s, artist Donald Vogel and his wife Peggy bought a six-acre, wooded lot in North Dallas, with the heartfelt intention of making it a cradle for the fine arts. And that is exactly what Valley House, the gallery Donald built in the lot, became. Valley House was one of the first galleries in Texas to deal in and exhibit modern and contemporary art. In particular, in its early years the gallery brought to Dallas works by modernist masters such as Claude Monet and Paul Cezanne. The quality of the exhibitions never ceased to amaze both the public and the critics, and so it happened that Valley House established its name as a historical cultural institution in Dallas and Texas. Unique to Valley House are also the surrounding gardens, often used as the set for exhibitions and where sculptures by internationally recognized artists are on permanent display.
Dallas Contemporary is a not-profit, non-collecting space wholeheartedly dedicated to public engagement through exhibitions of emerging and established, local and international contemporary artists. The gallery, situated in a former warehouse, clearly gets a kick out of urban, non-institutionalized art and aims to show it in a way that completely absorbs the viewer. The photo booth truck of JR, a street artist who takes portraits of locals on the back of his special van and then sticks them up in the streets, stopped here; and Shepard Fairey, the artist behind the iconic HOPE poster designed for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, was commissioned by Dallas Contemporary to make twelve murals at different spots in the city.
Dallas Contemporary, 161 Glass Street, Dallas, TX, USA, +1 214 821 2522
The Dallas Design District is an area in the city established only in recent years, but one that has been at the heart of Dallas’s artistic boom. Many high-end stores, hip restaurants and contemporary art galleries have popped up all over the district, attracting the best and most passionate of Dallas-based young creatives. Gallery Circuit 12 is located in the very centre of the Design District, and stands out as one of the best galleries in the neighborhood. Husband and wife Dustin and Gina Orlando, the founders of the gallery, present some of the boldest, smartest and most original contemporary art shows in Dallas. One of the most successful, Even Flow, brought together three exciting new talents: the neon-based works of Patrick Martinez, the minimalist, graffitiesque patterns of Aaron De La Cruz, and the cartoon-inspired paintings of James Roper.
Circuit 12, 1130 Dragon St. Suite 150, Dallas, TX, USA, +1 469 865 9979
Photography lovers in Dallas cannot miss this corner in the city’s Design District: PDNB Gallery proudly exhibits photographs and lens-based artworks (PDNB stands for Photographs Do Not Bend) since 1995. The gallery’s permanent collection includes works by celebrated masters such as Magnum photographer Elliot Erwitt’s ironic images, or the sculptural flower arrangements by botanist-gone-photographer Karl Blossfeldt. But contemporary works can be found here as well: among them, the black and white New York landscapes by Michael Kenna and a few of Jock Sturges’ controversial nude portraits of adolescents. The rotating exhibition program is also a very interesting one, and explores the art of photography in its entire history and infinite forms.
PDNB Gallery, 1202 Dragon Street, Ste. 103 Dallas, TX, USA, +1 214 969 1852
LuminArtè is an art and design gallery conveniently located in the Dallas Design District. The gallery represents over fifty artists from twenty-four countries, both emerging and established, working with a variety of media, styles and techniques. Among them, Robin Antar, a sculptor known for cutting everyday objects (hats, shoes, bottles, cookies, etc.) into stone; Waleed Arshad, an Iraqi-born painter living in exile in the United States, who brings the instability and displacement he experienced to his canvases; and H.M. Saffer ||, a multi-talented artist who, after achieving a good deal of success in both the music and the restaurant industry as a young man, eventually set on a career in visual arts..
LuminArtè Gallery, 1727 East Levee Street, Dallas, TX, USA, +1 214 914 4503
By Graziano Scaldaferri