Monday, January 26, 2009

The end of an era

Word has spread that Gerald Peters Gallery in Dallas is shutting up shop. A part of a Santa Fe-based gallery empire, the Dallas location has been in business for 22 years, according to their Web site. In the past year they've shown works by Jun Kaneko, Dan Rizzie, and a number of artists with Texas reputations such as Terrel James and Bill Komodore.

When Talley Dunn (now of Dunn and Brown Contemporary) was gallery director back in the 90's, they offered a very young Trenton Doyle Hancock his first one-person show. He was still an undergraduate student at the time. At the opening reception, Hancock dozed atop a big, galumphing platform designed to represent an early iteration of his mythical "Mound" characters. At set times during the evening, an alarm clock sounded and Dunn climbed up the mound to feed the artist a bite or two of brightly colored Jell-O. Then, as Hancock drifted back to sleep, colorful balloons tumbled out below him. The artist: sleeping, eating, shitting. It was great fun and more than a little edgy.

But lately, that sort of adventurous spirit has not been in evidence at Gerald Peters, as the gallery increasingly turned to safe bets with big price points. Dale Chihuly, for example. It couldn't have helped that a number of nationally recognized artists left to join Dunn in her new venture.

What the closing means for the art market in Dallas and nationally, one can only speculate. It sure can't be good, though.

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