Showing at the Pier Antique Show

The Pier Antique Show, continuing through today in Manhattan, was one of the most enjoyable shows I have attended in some time. There I found a wide variety of merchandise, and knowledgeable dealers. One of the nicest things is when you come away from a show with new knowledge or new interest. I had valuable conversations about antique ceramic tiles, Wedgewood and Royal Doulton in the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition. What I didn’t see was much 19th Century American furniture. Talking with one local dealer about this, he said “brown furniture is out,” and he couldn’t bring it to shows anyway, because it’s too heavy. One piece I did see was a 19th Century Classical sofa, with circa 1970s black plastic upholstery. “I can’t believe they did that to it,” I said to the dealer. She seemed somewhat defensive, so I added, “I bet it wouldn’t have sold otherwise though.” She responded with “probably not.”

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage.

When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city.

With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s.

The result will be a book with a video component.

We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url will point to the latest updates on this weblog.


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