From Cooperstown to Grapevine

I saw a folk art figure looking at me from a wine bottle in a suburban Dallas supermarket Saturday. It turns out Ballet of Angels is not only a painting at the New York State Historical Association, Copperstown, it’s a semi-dry, fruity white wine.  The maker’s web site provides some insight.

“Our Ballet of Angels wine was created from our first harvest in 1995.  We felt that we needed to give this wine a special name that would help to better describe it. After many months and many concepts, we finally came upon the name Ballet of Angels. We now needed to design a label which would compliment the spiritual and beautiful name Ballet of Angels. Catherine, who with her husband Steven own Sharpe Hill Vineyard, had always admired a charming portrait of a boy holding a bluebird. Catherine discovered that the New York Historical Association owned the painting and that it was part of their museum collection in Cooperstown, New York. Catherine asked if the museum would allow the use of the image for their Ballet of Angels label. The Vollweilers were truly amazed to learn that the American artist who painted it, John Brewster, Jr, lived on the other side of the hill from Sharpe Hill Vineyard, in the town of Hampton. The home where he was born in the eighteenth century still stands in the center of town.”

It’s made me begin to think about what sort of wine may pair well with my favorite paintings.

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 artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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