Martin Delabano Discusses Work of His Father

Martin Delabano

We have seen works by Barney Delabano in various locations. Although he kept painting when he worked as the curator of installation at the Dallas Museum of Art for decades, it was not until his retirement that he began to show his works again. A few weeks ago, Heritage Auctions sold one of his paintings -titled Maguey– from the Belo Collection. It was originally purchased through David Dike Gallery in 1999.

This weekend, we visited Martin Delabano who discussed his father’s career, and his own works. Even though Martin’s work is more toward abstraction, his interests in the figurative and narrative aspects of paintings have a direct connection with works of his father.

In his own words, the art community has become bigger but less connected. Dallas, once a city standing out in the black prairie that could be seen afar on the train ride from Denison – a unique experience for Barney – has gone through decades of urban sprawls that physically make communication much harder.

Older generations of artists have paved the road for the younger. That lineage, from Martin to his farther and his circles such as Otis Dozier or Jerry Bywaters, can trace back as far as to Frank Reaugh – the only Texas artist exhibited in the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. That sense of support and comradeship forms the backbone of art scenes for any city.

Many have gone, but should not be forgotten. As Dallas is seeking its place in the national culture map, the city owes them a debt of gratitude.

Check out the short clip from our hour-long interview.

Martin Delabano Talks About His Father, Barney Delabano from Art After X on Vimeo.

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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