Roger Winter on Bob Wade, Otis Dozier and Recognition for Texas Art

Roger Winter

Roger Winter was in town for the Transfer of Spirit exhibition at Kirk Hopper. We sat down with him the next morning to discuss Texas art and his multiple decade history here. Roger talks about artists Bob Wade, Otis Dozier and about what it will take to put Texas art on the map. 

Here’s an extended transcript of the last question and answer from the video:

Q: The reason we ask that question is because when David Bates had the show at the Nasher and the Star-Telegram had an article. When he was interviewed, David Bates said regionalism is a bad word. What he is doing is no different from what Marsden Hartley did in his time. He just can’t tolerate the idea of calling him a Texas artist.

There’s another concept there. It’s like how California was, until Texas recognizes the good work that has been done here. Douglas MacAgy was one who did. Ted Pillsbury was someone who did. I don’t know about Max Anderson. I imagine he will be that way, the DMA director. There’s been some pretty good things done around here, even though this is called Texas. Texas is not on the cultural map until it recognizes its own, but that doesn’t mean slipping back into regionalism. It means understanding quality and value. Ted Pillsbury once said to me, “There was a problem here.” He was talking about Dallas. “There was a problem here. There’s not enough connoisseurship. A museum or a gallery will do something very good or they will do something very bad, and they don’t really know which is which.” That’s a little harsh, but you have to see what has quality and has meaning and substance. Whether it was done here or in Paducah, Kansas if there is such a place, it doesn’t matter.

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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