A Wild Time for a Lot of Reasons

We interviewed Frances Bagley and Tom Orr just before the Christmas of 2014.

When discussing what has change in Dallas scenes, both talked about the shift in artists’ temperament.

The ‘60s and the ‘70s was a pretty wild time for a lot of reasons. You’d go to openings and people would get into arguments, not: “Oh, I don’t like your work.” I mean like screaming matches. It was interesting. No one was really so politically correct like they are now. It wasn’t a free-for-all, but things happened. People would say what they wanted to say….

…They weren’t concerned that we’re all tidy and presentable and acceptable, because really making a big living was not an option for many of us. There were only a handful of artists who were really making big money anywhere. Now, art is a profession you choose because you can make money. So that has changed the persona of the artist.



Watch the short clip here.

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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