by Michael Westfried
photos by Nicholas Bostick
This weekend was heaven for the arts lover with so many events to choose from that it would be almost impossible to visit them all. Of course, the Dallas Art Fair was tremendous and we met some fantastic artists and dealers who had traveled to Dallas to show their work and were over joyed to see work by good friends and local Dallas Artist’s work in the fair, a sign of their rising notoriety. Running concurrently with the Dallas Art Fair and connected by a series of busses that shuttled people from one event to the other, the Suite Dallas Art Fair kept us entertained.
The Suite Dallas Art Fair took place at the Belmont Hotel in Oak Cliff and lasted from the 8th to the 10th with a preview for the fair on the 7th.
I’ve been told that the Belmont Hotel is the highest point in Dallas. That would make sense as we drove up a sharp incline “at least for Dallas” to drop off the car with Valet parking. The event was catered; several bars were available, one inside of the hotel and one at the event which took place in a rotunda of hotel rooms separated by a walkway and garden. The crowd, without consensus in style of clothing, split between casual and sports coats and dresses walked the rotunda, young singles, couples, artists, art collectors, chatted with friends and explored the different rooms, which had been converted from hotel suites into galleries. All accompanied by music by DJ Sober. I had actually been to several different art fairs in Spain and had seen something similar where they had converted two floors of a hotel in the city center into an art fair and turned the rooms into temporary galleries. I preferred the Suite Dallas Art Fair. Near the entrance to the temporary galleries a large wild, yellow, animal-like inflated sculpture gave shade to a table holding information about the fair and free t-shirts with the words “How Suite It Is.”
Most of my favorite art galleries from the Dallas area were represented at the Suite Dallas Art Fair along with a few out of state galleries including a fantastic print gallery from Austin called Flatbed Press which had some valuable prints including etchings by Trenton Doyle Hancock who was also represented upstairs at the Dallas Art Fair with Dunn and Brown Contemporary. They also had some amazing prints by an artist named Julie Speed.
Mighty Fine Arts Gallery, located in Oak Cliff had a very impressive showing. It was my personal favorite of the night. It isn’t only that the galleries director Steve Cruz knows the difference between good art and bad art; it’s that he chooses to show work that is both entertaining and brave in its content and he completely filled the space with it. There was nothing dull about MFA’s showing in fact, when I was standing inside of the gallery I overheard a rumor that one of the artists being shown in the MFA space had been kicked out of the Belmont Hotel at an earlier time for skinny dipping with friends! Go, see if enjoy their collection as much as I do. Mighty Fine Arts is having a show opening this weekend on Saturday, April 16th. http://www.mfagallery.com/
The event was coordinated by Brain Gibb, the owner of The Public Trust Gallery who set up shop at the far end of the space and had plenty of traffic through his space on preview night when we first visited the fair and when we came bye again musicians had set up in front of their space and were taking turns serenading the crowds as they moved from one space to the other. The Public Trust has a very interesting collection as well and we are very grateful to Brian Gibb and the Public Trust for putting it together and for hosting the Suite Dallas Art Fair. If you haven’t visited the Public Trust, you should consider making the trip. It is within walking distance from both Kettle Art and The Barry Whistler Gallery which is another plus.
Julie Webb from the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie and Heyd Fondenot had set up shop in one of the rooms and were showing a preview for a show that they are co-curating at Centraltrak that they have titled The Gun and Knife Show which opens at Centraltrak on April 30th. From what I could tell from the preview it certainly looks interesting.
500X made a good showing as did We Are 1976 who I had only recently discovered during their opening for Jason Cohen. The Chambers Gallery had a really interesting, finely detailed, pop-up-book-esque fold-out. Also included in the Suite Art Fair were Charles Hartman Fine Art, David Shelton Gallery, Decorazon Gallery, Kirk Hopper Fine Arts, From Here to Maturity, Plush Gallery, and Sala Diaz all of which had a great selection of artwork.