Guest blogger Gail Sachson owns Ask Me About Art, is a Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, a Dallas Public Art Committee member and a juror for the D Art Slam.
So what is a slam? There’s slam clothing, slam sailing, slam wrestling and slam poetry. There’s SLAM, (the St. Louis Art museum) and Slam, the basketball magazine. A slam is described as a hit with great force.
So what was this weekend’s D Art Slam? It was a forceful hit. It was an onslaught of art. It was a wake-up call to artists and collectors both to recognize the breadth and depth of Texas talent. A jury of five (of which I was one) chose 150 artists from more than 300 entries to show their stuff. The wall fee – $175. The chance to have one’s work seen by the Dallas art world’s movers and shakers, perhaps sell a piece or two and perhaps be named one of the New Dallas Nine … priceless . A big thank you to D Magazine CEO Wick Allison and Brook Partners CEO John Sughrue for organizing the Slam and celebrating our talented Texans.
The three day slam in the FIG Building was a testimony to the diversity of styles, techniques and subject matter of Texas art. Not a bluebonnet in the mix. Well … there were painterly Texas landscapes and photographs of cowboys and ranch hands. But Texans are well-traveled, so there were also shots of Burmese natives taken by Jonathan Dedman Dietz and Cuernavaca flowers captured by photographer Sibylle Bauer. Others posed provocative questions. Shane Pennington, named to the New Dallas Nine, asked us to contemplate the significance of life and legacy in his “American Dream Series.”
Saturday saw the booths and aisles jammed with customers, cruisers and kibbitzers. Prints, paintings, photographs, sculpture, glass and one lone video piece vied for attention, as collectors vied with each other to snatch up work that was priced to sell. Art ranged from about $115 to several thousand. A good eye meant a good buy.
And people came to shop. My hope is that the curators, collectors and gallery owners came, too. Not just for that good buy, but for the good of Dallas. I hope they shopped for the art stars of the future and for artists to mentor and to hire for workshops and demonstrations.
My advice to next year’s collectors, and there has just got to be a next time, is to come with cash. Artists prefer paper to plastic. And my advice to the artists is to be even more daring. Don’t be afraid to slam us and wake us up with your art and your installation. Everyone needs a strong push- a slam- sometime.