The Dallas Art Fair, the satellite Arts in the District, at least 11 other opening receptions at galleries around town — it’s a pretty serious weekend for visual arts lovers. Don’t overlook the free opening ceremonies at Dallas Contemporary Saturday night. (You may recall that the Contemporary was scheduled to open in January, but there were delays.)
I headed over to Glass Street this morning and got an early look at the inaugural exhibit, James Gilbert’s Warnings & Instructions. Gilbert says his work is focused on issues of identity, privacy and security: “part hazardous, part playful, part disaster, part playground.” It takes about two seconds for that to come through in this installation of thin pink plastic sewn into life vests, a life raft, an airplane’s hull and wings.
Gilbert did all the sewing himself – some 14,000 yards of plastic.
What you can’t see in those photos are the videos scattered around the installation (look for the ones hidden in natural breaks in the gallery’s concrete walls and in what looks like an electric box on the floor.) The videos send up our paranoia about travel and the often futile attempts we make to protect ourselves when we’re doing it. In one, Gilbert carefully pads a concrete floor with those rafts used to lounge in pools, and then lies down to sleep on top of them. In another, a generic voice intones a series of travel rules, some common: “Remove your shoes”; and some not so: “No cartwheels!” and “No pushing unless people in front of you are slow.”
For the second time this week, I found myself thoroughly charmed and touched by work with a serious message, work that in other hands could come off as strident or shrill. Taylor Mac‘s performance at the Undermain Wednesday had the same impact.
In honor of the opening, here’s a rerun of Joan Davidow, the Contemporary’s director, visiting with Jerome on the Art&Seek segment of Think.
[flashvideo filename=rtmp://kera-flash.streamguys.us:80/jwplayer&id=video/artandseek/2010/100108_think_401_artandseek width=470 height=263 displayheight=263 image=wp-content/uploads/2010/01/100108_think_401_artandseek.jpg /]