Dallas/Forth Worth Amazingly Rich
By: Sharon Stewart
Whatever is sought, the image seekers shall find in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex's photographic polyplex. Throughout its fifty-mile radius are schools, photographic centers, galleries, and museums that minister lo the thousands who find photography a fascination.
MFA graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design, the Visual Studies Workshop, and the Art Institute of Chicago guide the programs at eight area educational institutions. Susan Grant at Texas Women's University in Denton oversees an art photography program that extends into bookmaking. Peter Ferensten, with the help of area photographers, guides students through a three-semester course of study at the Northeast Campus of Tarrant County Junior College.
Up in Commerce, Jim Newberry and Judy Allen-Newberry are developing a strong photography program at East Texas State University. A new fine arts facility lured Luther Smith to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth where he directs the photography emphasis in the Studio Arts degree plan. And Debora Hunter has led the interdisciplinary photo program at Dallas' Southern Methodist University Department of Art for six years.
Some excellent photohistory lectures are delivered by photo collector-dealer-historian Sandy Page in the University of Texas system. Jim Baker, with the assistance of bookmaker-boxmaker-photographer Linda Finnell, conducts a program emphasizing the interrelation of the arts at the UT Dallas campus. Photography is taught in the Journalism, Architecture, Chemistry, and Fine Arts Departments at UT Arlington. Each fall, faculty members Andy Anderson, Larry Travis, and Richman Haire present Foto/Flo, a 100-piece sampling of contemporary photography curated by the likes of Robert Heineken and Sandy Skoglund, Exhibitions and talks by jurors and local photographers constitute the remainder of the symposium.
Brent Phelps and Skeet McAuley have strengthened the photography program in the Art Department at North Texas State University in Denton. They hope to add an applied photography instructor to the faculty and expand the MFA program. Many artists — including Christo, William Wegman, and John Baldessari - visited the campus as participants in the NTSU-hosted Society of Photographers in Education during the fall 1982 regional conference.
For six years, Rick Eilers of the Photographic Center at 4030 Swiss Avenue in Dallas has been teaching classes, renting darkroom and studio space, exhibiting local and national work, and sponsoring workshops by such nationally known photographers as Judy Dater, Cole Weston, and Duane Michals. Ann Noggle is scheduled to lecture and exhibit her work there this year. With the aid of area photographers, Eilers continues to offer a broad range of coursework.
The Afterimage (the Quadrangle No. 151, 2800 Routh Street, Dallas) is rife with lookers, buyers, writers, photographers, and collectors immersed in posters, calendars, books, and photographs, photographs, photographs. Ben Breard's exclusive commitment to photography has made his art gallery a focal point for those seeking fine prints by master photographers and fine work by masters-to-be. Breard is also known for his generosity toward the local community and for his gallery's family of photographers.
One can also find local talent integrated into the exhibitions of Dallas’ numerous mixed-media galleries. DW Gallery at 3200 Main, second floor, represents significant area photographers including Jim Baker and Linda Finnell. At the Delahunty, 2701 Canton, those regional artists who explore photography's outer edges join a strong contingent of California artists in a program originated in March 1980. Owner Laura Carpenter hired Steve Dennie as Curator of Photography to balance the gallery's contemporary mode.
Mattingly Baker at 3000 McKinney displays regional photographers and national touring exhibitions. Around the corner at Carol Taylor Art, 2508 Cedar Springs, nationally known photographers' works are exhibited once or twice a year.
Coming from San Francisco in 1983, Foster Goldstrom and wife Monique instigated a search for younger, developing artists through the Artists' Emergency Fund. Twenty of the more than 1000 artists that responded to their call were awarded $100. Half of the recipients were photographers. The Goldstroms are searching for promising younger artists to represent in their recently opened Foster Goldstrom Gallery at 2722 Fairmount.
Several museums serve the metroplex. Leading photographically is the Anion Carter Museum, 3501 Camp Bowie Boulevard, in Fort Worth. It houses the most extensive photography collection in the area with more than 200,000 images and negatives. The collection has been highlighted in Oxmoor Press's Masterworks of American Photography, compiled by Curator of Photographs Marni Sandweiss.
Sandweiss characterizes the photography collection as one that plays on the strengths of the American Pictorial Movement. It is comprised of collections that range from historic images of the American West to fine art photographs by American masters.
Included in the collection arc the photographic estates of Karl Struss and Laura Gilpin. In 1979, Gilpin willed to the museum her life's work of over 20,000 images, her personal library, and her correspondence. A Luce Foundation Institutional Grant is helping Sandweiss complete a Gilpin catalogue raisonne to be published in conjunction with a major exhibition of her work at the museum in early 1986. The grant also provides for an assistant curator and secretarial support to catalog the collection.
The Amon Carter has been very active in originating touring exhibitions. In 1983, the Carleton W. Watkins: Photographer of the American West show opened in cooperation with the St. Louis Art Museum. Out of the 40s: A Portrait of Texas,photographs from the Standard Oil Collection, opened at the Anion Carter last year in cooperation with Texas Monthly,whose press published Nicholas Lehmann's book. Out of the 40s, published by Texas Monthly Press (see Image issue 3 for Paul Hester's review). After touring the country, the exhibition will become a permanent part of the photography collection.
Richard Avedon has been commissioned by the museum to photograph the working people of the American West for a touring exhibit of 100 large-format photos to debut in the fall of 1985. The museum organizes small exhibitions from the collection for the use of other Texas art institutions.
The contemporary work of William Wegman and Sandy Skoglund has been exhibited at the neighboring Fort Worth Art Museum at 1301 Montgomery. However, the museum is currently without a curator, leaving the photographic direction of the museum uncertain.
The Dallas Museum of Art opened its new Fair Park home on January 29. In the past, the museum has participated in large traveling exhibitions of Atget and Cartier-Bresson and will continue to schedule such exhibitions. With the new space of the Print and Drawing Room and the addition of Rick Stewart as Curator of American Art, photographic activity at the museum is increasing. Stewart and Contemporary Art Curator Sue Graze are scheduling exhibitions and plan to invite guest curators to organize shows. Stewart hopes to see more collaborative efforts by area museums to involve local and national photographers in lectures, workshops, and symposia.
The museum has shown its support of local photographers. It awarded Judy Allen-Newberry of the Anne Giles Kimbrough Fund for her exceptional talents; it purchased a portfolio of ten images by photographers of the Allen Street Gallery. Interest in the collection, which features primarily contemporary images, seems to be up as indicated by an increase in photographic gifts in 1983.
The reorganization of Allen Street Gallery as the Center for Visual Communication reflects the positive state of the art. The Center's goal is to broaden public awareness of photographic work and issues of visual communication. Sandy Page heads the board which now includes business people as well as artists. Some of those business people donated the new space at 4101 Commerce rent-free for one year and have furnished the gallery. It will retain the Allen Street Gallery name.
Administrative Director Judy Miller indicates the gallery will present exhibitions by national and local photographers, lectures, workshops, video and film presentations, an outreach program to area students, and a monthly newsletter. Jerry Uelsmann, the first master photographer to participate in the program, comes to Dallas April 14 under the sponsorship of Allen Street in cooperation with the Dallas Public Library.
Uelsmann’s visit also marks the introduction of the library's monthly Lecture and Exhibition Series, one of three elements in a photographic program designed by Kinney Littlefleld of the Fine Arts Division. A Children's Photographic Workshop documenting the fourteen neighborhoods serviced by the community libraries is the second facet of the program. This project will result in an exhibition of the children's photographs in each library.
The third feature, Focus/Dallas, surveys the change in downtown Dallas as observed and recorded by eight area photographers selected from 150 invited to submit proposals. Upon completion, each photographer will assign ten finished prints, contact sheets, and work prints to the library's permanent collection. Numerous Dallas businesses have donated dollars, products, and services in support of the survey, which will culminate in an exhibition at the main library in 1986 for Texas' Sesquicentennial Celebration.