PaperCity Magazine

September 2015 - Dallas

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BY PATRICIA MORA. PHOTOGRAPHY MINDY BYRD FOR THE PHOTO DIVISION. PRODUCED BY MICHELLE AVIÑA. CAPERA RYAN'S STYLIST CARLOS ALONSO PARADA FOR ON SET MANAGEMENT; HER HAIR AND MAKEUP CARMEN WILLIAMSON FOR ON SET MANAGEMENT. The largest flea market in the world has something in common with two new gallery spaces in Dallas — let's call it a revelatory vibe. If you've ever explored the Paris flea market Les Puces, you'll recall that its spaces are devoted to every kind of arcana, from majolica, astrolabes and German war helmets to postcards and stamps. Wares of every sort flare with the interior landscape of those who deem them fair game for the cultural landscape. Fast forward to Dallas, where you'll discover that the material shown in pared-down and architecturally chic spaces can be infinitely more elegant than anything in the Parisian market. But the same psychological truism applies: Spaces and their loot boil over in a tableau that reflects the innermost life of gallery owners. The more you know about them, the more irresistibly personable they become. Two new galleries in Dallas are coming to the fore, and they're both atypical and marvelously intriguing. Joan Davidow and Capera Ryan have each opened a space in the burgeoning area west of Riverside Drive — which, for the directionally challenged, translates as "closest to the levee." We are witnessing a perfect storm of deeply talented people doing deeply interesting things in deeply tasteful spaces, as evidenced here. Both Davidow and Ryan are setting land-speed records for hectic enthusiasm. Their personalities are quite different, but their passion for their work billows forth, and their stories are genuine page-flippers. One is imprinted with a touch of haute bohemia. And the other? Well, it's haute, all right, but with a dollop of Eastern mysticism thrown in for good measure. JOAN DAVIDOW — SITE 131 At one o'clock on a hot Sunday afternoon, Joan Davidow — one of the most respected doyennes of the Dallas art world — met me outside a construction site on Payne Street. She stood in the heat alongside fencing and piled sand and looked the epitome of the art gallery habitué: dark sunglasses, a simple black dress and just the right amount of bangle. She emitted a fragrance faintly reminiscent of citrus orchards. Compelled to ask what the scent was, I expected to hear the name of something from the trove of Dior or Hermès. She waved her hand and said, "Oh, it's a men's fragrance, so nice and clean." And so it began. She threaded her way through a pathway of piled rubble, a few tossed bricks and makeshift lunch setups for workers. "Is it lunchtime?" she inquired casually. This was my initiation into Site 131, an upcoming nonprofit gallery that's the rapidly emerging joint effort of Davidow and her son, Seth. While she will take the helm in the curatorial department, Seth, an avid collector, will offer aesthetic input. He's also providing entrepreneurial heft and is tremendously keen on working with his mother on their new and ambitious enterprise. Their closeness is palpably genuine, and one gets the feeling that Site 131 may have begun as a labor of love but will likely become relevant as a huge win for artists — and the community as a whole. It's all taking place at the west end of a circa-1950 commercial building: 4,500 square feet total, including a 2,500-square- foot gallery space, plus an entryway and services, designed by Droese Raney Architecture. Davidow suggested that we go to her loft space near Cedar Springs and Harwood to look at images of work she's planning to show in upcoming exhibitions. This was a plausible suggestion, but nothing could have prepared me for the enthusiasm that blazed forth during a toe-to-toe conversation. She showed me three artists' work slated for her initial foray when the gallery enjoys "a soft opening during this year's Indian summer." Dubbed "Layering," it will showcase Texas artists who, according to Davidow, are under-recognized: Lauren Muggeo, Arthur Peña and Marjorie Schwarz. Davidow wants to continually create exhibitions with artists whose work shows commonality. What makes this brilliant is its tacit understanding that the way we learn things is via juxtaposition and analogy. Allowing artists and their work to mingle and coalesce is ideal; each work will offer a vector and ingress into the next. While this is frequently done, the concept is rarely Joan Davidow THE NEW CULTURAL LANDSCAPE J O A N D A V I D O W ' S A N D C A P E R A R Y A N ' S A M B I T I O U S A R T S PA C E S Seth Davidow Joan Davidow

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