PaperCity Magazine

June 2017 - Dallas

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68 Mexico City-born, Dallas-based painter Francisco Moreno is on our mind this season. Ever since returning to Texas in 2012 post-grad school — he holds a BFA from UT Arlington and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design — Moreno has been immersed in some of the most thoughtful, boundary-blurring projects in the Texas art world. His CV is filled with opportunities and connections: He served as a gallery teacher at The Rachofsky Collection and the Faulconer Collection's initiative, The Warehouse; has been featured in solo exhibitions in 2011 and 2012 at the arbiter of cool and important, Oliver Francis Gallery; received a prestigious Kimbrough Grant from the Dallas Museum of Art in 2014 and an Artist Microgrant from the Nasher Sculpture Center in 2016; and has been represented by the rising Erin Cluley Gallery since 2015. Moreno is one of the brightest talents in Cluley's respected stable, best known for a trio of endeavors. First is the artist's ongoing Debt Paintings, a series of 500 micro works priced at $100 each, being offered as a means to retire his own grad-school debt. He burst into the stratosphere with his Kick Starter-co-funded Washington Crossing the Delaware for Soluna's inaugural year, 2015, which saw his brother's 1975 Datsun 280Z doing wheelies around Moreno's epic abstracted version of 19th-century painter Emanuel Leutze's take on Washington as commander in chief. Finally, Moreno's ongoing Slates and new Scribble paintings show how far an art-making system can go with its rigorous discipline, fitting a painting in a proscribed rectangular format. This spring, Moreno breaks into two new arenas: fashion and performance. He was tapped by Dallas Museum of Art's recent curatorial hire, Anna Katherine Brodbeck, to paint a Fendi Peekaboo bag as part of a live auction package for the DMA's Art Ball, the Fendi Rome Experience. The lavish lot produced one of the evening's most exciting moments when brisk bidding raised it to $50,000. (The lucky winner was a Dallas- based patron.) Moreno's handbag subtly addressed border issues, reflective of the artist's own dual- nation heritage, while bearing coded emblems open to interpretation, from a unicorn, to the Statue of Liberty and an eagle devouring a snake, the latter evoking the Mexican flag. The painter's Fendi design was a successful departure from his first attempt at cross-pollinating art with fashion: "I painted the cap and gown for my MFA graduation at RISD back in 2012," he recalls. "I looked pretty dopey and walked on stage in front of thousands of people, so perhaps that was my first foray [into fashion]." A week after Art Ball, Moreno's year-in-the-making commission for Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet was unveiled. The evening was a collaboration with SMU's Meadows School of the Arts and featured a reprisal of early-20th-century composer Erik Satie's Ballet Russes performance Parade, first staged in Paris in 1917 with costumes and sets by Picasso and a scenario devised by Jean Cocteau. One hundred years later, this touchstone of the avant- garde came to life with fresh vision by ballet company artistic director Emilie Skinner and captivating costumes by Moreno. His new- century take on Parade's leading characters — the Alien Conjuror, a pair of Acrobats, and the Little CROSS POLLINATION Two years after his memorable canvas-and- muscle-car performance for Soluna, Dallas painter Francisco Moreno is at it again, confronting the twin temples of fashion and dance. How high can a Fendi handbag go? Who would be brave enough to reprise costumes and sets originally devised by Picasso? Catherine D. Anspon investigates. Francisco Moreno's costumes for Parade, staged by Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet SUZANNE OSHINSKY ROSALUNA

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