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The Dallas Art Fair, All Grown Up At 10 13

The 10th annual Dallas Art Fair opened Thursday for collectors and the curious to see a swarm of contemporary artworks from nearly 100 galleries. Art & Seek’s Jerome Weeks toured the opening and reports it’s the most diverse fair so far.

The Dallas Art Fair, April 12-15th in the Fashion Institute Gallery (f.i.g.)

The entire fair is crowded into the two floors of the Fashion Institute Gallery. The greatest number of galleries come from New York and London, which still dominate the art market. But there are also galleries from Tokyo, Dublin and Dubai.

Mary Hull Webster1

‘Six Balls’ by Mary Hull Webster. Steel, wood, plastics, light, sound, mixed media, found objects.

The Dallas Art Fair was founded by John Sughrue and Chris Byrne. It’s expanded over the past decade so much that this year, it donated $150,000 to the Dallas Museum of Art. That figure is triple what the fair was raising when it started the program in 2015. The DMA has used the money to buy seven new works.

Thirty new galleries also joined the Fair. One is the Bivins Gallery in Dallas. Karen and Michael Bivins opened their space just last year.


‘Hugo Revealed’ by Mary Hull Webster. Acrylic print on film with mixed media and lighting in steel light box

“I give John Sughrue a lot of credit for what he’s done with this fair in the last ten years,” Michael says. “It’s absolutely amazing. The exercise for us right now is because we’re a relatively new gallery is to get exposure. The exercise is to let people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area know we’re here. So that’s one. And two, we hope to make sales!”

The Bivins decided to take an unusual approach. Instead of displaying selections from the 27 artists they represent, they’re gambling on a solo show. Their entire booth is an installation by Mary Hull Webster called ‘Illuminations.’ She’s a California artist who also chose the works, the lighting and music. For this show, her artworks are often steel light boxes with ghostly images on glass, illuminated from behind. They can look like glowing sacred icons or like an electrified Cornell box. Or the forensic study of antique maps and photos.

And maybe with a science-fair model of the solar system on top.

The Dallas Art Fair continues through Sunday.