10 must-see July art exhibitions in Dallas-Fort Worth seize the day with independence themes
After all the July 4th celebrations of our nation’s independence, local galleries and museums are highlighting artists in the community, getting provocative, and reclaiming freedom of a different sort.
At this month’s must-see art exhibits, you can see the Barbie hype in a whole new way at a Design District gallery, celebrate Pride a little longer at the Latino Cultural Center, and explore a Fort Worth artist’s unique portraits of runaway slaves. (And then there's the immersive art sensation Meow Wolf, just open in Grapevine.)
Whether you’re striving for unconstrained self-determination or simply want to view it, put these 10 art shows and events on your calendar for July.
Vivian J. Lincoln Library, Fort Worth
Fort Worth just celebrated the grand opening of a new library, and with it came the unveiling of a collaborative art sculpture. Area C Projects, known for using community outreach and archival materials to deepen ties to local life and culture, created this piece to recognize the library’s role both as a storyteller and a place where stories are live. The work incorporates pictures, videos, and written stories from Fort Worth residents into the 3-dimensional collection of wood slats assembled into a pillar.
Bale Creek Allen Gallery, through June 2024
Allen moved his studio and gallery from Austin to Fort Worth's Sundance Square, then to the present location in the city's Near Southside neighborhood, with a growing list of artists represented. In addition to his own work, the Summer Show exhibit is displaying works from beloved-by-locals sculptor James Surls, Houston-born abstract painter Nathan Randall Green, South African mixed-media creator Shelli Tollman, comic artist plus singer-songwriter-musician Daniel Johnston, and more.
Latino Cultural Center, July 15-August 18
Local arts organization Artitude brings its traveling show "MaricónX" to the Latino Cultural Center this month, featuring 2- and 3-dimensional art from 14 LGBTQ+ Latinx artists. The group has claimed the once-used-as-a-slur name Maricón as a unifying term, for the art they produce and show. Viewers have the opportunity to use this exhibit as a means to expand their understanding of what it means to be queer in today's society.
"Texas Sculpts II "
The Art Centre of Plano, through August 26
Highly-recognized sculptors from North and Central Texas are included in this two-month show at The Art Centre of Plano. You'll see works made of wood, marble, fiber, and other materials by Wayne Goodowitz of Plano, Sam Lao, Hugh DeWitte, Nan Martin, and Michael Sutton of Dallas, as well as seven other sculptors. The venue will host a Lunch and Learn about the artists and their works from 12-1 pm on Wednesday, July 19 and Wednesday, August 9.
"The Works of The Black Picasso"
Bob Duncan Center, July 22, 1:30-4:30 pm
The artist formerly known as KINFOLKS spends much of his time instructing social painting events where sipping, brunching, listening to jazz, or laughing at comedy are the main events and painting is just for fun. For this event, however, the artist, who identifies as "the Black Picasso," will show a collection of his own works, abstract art that tells stories of childhood, love in his life, and other themes. The show is free and open to the public (reserve a spot here).
"When We Speak, You Should Listen!"
Dallas Photography Center, July 22-August 4
In one of its final gallery presentations before its closure later this summer, Dallas Photography Center presents another exhibition representing the views of women photographers. Curated by renowned artist and advocate Vicki Meek, this show explores "incidents of microaggression, repression from within and without their community, joy despite dark moments, and cultural pride in the face of imminent cultural erasure" as embodied in the photographs of seven female photographers. The gallery will host an opening reception from 6-8 pm on Saturday, July 22.
"Barbie in a Blender Art Show"
Daum Gallery, July 27, 5-9 pm
A 1999 lawsuit by Mattel against artist and photographer Tom Forsythe over a photo of a Barbie in a blender spawned an annual Barbie in a Blender Day celebration. This event, while equally thought provoking, has a less malevolent theme, with photographs and art installations that acknowledge the doll's cultural significance. Gallery owner Taylor Daum is joined by Robert Fernandez and Lea Ellermeier for the show, and their art just might point you to a take on Barbie you haven't seen yet. The event, which includes Barbie-inspired snacks and cocktails, is free but reserve a spot here.
Lillian Young: "The Problem with Archives"
Arts Fort Worth and RO2 Art
TCU graduate and Fort Worth artist Lillian Young turned her research on historic runaway-slave advertisements into portraits of the people being sought. No images were available in these archives, so she used the words in the images to humanize these people, creating portraits as true to reality as history allows. On display at Arts Fort Worth through July 22, the exhibit then opens at Dallas' RO2 Art in the Fabrication/Tin District on July 29.
9th Annual Invitational Small Works Exhibition, CHAOS 9
RO2 Art Projects, July 15-September 16
In its larger project space in The Cedars, RO2 brings back the ninth edition of its Annual Small Works Exhibitions, CHAOS. Art from more than 100 artists will be on display.
Art Battle Dallas
Deep Ellum Art Co., July 30
Not everyone in the DFW art scene is all about the "seriousness" of the work, and Deep Ellum Art Co. will celebrate that in a much-loved annual art event this month. On Sunday, July 30, the artsy live music venue will be filled with artists painting live in three head-to-head rounds of competition. All ages are welcome to attend, and spectators will have a chance to weigh in on their favorite creations. Tickets are $25, with an early bird discounted price of $17 through July 23.