As is appropriate for a visionary, Arthur Peña has large dark eyes as evocative as an Indian sadhu.
He’s been a game changer in the Dallas arts scene for years and perhaps he’s seen the future
and knows where things are heading long before the rest of us catch up with his frenetic pace.
He now enjoys rather rarified company and plumbs the depths —and heights—of Dallas with ease.
“I was doing things in Trinity Groves before it was Trinity Groves,” he laughs.
He grew up in an area that “was full of gangs, just on the edge of Oak Cliff and Cockrell Hill.”
Peña stops and adds, “I’m one of this city’s native sons and I love Dallas. I’m committed to doing good things for the community.”
While that is certainly true and Peña’s earnestness is evident, he has also been busy creating a nexus between his home turf and New York.
Specifically, he has been enjoying a role as curator who brings internationally known, museum-quality talent to the city.
This effort made huge waves last year during the Dallas Art Fair and received outstanding media coverage.
He curated a show in a shot-gun style residence in The Cedars, a space that was formerly Wanda Dye’s gallery in years past.
Dubbed ONO, an acronym for One Night Only, Peña hosts an invitation-only celebration of art and artists who are genuine head-turners.
He states, “Last year was huge. ONO celebrated New York artist and MacArthur Genius, Nicole Eisenman.”
He adds, “It was her first solo show in Texas in twenty years and it received critical acclaim from both ArtNews and Vice.”
Truth be told, the former publication named it an art highlight of 2018. For 2019, Peña is working with another New York– based artist,
Carrie Moyer, who is represented by DC Moore in Chelsea.
Like Eisenman, she has yet another stunning pedigree—she’s a Guggenheim Fellow who has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe.
Peña predicts this year’s ONO curatorial event will be another grand effort that is sure to make headlines, especially since the work being presented has never been seen before.
Also, not only is Moyer bringing an impressive résumé to North Texas, her practice is queer-based and calibrated to challenge the ongoing patriarchy evident throughout art history.
And the means by which she is accomplishing this is quite simple: she’s creating stunning abstract expressionist art that is vivid,
biomorphic, and without a decidedly overt agenda that screams for attention.
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