I already burned most of my bridges in Dallas, demonstrating absolutely zero aptitude for political correctness on this blog, so let me not pretend now to hide any sense of my mild, if still distastefully smug satisfaction on just reading of the demise of Gerald Peters Gallery’s Dallas operation (he’s still said to be pedalling in NYC and Santa Fe).
(image source: CADD )
When I was writing about art for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, on balance GPG faired well from me. I seem to remember writing four times about shows there, and only once negative. But that one review was so relentlessly brutal, I received comments about it for months – and I’ll add, all appreciative.
(Another masterpiece from Carbonell, once subject of my wrath. Yeah, I’d hide my face too, Santiago.)
However, the reason there was only one bad review was because I refused to waste my biweekly mandate (later monthly, as newspaper fortunes dimmed) to write about new art in North Texas, on the dreck typically featured in GP’s contemporary space. It was so consistently heinous that I simply stopped going altogether. Too painful.
The story on the KERA arts website quotes Peters as saying that the departure of director Ashley Tatum was the final blow of a number of problematic prospects facing the gallery (Peters already has a rep for losing influential directors.) My familiarity with her comes only by way of the Siros/Trich snafu of 2006-7, when I called the gallery to find out what the their relationship was to Eric Trich.
As many will remember, I wrote what looks in retrospect like a relatively generous critique of some totally bizarre promo materials for Trich’s to date only gallery exhibition, at Richland Community College (I’ve since heard from nearly every other gallery in Dallas that they had been approached by Siros and had refused to touch that mess with the proverbial 10 footer.) The fold-out catalog thingy for the show had said nearly all the work was “shown courtesy of Gerald Peters Gallery,” and Ashley Tatum was thanked specifically (similarly amateurish, weird mailers promoting Siros/Trich works donated to charity auctions have become a running joke among their artworld recipients in Dallas.)
(image: a revealingly vacant-looking Trich, from his website.)
Months later, Siros comes out of nowhere, going nutsoid and blanketing Texas with hefty packets of fraudulent info about hapless Trich’s fictional collectors and accomplishments, alongside my critique, my website bio, and pictures of my work, in a freakish, desperate attempt (and at some cost) to get me scared, fired, and shamed into silent submission. Instead, I did what no one else had apparently bothered to do, which was make some freakin’ phone calls.
An only slightly more exclusive letter, baselessly threatening to sue me, was sent to employers past and present, friends, colleagues, my wife, etc; also cc’d was Ashley Tatum c/o GP Gallery. So I made one of my first calls to her to get the skinny.
She wouldn’t take my call, but assistant director Karen Fedri said there was no official connection with Trich, while acknowledging some sort of relationship with Siros. The “courtesy”s in the catalog were “allowed as a favor” to him, she somewhat astoundingly admitted.
This, of course, is simple fraud; a bald-faced attempt to fabricate some kind of stature in order to increase value. Fedri got pretty pissed when I pointed this out to her, but stammering, she came up with no defense, short of saying I should talk to their lawyers.
The more I looked into Siros and Trich’s claims, the more bullshit I found, till I was nearly drowning in it. I documented it thoroughly in posts on this site. And Gerald Peters Gallery was clearly and thoroughly complicit.
By the way, you can no longer find those stories in their original context here (though they are still on my own website.) Siros called Rainey Knudson, GT founder/owner, late last year and said my (admittedly pretty pathetic) investigative reportage had “cost him millions of dollars” (if true, which I doubt, justice lives!) and demanded that the stories be removed. The conversation ended when he threatened to kill her – twice. She called the cops, as I once had. They refused, yet again, to do anything.
So she took the stories down. I don’t blame her. Who wants this kind of headache? Especially with her responsibilities; she’s a very busy woman, doing what is probably a pretty thankless series of tasks. I just mention it all to keep ya’ll aware that the Trich/Siros show is still around, about to rock the Big D with more genius, at another choice venue (a mega church, in a project they host called “Art for Peace & Justice.” Ah, bittersweet irony…)
The silver lining to that hypocritically dark cloud is that they apparently won’t be able to list the work “courtesy of Gerald Peters Gallery” any longer.