Artists are always looking for cheap retail space to mount shows on their own, outside of the gallery system. Typically, they scour the tangle of streets near cultural urban centers, looking for old butcher shops or markets (because if anyone is going to capitalize on the death of small businesses, it’s going to be artists). But lately, thanks to a trend in urban revitalization, the retail spaces that die tend to be in the suburbs—sprawling malls, built from the 1970s-90s, now sit vacant, dubbed Dead Malls.
One such certified dead mall is Valley View Mall, which sits in the web of massive highway overpasses on Dallas’ northern fringe. Rumors have been floating around lately that a group of artists had decamped to Valley View to set up studios in the old, now very cheap retail spaces—a veritable artist colony. Now, artists are using the old commercial island as a exhibition space.
This weekend, photographer James Bland and artist/actor Kevin Page have put together a show of photography by a slew of Texas artists in the inaugural PhotoTXcetera Photography and Digital Arts Festival which features traditional photography, digital arts and 3-D printed imagery. The show takes up over 5000 feet of the dead retail space, turning former costume jewelry stations in to art spaces.
“Over the last ten years, Dallas has developed an amazing array of cultural events,” says Bland. “These include the Dallas Art Fair and the Dallas International Film Festival. As a sister event to these, PhotoTXcetera 2014 completes a cultural triad in Dallas and adds a missing element to our city’s and state’s creative landscape.”
Some of the heavy-hitter artists included in the festival are Houston’s Hillerbrand+Magsamen (whose work is pretty perfect for a dead mall) and Ann Stautberg, and Dallas’ David Gibson, Dorinth Doherty and Kenda North.
Be sure to check out the listings of events and discussions, and do note: the super-quick festival ends TODAY.
Valley View Center, 13331 Preston Rd., Dallas, TX 75240.
also by Lucia Simek
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