Fallas Dart Air
Shamrock Hotel Studios
Reception Saturday, April 14, 2012, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Featuring work by Kristen Cochran, Lanie Delay, Vince Jones, Kirsten Macy, Margaret Meehan, Ludwig Schwarz, Marjorie Schwarz, Edward Setina, Lizzy Wetzel
Since 1996, the Shamrock studios has been an active and vibrant small community of rotating artists and poets working and/or sleeping in undersized studios that would even make New Yorkers shudder. What holds the place together is mastermind Peter Ligon, who has emphasized a community atmosphere and offers himself as both artist and host. Imagine David Koresh stockpiling not arms, but romaine lettuce. It’s not a compound per se, but a place where his fellow artists/inmates are willing to drop everything for a lecture on lettuce. The Shamrock is both private club and social hall, a place to break bread. The creations in the small community kitchen seem to link the members of the Shamrock together far more than their individual art practices. This age old studio tradition gained national attention circa 1988 after the infamous Philly Cheese Steak massacre at Soft Studios in Philadelphia, where a disgruntled sculptor shot and killed three local art collectors and a renowned NY critic.
Mr. Koetjecacov met Mr. Ligon during the first day of Occupy Dallas. Mr. Ligon was finishing architectural pen and ink studies, wondering why there were all of these people suddenly blocking his view, and Mr. Koetjecacov, always trying to find new talent for his gallery, was looking for the next Tracy Emin. Both falling a bit short, Mr.Ligon immediately befriended Mr. Koetjecacov when he overheard him say “what a wash” in the distance.
That night, Mr. Koetjecacov was privy to an “insider” dinner of both Shamrock residents and local artists, where plans were being discussed for an open studios exhibition, a semi-annual event where friends and the local art community are invited to peruse the adorned common spaces and private studios. This one though would have a twist; the residents would no longer use the main spaces to extend their studio spaces but invite artists from the community at large to bear the brunt of this burden. Some would still allow access to their studios, opting for the full vanity benefits in a more “natural'” setting. Rumors were circulating that the residents were perhaps using the invited artists to exhibit their wares in the common space, functioning somewhat as a retail outlet, in order to draw the anticipated eighteen hundred collectors expected to attend into their private studios, offering “studio prices” for similar product. Lasagna and wine flowed at an irreverent pace. Drawings were made. A cigarette was smoked outside.
Mr. Koetjacacov sensed urgency in the group and a communist to his left. He offered suggestions that were readily mocked by the keen wit of a closet anthropologist. One artist of considerable height threatened him with a crayon. The evening ended with a resounding thug.
Having learned over dinner that the Shamrock was once a brothel, it became clear to Mr. Koetjecacov that it would indeed be the ideal place for an art fair, and the following day he spoke with Mr. Ligon about this possibility. To avoid conflict, he requested that he be the only dealer allowed. Having been rejected from several art fairs in the past for arguing the merit of booth fees, the opportunity was perfect. He would gladly accept Mr. Ligon’s recommendation on artists involved so long as he would be able to secure representation of said artists for the four-hour duration of the event. Commissions would be nominal, as long as he didn’t have to pay for a booth. He figured since he was the first US art dealer to show the entire collection of Rudolph Schwarzkogler’s nose clippings his demands would be met with ease. Nonetheless, he offered Mr. Ligon and all of the Shamrock artists a forthcoming exhibition at his future Amarillo Kunsthalle annex, a work in progress only requiring “backers, a building, and an undiscovered architect willing to design the space for a 20% discount on “all artwork purchased” through the Amarillo location, not the Wichita Falls location, obviously.
Open studios are dead. Art fairs are dead. Art is dead. Long live rock.
Shamrock Hotel Studios is located at 4312 ½ Elm St., Dallas, Texas. Fallas Dart Air runs through Saturday, April 28. Shamrock Hotel Studios is open Saturdays from 12 to 5 p.m. and by appointment. Contact Shamrock Hotel Studios by phone at 214-824-6087 or online at www.shamrockhotelstudios.com.