Conduit Gallery is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, 2014. Along with a scheduled list of exhibitions for the year, there will be special, curated exhibitions during the summer to examine and highlight work by artists who have shown with the gallery since its inception in 1984. The exhibitions will attempt to describe the breadth and scope of the ideas and concepts presented during these 30 years by showing earlier works which might have been forgotten, and fresh new works which haven’t been seen. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the work of a remarkable group of artists, with the opportunity to look back as well as focus on new explorations.
The world according to Nancy Whitenack….a brief history: Conduit Gallery began in a storefront space which opened to the public on March 17, 1984. The gallery was filled to the brim with smokers and drinkers who christened the 2814 Elm Street space. The inaugural exhibition was work by sculptor Shep Miers, an MFA graduate of The University of Dallas. The gallery shared a wall with the Video Bar, a Bart Weiss concept serving drinks and video into the night, with crashing, ear-banging music shared unhappily by the gallery owner. Motorcycle shops, resident panhandlers and stray cats were the predominate themes in this Deep Ellum neighborhood of the 80’s, along with artists’ studios and start-up art galleries.
In 1991, the gallery moved to the 3200 Main Street building, home to Undermain Theater, and formerly Michelle Herling and DW galleries. The first exhibition was a solo show of Tom Orr, who because he made large, heavy work, treated the new gallery walls to large holes left to be patched at the end of the show. This ushered in a “no holes barred,” “anything goes” attitude by the gallery staff. It has served the gallery well, as the gallery mission has been to show exciting, innovative and challenging work, which sometimes involves major alterations to the physical space.
Along came 2001. A bleak September, a dismal time to think about art, or much else….everything stopped. The gallery needed to move out of Deep Ellum. In October 2001, negotiations started for a space in the Dallas Design District, and the first show opened in the current location at 1626 Hi Line Drive, on May 11, 2002, with a group show of works by James Sullivan, Annabel Daou, Lance Letscher and Johnny Robertson. It was a great move for the gallery, tripling the amount of exhibition space and business. Subsequently, an influx of contemporary art galleries have moved into the area, creating a thriving gallery district which has greatly enhanced contemporary arts in the city.
Danette Dufilho has been with the gallery since 2001, rewarding the gallery with 13 years of uncompromising dedication to the gallery and its artists. She has grown from a fledgling to a director extraordinaire, with a commanding knowledge of contemporary art, and a deep understanding and connection to the artists represented by Conduit. She has been the curator of the Project Room since the move to the Design District and has cast a wide net in consideration of the exhibitions she chooses for the space. She is nonpareil.
Starting in May, 2014, a documented chronology of gallery shows will be posted on various social media sites and on the gallery website.
- 2-3 exhibitions during the summer to highlight past and present work by gallery artists.
- A small publication will document the special exhibitions related to the 30th anniversary.
- A number of actions by gallery artists are anticipated, along with collaborative projects with other arts groups.
An addendum to this press release lists the exhibitions scheduled for 2014.
The Conduit Gallery is located at 1626 C Hi Line Drive, Dallas, Texas 75207. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit www.conduitgallery.com