Texas Contemporary Art

June Mattingly

The Hall Sculpture Garden and the CBRE Building in Dallas’ Arts District.

After being transformed to another world listening to Jaap van Zweden’s Sunday matinee performance conducting Bruckner’s symphony no 5 in I.M. Pei’s beautiful Meyerson concert hall and in perfect weather I walked to my downtown loft via Ross Avenue to visit the Hall Sculpture Garden in front of the KPMG Building.

Both the former Jesus Moroles and James Surls, friends of mine have spectacular commissions here. One of the installers told me this was Jesus’ last commission before he died. I met William Cannings at the opening party a week later; a picture of his commission in the Garden is in this review and my new book. The curator, Patricia Meadows and Craig Hall hosted the artist-filled party. Patricia is also the curator for the Hall Office Park in Frisco near the Cowboys practice facility.

A block away are three commissions by Texas artists in the CBRE Building who are also in my latest e-book Contemporary Texas Artists: The State of the Art: Jay Shinn, Gabriel Dawe and Aaron Parazette.



William Cannings, Cubed, 2015, steel, paint


Joseph Havel, How to Form a Sphere, 2015, bronze, patina, unique


Jesus Moroles, Spirit Inner Totems, 2015, Academy black granite


James Surls, Again in the Meadow, 2002, steel, paint


Jay Shinn commissions for 2100 Ross


Contemporary Artists In Texas: The State of the Art


available now on Amazon Kindle and other electronic devices


June Mattingly Biography

The aphoto of june with yellow artwesome talent in Texas produces compelling, inventive and diverse art turning Contemporary Artists in Texas: The State of the Art into a book deserving high visibility and not just in Texas. In spite of the profusion of artists to choose from June Mattingly kept the number to 37 many of whose reputations transcend local and national boundaries.

Her signature style for discovering and presenting cutting edge art, her dependable eye, unswerving taste and being ahead of the crowd endures today and into tomorrow. She designed this exciting and informative reference tome to fit into a handbag, briefcase or backpack to carry to class, read at your desk or pass through museum security.

Critical to Ms. Mattingly writing Contemporary Artists in Texas: The State of the Art are her degree in studio art from Bennington College, working in the library of the Museum of Modern Art her senior non-resident term and four decades in Dallas in the contemporary art field as a gallerist, advisor, curator and collector. To her credit are three American Institute of Architect awards, founding DADA or the Dallas Art Dealers Association, teaching a course on collecting art at SMU or Southern Methodist University, chairing the Friends of Contemporary Art for the Dallas Museum of Art, curating art exhibits for five years in Frito-Lay’s headquarters, and traveling to the seven continents for culture or adventure.

In these pursuits she met celebrities including Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jane Goodall, Jackson Pollock, Ellsworth Kelly, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella and Jeff Koons along with heavy-duty museum curators and directors, gallerists and art collectors. Since the eight years she directed her gallery she has met the majority of the Texas artists in her two previous e-book editions, art reviews for Arts & Culture and an online magazine, and the 2015 publication on Amazon of Contemporary Artists in Texas: The State of the Art.




Jesus MorolesMoroles in Shanghai in 2012.

JESUS MOROLES (1950- 2015)

In I980, Jesus Moroles dropped into Mattingly Baker Gallery in Dallas. It didn’t take long for me to decide to give him his first solo gallery show. A year later Jesus was one of the artists I showed at the Chicago Art Fair. He trucked five pieces of his granite sculpture from Rockport in South Texas where he had a giant studio and at least five full-time assistants, and placed them on the deck at Navy Pier.  Also on his property are his home and one for his parents and daughter. After I closed the gallery I showed his work in Frito-Lay’s gallery on the ground floor of their headquarters in Plano where I served as curator. For the opening of his exhibit in 2005 at Dallas’s Latino Cultural Center I gave him a party. His retrospective the same year at the Dallas Museum of Art was hugely successful. The DMA owns a piece of his sold in my gallery and. And showed a piece of mine in his retrospective there.

After receiving a BFA from the University of North Texas and studying for a year in Italy he returned to Rockport in South Texas on the coast, purchased his first diamond saw and made a life-term commitment to create sculpture in his chosen medium, granite, a stone of great density, hardness and weight. Jesus achieved an international reputation as an abstract sculptor who chisels the granite to produce natural rough surfaces to contrast with highly polished areas. The introduction to his self published 280-page hardcover book (2004) was written by Peter Marzio, the Director of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

Highlights on his incredible resume include serving for 12 years on the board of the National Museum in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and visiting the White House four times. One of his major awards was Texas Artist of the Year in 1989 presented by the Art League of Houston.

Commissioned by C.B.S. and E.F. Hutton, Jesus’s most familiar and commanding masterwork goes back to 1987 when “Lapstrake,” soaring 22 feet tall and weighing 64 tons was installed. It. can be viewed through certain windows of the Museum of Modern Art on East 53rd Street in New York.


“Lapstrake” in New York across from the Modern

Other major commissions include his monumental sculpture for the Beijing Olympics. In 2011, he created another site specific sculpture in China, a column 7 feet in diameter and 50 feet high out of Chinese granite, part of a park covering a whole block in Shanghai.

Commissions in Texas include the meditative “Houston Police Officers Memorial” (1992) made of pink granite, water and earth consisting of of five stepped pyramids whose base is 40 feet square symbolizes both remembrance and authority. The central pyramid rises 12 feet above ground and the four outer ones are inverted to sink 12 feet.

To show his awesome gift and genius is his commission for the Jocelyn Art Museum in Omaha in front of the extension designed by Sir Norman Foster in 1994. On ground level are three granite pools, 118 feet long by 25 feet wide by 9 inches deep, topographical maps of the Missouri River made out of 184 slabs of black granite, representing an aerial view of the epic three year trek of Lewis and Clark across the Western part of the United States that ended in 1806. The water fills and drains on a timer to demonstrate the ebb and flow of the River’s actual height in the changing seasons while the 12 foot square granite columns rise up to show water bubbling from the top to the base.

Joselyn Museum

Joselyn Museum installation in front of the Sir Norman Foster building

His death in June of 2015 in a car accident on I-35 returning from the Hall Sculpture Park in Frisco was heart-breaking news for his friends, galleries, clients and admirers. Jesus and I were ckose  friends for 35 years.




Donald Judd (1928-1994)

photographs and article by June Mattingly

Donald Judd Marfa 1







Donald Judd (1928-1994)

Donald Judd’s home and studio before he moved to Texas, now the Judd Foundation is on Spring Street in New York’s SoHo and open to visitors by appointment. Inside are not only his minimalistic sculptures and furniture, but also permanent installations by his contemporaries he knew and admired including Dan Flavin, Carl Andre and Frank Stella. His beliefs in placing art in a more permanent way than possible in a gallery or museum and in bringing art, architecture and the landscape together to become a coherent whole were finally realized by Judd in Marfa.

Judd moved to Marfa in 1971 and began transforming an abandoned 350 acre military fort into his base of operation and private residence for the last two decades of his life. Until then this West Texas cattle town was known for James Dean’s last film “Giant” (1956) with Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor. This non-profit contemporary art museum and gallery complex was named for the Chinati Mountain. Marfa has turned into an artist colony, among them residing here are Jeff Elrod, David Hirschi and Leslie Wilkes.

Transport oneself to Marfa if only to experience one of the most truly glorious art-filled spaces in the world. “Untitled” (1982-86) consists of 100 shimmering aluminum boxes each measuring 41 x 51 x 72” and set at 173” intervals. Placed in three rows in a straight line they run the length of two remodeled light-filled artillery sheds. Their panels reflect a huge spectrum of possibilities and reflect their surroundings such as grass, sky, trees, and the rising and setting sun.

Like other minimalists, Judd believed art should unequivocally stand on its own, to become an instinctual, physical experience. He reduced his art in favor of a unified image composed of geometric forms arranged according to a grid. Each unit of his 60 concrete boxes form two to six freestanding giant rectangles measuring about a half mile in length. His largest and most ambitious outdoor work resides in a wide field with local fauna and tarantulas, art pieces themselves.

Typical of the designs in his home were the cabinets in his kitchen, the tables and chairs and the frames for the windows.

Every fall the Judd Foundation hosts an open house at Chinati with music, talks, special exhibitions and private and public festivities. Hundreds of visitors travel here from all over the world for the event. Fly via Southwest Airlines to El Paso; in the next 200 miles (on HWY 90) is spectacular scenery and the highest mountain in Texas, the Guadalupe Peak (8,749 feet).  A scenic wonder is hiking and birding in Big Bend National Park. Don’t miss the Marfa Lights, the Nature Conservancy’s Reserve, the McDonald Observatory in Alpine and Marfa’s main drag.

The celebration starts off on Friday evening with a by invitation only cocktail party outside followed by a seated dinner inside in the equestrian arena.  When Judd was alive entertainment was provided by Scottish bagpipe players who along with Judd wore the traditional Great Highland dress for the occasion. Please see the pictures I took at the second opening event at Chinati when I also photographed Judd being interviewed by Art in America magazine.

At the time of Judd’s retrospective at the Dallas Museum of Art I owned a stunning Donald Judd wall sculpture. In honor of Judd I gave a party in my home that Judd attended along with Paula Cooper who I knew from before; I bought my Judd from her gallery.

Judd attended the Art Students League of New York and the graduate program at Columbia University under the consummate art critic Meyer Shapiro.  When writing (1959-1965) for Artforum he influenced the direction of art criticism and avant-garde art intellectually as well.



Pictured are Claes Oldenburg’s/Coosje van Bruggen’s Monument to the Last Horse, Judd’s 100 Untitled Works in Mil Aluminum and his15 Untitled Works in Concrete along with Judd being interviewed by Art in America and an opening party with Judd wearing kilts.  All photos courtesy of the author.

Major retrospectives of his work were organized by the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona and the Tate Modern in London. Collections owning his work include the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in DC, the Whitney and Guggenheim Museums in New York and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

_DSC1793Donald Judd Marfa 6


Judd Marfa Bulding

Judd Bag PiperJudd Prairie


Judd Marfa Building and Blue Sky

Donald Judd Event PhotoScan 200020002








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More photographs from my travels to Africa.

Elephant 4Elephant 7


These photos were taken during three of my mostly camping trips to Africa; the first trip was with The San Diego Zoo.  One of my first animal sightings was of a baby leopard on the ground, a rare thing to see because leopards stay in the trees. I was so excited I fumbled with my camera too long to get a photo of  this amazing site, but it is burned in my memory forever.  I captured other great shots that I would like to share with you.  All of these animals must be preserved and protected from extinction. Treasuring photographs of these creatures is not enough, we must treasure these animal lives as if our own lives depended on them.

Elephant 17

Elephant 18

Rhino 20Elephant 10





Gorilla 21                Wild June 22


June’s Pictures of East African Elephants.

Elephant 1

Elephant 2


Elephant 5

Elephant 3

Time magazine reported in the first 2015 March issue that 30,000 male elephants have been killed in the last ten years, really slaughtered, for their ivory. This gruesomely amounts to close to 80 a day or nearly four elephants poached every hour. Just the thought makes me grieve. How can anyone perform such an inhuman, cruel act?  For years I protested in person under the auspices of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals the circus for using captive elephants and tigers for entertainment.  Below are pictures I took of these magnificent creatures on three safaris. One time I stood five feet from an elephant and had no fear.  When I was on the board of the Dallas Zoo I co-hosted a party for the Wilds of Africa honoring Jane Goodall who was present. The New York Times On Sunday March 15, 2015 had a major article on her efforts to save her chimpanzees. Rhinos for their horns and gorillas reportedly are meeting the same terrible fate!  Where are the World Wildlife Fund, the United States and other aware, conservation-focused organizations and governments?

Elephant 12

Elephant 15

Elephant 14


Roger Winter

Union Square

Union Square, oil on linen, 72×120″, 1988


Faxa Bay, oil on linen, 50 x 84", 2014

Faxa Bay, oil on linen, 50 x 84″, 2014

Berit’s Iceberg

Berit’s Iceberg, oil on linen, 28 x 108″, 2013

Roger Winter is a fine painter and a professor emeritus of painting and drawing at SMU.

In the fall of 2014, Kirk Hopper’s gallery in Dallas presented the work of 45 of Roger’s past students including one who teaches ex-President George Bush, who was in attendance, and Dan Rizzie, one of Dallas’ established artists.  This gallery opening was the most exciting one in 2014; jam packed with celebrities, so much so the secret service was everywhere from car parkers to guards inside.

Roger taught art at SMU for 26 years.  Two of his students, John Alexander and David Bates are so renowned in their careers they appear in the two editions of my e-books “The State of the Art: Contemporary Artists in Texas (2012 and 2013). John was born in 1945 in Beaumont, lives in New York and David was born in Dallas in 1952 where he lives.  Both John’s and David’s prints are represented by Pace Editions, affiliated with the world known Pace Gallery in New York one of their connections due to their talent but also from studying under Roger.

Roger was born in Denison in 1934 and in 1956 he received a BFA at the University of Texas in Austin. The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, a non-profit, gave Roger a solo in 2012 and in 2011 one of his other galleries, Gerald Peters in Santa Fe gave him a solo.  Don’t galleries credited with giving Roger solos starting in 1963: Murray Smither, Gene Binder, Fishbach, Edith Baker, Delahunty, and Chapman Kelly bring back pleasant memories to a lot of you?   Also, familiar are the names of the important critics/museum directors who praised his art in reviews and articles: Ted Pillsbury, Grace Glueck, Janet Kutner, Charles Dee Mitchell, David Dillon, Douglas McAgy, and Bill Marvel.

Susie Kalil, the distinguished writer of the biography of the early Texas landscape painter Alexander Hogue published by the University of Texas Press in her essay for Hopper comments “Yet all of the landscapes and portraits are rendered as if by virtue of a stare that never seems to end.  Winter captures the spirit of diverse locales and environments, from arid plains of West Texas and snowy fields of rural Maine, to congested intersections of New York City.  But to say Winter is a simple-minded realist is to miss all the ways that he fuses precise observation with structural rigor and painterly sensuality.”



Peter Ligon

Oil on panel, 9x12", 2014

Driveways, oil on panel, 9×12″, 2014

Oil on panel, 11x14", 2014

DTC, oil on panel, 11×14″, 2014

oil on panel, 11x14" 2014

Back of El Si Hay, oil on panel, 11×14″ 2014


Oil on panel, 11x14", 2014

Garage on Gano, oil on panel, 11×14″, 2014

Two extraordinary Texas landscape painters and art instructors whose backgrounds are similar but whose renderings bear little resemblance

Peter Ligon’s show at REGallery was one of the best gallery shows in 2014.

Peter is known for using slow drying oil paint on wood panels, a traditional technique, in the actual location. The majority of Peter’s images are in Dallas where he lives and from where he commutes to teach at Eastfield Community College and the University of Texas at Dallas.  His Master’s degree is from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and his BFA is from the University of North Texas in Denton.

“Bows and Arrows, Bryan St,” in his December, 2014 show titled “aka Hand Crafted Paintings by Peter Ligon” exemplifies his involvement and skill as a painter to create wonderfully bold-colored, recognizable, and  minimalistic site-specific buildings. The site in this piece is situated across the street from Jimmy’s, a very established Italian restaurant/market just off of Fitzhugh Avenue, closed on Sundays.  Peter missed the previous Sunday to watch a Cowboy game, so the following Sunday – he chose Sundays to avoid dog walkers, block exercisers and cars obstructing the view the other six days of the week – was uncomfortably cold.  To show flexibility in his artistic habits, he took a picture of it that he put on his laptop screen and painted it in his not much warmer studio.  This painting was destined to be marked “do not touch” because it did not have time to dry completely before its installation in December in his show.

“It is so common for artists to paint from photographs today…I believe dangerously common.  Its flatness, stopped-time look and palette permeate so much artwork with the consequence of looking like it is about photography, rather than anything else intended.  It is a huge crutch/convenience that is not silent, even though many think so.  I have no problem with artists who employ photos, but I do have a problem when artists deny the effect of its ‘condition.’”