Thank you Patron Magazine for the warm welcome to Dallas.
By Patricia Mora
Photography by William Bichara
The Dallas Contemporary Has a New — Subtle — Sensibility
Peter Doroshenko is making waves with his upcoming exhibition by French luminary, Loris Gréaud. However, he seems to be swinging for the fences in other areas, too. Namely, he tapped Justine Ludwig to be the new Director of Exhibitions/Senior Curator at the Dallas Contemporary Museum, and she’s certain to bring arresting new shows to North Texas that are laced with a profoundly nuanced sensibility. Ms. Ludwig has luminous Euro good looks and, while being heir to a Swiss gene pool on the maternal side of her family is sheer serendipity, her intellect is most certainly intentionally and marvelously honed.
Ms. Ludwig is a native of Massachusetts and spent summers in Switzerland where she was introduced to museums at an early age. Her interest in art evolved into a fascination that led her to acquire a BA in Art History from Colby College and an MA in Global Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London. She subsequently gained experience at a variety of prestigious institutions, including MIT LIST Visual Arts Center, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the CAC in Cincinnati. In fact, the virtuosity of her background lends substantial heft to her praise for her newly found home. She avidly lauds the generosity of Dallas residents and states, “People in other cities simply don’t believe in philanthropy in the ways I see in Texas. Other cities have money but they don’t use it in the same way they do in Dallas.” She adds, “The people here are incredibly generous in opening up their private collections. It’s rare.”
With a penchant for work emerging from a variety of cultures, Ms. Ludwig is especially fond of art “in Pakistan, Mexico, and Brazil.” Moreover, she enjoys the refractory nature of contrasting cultures seen in adjacent spaces. “I like the idea of art ‘in dialogue.’ We currently have Mario Testino being shown with our other exhibitions. It becomes a way of offering different perspectives when you watch pieces in conversation with each other. All the works benefit when they’re juxtaposed this way.”
Before joining the Dallas Contemporary, Ms. Ludwig curated wide-ranging exhibitions that encompass: Patti Smith’s moody meditations on the passing of Robert Mapplethorpe; eye-popping paintings by Texas’s own platinum-haired stunner, Rosson Crow; contemporary miniaturist work in Pakistan that has emerged from roots in 16-century Mughal paintings; and work by Japanese artist, Shinji Turner-Yamamoto. In the words of Ms. Ludwig, the latter “elevate(d) a collection of discarded and decaying architectural materials into a meditative installation infused with serene beauty.” Indeed it did. And it doesn’t end there; quiet spaces that evoke a contemplative mood seem to offer consistent allure for Ms. Ludwig. And she’s aware that her “sensibility is very different from that of Peter (Doroshenko).” She notes, “That says a lot about what he is willing to do, that he’s willing to take risks.” That is certainly true. However, in the case of hiring Ms. Ludwig, he also demonstrated that he also constellates moments that flare with absolute brilliance.