Editor’s Letter | Change for the Better

By Kristin Hoerth

Face of the Glacier by Pem Dunn

When I joined the staff of Southwest Art in the mid-1990s, some of my first responsibilities were compiling two monthly columns called “Sales & Auctions” and “Galleries.” The former consisted of a short paragraph about each event, and the latter was a brief listing of gallery openings that ran in surprisingly small type; both appeared at the back of the magazine. Over the years since then, our coverage of art events has undergone several evolutions. The newest incarnation, which debuts this month under the headline “Show Previews,” is my favorite to date.

In this new format, the editors zero in on some of the most important events happening in a given month and offer much more information about each one than we’ve been able to provide in the past. You’ll find one or two pages about every event, with plenty of big, beautiful images of artworks that are part of the show. Equally important, you’ll find substantive details about the event. So if it’s an annual gathering like the Phippen Museum’s Western Art Show (page 66), you’ll get a thorough rundown of the weekend’s itinerary, from the Quick Draws to the Miniature Masterpieces. If it’s a one-person gallery show, like Pem Dunn’s at Evergreen Fine Art (page 40), you’ll find out why he was drawn to paint at “the bottom of the earth” and what he found when he journeyed there. In short, these show previews give you what you need to keep up with the art world’s important happenings and prominent artists.

In that same spirit, this month we bring you a second installment of our popular “Prominent People” feature, which first appeared in last May’s special 40th anniversary issue. This year, 10 people who have made a difference in western art, from artists to gallery owners to a museum director, offer thoughtful answers to the questions we posed. What stands out to me is how many of them cited the rising interest in realism—the “resurgence of aesthetically beautiful painting,” as artist Scott Burdick puts it—as one of the biggest changes they’ve seen.

Along the same lines, gallery owner Ralph Waterhouse points out the increasing number of young, representational artists who are talented beyond their years. With that in mind, we’ve expanded our popular Artists to Watch column—which often (but not always) focuses on young artists—to highlight three rising stars in each issue instead of one. Over the years, painters like Nancy Bush, Mary Qian, Karen Vance, and Logan Hagege received their first national recognition in this column. And we intend to keep discovering the next generation for many years to come. –May 2012