With spring inching its way to North Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art League held its annual Art in Bloom at the DMA with artist Michael De Feo. Not only did the artist tell the group about his “flower journey,” he offered pieces of at for raffle and auction and signed his books.
On Monday, March 27, Art in Bloom began at 10:00 a.m. with a reception in the Museum’s concourse. Guests mingled as they bid on items in the silent auction, which featured exclusive DMA experiences, jewelry, spa packages, fashion items, restaurant gift certificates, and more luxury items. As a special treat, attendees received complimentary touch ups and makeup tips at the Blush-Ups Makeup Station courtesy of Blushington on Oak Lawn Avenue. Chance tickets were also for sale for two prizes including De Feo’s Untitled (Rosamund Pike by Masha Mel for L’Officiel, No. 1013, April, 2017), 2017, acrylic on magazine page, 11.75 x 8.625 inches (14 3/4″ x 11 5/8″ framed), or a unique opportunity to have International Chef Craig James come to the winner’s home and prepare a meal for eight guests. Craig will provide a quintessentially British menu showcasing his credentials in modern British cooking and his impressive background with English Chefs, wine is also included.
Guests like Michele Renault-Rutt, Jeri Hunter, Betsy Simpson, Sharon Ballew, Susan Scullin, Cindy Williams, Kelly Norman, Venise Stuart, Jill Goldberg, Nikki Beneke, Susan Fisk, Carol Placido, Laurel Brewster, Sheila Durante, Pat Pace, Marilyn Halla, Barbara Bigham, Sarah Hawn, Barbara Pletcher, Becky Bright, Bitsy Carter, Suzanne Caruso, Patti Brown, Pat McDonough, Betty Baird, Regina Bruce, Carol Resnick, Jody Resnick, Jennifer Karol, Claire Dewar and Carole Ann Brown were then directed to the Horchow Auditorium for De Feo’s presentation.
DMA League President Nancy Cates welcomed all in attendance and thanked them for their support of this year’s Art in Bloom, including Chair Dyann Skelton. Ms. Skelton followed to add her gratitude to attendees, event and host committee members, patrons, sponsors and in-kind donors who helped make this year’s event possible. She also recognized 2018 Honorary Co-Chairs Barbara and Steve Durham for their ongoing support of the Dallas Museum of Art, before introducing featured speaker Michael De Feo through a short video, which visually spoke to what inspires him as an artist, how he got started as “The Flower Guy,” and highlighted some of his current work recently seen at the Rice University Art Gallery.
De Feo then took the stage to show the audience, through slides, his “flower journey” as an artist during his 25-year career. Beginning with his 7th grade shop class and his initial interest in graffiti art, to his first experiments at street art while a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and then his segue to painting flowers on the streets of New York, in cities around the country and the world, earning him his moniker “The Flower Guy.” He began to experiment with other imagery, patterns and abstractions, painting on maps and blueprints, while continuing to paint flowers on the streets. In the 2004 he took his passion for street art to create a children’s book, called Alphabet City: Out on the Streets, which expanded awareness about his work nationally and internationally.
A turning point came several years ago when a friend gifted him a key to all the bus-stop kiosks in New York and he began to replace the magazine ads with his own large-scale floral paintings on paper. Quickly realizing he had a large collection of all the acquired ads, he began to use the ads as his canvas, painting cascades of multi-colored petals onto the printed images. This work led to collaborations with fashion brands, such as J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, Christian Louboutin and more, and earned him profiles in the New York Times, Vogue, New York Magazine and other publications.
After a brief Q & A session with De Feo, attendees progressed to the Atrium for a seated lunch with tables featuring floral centerpieces by David Kimmel Design. Guests enjoyed a delicious lunch, including a first course of duo of chilled cantaloupe melon soup with crisp Parma ham and salad landaise with Champagne dressing, followed by an entree of roast breast of corn-fed chicken, peperonata, saffron-braised potatoes, basil oil, and Texas balsamic reduction. As dessert of glazed lemon posset with homemade shortbread was served, Skelton came to the podium to introduce auctioneer Wendy Lambert.
Lambert quickly got the bidding underway for the live auction which included coveted items such as a tour for six of the DMA’s vault with Collections Management Director Isabel Stauffer; an exclusive New York experience guided by Stanley Korshak and Christie’s Auction House’s fashion and art experts; a $5,000 gift certificate to William Noble; and an original work of art by featured speaker, Michael De Feo, Untitled (Doutzen Kroes by Duy Yo for Vogue Nederland, April 2016), 2016, acrylic on two magazine pages, (14 1/4″ x 20″}).
After lunch, De Feo had copies of his children’s book, “Alphabet City: Out on the Streets,” available for purchase and signing. As well, attendees enjoyed Flowers – An Exhibition, which featured a unique display of floral arrangements created by local designers and inspired by works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection on view in the Museum’s Level 2 European galleries. Participating designers were: Avant Garden, David Kimmel Design, Dr Delphinium; Forestwood Fine Flowers, Metka Floral Designs, Olive Grove Design, Petals A Florist, Ridgeview Florist and Sage Blooms.
* Photo credit: Dana Driensky