It goes without saying that everything is bigger in Texas — and for the Dallas Art Museum’s Art Ball, held last Saturday, April 13, the unofficial state slogan summed up not only the hair, diamonds, and cash raised, but rather its sense of humor. In fact, something rather rare occurred for the art world: self-deprecation, served to the gala’s attendees in the form of a Downton Abbey parody titled Downtown Artsy. The video, which had the polish of the real show and the snark of a college freshman Youtube clip, featured the illustrious museum’s directors, board of trustees, and long-time benefactors acting out the famous class-based soap opera as a PSA for the museum’s new initiative: free general admission.
In an age where museum directors’ defend sky-high admission prices, this is a landmark move for a city emerging as a hot zone for art in the last few years. While laughs and chuckles resounded throughout the video’s screening at the Gala, otherwise known as the unofficial close of the Dallas Art Fair, indeed the amount raised is no laughing matter. $2.25 million is serious money however one looks at it, even if the quips came from a cast that included Mayor Mike Rawlings, the ball’s chairs Jennifer Karol and Catherine Rose and the DMA’s Dr. Maxwell Anderson and Oliver Meslay. Naturally, the mood was bright within the crowd, which saw red carpet regulars Viktor & Rolf, Lela Rose, and Jason Schwartzman dancing around to the tunes of fashion’s IT DJ, Mia Moretti and her collaborator Caitlin Moe. After all, everyone loves a party — but clearly not as much as satire. Hey New York, take the hint!