You could say that Hilary and Hannah Fagadau are really twins, simply born years apart. But besides sharing the same stylish fashion gene, the ability to complete each other’s sentences, and similar voice intonations, they also share the same birthday — and that birth date 12.26 represents the name of their new contemporary art gallery.
At the end of the month, the sisters will debut their 12.26 business venture with an inaugural exhibition titled Waters. The show will present an artful conversation between two female artists, Alex Olson based in Los Angeles and Nancy Shaver from Jefferson, New York. Respectively, the paintings and sculptures combined offer a reflective dialogue encompassing the relationship of water in each medium.
Art is simply a way of life for the Fagadau’s, Hannah crafted her art skills at Dallas Contemporary and Hilary as a gallerist at Parrasch Heijnen Gallery in LA. Now it’s time for this duo to shine under their own tutelage, so I asked Hilary and Hannah to share a little conversation about this exciting new chapter at 12.26:
What does the opening of 12.26 mean to you?
Hannah: It means continuing the legacy of our late grandmother Jeanne Fagadau, who was an art dealer in the ’80s and 90’s here in Dallas. Our grandma, who we called Gaga, sold prints from blue-chip artists out of her home — Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, all of the heavy hitters. She was very passionate about the arts (she loved the DMA and was on the board of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Booker T. Washington School of Visual and Performing Arts). She wanted to help Dallas become a cultural landmark and look how far this city has come.
Hilary: Just to piggyback off of what Hannah said, it means continuing this legacy of art appreciation that our grandmother worked so hard to impart in not only my sister and me, but our entire family. The fact that Hannah and I get to begin this venture together just makes it all the more meaningful.
How did you narrow down the final selection of artists?
Hilary: It was an organic process. I have always kept a running dream list of artists that I want to work with — Alex Olson being at the top. At the time of our initial conversation, Alex had been very inspired by the work of Nancy Shaver, whose work kept popping up in Los Angeles. In 2018 alone, Nancy was in a group show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and she had a solo exhibition at Parker Gallery, an LA-based gallery that champions under-recognized artists. The three of us reached out to Nancy with the idea of a two-person show and were honoured that she was up for it!
What was the most inspiring moment while working on this debut exhibition?
Hannah: Viewing Alex’s work for the show at her studio in Los Angeles for the first time was very exciting. I am so impressed with her new body of work, and I can’t wait for Dallas to see it. Seeing the work in-person also made everything more real. The gallery is finally happening- it’s not just a concept in our heads anymore!
Do you have a favourite work in the exhibition?
Hilary: The exhibition Waters grew out of Alex and Nancy writing to each other about Nancy’s sculpture “Blue Pool” (2018). For me, that piece is special because I know that this work is the reason we have such an incredible exhibition with both of these artists.
Hannah: That’s a hard one. I really love Alex’s piece called “Undercurrent.” I am drawn to the chaos and movement of the colours and then the quiet moment in the top right-hand corner where there is just a monochrome grey square.
If you could visit any exhibition in the world right now what would that be?
Hilary: I am excited for the Betye Saar retrospective that will be mounted at the newly renovated MoMA this fall. As the 93-year-old Los Angeles based artist says “Because it’s about time! I’ve had to wait till I’m practically 100.”
Hannah: I know there’s a lot of hype around it right now, but I am really curious to see Amy Sherald’s solo exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in New York.
If you could purchase any piece of art regardless of budget, what’s top on your wish list of artists?
Hilary: Ooh I love this question! It definitely changes a lot for me, Vija Celmins usually tops this list for me. But, about a year ago I saw the Magritte retrospective at the SFMoMA, and there was this little gouache on paper called “Return to Nature” that I would really like to wake up to every morning.
Hannah: Agnes Martin, for sure. She’s a classic and has been my favourite artist since I was a teenager. Hilma af Klint, the Swedish artist who had a retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York last year. She was such a genius and so ahead of her time. Richard Artschwager is up there — I would take one of his tables or iconic exclamation points. Our grandmother had one of his question mark sculptures and seeing his work always reminds me of her. I am also very interested in Theodora Allen, a Los Angeles-based artist who we recently started working with. Her use of colour and imagery are very unique and hauntingly beautiful. They have a presence about them that really transport you to another world. And I would love to own a Joan Mitchell- no explanation needed there.
Share one unknown fact about the upcoming exhibition?
Hannah: Not sure how much of a secret this is, but around the time that we decided to exhibit Alex Olson for our first show, we heard that a prominent collector in Dallas had just donated a piece by the artist to the Dallas Museum of Art!
Hilary: We are stocked to the brim with Topo Chicos right now in our gallery fridge!
Gallery 12.26 opens on September 28, from 7:00 – 10:00 pm and the exhibition continues till November 16, 2019, at 150 Manufacturing St. #205, Dallas, 75207. Visit gallery1226.com and follow on Instagram @12.26_tx