Donor Adds Contemporary Art Collection to Buildings’ Canvas

Visiting certain hallways on the UT Dallas campus can be more like strolling through a contemporary art museum than walking to class.

Art by Ludwig Schwarz is part of the Davidow Collection.
Art by Ludwig Schwarz is part of the Davidow Collection.

Thanks to a gift from collector and contemporary art advocate Joan Davidow, bare walls of the Erik Jonsson Academic Center and the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building are now covered with work from some of Texas’ budding artists.

Davidow is the former director of the Dallas Contemporary, an art museum known for presenting new and challenging ideas. Her gift of more than 150 pieces includes works from Texas artists she has collected over the last 20 years.

“I am honored and delighted to see my personal and meaningful collection enter the halls of UT Dallas. This art will expand creative thinking beyond the classroom and enhance the lives of both the University community and the visiting public daily,” Davidow said.

To celebrate Davidow’s gift, an exhibition titled Tech Talk will be presented in the Edith O’Donnell ATEC Building’s first-floor gallery. The show opens at 6:30 p.m. Friday and features the artwork of 15 emerging and midcareer Texas artists whose themes and methods reflect the budding technology of our era.

Joan Davidow
Joan Davidow

“An exhibition of art by rising stars located in a new building that houses a program of ascending significance: It is a union that is both obvious and provocative,” said Dr. Dennis M. Kratz, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. “I am delighted to welcome the Davidow Collection — and hope that its presence calls attention to the role of the visual arts, our MFA in Arts and Technology, and the stunningly exciting art that has been, is being and will be produced at UT Dallas.”

UT Dallas art professor John Pomara, whose early work is included in Davidow’s collection, helped curate the exhibition.

“This gift is very exciting,” Pomara said. “Joan Davidow caught a lot of artists early in their careers just as they were beginning to establish a name for themselves. Her collection gives insight into the time when these artists were developing a style and evolving into who they are today. Many of the artists in her collection are now exhibiting in major galleries in places like New York City.”

Pomara said that art in the hallways helps to humanize and enliven previous empty spaces.

“The human touch that comes with the collection will raise the awareness of our students as they might stop and discuss a challenging piece of art,” he said. “This gift is truly amazing, a generous gift, and will bring more art to campus in the days ahead.”