Scogin Mayo, God Complex, 2011. Photo by Scogin Mayo
is right. Projecting images onto the Wyly Theatre, for
instance, is a mammoth endeavor, and in the right
hands, will be freighted with huge emotional intensity.
As co-conspirator in creating the drama that will
ensue at this year’s event, King is moving from his
typical role as artist to that of maneuvering logistics.
King looks to be in his 30s and sports a narrow beard
that reaches to the middle of his chest. His primary
accessory is a black laptop emblazoned with stickers,
and he comes across as a contemporary version of a
laid-back ‘60s kind of guy. Most Aurora artists work
for zero compensation; however, that doesn’t mean
they don’t labor mightily. In fact, when we met, King
was racing to pack some art and ship it to a gallery.
He grins and says, “I work three jobs and one of
them is Aurora.” King may not fit the stereotype of
an entrepreneur, but he’s been caught in a powerful
confluence of art and a maze of labyrinthine details.
However, if I were to term King a “businessman”
I’m quite sure he would long to have me euthanized.
He’s the gritty and loveable master of “dude speak”
that keeps Dallas real. In his own way, he’s also a
mover and a shaker.
There’s yet another player on the Aurora stage
that deserves attention: Leo Kuelbs. He created a
curatorial tour de force for Dom Pérignon, Divine
Coalescence, that promises to be a foreshadowing of
what folks are likely to see gracing the walls of the
Wyly. As a work, it left people weeping. It can only
be assumed that’s precisely the effect spectacular
beauty flaring at night has on onlookers. Kuelbs is a
veteran of public video installations that have utilized
the Manhattan Bridge and the historical Bärensaal
Berlin. The latter was used in the making of the
aforementioned event for the famed champagne
house. He and his business partner, Farkas Fülöp,
created a lush spectacle that is a current version of
the Sistine Chapel—only better. It’s evocative and
gorgeous without subjecting anyone to tales of
Vatican intrigue. In fact, Kuelbs easily segues into
conversations about current physics and Buddhist
teachings. He’s a Renaissance man with a remarkable
sense of aesthetics—and Dallas residents will soon
be the beneficiary of his talent and his work “as a
VJ—like a DJ, only with images.”
Kuelbs is highly articulate and speaks stridently
about 2012—literally—being the end of an era.
“Now people are working together and there’s a new
communal fabric,” he says. “Look, this event is great.
The mayor, everyone, is on board. Dallas is the right
place and this is the right time. There’s such a feeling
of community. This is all completely authentic. The
concept and the process is the same.”
No one is more enthusiastic about Aurora Dallas
than Catherine Cuellar, the new executive director of
the Dallas Arts District. She notes, “For decades, the
illuminated ball atop Reunion Tower has been the
icon of Dallas’s skyline. Then the dazzling brilliance
of the Omni Hotel put the rest of the buildings
downtown on notice. Now Aurora can give not
only audiences but creative professionals a great
experience in the Dallas Arts District.” Cuellar makes
it sound as if the best is yet to come. She’s no doubt