ow’s family. Sally Glass, her stepdaughter, is a graduate of the
UT Dallas as well as a Central Trak alumna. And while both
of Davidow’s sons are art collectors, her son Seth has also
begun donating work to the university, including the large
Pomara painting at the entry.
The university has enthusiastically embraced the gift,
which ultimately will include more than 150 pieces. Pomara,
whose friendship with Davidow blossomed when she was at
Arlington, says, “The collection is basically a diary of Joan’s
life.” He adds, “It brings a sense of pride and prestige to the
The timing of Davidow’s gift also coincides with the
October opening of the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art
History, helmed by Dr. Richard Brettell, the Margaret M.
McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art and Aesthetic
Studies and Edith O’Donnell Distinguished Chair. He sees
the collection as transformative, saying, “I know in my gut
that the two UT Dallas buildings that will receive works of
art from Joan Davidow will be transformed in ways that none
of us, including Joan, can imagine. It is very, very exciting.”
With the collection in place, the dialogue will continue.
Lance King, a graduate student in the school’s ATEC
program, is currently developing a geo-based web application
that will provide information, via smartphone, about a work
as one nears it. And the paragraphs that Davidow wrote
about each piece will be available online, thanks to the
technology students in the ATEC program.
Having entrusted her collection to the university,
Davidow is hardly slowing down. She has developed and
continues to teach four classes through SMU’s Master of
Liberal Arts program. Using the same interactive techniques
that inspired her 25 years ago, she is converting her students
into contemporary art aficionados. When she spoke of
Art Think™, she said, “I wanted everyone to have an AHA!
moment. The way I teach at SMU is the same thing.”
She is also working on a project with her son, Seth. He
recently bought a building in the Design District, which
they plan to run as an experimental space called Site 131.
It will feature four pairs of artists per year, from Texas and
elsewhere, who are addressing similar themes. “I’m always
interested in the present and what it says about life,” says
Davidow. She will serve as the curator and co-director.
The collection is a culmination of all that Davidow has
achieved. She muses, “I get to nurture the community that
nurtured me. I think this is one of the most important things
I have done in my lifetime.” P
I know in my gut that the two UT Dallas buildings that will receive works of
art from Joan Davidow will be transformed in ways that none of us, including
Joan, can imagine. It is very, very exciting.”
–Dr. Richard Brettell, the Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair of Art
and Aesthetic Studies and Edith O’Donnell Distinguished Chair at UT Dallas
John Pomara, untitled, 1991, enamel on canvas (diptych), 72 x 126 in., Seth Davidow