One of the biggest surprises was just how challenging the
gallery business can be. Fortunately, it was that original cache of
photographs purchased at Sotheby’s that got them through this
initial period. A major turning point came about five years after
the gallery opened when they mounted an exhibition of Keith
Carter’s work, in which almost everything sold. “It gave us faith
to keep going,” says Missy. Carter is scheduled for another solo
exhibition in September.
Another turning point came when the area’s museums began
taking an interest in photography. In the mid-1990s, The Burnett
Foundation donated money to the Modern Art Museum of
Fort Worth specifically to collect contemporary photography.
The Modern turned to the Fingers to help build this collection.
“They bought some incredible work from us,” says Burt. He adds
that in Dallas, then, Dallas Museum of Art director Jack Lane
“loved photography.” In addition to the blockbuster Thomas
Struth exhibition, the DMA also purchased work from PDNB.
“With that kind of support, it is a much more friendly selling
environment,” he stresses. In 2006, the gallery decamped to its
current space on Dragon Street, where it serves an international
clientele that includes museums in addition to private collectors.
PDNB is also a regular exhibitor at New York’s annual AIPAD
For this milestone anniversary, the gallery has asked
collectors to loan back some of the significant works acquired
over the past two decades for the celebratory exhibition 20
YEARS: The Collector. Missy says their goal is to “highlight
treasures from the last 20 years that have been a part of our
lives and as a way of giving thanks to our collectors.” Landscape
photographer Michael Kenna will have a concurrent exhibition
featuring his iconic images as well as new work he has shot in
France over the past several decades. It coincides with the release
of his latest book, FRANCE, by Nazraeli Press and follows an
exhibition at the Musée Carnavalet in Paris.
Rather than this being a time of looking backward, the
gallery continues to look ahead. Missy summed it up by saying,
“We’re just looking forward to our 25th anniversary!” —Nancy
Left: Marta Maria Perez Bravo, No Zozobra La Barca de su Vida, 1995, gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 in.; right: Joel-Peter Witkin, The Wife of Cain, 1981, toned
gelatin silver print, 14. 5 x 14. 75 in.