hen you enter Barbara Buzzell’s home
you’re greeted by a mind-boggling array of art. Front and center, for example, is James Gilbert’s A Pile of
Underpants, created in 2008. It’s exactly that — carefully stacked sheer undies enshrined in an acrylic box.
That and Buzzell’s green-eyed cat, Bella, are likely to be
among the first things you see in her impressively appointed home in the Dallas Arts District. This is both
mildly surprising and entirely appropriate. It’s indicative
of the enviable hybrid of trendy-yet-genial affability
that characterizes a residence that could almost double
as a gallery.
If you’ve attended any important art function in
Dallas, Buzzell was likely a prominent presence there.
She’s long been an advocate for the arts and an ardent
supporter of laudable causes, including the wildly successful TWO X TWO event that has raised over $40
million for the dual purposes of fighting AIDS and
funding arts initiatives for the Dallas Museum of Art.
Buzzell is sociable, elegant, and widely recognized as
a stunningly successful public relations professional.
She has also enjoyed the privilege of learning from the
best. Says Buzzell, “I’ve been able to view the amazing art curated by renowned collectors Howard and
Cindy Rachofsky. Listening to Howard share information has been a terrific education.” She has also shared
company with Kenny Goss and his sister-in-law Joyce,
who spearhead the stellar Goss-Michael Foundation.
W“Through their work at the Foundation I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with outstanding British art- ists — Michael Craig-Martin, Adam McEwen, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Jim Lambie, and many others,” says
Buzzell. Put succinctly, the list of artists she’s met —
both British and American — is mind-blowing. However, what people may not know is that she’s also been
quietly buying art for decades and has accrued a substantial collection, perfectly situated in a residence that’s
both chic and comfortable. If her spare and spacious
downtown condo is guilty of excess, it’s only by virtue
of an abundance of carefully contracted elegance.
Buzzell notes, “I’m originally from Maine, but my
father was in the military and we traveled a great deal.
Eventually we settled for a while in Italy and I got a true
sense of another culture and, of course, I loved going
to the museums in Europe.”
Her penchant for aesthetics is apparently genetic.
Buzzell’s mother was an artist, and a series of line draw-
ings she did while in art school hang on a wall adjacent
to a dressing area. They’re tasteful nudes in tasteful
frames integrated into an equally tasteful environment.
Consequently, Buzzell’s eye for detail and symmetry
seemingly resides in her very DNA. As her client base
grew, she was able to purchase her first major works in
the mid-’80s — four Warhol prints from the Cowboys
and Indians series. They hold court in her living area and
preside over parallel sofas and a marvelously dexterous
cocktail table that has the enviable capacity to vanish