Katy Trail Art

Katy Trail Art partners with Dallas area museums, artists, art collectors and the community at large to expand the role of contemporary art around Dallas.

The Initiative borrows, commissions, and produces world-class art projects on and around the Katy Trail to inspire creativity, spark conversation, encourage self-reflection, challenge assumptions, foster community building, and promote civic ownership of the Katy Trail.
The Fall 2023 Katy Trail Art installation by Will Boone is on the Trail at Snyder’s Union.
We are excited to announce that Amanda and Charlie Shufeldt have pledged a new $50,000 gift to Katy Trail Art and a matching gift of up to $50,000 for additional Art Society new and renewal donations through the end of 2023. We would also like to acknowledge all Founding Donors of Katy Trail Art to date:
Anonymous
Pat Baudendistel
J. Patrick Collins
Bela and Chase Cooley
Jennifer and John Eagle
Faisal Halum and Brian Bolke
Christina and Sal Jafar
Laura and Greg Koonsman
Kasey and Todd Lemkin
Ann and Chris Mahowald
Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki
Janelle and Alden Pinnell
Kelli and Allen Questrom
Cindy and Howard Rachofsky
John S. Relton
Ginny Searcy
Sewell Automotive Companies
Lindsay and Blake Shipp
Amanda and Charlie Shufeldt
Amy and Les Ware
Peggy and Mark Zilbermann

Desert Eagle (2022) and Turkey Vulture (2021–22), by Will Boone

The Katy Trail presents two recent works, Desert Eagle (2022) and Turkey Vulture (2021–22), by Will Boone. These are a part of a series of hand-painted bronze sculptures that the artist began in 2017, which have previously been displayed in gallery settings and as outdoor public sculpture.
While living in California, Boone became fascinated with plastic figurines of, among other subjects, athletes, monsters, politicians, and animals, found in hobby model kits. The artist drew thematic and archetypal parallels between these miniatures and the bronze sculpture of the Hellenistic period in Ancient Greece. In Boone’s body of work, Frankenstein becomes a stand-in for Medusa, JFK replaces Alexander the Great, Willie Mays takes over for the Seated Boxer, and a pitbull is the snarling descendent of the Molossus. Casting them in bronze and employing the same lost-wax process that has been used for 6,000 years, Boone elevates the plastic figurines of our contemporary culture to heroic scale. The artist then hand-paints these sculptures in garish colors using the type of enamel paint preferred by the American hobbyists who assemble the plastic models. As a result, the bronze, and its associations of elegance, is hidden from view; the works instead resemble the cartoonish roadside attractions and high school football mascots common to the artist’s home state of Texas.
Comprising a bald eagle chasing a bat, both hung, in this presentation, from a mature American elm, Desert Eagle takes its name from the most powerful handgun legally available in the United States. The eponymous bird has other potent, and often violent, associations: in Greek mythology, Zeus used an eagle as an instrument of divine and righteous punishment. It is also a symbol of American freedom and nationalism, yet due to the country’s use of DDT pesticides and predatory hunting practices, the eagle’s population was reduced to the verge of extinction in the twentieth century.
The avian subject of Turkey Vulture sits upon a rock base, much like the committee of vultures that roosted along a ridgeline in Comal County, where Boone resided upon his return to Texas in 2021. Despite being a powerful figure in many Mesoamerican myths, vultures often evoke negative associations—as scavengers or bottom feeders, symbolizing death and decay. However, these birds are critical catalysts in the cycle of life. Turkey Vulture reframes this misunderstood creature as a meaningful contributor to a larger ecosystem, whose thankless work cleaning the roadkill and rotting detritus should be recognized.
Transformed from cultural icons into bronze monuments and then back, once again, into symbols of American life, Boone imagines these works undergoing still another alchemical and metaphorical change: unearthed by another civilization long after the artist’s existence, the sculptures will have shed their paint and oxidized, their materiality enduring like that of the ancient world.

the twins, Nasher Public and Katy Trail Art: Nic Nicosia

Best known for his work in photography and film, Nicosia initially came to international prominence as part of the Pictures Generation, artists who came of age in the 1970s and whose work was suffused with images from popular culture that also included figures such as Richard Prince, Laurie Simmons, and Cindy Sherman.
Although he often built sets and props for his elaborately staged photographs, Nicosia only began to make sculptures around 2009–10. Early experiments in paper clay and hydrocal included a group of eccentric personages reminiscent of works by Max Ernst, whimsical wire portraits harkening back to the early work of Alexander Calder, and anonymous figures taking on various poses and personas. Many of these were made independently of his photography, but they soon began to populate the models for his staged photographs and, more recently, real domestic interiors, resulting in images that confound reality and artifice.
The twins marks the beginning of Nicosia’s engagement with foundries and larger cast sculptures. A commission from The Austin Contemporary provided Nicosia with the opportunity to enlarge and cast in stainless steel two small, paper clay and hydrocal figures, on which the twins are based. Like much of the artist’s work in a variety of media, this sculpture is simultaneously familiar and surreal, whimsical and unsettling. The figures are generic, human-like, but with no overt indications of gender.
Although they are roughly the same size, the twins exhibit a number of distinctions: slight differences in their facial features, stances, and poses distinguish one from the other. Each raises its left hand and, in the configuration the artist determined for the installation on the Katy Trail, points toward the other. The gesture is also ambiguous and can be interpreted in a variety of ways: a sign of recognition, accusatory, or merely indicative. Their expressions—either stoic or bemused, but equally inscrutable with eyes closed or perhaps barely open—further complicate the reading of the gesture and the relationship between the two. Encountering the figures on the Katy Trail makes them seem like alien avatars in an alternate reality, suggesting opposite directions in a choose-your-own-adventure game.

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Art Selection Committee

Jennifer Eagle
Cricket Griffin
Vivian Li
Jed Morse
Jessica Nowitzki
Janelle Pinell
Howard Rachofsky
John Runyon
Blake Shipp
Amanda Shufeldt, Co-Chair
Charlie Shufeldt, Co-Chair