Public Arts: One Riot, One Ranger
One of the tallest Texas Rangers stands watch over the wandering travelers inside Dallas Love Field Airport.
Originally published in the JUSTICE issue of Columns, the story of this public art piece is unfinished. On June 4th, 2020, the iconic Texas ranger statue was removed from the airport by the City of Dallas. This action was a direct result of social events and recently uncovered information regarding the moral character of the specific ranger depicted, written by Doug J. Swanson in Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers. We regret not having this information at the time of publication and embrace this learning moment of existing institutional racism in our community.
Looming in height at 12 feet, One Riot, One Ranger was sculpted out of bronze by Waldine Amanda Tauch in the image of Capt. Jay Banks, one of the most famous Rangers. Donated to Love Field in 1961 by Earle and Mildred Wyatt, the sculpture still keeps its post after nearly 60 years. It did take a break in 2010-13, when the sculpture was removed during extensive renovations of the airport lobby.
Rather than just a terminal that travelers pass through en route to elsewhere, Love Field seeks to evoke a sense of place for people visiting Dallas and wary road warriors returning home. One Riot, One Ranger is rooted not just in Texas history, but also in the identity of the people who live here. The image of the Ranger is one of resilience and authority, and Banks’ life, which included chasing down killers and organized crime figures, embodied these qualities. The bronze Ranger’s left hand is outstretched, palm down to signal calm and control, but his left foot is ready for action should trouble arise. The Ranger is poised and yet appears gentle.
Photo courtesy of Corgan
The airport is slowly evolving into a destination for public art and a hub for inspiration. One Riot, One Ranger truly represents a pioneer in that effort.
Jessica Boldt is committee and communications coordinator at AIA Dallas.