Posts Tagged 'Fair Park'

ARTifacts: Textile and Fine Arts Building

One hundred and five years ago, in April 1909, the Dallas Art Association (the parent organization of what is now the DMA) presented the City of Dallas with their collection and opened in a new permanent gallery space in the Textile and Fine Arts Building in Fair Park as the Dallas Free Public Art Gallery.

 

Textile and Fine Arts Building, Fair Park, c. 1909

Textile and Fine Arts Building, Fair Park, c. 1909

The DAA collection had been shown in the Art Room at the Dallas Public Library from 1903 to 1909 but was in need of larger quarters. Beginning with the opening of the new gallery on April 17, 1909, the collection’s hours were Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., and entry was free.

Dallas Free Public Art Gallery in the Textile and Fine Arts Building, Fair Park, c. 1909-1929.

Dallas Free Public Art Gallery in the Textile and Fine Arts Building, Fair Park, c. 1909-1929

The collection remained on display in the Textile and Fine Arts Building for twenty years and was then relocated to the former Halaby Galleries space in the Majestic Theatre Building, opening April 30, 1929.

Hillary Bober is the digital archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

DallasSITES from a Dallas Transplant

How do you navigate your way in a new city’s art community? That became my challenge when I moved from Philadelphia to Dallas in September 2012 to become the new McDermott Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art. Of course, I did my research: numerous Google searches helped me make a page-long list of contemporary art venues I wanted to visit during my internship. But assisting on the DMA’s newest exhibition, DallasSITES: Charting Contemporary Art, 1963 to Present, was what really taught me about Dallas’s artistic legacy.

Two members the Dallas art scenes who have been influential for decades: Janet Kutner and Paul Rogers Harris c.1960s, Courtesy of Paul Rogers Harris, Dallas, TX

Two members of the Dallas art scene who have been influential for decades: Janet Kutner and Paul Rogers Harris, c.1960s, Courtesy of Paul Rogers Harris, Dallas, TX

I’ve spent the past nine months combing through archives, researching galleries, and learning about the evolution of the Dallas art scene. The exhibition, consisting mainly of ephemera from the past fifty years, will illustrate how dynamic the art community of North Texas has been. As a recent transplant, this project became my personal crash course. This history lesson served me well.

Map of Dallas, Courtesy of Swoon the Studio, Dallas, TX

Map of Dallas, Courtesy of Swoon the Studio, Dallas, TX

Dallas itself is a large city, and over the years the art scene has concentrated in different neighborhoods. Artists were extremely active in Fair Park and Uptown during the 1960s and 70s. With the establishment of the Arts District in the 80s, many art-related activities migrated to downtown. Deep Ellum became a serious locus for the arts in the 80s as well. Today, many galleries and institutions have relocated to the Design District. Interestingly, artist activity continued in all of these neighborhoods even when the larger cultural trends shifted. Meanwhile, universities produce interesting programs and bring important artists to visit and work in North Texas. The ephemera on view in DallasSITES reflect these events.

A visitor at the 1989 Dallas VideoFest, Courtesy of the DMA Archives

A visitor at the 1989 Dallas VideoFest, Courtesy of the DMA Archives

Some fun facts learned from this project:
Q: What is the oldest continuously running gallery in Dallas? A: Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden, established in 1955. Q: What is the oldest and largest video festival in the United States? A: Dallas’s own VideoFest! First held in 1986 at the Dallas Museum of Art, it provides a platform for experimental video art and Texas artists.

Claes Oldenburg, Poster for Injun Happening at the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, April 6-7, 1962

Claes Oldenburg, poster for Injun happening at the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, April 6-7, 1962

Claes Oldenburg is an iconic artist of the pop art movement, but did you know that in 1962 he staged one of his famous “happenings” in Dallas? Injun became a two-day collaboration with local artists at the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts (which merged with the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in 1963 to form the Dallas Museum of Art). That was a fun discovery! Oldenburg’s relationship with Dallas has continued for several decades. Further, I discovered that one of my favorite artists, Oliver Herring, participated in a 1997 group show called Termite Terrace at Angstrom Gallery in Dallas’s Fair Park neighborhood. When DallasSITES opens, visitors will truly see how active this community has been. One of the best parts of contemporary art is the opportunity to meet artists and other art lovers at openings and talks. Each month, there are dozens of exhibition openings, artist talks, and panels that keep Dallas exciting. There are established museums, commercial galleries, and temporary spaces ranging from empty storefronts to an artist’s living room. Artists from across the United States and even internationally are showing in nearby spaces, while the roster of local talent continues to grow.

Dallas’ art scene in action: A packed house at CentralTrak for its NEXT TOPIC series panel, “Creating an Art Community/Scene” on May 2, 2013, Courtesy of Sally Glass and CentralTrak, Dallas, TX

Dallas’s art scene in action: A packed house at CentralTrak for its NEXT TOPIC series panel “Creating an Art Community/Scene” on May 2, 2013, Courtesy of Sally Glass and CentralTrak, Dallas, TX

When you see all the ephemera in DallasSITES presented in one room, the cultural wealth of this city becomes readily apparent. On May 26, you, too, can experience a crash course of your own for free!

Alexander Unkovic is the McDermott Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art at the DMA.

Impressions of Dallas: Then and Now

Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas allows you to compare the Dallas we live in today with the Dallas of 1952. Below are a few images of familiar landmarks from then and now. See more in our first e-catalogue, available as a free iPad app.

Fair Park Esplanade at night with State Fair, October 21, 1950. County, Squire Haskins Photography Collection, The University of Texas at Arlington Library, Arlington, Texas. AR447-11-37.

Fair Park, 2012, Dallas Museum of Art

Adolphus Hotel, 1954, Hayes Collection, Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library. PA76-1/17625

Adolphus Hotel, 2012, Dallas Museum of Art

Pegasus atop the Magnolia Building, 1927. Bud Biggs Collection, Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library. PA84-9/212.

The Magnolia Building, 2012, Dallas Museum of Art

Akard Canyon, 1940, Dallas Municipal Archives

Akard Canyon, 2012, Dallas Museum of Art

Summer in the City

Now that Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer have come and gone, I thought it would be fun to look back at some past summers spent in the courtyard of the Museum’s former Fair Park home.

Impromptu music in the courtyard draws visitors outside, circa 1963

Summer class, 1970s

Ladies meeting over boxed lunches, 1970s
(Photography by David Lawrence Photo)

Director Harry S. Parker III (far right) enjoying the courtyard, 1970s
(Photography: From the Collection of the Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library)

Hillary Bober is the Digital Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

At the Texas State Fair

From 1936 to 1983 the Dallas Museum of Art was located in Fair Park and usually saw its highest attendance during the State Fair.

Here, with museum guard Teddy Farrell, are two of the more than 90,000 people who visited the Museum during  the 1953 Texas State Fair.

Hillary Bober is the Digital Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

A Gem of a Diamond Anniversary

With the 75th anniversary of the Texas Centennial Exposition around the corner, we decided to dive into our archives and share some of our finds with you. 
Texas Centennial Exposition ticket

Seventy-five years ago, in the summer of 1936, people throughout Texas and the United States traveled to Dallas for the Texas Centennial Exposition. The Exposition, held at Fair Park, was both a world’s fair and a gateway to attractions and events throughout the state celebrating the 100th anniversary of Texas’s independence from Mexico.

The following four photographs are from a set of twenty images  published by John Sirigo, official photographer for the Texas Centennial Exposition, as “Genuine Official Photographs, No. 1.”

Texas Centennial Exposition, Esplanade and Exhibit Buildings

Texas Centennial Exposition, Midway

Texas Centennial Exposition, State Building

Texas Centennial Exposition, Ford Building

Advertised as An Empire on Parade, attractions included the Esplanade of State; exhibit halls and sponsored pavilions focusing on major industries in Texas; The Cavalcade of Texas, a living saga of over four hundred years of Texas history; Sinclair’s Dinosaurs, a prehistoric “zoo” of dinosaur reproductions; The Old West, with replicas of historic buildings; the Midway; and the Civic Center, made up of six units of cultural and educational attractions.

Souvenir Guide

Postcard view of museum building (E.C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee, Wis.)

The Hall of Fine Arts, the largest building in the Civic Center, was the permanent home of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, now the Dallas Museum of Art, for nearly fifty years. For the Exposition, the Museum held an enormous exhibition of paintings, sculpture, and graphic arts, including European art from before 1500 to contemporary Texas painting and everything in between. The exhibition, which filled the whole building, included almost six hundred works of art loaned by ninety-six major museums, galleries, private collectors, and artists.

Texas Centennial Exposition, Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture & Graphic Arts, catalog cover

The French Room at the Texas Centennial Exhibition included works by Manet, Renoir, Picasso, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Grant Wood's "Amercian Gothic" was in the Contemporary American Paintings section of the Texas Centennial Exhibition.

The Texas Centennial Exposition ran from June 6 to November 29, 1936, and over six million people attended. Exhibit halls constructed for the Exposition still form the core buildings at Fair Park.

Hillary Bober is the Digital Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Sculpture and the State Fair

Today is the day we’ve been waiting for–it’s opening day for Dallas’s annual State Fair of Texas! Every year millions of people visit Fair Park, the home of the State Fair, for culinary adventures, rides, expositions, and other events. But what many visitors don’t know is that the fairgrounds also boast a number of sculptures and adorned structures created by 20th-century Texas artists who are represented in the DMA’s collections.

Several of the artists featured in our current show Texas Sculpture were commissioned to create sculpture for the fairgrounds in the early 20th century. In 1936 the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in Fair Park (a predecessor of the DMA) prepared a landmark exhibition of works by nationally and internationally recognized sculptors for the Texas centennial celebration. That exhibition, as well as the one currently on view at the DMA, included works by Michael G. Owen, Allie V. Tennant, Dorothy Austin, and Evaline Sellors, among others.

If you’re a fan of the State Fair, many of you have seen this:

It’s by Allie V. Tennant (1898-1971), who was commissioned by the Centennial Committee to create the gold-leaf on bronze Tejas Warrior (1936) at the Hall of State in Fair Park. On view in our Texas Sculpture exhibition are two other works by Tennant, Woman’s Head and Negro Head. In 1940 she created the reliefs Cattle, Oil, and Wheat for the Aquarium at Fair Park under the Federal Works Agency.

Allie V. Tennant, "Woman's Head," n.d., red sandstone, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert W. Webb

Dorothy Austin, "Noggin," c. 1933, white pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of an anonymous friend

Dorothy Austin, "Noggin," c. 1933, white pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of an anonymous friend

Who says fried Frito pie and art don’t go together?


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