In honor of Presidents’ Day, we’re highlighting the one who watches over the Atrium and greets visitors as they enter the Museum. President John F. Kennedy is featured in the DMA’s Robert Rauschenberg painting Skyway, along with other elements of American history in the 1960s.
Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, oil and silkscreen on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr. and General Acquisitions Fund, (c) Rauschenberg Estate/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Kimberly Daniell is the manager of communications and public affairs at the DMA.
We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. … In free society art is not a weapon and it does not belong to the spheres of polemic and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society – in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. And the nation which disdains the mission of art invites the fate of Robert Frost’s hired man, the fate of having “nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope.”
– President John F. Kennedy, Amherst College, October 26, 1963
Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, oil and silkscreen on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr., and General Acquisitions Fund, © Rauschenberg Estate/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
We are in the final two weeks of the DMA-organized exhibition Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, but there is still time for you to visit this free exhibition and learn more from historians. This Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Dr. David Lubin, author of Shooting Kennedy: JFK and the Culture of Images and Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest University, will examine iconic photos of the Kennedys’ visit to Texas and discuss his book. Below, learn more about the history of the installation in Suite 850 from Hotel Texas catalogue contributor Scott Barker.
Kimberly Daniell is the public relations manager at the DMA, and Ted Forbes is the interactive media developer at the DMA.
Artist Jack Zajac discussing his sculpture, Small Bound Goat, with KERA’s Stephen Becker at the opening of Hotel Texas in May 2013
Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, currently on view at the DMA, brings together thirteen of the sixteen works that were installed in Suite 850 at the Hotel Texas for the Kennedys’ visit in 1963. The works of art included pieces by van Gogh, Picasso, Kline, and Monet and were drawn from Fort Worth’s public museums and private collections. Jack Zajac, an American artist whose bronze sculpture Small Bound Goat was displayed in the hotel suite’s living room, is the only living artist of the sixteen featured in the private art exhibition in 1963. Not until the DMA invited Zajac to the opening of the Hotel Texas exhibition did he learn that his work of art spent the night with the Kennedys. Find out from Zajac what it was like to discover his sculpture was on view in the Hotel Texas suite and how he feels about being reconnected with his work of art fifty years later:
Visit Zajac’s Small Bound Goat through September 15 in Hotel Texas and see it for free; the exhibition is included in free general admission to the Museum.