223 Dallas, TX: A Mighty Fortress

[Dallas Museum of Art]

In 1956, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) came under attack by locals who thought that abstract art was "communist." Maybe that's why its current building looked like a fortress. It was entirely concrete and U-shaped. A four-story glass wall rose above the food court by the entrance, from whose ceiling hung Dale Chihuly stained glass flowers. At the museum's core, a series of long stairs and ramps led to side galleries, which provided a disorienting flow of traffic--more like an Escher than a Hopper. This vertigo was heightened by Claes Oldenburg's oversized circus tent spike with the rope wrapped around it beneath the barrel-vaulted ceiling.

Hopper and other American artists were exhibited in the "Art of the Americas" section of the museum, which I naively imagined would hold pre-Columbian relics. I forgot Texas's view of what constitutes "American."

In a Hopperesque marriage of architecture and art, the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection was displayed in a re-creation of their villa on the French Riviera. It was only when I went to Kansas City and saw Winston Churchill's paintings on Hallmark greeting cards that I realized Churchill painted. He was friends with Wendy Eaves, and four of his paintings adorned the walls of a room entirely devoted to Churchill and his paintings. As some kids looked at the paintings in the living room of the Reves Villa, a child asked his mother, "Well, where's the TV?" Paintings were television before there was radio.

The woman who showed me the files dismissed my question with a flick of her wrist, "I'm anti-social. I don't think that isolation is a bad thing. I like the anonymity of a large city."

She had brown hair down past her shoulders, black-rimmed goggles with dark tortoise shell sides, and dark brown eyes. She wore a soft green button-down sweater and black pants. Her watch bore a skull and crossbones.

"I'm glad that people are finally getting around to viewing the light in Hopper's work psychologically. Although when they go too far with it, I'm not happy with that. I used to live in Chicago. There's a Chinese place at Lincoln, Irving, and Damen: Orange something. I remember that fa├žade and that place as being similar to Chop Suey."

No comments: