Press Release  August 14, 2020

Reopened Dallas Museum of Art to Debut New Acquisitions

Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York

Firelei Báez, Untitled (Central Power Station), 2019. Acrylic and oil on archival printed canvas. Dallas Museum of Art, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2019.91

Dallas, TX — This summer, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) debuts a selection of recently acquired contemporary and decorative art works in Contemporary Art + Design: New Acquisitions. Jointly organized by the Museum’s decorative arts and design and contemporary art curators, Contemporary Art + Design is the first special exhibition to debut since the Museum’s reopening, after closing in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The dynamic group of featured artists and designers in this new show includes Firelei Báez, Derek Fordjour, Shara Hughes, Misha Kahn, Kiff Slemmons, and Tomie Ohtake, among others. The thirty-two works on view are diverse in media and disciplines, and most were acquired in the past two years. They vividly demonstrate the DMA’s commitment to supporting emerging talents, exhibiting work with local relevance, and placing a global perspective at the forefront.

© Shara Hughes

Shara Hughes, My Natural Nyctinasty, 2019. Oil, acrylic, and dye on canvas. Dallas Museum of Art, The Rachofsky Collection Acquisition Fund, 2019.92

Contemporary Art + Design is co-curated by Sarah Schleuning, Interim Chief Curator and The Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, and the Museum’s team of contemporary art curators, led by Dr. Anna Katherine Brodbeck, Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, and including Dr. Vivian Li, The Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art, and Vivian Crockett, The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art. The exhibition will be on view in the Museum’s Hoffman Galleries beginning August 30 through March 7, 2021, and is included in free general admission.

Featuring contemporary artists and designers from eleven countries, the exhibition includes paintings, jewelry, furnishings, and other design objects, reflecting the global commitment of the DMA’s acquisitions program. Contemporary paintings by artists Harold Ancart, Firelei Báez, Ann Craven, Sarah Crowner, Derek Fordjour, Rashid Johnson, Shara Hughes, Chris Ofili, Tomie Ohtake, Marjorie Norman Schwarz, and Michael Williams illustrate a range of new and emerging approaches to landscapes and still lifes. The painters’ inventive treatment of organic forms resonates with surrounding design works, which employ a variety of media and applications. Featured works include jewelry by Robert Baines, Bruno Martinazzi, Jiro Kamata, and Kiff Slemmons, and Fulani earrings from Mali; furnishings by Ron Arad and Misha Kahn, and a textile by Nicholas Weddell.

“We are thrilled to welcome visitors back to the DMA to enjoy the offerings in our galleries and escape the day-to-day through the stories told by our exhibitions and works of art. Our audiences bring our galleries to life,” said Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director. “While we were unable to receive visitors at the Museum, our staff remained determined to create opportunities for our community to engage with art online and from home. Our curators looked to our collection to find ways to reflect on the time we are living in. We are so pleased to now present Contemporary Art + Design. This exhibition demonstrates the unique and exciting departmental collaborations that are possible at the DMA, as well as the global approach of our acquisitions and exhibitions programs. We hope visitors find these new additions to our collection inspiring and engaging.”

“Over the past few years, our curatorial team has worked to build the collection in a way that’s more reflective of our community and our place in the world, both locally grounded and globally reaching,” added the exhibition curators. “This exhibition is an exciting opportunity not only to see so many of these new acquisitions together, but also to illustrate the compelling new directions we’ve been taking with the collection.”

Dallas Museum of Art

Tracy Hicks, Freedman's Field, 1990-1994. Wood table, pottery shards, broken bottles, old watch parts, fragments of porcelain dolls, coins, buttons, oxidized silverware, and rusted metal. Dallas Museum of Art, Charron and Peter Denker Contemporary Texas Art Fund, 2020.14

Freedman’s Field by the late artist and longtime Dallas resident Tracy Hicks is one of the most recent acquisitions featured in the exhibition. Previously exhibited at the DMA in the 1994 focus exhibition Encounters 5: Damien Hirst and Tracy Hicks, Freedman’s Field is an assemblage of artifacts arranged on a table to resemble four place settings. Hicks created the work between 1990 and 1994 using items that resurfaced during the construction of the Dallas Arts District, on land that was once part of an African American community founded by formerly enslaved people called Freedman’s Town or North Dallas. The work exemplifies Hicks’s practice of collecting and preserving, and it is an important reclamation of a demolished past.

Arthur Jafa’s renowned film Love is the Message, The Message is Death will also be on view in the Hoffman Galleries with the opening of Contemporary Art + Design. One of the most important works to enter the Museum’s time-based media collection in the past five years, Love is the Message was streamed online in June as part of a coordinated 48-hour international screening between thirteen institutions, including the DMA, capturing more than 120,000 streams across 159 countries. The film is a timely consideration of the complexity of the Black American experience, as well as a tribute to Black culture, struggle, and life.

Contemporary Art + Design: New Acquisitions is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art. The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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