Opening May 24, the Dallas Museum of Art
will present Private Universes, a special exhibition of approximately 80 contemporary works, including new acquisitions, promised gifts and important loans from the Dallas community and the Museum’s collections. On view through August 30, 2009, the exhibition highlights previously unexplored relationships between artworks, artists and audiences through an innovative and intimate exhibition strategy.
With a particular emphasis on work created in the last ten years, Private Universes reflects the DMA’s enduring dedication to examining contemporary art within the framework of its encyclopedic collections. “The exceptionally high quality and unusually diverse and wide-ranging holdings of our local private collectors and of the DMA itself have brought Dallas an international profile,” says exhibition curator María de Corral, The Hoffman Family Adjunct Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the DMA.
Private Universes will feature a wide range of conceptual, post-modern and contemporary artworks, circumventing traditional art historical categories such as chronology and medium. Works in multiple media will be on view, with particular emphasis placed on painting and sculpture by artists from Europe and Latin America. The works of art will range from a video installation by Pipilotti Rist, I Couldn’t Agree With You More (2007), to a sculpture by Mona Hatoum, Nature morte aux grenades (2006-07), and several oil paintings by Marlene Dumas.
Other exhibition highlights will include Mark Bradford’s mixed-media collage A Truly Rich Man Is One Whose Children Run Into His Arms When His Hands are Empty (2008), and Fred Sandback’s yarn installation Broadway Boogie Woogie (Sculptural Study, Twenty-two Part Vertical Construction) (1991-2006).
“Using unexpected concepts and juxtapositions, the exhibition reveals a series of individual ‘private universes,’ rather than unfolding as a traditional single narrative,” explains de Corral. “Through these alternative and sometimes provocative comparisons, each space reveals previously unexplored relationships between the works on view—challenging audiences to reconsider both familiar and less well known works of art.”
“The Dallas Museum of Art has long been committed to acting as a center for the study and enjoyment of international contemporary art in the Dallas community,” said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. “The extraordinary range of important works on view in Private Universes should be a point of pride for the Dallas community as a whole, as it has been made possible through the generosity of our remarkable local donors and lenders.” Dallas-based collectors lending works to the exhibition include Jennifer and John Eagle, Amy and Vernon Faulconer, Marguerite Hoffman, The Pinnell Collection, The Rachofsky Collection, Catherine and Will Rose, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and Sharon and Michael Young.
The 13 small gallery installations that comprise Private Universes will each explore a distinct group of themes and aesthetics. The first room will present a group of paintings investigating and visually interpreting the experience of urban space. Inspired by multiple geographic locations and generational experiences, these works include The Idea of Cities (1998) by Matthew Ritchie (U.K.), Painting for Rain (1976) by William T. Wiley (U.S.), and the mixed-media collage by Mark Bradford (U.S.).
Another gallery will feature work by several contemporary Latin American artists, including Estantería II (2008), a work by Cuban duo Los Carpinteros; a mixed-media installation with 250 printed and bound books, titled Love Stories II (2008), by Brazilian artist Valeska Soares; Being II (2007), a copper and steel installation by Damian Ortega (Mexico); and Brazilian artist Marepe’s multi-media installation Avore cata-vento (Pinwheel Tree). Each of these works explores the relationship between art and craft by revising expected aesthetics and repurposing materials.
A third grouping, encompassing the work of Jo Baer (U.S.), Marcel Broodthaers (Belgium), Lucio Fontana (Argentina and Italy) and Yayoi Kusama (Japan), will exemplify a variety of artistic responses to the dominant aesthetics of the 1950s and 60s. Though these artists initially worked outside the mainstream, each is now recognized as a critical voice in the development of conceptual art.
Private Universes will also present three major contemporary works acquired jointly in 2008 by the Museum and The Rachofsky Collection through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, on view for the first time since their acquisition. These works—Marlene Dumas’s For Whom the Bell Tolls (2008), Jim Hodges’ and still this (2005-08) and Yayoi Kusama’s Accumulation (1962-64)—reflect the DMA’s ongoing dedication to enhancing its contemporary art collection with works of singular importance. Earlier joint acquisitions made through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund on view in the exhibition include Marcel Broodthaers’s Oval of Eggs 1234567, Mona Hatoum’s Nature morte aux grenades and Luc Tuymans’ The Man from Wiels II.