Delayed Contemporary Exhibit Finally Opens With Timely Touches

Dallas Museum of Art curators add more information, offer in-person, and virtual options

The Dallas Museum of Art, reopen after closing in March for the pandemic, has introduced two new curators and a contemporary art exhibit.

Contemporary Art +Design: New Acquisitions, on display in the Hoffman Galleries through March 2021, showcases various artists and styles of work.

The show was initially to open in April. Delaying until September allowed newcomers Vivian Crockett and Vivian Li to add their perspectives while working with Anna Katherine Brodbeck, the Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, and Sarah Schleuning, The Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design.

“We really want to engage and let the museum speak to the most pressing issues of the day.”

Anna Katherine Brodbeck

“One of the things that was really fun for me was working closely with my contemporary art colleagues and to think about the collection as what are similarities and the ways that art and design connect to each other as well as these moments and to today,” Sarah Schleuning said.

Crockett also spoke of enjoying the opportunity to explore the intersection of art and design and see “how visual artists who are typically not associated with the decorative design also pull from those references in their work to tell a story.”

With the ongoing pandemic, the museum didn’t make acquisitions this year, but most of the exhibit’s pieces were collected in the last couple of years.

“In many ways, we are still able to celebrate these new acquisitions and to show people too that the impact of acquisitions and function of the museum is to continue to present new and fresh artists and thoughts,” Li said.

The exhibit includes Arthur Jafa’s short documentary Love is the Message, The Message is Death. The film explores Black culture and racial violence.

“We knew we wanted to bring it out again because it really gives a full spectrum that it’s not just about these genres seen in galleries,” Brodbeck said. “We really want to engage and let the museum speak to the most pressing issues of the day.”

The video is an example of how the exhibit evolved with the pandemic. Curators added more information about the pieces and created an online experience for those wanting to view the galleries remotely.

“What digital content allows us to do is have these layered experiences and be more immediate like go into other directions and think more deeply you can do that instantaneously.” Brodbeck said. “People can go and have that one on one experience with the art but also if people are unable to come to the museum for whatever reason, we can meet people where they are in their homes and give that experience as well.”

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