Friday, April 17, 2009
Barrel vaults in America
from the top:
Kimbell Art Museum, Louis I. Kahn, 1972
Modern Art Museum Ft. Worth, Tadao Ando, 2002
Nasher Sculpture Garden, Renzo Piano, 2003
outside Dallas Art Museum
Just returned from my trip to Dallas to see Mike and a lot of great art. The Kimbell lived up to its reputation of being a sublime space with many priceless art works, gems from the Renaissance that have landed in the New World as emissaries of beauty and ideals. The most memorable work, however, was a print in the "Art & Love in Renaissance Italy," organized by the Met. The piece was in a small gallery marked with warning signs and depicted a fantastical mythical parade leading an enormous (10 - 12" long!) p**** on a platter towards its gigantic female counterpart. Creepy and funny at the same time.
Next we visited the Modern Art Museum Ft. Worth, whose proportions felt more corporate than sublime, but whose interior galleries, interpenetrated by walls of glass and pools of water, were an elegant counterpart to the lovely, spare installations. (A note: there were a lot of women artists working in the 20th century, it would be nice to see them represented in higher percentages in the collection.)
Sunday morning, Texas, Easter weekend--museums are open, malls are not. The Nasher Sculpture Center was another lovely jewel, and finding the Gaugin sculpture and Brancusi's "The Kiss" in the galleries were my miracles for the day. The Dallas Art Museum's floor plan was confusing, but I loved the juxtaposition of the Mark di Suvero and walking Anubis out front.
At the end of the weekend I felt the presence of Louis Kahn's barrel vaults imposed a subtle, rhythmic order (rippling between the Kimbell, MAMFW and the Nasher), imposing a sense of the chaotic lack of urban planning that rules in Texas. The Kimbell and Nasher buildings and collections almost redeem the state after the last eight years of federal chaos.