Thoughts on Crystal Bridges

It’s not a secret among antique dealers that folks in the American South have a better appreciation for American Decorative Arts. I suppose to some extent this may extend to American paintings. I haven’t noticed a tour of American Art before 1880 being offered at the nearby Brooklyn Museum. Although there have been tours of the Dutch houses in the museum, I haven’t noticed a tour being offered of the 19th Century Period Rooms.

Now there’s some speculation that Alice Walton, already the possessor of Durand’s Kindred Spirits, has bought two paintings from the collection of the National Academy. On an emotional level, it’s sad to see them leave New York. From a practical point of view, I’d say a painting on display in Arkansas is better than one stored in New York.

I hope that a new administration will help bring some renewed pride in America and interest in objects and paintings from the first century of our existence. We need the likes of Alice Walton, like Ford, Rockefeller, Hogg and DuPont before her, to breath new life and interest to American Art and Decorative Arts. I hate seeing our great collections of American Art overlooked. Nature hates a vacuum and the vacuum that New York creates, Arkansas fills.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url will point to the latest updates on this weblog.


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