Kimbell Trees are Historic, We Mean Dying

Kimbell ConstructionI went by the Kimbell Museum again today and saw the progression of the construction activity. It appears we’ve moved passed the destruction phase and its clear now why the trees couldn’t stay. The hole is so deep they would probably have destroyed the root structure anyway. It was amusing reading an item in Fort Worth Weekly about the tree controversy, however. The Kimbell originally called the trees “historic” and said the they would be preserved, then later referred to them as “unhealthy and near the end of their life expectancy.” Convenient. More telling is the quote that “They will be replaced by trees of a scale originally intended for the building.” It’s as if the building’s architect Louis Kahn had no expectation trees would grow! Moreover a later quote seems contradictory even to that saying the trees would be replaced with ones of similar size. The quotes are from Charles Birnbaum, president of the Washington, D.C-based Cultural Landscape Foundation. See the trees that have been removed. See more photos of the Kimbell and Expansion.

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 artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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