The Art Shows You Need to See: FrontRow’s Fall Visual Arts Preview

September is here, and with it the fall arts season gets under way. Keep checking back as we preview theater, dance, visual art, film, pop and classical music over the next week.

To preview the fall visual arts season, we’ve broken the highlights into a few categories: anticipated museum shows, the most intriguing historical art events, art celebrating the Mexican Centennial, exciting artistic collaborations, and a must-see art event.


Anticipated Museum Shows

Over the past year, other area museums have enjoyed more press, conversation, and hype, but the Amon Carter Museum has quietly put together a string of impressive offerings, from retrospectives on American moderns and early abstract artists in the Americas to Edward Curtis portraits of Native Americans. This fall the museum offers a trio of exhibitions focusing on photography. If you visit the Amon between October 2 and November 11, you will be able to see work by Ansel Adams, Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, and Walker Evans, as well as the ongoing Masterworks of American Photography exhibition.

Work by Alexander Calder

While the Amon Carter has had a quiet, successful run, the Nasher Sculpture Center’s year of firsts – first exhibition of living artist (Plensa), first non-sculpture exhibit (Whiteread), first major retrospective on a regional artist (Magee) – has been a little lackluster. Perhaps the museum is saving the best for last. This December it will open an survey exhibition of work by the influential modern sculpture Alexander Calder, paring 30 sculptures by the late-master with work of a number contemporary artists, including Martin Boyce, Nathan Carter, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Aaron Curry, Kristi Lippire, Jason Meadows, and Jason Middlebrook. Also worth checking out will be the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s survey of Fort Worth artist Vernon Fisher’s work, collages, blackboard paintings and installations that fluctuate between and fuse aspects of Pop and Conceptual art.

 Ansel Adams: Eloquent LightAmon Carter Museum; May 29 – November 11.

Masterworks of American PhotographyAmon Carter Museum; August 14 – January 23, 2011.

American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-WhiteAmon Carter Museum; October 2 – January 2, 2011.

Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, JoyNasher Sculpture Center; December 11, 2010 – March 6, 2011.

Vernon Fisher: K-Mart ConceptualismModern Art Museum of Fort Worth; September 25 – January 2, 2011.

Historical Art Event 

El Greco's Pentecost

The new partnership between the Southern Methodist University’s Meadows Museum and the Prado is not just going to produce a handful of important loans between the two museums, but it poses the potential for an ongoing collaboration between the two museums that will further increase the stature and quality of our local Spanish art museum. This September, we get to see the first fruits of that collaboration, El Greco’s Pentecost. In addition to the exhibition, the Meadows has programmed an interesting array of lectures and events to complement the unprecedented loan. Most intriguing is the Spanish Muse exhibit, running concurrently with the El Greco exhibit, that will focus on contemporary artists who have been inspired by Spanish Art.

El Greco’s masterwork isn’t the only piece of priceless art making its first trip across the Atlantic. In early October, the Dallas Museum of Art will open The Mourners, an exhibition of medieval tomb sculptures from the Burgundy court. Besides being important representations of a moment of sculptural progress in early Renaissance France, the fragile, alabaster carvings are breathtakingly beautiful and evocative. 

El Greco’s PentecostMeadows Museum;  September 12 – February 6, 2011. 

Spanish Muse: A Contemporary ResponseMeadows Museum; September 12 – December 12.

 The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of BurgundyThe Dallas Museum of Art; October 3 – January 2, 2011.

Art for the Mexican Centennial

'Views from Inside and Outside Mexico City; Mexico, ca. 1660; Collection of Rodrigo Rivero-Lake, Mexico City.

A number of local organizations and institutions are presenting exhibitions in celebration of the Mexican Centennial, and three in particular stick out. First is the Crow Collection’s interesting pairing of their museum’s focus – asian art – and Mexican artists in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. During this period, Mexico was a key trade crossroads between Spain and the Far East, and the Crow Collection is bringing together work by Mexican artists of this period who were influenced and inspired by Japanese painting technique and form.

Jump forward a few centuries, and you have Centraltrak’s exhibition of contemporary Mexican artist Ruben Nieto’s vibrant, comic-inspired paintings. Also focusing on contemporary Mexican art with a cultural twist, the McKinney Avenue Contemporary’s The Forgotten Ones/Los Olvidados explores the relationship between the growing popularity of the cult of death and lives of Mexican immigrants in the United States. 

Black Current: Mexican Responses to Japanese Art, 17th -19th CenturiesCrow Collection of Asian Art; October 21  – January 02, 2011.

POW! La Revolucion: Paintings by Ruben NietoCentralTrak; September 11 – October 2. 

The Forgotten Ones/Los OlvidadosMcKinney Avenue Contemporary; September 18 – October 23.

Gallery Show For the First Timer

Gallery hopping can be intimidating your first time out. Sure there’s the allure of interesting new art, casual conversations, and free wine, but where do you start? Dunn and Brown has to be one of the most intimidating. Set off McKinney Ave., you pass through a gate that feels like you are entering a fortress. Then, you have to find the right door into the gallery (there are multiple), which actually leads you into a section of the gallery furthest from the main exhibition space. To get there, you have to wander past Dunn and Brown’s stacks, through workspaces, exchanging awkward glances with the proprietors. But when you finally get to the space, you are greeted with some of the city’s best art. In other words, if you can handle Dunn and Brown, visiting any other gallery is cake. And Dunn and Brown are kicking off the fall season with a great show featuring Houston-based artist Trent Doyle Hancock’s cartoonish, narrative drawings, similar to the artist’s work which adorns Cowboys Stadium.

Photographs Do Not Bend in the Design District is opening a show called iSHOW, which has tapped ten photographers, including local favorite Allison V. Smith and Dallas Video Festival founder Bart Weiss, to submit work shot with their iPhones.

Trent Doyle Hancock, Work While it is Day. . .For When Night Cometh No Man Can WorkDunn and Brown Contemporary; September 10 – October 23. 

iSHOWPhotographs Do Not Bend; September 24 – October 9.

Must See Non-Traditional Art Event

Last year’s art highlight came in the form of a transformed bank building that was the setting for a multi-artist installation. Days after the show opened, the building was destroyed. This September many of the same artists involved in the bank show are reconvening for a similar off-beat installation called Sustenance. This time they are installing work in an abandoned building on Singleton Blvd. in West Dallas. Featuring artists like Frances Bagley, Linnea Glatt and Jim Cinquemani, Sedrick Huckaby, Tom Orr, Ludwig Schwarz, and Jeff Zilm, it is sure to be one of the season’s most important shows. 

Sustenance – 337 Singleton; September 11 – October 3.

Best Collaborations

Working with installations, films, and art events that fuse multiple disciplines – film, theater, dance and visual art, Eve Sussman and her artist collective, Rufus Corporation, are among the most intriguing, groundbreaking, and respected artists working in the world today. Now, thanks to a collaboration between Southern Methodist University’s art division, the Meadows Museum, and Forth Worth Contemporary Arts gallery at Texas Christian University, Sussman will be in North Texas this September for two exhibitions, a lecture, and a screening of her most recent experimental film.

Ever since the Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas’ downtown ArtLab closed, the organization, which includes some of the city’s best galleries, has been in flux. This fall, they look to kick some energy into the scene with two new events: a picnic at the Valley House Gallery and a series of bus tours. The bus tours will offer art lovers the chance to visit three galleries, an artist’s studio, and a private collection – all in an afternoon with lunch. Besides offering a rare opportunity to see some unseen art collections and studios, hopefully this kind of inter-gallery collaboration can help broaden the audience for the city’s finest galleries.

Eve Sussman and Rufus CorporationFort Worth Contemporary Arts; September 16 – October 31.

Art Bus Tours by CADD – Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas; October 9 and November 13.

Photo at top: Jean de La Huerta and Antoine le Moiturier, Mourner from the Tomb of Jean Sans Peur (John the Fearless), second Duke of Burgundy, No. 51, 1443-57. Alabaster. © Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Photo François JAY.