How Do You Choose the Dallas Museum of Art’s Best Art?

Why, with a NCAA-style bracket tournament and online voting, of course.

The Dallas Museum of Art is pulling a page from Tyler Green’s playbook and using the month of March as an excuse to pit artworks from its collection against each other in a March Madness NCAA-style bracket tournament. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for this sort of thing, and was in rapt attention a few years ago when the late-Cy Twombly thrashed Ellsworth Kelly to win the title of “The Greatest Living American Abstract Painter.

Now the DMA has chosen smart phone-voting “DMA Friends” have chosen 16 works at random from its collection and paired them off. That’s a thin field, and I can’t help but think that if the museum’s Courbet would have made easy high seed. Nevertheless, you can vote on whether or not you think  Rufino Tamayo’s El Hombre, which hangs in the DMA’s atrium, is the better work of art than Hugues Merle’s sappy Les premières épines de la science (1864) — or if you like a Mediterranean gold leaf crown that dates to 400 BC better than a Veryround armchair. Contrived? Of course. Arbitrary? By definition. Pointless? Nah. After all, there are a few pieces in the tourney I’m now plan on scouting-out next time I’m at the museum. And it will be interesting to see how this game tests the democracy of taste. The early voting suggests that a flashy piece by the Dallas artist John Hernandez could beat out the museum’s Jackson Pollock. Everybody loves an underdog.

Image: Frederic Edwin Church’s The Icebergs, probably a solid five seed in the DMA’s Art Madness tourney.