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Arts & Entertainment

The Dallas-Fort Worth Art Exhibitions You Must See Before 2023 Ends

It's a busy end of 2023 in the North Texas art scene, with worthwhile exhibitions in both legacy institutions and galleries. Here are the ones you'll want to make time to visit.
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Nancy Holt Sun Tunnels
Nancy Holt's "Sun Tunnels," one of the pieces at the Nasher's Groundswell exhibit that place women artists at the center of American land art. © 2023 Holt/Smithson Foundation and Dia Art Foundation / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Tureen, 901 W. Jefferson Blvd.

Doom Bloom

Certainly the most striking gallery exhibition currently on view is Doom Bloom at the new Jefferson Boulevard gallery Tureen, which displays the large-scale work of Baltimore artist Theresa Chromati. Black vinyl darkens the windows, and in the crepuscular interior, spotlighting dramatically carves the space. It highlights a floor-to-ceiling triptych in a welded aluminum and steel frame. Inside each section of the triptych—and in five other paintings in the show—the decisive lines and riotous colors of Chromati’s work immerse the viewer.

In a sneaky way, Chromati toes the line between figuration and abstraction. Characters emerge: an eye, a mouth appearing out of the whorls of line and color. The “scrotum flowers” that wind become a totem of support. Doom Bloom presents the investigation of a continuously morphing body in a (cosmic?) garden. The biomorphic shapes are reminiscent of Miró; the glitter reminds me of Mickalene Thomas. But Chromati is wholly herself, serious and feisty at once.

Through Dec. 16.

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Artist Bianca Bondi's exploration of the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 is on view at the Dallas Contemporary. Kevin Todora

Dallas Contemporary, 161 Glass St.

Bianca Bondi: A Preservation Method

South African artist Bianca Bondi sets pools of salt in the vast emptiness of the Dallas Contemporary.   Pools of saline crystals, shrubby native Texan flora, and a derelict billboard. Healing and rebirth, regeneration and residue are always present in her practice. In this site-specific installation, she takes on the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 (nicknamed “Lady Bird’s Bill”), commenting on our paradoxical devastation and preservation of the environment. Is this a post-apocalyptic wasteland or a place of crystallization and rebirth? Tensions such as these are always at the core of Bondi’s work.

Through March 17, 2024

Dallas Museum of Art, 1912 N. St. Paul St.

Afro-Atlantic Histories

In 1926, Portuguese slave traders penetrated the African continent and extracted what they considered to be a most precious commodity: humans themselves. Since then, the body of water between four continents—the Atlantic—has been crisscrossed by patterns of captivity, enslavement, and exchange that spread through the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe. Afro-Atlantic Histories (the exhibit opened in São Paulo and has made its way across the U.S.) takes a transnational vantage point on the African Diaspora. The work of contemporary artists such as Kara Walker and Zanele Muholi joins primary source documents, maps, and portraits. The over lapping racism and activism—the West African influences on the music of Brazil’s Carnival or U.S. artists responding to the Civil Rights Movement—join tremendous scholarship. It’s rare to see an exhibit so complete, encyclopedic, and stirring that it leaves one thoroughly steeped in the subject.

Through Feb. 11, 2024

Abraham Ángel: Between Wonder and Seduction

With its sly, tantalizing self-portrait, this 20-painting retrospective opens with the vision of an artist you should know, but probably don’t. He was 19 when he died after painting for three years, exclusively works on carboard. He produced 24 works, four of which are lost. Yet this young, queer artist’s style and the way he documented Mexican social classes carved him a place among the group of artists responsible for the rise of Mexican modernism. Diego Rivera, Carlos Mérida, and others mourned when he died. Curated by Mark Castro based on a long-standing passion for the young artist, the show will travel to the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, which has loaned many of the works. Read more in my review here

Through Jan. 28, 2024

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Pierre Bonnard's "Dining Room in the Country," from 1913. Kimbell Art Museum

Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth

Bonnard’s Worlds

Pierre Bonnard’s exhibition at the Kimbell in Fort Worth is stunning. The show’s canvases progress in increasing order of intimacy and domesticity, from public to private, from Paris streets to the countryside where Bonnard lived in Le Cannet, from views through windows to interiors (like his wife Marthe in the bath), and finally self-portraits. The latter selection includes his most extraordinary self-portrait, The Boxer, whose pathos is both pugilistic and frail. Yes, the kernal of the show emerged from one large, beautiful canvas which the museum acquired in 2018. But it didn’t have to become this treasure chest of jewels, this beautiful treatment of light and color that resembles no other. You leave full of the light of the Mediterranean riviera after seeing the moody blues and mauves, the luminous yellow-golds and greens, and these paintings in which Bonnard manages to include still lives, figures, and landscapes in every canvas.

Through Jan. 28, 2024

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map

At the Modern, we have a brilliant, massive retrospective that shows decades of work from Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, a citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation. Coming from its extraordinarily acclaimed run at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the exhibition does justice to the multidisciplinary artist who made her mark with pieces that work against invisibility with tenacity, irony, word play, and wit. (As in the drawing that proclaims “Ceci n’est pas une peace pipe.”) From her found-object Indian Madonna Enthroned (1974), with its beaded hide moccasins and ear-of-corn heart, to acerbic, room-filling installations and paintings, the exhibition does justice to an artist who is leaving a tremendous legacy. Watch this moving five-minute film produced by the Whitney. And go rectify a lifetime of far too infrequent shows.

Through Jan. 21, 2024

Maren Hassinger
Maren Hassinger, Field, 1989; concrete and wire rope; 36 x 60 x 84 inches; Nasher Sculpture Center, acquired through the Kaleta A. Doolin Acquisitions Fund for Women Artists. Kevin Todora, Courtesy Nasher Sculpture Center

Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St.

Groundswell: Women of Land Art

If there is one show you must see this year, it is Groundswell. Do not merely take my word for it. The New York Times reviewed it twice (once in its magazine), and the entire country seems to have been catching flights to Dallas since Nasher curator Leigh Arnold’s opus opened in September. It presents a new thesis about land art, that the movement, born in the 60s and 70s, need not be known only for gargantuan works lost in remote spaces, nor for a trio of men, privileged by history, who made them. It also unites 12 important female artists, five of whom created new work or recreated something old for the show. It also does the seemingly impossible: bring land art—often ephemeral, usually outdoor—into the museum gallery. It is one of the most beautifully, synergistically, and intelligently curated and installed shows I have ever seen.

Read more in Lauren Smart’s feature from the October issue of D here.

Through Jan. 7, 2024

Conduit Gallery, 1626 Hi Line Dr.

Umbhiyozo & Jack Pine Savage

Umbhiyozo is a continuation of the work of curator Laurie Ann Farrell, whom the D staff voted Best Curator in the Best of Big D issue for her work on If You Look Hard Enough, You Can See Our Future, an exhibition of South African art from the Nando’s collection at the African American Museum. Here, she puts forward emerging South African artists. The Creative Block Initiative in Cape Town offers artists a single blank block to use as a canvas. Alongside Umbhiyozo, the group show Jack Pine Savage takes deep winter as a theme.

Through Dec. 31

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Eve Hill-Agnus

Eve Hill-Agnus

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Eve Hill-Agnus was D Magazine’s dining critic from 2014-2021. She has roots in France and California and during her time at D wrote…
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