Friday, May 24, 2024 May 24, 2024
77° F Dallas, TX

Q&A With Anna-Sophia van Zweden

The daughter of the DSO conductor moves to Dallas and finds inspiration.
photography by Nick Prendergast

Q: What’s it like having your father Jaap van Zweden’s face hanging on that 50-feet banner on the Meyerson, looking at you wherever you go?

A: Big Brother is watching me constantly. 

Q: You’re 24 and living at the Ritz, in your parents’ place. When’s the last time you lived with Mom and Dad?

A: Five or six years ago. Last week, they were out of town. My dad called and asked what I was doing, and I told him I was shopping at Highland Park Village. He said, “Okay, darling. I will speak to you tomorrow.” Five minutes later, they came walking into the store, in my changing room. They surprised me big time. But he’s working, and I’m working. So we eat together. We spend quality time.

Q: You’re too young to have seen the show Dallas, but what was your preconceived notion of the city before you came here?

A: I have a t-shirt with the whole cast from the series, but I have never seen the actual show. When my mother came here for the first time, she had these amazing stories about Dallas. She told me, “You really need to go there, especially for the arts.” So I went, and I was totally thrown over by everything here, especially the Dallas Museum of Art and the private collectors, the Rachofsky House, how different it is from the European system.

Q: Because there isn’t as much state support of the arts?

A: Yes. It makes a big difference. People feel so much more responsible for their arts. They see it as theirs. The energy is different from in Europe. That’s so special about the DMA. They work together with the private collectors—the Rachofskys, the Roses, the Hoffmans—on their collections in contemporary art. That is so different from how a European museum would work. That was one of the reasons that made me decide to come here.

Q: I’ve seen on your Facebook page—and look for my friend request soon—that you’ve got a little dog. What’s the breed?

A: It’s a mix between a Chihuahua and a Jack Russell terrier. Her name is Rex.

Q: Rex? That doesn’t sound Dutch at all.

A: I named her after an opera, Oedipus Rex. It’s also T. rex the dinosaur. And she’s so tiny. She goes with me anywhere. [She flourishes a large Louis Vuitton purse in which Rex often travels.]

Q: That’s a European thing. We don’t take our dogs to restaurants as often as Europeans. Have you tried that, gotten in trouble?

A: I have. They told me I wasn’t allowed to. I said, “I’m from Europe. I don’t know.”

Q: That’s the perfect excuse for anything! With your accent, you can just say, “I’m Dutch! I don’t know!”

A: No, no. I don’t want to do that!

Q: Have you been to Cafe Rembrandt? That’s the only Dutch place I know of in Dallas.

A: No, but I’m done with the Dutch. I want to do Texas things. I want to eat steaks and things like that, go to rodeo. [She pronounces it “row-DAY-oh,” like the street in LA.]

Q: As part of your internship at the DMA, you’re helping Charles Wylie curate the Willie Doherty show, which opens May 24.

A: Yes, I’m reading a lot about the themes he uses in his artwork. In this case, it’s all about the history of Ireland and The Troubles.

Q: Have you gotten to meet Doherty?

A: Not yet, but I probably will. Because he’s coming over to install.

Q: Well, we’re happy to have your dad conducting here, and I hope you enjoy your internship and your stay here. Maybe you’ll get out of Dallas before it gets too hot.

A: That’s one of the things I really love about Dallas. You have this bright light every morning. I wake up, and it’s like this kick-start. There’s this different energy level here than there is in Holland. There you have this big history, this feeling on your shoulders all the time. Here you have a feeling that it’s growing and that it’s not all been done yet. It’s a process of becoming. That’s inspiring for an artist. For me it is as well. I also make my own art [sculptures, ready-mades that she describes as “kind of scary”]. But I haven’t done it for a year. Now, since I arrived here, I am so inspired again. I told my friends who are coming over that they should bring all of my stuff because I really want to make some art again.

To hear an audio clip of Anna-Sophia’s charming Dutch accent, click here.

(*Tim Rogers interviewed Anna-Sophia van Zweden over lunch at the DMA’s Seventeen Seventeen. The third voice you’ll hear belongs to Stacie Adams, PR director for the DSO.)