Visual Arts

A guide to a gallery experience downtown.

Art Walk

The artwork that decorates Dallas’ downtown is a diverse collection from world-renowned artists and lesser-known locals alike that’s only growing with the addition of Craig Hall’s plaza, Tim Headington’s acquisitions, and, soon, more city-commissioned work along Ross Avenue. And yet, most of the time, we are simply marching past on our way to a concert or whizzing by on the way to work. Which raises the question: why have this art? “Why do you put artwork in your home? Why do you put artwork on your computer?” says Kay Kallos, the public art program manager for the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “Because looking at things that are interesting, pleasant, or challenging stimulates our engagement with the environment. If we didn’t have public art, it would be a really dull place. And probably fewer people would want to go there.” Here, a suggested alfresco art tour through the city.

1

Pegasus (1984)

Artist: Stuart Kraft
Location: Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Routh Street at Flora Street

The scrap-steel Pegasus, with its 35-foot wingspan, is the result of a Booker T. class project involving 12 students, one teacher, and Dallas artist Stuart Kraft, who passed away in 2015.

2

HALL Arts

multiple works

Developer and Art Collector: Craig Hall
Location: 2323 Ross Ave.

Developer and art collector Craig Hall designed his building in the Dallas Arts District around a public sculpture garden and commissioned new works to populate it. Highlights of the collection include Texas-based artists like James Surls, Joseph Havel, and Jesús Bautista Moroles. But perhaps the most eye-catching works are the 101-foot-high Tatlin’s Sentinel (2001), by Tennessee artist John Henry, and Paths (2014), by Icelandic sculptor Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, whose ambiguous, androgynous, and somewhat creepy human-size figures perch about the building.

3

The Storm (1997)

Artists: Chris Arnold and Jeff Garrison
Location: 717 Leonard St.

Jeff Garrison, from Kansas City, and Chris Arnold, a Dallas native and Booker T. grad, met as freshman roommates at the Columbus College of Art & Design. After graduation, they both ended up in Dallas painting backdrops for operas and musicals. In 1992, they decided they were destined for even bigger things, such as 12-story murals, so the pair founded Eyecon Studios in Oak Cliff. The Storm is the result of a Downtown Improvement District competition. The work—150 feet wide by 120 feet tall on the side of the Leonard Parking Garage—depicts 40 local artists. The model for the conductor is Arnold’s father, a music teacher at Leslie A. Stemmons Elementary School.

4

De Musica (1989)

Artist: Eduardo Chillida
Location: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St.

Chillida’s steel sculpture is the perfect complement to I.M. Pei’s masterpiece, the Meyerson Symphony Center, matching its themes of grandeur, grace, fluidity, and elegance.

5

Genesis, the Gift of Life (1954)

Artist: Miguel Covarrubias
Location: Dallas Museum of Art, across from Klyde Warren Park near North Harwood Street

The 12-by-60-foot glass mosaic was originally commissioned to decorate the Stewart building facing Central Expressway. It was moved and restored on the north side of the museum in the ’90s, and, today, the Mexican artist’s depiction of the creation of life and the four elements (water, earth, fire, and air) is a popular Instagram backdrop.

6

Ave (1973)

Artists: Mark Di Suvero
Location: Dallas Museum of Art, Ross Avenue at North Harwood Street

The bright-red steel girder sculpture—weighing in at a whopping 12,000 pounds—stands guard at the south entrance to the Dallas Museum of Art. Prior to the DMA’s 1976 acquisition, Ave did tours in Paris and New York.

7

Paving Carpets (2001)

Artists: Brad Goldberg, Roberto Munguia, David Hickman, and Pamela Nelson
Location: Multiple locations

Nearby architecture inspired this four-artist team, who worked with the city to create simplified geometric patterns in sidewalk squares sprinkled throughout downtown.

8

Bear Mountain Red—A Texas Landscape (1982)

Artist: Alice M. Bateman
Location: San Jacinto Street at North Harwood Street

The Fort Worth-based artist carved the abstract form, as well as the granite bench and two boulders, from a 12.5-ton stone block quarried in Fredericksburg.

9

Colts in Motion (1980)

Artist: Anna Debska
Location: North Harwood Street at San Jacinto Street

Trammell Crow brought Polish artist Anna Debska from Warsaw to Dallas to work for several months in 1979. The results of her efforts include Fighting Stallions at the Decorative Center Dallas and Colts in Motion on North Harwood Street.

10

Map Sculpture (1996)

Artists: Brad J. Goldberg
Location: Various locations

This trained sculptor and landscape architect designed Pegasus Plaza, the Lay Family Garden at the Dallas Arboretum, and the lobby of The Crescent. He also served as the lead artist and curator for DART’s public art program for more than a decade. For the Map Sculpture project, Goldberg created proportionally rendered re-creations of the Central Business District in bronze relief. Located at each of the four downtown DART stations, they helped travelers get their bearings in a pre-smartphone world.

11

Astral Flower (1969)

Artist: José Luis Sánchez
Location: Olive Street at Pacific Avenue

In 1969, the Dallas Morning News published “not-so-fragrant comments” from passersby who called the new abstract piece a “pile of junk,” among other slurs. Nevertheless, Lynn Rushton, the public art collection manager for the city of Dallas, names the cast aluminum sculpture as the most underrated artwork in downtown, especially due to its locale inside a tiny, triangular intersection.

12

Thanksgiving Square Chapel (1976)

Artist: Philip Johnson
Location: 1627 Pacific Ave.

You could say that Philip Johnson’s spiraling gyrelike nondenominational chapel is the city’s true monument to the JFK assassination. Dreamed up in 1964 by Dallas businessmen as—what else?—a re-branding exercise, Johnson’s simplicity of vision and careful attention to materials, scale, and light express a feeling of civic hope, subdued reflection, and spiritual gratitude.

13

Lucea (2016)

Artist: Anthony Howe
Location: Forty Five Ten, 1616 Elm St.

Tim Headington commissioned Anthony Howe’s towering, wind-powered floral pinwheel, which anchors the Elm Street entrance of Forty Five Ten, after seeing the kinetic artist’s work on YouTube. Howe was also responsible for the cauldron at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

14

Eye (2013)

Artist: Tony Tasset
Location: 1601 Main St.

The enormous three-story eyeball that sits on a downtown plaza next to Forty Five Ten is a goofy and surreal perk, a tongue-in-cheek visual pun that is simultaneously non-offensive and subtly ominous, while providing downtown with a perfectly Instagrammable backdrop.

15

Genesis Mosaic (1968)

Artist: György Kepes
Location: St. Jude Chapel, 1521 Main St.

The psychedelic sunrise swirl of yellow, brown, pink, purple, lavender, and lime green tiles was designed by MIT professor György Kepes in 1968 to represent the moment of creation. The mosaic was painstakingly restored last summer in advance of the St. Jude Chapel’s 50th anniversary this October.

16

Rosa Parks (2009)

Artist: Erik Blome
Location: West End DART Station, 301 N. Lamar St.

This statue of the civil rights activist, whose refusal to give up her seat led to the Montgomery bus boycott, is the second casting of three. The first was commissioned by Troy University to be placed in front of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

17

Ashley (2014)

Artist: Kate Firth
Location: El Centro College, North Lamar Street near Main Street

Kate Firth was only 26 years old when she won the bid to create her first public artwork for El Centro’s exterior, thus becoming one of the youngest artists represented downtown. The mounted structures are characteristic of the Dallas native’s colorful steelwork.

18

John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza (1970)

Artist: Philip Johnson
Location: 646 Main St.

Muted, somber, and lacking poignancy or emotion, Philip Johnson’s memorial feels less like a tribute to an American president and more like a monument to a city’s internal conflict and struggle to come to terms with the trauma of the terrible event.

19

Harrow (1992)

Artist: Linnea Glatt
Location: Lubben Plaza Park, 308 S. Market St.

The motorized steel sculpture completes a circle once a day in a sand-covered track. “It’s fun to put a blade of grass down and see if you can wait it out,” Rushton says.

20

Gateway Stele (1994)

Artist: Jesús Bautista Moroles
Location: Lubben Plaza Park, 308 S. Market St.

Until his death in a 2015 car wreck on I-35, Oak Cliff-bred sculptor Jesús Bautista Moroles was known as a diamond-saw-wielding master of granite whose commissions took his work all over the world, including Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. Gateway Stele represents civilizations coming together under one universal arch.

21

Journey to Sirius (1992)

Artist: George Smith
Location: Lubben Plaza Park, 308 S. Market St.

A sculptor and professor emeritus at Rice University, George Smith has long been fascinated by the Dogon, an African society believed to be of Egyptian descent. The Dogon live in an extremely rocky region of the Republic of Mali, where they create art on the cliff walls. This piece refers to the “dog” star Sirius, known to the Dogon people as “Po Tolo.” It was installed in 1992 in commemoration of A.H. Belo Corp’s
sesquicentennial.

22

Pegasus (1934)

Location: Omni Dallas Hotel, 555 S. Lamar St.

For years after its placement, in 1934, atop a 50-foot oil derrick on the 29-story Magnolia Petroleum Building, the porcelain and neon Pegasus stood as the highest point in Dallas. In 1999, the rusted panels were removed and replaced by a $600,000 replica, but when interest in the original was revived, the Pegasus pieces were found packed away in a city-owned shed near White Rock Lake. After a $200,000 restoration, it was erected outside the Omni in 2015. A picture with both Pegasuses is possible by stepping into the Omni’s valet lane (caution recommended).

23

Pioneer Plaza Cattle Drive (1996)

Artist: Robert Summers
Location: Pioneer Plaza, South Griffin Street at Young Street

Despite protests—including a lawsuit from a collective of artists—arguing that the grand Western-themed work was in poor taste and nonsensical in this mercantile city (Fort Worth is Cowtown, after all), billionaire Trammell Crow’s idea to give Dallas a monument with Eiffel-like appeal was realized. The herd of 49 oversize bronze longhorns and three cowboys have become one of the city’s top tourist attractions. “I have never seen a day too cold for people to climb and take a photo on the cows,” Kallos says.

24

Dallas Police Memorial (2001)

Artists: Ed Baum and John Maruszczak of Oglesby Greene Architects
Location: South Akard Street at Young Street

Creating an ever-changing work, badge numbers of slain officers shine through steel plates to the sidewalk below. “Most police memorials are extremely traditional,” Kallos says, “but I think this is one of the more effective and moving of them in the United States.”

25

Floating Sculpture (1973)

Artist: Marta Pan
Location: Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla St.

Mary “Billie” Cantrell Marcus (wife of Stanley Marcus) was scheduled to dedicate the work she helped bring to Dallas from New York’s Central Park, but she died the night before. The ceremony, attended by the abstract sculptor, became something of a funeral as Mr. Stanley dedicated the polyester spheres in his wife’s memory.

26

The Dallas Piece (1978)

Artist: Henry Moore
Location: Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla St.

Perhaps the most iconic piece of public art in Dallas, Henry Moore’s bronze form (sometimes called Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae) was commissioned by the city at the suggestion of I.M. Pei, who designed the brutalist-style City Hall building. “It was created as a tonic to that harsh, pared-down minimalism,” Rushton says. “The architecture is very severe and then here is this very organic form in front. Everything about it is very human.” After its dedication, the Dallas Morning News called it “strongly expressive and just as sensual.”

?

Peaches at the Farmers Market (2009)

 

Artist: Art Garcia
Location: Formerly at the Dallas Farmers Market

The city paid $18,000 for the concrete peaches and accompanying 3-foot basket that read “Dallas Farmer’s Market” (note the rogue apostrophe), yet the work was misplaced during the market’s recent refurbishment, most likely placed in storage but never documented. “There’s still potential,” says Rushton of their continued search. “Peachtential.”

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