A grant of $150,500.00 over 3 years starting in 2010 to support research and documentation of Texas art organizations in Dallas in the early and mid-20th century and the creation of the Archive of Contemporary Art in Dallas, 1963-2000. The exhibition DallasSITES: Charting Contemporary Art, 1963 to Present, on view May 26 through September 15, 2013 is part of this project. A scholarly electronic publication accompanied the exhibition. Leigh Arnold, a doctoral student at UTD, is the Research Project Coordinator, working closely with Gabriel Ritter, The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the DMA.
The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) received a three-year grant from the Texas Fund for Curatorial Research to underwrite research culminating in an exhibition and associated publication DallasSITES focusing on the influence that the 1963 merger of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts had on the local contemporary art landscape in Dallas. This project provided information on a fifty year period. It enriched the holdings of the DMA archives, which are already considered a key resource for the arts in the DFW community, by documenting this key moment and establishing the DMA as the primary location for archival materials related to the course of contemporary art in Dallas.
By using the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts merger as a starting point, this project illustrated the significant and largely unrecorded and unheralded figures and organizations involved with the growth of contemporary art throughout our city over the fifty years since that important event. Some of the organizations featured were North Park Mall and Patsy and Ray, the Nasher Sculpture Center (NSC), local galleries and the emergence of a gallery system in the DFW Metroplex, the Meadows Museum, DW Gallery, Deep Ellum, South Dallas Cultural Center, 500X, Latino Cultural Center, the Dallas Contemporary, the MAC, the development of the Arts District, and the Cowboys Stadium Art program. Also explored were the influences of the Dallas Museum of Art Artists Awards, the emergence of local university galleries and art departments, as well as local artist groups such as the Good/Bad Art Collective.
The grant provided a salary for a research associate who researched the history of contemporary art in Dallas from 1963 to the present, documenting and memorializing key dates and people involved and acquiring new archival materials, including transcriptions of interviews. With Dallas Museum of Art curators, the research associate reviewed the research and created a coherent and compelling storyline to share with the broader public, in a research publication and an exhibition, DallasSites: Charting Contemporary Art, 1963 to present.
The project had two phases.
- Phase One research was added to the Dallas Museum of Art Archives and makes the DMA the primary repository for contemporary art history in Dallas. An important objective of this phase was acquiring and transcribing information garnered from interviews of individuals. Hilary Bober, DMA’s Digital Archivist and the project researcher, Leigh Arnold were the primary individuals responsible for completing this phase.
- Phase Two presented the story of contemporary art in Dallas since the 1963 merger to the public through an exhibition DallasSITES: Charting Contemporary Art, 1963 to Present, an exhibition celebrating the History of North Texas’s bold and distinctive art scene on view May 26 through September 15, 2013 and curated by Gabriel Ritter, The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. Along with related programs, events, and promotion, an online digital publication featuring interactive media is available on the DMA website.