Operation Big D Debriefing

After a half day in Dallas, I had visited three renowned art museums. So what did I think of it? I think the Dallas Arts District is a beautifully designed park-like area under blue, soaring skyscrapers. All the main sights are within a block of each other, parking is simple (for a fee), walks are easy, and on a rainy Saturday morning, they were great indoor attractions and relatively uncrowded. Unlike the Louvre (see my Louvre post for more details) in this museum, there were expansive galleries and plenty of space to stop, read plaques, and appreciate the masterpieces in all three places. The architecture itself was amazing, particularly at the Nasher Sculpture Center. So let’s go through each individual location I toured and review them all before summarizing.

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Dallas Museum of Art

By far the best of the three. While I focused my explorations on the upper two stories, the amount of American, African, Pacific, and Mesoamerican art was astonishing. The rooms were as cold as a meat locker, but this added to the character. From the architecturally impressive main lobby and its staircase led up to a dark, atmospheric gallery of Central American works. Across the hallway are colonial and American artifacts, including my two favorites, Drouth Stricken Area and The Icebergs. The former epitomizes the hopeless nature of the Dust Bowl and sharp linear style, while the latter depicts a desolate, hazardous but enchanting natural landscape. The third floor encompasses great works from Africa, while the South Pacific exhibit showed off amazing preserved woodwork, weapons, and religious ritual statues. I found the gift shop a bit lacking, seeing it had little to offer concerning the upper two floors, but nonetheless it was pretty and I enjoyed it. The best part of this museum is the fact that it compresses such a vast scale of human art into a small area, giving a global feel to it. I give the Dallas Museum of Art a 5/5.

Crow Collection of Asian Art

My least favorite of the DAD trio. Granted, it was undergoing restoration work at the time, and the upper floors were restricted. But even then, I still wished they would have moved more artifacts to fill up the bottom floor, which was occupied by two relatively small exhibits. I did enjoy the samurai memorabilia as well as the full suit of armor, which was neat to see. I will say though, that because of the construction and the small size of the gallery, it was merely a short stopover to the next museum. I give the Crow Collection a 3/5.

Nasher Sculpture Center

I really liked the architecture of this one out of all three. The building itself is beautiful, as well as the verdant courtyard out back and the clean cafe. I appreciated how the artworks were few and far between, making the empty rooms seem bigger and giving a sense of scale, as if the sculptures were islands in a sea of glass, stone, and wood. And the sheer weirdness of some of these artworks really made me think deeply about art, whether it be in steel, marble, or… a strange, freestanding plank form. I give the Nasher Sculpture Center a 4/5.

El Fenix 

A classic Tex-Mex joint, they serve good tacos and spicy enchiladas. In a good setting replicating a Mexican village. I give it a 4/5.

In Summary… I like the Dallas Arts District a lot. I wouldn’t travel halfway around the world just to see it, but I’d definitely give it a look on my next Texan tour. These are great places to visit, especially if you’re having a rainy day or a lengthy layover. Not overly crowded, mostly free, close together, and each have their own specialties. They are temples of art, sculpture, architecture, and world culture. I wasn’t blown away by the place, but it was far from a disappointment. It contained treasures I knew nothing about, and truly educated me, which is what a great museum does. If I had to pick one museum, do the Dallas Museum of Art, and focus on the upper two floors. In conclusion, because of the architecture, variety of works and media, and compactness, I give the Dallas Arts District a 4/5. That translates to pretty great!

Favorite Souvenir:

Drouth Stricken Area by Alexandre Hogue Postcard, Dallas Museum of Art

Highlights:

  • Architecture of the Dallas Arts District
  • The Icebergs at the Dallas Museum of Art
  • Pacific Islands Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art

Book Entries Visited:

1. The Dallas Arts District: Dallas, USA  4/5 Stars

Book Locations Visited:

  • The Dallas Arts District  4/5
  • Dallas Museum of Art   5/5
  • Crow Collection of Asian Art  3/5
  • Nasher Sculpture Center  4/5
    • Works By Rodin and Picasso 3/5
    • Indoor/outdoor cafe 4/5
    • Garden That Showcases Large-Scale Works 5/5

Non-Book Locations Visited:

  • El Fenix  4/5

 

 

 

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