This weekend marks the true beginning of the fall museum schedule, with shows opening or entering the second week at nearly every major museum in Dallas and Fort Worth. Here, we outline the highlights.
Being the River, Repeating the Forest
Thoreau once said, “Nature will bear the closet inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” In some ways, the work of Giuseppe Penone falls directly into this set of ideals. But in many ways, the Italian artist has spent his career, which spans nearly five decades, also questioning what we then owe nature in return? A member of the Arte Povera movement, Penone has explored the unshakeable binds between man and nature. For Being the River, Repeating the Forest, which opens at the Nasher Sculpture Center (2001 Flora St.) at 11 a.m. Saturday, Penone uses natural elements like wood, stone, acacia thorns, to present the processes of nature, while remaining fully aware of the interaction between artist and art. See the exhibition through Jan. 10. Admission is $10. More at nashersculpturecenter.og.
This weekend, the Dallas Contemporary (161 Glass St.) opens not one, not two, but FIVE exhibitions. The new year of programming kicks off with an intriguing slate of artists from different corners of the globe, each with a different, challenging perspective. Bani Abidi's An Unforeseen Situation will be her first solo museum exhibition in the US and features an older video piece, Funland, as well as new body of work, installed as an immersive site specific series. Berlin-based Nadia Kaabi-Linke presents six diverse pieces, each infusing beauty into critical perspectives on prevalent cultural issues from domestic violence to prevailing masculinity. Brazilian artist Adriana Varejao blends portraiture with her research on 19th century face painting used in combat by North American Indiean tribes. The Ukrainian photographers Synchrodogs recieve their first ever solo exhibition, which will feature a body of work that is the result of a roadtrip through Texas and questions the conceits of fashion photography. Finally, Dallas-based artist Jason Willaford's exhibit Sorry, this will only take a minute, is interested in what he calls the “gift of time,” and the need for complete isolation to disconnect. There will be plenty of art on display at the Contemporary starting at 11 a.m. Sunday and through December 20. More at dallascontemporary.org.
Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic
For much of his 14-year career, the artist Kehinde Wiley has explored issues of race, gender and class, smartly juxtaposing traditional portraiture, even referencing specific works by Titian and Van Dyck, but then placing a contemporary black man or women at the forefront. His interest in both art history and depictions of African American men, and women, in modern times, makes for endlessly fascinating conversation fodder. Beginning Sunday, The Modern exhibits 60 works that span his career, beginning with his observations in the Harlem Streets, to his newer interests in sculpture and stained glass "paintings." See the work from 10a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesdays -Sundays through Jan. 10, 2016. Admission is $10. More at themodern.org.
Spirit and Matter: Masterpieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art
Thanks to a long-term loan from one of the most important collections of Islamic art, the Keir Collection, the Dallas Museum of Art now has one of the most important collections of art from that area of the world. This weekend, an exhibition organized by the DMA’s Senior Advisor for Islamic Art Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir opens spanning thirteen centuries through more than fifty masterworks in mediums including rock crystal, works on paper, metalwork, ceramics, carpets and textiles. The exhibition opens Friday, and can be seen at this Friday's late night event. Admission is free. More at dma.org.
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Alexander Gorlizki: Variable Dimensions
The work of Alexander Gorlizki knows no bounds. Inspired by or fabricated in India, his work does not follow traditional Indian style, but instead references the artist's relationship with place. Working in numerous media, he uses the vocabulary of Mughal painting, Central Asian stitchery, and biomorphic symbolism, but it's also acceptable to talk about his work in language that sounds more like, "that's really cool." He works in rich color and varied pattern, particularly floral patterns familiar in the Islamic arts. See the work through March 20, 2015, and as part of late night this weekend. More at crowcollection.org.
That Day: Laura Wilson
Photographer Laura Wilson's vision of the West is at once recognizable to those of in Texas or nearby, but entirely foreign. Filled with notions of the heroic cowboy and pioneers headed into the great unknown, she captures a world filled with juxtapositions and hypocrisies. In one image taken in Nebraska, an Oglala Sioux woman speaks with the tribal leader through the window of a car; she wears a windbreaker with the Dallas Cowboys logo on it. Yet in other images, she photographs a group of cowboys traversing an enormous plain, looking like something out of a John Wayne movie, or perhaps, the Marlboro man. In this new exhibit at the Amon Carter, Wilson's turns her keen eye to everything from the Mexican-American border to cockfighting in Webb County, Texas. See the work through February 14, 2015. Admission is free.