Visual Art

2013's Best Museum Exhibits

From street artists to Picasso, the biggest museums in Dallas and Fort Worth welcomed a diverse array of mediums, genres and artists. The Dallas Museum of Art mounted a retrospective of the groundbreaking performance artist and photographer Cindy Sherman, while the Amon Carter's survey of color photography welcomed submissions from onlookers. In 2013, there was so much art in Dallas that it couldn't stay within the four walls of exhibition halls; the Nasher Sculpture Center placed public art all over the city as part of its Xchange program. And the entire Arts District was home to the one-night-only illuminated art exhibit Aurora.

For our list of 2013's best museum exhibits, we only chose those that took place indoors. After all, you could argue that your neighbor's Christmas display is art (it's not).

FAILE's Where Wild Won't Break at Dallas Contemporary The pieces in Where Wild Won't Break were intricate and eye-catching, with pop art and cultural criticism carved into blocks of wood and engraved into copper. This was the Brooklyn-based art collective's first solo exhibition, after 15 years of creating street art throughout the world. The expansive collection was on display during the Dallas Contemporary's overnight Alive for 35! birthday party, which was probably the amount of time necessary to really explore every corner of the art.


Katharina Grosse's WUNDERBLOCK at Nasher Sculpture Center From a distance, and in pretty much every crappy Instagram photo, WUNDERBLOCK looked like piles of dirt. But if you slipped into the little blue booties and walked through Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse's site-specific creation at the Nasher over the summer, the vibrant colors were hypnotizing. Even in the Center's smallest gallery, visitors found themselves lost in the colorful landscape.


Cindy Sherman retrospective at Dallas Museum of Art Cindy Sherman's face is unrecognizable, but her self-portraits are everywhere. Throughout her career, she has transformed her face and body into innumerable characters that challenge ideas of identity and femininity. The scope of this traveling exhibit was incredible, exploring the nooks and crannies of her career (and her body). I never expected to become quite so intimate with Sherman and I still don't know how I feel about it. I would probably describe my feelings leaving the DMA that day as astonished, overwhelmed and a little bit icky.


The Age of Picasso and Matisse: Modern Masters from the Art Institute of Chicago at the Kimbell Art Museum Thanks to the Art Institute of Chicago, nearly 100 pieces by two of the most familiar names in the art world are on display at the Kimbell (through February 16, 2014). The exhibit gives the less-traveled art lovers a chance to see a slew of textbook masterpieces and learn a little bit about the two of them (did you know they were buddies?). This was a banner year for the Kimbell, with the completion of the stunning Renzo Piano pavilion this fall.


Color! American Photography Transformed at the Amon Carter Museum To a modern eye, black and white photography delivers a sense of nostalgia, immediately signaling an antique setting, a time in history. Color! delves into the transition in photography from monochrome to technicolor, allowing visitors to follow the evolution of modern photography. Growing up, I was definitely one of those stupid kids who thought the world was black and white in the 1930s (I thought that's why they called it the Great Depression). Equally cool is that the Amon Carter added photographs from museum visitors to the exhibit's digital timeline.

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Lauren Smart
Contact: Lauren Smart