Saturday, January 12, 2013
8 must-see museums in North Texas
Including Dallas' newest, the Perot.
The chilly January weather makes this month the perfect time to take advantage of the wealth of museum options that the Dallas-Fort Worth area has to offer. We’ve gathered info on 15 great attractions, as well as what you can do at each one.
African American Museum in Dallas-- This Fair Park institution preserves African-American cultural, historical, and artistic materials throughout its five galleries, and also offers educational programs as well as a research library. Its cross-shaped building encompasses one of the largest collections of African-American folk art in the country. The current featured exhibit is “Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals From Talladega College,” runs through February 28. It displays six vibrant murals with depictions of African-American history, such as "The Mutiny on the Amistad," "The Underground Railroad," and "Opening Day at Talladega College." The next exhibit will be “Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney.” The retrospective of the art of the 2010 Caldecott Medal-winning children’s book illustrator, which will run March 2-May 25, goes beyond his illustrations, also showcasing other types of work.
Dallas Museum of Art -- Some of the big news from this museum is that, starting January 21, general admission and membership will be free. The museum’s collection includes more than 22,000 works from around the world and spans 5,000 years. The DMA is home to the Late Nights and Thursday Night Live event programs; the stellar Arts & Letters Live literary series; adult, teen and family workshops; and more. The special exhibition “Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries,” which explores the earliest days of the affiche artistique (artistic poster) and its flowering in Paris, is on view through January 20. Up next for the museum is “Chagall: Beyond Color,” featuring paintings, sculpture, ceramics and collage by the artist, as well as costumes he made for the ballet Aleko in 1942. The Chagall exhibit runs February 17- May 26.
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney -- Encompassing 289 acres in McKinney, the Heard offers five types of habitats, nature trails, a Texas native plant garden, wildlife, educational programs, natural science collections, and exhibits. More than 200 species of birds live there or migrate through, making it a popular site for birding enthusiasts. Current exhibits include “Animals of the World,” (a permanent outdoor exhibit) and “Animal Superheroes” (running through 2013). “Dinosaurs Live!” is featured through February 3, with nine life-size animatronic dinosaurs out on the nature trail, along with two static dinosaur figures for kids to play on. Also planned for exhibit in 2013: a 40-foot Mosasaur fossil that was found in Garland.
The Meadows Museum in Dallas -- This Southern Methodist University gem houses what’s billed as one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside Spain. How’d that happen? Philanthropist and oilman Algur H. Meadows developed a love of Spanish art at the Prado Museum in Madrid during business trips in the 1950s, which eventually grew into his own collection, which led to him giving funds to SMU for the museum’s construction and endowment through the Meadows Foundation. “Diego Velázquez: The Early Court Portraits,” focused on Velázquez’s work as the court portraitist for King Philip IV, is on view through January 13. March 10-July 7, the museum will host “Impressions of Europe: Nineteenth-Century Vistas by Martín Rico.”
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth -- Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed the building, which houses post-World War II art in various media. “Selections From the Permanent Collection,” on view through August 11, shows work representing various movements, themes and styles in modern and contemporary international art, including abstract expressionism, color-field painting, pop art and minimalism. At the Modern’s entrance, you can spot a 16-foot-tall sculpture by Brooklyn-based artist Kaws in “Companion (Passing Through),” on view through March 10. Two “Focus” series exhibitions, featuring works by emerging artists, open January 13. One puts the spotlight on British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE’s life-size sculptural tableaux, the other focuses on works that mimic smudged chalk by New York artist Gary Simmons.
Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas -- The urban retreat, designed by Renzo Piano, is a repository of modern sculpture and houses the celebrated collection of Raymond and Patsy Nasher. “Rediscoveries: Modes of Making in Modern Sculpture” (through January 13) showcases works from the Nashers’ collection, and “Sightings: Eva Rothschild” (through January 20) features an installation made up of an intricate network of painted piping. February 9-May 12, “Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective” will be on view. Artist Kiki Smith will be the featured speaker at the annual Nasher Lecture Series, presented by the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design, on January 29 at 7 p.m. The Nasher is also home to the Target First Saturdays free family event series, the ’Til Midnight movie and music series, the NasherSalon speaker series and more. The garden is a tranquil, art-filled highlight of a visit at any time of year.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas -- The new museum’s interactivity is its best calling card: On every floor, in every hall — even in the lobby — visitors will get the chance to make their experience unique, whether it’s through designing their own birds, creating colors, building robotic vehicles or examining their own cheek cells in the Bio Lab. Don’t miss the 85-foot-long Alamosaurus, the “Earthquake Shake” simulator and the chance to race the T. rex. Plus, the whole family can check out the February 9 launch of Discovery Days at the Perot, which will feature live demonstrations, performances, local experts, and opportunities for hands-on learning the second Saturday of each month. An after-hours event series for adults, called Social Science, launches January 18 (this installment is sold out, but tickets are on sale on the website for an April 5 event).
Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas -- The audio tour is one of the highlights at the museum that chronicles the life, assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. As the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death approaches, the museum is launching a monthly Living History series on January 12 at 2 p.m. The series will focus on firsthand accounts of the assassination and other historic events in the early ’60s. The Rev. Bill McElvaney, who was involved in desegregation of Mesquite schools and Vietnam War protests in Dealey Plaza, will be the first speaker. The series is the first of several exhibits, collaborations and programs the museum has planned leading up to the November anniversary.
Compiled by Dena Hill, Ann Pinson, and Joy Tipping.