Press Release  March 13, 2020

Dallas Museum of Art Explores "The Poetics of Space"

Photo by Tom Little. Courtesy of the artist and Karma, New York

Alex Da Corte, Rubber Pencil Devil, 2018.

Dallas, TX — The Dallas Museum of Art presents For a Dreamer of Houses, an imaginative new exhibition of contemporary art that explores the significance of the spaces we inhabit and how they represent ourselves, our values, and our desires. Opening March 15, 2020, in the Museum’s grand Barrel Vault and Quadrant Galleries, the exhibition takes inspiration from philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s influential 1958 book The Poetics of Space and his use of the house as a metaphor for psychological and cultural development. Fifty-four works in a variety of media by more than thirty-five artists from around the globe demonstrate the evocative power of domestic objects and structures. Almost all of the works are from the DMA’s permanent collection, including nine new acquisitions being shown for the first time and works by ten artists with connections to Texas.

“Exciting recent additions to our contemporary collection provided the opportunity to organize this exhibition, which relates compelling artworks to an enduringly fascinating text,” said Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the Eugene McDermott Director of the DMA. “With these large-scale and highly immersive new works, along with treasures from the collection that go as far back as 1950, we hope visitors will be introduced to new ways of looking at everyday items to discover much deeper meanings.”

Courtesy Misty Keasler and The Public Trust Gallery

Misty Keasler, Green Room (Quarenteen) Leagnul di Copii, Tigru Mures, Romania, 2004.

The organization of the exhibition thematically corresponds to five chapters in Bachelard’s book, with major recent acquisitions highlighted in each section:

“Intimate Immensity” refers to the physical awareness that arises when realizing one’s small place in a vast world, exemplified by Pipilotti Rist’s Massachusetts Chandelier, made of many pairs of intimate clothing, and Janine Antoni’s Grope textile sculpture of men’s pants pockets.

“Drawers, Chests, and Wardrobes” features household objects that conceal private desires—playful sculptures by Olivia Erlanger, Sarah Lucas, and Robert Pruitt—or haunting memories—commemorative works by EJ Hill, Doris Salcedo, and Danh Vo.

“Dialectics of Inside and Outside” explores physical, psychological, and social boundaries. Alex Da Corte’s neon house-frame installation, Rubber Pencil Devil, lures visitors in to watch a sequence of absurdist videos. Three-dimensional works by Margaret Lee, Betty Woodman, and others hover between mediums.

“Shells” interprets buildings as expressions of their inhabitants’ personalities. Do Ho Suh recreates an entryway to his childhood home in delicate fabric, in a work titled Hub, 260-10 Sungbook-dong, Sungbook-ku, Seoul, Korea. This section includes a broad selection of photographs that depict living spaces by 15 artists including Judy Fiskin, Misty Keasler, and Annette Lawrence.

“Nests” focuses on rooms as containers for relationships. In Chapel, Francisco Moreno borrows a historical structure and personalizes the interior with an epic collage of cultural references. Paintings, photographs, and works on paper by Jacob Lawrence, Clementine Hunter, Bill Owens, and others show gatherings of friends and families.

© Annette Lawrence

Annette Lawrence, 3708 Utopia Pkwy #1, 1999.

“Artists have long depicted the home as site for self-discovery, encounter, and community,” said Dr. Anna Katherine Brodbeck, the Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art and organizer of the exhibition. “This exhibition allows us to explore how artists today are engaging with that theme in exciting and ambitious ways, challenging our preconceptions of identity formation and cultural exchange.”

Visitors can further explore the artists and themes in For a Dreamer of Houses in a series of public programs throughout the exhibition’s presentation. Confirmed events, with more to come, can be found at DMA.org.

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