Dallas Museum of Art to Present Three Significant Contemporary Art Exhibitions

Dallas, TX, January 10, 2005—The Dallas Museum of Art will present a trio of significant contemporary art exhibitions beginning with Robert Smithson, a retrospective of work by the pioneer earthworks artist, opening Sunday, Jan. 16, in the Barrel Vault. The Robert Smithson exhibition will be complemented by a new installation in the DMA’s recently renovated Contemporary Art Galleries focusing on minimalist and post-minimalist works.

The Smithson opening will be followed by the Jan. 21 debut of Concentrations 46: Daniel Roth, Zones of Dissolution, which features a two-room installation of works, including graphite wall drawings, photography and sculpture by the young German artist. The Concentrations exhibition will be in a portion of the Contemporary Art Galleries.

To complete the trio of exhibitions, the Museum will present a dramatic exhibition of 120 photographs taken by William Eggleston between 1964 and 1974 in William Eggleston: Los Alamos, which opens Feb. 6 in the Chilton Galleries. The photographs in the exhibition are part of a portfolio that is considered this master photographer’s first work, and helped establish color photography as a serious artistic medium.

Robert Smithson Retrospective – January 16–April 3, 2005
The retrospective features more than 130 objects including sculpture, paintings, works on paper, essays and manuscripts, photographs and films made between 1955 and 1973. An important component to the exhibition will be film, photo-documentation and drawings related to Smithson’s most famous work, Spiral Jetty (1970), a 1,500 foot long and 15 foot wide rock coil that extends into the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

“Robert Smithson is increasingly being seen as one of the most influential American artists of the late 20th century,” said Charles Wylie, The Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, who, with Suzanne Weaver, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, coordinated the Dallas installation of the exhibition.

“Although his life was cut short by his untimely death in a plane crash near Amarillo at the age of 35, Smithson’s career was distinguished and highly important. His art and writings define key issues of the 1960s and 1970s and remain relevant—even inspirational—to younger artists today,” Weaver added.

Works by Smithson in the exhibition will range from a selection of paintings and drawings featuring symbolic imagery, word drawings, collages and cartouches made early in his career between 1955 and 1963, to dazzling mirrored wall and floor structures such as Mirrors and Shelly Sand (1969–1970) from the Dallas Museum of Art’s collections. Key works in the exhibition produced in 1966 include Alogon #2, Glass Stratum, Untitled (science fiction landscape), Monument for the Red Sea, and A Heap of Language.

In 1966, Smithson began experimenting with the ideas of landscape, specific sites and mapping when he was commissioned to develop a project for Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. His use of topographic maps from that project evolved into a body of works based on maps and mapping, which also encompasses art institutions, notably museums.

The exhibition explores four themes contained in Smithson’s work: landscape, language, the monument and the site. Each theme is associated with different periods in the artist’s career. The exhibition also focuses on Smithson’s fascination with nature’s tendency toward increasing disorder or randomness—what is defined broadly as entropy—and with the entropic landscape, which evokes the primordial past as well as the science-fiction future.

Robert Smithson was organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, with Suzanne Weaver and Charles Wylie as organizing curators in Dallas.

The exhibition has been made possible by the generous support of the Ahmanson Foundation through the Ahmanson Curatorial Fellowship. Major support for the exhibition has been provided by the Henry Luce Foundation and Altria Group, Inc.

Exhibition support in Dallas provided by Altria Group, Inc., the Contemporary Art Fund through the gifts of an anonymous donor, Naomi Aberly and Laurence Lebowitz, Arlene and John Dayton, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Faulconer, Nancy and Tim Hanley, The Hoffman Family Foundation, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Evelyn P. and Edward W. Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and the Donor Circle Membership Program with leadership gifts by Laura and Walter Elcock, Amy and Vernon Faulconer, and The Fund for the Encouragement of Informed Risk Taking.

Promotional support provided by The Dallas Morning News. Additional support is provided by the Barbara and Fred Kort Family Foundation in honor of Tom Unterman; Janet and Tom Unterman; Dwell; the Fifth Floor Foundation; and Emily Rauh Pulitzer.

Concentrations 46: Daniel Roth, Zones of Dissolution – January 21–April 9, 2005
The landscape theme of Smithson’s work continues with Concentrations 46: Daniel Roth, Zones of Dissolution. In this exhibition, the young German artist documents the Cabrini Green Forest, which grows in a secret underground tunnel connecting the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Facility in Chicago’s Loop with the Cabrini Green housing projects north of downtown.

“Daniel Roth is more than an artist, in this exhibition, he plays the role of detective and archaeologist to create unusual connections and reveal hidden relationships,” said Suzanne Weaver, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, who organizes the Concentrations series. “Like all of his work, this installation links reality with imaginary events and fantastic locations.”

The exhibition is drawn directly on the walls with the bare branches of the forest’s trees encompassing the gallery while across the room a futuristic rendering of the prison tower projects the forested tunnels from its lower level. Framed drawings include architectural diagrams of the correctional facility, which details the location of the tunnel’s access point in the basement. Sculptural elements include a basin of mysterious brown water, which also serves as a portal to the tunnel and an instrument to communicate directly with the tunnel.

The Concentrations series began in 1981 as part of the Dallas Museum of Art’s commitment to the work of living artists. The goal of Concentrations is to make the work of contemporary artists accessible to Dallas Museum of Art audiences, while preserving the excitement and challenge of the work. The Dallas Museum of Art will present an additional Concentrations exhibition in 2005: Concentrations 47: Jim Lambie, Oct. 6, 2005–Jan. 8, 2006. Concentrations 45: Helen Mirra was at the DMA Oct. 22, 2004 through Jan. 2, 2005.

William Eggleston: Los Alamos – February 6–May 15, 2005
Eggleston’s inventive use of color and spontaneous compositions profoundly influenced the generation of photographers that followed him, as well as critics, curators, and writers concerned with photographs. Although he didn’t invent the process, Eggleston is known as the “Father of Color Photography.” He used a dye-transfer process that was radically new at the time that allowed Eggleston to print photographs of intense color and to control his palette in a manner similar to a painter controlling oil paint.

“The work is an incredible use of color at a time when color photographs were not considered high art,” Wylie said. “His influence has been incalculable on artists’ thinking about photography as a tool to use in their work. There is also a time-capsule effect of the work, a slice of the American southwest of the 60s and 70s that existed once and of course will not return—the work is not nostalgia; its evidence of the past beautifully preserved.”

Initially, Eggleston planned to create a compendium of more than 2,000 photographs to be contained in 20 volumes; his aim was to make the viewer look at photographs the way one looks at the world. But he abandoned the project, and hardly any of the negatives were ever printed. Now, 30 years later, a selection of this idiosyncratic encyclopedia of southern everyday life and vernacular culture is available to be seen.

William Eggleston: The Los Alamos Project was organized by the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany, was previously on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the only other venue in the United States. The Dallas presentation was curated by Charles Wylie. The Dallas Museum of Art will serve as the final venue of the international tour. The exhibition is complemented by a catalogue with 97 full-color images. The hardcover catalogue is available in the Museum Store for $65.

Exhibition support is provided by the Contemporary Art Fund through the gifts of an anonymous donor, Naomi Aberly and Laurence Lebowitz, Arlene and John Dayton, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Faulconer, Nancy and Tim Hanley, The Hoffman Family Foundation, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Evelyn P. and Edward W. Rose, and Gayle and Paul Stoffel. Additional support provided by the Exhibitionists Endowment Fund.

Contemporary Art Galleries
The 8,900 square feet of versatile space showcases works from the Museum’s impressive permanent collection of contemporary art, as well as temporary exhibitions including the DMA’s Concentrations series of single-artist exhibitions. The new installation, which complements the Robert Smithson exhibition, has more than 20 works including sculpture, paintings, and media installations by artists such as Richard Serra, Mario Merz, Bruce Nauman, Lynda Benglis, Agnes Martin, Brice Marden, Richard Tuttle, Richard Long, and Lothar Baumgarten.

The Contemporary Art Galleries’ renovation encompassed four months and was designed by renowned architects Gluckman Mayner Architects. The new galleries, which were completed in September 2004, offer flexible display configurations, expansive floor space, and high ceilings for large paintings, sculptures, and installations, and a permanent, central wall technologically equipped to support numerous multi-media works, allowing the DMA to present a wide and sophisticated range of new art in all disciplines and forms.

Renovation of the galleries was made possible by the Contemporary Art Fund through the gifts of an anonymous donor, Naomi Aberly and Laurence Liebowitz, Arlene and John Dayton, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Faulconer, Nancy and Tim Hanley, The Hoffman Family Foundation, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Evelyn P. and Edward W. Rose, and Gayle and Paul Stoffel.