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Best Art Events of 2013

Top 5 Art Events of 2013 DFW

#1 The Kimbell, as the museum located physically in between the Amon Carter and the Fort Worth Modern, is now a stylistic bridge between the two thanks to the brand new Piano Pavilion . The Piano Pavilion (it even has that new museum smell) leans towards the  minimalist architecture of the Modern Museum of Art while the original Kimbell echoes the Amon Carter with its prominent use of stone and wood.  Even more than being the delicious filling in the museum sandwich, the Piano Pavilion provides distinctive spaces and  structure for the visitor to appreciate the depth of the Kimbell’s wide ranging collection.  My favorite Metroplex museum just got better.

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#2 Aurora 2013, a massive, night-time, art walk in the Dallas Arts District was just overwhelming.  The Dallas Arts District brags that it is the largest arts district in the country.  But its unwieldy size and lack of cohesion made it seem like an arts district in name only, but during Aurora 2013 the Arts District was firing on all cylinders.  Aurora was also when I developed a deeper appreciation for what an important space Klyde Warren Park.  KWP walked both sides of the line: always being right in the middle of it all, while somehow remaining a separate, peaceful place with skyscrapers on each side, highway traffic roaring underneath and fenced in by city traffic.  Who would have thunk it.

It was exhausting to keep track of the dozens of installations in Aurora.  There was a trick or treat feel to the gallery walk.  Art bumped right up against the crowd with pop-up displays everywhere and serendipitous interruptions by dancers.  It was an enormous social media event as well, with pictures, videos, comments and dueling hashtags.  Aurora 2013 was such a huge event on so many levels, and so effectively planned that it didn’t feel planned at all.  Check out my video of the Singin in the Rain installation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GjxRmwSEw4

#3 SMU Opera was my favorite discovery of the year.  As someone who doesn’t know anything about opera, the bite-sized performances in the lobby of SMU’s Bob Hope Theater have made me opera-curious.  These samples of opera have made me more familiar with different styles and periods (the Romantic period: YUCK). Most importantly, I have gotten a glimpse of the different styles of the performers in the diverse SMU opera cast.  There are some booming voices in the cast, but there are some much quieter voices that are no less commanding.  These mini concerts take place during the week at noon, so I have been extremely lucky to make this discovery.

#4 DMA Friends & Free General Admission.  There has been something  of a theme about throwing open the doors of the Dallas Museum of Art and inviting the public in (eventually I am sure the DMA communications team will be able to get on-message), but these developments are bigger than accessibility and de-snobbing the largest art museum in Dallas.  DMA Friends makes the DMA a world leader in electronic engagement.  Does the program take you away from the art?  The exact same criticism is made of museum plaques and how long have they been around?  I really see DMA Friends as laying the groundwork for a program that is more interactive and promotes more engagement down the road.  It has been so successful that it would be hard to say it is in beta, but I think it is the infrastructure for an experience museums (even the Smithsonian) have only dreamed of.  Combined with the SMU’s National Center for Arts Research, Dallas is turning into an arts laboratory and an arts leader.  the-old-blind-guitarist-1903

#5 Matisse/Picasso was my favorite exhibition of the year.  The title of the exhibition is a total misnomer – this is a great survey of modern art from the beginning of the 20th century to the end of World War II.  The glimpses from each era demonstrate the progression of art in the early 20th century.  Included in the mix are the best Picassos in the Chicago Art Institute’s collection — I found myself wondering if the Art Institute had lost a bet that they let such spectacular works such as blue period classic “The Old Blind Guitarist” and “Mother and Child” out on loan.  It is still here through February 16 and if you are really feeling ambitious, catch the well reviewed Mexico Inside Out exhibit at the Modern Museum until January 5.

Juggling so much this year, my top five is in no way intended to be a comprehensive list.  That said, I think 2013 was a landmark year for the arts in the Metroplex, it was special to be able to experience as much of it as I did.

*The featured image is from the Diwali party at Art of Old India in the Design District.  Art of Old India is one of my favorite spaces in the Metroplex, I would highly recommend checking them out.

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