Texas

Actually, what I’ve been doing is going to Texas to see art. They have plenty, in beautiful museum buildings. I got back from Dartington on Saturday and was off to Houston on Sunday, so didn’t  have a chance to sort out my social media for the show before I went.

Here’s some highlights:

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A cabinet of curiosities/wunderkammer at the Houston Natural History Museum – where you can touch everything. Good dinosaurs and gems too.

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Anish Kapoor at the sculpture garden of the Houston Museum of Fine Art – Louise Bourgeois, Ellsworth Kelly, Rodin and others too

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A Gee’s Bend quilt made from jeans in the Houston MFA

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James Turrell’s light piece at Rice University in Houston – go at dusk for a light show

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Nasher sculpture garden in Dallas. The Museum of Fine Art next door is a confusing building but has a good collection- including  an interesting gallery of Latin American work, and Mondrian’s work from all stages so you can see his development towards the grids. Also a Monet waterlilies painting  displayed so well, that as you sit on a sofa and look at it lit from above with daylight it really does look like a pond.

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Kimble Museum Fort Worth. This is an amazing collection in exquisite buildings –  a perfect art gallery. That’s Caravaggio’s Card Sharps – yes, really and you can stand as close as you like. There is also Michaelangelo’s earliest known painting. worth going to Texas for this gallery alone. There are two other art museums nearby – the Modern, with big works by lots of famous contemporary artists – several galleries of work by Sean Scully I was pleased to see. The Amon Carter museum of American art was closed for restoration but had some greatest hits on display, such as a Remington cowboy picture and Georgia O’Keefe..

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We went to Marfa, in West Texas. A long way from anywhere. Donald Judd set up here in the 1970s. The Chinati foundation shows his installations, and others by John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Ilya Kabakov and others. We weren’t allowed to take photos. This is the outside of Judd’s ‘compound’ where he lived in Marfa.  The town has lots of private galleries, and a great art bookshop, where I found myself talking about Ian Hamilton Findlay which seemed to take me to a very different place. We didn’t go to see the ‘Prada’ piece – too far out of town.

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The McNay gallery in San Antonio is a very interesting and eclectic collection ( really a set of collections). We were very impressed by the curating – I loved the idea of showing classic cars from the 1950s with Abstract Expressionist paintings.

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Back in Houston we were at the Menil Foundation. No photos inside – so here’s outside.  The highlights are a great collection of surrealist pictures- famous Magrittes, Max Ernst, a high drawing by John Cage, African art, Yves Klein….

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BUT: I’ve been waiting for over 30 years to visit the Rothko chapel – so when I arrive… it’s closed for restoration. I feel like those American tourists in Italy who arrive to find scaffolding all over famous landmarks. Maybe it’s best staying  in my imagination, anticipated.

 

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