From Ancient Artifacts to Technicolor Dirt

5 must-see Dallas-Fort Worth summer art exhibitions

Wari exhibit at Kimbell Art Museum
Photo by Robert LaPrelle
Katharina Grosse at Nasher Sculpture Center
Photo by Kevin Todora
Harlem Renaissance, Art museum, Arlington
Photo courtesy of Smithsonian American Art Museum

If you want to stay cool this summer, rather than hiding out in the very air-conditioned mall, feed your mind at one of Dallas-Fort Worth's great cultural institutions.

From ancient artifacts to contemporary art, these are five must-see summer exhibitions.

"Wari: Lords of the Ancient Andes" at Kimbell Art Museum
Through September 8
The Wari civilization, which formed in the late sixth century in what is now Peru, is largely regarded as South America’s first empire. However, unlike their Maya contemporaries, the Waris had no written language, so we have only their artwork to shed light on their way of life and expansion strategies. This exhibit, divided into four sections, showcases more than 100 works of art, including polychrome ceramics, metal and mosaic ornaments, wood and stone objects, and unique textiles. These works not only served as communication vehicles at the time, but they also recorded and preserved the way in which the Wari regarded themselves, nature and the divine realm.

"Impressions of Europe: 19th Century Vistas by Martin Rico" at Meadows Museum
Through July 7
You must lay your eyes on Spanish painter Martin Rico's exquisite landscapes from Rome, Venice, Florence and Naples before the exhibit closes at the Meadows in July. Through this retrospective of Rico's work, visitors can observe how his perspective changes from dark and romantic to colorful and luminous. The Meadows collaborated with Museo National del Prado in Madrid for this exhibition. 

"Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy" at Dallas Museum of Art
Through September 15
In honor of the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, the DMA reunites the art curated especially for the presidential suite in the Hotel Texas during that fateful trip in 1963. The collection — paintings, sculptures and works on paper from artists such as Monet, Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and Henry Moore — was thoughtfully orchestrated by a group of Fort Worth collectors. Presented in conjunction with the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, this is the first time since 1963 the works have been viewed in this grouping.

"Wunderblock" at Nasher Sculpture Center
Through September 1
The Nasher Sculpture Center's latest interactive installation by German artist Katharina Grosse is fun for audiences of all ages. Visitors can literally immerse themselves in Grosse's living canvas in the downstairs gallery, which comprises mounds of dirt painted in a rainbow of colors. "Wunderblock" reveals Grosse's work to a Dallas audience for the first time.

"Harlem Renaissance: A Celebration of Art & Culture" at Arlington Museum of Art
Through August 25
Through the works of artists Jacob Lawrence, Charles White, Aaron Douglas and Richmond Barthé, visitors learn about the Harlem Renaissance and how it influenced artists, musicians, authors and social activists. Together with the Smithsonian-curated "William H. Johnson: An American Modern," this is one of the largest African-American art collections shown in North Texas.