Maxwell L. Anderson

The director of the Dallas Museum of Art on bittersweet chocolate, being unflappable and Dallas' inferiority complex

The director of the Dallas Museum of Art on bittersweet chocolate, being unflappable and Dallas' inferiority complex

Maxwell Anderson of the Dallas Museum of Art
Maxwell L. Anderson has hit the ground running since his January 2012 appointment as director of the DMA. Photo courtesy of the DMA

Editor’s note: CultureMap is proud to introduce a new series called The Influentials, in which we chat with the people who help shape the City of Dallas. First up is Maxwell Anderson, who celebrates one year in his position as the director of the Dallas Museum of Art this month.

Maxwell L. Anderson has hit the ground running since his January 2012 appointment as the Eugene McDermott director of the Dallas Museum of Art. Beyond his launch of the new Friends & Partners program and the return to free general admission (which begins January 21), Anderson has added a senior advisor of Islamic art and instilled a program of painting conservation.

He also is spearheading the museum’s art-for-expertise exchange program, and he is at work to link the Dallas Arts District with other significant cultural districts across the globe.

Anderson has made quite a splash on the city’s social scene as well — helped along, no doubt, by his stylish wife, Jacqueline. Having achieved so much in his first year in Dallas, we simply can’t wait to see what he has planned for the rest of 2013. Who could be better suited for CultureMap’s very first Influentials profile?

What is your chief characteristic?

I'm unflappable. Which can be unintentionally irritating to those around me. But I've racked up a fair bit of perspective over the years.

Your idea of happiness?

Children laughing convulsively. They offer an even better perspective than mine.

Your idea of misery?

There’s a lot of it in the world, and you don’t have to go far to catalogue it — which should encourage us to acknowledge peoples’ woes, do what we can to remedy them and look for the bright spots.

Your favorite food and drink?

Bittersweet chocolate with sea salt. And Poire William.

Your pet aversion?

Critters that require more excuses for their behavior than their owners.

Your favorite motto?

In bocca al lupo. Which means “into the mouth of the wolf.” It’s kind of like saying “break a leg.” In Italy, however, the respondent has to say in turn “may the wolf die” — so that your good fortune is assured.

Your favorite heroes in real life?

The police, fire and emergency services professionals we've never heard of.

If not yourself, who would you be?

A tautological question that I can't answer.

What is your favorite pastime?

Trying to help my kids adapt to whatever life throws them.

What do you love most about Dallas?

The city’s enthusiasm to do great things without territoriality.

What would you change about the city?

Eradicate any lingering inferiority complex about our potential.

What makes a true Dallasite?

An open-minded bon vivant with equal measures of moxie and humor.