For a Dreamer of Houses

Colorful new Dallas Museum of Art exhibition invades personal spaces

Colorful new Dallas Museum of Art exhibition invades personal spaces

Olivia Erlanger, Pergusa, 2019, DMA
Olivia Erlanger, Pergusa, 2019 Photo courtesy of AND NOW Gallery, and artist
Alex Da Corte, Rubber Pencil Devil, 2018, DMA
Alex Da Corte, Rubber Pencil Devil, 2018 Photo by Bryan Conley
Francisco Moreno, Chapel, 2016-18, DMA
Francisco Moreno, Chapel, 2016-18, 2019.58 Photo by Wade Griffith
Olivia Erlanger, Pergusa, 2019, DMA
Alex Da Corte, Rubber Pencil Devil, 2018, DMA
Francisco Moreno, Chapel, 2016-18, DMA

Update: The DMA is currently closed to the public until further notice but you can see "For a Dreamer of Houses" with a virtual tour.  


The Dallas Museum of Art's newest contemporary art exhibition will go into personal spaces, from pockets to houses. "For a Dreamer of Houses," opening March 15, will be "an imaginative new exhibition of contemporary art that explores the significance of the spaces we inhabit and how they represent ourselves, our values, and our desires," the museum says in a release.

The display, which will take over the museum’s grand Barrel Vault and Quadrant Galleries, takes as its inspiration philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s groundbreaking 1958 book The Poetics of Space and his use of the house as a metaphor for psychological and cultural development, the DMA says.

It will showcase 54 works using a range of media by more than 35 artists from around the world. Together, they will demonstrate "the evocative power of domestic objects and structures," the museum says.

Nearly all of the works are from the DMA’s permanent collection, including works by 10 artists with connections to Texas and nine new acquisitions on display for the first time.

“Exciting recent additions to our contemporary collection provided the opportunity to organize this exhibition, which relates compelling artworks to an enduringly fascinating text,” says Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the Eugene McDermott Director of the DMA, in a statement. “With these large-scale and highly immersive new works, along with treasures from the collection that go as far back as 1950, we hope visitors will be introduced to new ways of looking at everyday items to discover much deeper meanings.”

The exhibition is organized thematically according to five chapters in Bachelard’s book, with major recent acquisitions highlighted in each one. The DMA provides these descriptions:

1. “Intimate Immensity” refers to the physical awareness that arises when realizing one’s small place in a vast world, exemplified by Pipilotti Rist’s Massachusetts Chandelier, made of many pairs of intimate clothing, and Janine Antoni’s Grope textile sculpture of men’s pants pockets.

2. “Drawers, Chests, and Wardrobes” features household objects that conceal private desires — playful sculptures by Olivia Erlanger, Sarah Lucas, and Robert Pruitt — or haunting memories — commemorative works by EJ Hill, Doris Salcedo, and Danh Vo.

3. “Dialectics of Inside and Outside” explores physical, psychological, and social boundaries. Alex Da Corte’s neon house-frame installation, Rubber Pencil Devil, lures visitors in to watch a sequence of absurdist videos. Three-dimensional works by Margaret Lee, Betty Woodman, and others hover between mediums.

4. “Shells” interprets buildings as expressions of their inhabitants’ personalities. Do Ho Suh recreates an entryway to his childhood home in delicate fabric, in a work titled Hub, 260-10 Sungbook-dong, Sungbook-ku, Seoul, Korea. This section includes a broad selection of photographs that depict living spaces by 15 artists including Judy Fiskin, Misty Keasler, and Annette Lawrence.

5. “Nests” focuses on rooms as containers for relationships. In Chapel, Francisco Moreno borrows a historical structure and personalizes the interior with an epic collage of cultural references. Paintings, photographs, and works on paper by Jacob Lawrence, Clementine Hunter, Bill Owens, and others show gatherings of friends and families.

“Artists have long depicted the home as site for self-discovery, encounter, and community,” says Anna Katherine Brodbeck, the Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art and organizer of the exhibition, in the release. “This exhibition allows us to explore how artists today are engaging with that theme in exciting and ambitious ways, challenging our preconceptions of identity formation and cultural exchange.”

"For a Dreamer of Houses" will be on view through January 31, 2021. In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum will hold a series of public programs, including film screenings and panels. Visit the DMA website for a schedule of events.