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15 new acquisitions make their DMA debut in a free, focus exhibition of works primarily from the DMA's collection
Stephen Shore, Presidio, Texas, February 21, 1975, negative 1975, print 1977, color photograph, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant, © Stephen Shore, courtesy 303 Gallery, New York.

DALLAS, TX.- The Dallas Museum of Art is presenting America Will Be!: Surveying the Contemporary Landscape, a focus exhibition of works primarily from the DMA’s collection of contemporary art that take the American landscape as a point of departure. If scenic images of the land were historically used to glorify the territory that would come to be called America, this exhibition looks at contemporary artists who have redefined the landscape genre through a variety of media and strategies. America Will Be! broadens the concept of the landscape through literal depictions of the natural world and allusions to a diversity of American experiences.

The title of the exhibition is a rousing line from “Let America Be America Again,” a 1935 poem by Langston Hughes. In the poem, Hughes yearns for a future where the grandiose promises of the American dream are finally delivered to all people, regardless of race, class, or country of origin. He swears that every worker who has constructed America will redeem “the land, the mines, the plants, the rivers” and the spirit of the nation.

“The Dallas Museum of Art has a strong interest in further developing areas of artistic production that have historically been underrepresented in its collection,” says Dr. Agustín Arteaga, The Eugene McDermott Director. “America Will Be! showcases how new acquisitions in its contemporary collection can augment its collection of postwar masterworks to tell richer and more varied stories of American visual culture and identity.”

On view April 6 through October 6, 2019, the exhibition, which can be see for free as part of the Museum’s general admission policy, comprises six thematic sections: the sea, the road, the horizon, bodyscapes, accumulation and cultivation, and the home. These features demonstrate how contemporary artists utilize abstract or conceptual frameworks in the representations of both natural and constructed environments. Personal, communal, and political allusions are incorporated within works that are almost entirely devoid of people.

Pioneering artists like Vija Celmins, Richard Diebenkorn, Brice Marden, Louise Nevelson, and Thomas Struth will be shown alongside leading and emerging contemporary artists like Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Mark Bradford, TR Ericsson, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Faith Ringgold, and Adriana Varejão. The show expands the understanding of “American” to include a hemispheric definition in which Canadian and Latin American artists are represented, while also accounting for artists who were born outside of the United States but have spent significant time living and working in this country.

A number of recent acquisitions are making their DMA debut in the show. These include works by Thornton Dial, Ronald Lockett, and Nellie Mae Rowe, African American folk artists from the South whose works and histories are preserved by the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta. Artists whose works were acquired from the Dallas Art Fair and which are on view at the Museum for the first time include Justin Adian, Sanford Biggers, Shara Hughes, Matthew Ronay, Brie Ruais, and Summer Wheat.

“Contemporary art has always been responsive to shifts in the cultural landscape, and the artists on view demonstrate how art can reflect society during momentous change while also endowing meaning and dignity to our everyday lives,” says Anna Katherine Brodbeck, the Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art.

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