Press Release

Dallas Museum of Art Brings Together Major Works from Its Encyclopedic Collection to Explore Hope and Resilience in the Contemporary Moment, This September

Dallas, TX
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To Be Determined Features 13 New Acquisitions, Including New Work by Dallas Artists

The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) today announced a new exhibition that explores individual and collective meanings through works of art, sacred objects, and design. Drawing from the Museum’s encyclopedic collection, including 13 new acquisitions and three major paintings by Dallas-based artists, To Be Determined juxtaposes works from across time, geography, and cultures, from the 13th century to the present day, to trace how the resonance of art can shift when presented in new contexts and as viewers imbue them with their own personal meanings.

Through an audience-centered, open-ended approach to interpretation, the exhibition additionally aims to affirm ongoing struggles that are manifesting in new ways in the current moment—including those caused by the pandemic and those related to long-existing barriers and challenges created by systemic racism and other forms of oppression—and the resilience of individuals and communities during this period in history.

Opening September 27, To Be Determined is the culmination of a collaboration across the DMA’s entire 12-person curatorial team and will be on view in the Museum’s Chilton Galleries. Its organization was led by Sarah Schleuning, Interim Chief Curator and The Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design; Dr. Mark A. Castro, Jorge Baldor Curator of Latin American Art; and Vivian Crockett, The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art.

“While the DMA was closed for five months, we have been considering what it means to be present with works of art after so much time apart—how they can enrich our lives and how we create new meaning for these works when we engage with them. To Be Determined is a representation of the power of artworks in this uncertain and challenging contemporary moment to help us chart new connections across a range of perspectives, histories, and geographies in our collection. We are thrilled to present this cross-museum curatorial collaboration that so directly takes inspiration from and elevates the strongest assets of our Museum—art and community,” said Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director.

Spanning seven centuries of media, geographies, cultures, and perspectives, the cross-departmental exhibition presents evocative—and occasionally unexpected—groupings of works from across the collection in open-ended ways that are designed to elicit and encourage individual interpretation and meaning. Sacred objects, modern sculpture and design, and works by historic and contemporary artists—including Frederic Edwin Church, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mel Bochner, Ida Ten Eyck O’Keeffe, Adam Pendleton, and Hiroshi Yoshida, among others—are juxtaposed throughout the exhibition to invite the viewer to engage with each object in new ways. The presentation includes recent DMA acquisitions of significant works by Thornton Dial, Jeffrey Gibson, Glenn Ligon, Isamu Noguchi, Lorna Simpson, Matthew Wong, and Charles White. To Be Determined will also include a new work by Dallas-based artist Oshay Green and a new commission by designer Ini Archibong. Archibong’s work is a reconceptualized version of theoracle, an interactive sound installation originally commissioned by the DMA for speechless: different by design, , which ended its run early when the Museum closed in March due to the pandemic. Unlike the original installation, which was touch-activated, bright, and harmonious, the new work, theoracle, is untouchable, dimmed, and emits an imposing drone—an abstract commentary on the effects of COVID-19 and Archibong’s own reflections on growing up as a Black male in America. 

In the central gallery, the DMA will debut a major new commission made specifically for this exhibition by Dallas-based artist Jammie Holmes. Holmes’s work centers narratives of Black life in the Deep South, with paintings celebrating family, tradition, and ritual while portraying experiences of struggle and mourning. For To Be Determined, the artist has created two large-scale paintings that reflect on his childhood memories of growing up in Thibodaux, Louisiana. Curated by Vivian Crockett, this commissioned component of the exhibition features the new acquisition Four Brown Chairs and Tired (2020). Along with Green's Untitled (2020), they mark her first acquisitions since joining the Museum in March.

“In this moment in history, marked by powerful social shifts and challenges, we are inspired by the DMA’s encyclopedic collection,” said Sarah Schleuning. “To Be Determined explores how amidst so much uncertainty art can be both a stabilizer and a provocateur. Art invites us to process and understand what’s happening around us, and as our personal and collective circumstances change, we can all find relevance and uncover new meanings.”

To offer audiences a hybrid digital and in-person experience, To Be Determined will be accompanied by a companion website, the first of its kind from the DMA. Launching concurrently with the exhibition, the website will feature a range of interactive resources that explore themes and work in the exhibition in new and creative ways, offering audiences everywhere new entry points to the show. In the coming months, an interactive virtual tour of To Be Determined will be added to the Museum’s growing collection of virtual offerings. 

To Be Determined will be on view September 27 through December 27, 2020, in the Museum’s Chilton Galleries. The exhibition is included in free general admission and tickets can be reserved at DMA.org/visit.

To Be Determined is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art. The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Members and donors, the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

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Matthew Wong, The West, 2017, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Fair Foundation Acquisition Fund, 2017.28. Courtesy of the Matthew Wong Foundation and Karma, New York

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