ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL

Farewell to Jean Paul Gaultier at the DMA


Dallas is decidedly more fashionable than it was a few months ago.  I can see it everywhere.  Some folks will never give up their blue jeans and velour track suits, but the presence of a living fashion legend among us has encouraged the more couture conscious.

Jean Paul Might be More Popular than King Tut

I don’t have access to any official counts, but I think Jean Paul Gaultier might just have been more popular than King Tut and his relatives.  My measurement has nothing to do with official headcounts or tickets sold, I just observed how busy the Dallas Museum of Art was whenever I visited in the last few months.

They rearranged the entire museum to create a reception area for the Tut visitors, but I never actually saw it fill up.  I heard from some people who visited, on days like the day after Thanksgiving, that there were mobs on hand, but I didn’t see it.  I would see a lot of school buses whenever I ventured downtown, but that was usually a signal for me to go about my business without dropping in on Tut.  However, time and again I would drag someone down to the museum so they would not miss the important exhibit and we’d walk right in, only to discover we had the exhibit pretty much to ourselves.

Not so with Gaultier.  As a member, I never had to wait long for a ticket, but the visitors desk always had a lot of people queued up for the exhibit.  Several times on my way to a lecture or another event I’d be surprised by a hundred or so ticketed souls waiting to go inside – and it never seemed like there wasn’t any particular catalyst for the crowd.  One rainy, cold December day, in the middle of the week, I popped by the gift shop to pick up a few Christmas presents.  Not only did I have to park on one of the lowest levels, the entry area was crowded and buzzing with excitement.  And these crowds collected in the absence of  school buses.  The exhibit was entirely too sexual and risque for school children, proving sex sells museum tickets too.

My Final Visit

On Friday night, I made my farewell visit to Gaultier at Fashionably Late, a special event for members at the Sustainer level and above.  I keep telling you that you need to belong to the museum if you live here in Dallas.  A DJ played high energy music at a level which still allowed high energy conversation.  A buffet of light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar offered sustenance.  Movies, Twitter games and other contests provided entertaining distractions and the Gaultier exhibit was open for a final, private, members-only peek.

I doubt that anyone was there for the first time.  During my other visits there seemed to be an urgency in the crowd to hurry to the next room and see what might be there, but on this late night visit, people were lingering before exhibits as if saying good-bye to an old friend.  I felt the same way.  My favorite part of the show was the mechanical catwalk.  I still can’t decide which I like best, the dark crepe dress enhanced with button embellished stripes or the hounds-toothed pantsuit with the pleated bell bottoms.  I love them both.  You have until February twelfth to choose your favorite outfit and say good-bye to Jean Paul.

As much as I’ve enjoyed The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gualtier: From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk, I’m excited about what is and will be available for viewing in the coming months.  The Main Concourse is filled Young Masters, compelling art from local school-age artists.  For lovers of the modern, Mark Manders remains through April.  Up in the Tower Gallery is a delightful exhibit of furniture and furnishing with a whimsical twist called Form/Unformed.

Coming next is Face to Face, an exhibit devoted to the key donors who’ve brought an international flavor to the museums permanent collection.  Youth and Beauty will come to the Barrel Vault in March.  Having enjoyed Making It New: The Art and Style of Sarah and Gerald Murphy back in 2008, I’m looking forward to another look at the Art of the American Twenties.    And to compliment Youth and Beauty, a collection of prints, drawings and photographs will be on exhibit one of the Focus Galleries.

May will bring George Groetz’s Impressionistic views of Dallas and late summer will see the arrival of plumed serpents from Ancient Mexico.  May will also bring an installation by famed glass artisan Chihully to the Dallas Arboretum, so this will be a very artful summer to visit Dallas.  Don’t miss it!

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