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

Spirit & Matter, The Keir Collection at the DMA

Detail from DMA brochure
Detail from DMA brochure


My poor bestie; dragged from museum to museum on her birthday.  Thankfully, it’s not all that bad.  She likes museums almost as much as I do.  I guess that’s why we’re such fast friends.  For her recent birthday  we visited three different museums (after Sunday Brunch at the ever delightful Toulouse).  I told you about the House of Alba exhibit at the Meadows Museum last week.  This week I’ll give you a taste of the DMA and the Crow Collection of Asian Art.

Speaking of Tastes

This being Texas, it’s not unusual for Deb and I to have meals al fresco, even in January, but the weather on this weekend was decidedly nasty and several al fresco choices we’d hoped for didn’t make sense in the mist and chill.  We’d actually planned to visit the Arboretum, but it was too awful.  The nastiness made adventures at the restaurants of Trinity Groves or checking out the food trucks at The Truck Yard undesirable.  So we punted and went to Toulouse, our old favorite.

Please forgive me for failing to mention Toulouse in the past, but sometimes the most familiar things are ones we forget to share.  I can’t even remember how I first visited Toulouse, but when I did I knew I’d found something.  This street-side cafe is reminiscent of Paris’ cafe-scene, but it also has Dallas written all over it.

This strip of sidewalk has seen everything from the original On the Border to a store that sold china out of dish barrels.  Patrons drive their fancy car up to the valet and stroll in wearing the latest Dallas style.  The music is jazzy French but the conversation is all Big D.

My favorite dish is the Eggs Florentine with asparagus and crab meat, but I want that with a glass of champagne and beignets on the side.  I’ve tasted other dishes from waffles to Croque Madame, but I keep returning to the Eggs Florentine.  I promise you’ll love it.  From Toulouse we went to the DMA.

Spirit & Matter

Last year, the DMA got its hands on the Keir Collection, in the form of a 15 year loan.  According to the DMA website, the marvelous pieces cover “1,300 years of creativity” in the Islamic World.  Spirit & Matter includes a mere soupcon of the 2000 plus items in the full collection, but it is a tasty soupcon.  On exhibit are jewelry, carpets, manuscripts and pottery.

Most impressive to me were the detail-rich miniature paintings and illustrated texts.  I was dying for a magnifying glass to better see the tiny details of the works.  For pure prettiness, I enjoyed seeing an exquisite rock crystal ewer. Since the exhibit is small, we were able to view it relatively quickly and get down to the Crow Collection, a museum Deb hadn’t seen yet.

Crow Collection

The first floor of the Crow is dominated by Variable Dimensions, an exhibit I’ve described in detail, here and here.  Though interesting, it’s not really our cup of green tea, so we moved upstairs to the permanent collection.  Ooooohing and aaaaahing began in earnest.  Jade, porcelain and other visual miracles, like a large crystal ball held by dragons, enchanted us and suspended time.

I hadn’t been to this part of the museum in recent months, so I hadn’t seen a new installation devoted to items Margaret Crow kept in her home, until she passed away last year.  It was interesting to see what such avid collectors chose to have around them on a daily basis.

I was pleased to discover the Crows collected in an almost serendipitous manner.  They didn’t hire someone to amass their collection or set out to develop an exhaustive survey of a particular medium or artist.  They just bought what they liked and they particularly liked jade.  They used their homes and the properties Trammel Crow developed to display their treasures.  Then they gave this wonderful collection to Dallas along with a lovely museum which is always free.  This kind of philanthropy is the reason I love the one per-centers.

Upstairs on a mezzanine were contemporary pieces which were not of great interest to me, but fit well with Dallas Art Scene’s slant to the modern.  Across a bridge decorated by a huge flock of flying origami cranes, is a gallery devoted to Indian art.  All very interesting, of course, but it was thoughts of Margaret and Trammel Crow themselves which dominated my thoughts as I left the museum.

It was time for us to head over to the Meadows for the House of Alba exhibit and you should, too, but keep the DMA and the Crow Collection on your list of places to visit in Dallas.

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