I am a big fan of the DMA and have been for over 35 years. I have watched it grow from being a modest-sized art museum with a good collection in a rather odd building in Fair Park to a major art museum in downtown Dallas with an excellent collection. When you add the Nasher Sculpture Garden and Crow Collection of Asian Art which are just next door, downtown Dallas now has arguably one of the best fine art collections in the US.
The DMA has a very impressive permanent collection that will become truly world-class when it receives some of the major private collections that have been promised. To me, the Reves Collection which is hidden deep inside the upper reaches of the DMA is one of the most impressive parts of the museum. Lots and lots of famous Impressionist works - unfortunately, because they still displayed in replica rooms of the Reves' home in southern France, most of the works are hard to see and study. Really wish they could move things around so we could enjoy seeing them in closer proximity.
The special exhibitions are always worth seeing though some are better than others. For example, King Tut was disappointing due to the quality of the items that were shown but the Gaultier exhibit that just closed was amazing! I was really impressed by the curation of the show.
Lastly, we LOVE the DMA's late nights because it gives us another option to visit beyond the weekends. After all, what working person can visit a museum between 11 am-5 pm on M-F? When are museums going to be open when most people can visit vs. when the staff prefers to work?! At least the DMA is headed in the right direction on this front.
The DMA's collection still doesn't hold a candle to the Metropolitan, MOMA, Guggenheim, Louvre, Hermitage, Art Institute of Chicago or National Gallery. But it is on par with Houston's Museum of Fine Arts, the Kimball in Fort Worth, and better than Denver, Seattle and Atlanta. Give the DMA a little more time and I think it will be a truly world-class comprehensive art museum. For now, though, it is a very good art museum with something for everyone and it is very reasonably priced.
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