Out and About: Summer at the Crow Museum

What I admire about the Crow Museum of Asian Art of The University of Texas at Dallas is their mission to inspire and promote Asian art and culture for free right in the heart of the Dallas Arts District.

(ABOVE: Media was invited to a sneak peek of the exhibition Future Retrospective: Master Shen-Long. In Praise of Shen-Long 神龍讚 – 2018. Photos by Imani Chet Lytle)

Through a variety of permanent and traveling exhibitions, the Crow Museum has been able to showcase some extraordinary collections these past few months, especially after finishing their renovations earlier this year. With an array of spaces and galleries, the museum offers a quiet setting where visitors can experience and engage in the exhibits at their leisure – including the new Future Retrospective: Master Shen-Long exhibition.

Guests can observe pieces that have never been seen before in a U.S. museum, including oversized paintings measuring several hundred feet long, carved Bowie knives, and more. For more than 50 years, Master Shen-Long – a multidisciplinary artist and contemporary master of the classical Chinese literati perfections of painting, poetry, and calligraphy – has pioneered new approaches to painting, making him one of the most innovative ink artists of this generation.

“A natural teacher, his works of art resonate with his deep philosophical wisdom and playful spirit.” – Dr. Jacqueline Chao

Walking into the gallery, one of the first things I noticed was how the tapestries were displayed purposely with the space due to their mass size and awe. I caught myself looking up, down, and all around – it was visually stimulating. From a 66-foot tall scroll, quirky ceramic sculptures, and personal seal-carving designs, Master Shen-Long’s experimental work challenges and innovates tradition Chinese practices while raising important concepts regarding humanity’s relationship with the universes. You’ll notice a strong presence of Buddhism throughout his collections.

In the early 1990s, he developed a new abstract ink method for paper and canvas, resulting in richly detailed reversible works of art that blur the line between painting and sculpture and express unlimited time, space and continuous movement.

(Inextinguishable Dragon Essence 龍精不滅 – 2010)

“Master Shen-Long is an artist with the ability to make visual the infinite. His work allows us the chance to contemplate existence by creating works that, with further inspection, feel expansive and limitless,” said the museum’s senior curator Dr. Jacqueline Chao. “A natural teacher, his works of art resonate with his deep philosophical wisdom and playful spirit.”

There are some interesting “easter eggs” that can be discovered in some of Master Shen-Long’s work – like dragons, symbols, and poems – so I encourage you all to take your time as view these pieces and make it a fun little scavenger hunt with the little ones, a date, or just simply challenge yourself to see what you can find.

As I mentioned before, I appreciate the Crow Museum’s effort in providing education and exposure to the Asian arts in the growing city of Dallas. If you’re creating a list of things-to-do this summer season, make sure to stop by. It’s always free.

Future Retrospective runs now through Aug. 23, 2020, at the Dallas Arts District museum located at 2010 Flora St.

Imani Chet Lytle

Imani Chet Lytle spends most of her time behind the scenes at People Newspapers handling design and marketing tasks, but you can occasionally catch her "Out and About" covering the latest museum openings, musical concerts, and delicious new food menus in the area – and all through her trusty dusty iPhone camera. Catch some of the action on our instagram page: @peoplenewspapers

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