Worth a MADI stop in Dallas!

It’s worth a special trip to Dallas to see the unique museum in its Uptown area, especially if you are an art fan and you favor your art modern.

The museum shares space with a law firm on the ground and second floors of an office building. The law firm’s owner and his wife started it with their own collection of MADI art in 2003, and the collection has grown ever since, with many pieces on loan and a special exhibit space with changing collections.

This museum is the only museum in the world focusing on MADI art, which I was told does not include human figures or landscapes and is all geometrical. Some of the art in the museum is not technically MADI, but it is all geometrical. The MADI art movement was begun in Argentina in 1946 by artist Carmelo Arden Quin and is defined by having Movimiento (Movement), Abstracción (Abstraction), Dimensión (Dimension) and Invento (Invention), thus MADI. It is characterized by not being framed into a regular space, but rather usually coming out of the typical framed space or spilling over it. Many MADI pieces are meant to be touched and moved, or they have motors that move them. All are fascinating to see, if you like modern art.

The pieces are bright, colorful and irreverent. Children are especially drawn to this art, but they must be careful not to touch the delicate pieces. Signs in the exhibit provide direction in this regard.

One of the most unusual pieces of art in the exhibit is a piece of fine wire with the natural strength of a thread. It would collapse onto itself but for counterweight metal pieces attached to it, none of which touch each other, which cause the string to stand erect. You can imagine the math required to conceive and construct many of these artworks.

Occasionally a museum will show a piece that qualifies as MADI art. Crowds are drawn to see it. At the Geometric Museum you have many of these pieces one after another, a cacophony of art calling for attention. In fact, MADI art is said to “convey a sense of joie de vivre” as it reaches beyond customary boundaries and media. While hard to describe in words or even in a photograph (because movement is so important), seeing this exhibit brings a smile to all.

The museum provides workshops, a discussion series and docent-led tours. On the day I visited, I had to ring the bell to be let in. I was told this is for security because the space is shared with a law firm. Visitors are monitoried to restrict them to the museum area. The museum is open everyday, but hours are limited on Sunday.

A current special exhibit is of works from two African MADI artists, one from Kenya and one from Nigeria. Their works are more geometric than strictly MADI, but they are beautiful to see. Future exhibits are planned which include artists from Venezuela, India and Italy. Thus, the museum brings a world art movement to Dallas. The museum is supported by donations and currently seeks to become self-sustaining. No admission is charged, but support is welcome.


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