San Francisco

“Poets of the Cities”

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

There must be a reason why the Dallas Museum of Fine Art with the help of Southern Methodist University has decided to meddle in the already muddled affairs of New York and San Francisco painting in the ’50s. Geographically, this seems like some kind of mistaken identity crisis with wish-fulfillment overtones; but more likely, it is simply a chance to present something impressive and important. You feel that the motivations will be good, wholesome and clean but the execution overbearing yet incomplete, expansive yet (or thus) banal, and, well, wrong-headed. That yearning for culture, the we-try-harder syndrome will be in evidence; it’ll have those big, imported works that you’ve got to see and you’ll be able to see the strain of ambition between the individual works themselves. They’ve got money in Texas, for sure; they’ve got brand new museums and huge cultural centers, but what they want

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