The name Trammell Crow has become synonymous with business in Dallas, nationally and internationally. If you’ve spent any amount of time in North Texas, there’s a good chance that you’ve driven by, visited, worked or lived in a building that was built, owned, managed or financed by Crow Holdings. But perhaps not as well known is the family’s legacy to the arts and the Dallas Arts District.
To help tell this story, the Crow Collection of Asian Art is presenting Wild Flowering: The Crow Family and Asia.
This special exhibition is a tribute to the Crow Family and will be on view from September 19, 2009, through January 3, 2010, at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, 2010 Flora Street, in the downtown Dallas Arts District.
Wild Flowering highlights only a portion of the family’s extensive collection of Asian art and marks the first time many of these treasured works of art will be shown to the public.
“This exhibition tells the story of Trammell and Margaret Crow’s collection of Asian art and the people who formed it,” said Dr. Caron Smith, curator at the Crow Collection of Asian Art.
“The collection is both local and global. It is personal, and although the Crows did not begin collecting until the 1960s, it is a continuation of the preferences among the first American collectors of Asian art, which were shaped by political realities as well as personal inclinations.”
Curators Shiyuan Yuan and Dr. Smith collaborated on this exhibition, which was designed to showcase the museum’s permanent collection as well as to help visitors understand the relationship between art and collector.
“Visitors to this exhibition are encouraged to think about how context changes the perception of objects that have migrated from their original time, place and culture into collections, exhibitions and museums,” said Dr. Smith. “The re-appearance of objects in a new context is what we have called ‘wild flowering.’”
Trammell and Margaret Crow bought their first piece of Asian art in the mid-1960s. That initial purchase spurred the family to begin a collection that would feature works of art from China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia and would span from 3500 B.C. to the early 21st century. More than 600 items were singled out to be placed in the Crow Family’s permanent collection.
In 1998 the Crow Family dedicated the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art to the city of Dallas. This museum is not only home to the family’s permanent collection but also has become a showcase for works of art from renowned collectors and other museums and private institutions throughout the world.
“The idea for the museum was a result of Mr. and Mrs. Crow’s desire to keep the collection intact as a legacy for their family as well as for the general public,” said Amy Hofland, director of the Crow Collection of Asian Art.
The Crow Collection, one of only a handful of museums dedicated solely to Asian art, was the second museum to be located in what would eventually become the Dallas Arts District.
“Mr. Crow was quite the visionary,” said Ms. Hofland. “He knew that arts and culture were an integral component to the development of the city of Dallas. In fact, he was at the table when plans were being formulated for the Dallas Arts District.”
Veletta Forsythe Lill, executive director of the Dallas Arts District, said, “As the vision for the Arts District gained clarity, Trammell was part of the discussion. Mr. Crow’s greatest gift may have been his keen understanding of the need to balance the cultural with the commercial. That blended vision was first glimpsed in the year 1984—the year of opening for both the Dallas Museum of Art and the Trammell Crow Center.”
According to Mr. Yuan, “The works of art in Wild Flowering are drawn from a variety of Asian cultures—from Iran to Indonesia.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Crow did not set out to be collectors. They simply bought what they liked. Eventually they began buying larger pieces with the intention of placing them in their hotels or offices,” explained Mr. Yuan. “But Mr. Crow’s passion was jade. Before he passed away in 2009, Mr. Crow had gathered one of the largest private collections of jade in the country.”
Many of Mr. Crow’s jade pieces will be displayed during Wild Flowering, in a special exhibition called Blossoming Stone: Qing Dynasty Jade, which is being curated by Mr. Yuan.
“Blossoming Stone will showcase a few pieces that were originally created for Emperor Qianlong’s personal enjoyment,” said Mr. Yuan. “Emperor Qianlong, who ruled China from 1736 to 1795, was one of the most important royal patrons to the development of jade as art in China.”
“This jade collection was formed by the late Trammell Crow in a period spanning over three decades,” explained Mr. Yuan. “Guided by his discerning connoisseurship and instinct for beauty, Mr. Crow’s jade collection has become the heart and soul of the Crow Collection of Asian Art.”
Mrs. Crow explained, “Trammell always loved Chinese art—it fascinated him, especially jade.” Mr. Crow passed away in January 2009.
“I cannot say why it is,” he was once quoted, pointing to his heart, “but these objects move me.”
Wild Flowering: The Crow Family and Asia and Blossoming Stone are both tributes to the Crow Family and will be on view at the Crow Collection of Asian Art from September 19, 2009, through January 3, 2010. During this time, the museum’s family center will host a free program entitled “Young Collectors.” Children will be invited to participate in a variety of activities and games related to collecting special objects including “Create Your Own Collection,” “Map the Art” and “Write Your Own Postcard.”
The Crow Collection of Asian Art is located in the heart of the downtown Dallas Arts District at 2010 Flora Street. The free museum is dedicated to the arts and cultures of China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. The Crow Collection is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM with extended hours on Thursdays until 9 PM. The museum is closed Mondays.
For more information please visit www.crowcollection.org or phone 214-979-6430.