In arts and culture circles, Dallas and Fort Worth have long been highly regarded. Fort Worth has remarkable museums and later this month Dallas adds to its luster when it opens a new performing arts center, touted as the most significant since Lincoln Center. But for anyone who grew up in Dallas-Fort Worth, as I did, amid the symphony orchestras, opera and ballet companies, and distinguished architecture, sports loomed large, and amid the professional sports teams the Dallas Cowboys loomed the largest.
Recently, the Cowboys unveiled a new $ 1.15 billion stadium (above) before a national television audience during the first, regular-season game against the New York Giants (for the record, the New York Giants won). But it may come as a surprise that in addition to the stadium's state-of-the art this and that, including the world's largest HDTV video board, is an art collection. And not kitschy “sports” art but the real thing.
Cowboys owners Jerry and Gene Jones have commissioned 14 site-specific works from a leading American and international contemporary artists that range from French abstract minimalist Daniel Buren to American sculptor and painter Teresita Fernández (above Starfield, 2009), Danish-Icelandic conceptual artist Olafur Eliasson to provocateur Doug Aitken.
The commissions, dramatic in scale—the largest reach four stories in height and extend more than 100 feet—are prominently placed, including at the four principal entrances. Some installations are set above the main concourse concession areas, along stadium walls, while others are visible to fans seated in the stadium.
Whether one loves the Cowboys, or not so much, one can't help admire an initiative, which is ongoing (more commissions are planned) and that brings 80,000 people to works of contemporary art. Gene Jones, wife of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, remarked “we're making it possible for some of the world's leading contemporary artists to create work on a scale unimaginable anywhere else and we're connecting new audiences with their work." A great ambition for any museum…or a sports team. Go Cowboys!
Tours of the stadium, including the art installations, last one hour and 15 minutes.
Mario R. Mercado is the arts editor at Travel + Leisure.