ART NOTES: The Nasher seizes the political moment, while Dali shines

Michael Granberry/The Dallas Morning News

LeBron James is a hero in Cleveland, as this mural clearly indicates.

CLEVELAND -- The Republic National Convention careens into Cleveland on July 18, this city on the banks of Lake Erie where I stopped on vacation last week en route to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Downtown Cleveland is, at the moment, saturated with urban, pop-culture imagery, mostly in a two-block area. Giant RNC banners adorn the exterior of Quicken Loans Arena, whose primary tenant, the Cleveland Cavaliers, just won the NBA championship. Your eye can't help but dart to the left, where a piercing black and white image as high as a building shows LeBron James' arms reaching to the sky.

Next door to the basketball arena, where presumptive nominee Donald Trump will presumptively make his acceptance speech, sits the cool little ball yard known as Progressive Field, which the red-hot Cleveland Indians call home. Might the Texas Rangers show up here in a few months, in the American League Championship Series?

And then a few blocks away sits one of my favorite destinations, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where images all but shout at you, both inside and out, thanks to the architectural wizardry of I.M. Pei, whose list of credits includes Dallas City Hall and the Meyerson Symphony Center. Various corners of the hall serve as a shrine to musical giants of Dallas and Texas, paying homage to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Don Henley, T-Bone Walker and its newest inductee, Woodrow Wilson High School graduate Steve Miller.

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Pop-art sculptor Kathryn Andrews could have a field day with Cleveland's cacophony of images. She's willing to show you how when she imports her satirical look at American politics to the Nasher Sculpture Center on Sept. 10. Her show continues all the way to Jan. 8, by which time America will have elected its new president.

Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Andrews situates her work, say her Nasher presenters, "against the conceptual and pictorial backdrop of a fictitious presidential election." She uses Currier & Ives images taken from historical political campaigns and props lifted from Hollywood movies, such as costumes worn by Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man and Jack Nicholson in Batman. She fries up in this pop-culture egg dish references to Sammy Davis Jr., Richard M. Nixon, Bozo the Clown, Nancy Reagan and Mr. T.

Nasher director Jeremy Strick expects Andrews' freewheeling show to do nothing less than inspire "conversations about the intertwining of American politics with visual culture."

As if she had somehow descended on Cleveland for inspiration, Andrews throws at you multiple layers of meaning, all in the process of spreading her creative blanket over the aesthetics of pop art, minimalism and conceptualism.

Andrews' show sounds like maybe it could serve as a companion piece to "A Time for Greatness: The 1960 Kennedy Campaign," which is at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza through Nov. 13.

That show includes campaign memorabilia, photographs and film from the Sixth Floor collection, in addition to offering "timely exploration of presidential politics from a different era, connecting one historic election year to another through the lens of the incredible campaign of the youngest president ever elected."

I have one more thing to say about Cleveland, and it's my opinion, so take it as nothing more: The coolness of downtown Cleveland demonstrates to me, as much as any city ever has, how Dallas blew it -- and I mean really blew it -- by not figuring out a way to have its Major League Baseball and National Football League stadiums perched downtown, where they ought to be, à la Pittsburgh and, yes, Cleveland, which got it right.

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Andrews is all about creating a pop-art universe, one in which celebrated surrealist Salvador Dalí would thrive.

For those needing a Dalí fix, or for those needing to say "Hello, Dalí" for the first time, the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University is all too willing to accommodate.

The Meadows has extended the run of its sexy spring exhibition "Salvador Dalí: An Early Surrealist Masterpiece" through Aug. 7.

Its "Process and Innovation: Carlotta Corpron and Janet Turner" continues through Aug. 21.

L'homme poisson, Dalí's oil-on-canvas painting from 1930, is the focus of the primary show, which unveils infrared and X-ray images of L'homme poisson that were part of a detailed study by Claire Barry, chief conservator at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.

"We were delighted to collaborate with the Meadows Museum on a project that shed new light on the creative process of Salvador Dalí," Barry says in a prepared statement. "The addition of one of Dalí's most important early paintings to the renowned collection of the Meadows Museum underscores the importance of the visual arts in North Texas."

Flashback: The Dallas Museum of Art offered in 1997 a show titled "The Worlds of Salvador Dalí -- After 50 Years of Surrealism," curated by Dorothy Kosinski.

Twitter: @mgranberry

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