Saturday, August 19, 2006

Silver and stainless

The Dallas Museum of Art's exhibit, Modernism in American Silver, running June 18 – September 24, 2006, leaves me far colder than a long handled spoon in a tall glass of iced sweet tea. A few bowls in natural, asymmetrical forms please me, along with a simple glass bowl on a silver base creating geometric shadows and rainbows. The highpoint of the exhibit it the "Celestial centerpiece" with its beautiful, thin tapers and sapphire dandelion fluff. This centerpiece was designed for an exhibit at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.

The dandelion fluff on the Dallas skyline is the Reunion Tower. I enjoyed looking at all the lighted buildings of downtown Dallas during last evening's Late Night at the Dallas Museum of Art. The DMA's website rarely works, so I won't add it here. Late Night is a monthly event sponsored by Starbucks with activities and music for all ages on a theme connected to one of the current exhibitions. Last evening's theme was the World's Fair.

The idea of a World's Fair was confusing stuff to a second grader in the years of the Mercury manned suborbital missions. What was that space needle? Did it give shots? The monorail was more kid friendly. It was the transportation of the Future! All I knew, I probably learned from My Weekly Reader!

My tastes in silver, stainless, and other tableware was already being formed in 1962. The "modernism" silver pieces at the DMA do not have the simple, clean, elegant shapes of the stainless serving dishes and trays my mother preferred. Her stainless is timeless, and much respected today. The silver of Gorham and Reed and Barton on display look quite ridiculous, like someone trying to hard to be cubist or Jetson space age.

This Elvis movie was being projected on the Ross Street plaza wall outside the museum. Silly stuff with Elvis taking a little girl to the fair and playing ukelele. The sort of stuff your mother, or at least my mother, warned me never to do. (I probably didn't need a warning about ukeleles, just strangers at fairs.)

So many World's Fair predictions for the future never materialized. I'm going to have to track down a recording of the Firesign Theatre's "I Think We're All Bozos On this Bus" to hear the robotic President at the Future Fair. Just remember, "the Future's not here yet!"

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