May 23

Charlotte Jones Anderson: Fashioning a Modern Forum

Whatever the secret connection between football and fine art, 
The Dallas Cowboys have discovered it...

 

Ricci Albenda Interior Landscape, Full Spectrum (2009)


Just recently, I was given the opportunity to spend some time with Charlotte Jones Anderson, Vice President of the Dallas Cowboys Football Organization. We met on a Thursday morning, and I have to say it was a very memorable experience. Arriving at the stadium a little early, I looked up at the facade of the structure in awe for just a second or two. It is a little intimidating. The stadium covers 73 acres, over three million square feet and has the largest dome top ever built by mankind. I think respect is the correct word for what I was feeling. I was met at the "A" entrance by Phil Whitfield, a valued member of the Cowboys Stadium staff and all-around nice guy. After our introduction, Phil and I began the journey of taking in all of the incredible art that had been created especially for this venue. The tour was spectacular, and the art  breathtaking. I realized then that seeing it in near solitude was an experience I would never forget. 

The sheer size of the installations that populate the collection is worth noting since 30- and 40- foot walls leave room for a lot of art! We moved from piece to piece and I took the images I would use in this article. Each piece seemed more astounding than the last as to the range of colors, textures, and size.In addition, anyone who has been to the stadium knows that it is, in itself, a work of art. It is imposing and inspiring at the same time.

 

Olifur Eliasson, Fat Super Star (2008-09)

 

When we finished the tour, we had made a circle (or should I say oval) around the entire stadium, going up and down elevators. At one point, I crawled over a railing and out onto a catwalk to get my shot. So much fun! As was prearranged, I left Phil and met Charlotte at a designated spot for my interview with her. Charlotte began by telling me the history of the stadium project and how the art that occupies it came to be. Art was apparently a large part of the idea behind the project from the very beginning. The family wanted to bring all manner of contemporary art into the stadium in an approachable way, and their success in this regard shows. I told Mrs. Anderson about the first time Allan and I saw the stadium. We had noticed that the materials that were chosen were really wonderful, not only for serving their designated function but also for the beauty of the materials themselves. The art is definitely at home in this museum of a stadium.  

 

Gary Simmons, Blue Field Explosions (2009)

 

Charlotte relayed the story of the creation of Gary Simmons' Blue Field Explosions (right). As the story goes, Mr. Simmons who was very afraid of heights, was provided with special scaffolding and a harness, which secured him safely in place while he worked. The artist's technique incorporated the drawing of curved lines of white on the background of blue and then in swiping backwards with what looked to all like a typical golfing glove. All of this happened to extremely loud music he had playing. "I have to say, it was more fun watching what was going on where he was working than being anywhere else in the stadium!" She continue, "The artists were from all over the world and were so excited to be a part of this project".

Franz Ackermann, Coming Home and (meet me) At the Waterfall (2009)

 

With characteristic graciousness, she talked me through the planning stage for the art selection, and I could tell from my tour that the planning stage itself had been a giant undertaking.\The family realized that they (The Salvation Army) were so busy doing the hard work of maintaining the services they are committed to providing that they had little time or money for raising public awareness for the organization. "I will say something about my family. When we don't know something, we go and find those that do," Charlotte said. And find them they did. Under the direction of Gene Jones, Charlotte's mother an art council was formed to decide on artists who would be given invitations to create one-of-a-kind, permanent installations. 

Doug Aitken, New Horizon (2009)

 

The council included art world luminaries such as Michael Auping, Chief Curator for the Museum of Modern Art in Ft. Worth and Charles Wylie, the Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art for the Dallas Museum of Modern Art. The council also included contemporary collectors of note. Among these were Howard Rachofsky, Gayle Stoffel and Melissa Meeks, Director of Two x Two for AIDS and Art. The council was then directed by Mary Zlot & Associates out of San Francisco. This art council eventually chose each artist by group decision. They went through slides from all of the artists who had been chosen for review and when the artist reached a unamimous vote, they were one of the selections. "Charlie and Michael, they just got it. They realized it was a great idea." Charlotte intoned. The council understood that some people may not have the opportunity to visit museums regularly, so to bring the art in the Cowboys Stadium to the fans themselves was the goal. "And the truth is, more people have the ability to enjoy our art by benefit of sheer location!" Charlotte said.

Mel Bochner, Win! (2009)

 

 We went on to talk about her time as the head of the universally-popular Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. 

"When Dad first bought the team, he was having trouble with the organization of all of the various pieces. That is how I became involved". So it seems  that a decision made from a  momentary crisis, turned into an opportunity! Apparently Jerry called her one day and expressed dismay at the line of women outside the door of the Cowboys offices. As it turned out, the paper had run an article announcing that the Cheerleaders' outfits would morph into one comprised of hot pants and halter tops. She didn't explain whether the women were there to try out, having been seduced by the idea of the wonderfully skimpy outfit, or if the line was composed of seamstresses there to make the alterations to the famous attire! I didn't double check the facts on this point as I kind of wanted it to remain a mystery. I think both ideas are equally entertaining! Sometimes the myth surrounding a story is better than what really happened! 

The Stadium

 

Whether in terms of the Cheerleaders or the stadium, the team or the fabulous art collection, Mrs. Anderson has brought the Cowboys organization and Dallas into the era of record-setting giant video screens and Super Bowls with her blend of business savvy, Dallas style and Texas-centric marketing. A winning combination, indeed! We can't wait to be a part of the next successes ushered in by our home-town hero-machine!

And, beyond all of this, isn't it just fun to be a Cowboys fan? 

 

  Charlotte Jones Anderdsen 

 

*Please visit http://stadium.dallascowboys.com/ for information regarding 
general stadium tours, art tours and hours of operation.


Article by: Cearan Henley-

 

Allan Knight and Associates / Allan Knight Luxury Blog ~live beautifully

"live beautifully" is a registered  trade tag-line of Allan Knight and Associates. All rights reserved.

 

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