Arts / Museums

Museums Delivered – A Deep Dive on a Great American Modernist Pioneer at the Modern in Fort Worth

Toni LaSelle is an Important Texas Artist, But Her Story is Just Starting to be Told

BY // 05.22.20

Our Texas cities have begun to reopen, but many museums have decided to err on the side of caution and remain shuttered a while longer. Many institutions see hundreds or upwards of thousands of visitors on a weekend roaming through their hushed spaces and now want to make sure that they have new protocols in place to ensure everyone has a safe and engaging experience. We’re optimistic that soon enough, we’ll be able to wander through the galleries of our world-renowned arts institutions again and soak up Vermeers and Van Goghs galore.

Taking a cue from the restaurant industry’s robust to-go services, PaperCity is assisting our cultural friends by providing our online and social media platforms and launching our “Museums Delivered” series. Curators and other museum staff have taken the DIY approach and shot videos with their smartphones.

We’ve received their insights into paintings from recently opened exhibitions, as well as favorite works from the permanent collection. We’re thankful that our friends at institutions in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston have allowed us inside — virtually — to enjoy some art when we need it most.

The Modern’s associate curator, Lee Hallman
The Modern’s associate curator, Lee Hallman

Today we have Lee Hallman, an associate curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. In her role at the revered institution she recently directed and edited the museum’s new permanent collection catalog Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth: Collection Highlights (2019). That same year she was also the curator-in-charge of “David Park: A Retrospective” and organized the presentation of Julie Bozzi’s “American Food.”

We know that you will enjoy her insights into the four small Toni La Selle (American 1901-2002) paintings she presents in this video. La Selle was one of the great pioneers of modernism in Texas. She has a fascinating story that began with her birth in a smiling farming town in Nebraska in 1901 and her life spans almost the entire 20th century.

Toni LaSelle’s “Motif Theme I,” 1952 oil on canvas board
Toni LaSelle’s “Motif Theme I,” 1952
oil on canvas board

Hopefully you’ve caught the other two videos that our friends at the Modern have provided. First, with Andrea Karnes when we shared one of her favorite Kehinde Wiley pieces from the museum’s collection — Colonel Platoff on His Charger. Then a wonderful video done by Alison Hearst where she discusses another painting from the museum’s extensive holdings: Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s Dwell: Me, We.

Be sure to also watch the videos that have been provided by the Kimbell Art Museum (Curator Guillaume Kientz of sharing insights into some of the paintings from “Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum”) and Dallas Contemporary (adjunct curator Pedro Alonzo discussing Jose Dávila’s exhibition, “Directional Energies”). Look for more intimate glimpses into the museums that are now closed around the state in upcoming “Museums Delivered” features.

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