Film Travelogue

New documentary goes behind the scenes of ambitious Texas art exhibition

New film goes behind the scenes of ambitious Texas art exhibition

The Perilous Texas Adventures of Mark Dion
The documentary The Perilous Adventures of Mark Dion will be available on Amazon. Photo courtesy of Amon Carter Museum of American Art

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced the temporary closure of Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum of American Art, but art aficionados will get a taste of one of the exhibitions that was on view at the museum via Erik Clapp’s documentary, The Perilous Texas Adventures of Mark Dion.

The film was commissioned by the Carter alongside the exhibition of the same name, which opened on February 8 and was to have run through May 17. It will be available nationwide beginning in May, on Amazon Prime.

Clapp’s 58-minute documentary serves as a travelogue for the exhibition, following artist Mark Dion as he retraces the footsteps of four 19th-century artist-explorers in Texas to create the exhibition. Those four explorers include artist and ornithologist John James Audubon, watercolorist Sarah Ann Lillie Hardinge, architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and botanist Charles Wright. 

The film chronicles Dion's travels to different regions of Texas as he created a sculptural inventory of found items to form his large-scale installation uniting the present and past of artistic exploration. Dion collected materials to form a site-specific immersive exhibition, which was coupled with works on paper, paintings, and archival materials from the Carter’s collection.

For more artistic endeavors to enjoy from home, The Carter has introduced a new video series inspired by the museum’s collection and history, titled Cooped Up with the Carter. In the series, museum staff members and community partners explore artwork from the Carter’s collection and lead creative activities made from materials that people have lying around their house.

They also have off-shoot segments like Cooped Up with the Carter: In the Kitchen, where Carter staff present homemade recipes that take art inspiration to a whole new level, and Cooped Up with the Carter: Exhibition Tour, in which viewers can get their own personal tour of special exhibitions from Carter curators.