Murals, Mythology, and… Nudity at Fair Park.

At noon today (Wednesday) I was at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas, for a walking tour of the grounds, sponsored by the Dallas Center for Architecture. Fair Park, as we know it today, was constructed for the Republic of Texas Centennial in 1936. The most interesting parts of the tour were the art deco murals, many of which are now 80 years old (some are reconstructed from original plans and photos). The murals often show mythological, Greek, Spanish, and American-Indian influences. One mural in particular is a vision of space travel depicted in a mythological style. Many details can be found online, so I won’t comment on every photo.

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The walking tour began at noon, at the Parry Street entrance to Fair Park, next to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) station. We have come full circle– in 1936, the street car stopped at this entrance, and today DART stops here.

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A 1936 mythologically-themed depiction of future space travel.

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The intriguing thing about this 1936 mural is that it appears to show an interracial couple– in a sensual embrace, at that. There is just enough ethnic ambiguity in the pairing to make Texas Centennial Fair visitors wonder….

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Notice that these two mythological-style young women (might they be inspired by Egyptian art?) are examining banners printed with 20th century automobiles.

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The Hall of State, representing Texas. This was the most important building at the 1936 Texas Centennial Fair.

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Interior of Hall of State building. Keep in mind that the 1936 Centennial Fair of Texas was a type of World’s Fair. There were buildings and exhibits from many countries and cultures. The Hall of State, representing Texas, was the most important building at the fair.

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Texas themed engraving on the pylon at the grand entrance to Fair Park. Perhaps inspired by Greek art.

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Texas themed engraving on the pylon at the grand entrance to Fair Park. Perhaps inspired by Greek art.

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If you are thinking that the columns get in the way of the mural, you are right. The architect deliberately designed it this way. I’m told that he believed that if there were no columns, the mural as an entire wall would overwhelm visitors. Myself, I would have preferred not having the columns, and risking being overwhelmed.

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It is interesting that nudity was a common and accepted feature of 1936 Centennial Fair art.

Please let us know what you think about what we see.