Nov 2, 2011

REVIEW | The Rachofsky House | Dallas, TX

Front view, The Rachofsky House
I had the pleasure to visit The Rachofsky House in the city of Dallas, TX a few weeks ago and boy was I in for a treat. Personally I am from a city outside of downtown Dallas and never knew about this hidden gem, it is definitely a must see if ever in the area. I visited The Rachofsky House with no expectations and was blown away. In the past they have had open house events every afternoon and fridays but currently that option is not available. 
To visit the home you will have to make an appointment two weeks in advance and also have a group of 10-15 people, but on the bright side you receive a tour guide to show you the home and explain the current exhibition pieces and the whole experience is absolutely free. You might be thinking well what exactly is The Rachofsky House? Well it first started with Howard Rachofsky who commissioned architect Richard Meier in the mid 1990’s to design a home that would serve first as a bachelor pad, then as a private gallery and made very accessible to the public. Then the home would eventually become part of the Dallas Museum of Art, which the Rachofsky’s have already directed along with their art to the DMA.

Bruce Nauman, Shadow Puppet Spinning Head, 1990
Wax, sheet, video projector, video monitor, videotape player
Dimensions Variable

The Rachofsky Collection consists of artwork by international artists working in the last century. The collection focuses on two general themes: artwork that explores the nature of sculpture and painting, with special emphasis on Minimalism and Italian art associated with the Arte Povera movement, and contemporary work that explores notions of identity and the self. Of particular importance to the collection are works by Italian artists Piero Manzoni, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Alighiero Boetti, Giulio Paolini, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giuseppe Penone, and Michelangelo Pistoletto. Other artists with significant holdings in The Rachofksy Collection are Janine Antoni, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Robert Ryman, Donald Judd, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Tom Friedman, Kiki Smith, Jiro Takamatsu, Katsuo Shiraga, Richard Prince, Mona Hatoum and Mark Grotjahn.

Interior View, The Rachofsky House

When you first arrive to the site there is a small parking area and in front is a solid white gate, from there you walk towards the house following a concrete road that leads to the front of the house and straight to the entrance. When inside the house you are surrounded with white walls, white ceilings, and large white framed windows. It makes you want to take your shoes off considering it is a house, and not touch anything. Every feature in the home is very sleek and modern from the furniture and home appliances to every fixture on the wall and ceilings. The open space is great for displaying the artwork and I loved how you can see and appreciate the art from different angles depending where you are standing in the house. 

Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled (Passport), 2005
Passports and chrome table

Another feature I enjoyed was the narrow spiral staircase located on one of the corners of the house because it reminded me of when I was younger and I wanted a hidden spiral staircase that lead to my own bedroom. Right before going up the staircase was the Passport Table display and I really liked the concept since I am a big traveler myself. Rirkrit Tiravanija moved to Thailand, Malaysia and Ethiopia before attending high school in Ottowa, Canada. His work is reflected on his experiences with all the changes he has encountered in his life. Tiravanija’s hand-painted passports are composed and reflect a particular time and context of his life.

Backyard View, The Rachofsky House
The backyard area is very lovely, there is large rectangular pool right in the middle and if you looked to your right standing from the patio there is beautiful lake. In my experience viewing art in a home is more intimate because we being the guest have an immediate response towards the art because we connect it with a person and a place. Every where you turned and behind every door was a completely different collection of art whether you where standing in the main living space or in a bedroom and even the restroom had some awesome features. One of my favorite features of the home was located on the first floor, between the foyer and the dinning room area there was what seemed to be a narrow strip of steel on the floor as if dividing the two areas but in fact the surprise was that it could be raised up and functioned as a room divider controlled by a remote control.
Kiki Smith, Cave Bear Teeth, 2000
Cast Bronze with Patina, 11 by 11 ft.
Howard and Cindy Rachofsky are great civic leaders and patrons of art and architecture. Every year this modern residence is home to a week of activities that raise an immense amount of money for AIDS and Art. The house is utilized for lectures, classes, educational events, tours and exhibitions. For the present, this modern home will continue to inspire as a private residence and serve as a gallery. Ultimately, this exquisite modern home will transition to a modern museum, retaining the point of view and legacy of Howard and Cindy Rachofsky.

- Clara Moreno


  1. Great post! Sometimes, I feel kind of intimidated by big art museums and their big, white walls. Did the fact that this is a private residence make you feel at ease? It would for me. The house itself reminds me of one of the first chapters of Chromophobia by David Batchelor, with the stark white and clean designs. How many pieces of artwork were in the house? Could you go in most of the rooms?

    - Julie Morrison

  2. I was so excited when I saw this. Back in my junior year of high school my art teacher arranged a trip for us here. I loved it, the home is amazing, and through your photos I can see the new pieces they have up since I have been there. The scenery outside the home was lovely I'm glad they still have the teeth outside.

    Julie, if I remember right, all rooms of the house you have access to. They even have art in the bathrooms upstairs.

    - Erin Davis

  3. Julie, yeah I know what you mean and yes I felt more comfortable to wander off into the rooms and explore the different areas of the house. I don't remember the exact amount of artworks but like Erin said there is artwork everywhere, even the bathroom! For the most part you could go in every room except when I went we couldn't go in the office and another room I don't remember what it was. Go if you ever have the chance.

    -Clara Moreno

  4. Hi I am a student of architecture department at the home excites me, I would like more information, please Can you help if possible, drawing the May Have