Archive for July, 2011

Behind Closed Doors

Go behind the Museum office doors and discover the various work spaces in the DMA. Each month we will share insight into a different department.

This month, our in-house design team shares their space with us.

Photography by Adam Gingrich, Marketing Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art

A Gem of a Diamond Anniversary

With the 75th anniversary of the Texas Centennial Exposition around the corner, we decided to dive into our archives and share some of our finds with you. 
Texas Centennial Exposition ticket

Seventy-five years ago, in the summer of 1936, people throughout Texas and the United States traveled to Dallas for the Texas Centennial Exposition. The Exposition, held at Fair Park, was both a world’s fair and a gateway to attractions and events throughout the state celebrating the 100th anniversary of Texas’s independence from Mexico.

The following four photographs are from a set of twenty images  published by John Sirigo, official photographer for the Texas Centennial Exposition, as “Genuine Official Photographs, No. 1.”

Texas Centennial Exposition, Esplanade and Exhibit Buildings

Texas Centennial Exposition, Midway

Texas Centennial Exposition, State Building

Texas Centennial Exposition, Ford Building

Advertised as An Empire on Parade, attractions included the Esplanade of State; exhibit halls and sponsored pavilions focusing on major industries in Texas; The Cavalcade of Texas, a living saga of over four hundred years of Texas history; Sinclair’s Dinosaurs, a prehistoric “zoo” of dinosaur reproductions; The Old West, with replicas of historic buildings; the Midway; and the Civic Center, made up of six units of cultural and educational attractions.

Souvenir Guide

Postcard view of museum building (E.C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee, Wis.)

The Hall of Fine Arts, the largest building in the Civic Center, was the permanent home of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, now the Dallas Museum of Art, for nearly fifty years. For the Exposition, the Museum held an enormous exhibition of paintings, sculpture, and graphic arts, including European art from before 1500 to contemporary Texas painting and everything in between. The exhibition, which filled the whole building, included almost six hundred works of art loaned by ninety-six major museums, galleries, private collectors, and artists.

Texas Centennial Exposition, Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture & Graphic Arts, catalog cover

The French Room at the Texas Centennial Exhibition included works by Manet, Renoir, Picasso, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Grant Wood's "Amercian Gothic" was in the Contemporary American Paintings section of the Texas Centennial Exhibition.

The Texas Centennial Exposition ran from June 6 to November 29, 1936, and over six million people attended. Exhibit halls constructed for the Exposition still form the core buildings at Fair Park.

Hillary Bober is the Digital Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Discover your DMA Art Doppelgänger!

Have you ever imagined which artist you are most like? Well now is your chance to find out with our new Artist Personality Quiz. On Friday nights during 9×9 you can stop by the Artist Personality Quiz table in the DMA’s concourse and take our 11 question quiz to find out which artist you are.

Start getting in touch with your inner artist with a sneak peek of the Artist Personality Quiz below, and stop by Friday to find your match.

My friends would most likely describe me as:
a. The brooding rebel.
b. The independent bohemian.
c. The laid-back hipster.
d. The charismatic life of the party.
e. The contemplative dreamer.
f. The detailed-oriented planner.

When I am vacationing, you can find me:
a. Renting a cottage on a secluded bluff in the Hamptons.
b. Soaking in the sun and desert landscape in Santa Fe.
c. Relaxing on the beach in Santa Monica.
d. Running with the bulls in Pamplona.
e. Taking a culinary tour of the French countryside.
f. Enjoying the hustle and bustle of Times Square.

Once you discover who your DMA Art Doppelgänger is you will receive a button proclaiming which artist you are. Then stroll through the galleries and strike up conversations with other doppelgängers to discuss how you answered the quiz questions and to find out what you have in common.

Button images (details): ClaudeMonet, Water Lilies, 1908, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation Incorporated, 1981.128; Piet Mondrian, Place de la Concorde, 1938–43, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, 1982.22.FA, © 2004 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust, c/o hcr@hcrinternational.com

Live from the Red Carpet: Gaultier Opens in Montreal

An entry to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with exhibition banner above

An entry to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with exhibition banner above

As the DMA’s curator for the forthcoming exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier, I recently had the opportunity to travel with some of my colleagues to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, where the exhibition had its international premiere. The Montreal Museum, which had organized the exhibition, did a tremendous job in presenting the works not simply as couture draped across mannequins, but as truly vibrant objects of art and design. The excitement was indeed palpable, as the red carpet was rolled down the front steps of the Museum and the crowds began to gather for opening night. Even for the second night’s reception, over 2,000 people gathered for a preview of the exhibition!

The crowds converge for one of the opening receptions

The crowds converge for one of the opening receptions

Gaultier arrived from Paris to join in the festivities and one could see he was enjoying himself as much as anyone else in attendance. One of the remarkable aspects of the installation was the creation of specially “animated mannequins” for the clothing which incorporated custom-molded heads to accommodate video projections of which made them appear to speak, sing, and scan the crowds (at the entry stood Gaultier’s own double—a mannequin welcoming those many visitors). Throughout the exhibition, Gaultier’s fashions reflected both his exceptional talents and sheer joy in life. As guests poured through the crowded galleries, they stopped to admire their new favorites—perhaps a dress of brilliant feathers making the wearer appear exotic and bird-like or a Can-Can dress with the repeated image of kicking legs on the interior?

Animated sailor mannequins with Gaultier's  fashions in his iconic marinière (sailor striped shirt) motif

Animated sailor mannequins with Gaultier's fashions in his iconic marinière (sailor striped shirt) motif

The Gaultier mannequin is programmed

The Gaultier mannequin is programmed

Crowds gather around the exhibition's moving catwalk

Crowds gather around the exhibition's moving catwalk

More crowds in the "Urban Jungle" section of the exhibition

More crowds in the "Urban Jungle" section of the exhibition

Come November, Dallas and DMA members will have the opportunity to enjoy their own welcoming party for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier!

Kevin W. Tucker is The Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Dallas Museum of Art

Designing Women (and the Cure for Mad Men Withdrawal)

In summers past, our reward for coping with insufferably hot temperatures and an endless parade of reruns on TV has been the return of a new season of Mad Men – the exploits of Don Draper and his cohorts at Sterling Cooper Draper Price Ad Agency offer an escape to the chic and sophisticated world of 1960s New York. Alas, this year the return of Don, Joan, Peggy, Roger, and company has been delayed until later this fall.

Never fear! The DMA has a cure for your Mad Men withdrawal. On Thursday we will kick off our summer film series, Pictureshow, with the classic 1959 romantic comedy Pillow Talk. Like Mad Men, the film takes place in Manhattan and is filled with stylish apartments and gorgeous clothes that would make Betty Draper swoon. The film is especially well known for its set design and is considered so “aesthetically significant” that it was added to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in 2009.

Cathy Whitlock will join us to introduce the film. Cathy is a Nashville-based interior designer, a journalist, and the author of Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction. Her blog Cinema Style explores the world of interior design and style in the movies. In preparation for her visit to Dallas, we asked Cathy about some of her favorite films and her own creative process.

You write about the intersection of design and film on your blog Cinema Style and in your most recent book, Designs on Film. What inspired your love of the movies? 

Ironically my first movie experience as a child was Pillow Talk and I was mesmerized with the interiors, fashion, and life in Manhattan. Apparently, the die was cast as I moved there years later and became an interior designer. I grew up in the sixties, which was such a ripe time for film – the Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedy “romps,” Cleopatra, 2001, The Graduate, and the James Bond franchise – and it left a huge imprint. Movies provide such an inspiration in so many areas as well as the ultimate two-hour escape!

Your blog and book cover films made recently as well as throughout the 20th century. Do you have a favorite era in the history of Hollywood?

Besides the sixties, I love the films of the thirties, as it was the time of big musicals (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers) and the “Big White Set” (such as Dinner at Eight). The decade ended with two of the biggest films of the century, The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind.

The cast of Gone with the Wind on the grand staircase of Tara

Jean Harlow's bedroom in Dinner at Eight

 

 How can moviegoers be inspired by the sets they see on screen? How can we translate what we see on screen to our own homes?

Often it can be something as simple as a color or a feel that inspires us. I have literally had clients pull out a DVD where they marked a certain scene and wanted to get the look. Thanks to technology, we can do that. What audiences need to remember is the rooms are almost always shot on a soundstage and on a budget and often we are responding to the overall “feel” of the scene. That being said, it’s pretty easy to pick out a few elements of a movie interior for use in our own homes.

Doris Day's apartment in Pillow Talk

 Pillow Talk is a classic romantic comedy that stars Doris Day as an interior designer.  What makes this film so iconic from a design standpoint?

I think it’s the overall design of the film – the interiors, Doris Day’s wardrobe, and Manhattan is very clean and carefree. From a design standpoint, the film literally gave birth to the “bachelor pad” and I am not even sure the set decorators got credit for that. They introduced the first electronic apartment complete with buttons that turn on the stereo, turn the sofa into a bed, and dim the lights. Now we call that a “smart house” but in the sixties it was pretty radical!

Where do you find inspiration for your interior design work?

 I am a huge student of pop culture and find inspiration through a variety of places – music, museums, magazines, books – but, most importantly, film!

Join Cathy for Pillow Talk this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. She will sign copies of Designs on Film before the screening. Don’t miss the Museum’s collection of objects from the era of Mad Men and Pillow Talk – visit Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present in the Tower Gallery on Level 4.

Lisa Kays is the Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Expect the Unexpected!

Well, we’re getting close now: 9×9 is nearly upon us. Everyone at the Museum has been hard at work to make sure that our visitors have plenty of wonderful experiences at the DMA this July. To help you prepare for the nine nights when we will stay open until 9:00 p.m., I thought I would share some insight into the preparation.

9×9—What is that?
9×9 is simply this: nine days in July when the Museum will be open until 9 p.m. (or later!), beginning this Thursday, July 14. On these Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, we will bring you all kinds of new activities, tours, and performances to experience with your friends and family members. Expect the unexpected!

Planning this month’s programs at the DMA has been a huge collaborative effort between everyone at the Museum. One of my favorite alliances is between Seventeen Seventeen and the Education Department. The Education team designed several “Provocative Comparisons” tours to show us some interesting connections between works of art in our collection. Chef Coulter followed suit and created three new menus for the 9×9 evenings that were “provocatively” inspired by the collection as well. The mouth-watering offerings are inspired by American and European art and the arts of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Visit the Dine page on the website for more information.

Chef James Coulter showcases three of the 9x9 small plates.

Antelope Sliders inspired by the Arts of the Americas collection.

Something I’ve been working on is the new DMAzing Race. If you love scavenger hunts and problem solving, this is something you don’t want to miss! The race will take place on Friday, July 22 and July 29. Teams of two will compete in a race through the Museum’s collection, completing challenges along the way. Racers will be given a packet with clue cards and materials to complete the tasks. Along the way, they will document their race experience through photography (so after it’s all over check Facebook).

This sounds like fun! What should I expect?
Each team will be given a race packet filled with clues and materials to complete the challenges. Each clue card includes a clue in the form of pictures and riddles to guide you to a work of art in the Museum and then a challenge, which could be as simple as taking a picture of what you found to something more elaborate, like re-creating the work of art using people in the galleries. Some challenges will ask you to create something using the materials in your bag. Along the way, you and your partner will document your discoveries through photography.

My DMAzing Race Clue Book.

How do I sign up? Do I need to bring anything?
The night of the race, come by our check-in table in the Concourse anytime between 6:00 and 6:30 p.m. to sign up your team. Space is limited, so come by sooner rather than later. If you have one, you’ll want to bring your smartphone or camera so you can document the race. The race will begin at 6:30 p.m. You may take as long as you like to finish the race, but our top finishers will receive a prize. Someone’s got to win, and it might as well be you!

Two racers fighting for the win! If you join the race you too will recieve your own set of headbands and wrist bands in DMA colors.

I look forward to seeing you at the DMAzing Race and at many other programs during 9×9!

Hayley Dyer is the Audience Relations Coordinator at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Two for the Road

Uncrated recently took a “field trip” to Fort Worth to visit the Kimbell Art Museum’s  presentation of Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912, for which the DMA loaned its 1912 Braque painting Still Life with Bottles and Glasses. Before the exhibition opened, the Kimbell’s director of conservation, Claire Barry, took a look at our “gem of a painting” and offered us this guest post on the experience.

Georges Braque, "Still Life with Bottles and Glasses", 1912, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., given in honor of Deedie Rose and J. E. R. Chilton

X-ray of George Braque's "Still Life with Bottles and Glasses"

I was delighted to have the opportunity to examine Braque’s Still Life with Bottles and Glasses from the DMA in the Kimbell conservation studio. Fortunately, this gem of a painting is unlined, which is rare for a cubist painting from this period. As a result, the impastoed (thickly textured) surface has never been flattened through lining. As one of my teachers wisely advised, think about a painting as a sculpture in low relief. If you look at the Braque in this way, you quickly begin to appreciate the rich variety in the artist’s application of paint—from thin areas where the paint is more fluid to thicker areas of impasto where he applied paint with a heavily loaded brush. Then, in the upper left, you might notice that the paint has a crusty texture that seems totally unrelated to the composition. With the permission of the DMA curators, I x-rayed the painting, which quickly revealed that Braque completely reworked the composition of Still Life with Bottles and Glasses during the course of painting. The texture of the underlying paint layers, later covered over, can still be seen on the surface. I was fascinated to discover this, because between Picasso and Braque, I always believed that Picasso had a greater tendency to radically rework his paintings (as he did with the Kimbell’s Man with a Pipe). Braque painted the Kimbell’s Girl with a Cross without making a single revision.

Pablo Picasso, Man with a Pipe, 1911, oil on canvas, Kimbell Art Museum. Photo © MegaVision. © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Georges Braque, Girl with a Cross, 1911, oil on canvas, Kimbell Art Museum. Photo © MegaVision. © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

I was fortunate to be able to examine the two Braques, the DMA’s and the Kimbell’s, side by side in the conservation studio. Like the DMA painting, the Kimbell’s Girl with a Cross is unlined and preserved in pristine condition. In fact, it has never been varnished and retains the matte surface that the cubists intended. Both Picasso and Braque were adamant that their paintings should never be varnished. The DMA’s Braque, however, had been varnished at some point, and the varnish layer imparted a glossier surface than Braque had in mind. The unifying effect of the varnish also masked the subtle differences in surface gloss and texture that Braque created. In preparation for the exhibition, the DMA gave me permission to remove the varnish layer from Still Life with Bottles and Glasses. The fact that visitors to the exhibition can now see two unlined, unvarnished cubist paintings by Braque is really something exceptional. When you see the surfaces of these paintings, you can feel confident that this is very close to how they appeared when they left Braque’s easel some one hundred years ago.

Braque’s Still Life with Bottles and Glasses (1912) was sent to the Kimbell for spectral-image photography during the early stages of planning the exhibition Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912. These photographs are among the many incredible high-resolution digital images that can be explored with the iPad application iCubist in the Kimbell exhibition. If you want to experience the details in cubist paintings, brushstroke for brushstroke (the way I examine paintings in my job as a paintings conservator), I really recommend that you check out the iPads at the Kimbell. To my knowledge, this is the first time such images have been made available to the public in such an interactive way in a museum exhibition. The goal is to enrich the experience of seeing the real paintings, for which there is absolutely no substitute. My hope is that the iPad application may encourage visitors to spend even more time in the exhibition. Unlike the Acoustiguide, you cannot look at a painting and the iPad app simultaneously. So perhaps this will encourage visitors to look at the paintings first, then explore the iPad, and then return to the paintings for a second look, with greater understanding and appreciation.

Guest blogger Claire Barry is the director of conservation at the Kimbell Art Museum.

The Dallas Museum of Art offers Dallas kids’ activities

The Dallas Museum of Art is a wonderful place for families to share experiences together and offers more than 700 programs for children and their families every year.  From a 2-year-old visiting the museum for the first time, or a 75-year-old showing his grandkids his favorite work of art, to a visitor with autism learning that she too can appreciate the Museum – we have something for everyone at the DMA. And if you’re under 12, you can always visit the Museum for Free! Watch the video below to see all of the different ways you can experience the DMA as a family.

Living the Dream

Uncrated tracked down the DMA’s Chair of Collections and Exhibitions, Tamara Wootton-Bonner, to talk about her job at the Museum. Tamara has the large responsibility of overseeing the Museum’s exhibitions, publications, collections, libraries, archives, and digital imaging departments, and as you will read below, she knew early on that she wanted to work in a museum.


Describe your job in fifty words or less.
I’m the Chair of Collections and Exhibitions and I oversee the exhibitions, publications, collections management, libraries, archives, and digital imaging departments. My main job is to make sure that our exhibitions, publications, and other key projects happen successfully (and are on time and within budget) and to keep everyone happy.

What might an average day entail?
Meetings and e-mails! Besides that, I have to take on a variety of roles: in a single day I might have to be a cheerleader, mom, taskmaster, accountant, lawyer, writer, editor, project manager, critic, negotiator, facilitator, logistician, bad guy, and, if I’m lucky, I get to look at art. The greatest days are working with designers and artists . . . on exhibitions, publications, building projects, etc. But I also have fun managing budgets, negotiating contracts, solving problems, and planning for the future.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges?
The best part of my job is working with lots of wonderful, creative people. It’s exciting to see ideas come to life and to know that you’ve been a part of it—whether it’s an exhibition, a publication, or something else. I love to watch an exhibition come together or smell a new book hot off the press.

The biggest challenge can be trying to do too much with too little. We are an ambitious bunch around here and almost everyone is a perfectionist.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum?
As a child I wanted to be an artist. I used to draw and paint all the time. But by the time I graduated from high school I knew I wanted to work in a museum. I started as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and now . . . here I am.

What is your favorite work in the Museum’s collection?
I have several—Franz Kline’s Slate Cross, the Indonesian tau tau, and the Olmec jade mask are among my absolute favorites. But it changes every day. Tatsuo Miyajima’s Counter Ground and the James Lee Byars works in the Silence and Time exhibition, on view now, are amazing.

Is there a past exhibition that stands out in your mind as a favorite, or is there a particular upcoming show you’re looking forward to seeing?
That’s easy—The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier! It’s going to be phenomenal. We’ve never done a fashion exhibition, so it’s going to be a challenge. But it’s going to be an exciting challenge.

Dallas Museum of Art Points of Access

Through Access Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art, visitors of all ages with special needs and their families can experience the Museum and spend time together. For instance, we host Art Beyond Sight programs in October that celebrate visual awareness, and four times a year we have Autism Awareness Family Celebrations.

Meaningful Moments is a monthly program at the DMA designed for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and a care partner–a devoted wife bringing her husband, a loving daughter attending with her mother, or an admiring husband bringing his wife, like John Rath, who brings his wife, Sue.

John and Sue attend the DMA program every month, including last week’s Storytelling in Art Meaningful Moments event. At every visit, they enjoy the gallery discussion and the opportunity to reminisce and share stories about their lives. Sue had a career with Susan Crane Packaging, where she designed wrapping paper that was sold at many stores, including Neiman Marcus, and John worked for thirty-seven years at Texas Instruments. Sue collects pins (always wearing a different one when she visits the Museum) and loves taking care of her plants in a back porch greenroom that her handyman husband John built just for her.

When the program moves to the studio for art-making, Sue’s artistic abilities shine as she is usually one of the last to finish her work of art. Many couples create art together during the studio time, but John prefers to admire Sue’s creations while providing support and encouragement. Clearly best friends, John and Sue have a love for one another that many dream about having.

I have been lucky to get to know this wonderful couple during Meaningful Moments throughout the year, and here is a bit more insight into the lives of John and Sue:

John and Sue, what three words would you use to describe one another?
Sue is loving, considerate, and creative. John is kind, friendly, and multitalented.

John, you and Sue have known each other for a long time (since childhood!). Will you share some favorite moments that you have had together over the years?
Riding our bicycles to Confirmation class at church together, our first date (a Boy Scout Christmas party), our wedding day, and honeymoon. Living in a number of different states and countries, some of them more than once, when I was traveling on military/government contracts for Texas Instruments. The birth of our daughter and son and their development through the years; both were achievers and kept us extremely busy with their activities. Everywhere we have lived, we’ve enjoyed the people we met and have taken advantage of the–if I may borrow a phrase–meaningful moments that were available.

What types of things do the two of you enjoy doing together?
We enjoy the Meaningful Moments program at the Dallas Museum of Art; spending quality time with family, extended family, and friends; camping, fishing, and most outdoor activities; playing games (cards, dominoes, Yahtzee, etc., especially with grandchildren); and working on creative projects together.

Why do you attend the Meaningful Moments program?
The Meaningful Moments program is an excellent extension of the informational and learning opportunities we have always enjoyed and try to take advantage of when possible. We always look forward to the monthly programs.

Amanda Blake is Manager of Family Experiences and Access Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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