Archive for October, 2011

French Twist: An Intern Abroad

The Dallas Museum of Art offers a variety of internships throughout the year in various departments. This past July, Amandine Marchal joined the Development Department. Marchal hails from Montbéliard, in Franche-Comté (eastern France) and is currently studying business at the French School, HEC Paris. We tracked her down to discuss her experience at the DMA.

Describe your internship in fifty words or less?
I am a Development intern at the DMA and occasionally I assist other departments (such as Marketing and Education). I am mainly working on the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition. I keep some of the special events’ invitation lists and help organize those events.

What might an average day entail?
Every day is really different. Some days I add people to the invitation lists, other days I add information about the DMA’s works of art online, order linens and flowers for lunches, and make reservations for group tours of our collection. It is very varied!

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges?
The best part of this internship is that I work with so many people and do so many different things. It’s also quite a challenge because it requires a good deal of organization! But I really wanted to have a good overview of how a museum works, and I feel like I have a better understanding after interning at the DMA.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Has interning at the DMA changed your career path in any way?
I started with business studies in France and saw myself working in publishing houses. Last year, I began taking art history courses (or lessons in history of art, as we say in France). My internship at the DMA has really made me reconsider my career path. I will certainly keep learning about art and consider any museum job opportunities when I finish my studies.

What is your favorite work in the Museum’s collection?
It’s hard to choose. I would say it is Edward Hopper’s Lighthouse Hill. He is one of the first American painters that I discovered, and I love his paintings’ atmosphere. But I love to hang around the European floor and see the incredible Monet, Vernet, and Courbet paintings; they remind me of France.

How did you find out about an internship at the Dallas Museum of Art?

I wanted to find an internship in the United States, and in a cultural field. I learned that one of my fellow students at HEC (Adrien Lenoir) was doing an internship at the DMA, and I applied too. I really wanted to go to Dallas because it seemed so unusual for a French student to have an internship here! And Adrien was so enthusiastic about his own internship and the kindness of the people at the DMA that I didn’t hesitate.

What advice would you give to other students looking for an international internship?
I would tell them not to fear the “language barrier”; they will get used to talking in English. People are very patient and nice about our mistakes. An international internship is actually an incredible experience, and a way to meet extraordinary people. So don’t hesitate!

What has been your favorite Dallas experience thus far?
I was amazed by the 4th of July parades! In France people don’t celebrate Bastille Day this way. It was a very fun and unusual thing to see for me. Now I am looking forward to seeing some Halloween parties!

Seldom Scene: Two Hundred Years Later, Together Again

After a two-hundred-year separation, two Claude-Joseph Vernet landscapes are reunited at the Dallas Museum of Art. Commissioned in 1774 at the height of Vernet’s career by famous English collector Lord Lansdowne, the two large-scale paintings depict the complementary scenes of unruly rustic landscape and tranquil seaport. The duo, A Mountain Landscape with an Approaching Storm and A Grand View of the Sea Shore, hung together in the collector’s home, Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square, London, until his death, when the paintings were sold to separate private collections in 1806. See the works in person in the Museum’s European Art Galleries on Level 2 through December 11, 2011. To read more about the reunion, click here.

Join Dr. Heather MacDonald, The Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art, DMA, for a gallery talk on Vernet’s Lansdowne Landscapes on Wednesday, November 2, at 12:15 p.m.

Member Appreciation Week

The DMA’s third annual Member Appreciation Week (MAW) is less than a month away. Each year we set aside one week to celebrate our members! Membership contributions are vital to the Museum’s operations, allowing us to present exquisite special exhibitions and rich multidisciplinary programming like Late Nights. The Dallas Museum of Art is extraordinary because of the generosity and investment of its members.

We’ve added a couple of days to this year’s MAW so that we can incorporate the opening of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk. Over twenty events are planned during these nine days, which was no easy feat, and there is something that will appeal to all of our members. Some of the week’s highlights include:

  • Member previews of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier – Preparation for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition has been in the works for months, but we reserved time for our members to have the opportunity to view the exhibition prior to the November 13 public opening.
  • Arts & Letters Live special lecture: Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock: Changing What Art Is – Authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith will discuss their new book Van Gogh: The Life as well as the similarities they found between Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, on Monday, November 14. Members will be able to attend this event free (to make reservations click here), and I’m taking this night off so that I can enjoy my membership benefits!
  • Story Time – Every summer the education department sends an e-mail to staff members asking who wants to read books during Story Time. I’m always one of the first to volunteer to read a children’s story in one of the collection galleries. It is a popular event with families and we want to offer our members this experience in the fall. After the story, we talk about the art. Hearing children tell me about their experience with art is one of the highlights of my job!
  • 20% off in the Museum Store – who doesn’t love a good sale! The extra 20% is just in time to start your holiday shopping.

For a full list of events, visit Events for Members. Don’t forget to stop by the Member Services Desk to introduce yourself so that we can thank you in person! For information on how to become a member, call 214-922-1247 or visit  DallasMuseumofArt.org.

Wendi Kavanaugh is the Member Outreach Manager at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Off the Wall: Alternate Universe

In our Center for Creative Connections we ask visitors to reflect on their responses to the spaces they encounter in art, as well as those they encounter in their everyday life.

For one work of art specifically, Lee Bontecou’s Untitled, we ask visitors to respond to one of three prompts:

  • To me, sharing space with this work of art feels like…
  • The words or pictures that come to mind when I look at this work of art are…
  • If this work of art was part of something larger, describe what it would be.

    Untitled (35), Lee Bontecou, 1961, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of an anonymous foundation

We have gotten a lot of great responses from visitors and want to share a few with you. Once a month we will have an “Off the Wall” post featuring three responses left by visitors.

Next time you are in the Center for Creative Connections add your contribution to the wall and maybe you will see it on Uncrated!

A Monumental Install

Detail, the massive ark currently grounded in the Barrel Vault, recreates part of Mark Bradford’s earlier work Mithra which was installed in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. Detail consists of a steel and wood core to which is attached plywood panels to form the outer hull. The only part of the original Mithra that is used for this new piece is the outer plywood hull; the inner structure is new and was designed and fabricated for Bradford’s retrospective.

Because of the size and complexity of Detail, it was decided early in the planning stages of our exhibit that I would travel to Chicago to observe the piece being installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Being able to watch and participate in the assembly of Detail at the MCA answered most of the questions we had about its construction. Well before we began our installation, we had a very firm idea of how the piece would go together and how long it would take to build.


The first two days of installation were spent bolting together the inner steel core, which comprises thirteen steel uprights, sixteen corrugated steel panels, and almost forty horizontal and diagonal braces. Due to the size and weight of the individual components, and the fact that the steel panels were an extremely tight fit to the uprights, this was the most difficult part of the installation. The prep staff made judicious use of rubber mallets to “persuade” the steel panels to fit. When completed, this inner core replicates the look of the steel shipping containers used in the original MithraDetail is designed so that the viewer can get a slight glimpse of this inner structure through small gaps between the plywood panels that form the hull.

Once we were finished assembling the steel core, the installation went fairly quickly. The next step was to attach eleven large wooden “ribs”—each in two sections, a top and a bottom—that bolted on to flanges on the steel uprights. At this point what had been a huge steel box began to take on the shape of a giant boat. Next a series of horizontal wooden braces were screwed between the ribs. These horizontal braces, along with the wooden ribs, served as attachment points for the outer plywood “skin” that forms the hull of Detail. The final step was screwing the plywood panels to the ribs and horizontal braces, which completed the hull. The fit of the panels was not really precise; at this stage, we relied on our own aesthetic judgment, plus images from the installation in Chicago, to determine the exact placement and alignment of each panel in relation to the others around it.

We completed Detail in five days, right on schedule. Mark Bradford’s monumental boat and the Barrel Vault space seem to be made for each other, and Detail will certainly be as memorable a viewing experience as it was to install.

Mike Hill is a Preparator at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Sense Art: Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month

October is Art Beyond Sight Awareness month and our Family Experiences and Access Programs throughout the month are all about exploring works of art without using vision. How might we do such a thing? By using our other senses! During Art Beyond Sight programming, you might:

HEAR John Bramblitt talk about his works of art and his process of painting as an artist who is blind. In the galleries, spend time imagining how a work of art might sound during one of the ABS programs.

SMELL textured paint as you use your fingers to paint a raised line drawing during a blindfolded painting workshop. Or, you could visit Arturo’s Nest in the Center for Creative Connections to smell spicy notes of cinnamon in one of the sensory bins.

FEEL raised dots as you learn how to write your name in Braille to make a work of art in our family workshop with artist Leslie Ligon. Use your sense of touch to feel mystery textures hidden in a tactile box before drawing it with lines you can feel!

Imagine what you might TASTE while exploring still lifes with food in the European galleries or stretch your mind to imagine how different colors would taste in the Contemporary Art galleries.

Join us throughout the month of October to SEE art without vision!

Amanda Blake is the Manager of Family Experiences and Access Programs.

Behind the Books: An Interview With Our DMA Librarian

Uncrated tracked down Librarian Mary Leonard to talk about her job at the Museum. Mary is the friendly face that greets you when you enter the Mayer Library here at the DMA. Her knowledge is invaluable to researchers of art—and probably a few of us trivia buffs.

Describe your job in fifty words or less.
I handle reference questions and acquisitions for the library. We are open to the public during certain hours and I help visitors during those times and also assist people on the phone and via e-mail. The Mayer Library is a research library—the stacks are closed—so appointments are recommended. But walk-ins are welcome too!

What might an average day entail?
Sometimes I’m going over new books lists—my favorite job! During public hours, I’m at the reference desk and I might be helping a student with a paper or an appraiser with auction results. I check out books to staff and give orientations to new staff and docents. Every day can be different.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges?
The best part of my job is actually getting to look at all the beautiful books we have in our collection. One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with what’s actually going on out in the Museum—seeing new acquisitions and exhibitions. I can get stuck at my desk pretty easily.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum?
I had no idea when I was a kid out in West Texas that these kinds of jobs even existed! But I’ve always loved libraries and art, so I’m really fortunate my career led me here.

What is your favorite work in the DMA collection?
The Fantin-Latour Still Life with Vase of Hawthorne. Or the Matisse Still Life: Bouquet and Compotier. There’s a pattern here. . . . I also love the Fleischner Courtyard, right outside the library windows. I’ve seen it in every season and I never get tired of looking out the window. See, I’m not daydreaming, I’m looking at art!

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?
Everyone is excited about Jean Paul Gaultier—we have the catalog here already and it’s massive. I can’t wait to get down and see the African Headwear exhibition. In the past, I loved the J. M. W. Turner show and the Anne Vallayer-Coster exhibition. Beautiful paintings—what’s not to love?


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