Archive for October, 2012

Macabre Museum

We’re celebrating Halloween with works in the Dallas Museum of Art’s collection that are grim and ghastly, a little haunting, and might even give you the creeps. Be sure to check out the rest of our “Macabre Museum” on our DMA Pinterest page. Happy Halloween!

John Alexander, Dancing on the Water Lilies of Life, 1988, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. Claude Albritton and the Museum League Purchase Fund

Mask: The Bad Spirit of the Mountain, Alaska, Yukon River Area, St. Michael, Yupik Eskimo, late 19th century, wood, paint, and feathers, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth H. Penn

Edward M. Schiwetz, The Fulton House, 1946 (?), watercolor and oil on board, Dallas Museum of Art, Lida Hooe Memorial Fund

Emma-O, Japan, Momoyama period, late 16th-early 17th century, wood, lacquer, gold gilt, and glass, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendover Fund in memory of Alfred and Juanita Bromberg and the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

Dean Ellis, Aspect of a Mexican Cemetery, 1950, oil and wax on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Gerhard Richter, Galerie Heiner Friedrich, and Tünn Konerding, Spherical Object II (Kugelobjekt II), 1970, black-and-white photograph, wood, glass panels, and steel balls, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art League Fund, Roberta Coke Camp Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, and the Contemporary Art Fund: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon E. Faulconer, Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., Marguerite and Robert K. Hoffman, Howard E. Rachofsky, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and two anonymous donors

Kimberly Daniell is the Public Relations Specialist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

A Weekend of Celebration

This weekend we welcomed our newest neighbor to the Dallas Arts District, Klyde Warren Park, with two days of activities and free general admission to the DMA. On Sunday, October 28, we also celebrated ancient Mexico through our free Family Celebration, which took place during the closing celebrations of Art in October. We even held some of our programs at Klyde Warren Park. Below are a few pictures from the day’s events. Be sure to visit The Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico before the exhibition closes on November 25!

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Welcome to the Neighborhood

This week our city’s newest amenity comes online: Klyde Warren Park. Now that we have glorious palaces for high culture, bridges into developing communities, and burgeoning opportunities to live downtown, the next accomplishment to celebrate is a green attraction with an identity open for interpretation by every visitor.

The DMA staff looks forward to the impact of a pedestrian-friendly destination just steps from our front door. The car culture of Dallas is not unique, but whatever we can all do to encourage residents and visitors to stretch their legs and open their eyes can only improve the quality of life for all in our city.

Parks and museums share a great deal—we welcome people of all backgrounds, regardless of particular interests, we offer an informal setting for conversation and relaxation, and we don’t prescribe a route, a timetable, or an outcome for your visit. We both try to offer a respite from the commercial din of contemporary life, some perspective on daily life, and enjoyment that comes from a freedom to wander and explore without confinement.

We look forward to collaborating with the Park as it gets underway with programming, and to accelerating the pedestrian-friendly potential of the Dallas Arts District in a variety of ways. Welcome to the neighborhood, Klyde Warren Park!

Celebrate the grand opening of Klyde Warren Park this weekend. The DMA will move the Studio Creations program outside on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and on Sunday our Maya ballgame demonstration with Grupo Pakal will be held at the Park at 1:45 p.m. Visit the Park’s website for a complete list of events.

Maxwell L. Anderson is The Eugene McDermott Director at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Off the Wall: Where Does It End?

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

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!

How to Win an Election

Election season is upon us! Join us at the Dallas Museum of Art on Thursday, October 25, at 7:30 p.m. for a lecture on the ancient Roman election of 64 B.C, when Marcus Cicero won the office of consul, the highest office in the land, with the help of his brother Quintus. Dr. Philip Freeman translated Quintus’ Latin text, How to Win an Election, written to guide Marcus to victory, and discovered the text to be as timely today as it was in ancient Rome. Uncrated caught up with him for a short Q&A and preview:

What piqued your interest in How to Win an Election?

I read the original in Latin back when I was a graduate student in Classics at Harvard. I was struck then by how timeless the advice in the letter was, so I’ve used it since then in my own undergraduate classes with positive responses from the students. A couple of years ago, I decided that it would be great if the general public could read this virtually unknown piece of ancient literature. I was thrilled when Princeton University Press agreed to publish and publicize it!

Does the advice really hold up for the modern-day election? Do you think your book should be required reading for those running for office?

It certainly holds up for today’s elections. Every time I read of a new scandal or technique from the presidential candidates, I think of Marcus Cicero and the election of 64 B.C. I do sometimes worry that modern candidates will apply the principles laid out in the letter, but I think most people running for office today know all the dirty tricks already!

Your work is rooted in the “dead” languages of the ancient world. What is the most difficult thing you have ever translated? And do you think anything is lost in translation?

Every translation is a compromise that loses something of the original. You can try to be painfully literal, but that misses the spirit of the original. You can try to just capture the broad meaning, but that won’t be accurate. I usually compromise and try to take a middle path. How to Win an Election is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever translated because I was struggling so hard to capture the flavor of the letter while staying true to the text.

We’re right around the corner from the next major presidential election. What are your thoughts on our current election process?

I’ve learned that nothing has really changed in 2,000 years. Politicians are still using the same techniques and making the same mistakes.

Any last minute advice you would give the candidates before November 6?

I think Cicero would say never take anything or anyone for granted. Even at the last minute, elections can change completely!

Dr. Philip Freeman is a Professor of Classics at Luther University in Decorah, Iowa. He has been interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered and has talked on Roman politics across the country. He will lecture on Thursday, October 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Dallas Museum of Art as part of the Boshell Family Lecture Series on Archaeology.

Liz Menz is Manager of Adult Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Fourteen Years of TWO x TWO

TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art is an annual contemporary art auction held in the Richard Meier-designed Rachofsky House in Dallas and benefiting two organizations—the Dallas Museum of Art and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. The event has raised over $34 million in the past thirteen years, enabling the Museum to acquire more than 125  works of art. October 20 marks the fourteenth annual gala and auction, which features Richard Phillips as amfAR’s 2012 Honored Artist. To learn more about the history of TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art, and this year’s events, including the First Look preview party tomorrow evening, visit the TWO x TWO website. Explore past TWO x TWO events below with guests such as Barry Manilow, Alan Cumming, Patti LaBelle, and more.

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Seldom Scene: Karla Black at the DMA

Scottish artist Karla Black will open her first solo project at a U.S. museum this Friday at the DMA. For Karla Black: Concentrations 55, the artist has created two sculptures for the DMA’s Hoffman Gallery and South Concourse. See images from the installation process below, and meet Black and see her work at our Late Night this Friday. She will discuss her exhibition at 7:00 p.m. in the Hoffman Gallery.

Texas Art in a Texas Museum

I first joined the DMA team in July 2010 as an intern for the Curatorial Department of European and American art. In May 2011 I was hired as the research project coordinator for early Texas art, a two-summer position sponsored by the Texas Fund for Curatorial Research. As an art history graduate student specializing in 18th-century British art, I enjoy switching gears when I am in Dallas for the summer and learning about the history of the local art scene in my hometown. The culmination of my research is an addition to the DMA website that includes both a timeline of all Texas-related exhibitions and a historical text about the evolution of the Dallas art community over the years.

The most valuable resource for my project has been the DMA Archives. When I first started researching the relationship between Dallas art clubs, local artists, and the Museum, I spent many hours perusing exhibition catalogues and photographs from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. I was surprised to learn that women played a central role in the early history of the Museum, and that support for local artists was strong and consistent throughout the decades. I quickly realized that most of my attention would be devoted to the period spanning the 1930s to the 1960s. During this time, the Museum sponsored between five and twenty exhibitions each year that exclusively showcased the work of Texas artists.

Most of these exhibitions were sponsored by local art clubs and were held annually. Examples include the Dallas Allied Arts exhibitions, the Dallas Print and Drawing Society exhibitions, and the Texas Watercolor Society exhibitions. For each exhibition, local artists submitted works for entry, which were then judged by a three-person jury prior to the opening of the show. Top works of art were awarded purchase prizes, which were monetary awards provided by art clubs, private donors, and local businesses. All works that received purchase prizes automatically entered the Museum’s permanent collection.

Here are some of my favorites:

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What surprised me most as I was researching the Museum’s collection of Texas art, and specifically the purchase prizes, is the variety of subject matter, techniques, and artistic styles. As you can see, Texas art is not restricted to panoramic views of the desert or scenes of cowboys at work on the ranch. There is much to be learned about the Museum’s vast and incredibly varied collection of regional art. I think it’s time we all took a closer look. Explore the Texas Art section of the Dallas Museum of Art’s website for additional images and information.

Alexandra Wellington is the former Research Project Coordinator for Early Texas Art at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Installing the Boulevards of 19th-Century Paris

Paris arrives this Sunday at the DMA with the opening of Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries. We are excited to be one of only two venues presenting the exhibition and wanted to share with you some of the installation process. Join Dr. Heather MacDonald, The Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art and curator of the DMA presentation, at 2:00 p.m. this Sunday for an Opening Day Exhibition Tour. Check out all of our upcoming related programming here.

Calling all Dallasites

“Birds on the wire” Photograph from the opening of a 500X Gallery show, February 13, 1978. 500X Gallery Records, 1977-1996.

In 2013 the Dallas Museum of Art will celebrate a milestone in our institutional history: the 1963 merger of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Art with the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. The DMA is marking this occasion by launching an initiative to show how this moment was a starting point for community-wide interest in and support of contemporary art.

Brochure for the “Dallas Art ’78” exhibition at Dallas City Hall, Publications and Printed Materials.

By looking at the North Texas art scene over the past five decades, we hope to bring greater public awareness to the richly varied but widely undiscovered history of the area’s contemporary art avant-garde. People, places, and events are the subjects of this project, as we look outside the Museum to topics like the emergence of the gallery scene in the late 1960s with galleries like Valley House, C. Troup Gallery, Haydon Calhoun, Mary Nye, and more, and the establishment of an artists’ community as collectives take shape (the Oak Lawn Gang in the 1960s, the Oak Cliff Four and the “842s” in the 1970s, Toxic Shock in the 1980s, A.R.T.E. and the Good/Bad Art Collective in the 1990s, etc.) and artist-run spaces emerge, like A.U.M. Gallery,  D.W. Coop, 500X Gallery, and Stout McCourt Gallery.

Gallery announcement for David McCullough’s studio exhibition of his work with James Surls in December, c. 1976. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

Gallery announcement for “Dubious Edge” exhibition at Theatre Gallery, c. 1987. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

Gallery announcement for “el clumsio” group exhibition at Angstrom Gallery, November – December, 1996. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

Over the past year, we have developed the content that will form the basis of an exhibition scheduled to open at the Museum in May 2013. During this time, I have conducted oral history interviews with artists, arts administrators, collectors, and writers; waded through thousands of gallery announcements dating as far back as the late 1960s; burned my eyes from looking through miles of microfilmed collections; and done my best to get the word out that the DMA wants to know YOUR story.

Poster for the Old Oak Cliff Kinetic Sculpture Parade sponsored by the Oak Cliff Preservation League, September 21, 1985. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

So let’s hear it – do you have anything you would like to share with us regarding your experience with contemporary arts in North Texas? Is there anything you are certain MUST be part of this project? This is my formal open call to Dallasites: as we develop the content for the exhibition, we are going to do our best to represent Dallas and its surroudning arts community over the past fifty years, but we do need your help. What is sitting in your closet? Do you have photographs from gallery openings or performances? Records from your gallery? Press releases announcing your show? Publications that help to document the “scene”?

Toxic Shock page from Bwana Arts, vol. 3, 1982. Paul Rogers Harris Papers, 1959-2001.

The exhibition is only the first step as we present to you what we have found. In the coming years, we hope to add to the DMA Archives, making it the primary repository for the history of contemporary art in North Texas. So if you have something you’d like to share (be it tangible ephemera or abstract memories), please do not hesitate to contact me at I look forward to hearing from you!

“500X in a Box,” box of a single work by every member of 500X in 1989. Charles Dee Mitchell Collection.

Leigh Arnold is the Dallasites Research Project Coordinator at the Dallas Museum of Art.

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