Archive for August, 2013

Everything is Everything

This week the DMA unveiled the work Everything is Everything (2006) by the artist Koki Tanaka, which will be on view in the Concourse for the next five months.

video

The work of Koki Tanaka takes shape primarily as video and installation that explores the relationship between objects and actions. His videos record simple gestures performed with ordinary objects—a knife cutting vegetables, beer poured into a glass, the opening of an umbrella—in which seemingly “nothing happens.” Yet, through their repetitive composition and heightened attention to detail, Tanaka’s videos compel us to take notice of the mundane phenomena of daily life. Latent patterns and geometrical forms emerge out of Tanaka’s work, and otherwise ordinary objects are transformed, providing an epiphany of sorts from moments of everyday life.

EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING, 2006, Eight channel DVDs, color, sound and materials in everyday use, dimension variable, installed at Taipei Biennial 2006 in Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Image courtesy of the artist, Aoyama Meguro, Tokyo, and Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou.

Everything is Everything, 2006, eight-channel DVDs, color, sound, and materials in everyday use, installed at Taipei Biennial 2006 in Taipei Fine Arts Museum
(Image courtesy of the artist, Aoyama Meguro, Tokyo, and Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou)

The eight-channel video installation Everything is Everything was first created for exhibition at the 2006 Taipei Biennial. For this work, the artist and two assistants spent a total of eight days recording their interactions and interventions with readily available items, including hangers, cups, towels, an air mattress, and toilet paper, all found around the city of Taipei. The physical properties of these objects were tested (a metal hanger is stretched to its breaking point) or their uses were expanded (a level placed on two table legs becomes an impromptu hurdle). Tanaka and his assistants experimented with these objects multiple times, both indoors and in public, and their exploits were compiled into eight distinct video loops ranging in length from 1:19 to 1:50 minutes. Tanaka’s tightly cropped framing of each scene often features the performers from the neck down or removes them from the shot altogether, thus focusing the viewer’s attention on the objects and the simple, repetitive acts being performed.

In her canonical text, Passages in Modern Sculpture (1981), art historian and critic Rosalind Krauss begins the book’s final chapter with a film by Richard Serra, Hand Catching Lead (1968), in which the artist’s disembodied hand tenaciously attempts to catch pieces of falling lead. Krauss reads Serra’s film as characteristic of minimalist sculpture in the way that it “exploit[s] a kind of found object for its possibilities as an element in a repetitive structure.” The repetitive nature of the actions in Everything is Everything, combined with the use of inexpensive, mass-produced materials, highlights an affinity Tanaka’s videos share with the logic of minimalist sculpture and process art of the 1960s. Similarly, Tanaka’s repetitive use of the objects in Everything is Everything alludes to Serra’s Verb List (1967–68), in which the artist listed eighty-four verbs such as “to roll . . . to crumple . . . to drop . . . to scatter” as a means to relate actions to “oneself, material, place, and process.” Tanaka’s object-oriented work is indebted to minimalism as well as to the legacies of Mono-ha and Arte Povera, as evidenced by a shared interest in exploring the physicality and formal qualities of quotidian objects through processes of encounter and repetition.

Japan Pavilion Photos: Keizo Kioku

Japan Pavilion Photos: Keizo Kioku

Japan Pavilion Photos: Keizo Kioku

Japan Pavilion Photos: Keizo Kioku

Koki Tanaka was born in Tochigi, Japan, in 1975, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan, in 2005 and has since been the subject of solo exhibitions at UC Irvine University Art Gallery (2012), the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2010), and the Museum of Modern Art, Gunma (2008). Recent group exhibitions include Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum (2012), the Yokohama Triennale (2011), and Making is Thinking at the Witte de With, Rotterdam (2011). Most recently, Tanaka was selected to represent Japan in the 55th Venice Biennale, for which he received a special mention.

Gabriel Ritter is The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the DMA.

Go van Gogh, Past to Present

Go van Gogh, the DMA’s elementary school outreach program, is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Before we pack up the Go van Gogh van and head out to schools across the city, we thought it would be fun to take a look through all thirty-five years of the program.

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1992 Go van Gogh program led by DMA educator Phil Collins

Below are a few fun facts about Go van Gogh through the years.

The first Go van Gogh van was actually a bus!

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First Go van Gogh vehicle, 1978

When the program began at the then Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in Fair Park in 1978, school outreach presentations could be given in classrooms or on the Museum Outreach bus itself.

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DMFA teaching staff member Roberta Mathew conducting an outreach program in the Go van Gogh bus in fall 1979

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DMFA education staffers Susan Geyer and Roberta Mathews conducting an outreach program aboard the Go van Gogh bus in fall 1979

Go van Gogh vans (and buses) have always been easy to spot on the freeway.

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Go van Gogh van in 1981

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Go van Gogh van, c. 1988

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Go van Gogh program, c. 1988

Bright and colorful, Go van Gogh vans often feature artworks from the Museum’s collection in painted or vinyl designs. The Go van Gogh van from the late 1990s included a design from Henri Matisse’s Ivy in Flower.

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Go van Gogh van in the 1990s

Go van Gogh van

Today’s Go van Gogh van

Go van Gogh programs have always included a visual presentation of artworks from the Museum.

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Go van Gogh program using a slide projector, 1980s or 1990s

Through the years, we’ve made many updates in the technology we use to bring these artworks to life. What began with projectors and large printed posters led to overhead transparencies and laminated images.

GvG MT Reilly Elementary, 4th grade

Go van Gogh program with 4th graders at Reilly Elementary School

Later this school year, Go van Gogh will go digital: using iPads and projectors to bring images of artworks to life in the classroom.

Looking ahead to fall, we are excited to unveil a new facet of Go van Gogh outreach–a program designed for Special Education classrooms called Color My World. To learn more about the program, visit our website.

Amy Copeland is the Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs at the DMA.

Audio Tours 21st-Century Style

Audio tours have been part of the Museum world for a while, but now you no longer need a shoulder strap when exploring the DMA’s collection. Visitors to the DMA can use their web-enabled devices to access information about the collection, including video interviews, images, geographical information, and responses from the community through the DMA smARTphone tours. Some special exhibitions even have a free smARTphone tour. Right now, discover oral histories tied to Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy (on view through September 15, 2013), and this October you can learn more about the Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take exhibition from artist Jim Hodges and co-organizing curator Jeffrey Grove, senior curator of special projects & research at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Visitors using audio tour, circa 1960s [Photography by Pat Magruder]

Visitors using audio tour, circa 1960s
[Photography by Pat Magruder]

Visitor using smARTphone tour, 2012

Visitor using smARTphone tour, 2012

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

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m looking forward to the start of a new school year later this month. The DMA’s galleries have been quiet during the “school day” without the sounds of docents, teachers, and students deep in conversation about works of art. I thought it might be fun to celebrate back-to-school time with a DMA tribute to the “three Rs.”

Reading
Pierre Bonnard often used his nieces and nephews as models for his paintings. Bonnard was also fascinated by education, and in this painting he shows his nephews Charles and Jean Terrasse reading at a table. It’s easy to imagine that these two children are completing their homework assignments before going to bed. It certainly looks as if one of the boys is more interested in his reading than the other—a scene that is probably familiar to many parents and teachers.

Pierre Bonnard, Interior: The Terrasse Children, 1899, oil on paper board panel, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Pierre Bonnard, Interior: The Terrasse Children, 1899, oil on paper board panel, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Writing
Charles Rohlfs’ Swinging Writing Desk was one of the trademarks of his artistic furniture style. The desk rests on a footed platform and spins on a series of small wheels. The interior of the desk is divided into small compartments—perfect for storing pencils, pens, and any other supplies you might need. I don’t think I would mind doing homework if I had such a beautiful desk to use.

Desk (Model #500), Charles Rohlfs, Charles Rohlfs Workshop, c. 1899-1901, white oak with iron hardware, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift

Desk (Model #500), Charles Rohlfs, Charles Rohlfs Workshop, c. 1899-1901, white oak with iron hardware, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift

Arithmetic
The name khipu comes from a Quechua word meaning “knot,” a fitting name as khipu are made up of many strands of knotted fibers. It is not known what the knots signify, but it is thought that they represent a numerical record. Numbers may be indicated by the size and position of each knot on its cord.

Fragmentary khipu with two main cords and top and subsidiary and tertiary cords, Inca, Late Horizon, c. A.D. 1476-1534, cotton, plant fiber, and indigo dye, Dallas Museum of Art, the Nora and John Wise Collection, bequest of John Wise

Fragmentary khipu with two main cords and top and subsidiary and tertiary cords, Inca, Late Horizon, c. 1476-1534, cotton, plant fiber, and indigo dye, Dallas Museum of Art, the Nora and John Wise Collection, bequest of John Wise

September 16 is the official start date for student programs at the DMA, but we’re currently taking reservations for Museum visits and Go van Gogh outreach programs. Scheduling information can be found online. If you are an educator, we hope you’ll consider bringing your students to the Museum this year. I hope they’ll be as excited as this student was to visit the DMA!

Student jumping off of a school bus at the DMA.

Student jumping off of a school bus at the DMA.

Shannon Karol is Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs at the DMA.

Open Office: Preparators

The preparators at the Museum assist in the unpacking of all the art that enters the DMA and ensure that it is handled, stored, and installed in the safest manner possible. Eight people share this office space, with two shared computers. On most days we are only in here during lunches, breaks, and an occasional meeting, so this becomes more of a holding space for our tools, fasteners, touch-up paints, and assorted specialty jigs. The large central table serves as a workspace for covering decks and lifts, as well as being our lunch table. The bulletin board is nicknamed our “wall of shame,” holding photographs and collages of a variety of subjects. As we are always on the go, jumping from one project to another very quickly, this place rarely gets organized, but we always manage to find that one necessary specialty thing-a-ma-bob when it is needed.

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Mary Nicolett is a preparator at the DMA

Summer Conservation at the DMA: Treatment of Sanction of the Museum by Daniel Buren

If you’ve visited the DMA lately, you may have been wondering what is going on behind the closed doors of the Chilton Galleries, the same galleries that held the recent Chagall: Beyond Color exhibition. The galleries have been transformed into a temporary conservation workspace, where we have been busily working on a massive installation artwork by Daniel Buren.

Daniel Buren in 1995. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Daniel Buren in 1995 (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Daniel Buren (b. 1938) has been creating dynamic public installations since the early 1970s. His conceptual artwork challenged the traditional formats at the time and frequently combined modern pieces with historical architecture. Now Buren’s large striped artworks are recognized instantly across Europe, earning him revered status in his native France.

Sanction of the Museum being unrolled for the first time at the DMA.

Sanction of the Museum being unrolled for the first time at the DMA

The DMA recently acquired Buren’s 1973 Sanction of the Museum, which consists of six enormous panels of cotton fabric with alternating white and colored vertical stripes. Each panel bears two stripes of white acrylic paint applied to both the front and back of the fabric at the far left and right edges. The panels will hang from the ceiling near the Ross Avenue Entrance (at the south end of the Museum’s main Concourse) like a series of banners that can sway slightly in the air. They will lead the way upstairs to the new Conservation Studio, where Museum visitors will soon have a window into the often-unseen world of art conservation.

Conservation Interns Diana Hartman and Jessica Ford steaming one of the large canvas panels

Conservation interns Diana Hartman and Jessica Ford steaming one of the large canvas panels

As conservation interns, our job was to stabilize and restore visual integrity to the canvas panels. They had been rolled up in storage since the artwork’s last installation in 1989, prior to their acquisition by the DMA last year. This is good in that the artwork hasn’t seen a lot of wear or fading from UV, but because it was rolled improperly a number of minor damages were incurred. (If you’re curious about how to properly care for your paintings, here is a good place to start!) The most pressing issues we encountered were the extreme creases and wrinkles that marred the artwork’s stoic appearance. We also found numerous small stains and tears.

side by side

Before performing any treatment on the artwork itself, we made mock-ups and conducted tests to decide on the best option. In conservation practice, a “less is more” approach is always best, using minimal interference and always using reversible materials. In this particular case, we successfully steamed away most of the wrinkles in the fabric and reduced the most severe creases under custom weights. Small tears were mended with thread-by-thread reweaving and custom-made patches. Soft vinyl erasers and cellulose pulp poultices were used to reduce scuffs and dirt.

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After an intense eight weeks of preparation, installation is now underway! We are thrilled to have been a part of the team that helped bring this important contemporary artwork to Dallas. This conservation treatment is just the start of many more exciting projects that will be taking place on public view in the new Conservation Studio when it opens this fall. Be sure to check out Sanction of the Museum the next time you visit the DMA!

Diana Hartman and Jessica Ford are art conservation interns working with Chief Conservator Mark Leonard at the DMA this summer. Diana is a conservation technician at Winterthur Museum, and Jessica is a graduate fellow in paintings conservation at Winterthur/University of Delaware.

Splish Splash – Escaping the Texas Heat

With multiple days of triple-digit temps, we are feeling the heat right with you. So we pooled together works in the collection that really make a splash. Take a refreshing dip into our DMA waters below, find even more on our Pinterest page, and stop by the Museum to escape the heat. We keep it a cool 72 degrees inside; the AC’s even included in free general admission.

Kimberly Daniell is the Public Relations Manager at the DMA and Hayley Dyer is the Audience Relations Coordinator for Programming


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