This past Friday was the 21st anniversary of Silver Supper, an annual event that celebrates the DMA’s outstanding holdings of American decorative arts and silver. This year’s Silver Supper highlighted thirty-two works from the DMA’s decorative arts and design collection. For more information on the annual event, visit the DMA’s website.
Archive for the 'Decorative Art and Design' Category
Tags: Dallas Museum of Art, Decorative Arts, DMA, Silver, Silver Supper
Tags: Cindy Sherman, Dallas Museum of Art, Decorative Arts, DMA, Louis Comfort Tiffany
In a museum the size of the DMA, it’s hard to keep track of isolated changes over 370,000 square feet. So we are letting you know about three recent additions to the permanent collection that are now on view. I encourage you to visit the Museum and go on a “scavenger hunt” to see how these works add an extra spark to the galleries—remember, general admission is free!
All three of the works fall within the purview of decorative arts and were originally marketed to elite consumers. One is by a well-known figure—the 19th-century design magnate Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848-1933). Fans of contemporary art or those familiar with the DMA’s upcoming exhibitions will recognize the name of photographer Cindy Sherman (American, born 1954). The third designer may be unknown outside of specialist circles, but during his lifetime Archibald Knox (British, 1864-1933) was credited with developing a uniquely British approach to the Art Nouveau movement.
From March 17 to June 9, the Cindy Sherman exhibition will adorn the walls of the Barrel Vault and Quadrant Galleries, but visitors to the European Galleries can also encounter the contemporary American’s work. Her Madame de Pompadour (née Poisson) soup tureen with platter sits camouflaged with rococo curves and floral embellishments. It creates a provocative disjuncture amid a wall of paintings by Canaletto (Italian, 1697-1768), Jean-Baptiste Oudry (French, 1686-1755), and Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748-1825).
Madame de Pompadour (French, 1721-1764) was the most famous of King Louis XV’s mistresses. She played a critical role in elevating rococo style to the pinnacle of aesthetic taste in mid-18th-century France. In 1756 she commissioned a tureen and platter from the renowned porcelain manufacturer in Limoges. Over two hundred years later, Sherman used the same factory to produce a limited-edition interpretation based on Pompadour’s original design.
Sherman takes on the guise of a historical tastemaker but allows viewers to be in on her joke. Close inspection of the photo-silkscreened portrait (reproduced twice on both the tureen and platter) reveals a pastiche—the theatrical make-up, somewhat ratty shawl, ill-fitting gray wig, and conspicuously faux breasts.
Museum guests won’t glimpse the tureen’s additional humorous detail because it is hidden on the base of the interior. As a visual pun on Pompadour’s maiden name and extreme wealth, Sherman created a still life of fish (French, poisson) and beaded necklaces.
Several new installations spice up the displays in the North Decorative Arts Gallery. Here you can find the latest addition to the DMA’s collection of works by Tiffany. Placed in a corner case surrounded by other examples of leading art pottery manufacturers, the brilliant hues of this small vase seem to reiterate the impact Tiffany Studios had on American decorative arts.
The iridescent surface shimmers with deep indigos, purples, and teals. The shape conjures images of flower petals or buds. Both traits demonstrate Tiffany’s dual focus on nature and mastering a material’s technical possibilities.
He coined the term “Favrile” in 1893 as an adaptation of the Old English word for “handmade.” The same moniker distinguished the wares of the ceramic workshop when it opened at Tiffany Furnaces (Corona, New York). As seen here, the glazing process allowed for creative expression and experimentation on the surface of an object formed from an existing mold.
The third object making its DMA debut appears in a case on the east wall of this gallery. It’s hard to miss a lavish box decorated with incised linear patterns and blue-green enamel, and topped by a sizeable opal. On the adjacent platform, a charger with ship motif (1881) and a bench (1900) echo the Celtic stylings seen on Knox’s construction. Taken as a whole, the arrangement illustrates the late 19th-century interest in national identity. Many artists in Europe used the contemporary archeological discoveries of Scandinavian sites as source material for a “Viking Revival” style.
This piece is one of four variants known to exist. Unlike the other, simpler iterations, the model 652 variant features a bulging lid beset with a substantial gem. Within Liberty & Co.’s Cymric line, this would have been one of the costliest items for sale. Thankfully, this and the other works described above can be seen free of charge at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Emily Schiller is the McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Tags: Anne Vallayer-Coster, Childe Hassam, Dallas Museum of Art, Fourth of July, James Brooks, Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, Piet Mondrian, Rufino Tamayo, Wassily Kandinsky, Yves Tanguy
Some visitors to the DMA may have taken our self-guided tour Seeing Red, and loyal readers of our blog may remember a post we did back in December about works in our collection that are white. So while we have not focused on the color blue yet, we thought this would be a good day to share with you a few works in our collection that feature red, white, and blue.
Stacey Lizotte is the Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services.
Tags: behind the scenes, Curatorial, Dallas Museum of Art, Fine and Decorative Art, Installation
A look back at the installation of Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present, the first comprehensive overview of our modern and contemporary design collections, on view in the Tower Gallery. Work in the gallery began in October 2010 for the Decemeber 19, 2010 opening. Below are a few shots of the installation process.
DMA exhibition staff, including preparators John Lendvay and Lance Lander and exhibitions graphic designer Kevin Parmer, install the newly opened Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present in the Level 4 Tower Gallery.
Photography by Adam Gingrich, DMA Marketing Assistant.
Tags: Aaron Douglas, Dallas Museum of Art, Harlem Renaissance, Jackson Pollock, Jazz appreciation month, Piet Mondrian, Stuart Davis, Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties
April celebrates one of the most joyous and “most American” music styles—jazz. In fact, jazz is such an important part of American culture that a whole decade in American history, the 1920s, has come to be known as the Jazz Age. In the DMA spaces, you can find connections between the visual arts and jazz every week on Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. during Jazz in the Atrium.
In our newest exhibition, Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, you can see the work of jazz admirer and Harlem Renaissance leader Aaron Douglas. In Charleston (which references Paul Morand’s novel Black Magic), Douglas depicts the jazz scene set within the African community, in which the genre has part of its roots. Commenting on a later work, Douglas equated the figures in the painting with different types of music, describing the saxophone player as a representation of jazz and “Songs of Joy and the Dance.”
Douglas’s contemporary and fellow jazz enthusiast Stuart Davis is featured in the American galleries with a work that, although subtly, also reveals the rhythms of the Jazz Age. Not only do the bold colors and forms of Electric Blub reflect the energy of the time, but the subject speaks to the modernism and industrialization of 1920s America.
Nearby, a stunning portrait sculpture of the jazz musician Huddy “Leadbelly” Ledbetter serves as an appropriate transition in our jazz-inspired tour between Davis’s painting and William Waldo Dodge’s Skyscraper cocktail shaker with cups. Developing rapidly in the 1920s, the skyscraper became, together with jazz, a symbol of a free, modern America, inspiring designers across the country.
But if the connections we’ve made so far are too obvious or the works too representational for your taste, don’t worry; make your way toLevel 3, where you will find works by abstract artists and jazz lovers Jackson Pollock and Piet Mondrian.
With improvisation being a key feature of jazz music, some argue that the process in this genre is at least as important as (perhaps more than) the end result. The same can be said of Pollock’s and Mondrian’s work. Pollock moving around his canvas as he pours the paint can be compared to a jazz musician improvising during a performance; both represent similar artistic expressions and ultimate celebrations of their respective arts.
A big fan of boogie-woogie and a seeker of balance and equilibrium, Mondrian used his intuition to place and arrange the lines in works such as Place de la Concorde—much like a jazz musician would intuitively improvise on his instrument. In fact, Mondrian identified with jazz and boogie-woogie so much that he once said:
“True boogie woogie I conceive as homogeneous in intention with mine in painting: destruction of melody, which is the equivalent of destruction of natural appearance, and construction through the continuous opposition of pure means—dynamic rhythm.”
As you can see, jazz can be a treat not only for your ears but also for your eyes! So come celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month any (or every) Thursday night in April at the DMA!
Vivian Barclay is the McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern for Decorative Arts and Design at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Mary Jordan is the McDermott Education Intern for Family Experiences and Access Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Tags: Dallas Museum of Art, Jean Paul Gaultier, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
Last week several of my colleagues and I began meeting about the logistics of deinstalling the exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk once it closes on February 12. Gaultier is the world-renowned French couturier, whose fashion has been worn by everyone from Madonna to Lady Gaga. We found it difficult to believe that we were already making plans to take down a show in which we had invested so much time and effort installing. I was enormously privileged to be given the opportunity to help coordinate this installation as its exhibition registrar and to witness firsthand how so many of my colleagues transformed themselves daily into magicians in order to see this complicated project come to fruition in a tight timeframe. Permit me this walk down memory lane as I highlight stops, junctions, and detours on our way to what was the first of many openings, the VIP Host Committee Luncheon at 11:00 a.m. on November 9, 2011.
July 14–19 (3 months and 3 ½ weeks until opening)
This exhibition was the first fashion installation most of us had ever worked on, and its many technical requirements added extra complexities. A trip to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ installation was vital for me and several of my colleagues. We take hundreds of pictures, ask pages of questions, and document mannequin mounting, lighting, and mechanical specifications.
October 17 (3 weeks and 2 days until opening)
Two 18-wheelers deliver the majority of the exhibition, with mannequins, mounts, and furniture in a regular truck, and costumes and works on paper in a climate-controlled one.
October 18 (3 weeks and 1 day until opening)
As soon as possible, we locate and unpack the Galleon headband so its dimensions can be verified for our preparators, who will make a mount for it, and our carpenters, who will build the proper-size “porthole” display case.
Preparators John Lendvay and Mary Nicolett assemble mannequins and take height measurements so they will know where to place them on the platforms in relation to the projectors, which will eventually bring their faces to life.
October 20 (3 weeks until opening)
Once the Odyssey gallery mannequins have been placed, the preparators hang the projectors a precise eighty-eight inches away from their noses so that the faces will align properly and not look like Picasso paintings.
LED strips are affixed inside the Urban Jungle gallery platforms before their frosted Plexiglas tops are installed.
October 21 (2 weeks, 6 days until opening)
Naked assembled mannequins await dressing in what was deemed the “morgue” but later transformed into the Exhibition Store.
October 24 (2 weeks and 2 days until opening)
Several tightly fitted leggings and stockings were packed directly on their legs to save wear and tear from dressing and undressing them at each venue. Thankfully, the mannequin body parts were labeled so we could easily match them to the proper legless torsos.
October 28 (1 week and 5 days until opening)
Tanel Bedrossiantz from Gaultier’s Paris atelier and local mannequin dresser Greg Goolsby join us on our first day of costume installation.
October 29 (1 week and 4 days until opening)
By the end of our second day, sixty mannequins throughout the exhibition have been dressed, including the catwalk models and their surrounding “punks.” We made it a priority to focus first on those with projections to allow as much time as possible for alignment and editing.
As hectic as the installation is, we find time to appreciate the humor – here Montreal’s organizing curator (and former model) Thierry Loriot demonstrates how to properly wear a Mohawk before attaching it to a mannequin head with double-stick tape.
Preparators and carpenter Dennis Bishop install the screen scrim and fine-tune the chain mechanism of the catwalk.
October 31 (1 week, 2 days until opening)
The porthole into the Urban Jungle gallery is finished, allowing visitors a sneak peek into the installation, and at the DMA’s Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design Kevin Tucker, who is working with preparator Mike Hill on mannequin placement.
Mannequins patiently await their turn to be mounted on their catwalk platforms.
Tanel detaches a mannequin’s hands in order to install its many bracelets.
The “Hussar coat”-look silk faille skirt is unpacked. This piece has its own crate and is packed suspended over a cone support.
November 1 (1 week and 1 day until opening)
Gaultier atelier staff member Thoaï Nirodeth laces up the Chantilly lace body stocking. The Skin Deep gallery is the last to be dressed and installed because the back wall was built over a doorway we needed in order to move the large mannequin cases in and out of the space.
November 3 (6 days until opening)
We discover that a new mannequin has been sent for Madonna’s dancer’s costume in the Skin Deep gallery, and this one does not want to support himself (or Madonna) on all fours. After consultation with our conservator John Dennis and the Gaultier atelier, we build a mount to support him at the collar bone (surreptitously hidden by his black scarf).
A shipment of new outfits arrives from Paris, including the cowboy and cowgirl looks at the entry of the exhibition (created specifically for the Dallas installation), the 3-D “horn of plenty satin ribbon corset-style gown (which was just on the runway over the summer), and the costume from the film Kika. Upon unpacking the helmet, we notice the absence of a key accessory—an early model video camera. We locate similar ones on Ebay, but are fortunately able to obtain one overnight from a friend of a coworker who (thankfully) never throws anything away.
November 6 (3 days before opening)
The final shipment arrives from Montreal, including mannequins for the new outfits just arrived from Paris and clothing items with animal-related components that had been delayed due to customs problems.
Although it is standard practice to allow artwork twenty-four hours to acclimatize after arrival, time is of the essence and we unpack the final shipment immediately, which includes the doll with the ostrich-feather dress in the Boudoir gallery. In order to import items made from endangered animals or migratory birds, it is necessary to apply for government permits, which can take months to process.
Preparator Doug Velek installs the final two works on paper amid hair clippings in the exit gallery—the space that had been used as the “salon” of wig stylist Hugo Raiah.
November 7 (2 days before opening)
Preparator Lance Lander was instrumental in “lassoing” the numerous and complicated AV components in the exhibition, and also came to the rescue by lending the final accessories to complete the cowboy and cowgirl “looks.” (The lasso and Black Stetson were requested by the atelier at the last minute.)
Carpenter Dennis Bishop puts the finishing touches on the projector covers in the Odyssey gallery.
November 7, 8:30 p.m. (1 day and 9 ½ hours until opening)
Jean Paul Gaultier comes straight from the airport for his first walk-through of our installation. Several of us were on hand to welcome him and are privileged to watch the design genius at work as he adjusts the drapery of fabric and modifies accessories. To add more of his characteristic je ne sais quoi to the Chalk-striped mink pantsuit, he borrows a gold lamé turban from one of the female punks (now stylishly bald) and adds the Plastic bolero with gold thread embroidery.
November 8, 6:00 p.m. (17 hours before opening)
Registrars, preparators, and even our chair of collections and exhibitions scramble to clean, arrange, and affix the mirrored tiles to the platforms in the Metropolis gallery.
November 9, 10:00 a.m. (1 hour until opening)
After final consultation with Jean Paul Gaultier, his atelier staff hang the train of the Satin cage-look corset dress on the wall according to his specific direction.
Reagan Duplisea is the Assistant Registrar for Exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Tags: Dallas Museum of Art, DFW Museums, Jean Paul Gaultier, press preview, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
You may have heard that the U.S. Premiere of The Fashion World From Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk opened yesterday at the Dallas Museum of Art. But we had a week of pre-opening events prior to Sunday, including the Press Preview on Thursday morning. Below are a few of our favorite shots from our time with the “enfant terrible”.
Kimberly Daniell, Public Relations Specialist at the Dallas Museum of Art
Tags: Dallas Museum of Art, Jean Paul Gaultier, Montreal Museum of Fine Art, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
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!
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?
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
Tags: Cathy Whitlock, Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, Film Series, Mad Men, Pillow Talk
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.
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.
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.
Tags: Gustav Stickley, Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement, The Craftsman
Hello, everyone! DMA resident exhibition designer Jessica Harden here to give you a short and sweet behind-the-scenes snapshot of where some of our inspiration for exhibition design comes from. The Gustav Stickley exhibition was fun to work on because I had lots of great resources, including original photographs and The Craftsman catalogues, which Stickley published with drawings of many of his architectural and interior designs and finishes . . .
as well as records of popular colors of the time. We chose paint colors for the exhibition based on the Sherwin-Williams Arts & Crafts palette. BTW, drawing up plans for the exhibition is also part of my job . . .
as is producing construction drawings.
But back to inspiration and resources—this is a photograph of a model dining room created to show Stickley’s furniture in 1903.
. . . and this is our gallery at the DMA that we designed and built to replicate the original.
In fact, if you look around the Gustav Stickley exhibition galleries, you might notice a number of details that were inspired by Stickley’s original designs. Here, we were inspired by how Stickley used interior cut-outs to define spaces and create interesting thresholds to transition from one room to the next.
We also took inspiration from Stickley’s use of simple trim work on walls to help us define spaces and create a more residential environment for the exhibition. This included using a cap rail to imply a lower ceiling height in our 14-foot-high exhibition galleries.
And just to have a little fun, we took a few chances to let visitors discover glimpses of upcoming galleries and objects along the way.
Even some of the smallest details of the exhibition were inspired by Stickley. Here you can see that the mount for this lamp was modeled after drawings from Stickley interiors and was fabricated by our extremely talented preparators and carpentry staff. They even made new heads for the screws to match the originals!
Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement is on view at the Dallas Museum of Art until May 8, when it will travel to San Diego to open on June 18.
Jessica Harden is Exhibition Design Coordinator at the Dallas Museum of Art.