Archive for the 'Modern Art' Category

DMA and DTC: Collaboration Inspired by Mark Rothko

The Dallas Museum of Art and its Arts District neighbor, Dallas Theater Center, are collaborating in an unprecedented way on the upcoming production of John Logan’s Tony Award-winning play Red, a bio-drama about iconic 20th-century artist Mark Rothko. Rothko once said, “I think of my pictures as dramas; the shapes in the pictures are the performers.”

Months ago, Joel Ferrell (DTC’s Associate Artistic Director and Director of Red) and Bob Lavallee (set designer) came to the DMA for a sneak peek at our Rothko painting currently in art storage so that they could examine the stretcher and the back of the canvas.

Joel Ferrell, Bob LaVallee, and Mark Leonard looking at the back of our Rothko painting currently in art storage.

Bob LaVvallee and Mark Leonard in art storage

Bob discussed his preliminary plans to turn the 9th floor of the Wyly Theatre into Rothko’s Bowery Studio. Joel mentioned that the actors portraying Rothko (Kieran Connolly) and his assistant Ken (Jordan Brodess) in Red will be priming and painting a canvas on stage to music in a “muscular dance,” and that “they wanted to get it right.” Joel and Bob peppered Mark Leonard (the DMA’s Chief Conservator) and Gabriel Ritter (the DMA’s Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art) with questions about Rothko’s use of materials, and great dialogue followed about the seriousness with which Rothko approached his art and creative process. On another visit, I helped production staff browse through books in the DMA’s Mayer Library to find the best photos of Rothko inside his studio in an effort to re-create it faithfully.

On January 16, the entire DTC staff, ranging from actors to production staff and administrators, joined DMA staff in an afternoon-long workshop. We immersed ourselves in the art of Mark Rothko through lively conversations with Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, who has written on Rothko’s techniques and directed the conservation of his Rothko Chapel paintings; by exploring works of art in the galleries with DMA staff by artists who came before and after Rothko; and through a sustained look and written reflection on Rothko’s painting Orange, Red and Red, which currently hangs in the South Concourse. We finished the afternoon by sharing our responses with each other, seeking to make meaning of what can seem to be an enigmatic painting.

Carol Mancusi-Ungaro discusses Rothko's painting technique with DTC and DMA staff.

Carol Mancusi-Ungaro discusses Rothko’s painting technique with DTC and DMA staff.

Many staff agreed that the longer you looked closely at Orange, Red and Red, the more it reveals to you and rewards you. DTC Brierley Resident Acting Company member and Master Teacher Christina Vela said, “The great masters don’t offer answers, they keep asking you questions; you’re forced to continue to struggle with them.” Bob Lavallee remarked that you have to be physically in the room with the work of art in order to really understand it (as opposed to looking at an image on a screen)–much like theater. Antay Bilgutay, Interim Director of Development, said, “Having the space and opportunity to take my time with a Rothko painting changed my perception of his work.”

Joel Ferrell shares his reactions with a DTC colleague.

Joel Ferrell shares his reactions with a DTC colleague.

We invite you to get your tickets soon to see Red, and then come to the DMA to spend time in front of this mesmerizing work of art. Imagine you are inside the world of this painting. You might ask yourself these questions:

What do you see around you?

What do you smell, hear, and taste?

What do you feel?

How might you describe this place to someone who isn’t here?

One opportunity to do just that is to attend Red In-Depth on Saturday, February 23, a program that includes a matinee performance of Red, followed by time with staff in the galleries exploring the art of Rothko and his contemporaries. Two similar in-depth experiences will take place on February 19 and 27 with middle school and high school students.

Carolyn Bess is Director of Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Red, White, and Blue

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.

Striped chevron bead, Drawn glass, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Dozier Foundation

Childe Hassam, Flags, Fifth Avenue, 1918, Watercolor, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund, in memory of Mrs. George Aldredge

Anne Vallayer-Coster, Bouquet of Flowers in a Blue Porcelain Vase, 1776, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Michael L. Rosenberg

Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre (Man), 1953, Vinyl with pigment on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds [credit line published in 1997 DMA Guide to the Collections: Dallas Museum of Art, commissioned by the Dallas Art Association through Neiman-Marcus Exposition Funds]

Piet Mondrian, Composition with Large Blue Plane, Red, Black, Yellow, and Gray, 1921, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mrs. James H. Clark

Yves Tanguy, Apparitions, 1927, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Nancy O’Boyle

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, Oedipus at Colonus, 1788, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund

James Brooks, Quand, 1969, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation Incorporated

Wassily Kandinsky, Boating (from Sounds), 1907-1911, 1913, Volume with thirty-eight prose poems and twelve color and forty-four black-and-white woodcuts, Dallas Museum of Art, Centennial gift of Natalie H. (Schatzie) and George T. Lee

Stacey Lizotte is the Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services.

Painting by Numbers

Our new installation Re-Seeing the Contemporary displays more than fifty works of the art from the DMA’s captivating contemporary collection. Some of the artists on view range from familiar abstract expressionists to lesser known artists at work today. As 2010 comes to a close, we thought it might be fun to take another look at the exhibition, re-seeing the exhibition into our own top ten list of interesting categories.

1. Paintings: 29

The majority of artworks in the exhibition are paintings.

Jackson Pollock, Cathedral, 1947 Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard

 

Pollock changed the definition of painting—instead of painting on the wall or an easel, he laid the canvas on the floor and applied paint to it from above through pouring and dripping.

2. Sculptures off the wall: 9

Larry Bell, The Cube of the Iceberg II, 1975 Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift in memory of J. O. Lambert, Jr.

Although not your typical figurative sculpture, this work has a reflective quality that involves the viewer.

3. Sculptures on the wall: 5

Alan Saret, Deep Forest Green Dispersion, 1969 Dallas Museum of Art, gift of John Weber

Though sculptures are typically displayed using a base or plinth, this work also fits the category because of its three-dimensionality. Since the piece is made out of wire and hangs off of one nail, it must be reshaped with each installation, almost becoming a living thing like the plants or moss it resembles.

4. Collages: 3

Jess, Arkadia's Last Resort; or, Fete Champetre Up Mnemosyne Creek, 1976 Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund

Jess took images from various sources such as jigsaw puzzles, art books, advertisements, and store catalogues and combined them to create a collage in the shape of a landscape.

5. Works never shown before: 6

Jack Whitten, Slip Zone, 1971 The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

A new acquisition that has not yet been on view, Slip Zone adds to the DMA’s collection of postwar abstract art. Whitten created the unique design by pulling various objects across the wet painted surface.

6. Works by women artists: 5

A few of the female artists are represented in the exhibition:

Jackie Ferrara, A213 Symik, 1982 Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift

Susie Rosmarin, Gingham, 1998 Dallas Museum of art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., in honor of Charles Wylie, The Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art

Anne Truitt, Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, 1979 Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Shonny and Hal Joseph (St. Louis, Missouri) in honor of Cindy and Armond Schwartz

7. Works by Texas artists: 2

Christian Schumann, Nomads, 1998-1999 Dallas Museum of Art, Texas Artists Fund

Christian Schumann graduated from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, located just blocks away from the DMA.

8. Works with people: 11

Wallace Berman, Untitled, 1964 Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund

At first glance, this collage may appear to be a repetition of the same picture. Upon further inspection, though, you can see that each hand holds a transistor radio, which in turn frames images of people, animals, and objects.

9. Works with text: 14

Glenn Ligon, Untitled, 2002 Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

Inclusion of text is a modern development which Ligon often uses in his art. As the text progresses, it becomes more and more unclear.

10. Works with hot pink: 3

Pink is the color of happiness and works including hot pink just make us smile.

Charline von Heyl, Untitled (3/00), III, 2000 Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kathleen and Roland Augustine in honor of Robert Hoffman

This painting, a recent museum acquisition, recalls a tropical rainforest inhabited by abstracted animal-like forms. The shocking combination of colors—yellow, green, turquoise, and hot pink—draw your attention to the composition.

Over the holidays we hope you will visit the DMA to discover the countless connections you can make with Re-Seeing the Contemporary and with the larger DMA collection.

Haley Berkman is the McDermott  Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art and Sarah Vitek is the McDermott Education Intern for Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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