Archive for the 'Exhibitions' Category

Art + Science = Whole Brain Fun

Remember when it was all the rage to call each other left- or right-brain dominant? While these references are still popularly used today, skepticism is growing among scientists as they learn more about the brain.

Strengths in logical, analytical, and verbal thinking have been associated with the left side of the brain, and creative and intuitive thinking have been associated with the right side. Scientific and mathematical types may be labeled “left-brainers,” while artists are considered “right-brainers.”

The reality is that there’s a bit more crisscross throughout the cranial wires. Both sides of our brains may actually tackle the same problem or idea, but each may approach a solution differently. Bottom line: Te brain aims to work efficiently and this means that most of the time the whole brain is working together. How is the health of your whole brain?

Join us for a day that engages and challenges the whole brain! On Saturday, April 12, the worlds of art and science deliberately cross over and mash up at the DMA’s first Art + Science Festival, held in partnership with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Here are a few highlights to stimulate your neurons:

  • Stretch your mind during various 20-minute gallery talks with experts. Why might a curator use a CAT scan to learn more about an African sculpture? What can a facial recognition scientist reveal about a portrait?

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  • Inspect art materials and the natural world up-close using DIY digital microscopes with the DMA/Perot Teen Advisory Council.
  • Sit in the Perot’s Portable Universe (only the coolest movable planetarium in town) for one of two featured presentations, The Sky at Night and The Search for Water. After the Portable Universe, marvel at the connections your brain makes as you gaze upon masterworks in two DMA exhibitions. Encounter the realm of the stars in Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World, which includes a collection of astrolabes (early astronomical computers), a celestial globe, and an astrological album. Alexandre Hogue: The Erosion Series takes an in-depth look at Hogue’s powerful images confronting the tragedies and environmental issues of the Dust Bowl era.

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  • Practice your mind-hand-eye coordination by making some art. Explore lines, shapes, and patterns through the creation of a string art installation with artist Amy Adelman.

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All of these experiences and more await you for FREE at the DMA’s Art + Science Festival on Saturday, April 12. Come for a visit and challenge your whole brain! All ages are invited.

Nicole Stutzman Forbes is Chair of Learning Initiatives and Dallas Museum of Art League Director of Education at the DMA.

Images:
George W. Bellows, Emma in a Purple Dress, 1920-1923, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase; Standing power figure (nkisi nkondi), late 19th-early 20th century, wood, iron, raffia, ceramic, pigment, kaolin, red camwood, resin, dirt, leaves, animal skin, and cowrie shell, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the McDermott Foundation; Alexandre Hogue, Drouth-Stricken Area, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, (c) Olivia Hogue Marino & Amalia Hogue

The Nur Dialogue Experience

As the senior advisor for Islamic art at the DMA, my responsibilities include engaging with institutions worldwide to create dialogue on behalf of the Museum. The most recent project involved curating the exhibition Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World, which itself required many complex negotiations! The project started in Spain four years ago, when I was asked by the Fundación Focus-Abengoa in Seville to develop their first Islamic art exhibition. Seville is no stranger to Islamic history. Almost 800 years of Islamic rule in Spain resulted in a strong presence of Islamic culture, which survived beyond 1492, when Muslims lost Spain to Christian forces. As an Islamic art exhibition in Seville, Nur was particularly significant, being paradoxically a first of its kind, yet, naturally at home. In Dallas, the Nur exhibition holds another great significance, as it is the first major exhibition of Islamic art in the 111-year history of the DMA. So, there is a great deal to learn about Islamic culture. But first of all, there is a great deal to “unlearn.” For this reason, the exhibition journey starts with a white entrance space, which aims to give the visitor a sensation of light, and is also a white slate, which prepares us to see for the first time. White light holds the full spectrum of colors.
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The Nur exhibition is at the heart of the cultural exchange venture at the DMA. With Nur, the dialogue starts with the silence of a white space, suggesting that listening is key in any dialogue. There is dialogue between the objects themselves as they link different cultures living within one culture. An example of this is a Torah case from 16th-century Syria, which is made of copper and decorated in the typical Islamic style of silver inlaid arabesques.

There is a strong connection between these objects that come from places as far apart as Spain and Asia, brought together in a configuration that creates a dialogue with the visitor. Islamic art objects are often small and they require us to humbly come close and look. They are filled with details. In the exhibition space, these details are brought to the fore by virtual screens (I prefer to call them virtual screens rather than videos!), which create other planes. They are positioned in such a way in the exhibition space so as not to interfere with the objects, but they complement the display, attract attention to some of the key aspects within the objects, and invite us to look at the objects again and again. They reveal the immense world within, sometimes, the tiniest of objects. And sight becomes insight.

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The exhibition journey reflects content and container being one; without props, the exhibition provides an experience of a different way of seeing the world. Through aspects such as reflection and attention to minute detail, a harmonious musicality is created. The exhibition concepts and design were shaped closely together to create an experience of a multilayered reality. For example, this is suggested by the openings in the walls between sections that allow us a glimpse into the next space as we make an enjoyable journey of discovery through the exhibition. Passing one of these openings, we sense the presence of another world, suggesting that what see is only part of the whole.
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Sabiha Al Khemir is the senior advisor for Islamic art at the DMA.

Installing Light

Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World is opening this weekend and the DMA is the only venue outside of Europe to host this exhibition featuring rarely seen objects from around the world. We’ve been preparing for weeks for Sunday’s opening, as you can see in the photos below,

Learn more about the exhibition and the artistic techniques used to enhance the effect of light found in the objects on display in Nur from the DMA’s senior advisor for Islamic art, Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir. And on Thursday, April 3, your lecture ticket will also include admission to Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World!

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Kimberly Daniell is the manager of communications and public affairs at the DMA

Words with Friends (and owls, mohels, etc.)

For the exhibition Never Enough: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art, New York-based artist Darren Bader visited Dallas to help us realize a unique work recently purchased by the DMA. Bader is known for his innovative and unconventional use of materials that push the boundaries of sculpture and activates environments with unexpected pairings and phenomenological experiences.

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For example, in the 2012 exhibition Darren Bader: Images at MoMA PS1, the artist presented a room filled with a newly upholstered couch and several live housecats, all of which were available for adoption by museum visitors. Elsewhere the artist installed a selection of vegetables, each on its own wooden pedestal, that was made into salad for gallery visitors by a museum staffer twice a week. While these works all had a social dimension, for the artist these elements are understood to be sculpture of one form or another, albeit in the most expansive definition of the word.

Bader’s work also frequently employs double-entendres and wordplay, as is readily apparent in the series of rhyming couplets that make up the recent acquisition at the DMA, and which is now on view: obi and/with SCOBY; oak with/and smoke; owl and/with towel; oar with/and store; oil with/and mohel; oat and/with note; orc with/and fork. Generally, when a museum purchases a work it has a set physical form, but in this case the work itself consists solely of the words listed in the title above and the conceptual potential for realizing these couplings. These absurd combinations can be realized in physical space (e.g., placing a rowing oar in the DMA store) or in the form of photographic or video documentation to be displayed in the galleries. Contractual agreements like this have a long history within the canon of conceptual art, including works by Marcel Duchamp, Yves Klein, Hans Haacke (with the aid of dealer Seth Siegelaub), and Andrea Fraser, among others.

As the curator for this exhibition, I was tasked with coordinating and/or sourcing the various elements needed to realize this work, including an obi and SCOBY, owl and towel, and even a mohel (more on that in a later blog post). In order to find an owl, we got in touch with Kathy Rogers from Roger’s Wildlife Rescue down in Hutchins, Texas.

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Kathy and her team run an amazing facility that rescues, rehabilitates and houses hundreds of birds of all varieties. For our project, Kathy had three types of owls available—Barred, Barn and Screech—and ultimately we decided to go with Forest, the Barn Owl. Forest was born in captivity, so he is very comfortable around humans and was more than happy to be filmed by the DMA’s crew.

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Next we had to find a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) to go along with the obi (a traditional Japanese sash used with a kimono) we purchased from eBay. Lucky for us, the wonderful people at Holy Kombucha in Fort Worth were more than willing to provide us with a grade-A large SCOBY. While the SCOBY itself is naturally slimy and smelly, it is probiotic, and when used in kombucha it makes for a very tasty health drink; however, in order to exhibit the SCOBY our Objects Conservator dried it in an oven for several hours until it became a tissue-paper thin wafer.

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For those that are curious, the SCOBY will be on view in the Stoffel Gallery, along with video clips representing other pairings from the Bader piece scattered throughout the galleries (included in free general admission!). We have also staged two small interventions outside the gallery spaces that you might encounter on your next trip to the DMA. So if you find an oar in the DMA store, or oats in the DMA donation box, don’t be alarmed . . . it’s only art.

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

Teenage Dream: Young Masters

The DMA’s Concourse is filled once again with art created by area AP high school students, and that means it is time for the annual Young Masters exhibition. Since 1994 North Texas art and music students have submitted their work to the O’Donnell Foundation’s AP Arts Incentive Program for a chance to be selected for the exhibition and earn scholarships. Check out this year’s selections, on view through April 27 at the DMA.

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Your Inner Edward Hopper

Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process show us in exciting detail the creative process of painter Edward Hopper. We see him working out the shapes and angles of spaces and subjects that interested him—subjects and spaces that would become the focal points of his famous paintings. When you visit the exhibition, look for little differences in his drawings and paintings, as Hopper often tweaked the composition’s point-of-view, added or eliminated figures, and used creative license to make visual departures from reality.

As you meander through his preparatory sketches and drawings, consider testing out your own creative process. Pick up a pencil and a clipboard at the exhibition’s entrance and sketch what you see: it could be an interesting corner, a Museum visitor in a fabulous hat, or a tree in Klyde Warren Park. Then, on the back of the page, channel your inner Edward Hopper and combine your observations into a composition that incorporates some of your imagination. As Edward Hopper once said, “no amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.”

Check out the artistic process of other DMA visitors!

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Andrea Severin Goins is the interpretation specialist at the DMA

Crating on Uncrated

Be sure to stop by the DMA by Sunday, January 12, for a last look at Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take. which we were excited to co-organize with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and to premiere in Dallas. Starting bright and early on January 13, DMA staff will begin packing the artworks in preparation for shipping the exhibition to Minnesota . These photos showcase the careful packing methods needed for such fragile and unusual materials.

Jim Hodges, Anymore, 2010, handmade paper and cast paper with Beva adhesive, Lillian and Billy Mauer

Jim Hodges, Anymore, 2010, handmade paper and cast paper with Beva adhesive, Lillian and Billy Mauer

Anymore is pinned into place to prevent movement during transit, and then padded with Tyvek-covered bolsters and archival (acid-free) tissue paper. Anymore packing

Jim Hodges, Untitled (bells), 2002, blown glass in 18 parts, Pizzuti Collection

Jim Hodges, Untitled (bells), 2002, blown glass in 18 parts, Pizzuti Collection

Each of the glass bells is wrapped in Tyvek and surrounded with custom-cut foam collars that fit snugly around the piece. Bells packing

Jim Hodges, Untitled, 2011, mirror on canvas, Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert

Jim Hodges, Untitled, 2011, mirror on canvas, Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert

The black mirror Untitled hung high on the back wall of the Barrel Vault comes apart into five pieces; each is screwed into the back of a travel frame so that it “floats” and nothing touches its
fragile edges.

Black mirror packing

Jim Hodges, Changing Things, 1997, silk, plastic, and wire, Dallas Museum of Art, Mary Margaret Munson Wilcox Fund and gift of Catherine and Will Rose, Howard Rachofsky, Christopher Drew and Alexandra May, and Martin Posner and Robyn Menter-Posner

Jim Hodges, Changing Things, 1997, silk, plastic, and wire, Dallas Museum of Art, Mary Margaret Munson Wilcox Fund and gift of Catherine and Will Rose, Howard Rachofsky, Christopher Drew and Alexandra May, and Martin Posner and Robyn Menter-Posner

Each of the 342 pieces of the DMA’s own Changing Things artwork is pinned into its numbered spot onto a foam tray inside archival blue-board boxes. The numbers correspond to labeled holes on the plastic template that hangs on the wall for installation.

Changing Things packing

Jim Hodges, the dark gate, 2008, wood, steel, electric light, perfume, paint, flooring, Private Collection

Jim Hodges, the dark gate, 2008, wood, steel, electric light, perfume, paint, and flooring, Private Collection

The many custom bolts that attach the sides, ceiling, and floor panels of the dark gate room are neatly inserted in parallel rows inside their crate. Dark Gate packing

Jim Hodges, Untitled (Gate), 1991, steel, aluminum, copper, brass, paint, electric lighting, Collection of the artist

Jim Hodges, Untitled (Gate), 1991, steel, aluminum, copper, brass, paint, and electric lighting, Collection of the artist

Eleven strips of twill are drilled into the foam backing of Untitled (Gate)’s crate to secure the chains for travel; the charms that hang in the center of the web are further protected by a Tyvek-covered foam sheet.

Gate packing

Jim Hodges, on the way between places, 2009, charcoal and saliva on paper, Collection of the artist (No. 8-21)

Jim Hodges, on the way between places, Nos. 8-21, 2009, charcoal and saliva on paper, Collection of the artist

Due to charcoal’s fragile “friable” (the tendency to flake) nature, it is best that the medium travels flat. These 14 pieces in the series from the artist’s collection are each wrapped and ride inside a
foam slot.
On the way between places packing

Jim Hodges, With the Wind, 1997, scarves and thread, Collection Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman NY, Courtesy The FLAG Art Foundation

Jim Hodges, With the Wind, 1997, scarves and thread, Collection Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman NY, Courtesy The FLAG Art Foundation

To minimize the possibility of wrinkles and protect the fibers of the artwork, With the Wind is wrapped in tissue and rolled around a tube. With the Wind packing

Reagan Duplisea is the associate registrar, exhibitions at the DMA.

A Year of Launches, Anniversaries, and Free at the DMA

The year 2013 has been an exciting one at the DMA. We’ve welcomed more than 540,000 visitors, launched new programs, and hosted 11 exhibitions. Below are a few of the Uncrated team’s favorite highlights from the past year.

      • Going free!
        We returned to free general admission on January 21 and have loved every minute of opening our doors for free to the North Texas community.
      • Getting more than 41,000 new friends
        In January we launched DMA Friends, the first free museum membership program, and our new friends have been earning points on their visits and redeeming them for unique rewards for almost 12 months!
      • DMA sleepover
        Speaking of unique rewards, we hosted our first DMA Overnight in November. Ten DMA Friends redeemed 100,000 points to spend the night at the Museum with a guest while exploring the galleries after hours, participating in new DMA games and sleeping under the watchful eyes of Tlaloc.
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      • C3 got a facelift
        Come by and see new works of art and activities for all ages in the front gallery of the Center for Creative Connections on Level 1.
      • A sky of denim
        The DMA co-organized exhibition Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take (on view through January 12!) is full of beautiful and interesting works of art, but we had the privilege of being the first venue to ever show his denim work Untitled (one day it all comes true). It was amazing getting to witness Jim Hodges viewing his completed work on display for the first time.
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      • Happy Anniversary!
        This was the year of anniversaries here at the DMA, including the 110th birthday of the DMA, the 80th anniversary of the Dallas Free Public Art Gallery becoming the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the 50th anniversary of the merger of the DMFA and DMCA, the 30th anniversary of the DMA Sculpture Garden opening, the 20th anniversary of the Hamon Building opening (which includes Level 4 and the Atrium), Arturo’s 10th birthday, and the 5th anniversary of C3.
      • From Greece to Dallas
        We had a year of amazing exhibitions, from a celebration of President Kennedy in Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy to the colorful world of Chagall’s sculptures, drawings and costumes in Chagall:Beyond Color, from the famous Discus Thrower from the British Museum in The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece to welcoming the local art community in DallasSITES: Available Space.
      • Art/Arte
        This fall we launched our first-ever bilingual (Spanish and English) guide for visitors, written by members of the Dallas community through a partnership program with AVANCE-Dallas and Make Art With Purpose. Pick one up at the Visitor Services Desk on your next visit.
      • Texas hops and barley
        This summer we had a Texas beer social for Museum staff and sampled brews that come from the Lone Star State. Uncrated team member Melissa Nelson Gonzales out- sipped the competition and won the beer tasting contest!
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      • Eyes of the  Ancestors
        In June we celebrated the publication of our catalogue Eyes of the Ancestors: The Arts of Island Southeast Asia at the Dallas Museum of Art and welcomed special guest Dhalang Purbo Asmoro, who hosted a public gamelan and wayang performance with musicians from Java, Bali and New York. This month, the book was named the winner of the 2013 International Tribal Art Book Prize.
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      • Creative rest stop
        We launched a new program this year, the Pop-Up Art Spot, taking C3 into the galleries and inviting visitors to enjoy a creative break while exploring the Museum. Over 12,000 visitors of all ages have participated in drawing, writing and other creative activities!
      • New digs
        In 2013 a portion of the south end of the building was under renovation for the new DMA Paintings Conservation Studio (watch the transition here). Visitors can see into the DMA’s Conservation Studio and explore the conservation process in the adjacent gallery for free during Museum hours. A recent conservation project, Daniel Buren’s Sanction of the Museum, hangs in the Concourse and leads the way to the studio.
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      • A Texas-size howdy!
        Our Visitor Services Team, which greets every guest of the DMA when they walk through our doors or visit the galleries, also got a makeover. You may have noticed their friendly smiles and new outfits during your visits this year.
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Thank you for helping us make 2013 a great year. We wish you a very happy new year!

Kimberly Daniell is the manager of communications and public affairs at the DMA.

Dynamic Duo

Tomorrow, artist Stephen Lapthisophon, featured in the current Concentrations 56 exhibition at the DMA, will join his lifelong friend actor John Judd for a conversation about the creative process. Get to know these best friends before Thursday’s event:

John Judd and Stephen Lapthisophon, 1978

John Judd and Stephen Lapthisophon, 1978

Do you involve each other in your creative processes?
SL: John and I speak frequently now about our influences, the creative process and the various ways that we feel our work reflects the time in which we live. There is no direct integration of his work in mine—rather, it is an implied dialogue—constant, permanent and generous.
JJ: It’s impossible to estimate the degree to which Stephen influences my work. My relationship with Stephen is almost like one of family in that even though we’ve ended up pursuing different avenues in the arts, and are no longer collaborators, we shared formative creative experiences, and we were almost constant companions for many years. Stephen is always in there somewhere.

What is one piece/work of art of the other’s that you most enjoy or inspires you?
SL: I have seen him perform many times but perhaps my favorite piece I have seen him in is Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow, where he played Laurence Olivier.
JJ: I can see his hand in this simple small piece [below] as indelibly as I do in his current work. It represents something essentially Stephen—a quality that remains and has always been present in his best work.

Stephen Lapthisophon, House, 1977, paint on wood,

Stephen Lapthisophon, House, 1977, paint on wood, courtesy of the artist, photo: John Judd

How has your friendship evolved over 40 years?
SL: I met John Judd walking into my first art class as an undergraduate at UT Austin in 1974. We have known each other and trusted each other’s work since then.
JJ: From our first conversation there has existed an unspoken agreement—that we will confront this world as allies. We are like-minded and determined to take what we were given and make more of it. To leave some marks behind. We have lived our lives in very close proximity and miles apart, we have at times collaborated and pursued separate endeavors, we’ve had individual triumphs and defeats, have even exceeded each other’s expectations, but we have always been able to pick up a phone or sit down together and resume the conversation.

For more insight, stories and discussion, join us tomorrow night, December 5, at 7.30 p.m.!
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Liz Menz is the manager of adult programming at the DMA

World AIDS Day

Yesterday, we observed the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day with a screening of Untitled, a film by Jim Hodges, Encke King, and Carlos Marques da Cruz.

Untitled

Untitled begins with a reflection on the early AIDS epidemic. Following a nonlinear narrative, the film brings together mainstream network news, activist footage, artists’ works, and popular entertainment, referencing regimes of power that precipitated a generation of AIDS and queer activism, and continues today with international struggles for freedom and expression. If you missed yesterday’s screening, don’t worry! We will show Untitled again on January 11 at 1:00 p.m. And don’t miss the DMA-organized exhibition Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take, on view at the DMA through January 12.
Jim Hodges installation_DMA_photo credit Courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art_04 - Copy

Meg Smith is the curatorial administrative assistant for contemporary art at the DMA.


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