We have less than a week until the opening of Chagall: Beyond Color here at the Dallas Museum of Art. The DMA is the only U.S. venue for this exhibition, which features Marc Chagall’s sculptures, ceramics, collages, paintings, and costumes. To tide you over until the opening on Sunday, February 17, below are a few installation shots from the past week.
Archive for the 'Installation' Category
Tags: Chagall: Beyon Color, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA, Marc Chagall, U.S. exclusive
Tags: Concentrations, Dallas Museum of Art, Karla Black, Scottish art, sculpture
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.
Tags: Ancient Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Free, Mexico, The Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico, WFAA
We have been receiving and unpacking crates for a couple of weeks in preparation for the opening of The Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico on Sunday, July 29. This exhibition contains a number of works weighing hundreds of pounds, including a sculpture of sandaled feet weighing more than three tons, so we brought in some extra equipment and helping hands to assist in the installation process, which you can see below. Join us this Saturday, July 28, for a free sneak peek of the exhibition (normally $14) during the WFAA Family First Day from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Photography by Adam Gingrich, Administrative Assistant for Marketing and Communications
Tags: 20th-century modernism, Dallas Museum of Art, Fernand Léger, George Braque, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso
Our Picasso masterwork Bust is normally considered in the context of early 20th-century modernism. Its home is in the European galleries alongside the works of Picasso’s cohorts like Matisse, Braque, and Léger; however, a recent installation in our European Galleries offers up a new reading of the painting—that it has footings not only in European modernism but also in African art.
Picasso is known to have been captivated by African art. He frequented the Trocadéro, Paris’s famed ethnographic museum, to study its holdings. He was also an avid collector of African objects and amassed over one hundred statuettes, textiles, and masks, all of which he stored in his studio.
Although these so-called “primitive arts” held little monetary value—most were seen as mere trinkets and lined the shelves of curio shops, flea markets, and bistro tablescapes—their alien forms and dramatic abstractions were invaluable inspirations for Picasso. He carefully studied African works, mimicked them, and even openly copied them. He found them to be complex, conceptually sophisticated, and emotionally charged because their abstractions expressed the “unseen” and “unuterrable” in visual and quantifiable terms. Throughout his career, Picasso struggled with trying to represent the unknown or unrepresentable, and African abstract forms gave him a clear visual language to express what he couldn’t before.
In the case of our painting Bust, he appears to have lifted the entire compositional makeup of a kifwebe mask and translated it into a two-dimensional painted form:
The stylistic resonances between the two works are truly striking. Both have the same facial configuration—a convex forehead contrasted by a concave facial plane—and the same facial features, from the almond-shaped downcast eyes, to the broad band bisecting the foreheads, to the fine-lined surface relief.
Through painting a female subject in the likeness of an abstract kifwebe mask, Picasso saw himself as able to visually articulate the invisible aspects of her nature—a feat not possible through a mere depiction of a human form. Moreover, he saw this abstract representation as a “real” representation of a person; for him, reality was something beyond our eyes, so representing someone’s internalized and invisible nature meant he was representing who someone really is. Through abstraction, Picasso was able to make the female figure’s spirit not only visible but real, living, and tangible; through African art, Picasso was able to eclipse old modes of representation and was, in his words, “freed.”
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, Mark Bradford
Detail, the massive ark currently grounded in the Barrel Vault, recreates part of Mark Bradford’s earlier work Mithra which was installed in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. Detail consists of a steel and wood core to which is attached plywood panels to form the outer hull. The only part of the original Mithra that is used for this new piece is the outer plywood hull; the inner structure is new and was designed and fabricated for Bradford’s retrospective.
Because of the size and complexity of Detail, it was decided early in the planning stages of our exhibit that I would travel to Chicago to observe the piece being installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Being able to watch and participate in the assembly of Detail at the MCA answered most of the questions we had about its construction. Well before we began our installation, we had a very firm idea of how the piece would go together and how long it would take to build.
The first two days of installation were spent bolting together the inner steel core, which comprises thirteen steel uprights, sixteen corrugated steel panels, and almost forty horizontal and diagonal braces. Due to the size and weight of the individual components, and the fact that the steel panels were an extremely tight fit to the uprights, this was the most difficult part of the installation. The prep staff made judicious use of rubber mallets to “persuade” the steel panels to fit. When completed, this inner core replicates the look of the steel shipping containers used in the original Mithra. Detail is designed so that the viewer can get a slight glimpse of this inner structure through small gaps between the plywood panels that form the hull.
Once we were finished assembling the steel core, the installation went fairly quickly. The next step was to attach eleven large wooden “ribs”—each in two sections, a top and a bottom—that bolted on to flanges on the steel uprights. At this point what had been a huge steel box began to take on the shape of a giant boat. Next a series of horizontal wooden braces were screwed between the ribs. These horizontal braces, along with the wooden ribs, served as attachment points for the outer plywood “skin” that forms the hull of Detail. The final step was screwing the plywood panels to the ribs and horizontal braces, which completed the hull. The fit of the panels was not really precise; at this stage, we relied on our own aesthetic judgment, plus images from the installation in Chicago, to determine the exact placement and alignment of each panel in relation to the others around it.
We completed Detail in five days, right on schedule. Mark Bradford’s monumental boat and the Barrel Vault space seem to be made for each other, and Detail will certainly be as memorable a viewing experience as it was to install.
Mike Hill is a Preparator at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Tags: Dallas Museum of Art, Katrina, Mark Bradford, New Orleans
Mark Bradford opens on October 16 but the installation began a few weeks ago. Below are images of the Barrel Vault installation of Detail, a monumental section of the ark Mithra, which the artist built for Prospect 1, the 2008 New Orleans Biennale, one of the first international art events devised to bring visitors back to that city following Hurricane Katrina.
Tags: Center for Creative Connections, Dallas Independent School District, Dallas Museum of Art, Skyline Architecture Cluster
With school back in full swing we thought we would showcase the students from Dallas ISD’s Skyline Architecture Cluster who created Sculpting Space: 299 Chairs. See the installation in person in the Center for Creative Connections on Level 1 through mid-November.
Tags: Collage, Dallas Museum of Art, Henri Matisse, Ivy in Flower
Rarely on view, Henri Matisse’s Ivy in Flower—a full-scale maquette for a stained glass window made late in the artist’s career—will be installed for six months in the Concourse. Here are some photos from the large cutout’s installation.
Henri Matisse, Ivy in Flower, 1953, colored paper, watercolor, pencil, and brown paper tape on paper mounted on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation
Tags: Dallas Museum of Art, Silence and Time
Below are photographs taken during the three-week installation of Silence and Time, which is on view through August 28.