Posts Tagged 'Dallas'

ARTifacts: Go for the Corndogs, Stay for the Art

It’s that time of year again: the annual pilgrimage to visit Big Tex, ride the Texas Star, see some livestock, watch a show, and, perhaps most importantly, eat plenty of unique fried foods. Yes, it is time for the State Fair of Texas.

If you were attending the State Fair in the 1950s and early 60s, when the DMA was still located in Fair Park, you would also have been able to see Dallas artists showcasing their craft in the Museum’s center court. The demonstrations were in conjunction with the annual exhibitions of Texas art and artists held during the State Fair.

H. O. Kelly, 1959

H. O. Kelly, 1959

Evaline Sellors and Octavio Medellin, 1950s

Evaline Sellors and Octavio Medellin, 1950s

Shirley Lege Carpenter (jeweler) and Stella La Mond (weaver), 1961

Shirley Lege Carpenter (jeweler) and Stella La Mond (weaver), 1961

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

DallasSITES from a Dallas Transplant

How do you navigate your way in a new city’s art community? That became my challenge when I moved from Philadelphia to Dallas in September 2012 to become the new McDermott Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art. Of course, I did my research: numerous Google searches helped me make a page-long list of contemporary art venues I wanted to visit during my internship. But assisting on the DMA’s newest exhibition, DallasSITES: Charting Contemporary Art, 1963 to Present, was what really taught me about Dallas’s artistic legacy.

Two members the Dallas art scenes who have been influential for decades: Janet Kutner and Paul Rogers Harris c.1960s, Courtesy of Paul Rogers Harris, Dallas, TX

Two members of the Dallas art scene who have been influential for decades: Janet Kutner and Paul Rogers Harris, c.1960s, Courtesy of Paul Rogers Harris, Dallas, TX

I’ve spent the past nine months combing through archives, researching galleries, and learning about the evolution of the Dallas art scene. The exhibition, consisting mainly of ephemera from the past fifty years, will illustrate how dynamic the art community of North Texas has been. As a recent transplant, this project became my personal crash course. This history lesson served me well.

Map of Dallas, Courtesy of Swoon the Studio, Dallas, TX

Map of Dallas, Courtesy of Swoon the Studio, Dallas, TX

Dallas itself is a large city, and over the years the art scene has concentrated in different neighborhoods. Artists were extremely active in Fair Park and Uptown during the 1960s and 70s. With the establishment of the Arts District in the 80s, many art-related activities migrated to downtown. Deep Ellum became a serious locus for the arts in the 80s as well. Today, many galleries and institutions have relocated to the Design District. Interestingly, artist activity continued in all of these neighborhoods even when the larger cultural trends shifted. Meanwhile, universities produce interesting programs and bring important artists to visit and work in North Texas. The ephemera on view in DallasSITES reflect these events.

A visitor at the 1989 Dallas VideoFest, Courtesy of the DMA Archives

A visitor at the 1989 Dallas VideoFest, Courtesy of the DMA Archives

Some fun facts learned from this project:
Q: What is the oldest continuously running gallery in Dallas? A: Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden, established in 1955. Q: What is the oldest and largest video festival in the United States? A: Dallas’s own VideoFest! First held in 1986 at the Dallas Museum of Art, it provides a platform for experimental video art and Texas artists.

Claes Oldenburg, Poster for Injun Happening at the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, April 6-7, 1962

Claes Oldenburg, poster for Injun happening at the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, April 6-7, 1962

Claes Oldenburg is an iconic artist of the pop art movement, but did you know that in 1962 he staged one of his famous “happenings” in Dallas? Injun became a two-day collaboration with local artists at the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts (which merged with the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts in 1963 to form the Dallas Museum of Art). That was a fun discovery! Oldenburg’s relationship with Dallas has continued for several decades. Further, I discovered that one of my favorite artists, Oliver Herring, participated in a 1997 group show called Termite Terrace at Angstrom Gallery in Dallas’s Fair Park neighborhood. When DallasSITES opens, visitors will truly see how active this community has been. One of the best parts of contemporary art is the opportunity to meet artists and other art lovers at openings and talks. Each month, there are dozens of exhibition openings, artist talks, and panels that keep Dallas exciting. There are established museums, commercial galleries, and temporary spaces ranging from empty storefronts to an artist’s living room. Artists from across the United States and even internationally are showing in nearby spaces, while the roster of local talent continues to grow.

Dallas’ art scene in action: A packed house at CentralTrak for its NEXT TOPIC series panel, “Creating an Art Community/Scene” on May 2, 2013, Courtesy of Sally Glass and CentralTrak, Dallas, TX

Dallas’s art scene in action: A packed house at CentralTrak for its NEXT TOPIC series panel “Creating an Art Community/Scene” on May 2, 2013, Courtesy of Sally Glass and CentralTrak, Dallas, TX

When you see all the ephemera in DallasSITES presented in one room, the cultural wealth of this city becomes readily apparent. On May 26, you, too, can experience a crash course of your own for free!

Alexander Unkovic is the McDermott Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art at the DMA.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

This week our city’s newest amenity comes online: Klyde Warren Park. Now that we have glorious palaces for high culture, bridges into developing communities, and burgeoning opportunities to live downtown, the next accomplishment to celebrate is a green attraction with an identity open for interpretation by every visitor.

The DMA staff looks forward to the impact of a pedestrian-friendly destination just steps from our front door. The car culture of Dallas is not unique, but whatever we can all do to encourage residents and visitors to stretch their legs and open their eyes can only improve the quality of life for all in our city.

Parks and museums share a great deal—we welcome people of all backgrounds, regardless of particular interests, we offer an informal setting for conversation and relaxation, and we don’t prescribe a route, a timetable, or an outcome for your visit. We both try to offer a respite from the commercial din of contemporary life, some perspective on daily life, and enjoyment that comes from a freedom to wander and explore without confinement.

We look forward to collaborating with the Park as it gets underway with programming, and to accelerating the pedestrian-friendly potential of the Dallas Arts District in a variety of ways. Welcome to the neighborhood, Klyde Warren Park!

Celebrate the grand opening of Klyde Warren Park this weekend. The DMA will move the Studio Creations program outside on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and on Sunday our Maya ballgame demonstration with Grupo Pakal will be held at the Park at 1:45 p.m. Visit the Park’s website for a complete list of events.

Maxwell L. Anderson is The Eugene McDermott Director at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Fourteen Years of TWO x TWO

TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art is an annual contemporary art auction held in the Richard Meier-designed Rachofsky House in Dallas and benefiting two organizations—the Dallas Museum of Art and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. The event has raised over $34 million in the past thirteen years, enabling the Museum to acquire more than 125  works of art. October 20 marks the fourteenth annual gala and auction, which features Richard Phillips as amfAR’s 2012 Honored Artist. To learn more about the history of TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art, and this year’s events, including the First Look preview party tomorrow evening, visit the TWO x TWO website. Explore past TWO x TWO events below with guests such as Barry Manilow, Alan Cumming, Patti LaBelle, and more.

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Seldom Scene: Installing 1950s Dallas

Did you get a chance to travel to 1950s Dallas this weekend? Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas opened on Sunday and will be on view through August 19. Below are a few images from the installation of the exhibition.

Photography by Adam Gingrich, DMA Marketing Assistant.

Designing Women (and the Cure for Mad Men Withdrawal)

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.

The cast of Gone with the Wind on the grand staircase of Tara

Jean Harlow's bedroom in Dinner at Eight

 

 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.

Doris Day's apartment in Pillow Talk

 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.

Insider Tour of Paris

In May, Olivier Meslay, Interim Director of the Museum—and a former chief curator of the Louvre—led a group of eighteen DMA Donor Circle members to Paris for an “insider’s tour” of the city.

As you all may know, it’s hard to have a bad time in Paris, especially in the gorgeous spring. Here are just a few of the highlights.  The trip began with a visit to the Château of Fontainebleau, where the group had a special tour with chief curator Vincent Droguet that included a stop at the stairs where Napoleon gave his farewell address before being exiled to Elba.

We were also able to visit one of Marie Antoinette’s private cabinet rooms, which is not open to the general public. Climbing several narrow, winding sets of stairs, Vincent led us into a small private room where the queen used to retreat from the demands of royal life with just one or two companions.

When we visited Vaux le Vicomte, another château in the countryside, it was lit by candles for a beautiful and dramatic evening, which included fireworks in the garden.

The studio of Rosa Bonheur, which is a private museum still managed by her family, was a special stop. I love her work, and the DMA will soon acquire a Bonheur painting, which made this visit even more special.

Her unfinished final painting hangs on an easel in her studio.

And her stuffed parrot still resides in her bedroom (a little worse for wear).

 

The high point of the trip has to be our visit to the Louvre. We arrived very early in the morning, before it got crowded, and Olivier took us through the Grand Gallery to view some of the masterpieces of 18th- and 19th-century painting.

During his sixteen-year tenure at the Louvre, Olivier held a number of senior positions before coming to the DMA in 2009 in the joint position of Senior Curator of European and American Art and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art. Being with him at his “old stomping grounds” was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Another very special visit was to the atelier of Nicolas Marischael, a silversmith working in the center of Paris. Following in the footsteps of three generations of his family, Nicolas creates beautiful works of art, jewelry, and cutlery using old-world techniques and tools. Visiting his tiny atelier was amazing!

One of the last places we visited was the Musée de la chasse et de la nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature), where the director, Claude d’Anthenaise, has creatively displayed works of art that focus on hunting, nature, and animals.

Kim Bryan is the Director of Donor Circle Membership at the Dallas Museum of Art


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