Posts Tagged 'Installation'

Seldom Scene: Installing Form/Unformed

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.

 

 

Riding That Train

'Afternoon Train' (1944) by Doris Lee, a print in the DMA collection.

While famous songs about trains by Gladys Knight, the Grateful Dead, or Bob Marley* might not exactly bring to mind Dallas’s DART system, a quick, easy, and scenic trip to the Museum by light rail or trolley does offer much to sing about.  The DMA is a short walk from DART’s St. Paul Station, and the McKinney Avenue Trolley lets off visitors right at our front door.

Every day, more than 220,000 passengers ride trains, light rail, and buses to move across our city. Whether they’re on their way to the DMA and the Arts District or to another destination, everyone who rides DART encounters works of art. Through the Station Art & Design Program, local artists are commissioned to envision the design concept and theme for every DART station and to lead teams consisting of architects, engineers, designers, and contractors to create unique installations and environments at each stop. In addition to site-specific works of art—including mosaics, sculpture, and photography—the artists also design structural and functional elements like columns, pavers, and windscreens unique to each station.

Hatcher Station. Artist: Vicki Meek. Image: Courtesy DART

Lovers Lane Station. Design Artist: Pamela Nelson. Photo: Courtesy DART

Southwestern Medical District/Parkland Station. Artist: Susan Kae Grant. Image: Courtesy DART

If you travel through one of DART’s fifty-five stations, look for the work of some well-known members of Dallas’s artistic community, such as Benito Huerta, Vicki Meek, Susan Kae Grant, and Pamela Nelson, among many others. You might also encounter works by artists who are represented in the DMA’s collections. Tom Orr and Frances Bagley, for example, were individually commissioned by DART for several stations. Orr was the station artist at DART’s Bush Turnpike Station, which is surrounded by both a large freeway as well as open, green space. To respond to the location of the station, he designed large steel and wire columns that were planted with vines to create large-scale topiaries.

Tom Orr's Installation at the Bush Turnpike Station. Image: Courtesy DART

Frances Bagley served as the station artist for Union Station, Convention Center Station, and Cedars Station (all along the Blue and Red DART lines); on each project, Bagley collaborated with other artists to create installations that reflect the particular site of each station.

In 2009 Bagley and Orr collaborated on a gallery-scaled installation that was included in the DMA’s special exhibition Performance/Art. The piece was based on the pair’s design for the Dallas Opera’s 2006 production of Verdi’s Nabucco. The installation recalled the setting for the opera’s biblical story and portrayed the artists’ interpretation of the Euphrates riverbank, the idol of Baal, and the Hanging Garden of Babylon.

Mural Detail from Union Station. Image: courtesy DART

Tom Orr and Frances Bagley's Installation in the DMA's "Performance/Art" exhibition.

Take advantage of this great spring weather and DART to the art . . . but don’t forget to explore the works of art along the way. Use DART’s guides to learn more.

* Take a look at this list of one writer’s Top Ten Train Songs.

Lisa Kays is Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art

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.

Form/Unformed: Building a Collection of Modern and Contemporary Design at the DMA

As the curator of decorative arts and design for the DMA, I oversee a collection of nearly 8,000 works of American and European art. From 17th-century ceramic vases to 20th-century plastic chairs, these holdings are among the Museum’s most expansive and diverse. One aspect of this collection is a growing number of modern and contemporary international design objects, a selection of which has recently been installed in an exhibition in the Museum’s Tower Gallery, Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to Present. In this installation, we showcase, for the first time, a perspective upon design of the last fifty years as seen through the lens of the DMA’s collections.

Zaha Hadid's coffee and tea service set.

Although the DMA began acquiring modern design of the 20th century nearly two decades ago, it has only been in recent years that opportunities to collect contemporary design have been taken, resulting in a host of new acquisitions, such as a tea service and bench by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid and a witty assemblage of stuffed animals as a chair by the Brazilian design team of the Campana brothers. Many of the objects reflect a logical continuum with the Museum’s historic decorative arts works–whether by function as seating and tableware, or most plainly as aesthetic creations inspired by the era and cultural milieu in which they were fashioned. Even so, a few works in the exhibition, such as Giovanni Corvaja’s “The Golden Fleece” ring, reveal a new collecting interest within the department, that of jewelry. Just this year, over a dozen exceptional examples entered the collection, with yet more growth anticipated in the coming years. Such decisions to expand collecting areas are not made lightly, as resources must be carefully considered and such “new” areas of interest must be reviewed for their logical connections to the DMA’s other collections (in this instance, ancient Greek and pre-Columbian jewelry).

Robert J. King's Celestial Centerpiece.

Our new jewelry collecting efforts have been exciting, and as we continue to add new works in this area (and in other arenas of design), you will see additions to this exhibition and the Museum’s galleries–so keep a watchful eye!

Kevin W. Tucker is the The Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Re-imagining and Re-installing

 

The DMA exhibitions department spends much of its time planning, organizing, and fine-tuning any given exhibition. And ironically, the installation process marks the beginning of the end of our efforts. On the Museum’s second floor, our department is now working to complete the massive reinstallation of the  European galleries, which host some of the most well known and celebrated works of art in the DMA’s collections. Alongside curators Olivier Meslay and Heather MacDonald,  the exhibition designer, preparators, registrars, and carpenters have come together to re-introduce this selection of masterpieces to DMA visitors.

 

During “install,” the exhibitions department ensures that the careful removal of objects, new construction (such as platforms, walls, and pedestals), and re-installation of the artwork all run according to plan. Close attention to the condition of the galleries and the creation of hospitable environments for the works — and visitors — come into play.

 

For example, the sculptural grouping found off the Level 2 courtyard requires proper window tinting before the works can reach their “final destination.” Anyone will agree that this precaution was worth the wait when caught between Brancusi or Hepworth’s monochromatic contours and Matisse or Kandisnsky’s vibrant polychrome canvases. When filtered properly, the same light that can damage art now works in tandem with it, persuading us to step back and experience the “dance” between these gleaming three-dimensional whites and the vivid impressionist brushwork.


 

 
We hope you’ll come see for yourself on your next visit to the DMA.
Aja Martin is the Exhibitions Administrative Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.
 
 

 

Uncrating Stickley: A Registrar’s Report

Just before Labor Day I left Dallas for New Jersey to be on-site for the uncrating and installation of the exhibition Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Organized by the DMA, this exhibition opens at the Newark Museum of Art next week, and as the DMA’s Registrar, it is part of my job to help in the moving of these works to ensure proper handling.

It's nice to see a museum being promoted at a sporting event. I noticed this sign for the Newark Museum while watching the Newark Bears play the Bridgeport Bluefish.

It’s early September and the ideal weather makes this a great evening to catch a minor league baseball game in Newark. After working all day installing the exhibit at the Newark Museum, this is a nice change of pace. Even the annoyingly loud music that plays every time a batter steps up to the plate can’t ruin the great atmosphere.

Daniel Brophy makes sure he doesn't run me over as he helps David Bonner and Seth Goodwin move a crate into the galleries for unpacking.

It’s proving to be a challenge installing an exhibition at another museum as the opening tour venue–usually the organizing institution opens the show but in this case it premieres in Newark to coincide with the 100th birthday of Stickley’s home, Craftsman Farms, in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey. But the Newark Museum exhibition team and registrars are working hard to make sure we unpack, condition report (as a registrar, it is also part of my job to carefully document any change in condition or damage that might occur), and install the 100-plus objects before the first opening event on September 14.

One of the specific challenges revolves around the fact that this is the first time I’ve seen the majority of the objects in person. This adds to the amount of packing documentation and condition report notes that must be made before the objects can be finally installed. But we’ve worked out an effective system where Newark Museum registrars Antonia Moser and Amber Germano have been completing many of the condition reports while I update packing notes and direct the art handlers (Seth Goodwin, Daniel Brophy, Diane June, and David Bonner) on the order of crate unpacking. It’s vital to keep the unpacking and condition reporting process moving smoothly with as little down time as possible in order to meet our deadline.

Newark Museum Associate Registrar Antonia Moser performs a condition report on a folding screen in one of the museum galleries.

Daniel Brophy and Seth Goodwin install a folding screen after unpacking it. Gloves are required when handling works of art to protect the surface of objects.

While crates look like simple wooden boxes on the outside, their interiors can be filled with numerous braces and other packing features to ensure the safety of the artwork while being transported. It's vital to follow any instructions provided by the various craters, who often write directions and registration marks directly on the crate and crate components for easy visibility.

And while every exhibition installation has its fair share of bumps in the road and unique challenges, it’s what makes my job as a registrar so appealing. There’s not much that beats opening crate after crate of fine art and making sure it’s installed safely for museum visitors to enjoy. And as a bonus, I’ve discovered that Stickley’s ash furniture pieces are quite beautiful. Be sure to check them out if you’re in Newark, Dallas, or San Diego during the exhibition dates in those cities.

Oh, and here’s a double bonus: the home team Newark Bears have erased a 4-1 deficit and now lead the Bridgeport Bluefish 7-5 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Go Bears!

Brent Mitchell is the Registrar for Loans and Exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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