Posts Tagged 'The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk'

Indiana Jones in the Digital Age

Uncrated stopped by the IT Department and caught up with Jessica Heimberg, Senior Developer, to learn more about her role here at the DMA. She can typically be found hiding behind two large monitors on her desk.

Jessica Heimberg

Describe your job in fifty words or less.
I work in the Information Technology Department. My official title is Senior Developer, but I am more like the MacGyver of tech projects and all things IT. (For those of you who missed this TV series, MacGyver was a non-gun-toting secret agent who improvised gadgets to solve crimes.)

What might an average day entail?
It could start with an update meeting and nice espresso, courtesy of DMA Deputy Director Rob Stein, or it could start with a flooded closet and fried switches. Depending on the day, I may be writing code, managing a project, creating documentation, trouble-shooting software, (politely) arguing with a vendor, walking with the cable dudes through a dusty construction site, or trying to figure out why someone’s e-mail worked on their iPhone yesterday but not today. Actually, I think I just described my Tuesday a few weeks ago.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges?
The best part of my job is that by helping create new programs, and supporting the DMA and its staff, I get to play a public service role in my city, and that makes me proud. I feel more than ever that people need art, music, playgrounds, and parks.

One of the more challenging and equally exciting effects of working in a small department is that we have to manage a lot of IT without a lot of staff. This definitely forces efficiencies, and we get to apply real creativity to problem solving. By nature and training, I tend to create schedules and plans. I like to maintain order and do my best to make working on projects as low stress as possible, but as anyone who’s ever worked on ANYTHING knows, even best-laid plans can get monkey-wrenched, and I have learned that some of the best ideas come out of the rubble of an initial plan.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum?
I was going to be Indiana Jones—am I dating myself here? In a past life (yes, I am older), I worked in the fashion industry, and then in corporate settings, but always gravitated toward the arts, science, and nature to find balance and inspiration.

What is your favorite work in the DMA’s collection?
Just one? Not possible to pick just one.

Bill Viola, The Crossing, Chanel 1 - "Fire," 1996, two-channel video/sound installation, Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, and gifts from an anonymous donor, Howard E. Rachofsky, Gayle Stoffel, Mr. and Mrs. William T. Solomon, Catherine and Will Rose, and Emily and Steve Summers, in honor of Deedie Rose

Bill Viola, The Crossing, Channel 1 – “Fire,” 1996, two-channel video/sound installation, Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, and gifts from an anonymous donor, Howard E. Rachofsky, Gayle Stoffel, Mr. and Mrs. William T. Solomon, Catherine and Will Rose, and Emily and Steve Summers, in honor of Deedie Rose, (c) Bill Viola, Long Beach, California

I have always loved The Crossing, by Bill Viola. At my last job, at least once a week I would take lunch at the DMA and wander the galleries for an hour just to clear my head. I remember when the Viola was installed and how exciting it was to walk into this big, dark space and stand in front of the projection, watching. I visited the thing three or four times before realizing it had a whole other side! I fell in love with it a second time. I know it is a digital piece, but something about the scale and pace of it strikes me as very human, and it is comforting to me.

Bill Viola, The Crossing, Chanel 2 - "Water," 1996, two-channel video/sound installation, Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, and gifts from an anonymous donor, Howard E. Rachofsky, Gayle Stoffel, Mr. and Mrs. William T. Solomon, Catherine and Will Rose, and Emily and Steve Summers, in honor of Deedie Rose

Bill Viola, The Crossing, Channel 2 – “Water,” 1996, two-channel video/sound installation, Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, and gifts from an anonymous donor, Howard E. Rachofsky, Gayle Stoffel, Mr. and Mrs. William T. Solomon, Catherine and Will Rose, and Emily and Steve Summers, in honor of Deedie Rose, (c) Bill Viola, Long Beach, California

Is there a past exhibition that stands out in your mind as a favorite, or is there a particular upcoming show you’re looking forward to seeing?
Oh, gosh – so many! I thoroughly enjoyed the “blockbuster” exhibitions like Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs and especially The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, but most of my favorites have been mounted by our own curatorial staff. I loved Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea, The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy, African Masks: The Art of Disguise, Omer Fast: 5000 Feet Is the Best, and the telling of a chunk of American history through Modernism in American Silver: 20th-Century Design. I think Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World, the Islamic art and culture exhibition opening in 2014, will be a stunner.

Jessica Heimberg is Senior Developer, Information Technology at the DMA.

Au Revoir Monsieur Gaultier

Last week we bid adieu to The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier after three months of hosting the internationally touring exhibition at the DMA. Before the exhibition travels to its final U.S. museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: de Young, here are a few stats from the DMA’s presentation:

  • 114,986 visitors over three months
  • 16,044 postcards purchased
  • 1,020 catalogues sold
  • 142 ensembles
  • 73 works on paper
  • 49 wigs designed by Odile Gilbert
  • 30 animated mannequins
  • 13 weeks on view
  • 6 galleries of works
  • 2 custom cowboy-inspired greeters
  • 1 incredible fashion designer

See the exhibition from arrival to departure and everything in between.

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Kimberly Daniell is the PR Specialist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

“Like a Virgin”: Countdown to Gaultier’s First Exhibition

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.

Fashion Sale for Our Followers

To celebrate you, our more than 50,000 combined Facebook and Twitter followers, we are offering our fans two days to experience one of “the hottest tickets in town,”  The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, at the general admission price of $10! Head down to the DMA on either Tuesday, December 6, or Wednesday, December 7, and show the Visitor Services Desk that you follow us on Facebook or Twitter* on your phone to receive the $6 discount.

*One discount per person; discount may not be applied for both Twitter and Facebook.

A week of Gaultier at the DMA

We held several special events for the opening of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, not only the first exhibition on the French couturier but the first contemporary fashion exhibition for the DMA. The week started off with a “Welcome to Texas” reception for Jean Paul Gaultier presented by the members of the Jean Paul Gaultier Host Committee complete with the high-kicking Kilgore Rangerettes, country music, Stetson hats, cowboy boots, and a “Welcome to Texas” themed  tequila bar with corny dogs appetizers.

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M. Gaultier attended a Parisian luncheon with Eiffel Tower statues, pink tulle and black leather tablecloths inspired by the French Cancan ensemble worn by Carla Bruni-Sarkozy from his Ze Parisienne spring/summer 2002 Haute Couture collection located in the Skin Deep gallery of the exhibition. Later that evening excitement was in the air when M. Gaultier and Dita Von Teese entered the Museum for the Donor Circle reception greeting 700 eager guests. M. Gaultier shared stories from his childhood and entertained the fashionable dressed crowd, including the DMA’s Interim Director Olivier Meslay and curator Kevin W. Tucker in Gaultier ensembles. M. Gaultier finished his visit to the DMA on Thursday during the press preview where he discussed his inspiration and the exhibition.

Thursday was also the first opportunity for DMA members to explore the exhibition before the opening on Sunday, November 13. The Friday night General Membership reception drew over 1,500 members who dressed to impress and danced the night away to DJ Andre 7.

There are still two and half months to explore the acclaimed exhibition and number of programs to attend including a Jean Paul Gaultier themed Late Night on Friday, January, 20. For information on upcoming events, and on DMA memberships, visit DallasMuseumofArt.org.

Big Love from Jean Paul Gaultier

You may have heard that the U.S. Premiere of The Fashion World From Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk opened yesterday at the Dallas Museum of Art. But we had a week of pre-opening  events prior to Sunday, including the Press Preview on Thursday morning. Below are a few of our favorite shots from our time with the “enfant terrible”.

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Kimberly Daniell, Public Relations Specialist at the Dallas Museum of Art

Mannequins Mouthing Off

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk features over 130 ensembles spanning 35 years of the Jean Paul Gaultier’s career. These ensembles are not simply displayed on static mannequins, but 30 of the works are placed on animated, talking mannequins (including one of Monsieur Gaultier) throughout the galleries. Below are a few behind-the-scenes shots of the installation of these lifelike mannequins. See them in person beginning this Sunday, November 13!

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Behind the Books: An Interview With Our DMA Librarian

Uncrated tracked down Librarian Mary Leonard to talk about her job at the Museum. Mary is the friendly face that greets you when you enter the Mayer Library here at the DMA. Her knowledge is invaluable to researchers of art—and probably a few of us trivia buffs.

Describe your job in fifty words or less.
I handle reference questions and acquisitions for the library. We are open to the public during certain hours and I help visitors during those times and also assist people on the phone and via e-mail. The Mayer Library is a research library—the stacks are closed—so appointments are recommended. But walk-ins are welcome too!

What might an average day entail?
Sometimes I’m going over new books lists—my favorite job! During public hours, I’m at the reference desk and I might be helping a student with a paper or an appraiser with auction results. I check out books to staff and give orientations to new staff and docents. Every day can be different.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges?
The best part of my job is actually getting to look at all the beautiful books we have in our collection. One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with what’s actually going on out in the Museum—seeing new acquisitions and exhibitions. I can get stuck at my desk pretty easily.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum?
I had no idea when I was a kid out in West Texas that these kinds of jobs even existed! But I’ve always loved libraries and art, so I’m really fortunate my career led me here.

What is your favorite work in the DMA collection?
The Fantin-Latour Still Life with Vase of Hawthorne. Or the Matisse Still Life: Bouquet and Compotier. There’s a pattern here. . . . I also love the Fleischner Courtyard, right outside the library windows. I’ve seen it in every season and I never get tired of looking out the window. See, I’m not daydreaming, I’m looking at art!

Is there a past exhibition that stands out in your mind as a favorite or is there a particular upcoming show you’re looking forward to seeing?
Everyone is excited about Jean Paul Gaultier—we have the catalog here already and it’s massive. I can’t wait to get down and see the African Headwear exhibition. In the past, I loved the J. M. W. Turner show and the Anne Vallayer-Coster exhibition. Beautiful paintings—what’s not to love?

Staff Profile: Prepping Up

Uncrated tracked down Preparator, Mary Nicolett, to talk about her job at the Museum. Mary is a key member of the installation team and is known for her keen eye and attention to detail.

Describe your job in 50 words or less.
My official title is “Preparator, Logistics Facilitator,” which is a fancy way of saying that when I am not busy as a preparator moving, installing or taking care of the art, that I am ordering supplies or tools in preparation for the teams’ upcoming tasks.

What might an average day entail?
My days and weeks vary, depending upon what installation we are working on.  I may be moving works in storage, building archival boxes for delicate items, researching the newest drills, touch-up painting the walls, or installing an intricate or obsessive artwork.  There are always the deliveries and pick-ups that interrupt the flow of the day, but I am lucky that I get to uncrate works of art, which sometimes makes me the first person in the building that gets to see something new! Only one thing is consistent in my day: the coffee during our afternoon break.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges?
I am continually learning. My coworkers have a wide variety of talents, and both the exhibitions and collections departments work wonderfully together as a team. I learn something new during most installations. The variety of artworks that enter the building vary in age, material and construction and thus their needs differ. This diversity continually specifies what techniques or care are needed in order to preserve the works, keeping us on our toes.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum?
I was too busy being a kid to think about a career, but I was very influenced by my father who worked as an architectural draftsman and took some evening terracotta studio courses from Octavio Medellin. My ease in math, geometry and spatial relationships steered me towards a degree in sculpture, but even then I did not think about working at a museum.

What is your favorite work in the DMA collection?
That is a tough question, as the answer probably changes with my moods!  The lovely Indonesian textiles from the Sarawak area, with their wealth of history, intricacy of detail, and process of dying the wefts prior to weaving are inspirational to me. I have continual fondness for the graceful serenity of the Henry Moore maquettes. But, I have to admit, my first week at the museum I just HAD to see Tom Wesselmann’s Mouth #11, as I remember it from an elementary school tour, when the DMA was at Fair Park.

Is there a past exhibition that stands out in your mind as a favorite or is there a particular upcoming show you’re looking forward to seeing?
The J. M. W. Turner exhibition was fantastic! The layout and gallery design with the moldings created a perfect environment for his works. I like contemporary art more than landscapes and port scenes, but his paintings continually stopped me in my tracks while doing my duties. The upcoming Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit has many challenges for us ahead, and our designer, curator and exhibition team are still in the process of deciding all the intricate details that go into such a show. With this being our first big “fashion” exhibition, I look forward to dressing the mannequins and getting an up-close view of the pieces, some of which are more like strange sculptural forms than clothing.

Live from the Red Carpet: Gaultier Opens in Montreal

An entry to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with exhibition banner above

An entry to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with exhibition banner above

As the DMA’s curator for the forthcoming exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier, I recently had the opportunity to travel with some of my colleagues to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, where the exhibition had its international premiere. The Montreal Museum, which had organized the exhibition, did a tremendous job in presenting the works not simply as couture draped across mannequins, but as truly vibrant objects of art and design. The excitement was indeed palpable, as the red carpet was rolled down the front steps of the Museum and the crowds began to gather for opening night. Even for the second night’s reception, over 2,000 people gathered for a preview of the exhibition!

The crowds converge for one of the opening receptions

The crowds converge for one of the opening receptions

Gaultier arrived from Paris to join in the festivities and one could see he was enjoying himself as much as anyone else in attendance. One of the remarkable aspects of the installation was the creation of specially “animated mannequins” for the clothing which incorporated custom-molded heads to accommodate video projections of which made them appear to speak, sing, and scan the crowds (at the entry stood Gaultier’s own double—a mannequin welcoming those many visitors). Throughout the exhibition, Gaultier’s fashions reflected both his exceptional talents and sheer joy in life. As guests poured through the crowded galleries, they stopped to admire their new favorites—perhaps a dress of brilliant feathers making the wearer appear exotic and bird-like or a Can-Can dress with the repeated image of kicking legs on the interior?

Animated sailor mannequins with Gaultier's  fashions in his iconic marinière (sailor striped shirt) motif

Animated sailor mannequins with Gaultier's fashions in his iconic marinière (sailor striped shirt) motif

The Gaultier mannequin is programmed

The Gaultier mannequin is programmed

Crowds gather around the exhibition's moving catwalk

Crowds gather around the exhibition's moving catwalk

More crowds in the "Urban Jungle" section of the exhibition

More crowds in the "Urban Jungle" section of the exhibition

Come November, Dallas and DMA members will have the opportunity to enjoy their own welcoming party for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier!

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


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