Islamic Art Festival: By the Numbers

Starting tomorrow, the DMA will host a free three-day Islamic Art Festival celebrating the Keir Collection of Islamic Art. The Keir Collection installation on view in Focus Gallery I and included in the DMA’s free general admission is the largest public presentation in the history of one of the world’s most important private collections of Islamic art. While the collection has been on view since the spring, we knew we wanted to host a large celebration in honor of the collection coming to the DMA, which led us to plan the Islamic Art Festival: The Language of Exchange.

The festival will feature talks, artist demonstrations, music, and dance performances all highlighting Islamic art and the influence it has had across cultures.

American Bedouin will perform on Thursday night.

Calligraphers from the Islamic Art Revival Series will write your name in Arabic on Saturday.

Dance performances will take place in the Atrium on Friday and Saturday.

To give you a sense of all of the exciting and informative programs that will be packed into three days, I thought it would be fun to share a “by-the-numbers” for the Islamic Art Festival:

59 – Number of musicians, dancers, artists, and speakers participating in the festival

6 – Number of Spotlight Talks in the Keir Collection of Islamic Art

15 – Total number of hours of the Islamic Art Festival—who will spend all 15 hours with us?

4 – Number of hands-on art-making activities you can do during the festival

8 – Number of music performances you can enjoy during the festival

3 – Number of dance performances you can watch during the festival

0 – The cost of attending the Islamic Art Festival

1 – Number of princesses who will speak at the DMA to kick off the festival! Tonight, DMA Members can hear a talk by Her Highness Lalla Joumala Alaoui of Morocco, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United States. If you’re not already a DMA Member, join today to experience this special opportunity.

Ewer, Egypt, late 10th–early 11th century, rock crystal, 19th-century gold mount by Jean-Valentin Morel, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.1.a–b

Casket, Iran, second half of the 14th century, brass inlaid with silver, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.86

The Islamic Art Festival: The Language of Exchange is made possible by Dr. Haroon Rasheed and Mrs. Rania Mohamed. We are also excited to collaborate with the Islamic Art Revival Series, the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, the Aga Khan Council for the Central United States, and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth on several of the programs for the festival. The Keir Collection of Islamic Art is presented by Kosmos Energy.

We look forward to seeing you at the DMA over the next three days!

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA.

Petal Party!

This week we celebrate the birth of two influential artists born 47 years apart. Georgia O’Keeffe (November 15, 1887), the mother of American modernism, and Claude Monet (November 14, 1840), one of the founders of French Impressionist painting, may have practiced different styles, but both shared a love of nature, as can be seen in the vast majority of their paintings. Flowers, in particular, seemed to capture their imaginations!

I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.  —Claude Monet

Water Lilies

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1908, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, 1981.128


I know I cannot paint a flower. I cannot paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time.
—Georgia O’Keeffe

Yellow Cactus

Georgia O’Keeffe, Yellow Cactus, 1929, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, the Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, bequest of Patsy Lacy Griffith, © The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 1998.217

Stop to smell the roses and help us celebrate these renowned artists by visiting their works for FREE in the DMA’s collection galleries sometime this week!

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA. 

Pronghorn and Bighorn and Anteaters, Oh My!

Classic Mimbres Polychrome bowl, Mogollon Mimbres, 1000–1150, ceramic, slip, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, anonymous gift. 1988.115.FA

In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, take a closer look at the Mimbres bowls displayed in the DMA’s Native North American galleries on Level 4. I love how Mimbres artists balance color and form in a symmetrical framework, creating dynamic imagery. Geometric motifs, center-oriented designs, and figures add aesthetic interest, but may also function as symbolic clues to Mimbres cosmology and worldview.

The greater Mimbres region (shaded area) and contemporaneous culture areas, page XXII, Brody, J.J. Mimbres Painted Pottery, Rev. ed. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 2004.

Mimbres communities settled along the Mimbres and Gila River Valleys in southwestern New Mexico from around 200-1150 C.E. Throughout that time, Mimbres ceramic art underwent several transformations in style and form. Early corrugated wares had grooved, textured surfaces, while red-on-white painted wares eventually transitioned into the black-on-white or polychrome bowls of Classic Mimbres art. These Classic bowls were skillfully fashioned, from their delicately balanced form to their complexly painted designs.

Making a ceramic bowl required a methodical process of gathering and preparing clay. First, the artist removed undesired particles, soaked the clay in water, and kneaded it to remove air pockets. Next, the artist added temper, such as sand, to protect against shrinking or cracking. Attaching coil after coil, the artist created the bowl’s form, while flattening or scraping the sides to obtain a smooth surface. Finally, the artist decorated the interior with a fine, white slip and painted designs with an iron-based paint.

Under high-oxygen firing conditions, the iron in the paint turned a deep red-brown, but in low-oxygen environments, the iron fired gray-black. Many Classic Mimbres bowls have a true black-on-white design, but others show a blending of dark and light red. The color gradation suggests that Mimbres artists may have adjusted firing conditions to achieve visual effects with color.

Among the bowls on display at the DMA are three that feature and blend these styles, motifs, and images in distinct ways. In the Classic Mimbres Black-on-white bowl: three pronghorn, we see how the Mimbres used rotational symmetry to transform a single image into three forms. Mimbres artists frequently created designs that draw the viewer’s eye to the center. In this bowl, the artist rotated three pronghorn antelope around the bowl’s center, which is marked with a triangle defined by empty space. Some scholars suggest a parallel between the way historic and contemporary Pueblo communities organize designs on ceramic vessels. The center-oriented design may refer to the ordering of the universe of divisions between worlds. In another impressive detail, the artist mirrored the spiral-diamond design on the pronghorn’s bodies with the decorative triangles along the bowl’s rim.

In the Classic Mimbres Black-on-white bowl: bighorn sheep, we see a different form of Mimbres symmetry. This bowl shows reflectional and rotational symmetry, as the artist reflected the bighorn over a central horizontal line to face opposite directions. The reflected step motif at the bowl’s center may be the artist’s rendition of the bighorn’s mountain home. The trapezoidal designs that frame the bighorn on either side illustrate the artist’s ability to produce reflectional and rotational symmetry on a smaller scale. The motifs in this bowl are excellent examples of the geometric shapes, fine-line hachure, curved spaces, and framed bands that characterize Mimbres art.

Compared to the other two bowls, the Classic Mimbres Black-on-white bowl: animals, head, and figure has a more free-form style. Here, the artist applied a loose form of reflectional and rotational symmetry, so that each bighorn has a different geometric motif. The paint color, which transitions from red to black, may have special importance. For example, in several Pueblo communities, colors can convey spiritual meaning or be associated with the cardinal directions. As in the other bowls, the artist shows the bighorn, the anteater-like figure, and the small human head in profile. In contrast to the other two examples, the wide, white background places full emphasis on the four colorful figures rotated around the bowl’s center.

Mimbres art draws actively on a close relationship between people and nature. From working the clay to portraying animals that the Mimbres hunted, domesticated, or honored, these exceptional artists of the prehistoric Southwest allow us to envision how past peoples interpreted and interacted with the world.

Danielle Gilbert is the McDermott Graduate Intern for Arts of the Americas at the DMA.

Ladies Night

For next week’s Second Thursdays with a Twist, we’re celebrating the powerful women who made waves in the art world with Who Run the World? Even though the night will focus on female artists in our collection, we are adding some Beyoncé and other strong women into the night as well. While we love highlighting artists from our collection, like Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and Mary Cassatt, we thought for a night like this we would show off other amazing artists that you might not know that much about.

Anne Vallayer-Coster, Bouquet of Flowers in a Blue Porcelain Vase, 1776, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Michael L. Rosenberg, 1998.52.FA

Anne Vallayer-Coster was born into an artistic family; her mother made miniatures and her father was a goldsmith to many wealthy patrons. When she was 26 years old, she was unanimously voted into the Académie Royale in Paris. This was an enormous accomplishment because they only allowed four women in at a time. In 1780 she was named as the portrait painter for Marie Antoinette and became very popular in the court; she was known to be a confidant to the queen. In the period leading up to the French Revolution, she was critiqued harshly after an exhibition and from that point forward only painted still lifes. She mastered decadent bouquets and created beautiful, detailed works like those in the DMA’s collection.

Alice Kent Stoddard, Fisherman’s Little Sister, 1915, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1917.4

Alice Kent Stoddard focused mainly on portraits, landscapes, and seascapes. Stoddard studied at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, after which she studied under William Merritt Chase and Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She was a member of the Plastic Club, which was the first all-women’s art group in the United States. During World War I, Stoddard depicted the US regiments and French refugees to garner support for the war effort back in the states. That wasn’t the end of her wartime career: during World War II, she continued to serve her country the best way she could. She began working as a mechanical draftsperson for the Budd Company, a leading manufacturer of airplanes. Stoddard also served as a combat painter on the European front. She was one of the most prominent portrait painters of her time and was the first female artist to be named in Who’s Who in American Art.

Henrietta Mary Shore, Waterfall, c. 1922, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Boeckman Mayer Family Fund of the Foundation for the Arts, 2015.24.FA

Henrietta Shore was born in Canada and had an early interest in art. She also had a deep connection with nature, which ended up being the focus of her work. Shore moved to New York in her twenties to continue her studies in painting under Robert Henri. She eventually moved to California and painted in an artist colony in Carmel. She was able to sell paintings and gained acclaim while there, but she became increasingly frustrated with critics. They would try to connect her sexuality with her abstracted paintings of nature, even though she had not intended those connections. She said that she painted a semi-abstracted “life rhythm” and did not want to be placed in any “school” or “ism.” She did not want to be defined. Her masterful simplification of natural forms makes her one of the best artists of her time that you have probably never heard of.

If you want to know more about these and other amazing artists in our collection, come out to Second Thursdays with a Twist on November 9 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. You can find the full schedule of events here.

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA.

Last Call!

It’s last call for Shaken, Stirred, Styled: The Art of the Cocktail at the DMA! Don’t miss this spirited exhibition full of various vessels and accessories for creating and knocking back cocktails in style.

Grand Prize punch bowl on stand, Libbey Glass Company (manufacturer), c. 1905, cut glass, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund by exchange, 1997.140.a-b

On display in the foyer, the glittering cut-glass Grand Prize punch bowl is designed for drinking at home with friends. Punch bowls made the perfect over-the-top accessory for late 19th- to early 20th-century parties, and would’ve held a concoction of spirits, citrus juices, spices, sugar, and water known as “punch.” Providing an impressive centerpiece to a gathering, punch bowls allowed hosts to serve and replenish drinks from one bowl rather than continuously creating individual cocktails.

Silver Style cocktail shaker, Karl Emmanuel Martin (Kem) Weber (designer), Friedman Silver Company (manufacturer), designed 1928, silverplate and rosewood, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Decorative Arts Guild of North Texas’ 1994 Midwest Trip, 1994.52.a-c

Cocktails grew in popularity well into the 20th century, but during Prohibition (1920-33), manufacturers of cocktail wares avoided the word “cocktail” in lieu of “beverage” in advertisements. Cocktail shakers like the Silver Style cocktail shaker were often disguised as coffee- or teapots, discreetly hiding their function. But shakers like this rooster-shaped cocktail shaker barely attempt to hide its intent. As American journalist H. L. Mencken said, “the business of evading Prohibition and making a mock of it has ceased to wear any aspects of crime, and has become a sort of national sport.” The rooster cocktail set seems to mockingly crow out an invitation for revelers to raise a glass!

Bottoms Up cocktail tumblers, McKee Glass Company (maker), c. 1928, pressed glass, Dallas Museum of Art, the Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, bequest of Patsy Lacy Griffith, 2001.163.2

If you’re in the mood for something a bit bawdy, look for the Bottoms Up cocktail tumblers, which are anything but discreet. The original design featured nude ladies with legs spread apart, but that was eventually deemed too risqué, so the design was modified to this slightly less scandalous version. When using these cups, the only option is to drink it or hold a full cup, as the design does not allow the drinker to set down anything except an upside-down empty glass.

Normandie pattern beverage mixer with rod, Morgantown Glassware Guild (manufacturer), designed c. 1955, blown glass, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund 1995.176.a-b

For a retro throwback to the suburban cocktail party, check out the Normandie pattern beverage mixer, used by hosts eager to show their neighborly hospitality by mixing up drinks, Mad Men style. During the 1960s, pitchers or mixers eclipsed shakers due to the popularity of stirred cocktails, most notably gin or vodka martinis.

Bar tools, San Lorenzo (manufacturer), Lella Vignelli (designer), Massimo Vignelli (designer), Milan, Italy, introduced 1972, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, The Jewel Stern American Silver Collection, Decorative Arts Fund, 2002.29.78.1–4

Don’t leave without checking out the more recent cocktail wares, particularly the sleek lines of these bar tools, whose chic design and smooth, ultramodern lines were described as “the most elegant Christmas gift of Christmas 1972,” and were available only at Cartier in New York.

Come to the DMA for one last toast to cocktails before this exhibition closes on November 19!

Heather Bowling is the Digital Collections Content Coordinator for Decorative Arts and Design and Classical Art at the DMA.

Spooky Sightings

The debut of Yayoi Kusama’s All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins (2016) conveniently coincides with seasonal celebrations of bounty. Inside this reflective chamber, visitors encounter an infinite field of illuminated gourds—Kusama’s immersive expression of universal, continuous connectivity. Her imaginative use of pumpkins and Halloween’s emphasis on otherworldly beings inspired us to search the galleries for metaphysical motifs.

Olivia Feal, the McDermott Intern for Interpretation, assembled a short tour highlighting five works that relate to events after life. From an example of European needlework to a portrait completed nearly two decades after the sitter’s death, these objects offer glimpses of artists who, like Kusama, tackled the creative challenge of visualizing immense, intangible ideas.

Please enjoy this Spooky Sightings tour on your next visit to the DMA!

Emily Schiller is a Digital Collections Content Coordinator at the DMA.

 

Take a Seat

Truth: 24 frames per second opened this past Sunday to the public at the DMA and is on view through January 28, 2018.

The exhibition features 24 works of time-based media, spanning more than six decades. The overall experience is designed to provoke more questions than answers; some of the themes of these works include political unrest, pop culture, and news media. Bruce Connor’s REPORT, created 1963-67, explores media coverage of the JFK assassination, and is the first work visitors will encounter upon entering the exhibition. This piece from the DMA collection is a captivating collage of television broadcast footage, sound, and flickering light, that sets the tone for the rest of the exhibition. The theatrical and traumatic portrayal of the Kennedy assassination, when viewed through Conner’s installation, calls to attention how we absorb information through the media.

Each installation in this show was designed with specifications from the artist or artist’s estate as to how it should be portrayed, giving near scientific precision to the subtleties of viewing the work. For REPORT, in addition to those specifications, we were able to obtain historic theater seats from the Texas Theatre. Given that the actual subject matter depicted took place in Dallas, and Lee Harvey Oswald was subsequently arrested at the Texas Theatre–we were pleased to be able to combine efforts with Texas Theatre to add these pieces of material culture and historic connection to the experience of the film. The seats’ vintage dates to the time period when Oswald was actually caught there during the screening of a movie.

The chairs, kept in storage at Texas Theatre since its later renovation, were re-assembled by Lance Lander and our team of preparators, as well as cleaned and cared for by our assistant objects conservator, Elena Torok. The final installation space contains two symmetrical rows of theater seats, facing REPORT, its strobing black and white footage making the setting feel very dramatic and palpable. We felt that adding these vintage red theater seats, with their notorious connection, would lend an authentically Dallas-specific component to the installation.

Thanks to the Texas Theatre and the DMA staff members who made this collaboration possible. Come see Bruce Conner’s REPORT on view through January 28, 2018.

Skye Malish-Olson is the Exhibition Designer 


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