Teen Time

It’s a Thursday night at the DMA, and conversations fill the galleries. A group of friends joins a discussion led by a Visiting Artist, who is hosting a workshop later that evening. Total strangers are chatting in front of their favorite work of art, bonding over shared thoughts and interests. A great band is playing in the Center for Creative Connections, and a small crowd is jamming along with them. Upon closer inspection, all of these visitors are teenagers, and – remarkably – there’s not a cell phone in sight!

This is the vision of the DMA’s Teen Advisory Council, a group of highly motivated students from around Dallas-Fort Worth. Since 2013, the Council has worked with DMA Education staff to develop programs and activities for visitors. If you’ve attended a Late Night in the last few years, you’ve likely experienced their work firsthand. From scribbling robots to life size board games, they never fail to creatively interpret the Museum’s collections and exhibitions in new and exciting ways.

This year, the Council has turned their focus toward their peers in an effort to share the Museum with their fellow teens. At a brainstorming meeting earlier this year, the discussion turned toward a common stereotype of young people: that they are glued to their cell phones 24/7. There are benefits to being connected all the time. In my experience, teens today are much more involved and knowledgeable about current affairs than I was at their age, thanks in part to having information so easily accessible. However, teens know there are consequences: a friend is just a text away, but so are bullies, school pressures, and global politics.

Because Teen Council members are at the Museum so often, they know it as a place where they can take a break from being connected. It’s a place where they can learn at their own pace, find calm within themselves, and open up to new perspectives and experiences without being judged. To share that feeling with others, the Council has worked hard planning Disconnect to Reconnect, a night of free, fun activities for teens.

Disconnect to Reconnect invites teens to discover what the DMA can offer them, from solving an Escape Room themed after the history of the Reeves Collection to creating art with Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker in the Center for Creative Connections. The Teen Council also invited teens to showcase their own talents – the two musical acts of the evening, R.A.G. and Aloe Sara, are high school students, and short films made by local teens will also be playing in the C3 Theater. All of the Council asks is that visitors be fully present, with cell phones silenced and put away while participating.

We hope you’ll be able to join us this Thursday, July 20th for Disconnect to Reconnect from 5:00-9:00 p.m.!

Jessica Thompson is the Manager of Teen Programs 

New Conservator in our House

Recently we welcomed Elena Torok to the DMA’s Conservation Team! She joins us in the new role of Assistant Conservator of Objects. With over 24,000 objects in our encyclopedic collection,  an active acquisition program, busy exhibition calendar, and  increasing analytical/research needs, this additional staff member will assist with the growing demands on conservation.

She will work closely with the Collections and Exhibition Teams – and looks forward to sharing her holistic and scientific knowledge of materials with the larger team – creating a care plan for the collections.  She will dive immediately into the treatments of several objects for upcoming rotations.

Below, Elena answers a few brief questions for Uncrated to introduce her to you.  Welcome Elena!

Before joining us at the DMA, where did you work?
Before joining the DMA, I worked for just over four years as a conservator at the Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG) in New Haven, CT. Most recently, I worked on YUAG’s large-scale storage move of 35,000 objects to the new Margaret and Angus Wurtele Collection Studies Center, a brand new visible study and storage center at Yale’s West Campus. I also assisted with the treatment and scientific analysis of a range of different types of objects (including decorative arts, modern and contemporary sculpture, and archaeological materials).

Prior to my time at YUAG, I earned my M.S. from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation in 2013 with concentrations in Objects Conservation and Preventive Conservation. During and before my graduate studies, I also completed internships at The British Museum (London, England), the American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA), and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (Williamsburg, VA).

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum?
In college, I actually majored in Neuroscience! I thought for a very long time that I wanted to be a scientist or a medical doctor. But as soon as I learned that the field of conservation existed (which combines many different types of science with art and art history in very exciting ways), I completely changed paths.

What skill set are you most proud to bring to the DMA?
I have really enjoyed the work I’ve done in preventive conservation (or the prevention or delay of deterioration of cultural heritage). I look forward to continuing this work at the DMA. Recently, I have participated in research related to Oddy testing (used for selecting materials for an object’s storage or display that have the most ideal ageing properties), anoxic treatment methods for pest management, and environmental pollutant monitoring.

What is your favorite thing about being a conservator?
I love that my job allows me to interact with collections in ways that often shed new light on an object’s history or an artist’s work, which continually enables me to keep learning. I feel lucky to be part of a field that also serves to share this information and connect the public with cultural heritage and works of art. I am so thrilled to work at the DMA and I very much look forward to working with and learning from the staff and the collections!

Fran Baas is the Associate Conservator at the DMA

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Tomorrow night, July 13, we are celebrating Mexico of the past and present with our Second Thursday program, Off the Wall to kick off our closing weekend of Mexico: 1900-1950. Since this exhibition is all about telling the stories of Mexico and the artists who documented its history and people, we thought Once Upon a Time in Mexico would be the perfect way to encapsulate the evening. We have so much going on all evening, tours, music, crafts, and more and each activity connects back and tells a story about an artwork in the exhibition.

Murals are such a large portion (literally) that connects the exhibition together, so we wanted to highlight murals as an art form. All night you will be able to watch as the artist collective Sour Grapes create a mural inspired by the exhibition on Eagle Family Plaza. Sour Grapes has been around since 2005 and you can’t drive around Dallas without seeing their work on walls and buildings. Even though we have a few murals to choose from, this one was a visitor favorite and with its bold colors and the scale of the work, you can see why.

Diego Rivera, Juchitán River (Río Juchitán), 1953–1955, oil on canvas on wood, Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA, Mexico City Assigned to the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes through the Sistema de Administración y Enajenación de Bienes of the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, 2015 © 2017 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New

Artists like, Gunther Gerzso, Leonora Carrington, and Alice Rahon, all featured in the exhibition, were important players in the Surrealist movement in Mexico. This movement encouraged artists to unlock their subconscious and use their imagination to create a new world on the canvas.  Spend a few minutes with friends putting yourself into the minds of the Surrealists with the game, Exquisite Corpse. In the game, a piece of paper is folded into sections and passed around; the challenge is that each artist must work on one particular segment without having seen the others. The results are sometimes crazy and monstrous but always hilarious.

Gunther Gerzso, The Days of Gabino Barreda Street, 1944, oil on canvas, Lent by private collection

On the Before Mexico, was Mexico tours, we have Dr. Kimberly Jones the DMA’s Assistant Curator of the Arts of the Americas speaking on our Pre-Columbian collection in English and Spanish. Pre-Columbian art was an enormous influence on many of the artists represented in the exhibition. Just one example is the mural by Saturnino Herrán entitled Our Gods, which shows a group of Aztec people during a ritual to the god, Coatlicue.

To finish up your night, don’t miss Mariachi de Oro performing the upbeat music of Western Mexico. Mariachi has been around since at least the 18th century and is a large part of Mexico’s cultural history. Around the 1920’s when the piece below was painted, Mariachi music was being broadcast on the radio for the first time, and instruments like the trumpet were being infused into the arrangements because of the growing popularity of jazz and Cuban music.

Don’t miss out on a fun filled evening celebrating the closing weekend of Mexico: 1900-1950. We are going to miss this exhibition once it is gone next Monday, but thankfully, we have a few pieces that are staying with us! These images below among others will still be in the DMA’s collection and can be enjoyed many times to come after Mexico is over.

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow from 5:00-9:00 p.m. for July Off the Wall: Once Upon a Time in Mexico. The cost is $5 for the public and free for DMA Members. An additional $10 ticket is required to see the exhibitions that evening.

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA

See What’s New in C3!

Stop by the Center for Creative Connections (C3) this summer to see the newly installed exhibition, Art of Communication. Bringing together works from the Museum’s decorative arts and design, American, contemporary, European, and Latin America art collections, this exhibition explores some of the ways visual art serves as a tool for communication. Explore objects arranged in three categories: Communication Through Portraiture, Communication Through Design, and Communication Through Narrative. Each section has a corresponding activity so you can take a moment to draw, create, or write inspired by the works of art on display. Here’s a peek at some of the works of art on view and visitor creations:

Communication Through Portraiture

Sit at the drawing horses and sketch the portraits on view, take a seat at the table and try your hand at drawing a self-portrait or a portrait of a friend, or take turns being the artist in the Photo Studio and pose a friend for a photo portrait.

Communication Through Design

Get inspired by these works of art designed for communication and create your own communication device. Fill out a label and display your device on the shelves at the C3 Art Spot.

Communication Through Narrative

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A Texas Dozen is a photographic portfolio by photographer, filmmaker, and journalist Geoff Winningham. From Dallas to Houston, Winningham captured the life and regional rituals of Texans in the early 1970s. These photographs tell a multitude of stories from events across the Lone Star State. Choose one photograph that catches your eye and write a story inspired by the characters and scene.

Remember, the Center for Creative Connections is open anytime the DMA is open and is always free! Stop in, enjoy the art, and get creative. All ages welcome!

Images: Eugene Speicher, The Farmer, c. 1923, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase; Debbie Fleming Caffery, Looking at Me (Polly), 1984, elatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Jackson, Walker, Winstead, Cantwell & Miller Fund 1998.186;Everett Spruce, Twins, 1939–1940, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dealey Prize, Eleventh Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1940 1940.21; Nam June Paik, Music Box Based on Piano Piece Composed in Tokyo in 1954, 1994, Vintage TV cabinet, Panasonic 10 TV model 1050R, Panasonic mini video camera, incandescent light bulb and 144-note music box mechanism, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum 2015.48.113; “Ericofon” pattern telephone, Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson, designed 1949–1954, plastic, metal, molded, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund 1995.118; “Bluebird” radio (Model 566), Designer: Walter Dorwin Teague, c. 1934, glass, chrome-plated metal, fabric, and painted wood, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Sonny Burt, Dallas 2014.60.4; Geoff Winningham, The Cronin Gallery, Tag Team Action, Wrestling, negative 1971, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank 1981.36.1; Geoff Winningham, The Cronin Gallery, Lamé Pants, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, negative 1972, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank 1981.36.13

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections

Party Like It’s 1776

Are you too cool for British rule? Then celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by exploring more than 150 outstanding prints from the colonial era to the present, drawn exclusively from the National Gallery of Art’s collection. Visiting Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art is how you get Fourth of July HamilDONE right. Ain’t no party like a George Washington party, because a George Washington party don’t stop! See you Tuesday friends, the DMA is open on the Fourth of July from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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

Starting with a Blank Canvas: Preparing Steichen’s Rare Murals for Display

If you have wandered past the Barrel Vault Quadrant Galleries during the initial stages of the Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers conservation project, you likely saw a lot of beige—new stretchers, plain cotton-duck fabric, and backsides of paintings—and five women hammering, measuring, and stapling away. A handful of visitors have asked us what we are doing or if we are the artists, so we thought we should explain a bit about the initial and necessary steps in the conservation of these magnificent murals. While the most glamorous parts of conservation treatments are usually the final steps like inpainting and varnishing, the beginning of a project often includes a lot of preparatory work and a healthy amount of elbow grease, and it is just as important that we are precise in these first stages of treatment as we are in the final steps.

The seven large paintings that make up Steichen’s In Exaltation of Flowers were commissioned by Agnes and Eugene Meyer for their townhouse in Manhattan. Due to financial difficulties, however, the murals were never hung in their intended environment (read more of the history here). The paintings were shown as a set only once, in 1915 at the Knoedler Gallery in New York City, and have not been shown in a series since. Records indicate that two or three of the paintings were shown individually in exhibitions between 1915 and the present, and one painting arrived at the DMA already stretched. Aside from this, the paintings were stored rolled before coming to the DMA, accumulating dirt and dust for over 100 years.

Keara Teeter using a soft brush and vacuum attachment to remove dirt and dust from the reverse of a painting.

In order to help remove a century’s worth of grime, we vacuumed the reverse sides of each unstretched painting. This process is likely not what you are picturing; we don’t take the Dyson out of the closet and roll it over the canvas, wheels and all. Instead, we use a soft-bristle brush to sweep particulates into a vacuum attachment nozzle, with the vacuum on a low setting. When the painting is unstretched and on the (clean, paper-covered) floor, as these are, vacuuming can involve a bit of body contortion and a lot of ab muscles to ensure the nozzle and brush reach all areas of the canvas while the motor of the vacuum and our knees do not.

Six out of the seven paintings came to the DMA unstretched, and with their original stretchers nowhere to be found. Shiny new stretcher bars were ordered from Simon Liu, Inc. in New York, and it took all of our project interns to assemble six of these massive supports for the paintings.

Diana Hartman and Keara Teeter assembling a stretcher.

Once the stretchers were assembled, we created what is known as a loose lining. This involves attaching plain cotton-duck fabric to each stretcher, using canvas pliers and arm muscles to make sure each one is taut, and securing each one with staples. Later in the project, we will stretch Steichen’s paintings over these loose-lined stretchers, and the first layer of cotton-duck fabric will serve as a sort of bed for the paintings. Even though the canvases are in very good condition for being centenarians, they are somewhat weak where they have been folded over stretchers in the past, and the fibers have aged and become more brittle. The loose lining provides support and protection for the original canvas, and ensures that we do not have to pull hard on the original canvases to achieve planarity when they are stretched.

The next steps in our treatment will involve attaching edge linings to the original canvases, stretching the paintings over the loose linings, and performing some analysis with X-Ray Fluorescence in order to determine what elements are present. Stay tuned to learn more about these processes!

Pamela Johnson is a Conservation Intern at the DMA.

 

 

 

What Not to Wear: The Frida Kahlo Edition

You may have heard that the DMA and the Latino Center for Leadership Development are trying to make history by setting the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Frida Kahlo in one space on Thursday, July 6. Months ago, we submitted our application to Guinness World Records and received the green light to make our attempt. Guinness World Records, which has been documenting interesting and unique achievements and extremes since 1955, provided a list of costume rules that must be followed in order for the DMA and the LatinoCLD to set the record. Below are a few helpful guidelines when planning your record-setting outfit. The record attempt is all inclusive and open to everyone, see you on Thursday, July 6!


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