We’ve Come a Long Way!

Since 1977 the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has promoted an annual International Museum Day, on or around May 18, to highlight how “museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” Beginning in 1992, ICOM has created a theme for the annual event. The theme for 2018 is Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics.

With this theme in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at one of the DMA’s earliest attempts at hyperconnectivity, our forays onto the Internet.

In 1993 the DMA was one of the first museums to go online with a gopher site, a text-based site of menus and documents, and a listing on Compuserve, the first major online services provider. The Museum also acquired two email addresses for staff to use, monitored by library staff members.

DMA website, circa 1994-1998, Homepage

DMA website, circa 1994-98

In January 1994 the DMA launched its first website. The DMA was one of the first five museums to go online with “click and view” access for visitors, presenting 200 images of collection objects. This site was hosted on University of North Texas (UNT) web servers. The DMA site was named one of the 1001 best Internet sites by PC Computing magazine in December 1995.

DMA website, circa 1998-2003, Homepage

DMA website, circa 1998-2003

By 1996, the Museum was outgrowing its UNT site and created an Internet Committee to evaluate the website and brainstorm content and ideas for what the site could be. This work resulted in the launch of a new website on DMA servers with a DMA domain name, DallasMuseumofArt.org, in the summer of 1998.

DMA website, circa 2003-08, homepage

DMA website, circa 2003-08

Since this time, the DMA website has continued to evolve in design and with new technological capabilities. The website underwent major redesigns in 2003, 2008-09, 2013 and, most recently, summer 2017 with the new enhanced Collections Online. All of these redesigns had the goal of providing more content and general information for the Museum’s multiple audiences in an easier-to-use package. DMA.org will continue to evolve with these same goals for future users.

DMA website, circa 2008-13, homepage

DMA website, circa 2008-13

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

Hello Again

The DMA Sculpture Garden is a treasure of American urban landscape. It was designed by two giants of 20th century design: architectural pioneer Edward Larrabee Barnes and the visionary Modernist landscape architect Dan Kiley, who said of the project, “For us, setting a stage for art was as crucial as the pieces themselves.”

This courtyard, first opened 35 years ago, features the fantastic sculpture created specifically for this space by the artist Ellsworth Kelly and is the perfect stage for the art. It has been admired by countless visitors from our community and has been host to many DISD student field trip lunches through the years.

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The Sculpture Garden’s iconic Ellsworth Kelly statue

After six months of renovations, it is such a pleasure to open it up again for their– and your – enjoyment!

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At last week’s reopening event for the Sculpture Garden, the Ellsworth Kelly statue – back in the original space that Kelly himself chose – was a popular site to behold.

Universal Languages – SOLUNA 2018

As part of the annual SOLUNA festival, on Sunday, May 13, experience a work of art combining visual and musical elements. Inspired by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Argentinian artist Lihuel Gonzalez’s Las personas no van juntas (They Just Don’t Match) examines the efficacy of translation between languages and between language and music and features Dallas Symphony cellist Jeffrey Hood.

Lihuel Gonzalez, Las personas no van juntas (They Just Don’t Match), 2016, video installation and musical activation, 8 minutes. [image source: lihuelgonzalez.com].

In Las personas no van juntas, González gets at the heart of the difficulty of communication. This is true on a much broader, universal level, but it is particularly germane to the subject of González’s work: the arts and philosophy. This video installation and performance enacts how art is almost always experienced after being subjected to layers of translation. Films or literature or libretti are translated from one language to another so that audiences around the world can access them. And written or spoken interpretation often accompanies visual art or music (as is the case in this very text). In this work, monitors show a speech being simultaneously translated from one language to another, almost like a game of telephone, before a musical composition created of that speech by a computer is played on stage by a cellist. Whew, you might think, I’m lost. Luckily, as González shows us, gesticulations and facial expressions bridge cultures, as does art, which at the end of the day, is one of the true universal languages.

Las personas no van juntas (Activación N2) from Lihuel González on Vimeo

Anna Katherine Brodbeck is The Nancy and Tim Hanley Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the DMA.

Dancing Queen

Even though all of the art hanging on our walls and that sit behind glass are stationary, it doesn’t mean the subjects were staying still. For our Second Thursdays with a Twist in May, we are letting everyone be a Dancing Queen for the night with dance performances, charades, dance instruction and art making with movement! We were very inspired by the pieces in our collection that are busting a move; check out a few examples below.

This dancer doesn’t need a partner, she’s making moves all by herself:

John Singer Sargent, Study for “The Spanish Dancer”, 1882, Watercolor, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Margaret J. and George V. Charlton in memory of Eugene McDermott © Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

You can’t talk about dance without including Degas, someone who focused many major paintings on delicate ballerinas:

Edgar Degas, Ballet Dancers on the Stage, 1883, Pastel on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. And Mrs. Franklin B. Bartholow, 1986.277

The Divine Dancer in Hindu religion, Shiva dances to the beat of the universe surrounded by the flames of destruction:

Shiva Nataraja, 11th century, Arts of Asia, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, the Hamon Charitable Foundation, and an anonymous donor in honor of David T. Owsley, with additional funding from The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation and the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund © Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

There are very few sculptures that look like they are having as much fun as this bronze break-dancer:

There are very few sculptures that look like they are having as much fun as this bronze break-dancer.
Joel Shapiro, Untitled, 1981–1984, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Exxon Corporation © Joel Shapiro / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

You can almost hear the soothing sound of a guitar that’s making this couple sway to the music:

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programs

What’s next in the Quadrant Galleries?

We bid farewell to Edward Steichen’s In Exaltation of Flowers this week. The lavender walls and gold-leafed canvases will go off view on May 13 and the space will be prepped to hold a selection of newly acquired posters from the Guerrilla Girls Portfolio Compleat (opening May 26, more details provided in a future Uncrated post).

Fortunately, two new installations of contemporary art will open the same weekend the Steichen exhibition comes to a close. In the Stoffel Quadrant, eleven large sculptural works will adorn the walls and floor. Lynda Benglis’s Odalisque (Hey, Hey Frankenthaler), a colorful river of poured latex, is representative of the scale and non-traditional materials explored by this selection of artists. Elise Armani, the McDermott Intern for Contemporary Art, chose these works, all of which were created by women whose work resists the crisp geometries associated with the male-dominated Minimalist movement. Instead, Armani wants viewers to recognize the ways each piece interacts with its surrounding and raises questions about the relationship between works of art, physics, anatomy, and psychology. Contemporary culture, environmentalism, and daily routines are critiqued in works by Annette Lawrence and N.Dash. Lawrence draws attention to the proliferation of junk mail and wasted materials by transforming strips of paper into a wall relief. Dash’s blackened, folded paper sculpture is the result of her methodical handiwork aboard the New York subway.

Another group of works by women artists will be on view in the Stoffel Quadrant (formerly home to Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room). The installation, Soft Focus, will contain nearly thirty photographs drawn from the DMA’s permanent collection and local lenders. Some images, like Kunie Sugiura’s Central Park 3, broaden the traditional understanding of photography by relying on alternative applications of light sensitive materials. Also included will be an example of Diane Arbus’s iconic approach to portraiture. Other photographers whose works will be on view are women who participated in mainstream art movements but rarely received equal critical acclaim as their male counterparts.

images: Lynda Benglis, Odalisque (Hey, Hey Frankenthaler), 1969, poured pigmented latex, Dallas Museum of Art, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2003.2 © Lynda Benglis / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; Annette Lawrence, Free Paper 12 / 05, 2006–2008, mixed media, Dallas Museum of Art, Charron and Peter Denker Contemporary Texas Art Fund 2008.100.A-E © Annette Lawrence; N. Dash, Commuter (New York, 2013), 2013, graphite and paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Bonnie L. Pitman in honor of Deedie Rose and Catherine Rose 2016.63; Kunie Sugiura, Central Park 3, 1971, photo emulsion and acrylic on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund 2016.11.1; Diane Arbus, Untitled, 1968, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant 1975.82 © Estate of Diane Arbus

Emily Schiller is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA

The Power of Pop-Up Art Spot

Since the debut of the Pop-Up Art Spot in 2013, this roaming activity cart has become a favorite stop for visitors of all ages. In a continued effort to make immersive activities that are inspired by nearby works of art, the Center for Creative Connections team has introduced a brand new Pop-Up Art Spot cart designed around special exhibitions. Our first focus is The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, which features over 250 objects revealing the splendor of Asante regalia from the 19th to 21st centuries.

The Power of Gold Pop-Up Art Spot will rotate monthly between two carts of activities until the exhibition closes on August 12, 2018. At the April Late Night, visitors learned about proverbs connected to selected goldweights in the exhibition by playing a match game and making drawings.

In May the cart will focus on textiles. Visitors will observe the detailed patterns in kente cloth and use silk thread to create their own weaving. They can also explore the symbols in adinkra cloth and create a rubbing using various adinkra stamps.

Come try these activities, and more,  in the Power of Gold exhibition on Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and on selected Late Nights from 8:00 to 10:30 p.m. A special exhibition ticket is required.

Kerry Butcher is the Education Coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.

The Mayer Library Collects: Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA

Of the work we do in the library, one of the most enjoyable is collection development…  A.K.A buying books! Materials purchased for the library’s collection primarily support research on the DMA’s encyclopedic collection and exhibitions. One of the most significant areas in which the library collects is exhibition catalogues published by museums and galleries from all over the world. Exhibition catalogues provide current research, photographs, and documentation of works of art, and function as primary sources of historical information for scholars.

A great example of this is the recent purchase of over 20 catalogues from the Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA exhibition program. Pacific Standard Time (PST) is a collaborative program established in 2011 that brings Southern California arts institutions together to present exhibitions on a particular theme connected to the Los Angeles region. Previous iterations were Art in L.A. 1945-1980 and Modern Architecture in L.A. The 2017-2018 PST iteration, LA/LA, explored Latin American and Latino art, featuring art from ancient times to the present across a variety of disciplines.

The catalogues from this series of exhibitions will serve as authoritative resources for the study of Latin American art at the DMA. For example, the exhibition Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas featured the DMA’s Incan checkboard tunic, which is also discussed in the catalogue (page 172, catalog no. 73).

And there were two career survey exhibitions for artists in the DMA collection: Valeska Soares and Adriana Varejão.

Here are a few more highlights:

You can see a list of all the Pacific Standard Time catalogues held by the Mayer Library here.

The Mayer Library is open to the public. Check the library’s page on DMA.org for current hours.

 

Jenny Stone is the Librarian at the DMA.


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