Annual Declaration of Awesomeness

Thomas Eakins is overwhelmingly considered one of the most important American artists. The Pennsylvanian would have been a whopping 172 years old today. His art was deeply influenced by his interest in the anatomy of the human form and the study of motion. The realist painter, photographer, and sculptor took to educating aspiring artists later in his career, and he was both admired and admonished for his controversial and progressive teaching methods.

The painting below—like almost all of Eakins’ portraits—is not a commissioned work, but was done out of friendship. The pensive subject is Gertrude Murray, the sister of one of the artist’s most loyal friends and with whom he shared studio space. As is typical of his extraordinarily moving late portraits, Eakins has isolated his sitter against a neutral background, showing her absorbed in thought. He sets up a tension between his sketchy, bold handling of paint and his intensely observed realism.

Cheers to Thomas!

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Thomas Eakins, Miss Gertrude Murray, 1895, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Margaret J. and George V. Charlton, Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, The Jonsson Foundation, and an anonymous donor, 1975.1.FA

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Time and the Livin’ is Easy

Though summer is typically a break for many, you won’t find our education staff snoozing through these hot months. Among our lineup of summer programs, the DMA offers unique camps June through August that feature different themes, artworks across the Museum’s collection, and new teachers and campers every week. Talk about excitement!

Our campers have traveled through time and space, explored nearly every inch of the Museum, and used anything and everything to fuel their creativity. Have a look at some of the fun we caught on camera—it’s enough to make you wish summer lasted all year round!

Jennifer Sheppard is a Teaching Specialist at the DMA. 

Let Them Eat Cake!

Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, © L & M Services B. V., Amsterdam, 1981.105

Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, 1981. 105, © L & M Services B. V., Amsterdam

Bastille Day is this Thursday, but the revolution will last an extra day as we continue the festivities during our July Late Night.

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To help you practice your French numbers, here are some things you can experience that evening:

Un – The number of movies starring Kirsten Dunst that will be screened (spoiler alert: it’s Marie Antoinette).

Deux – The number of people facing off against each other in our fencing and dueling demonstrations.

Trois  The number of hours DJ Wild in the Streets will spin a mix of eclectic French music.

Quatre – The number of tours that will explore the French Revolution, fashion, and portraiture.

Cinq – The number of hours you can hear live French music performed by local musicians.  

Six – The time that Late Night starts, so don’t être en retard!

Sept – The start time for our Late Night Talk sharing a quick history of the French Revolution.  

Huit – The number of selfies you should take in front of French portraits in our Rosenberg Collection, and then share them on our Instagram with #DMAnights.  

Neuf – The number of rogue mimes you might see walking around.

Dix – The number of times DMA staff might yell “vive la DMA!” during the evening.

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, The Harp Lesson (La leçon de Harpe), 1791, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund -

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, The Harp Lesson, 1791, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2015.10.FA

In addition to our Late Night, Bastille Day Dallas will expand its annual celebration and bring more French culture to the Dallas Arts District with outdoor activities on Flora Street. So put on your beret, grab a baguette, and join us!

Bastille on Flora

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

Sweet Tooth

In the DMA’s Education Department, we embrace opportunities to refresh our minds and spark our creativity. And when said opportunities happen to present themselves in the form of baked treats, well, you can bet we’re all over it.

So in honor of National Sugar Cookie Day on Saturday, July 9, I whipped up a batch of blank cookie canvases for my colleagues to craft, with one simple caveat: creations must be inspired by works of art at the Museum.

As the frosting settled and the miniature masterpieces took shape, only one question remained—when can we eat!

Sarah Coffey is the Education Coordinator at the DMA.

Faces of America

 America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.
—President Harry S. Truman

This Fourth of July, we celebrate our country’s birth and the individuals who have cultivated it into a mighty nation. We come from many backgrounds, bringing unique perspectives and traditions to this melting pot we call home. Together we make this sweet land of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness a reality.

Happy birthday to the United States of America!

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

Day Break

William McKeown, The Dayroom, 2004-2010, A room, a painting, and a drawing, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2015.44.A-C

William McKeown, The Dayroom, 2004-10, a room, a painting, and a drawing, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2015.44.a-c, © William McKeown

In a quiet corner of the DMA’s Barrel Vault, a recent acquisition to our contemporary collection sits inconspicuously in the Hanley Quadrant Gallery. Installed in March as part of Passages in Modern Art: 1946-1996, William McKeown’s The Dayroom references spaces found in institutions associated with illness and aging—hospitals, retirement centers, convalescent homes. Via artificial lighting, washed-out yellow walls, and a confining boxlike structure, McKeown attempts to mimic the disquieting artifice that pervades these rooms, which are often decorated with brightly colored wallpaper and works of art that attempt to cheer up an otherwise morbid space.

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The installation takes the form of a room that initially appears to be little more than a framework of exposed wooden struts, scaffolding, and drywall; however, a window built into the side of the structure frames a direct sightline to a painting hung within the cube, inviting the viewer to enter the interior of the installation.

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Pale yellow walls and cold fluorescent light welcome the viewer into the unsettling interior of The Dayroom. The sickly colored walls illuminated by the harsh sodium light elicit feelings of claustrophobia. The window looks out onto darkness, serving as a reminder of one’s containment and separation from the outside world. Working in tandem, these structural components form a space that situates the viewer in a position of captivity and powerlessness. After all, dayroom occupants are rarely there by choice.

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McKeown’s vision, however, is not one of hopelessness. Hung on the interior walls are a painting and a drawing, both of which function metaphorically as breaths of fresh air within an otherwise suffocating setting.

Left: William McKeown, Untitled, 2004-2010, Oil on linen, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2015.44.A-C / Right: William McKeown, Open drawing – Narrow Lane Primrose #2, 2005, Coloring pencil on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2015.44.A-C

Left: William McKeown, Untitled, 2004-10, oil on linen, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2015.44.a-c. Right: William McKeown, Open drawing – Narrow Lane Primrose #2, 2005, coloring pencil on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2015.44.a-c. Both works © William McKeown.

Untitled is an oil on linen painting that represents a moment of soft early morning light experienced by McKeown. While the painting may appear to be a direct rendering of a sky, McKeown insisted that the work is, in fact, a hybrid image—one that melds an objective documentation of light with his own subjective, emotional response to it.

Installed on an adjacent wall, Open drawing – Narrow Lane Primrose #2 is a colored pencil drawing of a primrose, a flower found in the artist’s hometown in Tyrone County, Northern Ireland. Rendered so faintly that the paper initially appears to be blank, the yellow primrose is set against a stark white background, seeming to sprout, against all odds, out of nothing.

Both works encourage a heightened sensitivity to quiet, often unnoticed natural phenomena—the softness of daylight in early morning, a flower that reminds one of home—all the while providing moments of tranquility and hope within the oppressive interior space of the room. For McKeown, a work of art is meant to elicit a sense of belonging in the viewer. Best explained by the artist, he once said during a lecture at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, “When I paint a painting that has no image or a drawing of an open flower, I try to focus on a moment of inspiration, a moment of not feeling separate from nature or from self, a moment of the awareness of the perception of life, of perfection, of being at home in this world.”

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The structure of The Dayroom frames McKeown’s painting and drawing as liberating objects, suggesting that works of art can, even if only for a moment, transport the viewer to a better, imagined state—one marked by hope, openness, and the warm feeling of belonging.

The Dayroom will be on view at the DMA through March 2017.

Nolan Jimbo is the Temporary Project Coordinator, Curatorial, at the DMA.

Riding With the Top Down

John Wise's Rolls Royce convertible, October 1971, John and Nora Wise Papers

John Wise’s Rolls Royce convertible, 1971, John and Nora Wise Papers

It’s summertime again in Texas, perfect for cruising the town in a convertible with the top down. Though convertibles can be useful for more than just feeling the wind in your hair and the sun on your face on a beautiful summer day. Other possibilities include . . .

Moving a large artwork . . .

Dallas artist Heri Bert Bartscht moving a sculpture in his convertible, Heri Bert Bartscht Papers

Dallas artist Heri Bert Bartscht moving a sculpture in his convertible, Heri Bert Bartscht Papers

Or, transporting a llama . . .

Sir Lancelot, a white llama, promoting "World of Ancient Gold" exhibition at the 1964 World's Fair, John and Nora Wise Papers

Sir Lancelot, a pure white llama, promoting the World of Ancient Gold exhibition at the 1964 World’s Fair, John and Nora Wise Papers

But admiring a beautiful Cadillac convertible in air-conditioned comfort is also nice . . .

Hot Cars, High Fashion, Cool Stuff : Designs for the 20th Century exhibition installation, March 31-July 14, 1996

Hot Cars, High Fashion, Cool Stuff : Designs of the 20th Century exhibition installation, March 31-July 14, 1996

Happy summer!

 

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the DMA.


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