Archive for January, 2011

Seldom Scene: A Fond Farewell to Dorothy Austin

Texas sculptor Dorothy Austin passed away last week at the age of 100. Her work Slow Shuffle was featured in the 2009 Dallas Museum of Art exhibition All the World’s a Stage: Celebrating Performance in the Visual Arts, and this past year her sculptures Noggin and Male Torso were included in the exhibition Texas Sculpture. We were fortunate to have Dorothy Austin visit us in October 2009 with her family and wanted to share those memories with you.

Sculptor Dorothy Austin with her family on a visit to the DMA in October 2009.

Dorothy Austin and DMA Senior Curator Olivier Meslay

Dorothy Austin, Noggin, 1933, white pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of an anonymous friend

Dorothy Austin, Male Torso, late 1930s-early 1940s, white pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert W. Webb

Dorothy Austin, Slow Shuffle, 1939, carved plaster, Dallas Museum of Art, Texas Art Fund and Early Texas Art Fund

Are you ready for some Art?

It’s no secret that Super Bowl hysteria is sweeping the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. On February 6, people from around the nation will be gathering in Arlington to watch the Steelers take on the Packers. But what are some of the best things to do in Dallas leading up to the Super Bowl? Below is a Dallas Museum of Art checklist for a super week for the sports fan and art critic in you. How many will you do?

Big New Field: Artist in the Cowboys Stadium Art Program

  1. Big New Field: Artists in the Cowboys Stadium Art Program is an exhibition of work by the artists featured in the Cowboys Stadium Art Program. While exploring the exhibition, try to figure out which artist’s work from the Cowboys Stadium belongs to the work at the DMA. Pick up Cowboys Stadium: Architecture, Art, Entertainment in the Twenty-First Century from the Museum Store if you need some help.
  2. See the former head coach of the 2006 World Champion Indianapolis Colts Tony Dungy and his wife, Lauren, on Saturday, February 5, at 3:00 p.m., part of Arts & Letters Live BooksmART. They will discuss their new children’s book You Can Be a Friend and you can stick around to meet the Dungys after this free event. Be sure to reserve your seats at or call 214-922-1818.
  3. Have you ever wanted to meet a room full of former NFL players? On Saturday, February 5, the NFL Players Association will hold the annual Jazz Brunch and Art Auction Smocks & Jocks in the Dallas Museum of Art’s Atrium at 10:30 a.m. Mingle with former and current NFL players while discovering their artistic talents. For more information on the event, click here.
  4. Explore the Center for Creative Connections and soak up some inspiration before you stop by the Art Studio to create your own work of art, maybe even a special football-inspired trophy sculpture.
  5. If you are looking for a break from football, travel to Europe without leaving the Museum through a bite-sized tour of four recent acquisitions in our new European galleries.

Seldom Scene: “Beguiling Deception”

Who’s that lady? Find out tonight at 7:30 p.m. when University of Oregon Art History professor Dr. Kathleen Nicholson discusses allegorical portraits in 18th-century France at the Museum’s annual Michael L. Rosenberg Lecture.

Nicolas de Largilliére, "Portrait of the Comtesse de Montsoreau and Sister as Diana and an Attendant," 1714, oil on canvas, lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation, 29.2004.11

Wright in Your Own Backyard

This weekend the Museum will open Line and Form: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Wasmuth Portfolio, an exhibition drawn from a monograph of prints based on drawings produced by the architect and his studio that is widely recognized as one of the most important architectural publications of the 20th century. Having already gained prominence for a number of innovative residential projects in Chicago, Wright collaborated with a German printer in 1910 to create and distribute the portfolio to promote his work to a larger audience in the U.S. and abroad. The portfolio helped establish Frank Lloyd Wright’s reputation, and he went on to a long and prolific career as the century’s most iconic American architect.

As Frank Lloyd Wright’s reputation grew in the decades following the publication of the Wasmuth portfolio, the city of Dallas burgeoned as well; it is no wonder that Dallas’s civic and artistic leaders would look to the foremost American modernist architect to put his stamp on this growing, forward-thinking city.

In 1934 Stanley Marcus – the legendary Dallas stylemaker and retailer – and his wife began plans to build a house for their family in East Dallas, near White Rock Lake. As Mr. Marcus wrote in his autobiography, Minding the Store, the search began with architects based on the East Coast, as “modern architecture had not been discovered in Dallas up to that point.” After interviewing several prominent architects, the Marcuses met with Frank Lloyd Wright to seek his advice on potential candidates; Wright responded, “Why take the imitation while you can still get the original? I’ll do your house.” Unfortunately, the project was never completed with Wright’s designs; the notoriously temperamental architect was fired from the project, and the house was eventually completed by a Dallas-based architect, Roscoe DeWitt.

On Saturday I’m looking forward to attending the Legacies Dallas History Conference and especially to hearing Charles Marshall’s lecture When Frank Met Stanley: Frank Lloyd Wright and Stanley Marcus. Also, the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects publishes a great quarterly publication entitled Columns; the Fall 2010 issue includes two articles about the Stanley Marcus house, which you can read online.

The original model for the Marcus House, as designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The Marcus House in its final form, designed by Roscoe DeWitt

Despite a rather inauspicious start, Frank Lloyd Wright did receive several important commissions from Dallas clients throughout his career. Perhaps the most notable project to come to fruition was the Kalita Humphreys Theater, which served as the primary home for the Dallas Theater Center for fifty years – from 1959 until 2009, when the company moved to the Arts District and the new Wyly Theater. Although based on earlier, unrealized theatrical designs, the theater was considered to be very innovative, and it expressed the architect’s long and strongly held principles about integrating a building into context, or the “belief that architecture has an inherent relationship with both its site and its time.” The Kalita Humphreys Theater would become one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s last projects, as he passed away just months before its construction was complete. I enjoyed these interviews with members of the Dallas Theater Center company about working in a Frank Lloyd Wright building.

The plan of the Kalita Humphreys Theater. Image from the Hekman Digital Archive.

The Kalita Humphreys Theater

Take a closer look at Wright’s final project the next time you walk or ride on the Katy Trail along Turtle Creek, and explore his early masterpieces through selections of the Wasmuth portfolio, which will be on view at the DMA from January 30 until July 17, 2011.

Lisa Kays is Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Artist Encounters: Brian Fridge

Brian Fridge is an artist working primarily in video whose recorded explorations of time and space feel at once both physical and psychological. Brian is January’s Visiting Artist in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), where you can interact with him during Thursday Night Live’s Artist Encounters, a great way to spend a weekday evening. But first, here’s a little more about what inspires Brian.


1.      Why do you love art?
Art gives you the chance to be free from the purposes of everyday life
and to sometimes even relate to nature in a different way. And while
 nature has a predictable structure, there’s a kind of purposelessness in

2.      What is your favorite space to create in?
I usually like solitude when working and for me the best size space is not too big and not too small. I’ve often worked on art in whatever
living space I’ve had, and I think my artwork has benefited from that.

3.      How many years have you been an artist?
I guess since I was a kid, but after a year or so into college I changed my degree from advertising art to fine art. It was an easy decision to 
make, but it still seemed risky.

4.      Which artist or movement inspires you?
The work of American artist Edward Ruscha inspired me a lot early on. I really like the dry humor in his very simple paintings, but they are
 serious at the same time. He leaves so much to the viewer’s imagination.

5.      What are some of the exciting activities you have planned for January at the DMA?
I’m really looking forward to all of the activities of the month. One activity, which we will be doing tonight, will be to invent some apparatus or process that is meant to do the actual art making. The
artist sets things in motion, but chance will play a big part in the results.

Visitors participating in an Artist Encounters program during Thursday Night Live.

Explore the world through a lens with Brian. Bring your own digital camera, or borrow one from us (quantities limited) at Thursday Night Live. Who knows? Maybe you’ll unleash your creative side and become one of our future visiting artists. Hurry up though, as Brian only has two more Thursday Night Live appearances this month!

The Center for Creative Connections

Stay Up Late – Late Nights Turn 8!

Back in 2003, when the Museum was turning 100 years old, a team of staff members came up with the idea to keep the Museum open for 100 hours straight to celebrate the occasion. No closing of the doors, no sleep for staff, all hours access for our visitors.

Our 100 Hour Celebration saw over 45,000 visitors in the Museum, and they came at all hours. We were excited to see people in the galleries at 4:30 a.m. looking at works of art, or dancing in our Atrium to DJs at 1:00 a.m. This showed us that people would come to the Museum if we kept our doors open after “normal” operating hours. Throughout the rest of the year, we experimented with after-hour events called Impressionist Evenings, where we worked out the types of programs offered, the best day of the week to hold the event, and how late we should stay open.

After a year of experimenting, Late Nights were born in January 2004. Now, on the third Friday of every month (except December), the Museum is open until midnight, and visitors can explore our galleries, participate in family experiences, go on tours, enjoy concerts, meet artists, and so much more.

This Friday, January 21, will kick off the 8th year of Late Nights. To celebrate, I have put together Late Nights by the Numbers:

77 – Number of Late Nights since 2004
323,989 – Total attendance for all Late Nights
35,557 – Number of visitors at our best-attended Late Night, in June 2007, featuring a concert by Erykah Badu
2 – Number of Arturo puppets we have (one is dressed in PJs and bunny slippers for Late Nights)
203 – Number of tours given during Late Nights
4 – Number of Best of Dallas awards Late Nights have received from the Dallas Observer
298 – Number of cases of water we have supplied for performers
95 – Number of films we have screened during Late Nights
19 – Number of different DJs who have spun at a Late Night, some more than once
8 – Number of times our visitors have done the Chicken Dance during a Late Night, which is every time Brave Combo performs

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services.

Seldom Scene: Noon Year’s Eve

We celebrate the arrival of 2011 a bit earlier than most during the second annual Noon Year’s Eve with Radio Disney and over 4,200 visitors joined us. Families enjoyed a morning filled with games, give-aways, art, and a countdown to the new year at 12:00 p.m. We had to share some of our favorite moments from that day with you on Uncrated, enjoy!

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