Archive for April, 2013

Untitled – Creating Art Ball 2013

Held every spring, the DMA Art Ball is one of the Museum’s largest fundraising events, and this year it exceeded all expectations! The reviews are raves for the entertainment, live and silent auctions, seated dinner in an expansive tent on the Museum’s Ross Avenue Plaza, and high-energy After Party in another tent at the Flora Street Entrance. Under the leadership of co-chairs Jennifer Karol and Catherine Rose, Untitled: Art Ball 2013 raised an impressive $2,250,000 to help the Museum in many areas, including conservation, technology, and the recent return to free general admission for all. How did we transform Ross Avenue Plaza into an elaborate venue? Watch the video below to see how the massive tent was constructed:

A highlight of the evening was the video Downtown Artsy, created as a thank you to the evening’s very generous sponsors. It featured DMA Director Maxwell Anderson as “Lord Grantham” and Mayor Rawlings as his valet, along with other local celebrities.

Debbie Stack is Director of Special Events and Volunteer Relations at the DMA.

An American Art Education

Two of our talented McDermott Interns have been busy working on some new projects, both involving our collection of American art.

Alexandra Vargo: As the McDermott Education Intern for Gallery Teaching, I work with school tours, adult tours, teachers, and the volunteer docent corps. Currently, I’m working on a Docent Guide for the Museum’s collection of colonial to modern American art. The guide focuses on creating interactive and versatile experiences that can be presented with any number of objects and age groups. I have been testing these activities with school tours ranging from 3rd graders to high school art students throughout my internship.

The “Make Your Own Profile” exercise has been one of the most fun to create. It is based on Facebook and asks students to think creatively about a portrait of their choice within the American collection. Students use close looking and visual evidence to draw conclusions about the personality and backstory of the subject. Check out some of the examples below:

Pilar Wong: As the McDermott Education Intern for Community Teaching, I work with Go van Gogh®, our art education outreach program. I am currently working on revamping our 5th and 6th grade program titled Picturing American History. The program focuses on artworks in the DMA’s collection that reflect important moments in American history.

Piero Fornasetti, Richard Ginori Porcelain, Le retour (The Return) plate from the "Man in Space" series, designed 1966, porcelain, transfer-printed, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Michael L. Rosenberg

The Return plate from the Man in Space series, Piero Fornasetti, designer, Richard Ginori Porcelain, manufacturer, designed 1966, porcelain, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Michael L. Rosenberg

After discussing the five artworks, students make commemorative plates that capture a modern-day current event or social issue. This activity is based on The Return, a plate from the Man in Space series that commemorates the Space Race between the United States and the former USSR. Check out some of the kids’ responses below:

Projects like these provide valuable contributions to our ongoing educational work at the Museum and remain in use long after our McDermott Interns have left the DMA.

Alexandra Vargo is the McDermott Education Intern for Gallery Teaching and Pilar Wong is the McDermott Education Intern for Community Teaching at the DMA.

Cindy Sherman Transformed

On Friday, DMA Late Night visitors stopped by the Tech Lab to dress up and pose in a Cindy Sherman-like scene. Check out their transformations in these photographs taken by Greenhill School photography students and visit the Cindy Sherman exhibition to find the inspiration for the backdrops in the photos below. Stop by the Tech Lab during the Late Night on May 17 to participate in a Body Beautiful-themed Late Night Art Bytes, in celebration of our exhibition The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum.

Because so many visitors stopped by the photobooth, we are still editing images. Check the DMA’s Flickr page throughout the week to see new additions to the group.

Transform yourself at home into Cindy Sherman to earn the DMA Friends Super Fan: Cindy Sherman Badge! Find out how on the DMA Friends Highlights page.

Jessica Fuentes is the C3 Gallery Coordinator at the DMA.

Human Heroes & The Body Beautiful

I have worked on many big, exciting exhibitions at the DMA since I came here in 1975, ranging from Pompeii AD 79 to Chola Bronzes from South India, Splendors of China’s Forbidden City, and Tutankhamun: The Golden Age of the Pharaohs, but The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum is one of the most extraordinary. On my many visits to London, I am always amazed at the treasures in the British Museum, and now Dallas has a chance to see some of their best art at the DMA.

I still remember my first trip to Greece in 1960. My husband, Alan, and I roamed, sometimes as the sole visitors, over the acropolis in Athens, the AcroCorinth Mountain looming over the ancient city of Corinth, the temple of Apollo at Delphi, with its precipitous view straight down a mountainside to the sea, and the ruins of Olympia, where the Olympic Games began. No one was at Olympia then, except a boy herding black goats and someone playing a flute. Otherwise, the wind blew over the grasses and fallen stones. It was like visiting Pan, the god of nature, on his own turf. I fell in love with great sculptures like the youthful Charioteer at Delphi and the majestic Poseidon in Athens, feeling for the first time the stunning impact of ideal human beauty envisioned in art. Some of Alan’s photos from our trips to Greece will be part of an educational video on the sites of the Panhellenic games.

Marble statue of a victorious athlete, Roman period, first century AD, after a lost Greek original of about 430 BC, GR 1857,0807.1 (Sculpture 1754) © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

Marble statue of a victorious athlete, Roman period, 1st century AD, after a lost Greek original of about 430 BC, © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum displays this Greek vision of ideal human figures, particularly male nude figures. Such sculptures were admired by the Greeks because they believed that a young man who was a victor in one of the great athletic games, and who performed naked, had reached the height of glory that a man could achieve. Such victories were akin to dying heroically in battle. The same vision is best expressed in literature in Homer’s Iliad, where Achilles leads the Greeks to victory over Troy, but dies before the war is over. This ideal of human triumph is expressed in several works in the exhibition, particularly the discus thrower by Myron and the young athlete by Polykleitos. Although both of these works are shown in later Roman versions, they embody the Greek ideal of a radiant youthful victor. In a way the figures look ideal and “classical,” and in another way they are very seductive. They remind me of Keats’ description of Greek figures in Ode to a Grecian Urn: “Forever warm and still to be enjoyed; forever panting and forever young.”

Marble statue of discus thrower (diskobolos), Roman period, second century AD, after a lost Greek original of about 450–440 BC, from the villa of the emperor Hadrian at Tivoli, Italy, GR 1805,0703.43 (Sculpture 250) AN 396999, © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

Marble statue of discus thrower (diskobolos), Roman period, 2nd century AD, after a lost Greek original of about 450–440 BC, © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

Works like the discus thrower and several other pieces in the show come from the great villa of the Emperor Hadrian at Tivoli, built in the 2nd century AD. They are testaments to the influence and vitality of Greek art during the Roman Empire. Hadrian was a very cultivated man who collected Greek art and commissioned many artworks in the Greek tradition. He was also personally a lover of young men. His character and life are well described in Marguerite Yourcenar’s novel Hadrian’s Memoirs. Hadrian’s villa is another delightful place that Alan and I visit often: it is a gorgeous temple of art and landscaping.

Black-figured amphora, Greek, made in Athens, about 540-520 BC, attributed to the Swing Painter, probably from Etruria, Italy, GR 1837,0609.65 (Vase B182) © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

Black-figured amphora, Greek, made in Athens, about 540-520 BC, attributed to the Swing Painter, probably from Etruria, Italy, © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

Besides the marble and bronze sculptures, the exhibition includes numerous painted vases, which bring to life the kinds of sports performed at Greek athletic competitions, stories, and myths of gods and heroes, and many scenes of ordinary life, including erotic encounters. Alan and I have collected ceramics all our lives, including some Greek examples. Greek vase painting has a narrative appeal; many images suggest the dramatic scenes found in the Greek theater, as well as actual scenes of masked actors. The love of real life and people is as important in Greek culture as idealizing art. I always think that it’s important to remember that the Greeks were keen observers. The kind of study of living bodies that you see in Greek sculptures is similar to the understanding that led to advances in science and medicine.

Bronze statue of Zeus, Roman period, first century AD, after Greek original of about 440 BC, said to be from Greece, GR 1824,0446.16 (Bronze 910 AN381063001) © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

Bronze statue of Zeus, Roman period, 1st century AD, after a Greek original of about 440 BC, said to be from Greece, © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

One of the most significant figures in The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece is Herakles, a human hero, but also the child of Zeus, king of the gods. Herakles accomplished superhuman labors triumphantly (such as killing the Nemean lion, whose skin he is shown wearing), but he also suffered greatly. Driven mad by the jealous goddess Hera, he killed his first wife and children. At the end of his life, he was poisoned in ignorance by his second wife. In great pain, he burned himself alive on a funeral pyre. Yet Zeus and the other gods accepted him after death on Mt. Olympus, the only human to achieve immortality. His splendid, but painful, life exemplifies the Greek belief that “those whom the gods love die young.” Better to go at the height of youthful strength and beauty.

Dr. Anne R. Bromberg, the DMA’s Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art.

Breaking Ground

We “broke ground” today on the Museum’s new paintings conservation studio! The conservation studio is located on the top level of the DMA, near the south entrance, and will include a gallery space and sculpture courtyard (accessible to you!) designed by Samuel Anderson Architects (SAA). For the first time at the DMA, visitors will be able to see behind the scenes on a daily basis, watching artwork actively being conserved by the DMA’s first Chief Conservator, Mark Leonard. Construction is scheduled for completion this fall.

Check the DMA’s social media and Uncrated throughout the summer for updates on the construction of the conservation studio. Below are photos from today’s official first day of construction.

Wright windows removed Wright windows in storage  25 26

Exchange Student

SANDRA blogportrait

Sandra Buratti-Hasan, a Museum Curatorial student from Paris, France, has been the guest of the DMA for the past couple of months as the last step of her curatorial training. Uncrated recently caught up with her in the galleries to find out more about her visit to the U.S.

Tell us a bit about yourself and why you’re visiting the Dallas Museum of Art: I am currently finishing my training as a museum curator in Paris at the Institut National du Patrimoine (National Heritage Institute). Every curator in France has to go through an eighteen-month training after passing a competitive examination. I am a specialist in Western 19th-century art, especially the symbolist period and the links between literature, music, and visual arts. The training consists of lectures on museum management, exhibition coordination, law, budget management, and various trainings within museums, both in France and abroad. For my international training, I wanted to discover from the inside the U.S. museum system, and I thought it would be very interesting to be hosted by my former teacher at the Ecole du Louvre in Paris, Olivier Meslay, who is now the Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art at the DMA.

What has an average day been like for you while at the DMA? There was no average day—my stay at the DMA has been full of surprises! However it has been a good balance between attending meetings, especially the curatorial and the budget and management team meetings, having a thirty-minute interview with a member of staff (in every department: gallery attendants, Visitor Services Desk, IT, Museum Store, conservation, marketing, and so on). I also spent lots of time in the galleries and in the Center for Creative Connections participating in programs for various visitors (schoolchildren, people with special needs, etc.). And I should not forget the Friday Late Nights and Jazz in the Atrium on Thursdays. I also had the great opportunity to visit Texas museums, which are full of treasures.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges? There are several “best parts” in being a museum curator. One of the most exciting is to give life to works of art you find really important and that have been previously neglected. It fulfills one of a curator’s greatest challenges: to help people become involved with art, no matter what their educational background is. Another challenge is to find the balance between managing the collections, coordinating exhibitions, and having enough time for your scientific research, which needs to be constantly updated.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum? I had several dreams. I wanted to be a painter, an archaeologist, a judge, or a natural scientist. But I was always fascinated by art, especially paintings, and as a child I would consider Leonardo as a friendly figure from the past, a bit like an unknown grandfather (certainly because of portraits showing him with a white beard). So I think working in an art museum was a dream, but an unconscious one.

What is your favorite work in the DMA’s collection? Definitely the Canaletto (San Cristoforo, San Michele, and Murano from the Fondamenta Nuove, Venice). I was fascinated by it as soon as I approached it on my first day at the Museum. It is a very striking piece, wide and uncommon in Canaletto’s work. He manages to capture the poetry of Venice, the gray sky, the mystery of the water; you feel as if the painting is going to swallow you. I would love for my soul to be likewise kidnapped by art. It is exactly for that feeling that I wanted to work among paintings.

Is there a past exhibition that stands out in your mind as a favorite, or is there a particular upcoming show you’re looking forward to seeing? I remember a striking show in Amsterdam in 2006, Rembrandt-Caravaggio. The room was really dark, with bright highlights on the paintings. You felt like you were entering a marvelous cave, and indeed, treasures were hung on the walls. Seeing the two masters at the same time deeply touched me. I have never felt such a strength in the brushstrokes, such a depth in the layers of the paintings or the looks on the faces.

What’s in a Badge?

One of the many ways to earn points in the DMA Friends program is by completing badges. Badges can also give you ideas on how to use the DMA in ways you might not have thought of. You not only earn points with the activities needed to achieve a badge—like checking into the Africa, Asia, and Pacific galleries to earn the Globe Trekker Badge—you also get bonus points for completing all of the badge steps!

Some badges are only offered for a limited time, so make sure you don’t miss an exclusive badge opportunity. In fact, we are announcing a new badge, Super Fan: Cindy Sherman, today on Uncrated! Check out the two steps required to earn the badge below, and start channeling your inner Cindy Sherman:
Super Fan: Cindy Sherman
Visit the Cindy Sherman exhibition and be inspired by the artist’s work. Transform yourself into another character through costume, makeup, and environment, and then photograph yourself. Be one of the first ten DMA Friends to share your Cindy Sherman-inspired photo via Twitter with the hashtag #DMASuperFan to receive the Super Fan: Cindy Sherman Badge.

Artist Cindy Sherman transforms herself through hair, makeup, and costume for her photographic work. Visit the DMA’s exhibition Cindy Sherman, on view March 17-June 9, 2013.

Badges enable you to earn extra points, and they’re fun to collect. You can review your badges at the DMA Friends kiosk or from your computer at home, and they enable you to earn extra points. Before you know it, you will be packing your bag to spend the night at the DMA when you redeem your points for the Overnight at the DMA reward. If you have questions about DMA Friends, including how to earn badges, e-mail

Kimberly Daniell is the Public Relations Manager at the Dallas Museum of Art.

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