Archive for June, 2013

Reclining Nymph Gets a New Name

You may have heard that we recently reattributed a Baroque sculpture in the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection to the artist Giovanni Bonazza. Here’s an interview with Olivier Meslay, associate director of curatorial affairs at the DMA, explaining how he discovered the true artist of Reclining Nymph:

For additional information on the sculpture and its reattribution, you can read the full press release here or see the work up close, and for free, on view in The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection on Level 3.

Friday Photos: Animal Guardians

The Indonesian galleries are probably the safest area of the Museum, and I don’t say this because there are nearby fire extinguishers or emergency exits. These rooms, particularly the south Indonesian gallery, are protected by a multitude of ferocious animal guardians.

The aso is a mythical animal that combines the strengths and characteristics of a dog and a dragon. This pair of aso, carved from wood, are both regal and elegant with their upright, smooth bodies, and yet intimidating with their dragon-like spirals and bared teeth.

Pair of mythical animals (ask)

Pair of mythical as0, Kayan people, Malaysia, 19th century, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund and the Museum League Purchase Fund

The body of two conjoined aso form the handle of a door, which served as a protective barrier in a traditional Kayan longhouse.

Door with protective symbols, c. 1850-1900, Indonesia, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, 1997.111

Door with protective symbols, Kayan people, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, c. 1850-1900, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund

One more work of art, not pictured here, also features carved aso. Come to the DMA and look for the aso‘s signature spiral forms, serrated teeth, and ivory eyes. If you visit during a week that the Pop-up Art Spot is stationed in the south Indonesian gallery (for instance, July 9-14), be sure to pick up a scavenger hunt so you can find the other animal guardians in Indonesian works of art.

Melissa Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager

Marfa State of Mind

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Marfa, Texas is more than just those mysterious lights (though they are pretty magical). I was lucky enough to visit the artistic oasis recently, and though I never left the state of Texas, I truly felt like I was transported to another place and time. Marfa is a small city located in the high desert of far west Texas, near Big Bend National Park. Founded in the early 1880s as a railroad stop, the town was transformed into a cultural destination thanks to artist Donald Judd. Upon relocating to Marfa from New York City in 1971, Judd acquired the decommissioned Fort D.A. Russell and began transforming the site’s buildings into exhibition spaces. His intention was to create a location in which he could permanently install his artwork and present it to the public.

It takes a great deal of time and thought to install work carefully. This should not always be thrown away. Most art is fragile and some should be placed and never moved again.” –Donald Judd

Judd’s ideas took shape as The Chinati Foundation formally opened to the public in 1986. When I first visited the museum I was struck by the absolute vastness of the space.

The Chinati Foundation

The Chinati Foundation

The Chinati Foundation is located on 340 acres of land. The art collection includes 15 outdoor concrete works by Donald Judd, 100 aluminum works by Judd housed in two converted artillery sheds, 25 sculptures by John Chamberlain, an installation by Dan Flavin occupying six former army barracks, and works by Carl Andre, Ingólfur Arnarsson, Roni Horn, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, David Rabinowitch, and John Wesley. Each artist’s work is installed in a separate building on the museum’s grounds. When Judd renovated the buildings, he attempted to retain the integrity of the original structures as much as possible, only adding components that he deemed necessary. One of these was windows: the walls of the converted artillery sheds feature floor to ceiling windows. This alteration maximizes natural light and space and allows the surrounding landscape to meet and converse with the aluminum boxes that reside inside the sheds.

The location of The Chinati Foundation site–named after the surrounding Chinati Mountains–was extremely important to Judd, who, as a minimalist artist, believed strongly in creating works which are inextricably linked with the surrounding landscape. Judd fell in love with the desert landscape surrounding Marfa, and saw it as the perfect space for his art. “Too often,” Judd said, “the meaning of a work of art is lost as a result of a thoughtless or unsuitable placement of the work for display. The installation of my own work, for example, as well as that of others, is contemporary with its creation, and the space surrounding the work is crucial to it. Frequently as much thought has gone into the placement of a piece as into the piece itself.” (Quote from the Judd Foundation)

Donald Judd, Untitled, 1988 Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, H. Harold Wineburgh Fund and gift of an anonymous donor

My trip to magical Marfa opened my eyes to the artistic passion and work of Donald Judd, but on a larger scale, it also invited me to reflect upon the decisions behind how works of art are displayed. I think of Judd’s Untitled piece that the DMA owns: six symmetrically divided rectangular boxes forming a column over eighteen feet high, made from cool industrial surfaces. My only experience with this work of art is seeing it displayed inside the white walls of the DMA, alongside work from other artists.

The time I spent in Marfa not only made me wonder how this particular Judd work would look exhibited alone against a desert backdrop, but furthermore, it made me question whether more works of art should be exhibited in the Judd manner–surrounded only by works from that artist and in a structure that complements its artistic intent.

I now turn this question to the public: is there a work of art in the DMA’s collection that you would like to see exhibited differently? And if so, how would you like to see it displayed?

Artwork Shown:

  • Donald Judd, Untitled, 1988, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, H. Harold Wineburgh Fund and gift of an anonymous donor

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Listening Hard: Remembering JFK on Record

The tragedy surrounding President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 trip to Texas inspired many songwriters to remember and honor JFK through song. Listening Hard: Remembering JFK on Record is an audio-video installation produced by Alan Govenar featuring songs of a variety of genres produced in the months after Kennedy’s assassination. Swing by the C3 Theater during the run of Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy to experience these songs.*

Listening Hard: Remembering JFK on Record, Alan Govenar, © Alan Govenar

Listening Hard: Remembering JFK on Record, Alan Govenar, © Alan Govenar

Uncrated chatted with Alan, founder and president of Documentary Arts and the installation’s producer, to pick his brain about his creative process and vision for this work. Join us at the DMA during our July Late Night on Friday, July 19, at 7:00 p.m. to hear Alan discuss his installation.

When did you begin researching JFK memorial songs?
It was 1975, so nearly forty years ago. I had heard about the Mexican-American corridos and started gathering the records when I could find them. I had written a lot about blues and jazz, and this was part of it.

What was the impetus for this project?
The piece was originally commissioned by the International Center of Photography. Brian Wallis, Chief Curator at the ICP, has organized a show of photographs, JFK November 22, 1963: A Bystander’s View of History,  that look at the assassination from the viewpoint of bystanders.

All of the singers are in a way personalizing their relationship with President Kennedy, either as friend or savior, champion of the downtrodden, the advocate for the forgotten or the disenfranchised. The songs juxtapose that sense of feeling a personal relationship with the president and the great sense of loss, the tragedy of his killing.

You’ve referred to this installation as an “experience.” How do you envision DMA visitors experiencing this installation?
All of the songs are topical. All were released on record. Most were written within days of the assassination. The installation is an audio loop, and the anchor, or punctuation point, is an eyewitness account released on an LP within days of the assassination. A man just saw the assassination, and someone put a microphone in his face and asked him what he saw. He was panicked, on the verge of crying. He had his five year old standing next to him. He was ready to pounce on top of him to protect him because he thought there was a maniac on the loose. That sets a certain stage for the rest of the piece, which is startling and haunting. But, there’s an aspect of the songs that has you smiling. It throws you back in time and place. Much of what the piece is about is perception and memory.

What was your creative process behind the image of JFK that continuously dissolves into images of record labels?
It has a meditative kind of effect, seeing that image reappearing. In some senses, I intended it to be reassuring, comforting, but also, it’s a memorial. It’s like looking at a tombstone. Those slow dissolves into the record labels that go in and out of JFK’s face are haunting, I think because of the idea that he was shot. It’s a complex, emotive kind of experience.

What was the most surprising thing you discovered?
The most surprising part of my research was the sheer vastness of songs written about John F. Kennedy in so many musical genres. People felt compelled to write them. People felt like their feelings needed to be expressed. A song in the installation called The Tragedy of Kennedy, by the Southern Belle singers recorded in December 1963, ends with:

Let me tell you people what we better do,
Keep our minds on Jesus for he’s a President, too.

It identifies Kennedy in that role, as a great savior who was martyred.

Why do you think Kennedy was memorialized through such diverse musical genres?
Corridos extol the virtues of the president who excited our passion to bring equality to all. The blues singers could identify with the sadness everyone was feeling. Country songs are often about mortality. It fit neatly into traditional music forms, where the way people were feeling could be expressed.

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* “Listening Hard” runs in the C3 Theater at designated times during Museum hours and is included in free general admission.

Andrea Vargas Severin is the Interpretation Specialist at the DMA.

Summer Art Camp Fun!

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Summer campers looking closely at artwork in the galleries

The DMA galleries are filled with red apron clad kiddos as we embark on our third week of Summer Art Camps. Offered to children between the ages of four and twelve, our camps have something for everyone! From fashion design to printmaking, music to performance art, campers discover all types of media during their stay at the DMA.

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Screen-printing in Design Studio camp

Using the DMA’s collection as inspiration, campers have painted their own Pollock-esque paintings; made storybook-inspired creations; crafted lampshades and screen-printed t-shirts; connected with great peacemakers of the world through art-making; and concocted art-centric performances–complete with costumes and stage sets!

Getting ready for the big end-of-camp performance!

Getting ready for the big end-of-camp performance!

Our camp teachers are local artists, art teachers, musicians, storytellers, and DMA staff. While each teacher introduces different projects and focuses on different themes, the one thing that unifies all camps is that they are based on works of art in our collection. Whether its an impromptu gallery performance, a direct representation of an artwork during art-making, or a conversation in reaction to a unique object, the campers creativity is certainly sparked during our time spent in the galleries.

Talking about objects from the Body Beautiful exhibition in Once Upon a Time camp

Talking about objects from the Body Beautiful exhibition in Once Upon a Time camp

Summer’s not over yet, so you can be sure we’ll keep the summer art camp fun and creativity flowing through the upcoming weeks!

Amanda Blake
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences

End of the Trail

mozley sign

We are in the final days of the Loren Mozley: Structural Integrity exhibition. It is rare to see these works by the Texas modernist on view together, so don’t miss your opportunity to visit this free exhibition, on view through Sunday, June 30.

Friday Photos: Terrific Teen Docents

Our Teen Docents were back in action this week as they spent two days at the Museum for training. We led mock tours, ate lots of pizza, and created 3D sculptures inspired by 2D artworks. Here are some photos from our time together.

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This summer, we have 52 Teen Docents from high schools around the Metroplex. They are creative, funny, and caring students who love art and the DMA. I feel so lucky to get to work with this inspiring group of students every year!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs


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