Archive for July, 2013

Moving Day: Tamayo’s El Hombre Finds a New Home

After many years at the Museum’s Ross Avenue Entrance, Rufino Tamayo’s iconic mural El Hombre (Man) is returning to the Atrium, where it was first hung when the Museum’s Hamon Building opened in 1993.

Rufino Tamayo’s El Hombre (Man) being de-installed from the Ross Avenue entrance (left) and the rehanging in the DMA Atrium (right).

Rufino Tamayo’s El Hombre (Man) being de-installed from the Ross Avenue Entrance (left) and the rehanging in the  Atrium (right).

Tamayo, born of Zapotec heritage in Oaxaca, Mexico, was one of the most prominent Mexican artists of the mid-1900s, and a contemporary of Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco. His mural has long been viewed as one of the DMA’s most important works. The tumultuous story behind it, however, inspires further appreciation.

Rufino Tamayo

Rufino Tamayo at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, 1950s. Dallas Museum of Art Archives

Rufino Tamayo was a good friend of Stanley Marcus, then the president of the Dallas Art Association. In 1951, while on a trip to Amarillo, Tamayo and his wife, Olga, planned to drive to Dallas to visit the Marcus family, letting them know that they would arrive at 5:30 that evening. At 10:30 that night the Tamayos finally arrived, looking disheveled and disillusioned. When Marcus asked them about the delay, Tamayo told him about a car accident they were involved in, in which a local from Amarillo driving a pickup truck ran into them from behind. When the police arrived, it was determined that Tamayo was at fault for the accident, despite his claims and that the evidence suggested otherwise. Because of this unsettling experience, Tamayo told Marcus he would never produce art for the United States. By coincidence, Marcus had for some time wanted to secure Mexican art for the Museum to showcase the significant cultural contributions of the country’s artists, and he offered to commission a large-scale mural from Tamayo. Despite the Museum having only enough funds  to pay one-third the normal price of his work, Tamayo accepted the commission as “a real gift of the heart from Mr. Tamayo to the museum.” He chose to focus his subject on the aspirations and potential of mankind.

Tamayo painting El Hombre (Man)

Rufino Tamayo at work, 1950s. Dallas Museum of Art Archives

When Tamayo completed El Hombre in the summer of 1952, he briefly showed it in Mexico City before shipping it by train to Dallas. Months later, however, the painting still had not arrived at the Museum. The search for the missing mural went on for over a year, when finally the stationmaster from a train station on the Mexico-Texas border called Marcus to inform him that they had found a large package addressed to him. The boxcar that the package had been traveling in had been shunted off the track on a spur, and had been sitting out in the elements all year*. Fortunately, when the mural finally arrived in Dallas in September 1953, it was found to be in surprisingly good condition, and El Hombre was put in a place of honor so that every visitor to the Museum would see Tamayo’s depiction of Mexican culture.

El Hombre (Man), comprised of three panels, in transit to its new home.

El Hombre (Man), which comprises three panels, in transit to its new home.

DMA staff vacuuming the Atrium wall in preparation for Tamayo’s painting.

DMA staff vacuuming the Atrium wall in preparation for Tamayo’s painting.

This week, on its journey down the Concourse to the Atrium, Tamayo’s El Hombre traveled much more safely this time around. Be sure to stop by the Atrium on your next visit to see this iconic work for free.

El Hombre (Man) in the DMA Atrium

El Hombre (Man) in the DMA Atrium

* [update August 2017] The source of this story is an oral history with Stanley Marcus, interviewed by Director Jay Gates October 27, 1994. However, documentation of the arrival of El Hombre at the Museum shows that the painting was only delayed by three and a half weeks, likely by flooding in areas along the railway. El Hombre was shown in Mexico City in August 1953, shipped from Mexico on August 17, 1953 and arrived in Dallas on September 9, 1953.

Jasmine Shevell is the Exhibitions & Publications Intern at the DMA.

Celebrating New Citizenship at the DMA

Today we were honored to host 48 individuals, and their families, as they were sworn in as American citizens at the DMA’s first naturalization ceremony. We wanted to share a few moments from today’s special event, which included a tour of the DMA’s American Art collection.


Oil and Cotton’s Use of Available Space

If you’ve stopped by the DMA’s Barrel Vault you have seen the Museum’s first experimental space, DallasSITES: Available Space, with art installations and programming from area artists, collectives, and educators. Oil and Cotton, located in Oak Cliff, has an interactive project room where visitors can participate in free workshops and drop-in activities. We caught up with their co-founders to see how the first week has gone:


DMA: What does it mean to Oil and Cotton to be involved in the DMA’s first experimental space, DallasSITES: Available Space?
Oil and Cotton: It is a huge honor for us to be exhibiting in DallasSITES: Available Space. It feels great to be recognized by our peers, whom we respect so much. And it is validating to be seen for exactly what we are – an artwork that serves through education.

DMA: What can visitors expect in the Oil and Cotton project room?
O + C: They can expect to use it however they see best. We mean for it to be inviting for all ages at all levels of experience. I had a great conversation with a teenage boy from Oklahoma over the weekend. He was with a tour group who were feeling a bit out of place, insecure, and self-conscious. The other teens were teasing each other about not being able to make art (translation: I don’t belong here.) He leaned towards me and subtly gestured to the open weave bulb baskets that had been made earlier by a class, and whispered that he thought they might be good for catching fish in a river. EXACTLY! We got into a conversation about knotting and netting, using hog gut, and then he made the bold decision to ask me to show him how to weave. In that moment, he belonged. That is the essence of our educational mission.
o+c option

DMA: What was the opening like for your organization last Friday during Late Night? Did you anticipate the crowds?
O + C: Um no. It was utterly insane in a fantastic way. We naively set up drawing activities, thinking for the first night, we’d keep it simple. Before we knew it, the whole place was blowing up with weaving, sculpting, collage, sewing, you name it. All ages, including artists, curators, and toddlers, were working side by side at a huge table covered in donated supplies.  I heard someone comment that he couldn’t tell where the exhibition ended and the education began. Yippee!

DMA: Have you seen anything that may inspire your own practice back at your studio in Oak Cliff?
O + C: Absolutely. More collaboration, more getting out there and serving more people, and more autonomy. It is so exciting to meet people who have never heard of us and hear from them what they might want to contribute.

DMA: What are the DMA visitors’ reactions to DallasSITES: Available Space and the Oil and Cotton area?

O + C: At first, people engage with the spectacle – thanks to our architect Esther Walker, who captured the feel of our place with her ingenuity and labor of love. Then they wander in and realize it is there for them. They seem to appreciate the options. Parents can make something or just sit and relax, teens can draw with nice materials in a studio, little kids can make forts and roll around in the “park” of leather hides and circle looms made by my daughter. And everyone is invited to hang work on the wall, participate in free classes, ask questions, and use the studio when the Museum is open.

DMA: Have you “met” your neighbors in the exhibition?

O + C: We borrowed a lot of cups of sugar during installation! We enjoyed watching Brandon Kennedy install his book collection and Homecoming! win the hardest working art collective in show business award. My daughter gave a sculpture to Jeffrey Grove (smart move honey!), we got to spend a whole lot of time getting to know the super accommodating DMA staff. It is so special for us all to inhabit the Museum, which has prior to this exhibit a bit of an untouchable space for local artists. Education is of course another story, as they are always reaching out into the community and providing opportunities for Dallas artists. But being in this exhibition, in the same galleries that housed Mark Bradford, Cindy Sherman, and Jim Hodges (!), is a new and exciting opportunity for us. It gives participants a sense of belonging to this city and being recognized for their merits. I hope this leads to more emerging and local artist exhibitions throughout the year. And even more, I hope it emboldens the Dallas art community to launch projects, push for press, and truly making a living as artists here.

We asked visitors to give us a sentence or two describing their personal experiences in the Oil and Cotton Project Room. See below:

“The Oil & Cotton project room was so inspiring and beautiful! I loved being able to bring in my late Gramma’s collection of yarn and contribute in some small way to it all. I know it would have made her absolutely giddy to see some of her supplies used at the DMA! I love how the O + C team created such a wonderful space where the community can come in, create something of their own or contribute to what is already there, and then leave completely inspired to do something at home.” -Jillian Ragsdale

“It’s a rare experience indeed to discover oneself a space that is both as warm and as energetic as the one that Oil and Cotton have crafted at the DMA. (In fact, perhaps its better, to discuss the many spaces within their own space, but that would constitute and essay rather than a few remarks.) I think that the installation works, however, because it is literally at work, engaged in the seriously playful business of supporting creative endeavor. Oil and Cotton’s DMA installation is neither solely gallery nor studio. Public as well as intimate, what Oil and Cotton offers at the DMA is a vital demonstration of how we might imagine not so much what but the combined how and why of what artists do, and what such doing means in terms of simply living, and living well for the sake of everyone.” -Joe Milazzo

“Oil and Cotton created a beautiful, active, yet peaceful space. It is a room I’d like to hang out in. I am so happy and impressed the DMA gave O&C a chance to express themselves freely.” -Kelly Mitchell

“The Oil and Cotton installation at the recent DMA DallasSites exhibition was breath of fresh air. Being able to create and stimulate ideas in a museum context surrounded by a strong artistic community was inspiring. I love the organic well thought out context that O&C provides for people of any age to engage and learn about art practices.” -Ariel Saldivar

“As I’ve come to expect from their continual efforts, Oil and Cotton has once again provided a space for creative exploration, enriched by the affection for detail and caring guidance and by the knowledge and warmth consistently demonstrated by the owners, Kayli and Shannon, as well as by the artists they choose to involve.” -Sally Glass

“I was blown away by the excitement of the Friday night opening of DallasSites. Oil and Cotton has always had a very sincere and authentic atmosphere in their Oak Cliff location, and that same feeling is evident in the DMA gallery space. I felt welcomed and energized by the design of the work space and the presence of everyone attending the Late Night” -Rachel Rushing

Jack and His Goat

Artist Jack Zajac discussing his sculpture, Small Bound Goat, with KERA’s Stephen Becker at the opening of Hotel Texas in May 2013.

Artist Jack Zajac discussing his sculpture, Small Bound Goat, with KERA’s Stephen Becker at the opening of Hotel Texas in May 2013

Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, currently on view at the DMA, brings together thirteen of the sixteen works that were installed in Suite 850 at the Hotel Texas for the Kennedys’ visit in 1963. The works of art included pieces by van Gogh, Picasso, Kline, and Monet and were drawn from Fort Worth’s public museums and private collections. Jack Zajac, an American artist whose bronze sculpture Small Bound Goat was displayed in the hotel suite’s living room, is the only living artist of the sixteen featured in the private art exhibition in 1963. Not until the DMA invited Zajac to the opening of the Hotel Texas exhibition did he learn that his work of art spent the night with the Kennedys. Find out from Zajac what it was like to discover his sculpture was on view in the Hotel Texas suite and how he feels about being reconnected with his work of art fifty years later:

Visit Zajac’s Small Bound Goat through September 15 in Hotel Texas and see it for free; the exhibition is included in free general admission to the Museum.

Have Fun While Staying Put

Staying in town for vacation? Spend a day or two in the Dallas Arts District experiencing the rich cultures of the world and have lots of fun while doing it! Here’s our lowdown for how to have a great “staycation” in the Arts District.

At the Crow Collection of Asian Art
Visit the Far East and the cultures of China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia. The display of paper cranes is rotated annually and incorporates over three thousand hand-crafted cranes. Admission is free and the Museum opens at 10:00 a.m. on weekdays (closed on Mondays).
At the Nasher Sculpture Center
Check out Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse’s exhibition, including the interactive piece in the Lower Gallery. Katharina painted walls and mounds of dirt that visitors are able to enter and walk through. While carefully stepping through her work, one gets the feeling that they are out of this world–now talk about a vacation!
At Klyde Warren Park
Stretch your legs and grab some lunch at the food trucks. There is something for everyone at the Park: ping pong, chess, jungle gyms, fountains, and an outdoor library. Located in the heart of Dallas and the Dallas Arts District, it’s just a short walk from the museums.
Finally, walk over to the Dallas Museum of Art!
In addition to free general admission offered every day during Museum hours, the DMA is currently hosting two free exhibitions about art in North Texas. DallasSITES: Charting Contemporary Art, 1963 to Present is an exhibition celebrating the history of North Texas’s bold and distinctive art scene. Looking back over fifty years, DallasSITES examines the moments, people, and organizations that helped shape our area’s incredibly vital relationship with contemporary art. Be sure to check out the timeline wall (pictured) and the collage of posters at the opening of the exhibition! Did you know we have so many artists living and working in Dallas!
Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy is another show you won’t want to miss. This exhibition brings together the works of art installed in the president’s suite at the Hotel Texas during his fateful trip in 1963. The original installation, orchestrated by a small group of Fort Worth art collectors, was created especially for President Kennedy and the First Lady in celebration of their overnight visit to the city and included paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Thomas Eakins, Lyonel Feininger, Franz Kline, and Marsden Hartley, and sculptures by Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore, among others.

From all of us at the DMA, we hope that you are having a wonderful summer, and we look forward to seeing you in the Arts District soon!

Hayley Dyer is the Audience Relations Coordinator for Programming at the DMA.

Making Use of Available Space

This Friday, July 19, we are opening the experimental project DallasSITES: Available Space to the public. The monthlong exhibition is intended to give local emerging artists, curators, collectives, and art educators a platform to connect with the DMA’s general audience. In doing so, it also establishes a dialogue between the local arts community and the Museum by opening the DMA’s galleries to exciting new art installations and programming. Below is a quick update on what’s been going on behind the scenes as we get ready for Friday’s unveiling.

On Monday, The Art Foundation wheeled a pristine 1973 Jaguar XJ6 into the galleries for the artist Brandon Kennedy’s work titled NFS. (2013). In order for the car to be gallery-approved, it was first drained of all fluids and the battery was disconnected. Since the car was too wide to be brought in through any of our public entrances, we had to bring it in through a side door accessible only through the DMA’s Sculpture Garden. Below is a short snippet showing the artist, curators, and registrar maneuvering the car through the Sculpture Garden:

Brandon Kennedy’s work titled NFS in the DMA's Barrel Vault.

Brandon Kennedy’s work titled NFS. in the DMA’s Barrel Vault.

This work is one of eighteen artworks by Dalllas-based artists included in The Art Foundation’s curated group show, Boom Town. The exhibition addresses the long-standing gap between the artist and patron classes of our city and explores how artists who live and work in Dallas negotiate this complicated terrain. In addition to Kennedy’s car installation, the group show will feature a wide range of works including painting, sculpture, digital prints, works on paper, and an audio installation all located throughout the Barrel Vault.

The Art Foundation

The Art Foundation

Another participant in Available Space is the Fort Worth-based collective HOMECOMING! Committee. For their installation, titled Post Communiqué, the group has taken over the entire Hanley Gallery, transforming it into the collective’s new headquarters. The headquarters comes complete with its own interrogation room, workout room, library, storage, breakroom, and sleeping quarters. Members of HOMECOMING! will be activating the space throughout the run of the exhibition, so be prepared for the unexpected. Audience members are invited to interact with the first floor of the two-story installation, and the TV wall in the “Deprogramming Room” is not to be missed. Below are some pictures of the space during construction, along with a trailer the artists have put together to promote the project:

HOMECOMING! Committee, Post Communiqué

HOMECOMING! Committee, Post Communiqué

Post Communiqué 2013 from HOMECOMING! on Vimeo

This blog post just scratches the surface of what you can look forward to experiencing in Available Space, which also includes contributions by Dallas VideoFest, Brookhaven College, Oil and Cotton, and PerformanceSW. All of these projects will continue to evolve over the course of the month, and visitors are encouraged to check back for new ways to engage and interact with the space. For a complete list of programs and events during the run of Available Space, visit the DMA’s website.

Gabriel Ritter is The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the DMA.

Open Office: Public Relations

I’m the Public Relations Manager at the Dallas Museum of Art, and in my job I get to share information on all the fun and wonderful exhibitions, events, and art at the DMA with the public and press. You may have guessed from my office décor that I love penguins, Paris, and art. In the past few years, we have had three exhibitions that combine two of my favorite things, Paris and art: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries, and Chagall: Beyond Color. All we need now is an exhibition – and requisite poster – involving penguins, maybe themed around the DMA’s “Penguin” cocktail shaker (seen here).






Kimberly Daniell is the Public Relations Manager at the DMA.

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