Festive Artworks

From twinkle lights and tinsel to plastic mistletoe and inflatable snowmen, decorations abound during the holiday season. But at the DMA, our walls are “decorated” the entire year, so we poked through the Museum’s collection for particularly festive artworks that would make unique holiday deco. Here’s what we found:

Instead of felted reindeer and fake snow atop your dining room table, how about incorporating Erik Swenson’s tableau of fantastical cold-weather creatures? The one in the sweater would make for interesting dinner conversation.

Erick Swenson, Untitled, 1998, styrofoam, resin, wool, foam, epoxy, clay, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mark Babcock

Erick Swenson, Untitled, 1998, styrofoam, resin, wool, foam, epoxy, clay, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mark Babcock

I would happily exchange the star atop my tree for this Indonesian standing guardian figure (tepaung). Unlike my star, this figure is capable of warding off evil spirits.

Standing figure, c. 1300-1800, Indonesia, East Kalimantan, Mahakam River Region, Belayan River, Kenyah-Kayan Complex, possibly Bahau or Bahau-related people, ironwood, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Standing guardian figure, c. 1300-1800, Indonesia, East Kalimantan, Mahakam River Region, Belayan River, Kenyah-Kayan Complex, possibly Bahau or Bahau-related people, ironwood, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Trade in your tangled ball of twinkle lights for Bruce Nauman’s neon letters.

Bruce Nauman, Perfect Door/Perfect Odor/Perfect Rodo, 1972, white glass tubing, clear glass tubing, and suspension frames, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund, The 500, Inc., Dorace M. Fichtenbaum, Deedie and Rusty Rose, an anonymous donor, the Friends of Contemporary Art and a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in honor of Sue Graze

Bruce Nauman, Perfect Door/Perfect Odor/Perfect Rodo, 1972, white glass tubing, clear glass tubing, and suspension frames, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund, The 500, Inc., Dorace M. Fichtenbaum, Deedie and Rusty Rose, an anonymous donor, the Friends of Contemporary Art and a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in honor of Sue Graze

These ancient Peruvian beakers, which may have been used to serve a corn beer called chichi, would be a lovely table setting for any holiday dinner party. Please pass the chicha!

Group of beakers, AD 900-1100, Peru, North Coast, La Leche Valley, Batan Grande Region, Sican culture, Gold, Dallas Museum of Art, The Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison

Group of beakers, A.D. 900-1100, Peru, North Coast, La Leche Valley, Batan Grande Region, Sican culture, gold, Dallas Museum of Art, The Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison

To create this sculpture, Annette Lawrence tore junk mail into strips of equal width. Who needs handmade chains of paper strips when you could decorate your hearth with this?

Annette Lawrence, Free Paper 12 / 05, 2006-2008, mixed media, Dallas Museum of Art, Charron and Peter Denker Contemporary Texas Art Fund

Annette Lawrence, Free Paper 12 / 05, 2006-08, mixed media, Dallas Museum of Art, Charron and Peter Denker Contemporary Texas Art Fund

Andrea Severin Goins is the interpretation specialist at the DMA.


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