Archive for March, 2016

Oh, Vincent!

Today we celebrate Vincent van Gogh, who was born March 30, 1853. The occasion of the 163rd anniversary of his birth provides an opportunity to highlight the two paintings in the DMA’s collection by this renowned artist.

Vincent van Gogh, River Bank in Springtime, 1887, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene McDermott in memory of Arthur Berger, 1961.99

Vincent van Gogh, River Bank in Springtime, 1887, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene McDermott in memory of Arthur Berger, 1961.99

Painted in 1887, River Bank in Springtime evidences van Gogh’s belief that “a work of art is a slice of nature.” The painting bears all the characteristics of works he made early in his career when he was working in Paris under the influences of the Impressionist, Neo-Impressionist, and Pointillist artists’ avant-garde methods. He experimented with Pointillism briefly, but found it too rigorous for his sensibilities and soon turned to exploring other innovative ideas.

Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, July 1890, oil on canvas,, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.80

Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, July 1890, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.80

Van Gogh painted Sheaves of Wheat shortly before his death, at a time when he was particularly plagued with physical and psychological problems. Each of the eight bundles of wheat bends and twists in its own unique manner, almost as if each stack is an individual portrait, yet they unite on the canvas with firm solidarity. This late masterpiece has an intensity and quality that remains unrivaled.

Over the course of his life, van Gogh wrote hundreds of letters to his brother Theo. In one of them, he wrote, “A good picture is equivalent to a good deed.” The Dallas Museum of Art is truly a fortunate beneficiary of Vincent van Gogh’s good deed and artistic genius.

Martha MacLeod is the Senior Curatorial Administrator to the Curatorial Department and Curatorial Assistant for European and American Art.

On the Bookshelves

IMG_8200

Flowers are blooming, buds are popping out on the trees, and I’ve rounded up a fresh crop of excellent picture book art pairings that will put a spring in your step! From a blissfully confident giant squid to those witty talking crayons, here are four must-reads to add to your bookshelves. Each has Arturo’s seal of approval!

Giant Squid is pretty proud of everything he can draw. In fact, he thinks he is the BEST artist in the ocean. But a grumpy shark has a very different point of view. Squid’s clever solution to what could be a (shall we say uncomfortable?) situation will make young readers laugh, while caregivers may notice the illustrator’s sly nod to Picasso’s cubist style.

IMG_8202

I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry is a perfect pairing with our beautiful Tiffany windows. Search for starfish, sea anemones, jellyfish, and even eels, while imagining what Giant Squid would think of the jewel-like glass. At home, make Giant Squid proud with your own squid art!

“Friends shape who we are,” and square, rectangle, circle and triangle are the best of pals. They play together, they support each other, and even when they squabble with each other, they know that their friendship is what matters most.

IMG_8203

Friendshape by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is one of those books that puts a smile on your face and warms your heart. The seemingly simple illustrations are bursting with personality and are a perfect way to show young artists how shapes can work together in different configurations to create all kinds of pictures. One particular page spread shows the friends as a rocket blasting off to the moon, and even without the text, children instinctively understand what the illustrator has done. Read this delightful book in the Decorative Arts gallery and take a closer look at the Marshmallow sofa to see how circles have been transformed into a stylish place to sit. At home, download this printable and make your own shapes into the loveable characters from the book.

One of my favorite signs of spring is the birds chirping outside my window each morning. In Apples and Robins by Lucie Felix, we see not only birds outside the window, but apples hanging from the tree, worms munching through an apple, a birdhouse being built, and a basket for gathering apples.

IMG_8205

The genius of this book is clever cut-outs that transform into new pictures with the turn of a page. As with Friendshape, readers will discover how shapes become something more with a little bit of creativity. The bold, bright illustrations are inviting and the cut-outs will have children eagerly turning the pages to see what happens next. Why not bring this book along with you for a quick visit to Apple Harvest by Camille Pissarro? Then at home pull out the tried-and-true apple printing project to create your own apple art. This helpful post from the TinkerLab blog has great suggestions for setting up an apple printing station at home.

You might have thought that after Duncan’s crayons famously quit, that would be the last we’d hear of them. But they are up to their crazy antics again, and this time, all they want to do is come home! Tan crayon was eaten by the dog, Maroon crayon got lost in the couch, and Neon Red crayon was left behind at a hotel on summer vacation. In their postcards to Duncan, each crayon laments their troubles and either whines, wheedles, or begs for him to rescue them. Well, all except Neon Red who has set out on its own to find a way back in The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt.

IMG_8206

I’d like to think that the crayons would have a ball anywhere in the Museum, but it would be especially fun to visit places Neon Red sees on the journey home. New Jersey (according to Neon Red) has some great pyramids, but we all know that Ancient Egypt is the place to be for pyramids, mummies, and more. Visit our Ancient Egypt gallery and imagine Neon Red roaming through on a camel!

And for all the crayon-lovers out there, don’t miss the chance to hear Drew Daywalt talk about his colorful characters in person here at the DMA on May 22–get your tickets here!

Happy reading!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

 

Flopsy and Mopsy Move into the Museum

Did the weekend leave you feeling EGG-static?Did you have a HOP-ening time? Perhaps a little cottontail or two bounced by and left you some yummy treats hidden in eggs. One thing is certain, the DMA’s galleries are overflowing with bunny foo foos and rascally rabbits this spring! You’d best look quick—they are bound to be springing from one painting to the next, scooping up field mice and bopping them on the head.

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

Friday Photos: Sincerely Yours

Last month Go Van Gogh visited one of our favorite schools, Anderson Elementary, with our Arts of Mexico program. I assisted one of our awesome volunteers, Jan B., in the classroom. In this program we learn about art in the DMA’s collection that was made in Mexico, which ranges in age, medium, and culture of origin. We then do an art activity that is inspired by one of these works.

The week following our visit to Anderson we received a package of thank you letters from students in Mrs. Alderman’s class! Here’s a look at some of their thoughtful letters and drawings.

Thank you Mrs. Alderman’s Class for all of your “thank yous”!

Sincerely yours,

Whitney Sirois
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

New Objects to View from the Keir Collection

This month,  a rotation of a few pieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art took place in the Spirit and Matter exhibition. Among the new pieces on display is a drinking vessel in the shape of a seated lioness. This is a rare piece that has survived intact from the 12th-13th century. It is decorated with strokes of vivid luster that shimmer like gold against a deep blue glaze. New metalwork pieces show a modernity of form such as a 9th-10th century jug with a feline head protruding from its handle and peeking inside the jug, or a 14th century casket that must have held precious items, itself displaying a richness of silver inlaid decoration. The choice of the new objects retains the musicality and harmony that was originally sought in Spirit and Matter, while at the same time augmenting its informative and educational texture.

The objects that have been replaced are among the loan that was granted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, for their upcoming exhibition, Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs, opening end of April 2016.

Sabiha Al Khemir is the Senior Advisor for Islamic Art at the DMA

Sculpted by Women

Over the past two weeks, the DMA’s Hoffman Galleries have been populated with sculptures that appear—for lack of a better word—unfinished. Amorphous mounds of pastel-washed, unfired clay occupy the sunlit central gallery. Wall-mounted vitrines house bits of Polystyrene and bark, which mingle with squiggles of neon and fragments of clay. In the back room, configurations of Cor-ten steel sheets lie in delicate balance, punctuated unexpectedly by soft, fluffy pompoms. To the naked eye, these works could be mistaken for preliminary models or sculptural prototypes rather than polished final products—and that is exactly what Rebecca Warren, the British artist responsible for these enigmatic sculptures, wants.

Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling installation images, March 2016

Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling installation, March 2016

On March 13, Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling opened to the public at the DMA. The artist’s first comprehensive museum show in the US, the exhibition surveys over ten years of her sculpture practice, which intentionally confounds categorization and challenges existing histories of art. In other words, Warren takes all that we expect of sculpture, and flips it on its head.

Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling continues the DMA’s commitment to supporting the work of innovative female sculptors, many of whom continue to be under-recognized within the history of art. Below are a few highlights of sculptures made by female artists from our contemporary art collection, all of which are currently on view.

Barbara Hepworth, Figure for Landscape, 1960, Bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Inc., 1983.154 © Alan Bowness, Estate of Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth, Figure for Landscape, 1960, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Inc., 1983.154, © Alan Bowness, Estate of Barbara Hepworth

In our Sculpture Garden, British artist Barbara Hepworth’s Figure for Landscape stands stoically along the west wall. An early pioneer of abstract sculpture, Hepworth modeled this biomorphic form and then cast it in bronze, leaving gaping openings in the work that distinguish positive and negative space within the body of the structure. While sculpture making had traditionally been conceived as the production of an object in space, Hepworth illuminated the possibility of sculpture making as a process of carving out space within an object.

(left to right) Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation, 1962-1964, Sewn stuffed fabric with paint on wooden chair frame, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.41 © Yayoi Kusama E-mail: contact@yayoi-kusama.jp; Yayoi Kusama, Untitled, 1976, Shoes, paint, and foam, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum, 2015.48.22.A-B

(left to right) Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation, 1962-64, sewn stuffed fabric with paint on wooden chair frame, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.41, © Yayoi Kusama; Yayoi Kusama, Untitled, 1976, shoes, paint, and foam, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum, 2015.48.22.a-b

Two works by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama are on view in the new installation Passages in Modern Art: 1946-1996. Kusama is known for her uncanny ability to imbue everyday objects such as chairs, shoes, and vegetables with the psychological intensity of dreams and fantasy. To make Accumulation, Kusama coated a wooden chair frame with phallus-like fabric forms and subsequently painted every component of the work in a neutral beige color. Untitled comes from the same series, and similarly features shoes that have been covered in phallic foam cutouts.

Anne Truitt, Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, 1979, Acrylic on wood, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Shonny and Hal Joseph (St. Louis, Missouri) in honor of Cindy and Armond Schwartz, 2002.55 © Estate of Anne Truitt

Anne Truitt, Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, 1979, acrylic on wood, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Shonny and Hal Joseph (St. Louis, Missouri) in honor of Cindy and Armond Schwartz, 2002.55, © Estate of Anne Truitt

A major figure in American art since the 1960s, Anne Truitt is best known for her streamlined vocabulary of basic forms and colors, which typically coalesced into tall, thin wooden sculptures meticulously coated in several smooth layers of paint, such as Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, currently on display in the Barrel Vault. A nearly eight-foot pillar of deep, vivid blue, Truitt’s sculpture projects a three-dimensional block of color into the space of the viewer, merging the optical experience of her work with sensuous immediacy.

Nancy Grossman, Untitled (Head), 1968, Leather, wood, metal, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1969.8.A-B

Nancy Grossman, Untitled (Head), 1968, leather, wood, and metal, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1969.8.a-b

Installed adjacent to Truitt’s column of pure blue is Nancy Grossman’s Untitled (Head), a sculpted head carved from wood and overlaid with leather. Rendered blind and mute, this unsettling figure alludes to the role of the silent witness amid cruelty and disorder within contemporary society. In fact, Grossman began making these head sculptures in the 1960s partially in response to the violence and social upheaval caused by the Vietnam War.

Sculpture takes center stage this season at the DMA, so the next time you find yourself at the Museum, be sure to take a closer look at these works in Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling and Passages in Modern Art: 1946-1996.

Nolan Jimbo is the McDermott Intern for Contemporary Art at the DMA.

DIY Coil Basket Weaving

Each month, we offer a variety of activities at the large tables in the Center for Creative Connections gallery. Each activity is related to a nearby work of art. One of my favorite new activities is coil basket weaving, inspired by the storage basket, bowl, and burden basket created by weavers from the San Carlos Apache tribe.

The actual materials used to create these baskets–devil’s claw, willow, cottonwood, and buckskin–are natural resources found in the Arizona region where the tribe resides. To make the materials more pliable, they are often soaked in water prior to weaving. The patterns are created by alternating dark and light.

IMG_2431In the gallery, we use three colors of raffia ribbon to create our coil baskets. Red is easily distinguishable, so these strands create the basket core which will be covered during the weaving process. Then tan and black raffia are used to wrap the core and create patterns.

Once you have your materials in hand, here are the steps to guide you through the process:

 

 For your basket core, cut the red raffia into ten 24 inch long strands.

For your basket core, cut the red raffia into ten 24 inch long strands.

 Choose a tan or black strand of raffia and wrap it tightly around the red basket core strands.

Choose a tan or black strand of raffia and wrap it tightly around the red basket core strands.

Cover about two inches of the red basket core, then begin spiral the wrapped end inward

Cover about two inches of the red basket core, then begin to spiral the wrapped end inward.

Continue spiraling so that the wrapped strands resemble a snail shell.

Continue spiraling so that the wrapped strands resemble a snail shell.

Take the end of your tan or black raffia strand and loop it through the spiral to secure the basket center.

Take the end of your tan or black raffia strand and loop it through the spiral to secure the basket center.

Continue to wrap the red basket core.

Continue to wrap the red basket core.

Each time you cover a few inches of the red basket core, thread your tan or black raffia through the most recent coil to keep the coils connected.

Each time you cover a few inches of the red basket core, thread your tan or black raffia through the most recent coil to keep the coils connected.

If you want to switch colors, cut a strand of the alternate color.

If you want to switch colors, cut a strand of the alternate color.

Line your new strand up as if it was part of the red basket core.

Line your new strand up as if it was part of the red basket core.

Secure the new strand by wrapping it a few times with the old color strand.

Secure the new strand by wrapping it a few times with the old color strand.

Let the old color strand become part of the red basket core, and use the new color strand to wrap around the basket core.

Let the old color strand become part of the red basket core, and use the new color strand to wrap around the basket core.

Continue wrapping the basket core, securing the newly wrapped coil to the previous coils every few inches.

Continue wrapping the basket core, securing the newly wrapped coil to the previous coils every few inches.

Once you get the coil weaving technique down, think about experimenting with other materials. The Apache weavers used devil’s claw, willow, cottonwood, and buckskin because they were plentiful resources. What kinds of resources do you have at your disposal to weave?

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

 

 


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,477 other followers

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream