Archive for February, 2017

Looking at Law

Carey Young, still from Palais de Justice, 2017, HD video, 17 mins 58 secs. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, © Carey Young

Carey Young, still from Palais de Justice, 2017, HD video, 17 mins., 58 secs., Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, © Carey Young

London-based artist Carey Young’s new video Palais de Justice is a cinematic glimpse into the Brussels courthouse of the same name. The video begins with a lone man walking down a vast staircase. Hands in the pockets of his track pants, he appears far more casual than the 19thcentury architecture that surrounds him. Over time, the video shifts from distant shots of people walking through the interiors to more intimate views of female judges at work. Observing them through smudged portholes in courtroom doors, the camera captures the judges in moments of authoritative posturing during trials: they stroke their chins, remove their glasses, and gaze across the room deep in thought.

The women we see through the portholes are, in fact, actual judges and not actors. Young shot Palais de Justice “guerilla” style for three weeks over a period of two years, catching the daily activities that occurred throughout the building. She did not begin the project with a preplanned narrative but instead pieced her footage together afterwards to form a more poetic picture of the courthouse. Young especially wanted to highlight the presence of the female judges to subvert common assumptions about who holds the power of law. Rather than seeing men in charge, we see only women occupying these prestigious societal roles.

Carey Young, still from Palais de Justice, 2017, HD video, 17 mins 58 secs. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, © Carey Young

Carey Young, still from Palais de Justice, 2017, HD video, 17 mins., 58 secs., Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, © Carey Young

In a brief conversation, Young explained to me that Palais de Justice marks an artistic departure for her. While her work often takes the form of conceptual text, performance, and photography, the video is much more metaphorical and dreamlike. Young further explained that she wanted the video to highlight the intent of the architect to express the “sublime scale of the law.” This is apparent in how Young has installed the work inside the gallery: the projection takes up an entire wall and, as a result, immerses the viewer. Surrounded by a soundtrack of vocal echoes and footsteps playing alongside the video footage, one sees the landmark building itself as another character among the judges and courthouse visitors.

The Palais de Justice was designed by architect Joseph Poelaert in celebration of Belgium’s independence from the Netherlands. A massive structure—over 200,000 square feet with 27 large courtrooms—it remains one of the largest courthouses in Europe. For Young, the monumental qualities of the building made it a perfect case study for her ongoing meditations on the performative nature of law. The architectural elements, especially the oculi through which we gaze, draw attention to our own roles as witnesses to the law in action. It makes us think not only about  the institution of law but also about who has the power to exercise it.

With this in mind, Palais de Justice makes me think about how buildings shape our attitudes and behaviors. How does architecture command this kind of power? Does the architecture of a courthouse differ from, for instance, that of an art museum? What might a courthouse of the future look like?

These are only a few of the questions that Young’s powerful video raises. See it yourself at the DMA, along with other new and existing works by Carey Young, in Carey Young: The New Architecture, now through April 9.

 

Kelly Filreis is the McDermott Graduate Intern for Contemporary Art at the DMA.

Beyond “México 1900–1950”

The DMA is thrilled to host México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde, opening March 12. I was fortunate to be able to view this exhibition in Paris at the Grand Palais, and was captivated by the works’ color, scale, and diversity of subject matter. This exhibition is coming to Dallas already chock-full of the heavy hitters of Mexican modernism, but the DMA is taking the opportunity to highlight and include some of our own Mexican greats. Look for the following DMA-owned works in the Dallas presentation:

Andrea Severin Goins is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA

A Deeper Look: John Thomas Biggers

As the McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching at the DMA, every Friday morning I am lucky enough to lead Go van Gogh® outreach programs in elementary school classrooms across Dallas. Each lesson is rooted in the DMA’s collection, and one of the works of art that I have grown particularly fond of teaching is a painting called Starry Crown by John Biggers.

John Thomas Biggers, Starry Crown, 1987, acrylic and mixed media on masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund 1989.13, Art © Estate of John Biggers / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

John Thomas Biggers, Starry Crown, 1987, acrylic and mixed media on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund, 1989.13, Art © Estate of John Biggers/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

The patterns of Starry Crown reflect images and symbols from African life and culture. The string held within the mouth of the three women represents the spoken word that passes tradition, knowledge, and history from one generation to another.

It is Biggers’ own history—his story—that, to me, makes this painting all the more significant.

John Biggers’ story begins in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1924. Growing up as a black child during a racially segregated time in the southern United States deeply influenced his perspective of the world. According to Olive J. Theisen’s A Life on Paper: The Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers (2006), individuals with darker skin tones were allowed to enter art museums only one day of the week. Although there were talented and skilled black artists at the time, recognition, and thus financial success, was often denied to artists of color.

When Biggers entered college at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in 1941, he registered with the intention of learning a more practical trade, like plumbing; however, Biggers’ intentions dramatically changed within his first year when an art course taught by Viktor Lowenfeld empowered him to take ownership of the culture and creativity of his own heritage through the arts.

Image via Hampton University Archives

Image via Hampton University Archives

With Lowenfeld’s encouragement, in 1946 Biggers left Hampton Institute as a dedicated artist with a clear mission: to tell the honest story of the black American through art—to make the once invisible known and respected.

Flash forward to 1952: Biggers submits one of his finest drawings, Sleeping Boy, to the fifth Southwestern Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, sponsored by the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the precursor to the DMA.

Biggers describes how Sleeping Boy came to be:

Sleeping Boy was drawn in the doctor’s office on a scrap of paper. I had carried my mama to the doctor’s office, was waiting there, saw a little child asleep on a chair, sketched him on a scrap of paper. When we got home, I immediately transferred the sketch to a large sheet.

(from A Life on Paper: The Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers, by Olive Jensen Theisen)

John Thomas Biggers, Sleeping Boy, 1950, conte crayon, Dallas Museum of Art, Neiman-Marcus Company Prize for Drawing, Fifth Southwestern Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, 1952 1952.1

John Thomas Biggers, Sleeping Boy, 1950, conte crayon, Dallas Museum of Art, Neiman-Marcus Company Prize for Drawing, Fifth Southwestern Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, 1952, 1952.1

Biggers did in fact win the Neiman-Marcus Prize for drawing and was invited to the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts for the awards presentation; however, as noted by former DMA staff member curator Philip Collins, once the committee discovered that Biggers was black, his prize was handed to him without ceremony at the Museum’s door. This was Biggers’ first experience with the Museum. Thirty-seven years after this incident, his painting, Starry Crown, was shown as part of the Black Art, Ancestral Legacy exhibition in 1989. During the opening, Biggers not only received red carpet treatment, but he also gave a talk—a talk that was prefaced with his very first experience at the DMA.

The knowledge of Biggers’ history with the DMA makes presenting Starry Crown to students that much more meaningful to me. By teaching this work of art with the artist’s story in mind, I encourage tolerance and acceptance for individuals of all backgrounds within the students in Dallas.

To learn more about John Biggers and his work:

  • A Life on Paper: The Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers (2006) by Olive Jensen Theisen
  • Ananse: The Web of Life in Africa (1996) by John Thomas Biggers
  • Black Art in Houston: The Texas Southern University Experience (1978) by John Thomas Biggers, Carroll Simms, and John Edwards Weems
  • John Biggers: My America (2004) by Michael Rosenfield
  • Black Art-Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African-American Art (1989), Editors: Robert V. Rozelle, Alvia Wardlaw, and Maureen A. McKenna
  • DMA mobile resources: Link

Angela Medrano is the McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching at the DMA.

Artist Interview: Janeil Engelstad

Last month, Janeil Engelstad, our first C3 Visiting Artist of 2017, embarked on a journey of exploring the collection and creating an in-gallery experience for our visitors. Meet Janeil and learn about her project, which will debut in March 2017.

janeil-edited2

Tell us about yourself.
The ocean and trees ground my Spirit. New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Sun Valley, and Bratislava—I carry the experiences of the places I have lived within and they continue to feed my work. My foundation is Gratitude. My practice is Kindness.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
Much of my professional practice is devoted to producing projects in collaboration through my organization Make Art with Purpose (MAP), teaching, writing or curating other people’s work into exhibitions. Currently, one of the projects that I’m working on is directing the website for the documentary film Angel Wagenstein: Art Is a Weapon, which premiered at the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. While all of this work is rewarding and expands my creativity, every once in a while I want to dip into a project or create a body of work that is completely my own. This residency is, for me, going back into “the studio.”

Geoff Winningham, publisher: The Cronin Gallery, Sunday, February 26, Birdhouse Vendor, Interstate 45, negative 1973, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank, 1981.36.8

Geoff Winningham, publisher: The Cronin Gallery, Sunday, February 26, Birdhouse Vendor, Interstate 45, negative 1973, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank, 1981.36.8

Tell us about the project you’re working on.
Inspired by Geoff Winningham’s photographs currently on view in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), I am developing a project that investigates and positions narratives that the viewer might not think of when looking at a work of art. For example, there is a photograph of birdhouses on a car. What can this tell us about housing or migration? How can either one of these topics then inform an investigation of another work of art in the DMA’s collection? And how can questions that I pose through a tour, or a set of postcards developed in response to these investigations, inspire the viewer to think more broadly about the world?

What did you enjoy most about this experience?
The process is enjoyable—moving from one idea to another, thinking about the material aspects of the project. Also, I literally looked at every work of art in the permanent collection that is currently on view. My knowledge expanded and my curiosity led me to research many different things. One time I was in the Museum’s library for an entire afternoon. That was a wonderful luxury, as I haven’t made time to be in a library for so many hours in several years. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in my school libraries and in our neighborhood library in Seattle. In college and in graduate school, I spent many hours in the various libraries on each campus. I love the quiet, vibrant energy of a library—all the wisdom and knowledge contained on those shelves. When I can, I will take that over researching on-line any day.

Learn about the upcoming programs that Janeil will be hosting in February and March:
Late Night Tour: More Than a PhotographFriday, February 17, 6:30 p.m.
C3 Visiting Artist Workshop: Mapping Your EnvironmentFriday, February 17, 8:00–10:00 p.m.
Teen Workshop: Telling Stories Through ArtSaturday, February 25, 1:00–3:00 p.m.
First Tuesday: StorytimeTuesday, March 7, 11:30 a.m.

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.

LOVEY-DOVEY

”For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day’
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate” – Geoffrey Chaucer

foul

In France and England during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed that birds’ mating season began on February 14. This notion led to Valentine’s Day being celebrated as a day of love and romance. It is even widely believed that the first Valentine’s card was sent during medieval times! Fourteenth- and 15th-century poets linked Valentine’s Day with amorous love through passionate verses, so sweethearts began exchanging sweet notes and flowers on this now well known day. Puts a whole new spin on the saying LOVEY-DOVEY, doesn’t it?

We suggest that this year you and your beloved travel to a time where chivalry knew no bounds and romance ran rampant with a visit to Art and Nature in the Middle Ages. How idyllic, am I right? Nothing sets the mood better for a lovely evening than dim lighting, illuminated manuscripts, and scenes of TWUE WUV—you know, back before dating apps, social media stalking, and texting entered the picture. Y’all, these couples actually had to talk face to face—crazy I know.

tapestry

So tomorrow, restore your hope in romance by visiting Art and Nature in the Middle Ages and maybe you’ll make an acquaintance worth courting—or at the least you’ll see something magical!

P.S. Unicorns, dancing pigs, really cool stained glass, and awesome metalwork are also included in this exhibition if you hate all things mushy gushy—did I say unicorns?

P.P.S. There’s only one more month to love this exhibition, so don’t wait!

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

 

Listen Hear

The Center for Creative Connections (C3) has been working closely with our Manager of Access Programs, Emily Wiskera, to create new sensory activities at each of the Pop-Up Art Spots. This month we have added a new activity to our Pop-Up Art Spot in the 18th-Century European Gallery. The works of art on view in this gallery are so epic they feel like they are straight out of a movie. So, we invited local musicians Clint Niosi and Claire Hecko to compose one-minute “film scores” for four of the works of art on view. Here’s a sneak peek of two of them:

Claude-Joseph Vernet, A Mountain Landscape with an Approaching Storm, 1775, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund 1983.41.FA

Claude-Joseph Vernet, A Mountain Landscape with an Approaching Storm, 1775, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 1983.41.FA

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, The Harp Lesson, 1791, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund 2015.10.FA

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, The Harp Lesson, 1791, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2015.10.FA

Stop by the Pop-Up Art Spot on Saturdays between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. or on Late Night between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m., check out an iPod, and listen to these mesmerizing sounds as you look closely at these works of art.

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.

Shot Through the Heart

Have you been caught in a bad romance? Had your heart broken? Then join us for Off the Wall on Thursday, February 9, to commiserate with all of us that have been Shot Through the Heart!

Forget finding your soul mate; instead find your perfect art match as you speed date through the Museum, completing fun activities at six different stops in our galleries. To give you a head start in finding your perfect art match, we can share that one of the stops will feature Two Truths and a Lie. For this activity, you will choose a work of art and receive three statements about the object. You will have to figure out which statement is the lie. Here is one example:

Engungun costume, Late 20th century, mixed media, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Pace Primitive Gallery, New York, 2008.99.1

Engungun costume, Republic of Benin, Yoruba peoples, late 20th century, mixed media, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Pace Primitive Gallery, New York, 2008.99.1

  1. The cowrie shell–embroidered face panel allows visibility, while “juju” elements attached beneath it provide supernatural protection during the performance.
  2. The chief priest of the Egungun masquerades invokes the spirit of the ancestors; when he does so, the rest of the worshippers’ dance movements and drums are possessed by the ancestral spirit.
  3. The Egungun festival is usually performed during the rainy months in Nigeria because it is believed that the rain helps the ancestors arrive more quickly.

Complete all six speed dating stops and you will receive a free beer or glass of wine in the DMA Cafe. While sipping your drink, learn that it could always be worse when you play a historical version of Marry, Date, Kill with portraits from our collection. Which one of these charmers would you want to keep forever?

Jean-Nicolas Billaud-Varenne was an instrumental figure in the Reign of Terror who hated foreigners, especially Marie Antoinette.

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Portrait of Jean-Nicolas Billaud-Varenne, early 1790s, oil on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift, 1961.105

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Portrait of Jean-Nicolas Billaud-Varenne, early 1790s, oil on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift, 1961.105

Edward Hyde was the worst governor of New Jersey and New York ever. EVER. He was also a cross-dresser, which had no impact on the quality of his governing.

Artist unknown, Portrait of a Lady, Possibly Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury in a Dress, c. 1705-1750, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Alta Brenner in memory of her daughter Andrea Bernice Brenner-McMullen, 1992.47

Artist unknown, Portrait of a Lady, Possibly Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury in a Dress, c. 1705-50, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Alta Brenner in memory of her daughter Andrea Bernice Brenner-McMullen, 1992.47

Semiramis wanted to rule Assyria so badly that she kinda-sorta killed both of her husbands. #WhoRunTheWorld

William Wetmore Story, Semirarmis, designed 1872, carved 1873, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Morynne and Robert E. Motley in memory of Robert Earl Motley, Jr., 1972-1998

William Wetmore Story, Semiramis, designed 1872, carved 1873, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Morynne and Robert E. Motley in memory of Robert Earl Motley, Jr., 1972-1998

End your night with unlucky in love music classics like You Give Love a Bad Name, Shot Through the Heart, Bad Medicine, and other Bon Jovi classics performed by Blaze of Glory: the Bon Jovi Experience.

And if you’ve already found your soul mate, or you’re just starting to date that special someone, please also join us this Thursday, February 9, to prove that love does conquer all!

Stacey Lizotte is the Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA.
Katie Cooke is the Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA.
Madeleine Fitzgerald is the Audience Relations Coordinator for Programming at the DMA.


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