Archive for May, 2017

The Golden Age on the Silver Screen

This summer, as part of our México 1900-1950 exhibition, we are celebrating Mexico’s Golden Age of Mexican cinema with free screenings of some of the era’s most beloved and acclaimed films. I asked Alex Garcia Topete, Lead Programmer for Latino and International Programming with The Dallas International Film Festival, to share a few words about what makes this period of film so special and how these films continue to impact filmmaking today. Here’s what he had to say:

What is the Golden Age of Mexican cinema and what is its legacy in the history of film?
It’s the period between the late 30s and late 50s when Mexico became a powerhouse of cinema because of the quality of talent, technical achievements, and overall success of the now-classic films. Without the Mexican Golden Age, there would be no Scorsese, no Spielberg, no Coppola. It also established many of the stars and characters that are worldwide icons of Mexico since then.

Salón México, 1949

What are some of the recurring themes and genres of films made during this period?
First and foremost, strong women are one of the constants. Even when the female lead may be a damsel waiting for her lover, she would still be the one in control and driving the narrative in most Golden Age films. The theme of family and duty also appears a lot, thanks to the changing social mores of the era. In terms of genre, the “ranch comedy” surged—funny or romantic stories that happen in rural settings, kind of a subdued western; however, every major genre had a presence in the Golden Age: film noir, screwball, musicals, biblical epics, you-name-it!

La Perla (The Pearl), 1947

What do you think modern day audiences might like about these films?
Modern audiences will appreciate the universality of the Golden Age films. Yes, they’re all emblematic of what “Mexico” means and what a lot of people think of when they hear that, but the stories and characters are all timeless and universal. Yearning lovers, matriarchs, funny goofballs—the Golden Age presented the whole world in the setting of Mexico.

What are a couple of your favorites and why?
Ahí está el Detalle is one of my favorite comedies because it was the beginning of the legacy of Cantiflas, Mexico’s Charlie Chaplin; Los Olvidados and El Ángel Exterminador because they’re Luis Buñuel at his most masterful; and Los Tres García because it’s a milestone bringing together three of the biggest stars of Mexican cinema. I could go on and on.

Check out a full lineup of film screenings at DMA.org, and don’t miss your chance to see these classics on the big screen.

Jessie Frazier is the Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA.

Nesting

This week, we open the new and improved Arturo’s Nest in our Center for Creative Connections (C3)! The old play areas and design were so well loved that it was time to refresh and re-imagine this beloved play-learning space for our youngest visitors. The Exhibitions team and I had the pleasure of collaborating with the Education Department to come up with a fresh design that harmonizes with the updated Young Learner’s Gallery just around the corner in C3.

Some of the changes we made include installing new carpet (with giant polka-dots) to help with ambient sound, and applying a brand-new landscape to the walls, courtesy of our Exhibitions Graphic Designer, Kevin Parmer. We’ve added a nightscape to a previously plain wall, which adds to the calming and enveloping charm of this space. For our design team, this project was a playful departure from the many ongoing exhibition design projects in the Museum galleries.

Material samples used in the Arturo’s Nest redesign

There will be a new “nest” structure (coming soon) that will also function as a reading nook, and the daytime landscape will be dotted with interactives that engage our youngest visitors’ budding aesthetic sensibilities. We invite you to explore Arturo’s Nest upon its reopening!

Arturo’s Nest space before

Arturo’s Nest space after

Skye Malish-Olson is the Exhibition Designer at the DMA.

Visions of America

What do Paul Revere and Andy Warhol have in common? Seemingly nothing, right? Wrong. Both of these men, who are equally renowned for different reasons, were also American artists (yes, the Paul Revere “The British are coming” fellow) responsible for depicting important moments in the nation’s history through prints. This Sunday, May 28, their works will be joined at the DMA by others from greats such as James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, George Bellows, John Marin, Jackson Pollock, Louise Nevelson, Romare Bearden, Robert Rauschenberg, Chuck Close, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, and many more.

Politics in an Oyster-House

Michele Fanoli, after Richard Caton Woodville, Politics in an Oyster-House, 1851, hand-colored lithograph, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Gift of the Estate of William Woodville, VIII)

Just in time for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art takes a look at how America and its people have been represented in prints made by American and non-American artists between 1710 and 2010. As the final venue of a four-city international tour and the only other US venue, the DMA will present more than 150 outstanding prints from the colonial era to the present, drawn exclusively from the National Gallery of Art’s collection.

Lose yourself in the nation’s spacious skies and amber waves of grain through September 3, 2017.

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

Cats in the Archives

An exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art about cats in their collections inspired me to go searching for cats in the DMA Archives collections. Here is what I found.

Painter, printmaker, and DMFA Museum School instructor Lucille Jeffries with an unidentified cat. Barbara Maples Papers, Photographs, DMA Archives

Sculptor James Surls plays with a black cat under his sculpture while a second cat looks on. Exhibition Photography, Visions: James Surls, 1974-1984, December 2, 1984-January 13, 1985, Artist photographs, DMA Archives

Artist Brent Steen with his cat, photographed during artist studio visits in conjunction with the 2003 exhibition Come Forward: Emerging Art in Texas. Exhibition Photography, Come Forward: Emerging Art in Texas, February 23-May 11, 2003, Artists in studio, DMA Archives

Keep an eye out for dogs in the Archives in the future—and of course I’ve already done llamas. Enjoy!

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being

At Late Night this Friday journalist and author Susana Martínez Vidal will speak about her beautiful new book, Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being, which looks at the iconic and carefully curated style of Frida Kahlo and the artist’s lasting influence in the worlds of fashion and art. Before her visit, I asked the author to share a few insights about this project.

Frida Kahlo Cover 3D crop

What inspired you to write a book about Frida Kahlo?

During the almost 18 years that I headed EllE Spain and attended international fashion shows, I saw Frida walk by on innumerable occasions, interpreted in diverse ways by the greatest designers in the world: Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld, Lacroix, Kenzo, all have paid homage to her.  Countless times I witnessed her influence in music, film, and in the best international fashion magazines.  The most famous actresses, models, and singers have evoked her: Monica Belluci, Naomi Cambell, Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, Beyoncé, Madonna, Patti Smith, Cold Play.

In 1993 Frida Kahlo inspired the first fashion shoot I published as the director of EllE.  Through the eye of Canadian photographer Michel Pérez, actress and model Patricia Velásquez, the exotic beauty for “The Mummy” saga (who along with Frida shares indigenous heritage), was transformed in an Aztec princess. Years later, I was impacted by the spring collection of the great Jean Paul Gaultier, the first of the major designers to evoke her.

It powerfully attracted my attention that a woman who was half indigenous and was not from a first world country nor from show business (she wasn’t an actress, singer, or dancer) had gatecrashed into ranking among the most iconic women of the 20th century, next to Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy or Maria Callas.

In 2012, shortly after relocating to live in Mexico, the Huffington Post asked me to write a blog about the exposition of Frida Kahlo’s clothing that had recently opened.  Seeing this fantastic showcase in the Casa Azul Museum, I started to remember all the images of Frida from the runways and decided that the subject deserved to be explored more profoundly.  At the end of the article I expressed my desire that one day a book would speak to the influence of Frida Kahlo on fashion.  It was a challenge I gave myself to dare myself to take the step.  For months the article was one of the most read on Huffington Post, and this convinced me that Frida lived even though she had died more that half a century prior.   Frida Kahlo: Fashion As the Art of Being is the realization of that dream.

Frida Book 2 crop

In your opinion, what is the biggest lesson Frida taught us about fashion, art, or life?

Her determination to transform pain into beauty, while being an imperfect beauty, motivated her to build an image that she cared for and cultivated in order to elevate her self-esteem. She used fashion like therapy, emphasizing her defects to develop her own hallmark image and identity. The more pain she was in, the greater she made herself up. At the end of her life she dressed as if going to a party.

Her fans applaud her paintings because they admire her story, and therefore you cannot separate her life from her work. Like Stephen W. Hawking, she is someone who knew how to transform her limitations into opportunities. In both situations, their disabilities have transformed in aids that encourage them to focus on there abilities. Certainly, she was her finest work of art.

Frida in Gallery 01

Do you see the fashion world’s appropriation of her style as honoring her, exoticizing her–both?

Perhaps both: Fashion has resurrected Mrs. Kahlo, to give her the glory she didn´t have during her life.

Since the beginning, the idea of the book has been to show the influence of Frida Kahlo in contemporary fashion and pop culture and why she continues to appear so modern in the 21st century.

My objective has been to unravel fashion’s constant obsession with Frida Kahlo, despite being a field which by definition is always in constant motion, and decipher why it is that her style continues to provoke an irrepressible appeal the world over.

Frida in Gallery 02

Join Susana Martínez Vidal this Friday for talks in both English and Spanish and pick up a copy of Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being, available for purchase in the DMA store.

And let Frida inspire your own fashion – come dressed like Frida Kahlo on May 19 and your Late Night ticket will be $5.

Jessie Frazier is Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Finding Yourself at the DMA

As an art museum educator, I live for the tales of visitors who have had meaningful, inspirational, life-changing experiences in museums—perhaps because it was exactly this kind of personal experience that propelled me down the career path I’ve taken. Working in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), a participatory educational space for visitors of all ages, I have the privilege of hearing these kinds of statements often; however, a few months back I was surprised to hear from a visitor who literally found herself in a photograph by Geoff Winningham currently on view in the C3.

Geoff Winningham (artist), The Cronin Gallery (publisher), U.T. Cheerleaders, negative 1972, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank 1981.36.6

During a Late Night event, Laura was walking through C3 with her husband when they both stopped dead in their tracks as they walked by the photograph. “I think that’s you,” her husband stated. “I know it’s me!” Laura exclaimed.

I had so many questions for her. What was it like seeing yourself in a work of art in a museum? Did you know this photograph existed or that you were being photographed at the time? Can you recall the other cheerleaders in the photograph? Luckily, Laura was happy to meet up to discuss her experience.

As you might imagine, Laura was quite surprised to see a photo of her college-age self in the Museum. As a University of Texas cheerleader, she was aware they were photographed in action from time to time—once her image ended up as part of the opening montage of ABC’s Wide World of Sports for a full year—but she never imagined she would make it into a work of art in the DMA’s collection. Laura is uniquely well versed in the DMA collection, but until recently she had never seen this photograph before. Not only is Laura a DMA Member, but she was also part of the PM Docent class for five years, starting with the charter class under the leadership of Gail Davitt.

Both the University of Texas and the Dallas Museum of Art have loomed large in Laura’s life, but she never imagined that the two worlds would collide. In fact, UT Cheer isn’t just a distant memory as Laura regularly attends the Cheer Reunions and keeps in touch with fellow cheerleaders, including some of those captured alongside her in Winningham’s photograph. In the image below, the woman on the far right is the same woman on the far left of the UT Cheerleaders photograph by Winningham.

Now that Laura knows of the existence of this photograph, she comes back to visit it from time to time. She was also keen to meet the photographer, Geoff Winningham, and looked him up immediately to learn more about him and his work. Fortunately, Winningham was at the DMA in April to lead a Gallery Talk about the series this photograph is part of—A Texas Dozen.

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


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

Join 1,363 other followers

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

More Photos