Archive for August, 2017

Fabulous Fall with Bestselling Authors

When publishers vet book tour locations for someone with the caliber of international bestselling author Ken Follett, the well-established reputation of Arts & Letters Live, the DMA’s 27-years strong literary and performing arts series, is a huge benefit. Dallas is one of only three stops on Follett’s US tour, the other two being Boston and New York. Ken Follett will kick off the Fall 2017 season on September 14 at First United Methodist Church with a discussion of A Column of Fire, the third novel in his enthralling Kingsbridge Series. The first two novels in the series, Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, have sold 38 million copies worldwide!

For those who yearn for the seemingly lost art of a well-crafted written letter in lieu of a quick email or text message, Seattle-based Letters Aloud presents an afternoon of real letters by real people, read by great actors with live musical accompaniment, on September 24. Letters Aloud’s mission is to connect audiences to famous (and infamous) historical figures through their intimate correspondence. As one fan said, “It’s like literary crack” and makes history come to life in surprising, inspiring, and hilarious ways. These dramatic readings will chart the course of celebrity through the correspondence of artistic luminaries like Stephen King, Jackson Pollock, Elvis Presley, Emily Dickinson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Vincent van Gogh, and Tom Hanks, to name a few.

Letters Aloud

Want the inside scoop on international bestselling author Dan Brown’s interest in codes, science, religion, and art and his creative process in writing chart-topping books and making blockbuster movies? On October 6 he takes the stage for the first time in Dallas to talk about all that and his newest novel, Origin, which has been hailed as his most brilliant and entertaining work to date. The novel opens with Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arriving at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” When the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, Langdon is forced to escape Bilbao. Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon uncovers clues that ultimately illuminate the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

Bestselling author and acclaimed journalist Walter Isaacson joins us on October 26 to discuss Leonardo da Vinci, the biography of the famous artist that sets forth little known information about da Vinci’s life, connecting his art and science. Isaacson shows us how Leonardo’s genius stemmed from skills we can hone in ourselves—passionate curiosity, keen observation, a playful imagination, and being bold enough to think differently. Leonardo DiCaprio was recently slated to play the artist in the film adaptation after a heated bidding war between Paramount and Universal.

Legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz landed on the DMA Arts & Letters Live roster after a Texas Book Festival colleague recommended that Arts & Letters Live have lunch with the national marketing director of Phaidon, who was in town for a conference. While chatting with our new Phaidon friends on the DMA’s Socca Cafe patio, we learned about the forthcoming book Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005–2016 and knew immediately that DMA audiences would adore hearing about this artist’s creative process and behind-the-scenes stories of all the famous people she has photographed. Leibovitz’s event with DMA Arts & Letters Live on November 14 is one of only five appearances slated worldwide.

To see the complete roster of Arts & Letters Live events and to purchase tickets, visit DMA.org/all

 

Carolyn Bess is Director of Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.
Michelle Witcher is the Program Manager of Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

A Founding Mother

While using the archives for a small research project (more on that in a future post), I was reminded of one of the Dallas Art Association’s (DAA) founding members, Elizabeth Patterson Kiest (Mrs. Edwin J. Kiest). Mrs. Kiest attended the first meeting of the group of art supporters that formed the DAA on January 19, 1903 and she served as DAA Treasurer from its inception to her death in 1917, a century ago this year.

Bronze plaque in honor of Elizabeth Patterson Kiest for her long service as founder and Treasurer of the Dallas Art Association.

The Kiest Memorial Fund was established in her honor, with a plaster cast of Winged Victory as the first purchase. (The piece is no longer in the collection.)

An interior view of the Free Public Art Gallery space in the Textile and Fine Arts Building, with the plaster cast of Winged Victory in the upper left.

Beginning in 1932 the Kiest Memorial Fund was used to fund a purchase prize for the annual Dallas Allied Arts exhibitions, from which works by major Dallas artists were acquired for the collection including Jerry Bywaters, Otis Dozier, De Forrest Judd, Everett Spruce, Charles T. Bowling, Allie Tennant, Perry Nichols, Donald S. Vogel, William Lester, and Octavio Medellin.

In addition to the DAA, Mrs. Kiest was involved in a number of civic and women’s clubs, the foremost being the Dallas Shakespeare Club and the Matheon Club. The Dallas Shakespeare Club would later donate Road to the Hills by Julian Onderdonk to the Museum in memory of Mrs. Kiest.


Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Dallas Shakespeare Club in memory of Elizabeth Patterson Kiest

 

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

Artist Interview: Lisa Huffaker

This summer the Center for Creative Connections invited C3 Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker to design an in-gallery activity inspired by a work of art on view in C3. Meet Lisa here and learn more about her musically engaging activities designed for visitors of all ages.

Tell us about yourself. (In 50 words or less)
I am a classical singer by training, but have always created visual art and poetry as well. My latest project is White Rock Zine Machine, which offers tiny handmade books of art and writing through re-purposed vending machines. I am interested in the community we form through creative work.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?

Nam June Paik, Music Box Based on Piano Piece Composed in Tokyo in 1954, 1994, Vintage TV cabinet, Panasonic 10 TV model 1050R, Panasonic mini video camera, incandescent light bulb and 144-note music box mechanism, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum 2015.48.113

While visiting the Museum, I saw Nam June Paik’s Music Box Based on a Piano Piece Composed in Tokyo in 1954. It’s an old television transformed to show a video of a music box, and it reminded me of my vending machines, which are also “communication boxes” with knobs, whimsically reinvented to give us new content. I loved the idea of exploring the relationship between these two objects, within the interactive space of the C3 Gallery, and inviting visitors to interact with and even contribute to the project.  I’m so grateful to the DMA for embracing my crazy vision!

Tell us about the process of creating your zine machine.

I found a retired baseball card vending machine on Craigslist, and transformed it.  I sanded it down to bare metal,  then used old player piano rolls as stencils to paint a pattern on the sides. I cut a hole in the front panel and covered it with glass, so we could see the zines inside. I attached Victorian-era music box disks to the machine,  including a sort of halo at the top. Then I added other objects — carved wood pieces, various metal oddities, a kalimba, gears and springs taken out of broken alarm clocks, and eight music box mechanisms, including one that plays original music composed by punching holes in a strip of paper.

What did you enjoy most about this experience?
While creating the zine machine, I really enjoyed the contradiction between noisy power tools and delicate, beautiful mechanisms! But most of all I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore certain ideas — the overlap of music, memory, and machine — and invite others to interact with the project. It has been fascinating to see the drawings and writings created by visitors in response to the music I chose for the listening station in my installation.

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Visit the Center for Creative Connections through September to contribute drawings to Huffaker’s zines and to receive a zine from the machine.

Join C3 Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker as she hosts a series of programs in September:

Tuesday, September 5, First Tuesday: Music with Ms. Lisa; 11:30 a.m. – Noon
Friday, September 15, Late Night Tour; 6:30 p.m.
Friday, September 15, Late Night Performance with Piano; 9:00 p.m.
Friday, September 22, Teen Homeschool; 1:00-4:00 p.m.

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

Make This: Camera Obscura

Today is a big day for the moon, check out this post from 2016 to find our how you can make a camera obscura to watch the moon’s time in the lime light.

DMA Canvas

Johannes Vermeer, star of the eponymous Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, is famous for his illusionism. Vermeer’s small, gem-like paintings are little windows into 17th century Dutch life. Instead of composing his images from naked-eye observation, however, some art historians believe that Vermeer used a device called a camera obscura.

A camera obscura, Latin for dark chamber, is the precursor to the modern camera, and has been known to artists, scientists, and philosophers since the time of Aristotle. At their most basic, they are made from light-tight boxes with a tiny hole on one side. Light enters the hole and casts an inverted image on a screen inside the box. Its earliest uses can be traced to astronomers, who used the camera obscura to safely view eclipses. However, it didn’t take long for artists to use it as a drawing tool. Camera…

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The Two Käthes

Join us for Late Night this Friday when we will host artist Käthe Kollwitz of the feminist activist art collective the Guerrilla Girls as part of a celebration of women artists featured in Visions of America. For more than thirty years, women artists from across the country have donned gorilla masks and joined the ranks of the Guerrilla Girls to produce public art campaigns that raise awareness about gender and ethnic discrimination in the art world and beyond. Having decided early on that the members of the Guerrilla Girls would remain anonymous, they took this opportunity to shine some limelight on great women artists of the past by assuming the names of pioneers like Käthe Kollwitz, Frida Kahlo, and Zubeida Agha.

Guerrilla Girls at the Abrons Art Center, 2015

In an interview for the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art Oral History Program, Käthe explained the origin of their pseudonyms.

“Eventually we realized that we needed individual names within the Guerrilla Girls.  When we went places in a group or in pairs, we needed to be individuals in some way.  So this idea came up to have dead women artists as pseudonyms, and it was a useful idea because art historians were re-finding and representing the work of a lot of women artists from history.  Most of the pseudonyms that people took were artists they’d never heard of before they started and only discovered when they read up on women artists, looking for a name.”

Käthe’s own namesake, Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945), was a German printmaker and sculptor who also addressed social injustice in her work. She also happens to be well represented in the DMA’s collection

Kollwitz’s work is at times touching and heart-wrenching with intimate portraits of mothers with their children as well as genre scenes depicting the plight of the urban poor. Her subjects are often gaunt figures whose shadowy eyes and pained poses speak volumes about the dire circumstances under which they lived. Having endured multiple personal tragedies and both world wars, she was an artist who did not shy away from showing the realities of war, poverty, and loss.

Käthe Kollwitz, Revolt (Sturm), 1897, Etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg, 2000.192.FA

Remarking on how she arrived at the pseudonym Käthe Kollwitz, the artist said, “It’s very personal for everybody.  Käthe Kollwitz is not my all-time favorite artist, but she’s a great role model.  She was an activist as well as an artist.  She didn’t believe in the expensive, fancy art system.  She did a lot of cheap prints that she gave and sold very cheaply.  She did a lot of work about working people, about women and children, even work about sex.  She was a fierce woman artist.”

Over 70 years after Kollwitz’s death the Guerrilla Girls are continuing the practice of using art to raise awareness. Reflecting on their own 30 year legacy, Käthe will speak about favorite projects and how the group has approached activism in their work. For more information about this and other Late Night programs, visit DMA.org.

Jessie Frazier is Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA

How to Install a Robert Smithson

A new rotation of artworks was recently installed in the Barrel Vault, our main contemporary art space. Included in this new installation are masterpieces by Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Hans Hofmann, as well as several newly acquired artworks. One of the highlights of the gallery is Robert Smithson’s Mirrors and Shelly Sand. The work is composed of approximately three tons of sand and 50 mirrors (glued back-to-back in pairs of two) lined up in a row, creating the illusion of infinity when you gaze into them. This engaging piece invites the viewer in and encourages interaction (but just of the mental variety—please remember not to touch!).

The piece becomes even more interesting when you know the process required to install it. It takes a lot of work and skill to transform the 125 buckets of sand and two crates of mirrors into the finished work of art. There are specific instructions from the artist on how the piece should be installed, but there will always be variances due to the nature of the materials. Thankfully for us, one of our Senior Preparators, Mary Nicolett, has installed the Smithson eight times and is a pro.

First our crew constructs a massive tent made of plastic. This keeps all of the sand contained and ensures that other artworks in the area are protected. On installation day, our stellar team of preparators (professional art handlers) put on their protective gear and prepare to get dirty. After the Registrar (me!) completes a condition report on all the mirrors, they are lined up based on the artist’s specifications and a small pile of sand is poured over them to keep them in place. Once all of the mirrors are in place, the real fun begins. Each preparator grabs a bucket of sand and begins pouring. Once all the buckets are empty, Nicolett begins smoothing the sand into the appropriate shape. At the end of the day, the dusty crew exits the tent to let the dust settle. The next day, the tent is removed and the finishing touches to the sand are completed.

Installation works like Mirrors and Shelly Sand allow our prep team to flex their creative muscles. While we do follow the instructions provided by the artist, the preparators are the ones who physically create the artwork as you see it. A good prep team is vital to any art institution as they are the ones who know the intricacies of a piece and how to safely install it. Thankfully for us, we have one of the best!

 

Katie Province is the Assistant Registrar for Collections and Exhibitions at the DMA.

Second Thursdays with a Twist

Does your typical Thursday night have the dance moves of Michael Jackson, a “potions” class for adults, a tour about beautiful backsides, live covers of the best 80s music, and storm troopers? Would you like it to? If your answer is yes, then you’re going to love our new line-up for Second Thursdays with a Twist!

All year round, every Second Thursday of the month, we are looking at our collection with a pop culture twist. If this program sounds familiar, it’s because this program is The Artist Formerly Known as Off the Wall. We thought we would change up the name, but keep the same day, same time and same fun! We are kicking off the new name and new season of themes this Thursday with Don’t You Forget About Me. The night will have all the 1980’s nostalgia you can handle, a photo booth, a Ferris Bueller themed tour and more.

We hope you all will come out and enjoy Second Thursdays with a Twist, we had so much fun coming up with ideas for these themes and we hope that you will have even more fun experiencing them!

August 10: Don’t You Forget About Me

Geoff Winningham, High School Prom, negative 1973, print 1976, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank, 1981.36.11

September 14: Smooth Criminal

Ralph Gibson, Untitled, 1972, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant, 1977.79

October 12: Mischief Managed

Owl effigy, Arts of the Americas, 20th century, ceramic, slip, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters, 1963.179

November 9: Who Run the World?

Anna Hyatt Huntington, Joan of Arc, modeled, 1910; cast c. 1915, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, Kiest Memorial Fund, 1924.3

December 14: In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Dan Flavin, alternate diagonals of March 2, 1964 (to Don Judd), March 2, 1964, daylight and cool white fluorescent tubing, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Janie C. Lee, 1976.74.A-G

January 11: Ice Ice Baby

Frederic Edwin Church, The Icebergs, 1861, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Norma and Lamar Hunt, 1979.28

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA

 

 

 


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