Archive for October, 2017

Spooky Sightings

The debut of Yayoi Kusama’s All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins (2016) conveniently coincides with seasonal celebrations of bounty. Inside this reflective chamber, visitors encounter an infinite field of illuminated gourds—Kusama’s immersive expression of universal, continuous connectivity. Her imaginative use of pumpkins and Halloween’s emphasis on otherworldly beings inspired us to search the galleries for metaphysical motifs.

Olivia Feal, the McDermott Intern for Interpretation, assembled a short tour highlighting five works that relate to events after life. From an example of European needlework to a portrait completed nearly two decades after the sitter’s death, these objects offer glimpses of artists who, like Kusama, tackled the creative challenge of visualizing immense, intangible ideas.

Please enjoy this Spooky Sightings tour on your next visit to the DMA!

Emily Schiller is a Digital Collections Content Coordinator at the DMA.

 

Take a Seat

Truth: 24 frames per second opened this past Sunday to the public at the DMA and is on view through January 28, 2018.

The exhibition features 24 works of time-based media, spanning more than six decades. The overall experience is designed to provoke more questions than answers; some of the themes of these works include political unrest, pop culture, and news media. Bruce Connor’s REPORT, created 1963-67, explores media coverage of the JFK assassination, and is the first work visitors will encounter upon entering the exhibition. This piece from the DMA collection is a captivating collage of television broadcast footage, sound, and flickering light, that sets the tone for the rest of the exhibition. The theatrical and traumatic portrayal of the Kennedy assassination, when viewed through Conner’s installation, calls to attention how we absorb information through the media.

Each installation in this show was designed with specifications from the artist or artist’s estate as to how it should be portrayed, giving near scientific precision to the subtleties of viewing the work. For REPORT, in addition to those specifications, we were able to obtain historic theater seats from the Texas Theatre. Given that the actual subject matter depicted took place in Dallas, and Lee Harvey Oswald was subsequently arrested at the Texas Theatre–we were pleased to be able to combine efforts with Texas Theatre to add these pieces of material culture and historic connection to the experience of the film. The seats’ vintage dates to the time period when Oswald was actually caught there during the screening of a movie.

The chairs, kept in storage at Texas Theatre since its later renovation, were re-assembled by Lance Lander and our team of preparators, as well as cleaned and cared for by our assistant objects conservator, Elena Torok. The final installation space contains two symmetrical rows of theater seats, facing REPORT, its strobing black and white footage making the setting feel very dramatic and palpable. We felt that adding these vintage red theater seats, with their notorious connection, would lend an authentically Dallas-specific component to the installation.

Thanks to the Texas Theatre and the DMA staff members who made this collaboration possible. Come see Bruce Conner’s REPORT on view through January 28, 2018.

Skye Malish-Olson is the Exhibition Designer 

A Soiree Fit for Versailles

Next week on Thursday, November 2 the DMA is hosting a soiree fit for Versailles at the second annual Rosenberg Fête celebrating French art from the 18th century. We’ll step back in time with period music, sketching in the galleries, a sumptuous menu of French classics, and a talk on one of the Rosenberg Collection’s most exquisite paintings.

Let’s take a brief dive into the collection we are celebrating. A significant portion of the DMA’s 18th century French art holdings comes from the private collection of Michael L. Rosenberg (1947-2003), an art enthusiast and philanthropist who amassed works by some of the most influential French artists of the 18th century. Upon Michael’s passing in 2003, his collection was transferred to the the Rosenberg Foundation, which approved a long-term loan to the DMA in his memory, making our Museum the home of this stunning collection since 2004.

While each object commands a closer look, I’ve always been captivated by the two pieces that bookend the collection—the first and last of Rosenberg’s acquisitions.

The first piece that Mr. Rosenberg acquired was The Bather by François Lemoyne. It is a full length portrait of a nude woman dipping her toe into a body of water, aided by an attendant who holds her discarded clothes. Like many paintings of this period, The Bather can be described as sensuous; the scene is cast in a soft light that plays off of the pearlescent tones of the subject’s body and hair and the artist lent as much effort to the beauty of the painting as to the storytelling. A testament to the effect of the painting, Lemoyne actually created a copy of it for himself, which now hangs at the Hermitage. While he was perhaps not as famous as his protégé François Boucher, Lemoyne influenced artists for years to come, making The Bather not only a beautiful start to Rosenberg’s collection but one with great historical significance. Learn more about this painting tomorrow with Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan Library Museum, who will speak about Lemoyne’s Bather in the context of other Rococo bathing scenes.

François Lemoyne, The Bather, 1724, Oil on canvas, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation, 29.2004.7

Mr. Rosenberg’s last acquisition was Portrait of Natalia Zakharovna Kolycheva, née Hitrovo by Elisabeth Louis Vigee-Lebrun. Vigee-Lebrun was a portrait painter to Queen Marie Antoinette and one of the few women painters of her time who was successful in an art world dominated by men. During the French Revolution she went into exile, eventually settling in Russia where she painted this and other portraits of aristocrats. At this moment in history only four women artists had been admitted to the prestigious French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. With works by Vigee-Lebrun and two floral still lifes by Anne Vallayer-Caoster, also a painter to the Queen, the DMA had works by two out of four of these trailblazing women artists. In his lifetime Michael Rosenberg supported the acquisition of the Vallayer-Coster pendants, and today his legacy Foundation continues to support the museum’s expanding collection in this area, as exemplified by their generous support to acquire a portrait by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard earlier this year, so that now the DMA can boast having works by three of the four women Academicians of the 18th century.

Elisabeth Louise Vigée-Lebrun, Portrait of Natalia Zakharovna Kolycheva, née Hitrovo, 1799, Oil on Canvas, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation, 29.2004.13

Anne Vallayer-Coster, Bouquet of Flowers in a Terracotta Vase with Peaches and Grapes, 1776, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Michael L. Rosenberg, 1998.51.FA

Anne Vallayer-Coster, Bouquet of Flowers in a Blue Porcelain Vase, 1776, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Michael L. Rosenberg, 1998.52.FA

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard, Portrait of a Conventional, 1795, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation. 2017.18

These are just a few of the treasures in the Rosenberg Galleries. Join us next week to see the Collection and immerse yourself in the lavish world of 18th-Century France.

Jessie Frazier is Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA

Meet the McDermott Intern Authors

Elise Armani – McDermott Intern for Contemporary Art
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Me and my job in 50 words or less:
As the McDermott Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art, I support curators Gavin Delahunty and Katherine Brodbeck in realizing exhibitions and projects in the Contemporary Department. This often consists of researching objects in the collection, gathering information on potential objects and artists for upcoming exhibitions, pulling sources, and writing labels.

Three things about me but not about my work:
I have a pitbull mix named Miró, though he has yet to bark at the moon.
-My favorite film is The Silence of the Lambs.
-My favorite eggcorn is “cease the day.”

Favorite three works in the DMA:
Jim Hodges, Changing Things, 1997
-Phil Collins, the world won’t listen, 2005
-Lee Bontecou, Untitled (35), 1961

Kathleen Alva – McDermott Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live
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Me and my job in 50 words or less:
I help brainstorm, prepare, and lead the DMA’s Gallery Talks, Late Nights, Second Thursdays with a Twist, and special tours. I also work with the Arts & Letters Live team to bring incredible authors, performers, and artists to Dallas.

Three things about me but not about my work:
I love dancing and rhythms: clogging, flamenco, and tap are my favorite dance styles to practice.
-I was once on America’s Got Talent (but will never tell you where to find the video).
-After living in the same California city for the first 17 years of my life, I have moved at least twice each year since.

Favorite three works in the DMA:
-Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene, Front doors from the Robert R. Blacker House (Pasadena, California), 1907
John Singer Sargent, Study for “The Spanish Dancer,” 1882
-Vincent van Gogh, Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, September 1888  


Beth CreMeens – Dedo and Barron Kidd McDermott Graduate Intern for European Painting and Sculpture
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Me and my job in 50 words or less:
I work closely with the curator of European art, Nicole Meyers, on upcoming exhibitions, projects, and provenance research into the permanent collection. Additionally, I am curating an exhibition of our works on paper collection that will be open in May 2018.

Three things about me but not about my work:
-I love traveling, and have been on two road trips up both the east and west coast, and into Canada.
-My cat Loki and I love to sleep in on Saturdays and read in bed.
-I like Latin music and dancing.

 Favorite three works in the DMA:
-Edward Jones, The Pilgrim at the Gate of Idleness, 1884
-Gustave Courbet, Fox in the Snow, 1860
-Thomas Sully, Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, 1843

Samantha Evans – McDermott Graduate Intern for Family and Access Teaching
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Me and my job in 50 words or less:
I will be assisting the Family, Access, Schools, and Teachers team with all of their many wonderful programs this year!

Three things about me but not about my work:
-I like to cook.
-I like to visit new places.
-I love old musicals.

Favorite three works in the DMA:
-Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1901,
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Flowers, 1915–19
Thimble, late 19th–early 20th century

Olivia Feal – McDermott Intern for Interpretation
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Me and my job in 50 words or less:
I see this job as being in-between education and curatorial duties. I work mostly in the Center for Creative Connections interacting with visitors and the public, but I also get to do behind-the-scenes work developing materials for the Testing Zone and Pop-Up Art Spot. Outside of C3, I help with prototyping and evaluating interpretive materials used in the Museum’s permanent collection galleries and special exhibitions. This position is great because I get to work with the public, but I also get a chance to incorporate educational initiatives into the rest of the Museum.

Three things about me but not about my work:
-Any time I go to a new city or town I always make sure to stop in a diner at some point.  (I have this weird dream of going to at least one diner in every state; so far I have been to 10 states in the US).
– I love to watch foreign films and documentaries; one of my favorite movies of all time is Vivre Sa Vie. (I am super excited that Dallas has the Angelika Film Center.)
-I never learned how to drive.

Favorite three works in the DMA:
Sword ornament in the form of a lion, Ghana, Asante peoples, c. mid-20th century
Romare Bearden, Soul Three, 1968
-Tadeusz Myslowski, Avenue of the Americas, New York City: Works from 1974 to 1979, 1979

Tayana Fincher – Curatorial Intern for African Art
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Me and my job in 50 words or less:
I am helping finalize exhibition and publication plans for an upcoming show in April. Duties include dealing with photography and image loan requests, rights and reproductions, brainstorming object location in the gallery spaces, as well as creating and finding interpretive materials for gallery display.

Three things about me but not about my work:
-I used to be an avid nail-biter.
-I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
-I collect movie tickets/stubs, and I have a pretty hefty collection since I started in 2010.

 Favorite three works in the DMA:
Anthology manuscript, Turkey, c. 1605–10 (Keir Collection)
Elephant mask (mbap mteng), Cameroon, Bamileke peoples, c. 1920–30
-Julie Mehretu, Epigraph, Damascus, by 2016

Danielle Gilbert – McDermott Graduate Intern for Arts of the Americas
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Me and my job in 50 words or less:

I work with Dr. Kimberly Jones on ancient and contemporary art from South America, Mesoamerica, and North America. With an archaeology and cultural heritage background, I am excited to help research, celebrate, and share the beauty, traditions, and meanings represented by these diverse cultures and artists.

Three things about me but not about my work:
-I have participated in archaeological excavations in the Lurín Valley, central-coast Peru, and Mount Vernon, Virginia.
-I love to read 19th-century British and American novels.
-I love to go hiking or wander around cities with historic architecture.

Favorite three works at the DMA:
Quipu (khipu) with top and subsidiary cords, Inca, 1400–1570
-Mantle with condors, Paracas, 300–100 B.C.E.
-Hummingbird pendant, Olmec, 800–400 B.C.E.

Lea Stephenson – McDermott Graduate Intern for American Art
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Me and my job in 50 words or less:
I assist the curator of American art in preparing upcoming exhibitions and researching the permanent collection. Some of my tasks include writing object labels and researching paintings in the galleries. I’m often surrounded by books on 19th-century and early modern American artists, like Childe Hassam and Charles Sheeler.

Three things about me but not about my work:
-I’m originally from Vermont, and a true New England girl, which means I love cold winters and old, colonial houses.
-I collect 19th-century photographs found in antique stores.
-I’m fascinated with Great Britain and always trying to find places for traditional English high tea.

Favorite three works in the DMA:
-John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt, 1901–02
-Sir Thomas Lawrence, Portrait of the Honorable Mrs. Seymour Bathurst, 1828
-Alfred Stevens, The Visit, before 1869

Yohanna Tesfai – McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching
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Me and my job in 50 words or less:
I assist with art educational programming for docent trainings, Go van Gogh school teachings, teen programs, and local community centers.

Three things about me but not about my work:
-I am a Tudor history nerd. My favorite queen is Anne Boleyn!
-I love all things from the 1980s. I have practically memorized all three Back to the Future movies.
-My dream car is a 1980s Volvo 242 DL sedan.

Favorite three works in the DMA:
Shiro Kuramata, “Miss Blanche” armchair, 1988
Alfred Thompson Bricher, Time and Tide, 1873
Asikpo Edet Okun of Ibonda, headcrest, late 19th–early 20th century

 

 

Dashing Paint

John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc., 1982.35

On an afternoon in London, a two-year-old girl posed for the American artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). Dorothy Williamson was the granddaughter of one of Sargent’s American patrons, and sat before one of society’s greatest portraitists. But how long could a toddler sit still? What might that studio visit have been like?

Sargent would have painted Dorothy in his Tite Street studio in London (Oscar Wilde and James McNeill Whistler had also lived on the street). Behind the imposing bricks, the room was packed with antique silks, Chinese screens, and a gramophone to play music for clients.

Dorothy herself was perched on one of the chairs the artist kept around the studio. Sargent was already familiar with painting upper-class children: to keep them entertained and holding a pose, he might bribe them with oranges, whistle a tune, or recite a limerick.

First, he would place the easel next to Dorothy so he could step back and visualize sitter and canvas together. Sargent advised his students to place lots of paint on the palette in order to create a thick layer on the canvas. With the brush, he would start to add flesh colors, apply dark tones for contours around the eyes and mouth, and finish it off with white highlights along the nose and rosy cheeks.

Rather than create preparatory sketches, he often worked ideas out on the canvas—even painting a portrait in one afternoon. To capture the wriggling toddler, Sargent set up a fast-paced sitting, seen in his sketchlike brushwork. As he looked at tones and shadows, suddenly a face would miraculously emerge from the background. He tried to use the fewest strokes, perhaps a single mark for Dorothy’s bangs or pursed lips. He dashed a blue line for a shadow under the pudgy cheeks and left bits of the cream canvas untouched to suggest voluminous feathers on the hat. Sargent also added a single mark of white to the hat for a flamboyant detail.

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He took breaks to play a song on the piano, and then jumped up to finish a few brushstrokes. Sitters described how he would run toward the canvas with a loaded brush of paint, balance a fragrant cigarette in his mouth, and suddenly make a single stroke on the canvas. Looking closely, you can almost see Sargent’s gestures, when he arched his brush, twisted the wrist, and finally made a stroke on the canvas. He described wanting to create portraits that were “alive”—capturing a sitter in the midst of moving or speaking. The result is Dorothy’s hand—energetic and vibrating strokes for the fingers.

Sargent would hold his brush in the air and then place it down upon the canvas exactly where he wanted it to fall. As described by one of his students, “The stroke resounded almost like a note in music.” My personal favorite is the gray line that travels down the pinafore, just one stroke to suggest the folds of the dress.

Finally, he added the finishing touch—the signature. On the upper left side of the canvas, Sargent playfully signed his name with the butt-end of the brush by scratching into the paint layers. Come visit little Dorothy in the Level 4 galleries and marvel at Sargent’s dazzling skill.

Lea Stephenson is the McDermott Graduate Intern for American Art at the DMA.

Who’s the Boss

Today is national Boss’s Day so we decided to look back on the legacy of one of the DMA’s former bosses, Jerry Bywaters.

Jerry Bywaters with his painting On the Ranch

Jerry Bywaters was the figurehead for the Dallas Nine, a group of artists from the 1930s who all focused on individual styles while working together to present unique aspects of the Texas landscape. Throughout his career, he was an art critic, professor, museum director, and, of course, a Texas artist. From 1943 to 1964, Bywaters served as Director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, which would merge with the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts to create the DMA in 1963. He believed museums should be responsible for inspiring and cultivating art within the community, something that is still very important to the DMA today.

Jerry Bywaters, Self-Portrait, 1935, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan E. Boeckman in honor of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, 1990.5

The DMA is fortunate to have a number of his works in our collection, including his paintings Share Cropper (1937) and On the Ranch (1941). Celebrate one of the DMA’s bosses with a visit to Level 4 to view Bywaters’, and his contemporaries’, work.

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

 

Artist Interview: xtine and Sabrina

This fall the Center for Creative Connections invited C3 Visiting Artists xtine burrough and Sabrina Starnaman to design in-gallery activities inspired by unattributed works of art in the DMA’s collection. Meet xtine and Sabrina here and learn more about their thoughtful installation and activities designed to engage a larger conversation about labor.

Tell us about yourselves.
We met in fall 2016 at the University of Texas at Dallas, where we discovered a shared passion for embodiment, literature, and workers’ rights. We became fast friends and quickly set forth to merge xtine’s interventions on crowdsourcing platforms with Sabrina’s expertise in literature, history, and labor.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
xtine delivered a talk about her project, Mechanical Olympics, in the C3 Theater during Fall 2015. While at the DMA, she saw that the Center provided a space for connecting the Dallas community with local artists who could leverage the educational team at the Museum to bring engaging art to diverse audiences through interactive media formats. This was a good fit for the type of exhibition that she and Starnaman wanted to create for The Laboring Self.

Tell us how the idea of your project originated.
The Laboring Self grew out of a pilot project, Digital Korl Woman, that we developed in Sabrina’s class “Studies in Women’s Literature: Rebels and Reformers” at the University of Texas at Dallas in spring 2017. Sabrina was teaching Rebecca Harding Davis’s 1861 novella Life in the Iron Mills in class, a book about unregulated labor in a steel mill, and we saw the potential for parallels between critical issues in labor across the centuries.

We initiated an exploratory collaboration in which we asked Sabrina’s students to create a participatory project much like the one we present in the C3 space. First, students hired virtual workers to interpret a section of Life in the Iron Mills by submitting selfies to reflect the feelings that the steel worker character expressed in a sculpture he made out of waste products from the industrial processes. These pictures were then used as inspiration for  a 3-D cardboard sculpture. Finally, the students chose parts of Davis’s book that they found important and layered them on the sculpture.

We were invited to share this project and the process at a number of academic conferences, and now an article about it is forthcoming in Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy.

The Laboring Self, which centers on reproductions of human hands—workers are “hired hands” after all—grew naturally from our classroom experience and continues to evolve in ways we find exciting and will be working on for some time. We document our ongoing projects on our website, Visible Women.

What do you hope visitors will take away from your project?
We hope that visitors will see a connection between the detrimental impacts of unregulated labor in the 19th and the 21st centuries. While contemporary digital and crowdsourced work seems different from the industrial labor that became common in the 19th century, there are many parallels. For instance, workers who enter evolving industries have few protections. Laborers in the 19th century were ultimately able to address some of the exploitative and dangerous conditions in their workplace, but today’s crowdsourced laborers have few mechanisms to voice their concerns.

It is important to us that visitors to C3 have a chance to reflect on their own work experiences and how it affects their bodies. Those who are, have, or will work are as much a part of the project as the digital laborers who provided their hands and thoughts for the installation. Through the interactive aspects of our project—all of which involve using hands and words—we ask visitors to create their own “hired hands.”

hands

What have you enjoyed most about this experience?
We love the process! It is an honor to be able to realize our vision in a space that includes participants from so many different communities. While we are excited to bring our families to the tables, trace our hands, our kids’ and spouse’s hands, and make rock-rubbings of the literary quotes on a Sunday afternoon, the journey is the most enjoyable part of the experience. From the day we sat together struggling with how much we would pay the workers on the Mechanical Turk website to the day we created and hung strands of hands on the wall of the C3 space, we learned a lot about ourselves and the world we live in, while making something that engages the community where we live and work.

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Visit the Center for Creative Connections through December to participate in activities and contribute your own responses to xtine and Sabrina’s The Laboring Self installation.

Join us for a reception in the Center for Creative Connections on October 26 and mingle with C3 Visiting Artists xtine burrough and Sabrina Starnaman in C3 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Kerry Butcher is the Center for Creative Connections Coordinator at the DMA.


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