Archive for the 'Arts & Letters Live' Category

Uncrating 2015

At the DMA, 2015 was a great year full of art, fun, and visitors enjoying an array of exhibitions, programs, and events. Highlights include the fifth anniversary of two of our access programs (Autism Awareness Family Celebrations and Meaningful Moments), the presentation of four DMA-organized exhibitions (Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga, Michaël Borremans: As sweet as it gets, Spirit and Matter: Masterpieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, and Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots), eleven Late Nights, an active year of paintings and object conservation, dozens of classes and art camps for kids, the hosting of our third naturalization ceremony, the topping out of the Museum’s new Eagle Family Plaza and north entrance, and more than 700,000 visitors in 2015. We can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!

 

Silver Belles Lettres

The DMA Arts & Letters Live series is thrilled to celebrate its 25th season—our silver anniversary—in 2016! As the DMA’s literary and performing arts series, we are known for presenting literary icons, and this year is no different, with authors from Hanya Yanagihara (author of one of the most talked about books of 2015), Erik Larson, Dave Isay, Daniel James Brown, Rainn Wilson, Elizabeth GilbertPadma Lakshmi, and Kate Tempest, just to name a few. We’re kicking off the season with an award-winning duo of “Memoiristas” on January 11: Mary Karr, who will discuss her new book The Art of Memoir, and Tony and Emmy Award–winning actor Mary-Louise Parker, who will play Mary Karr in Showtime’s forthcoming series Lit.

This year you may notice a new look on the cover of our season brochure, which you can view online or pick up in person the next time you visit the Museum. The DMA hosts a staff art show every two years, and I’ve always admired Cathy Davis-Famous’s (you’ve probably all met Cathy on a visit to the DMA; she is always ready with a smile and warm hello at our Visitor Services Desk) whimsical paper dolls made out of discarded exhibition rack cards and notecards. So, I invited her to create a special cover for our 25th season brochure. Here’s what she has to say about designing it:

“When I was asked if I would be interested in creating a design feature for the cover of the DMA Arts & Letters Live brochure celebrating its 25th anniversary, I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe it–what an honor to be considered for this milestone event. During the fifteen years that I’ve been a part of the DMA, there has always been an impressive lineup of authors and great books. One of my favorite moments is meeting Nanny McPhee’s Emma Thompson at the booksigning table, where I made her burst into a roaring laugh when I told her that I still cry with her at the end of Sense and Sensibility when she finds out Edward Ferris isn’t married. I’ll never forget that!

“I was supplied with an large stack of images of many book covers of great authors, titles, illustrators, and photography, so much to choose from. Then the excitement gave way to stress and the pressure of coming up with a design worthy of this 25th year recognition.

“I had two or three ideas in mind, so I looked through past projects for inspiration but kept going back to what I enjoy creating the most, “Paperdolls.” I needed an image that could display a variety of covers. With the space that I had to work within, the best design would be the likeness of a Marie Antoinette–style, 17th-century fashion big skirt.

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“I proceeded to clip out images of book covers and arranged them and rearranged them until the pattern was suitable. Then I began to piece the paper images onto the template of the doll parts using paper glue, tweezers, and a toothpick. Time intensive but gratifying, she is outfitted with some of Arts & Letters Live’s best! Thanks for letting me be a part of the celebration.”

 

The 25th season promises to deliver several exciting one-of-a-kind experiences. We hope you enjoy this star-studded special anniversary season as much as we enjoyed bringing together these award-winning authors, actors, and performers. Visit DMA.org now to see our entire season and purchase your tickets.

 Carolyn Bess is the Director of Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA; Cathy Davis-Famous is a Visitor Services Representative at the Museum.

Our Portal Into Publishing

View from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group located in the famous Flatiron Bldg

View from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group located in the famous Flatiron Building

The annual DMA Arts & Letters Live planning trip to New York provides the foundation for each season of the DMA’s literary and performing arts series. During more than 30 meetings in five days at the end of July, Carolyn Bess and I learned which authors are generating a lot of buzz for their new books, and who will be on tour during our 25th anniversary season. These meetings provide a portal into the publishing world not yet revealed to the media or to the public. Here begins the dialogue regarding the authors and books publishers want to catapult into public conversation. We share statistics and successes from our recent events as we attempt to woo such “wish list” writers as Donna Tartt, Bill Bryson, and Nick Hornby. Authors often tour to a predetermined number of cities and only for a short time following their book release date, so there can be significant competition when it comes to securing them for Arts & Letters Live. We seek to balance the type of books, speakers, and performances we feature in each season to construct a mix of literary and historical fiction, poetry, memoir, nonfiction, pop culture, and emerging authors.

Though our meeting schedule certainly kept us busy, we managed to squeeze a few excellent cultural outings into our visit. The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed illustrated memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was excellent and would fit nicely into our Artful Musings category (if only Alison weren’t in such high demand these days!). We enjoyed seeing Gerald Murphy’s Cocktail on view in the glorious new Renzo Piano building of the Whitney Museum of American Art as we look forward to hosting Liza Klaussmann tomorrow night at the DMA for her new fictional account of Sara and Gerald Murphy in Villa America. On a Friday evening visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we joined the Museum Hack tour for what their brochure terms “a highly interactive, subversive, fun, non-traditional museum tour.” Their strategy did not disappoint. During our three-hour tour, we learned obscure and whimsical tidbits about a select number of pieces in the Met’s collection and wandered the galleries after hours, inciting childhood fantasies of spending the night in the Met like Claudia in E. L. Konigsburg’s iconic novel, The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

One of the things that impressed me most during these meetings was the number of times publishers commented on the excellent reputation of the Dallas Museum of Art and Arts & Letters Live. After working on events with publicists all year via phone and e-mail, it is gratifying to meet with them in person and to hear how much they appreciate the quality of events that we host at the DMA. The professional relationships built and fostered during this New York trip are a key component to Arts & Letters Live’s success.

Michelle Witcher is the Program Manager, Arts & Letters Live, at the DMA.

French Riviera Fête

Celebrate artist Gerald Murphy and the Roaring ‘20s on Thursday, August 13, at the DMA’s French Riviera Fête!

Gerald and Sara Murphy on La Garoupe beach, Antibes, summer 1926 Gerald and Sara Murphy Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly

Gerald and Sara Murphy on La Garoupe beach, Antibes, summer 1926. Gerald and Sara Murphy Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly.

In 1921, Gerald Murphy, his wife, Sara, and their three children set sail from New York to France. Their house, Villa America on the coast of Antibes on the French Riviera, became the site of legendary parties and the hub of an illustrious social circle that included expatriates F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, and many others. (Gerald and Sara were the real-life inspirations for Fitzgerald’s novel Tender Is the Night.) There, in their oasis by the sea, the Murphys entertained their friends with flamboyant beach parties, fiery debates over the newest ideas, and dinners beneath the stars.

On August 13, we’re having a French Riviera Fête of our own! Kick off the evening with jazz music by the Texas Gypsies and bring your dance partner. Come dressed in 1920s attire or borrow some of our props and take a selfie in our Murphy-inspired photo booth. Sip the featured cocktail (Gerald’s own recipe for “Juice of a Few Flowers”), and take tours of art by Murphy and those who inspired him.

Gerald Murphy, Razor, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly

Gerald Murphy, Razor, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist, © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly

Gerald Murphy, Watch, 1925, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly

Gerald Murphy, Watch, 1925, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist, © Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly

Gerald Murphy only painted for seven years, and only eight of his fifteen known canvases survive today. The DMA is fortunate to own two of those surviving works: Watch and Razor. Murphy gave them directly to the Museum out of gratitude for the role its curator Douglas McAgy played in reviving his reputation as an important artist.

In 2008, the DMA hosted the exhibition Making It New about the Murphys; in a review by the New York Times, Murphy was called “the progenitor of Pop Art.” So after learning more about Gerald Murphy on August 13, mark your calendars for our International Pop exhibition opening in October.

duo

As part of this celebration, Arts & Letters Live will feature bestselling author Liza Klaussmann at 8:00 p.m. She will share insights into her new historical novel, Villa America. Pre-order your book and buy tickets to hear her speak. Actors will also do dramatic readings of letters between Gerald, Sara, and their friends. How about bringing your book club to enjoy this festive night together?

Liza Klaussmann has quite the literary pedigree herself—she’s the great-great-great granddaughter of Herman Melville. A former journalist, Klaussmann was born in Brooklyn and spent ten years living in Paris. She currently lives in London.

“Liza Klaussmann’s Villa America is so artful and compassionate that I couldn’t fail to love the Murphys and everyone who fell into their orbit during those Lost Generation years, all of them fascinating and flawed and human. This is a beautifully rendered story.”―Therese Anne Fowler, author of “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald”

Want to read more about Sara and Gerald Murphy? I highly recommend these books too:
Amanda Vaill, Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy, a Lost Generation Love Story, 1998
Linda Patterson Miller, ed., Letters from the Lost Generation: Gerald and Sara Murphy and Friends, 2002

 

Carolyn Bess is the Director of Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

A Soft Touch

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This evening, in advance of our special DMA Arts & Letters Live event with Rebecca Alexander, who will discuss her memoir about losing her vision and hearing due to a rare genetic disease, we will host our first Touch Tour for adults in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden. Last summer, the DMA hosted a similar tour for a group of children with visual impairment; you can explore photos from the event below and learn more about the history here.

Tonight, artist John Bramblitt will lead participants to three works of art and then discuss his process as an artist who happens to be blind. The all-inclusive tour for those attending the Arts & Letters Live event (those with full vision will be given blindfolds for the tour) begins at 6:15 p.m. Visit DMA.org for additional information about tonight’s program and to purchase tickets.

Amanda Blake is the Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences at the DMA. 

Forget Fashion Week—It’s Fashion Season at the DMA

If you can’t make it to New York or Paris for Fashion Week, don’t worry, the DMA spring collection of fashion events has arrived! Join us for talks exploring fashion—from ancient hairstyles this Thursday, March 5, to what our modern-day fashion choices symbolize about us on Tuesday, June 9.

Figure of a woman, Roman Empire, A.D. 2nd century, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green

Figure of a woman, Roman Empire, 2nd century A.D., marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green

Boshell Lecture: The Art of Ancient Hairdressing
Thursday, March 5, 7:00 p.m.
See ancient sculptures in a whole new way through the eyes of hairdressing archaeologist Janet Stephens as she explores how the ancient Greeks and Romans created complex hairstyles.

After Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen, n.d., engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

After Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen, n.d., engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

Fashioning Jane Austen
Friday, March 20, 7:00 p.m.
Explore the elegant and extreme styles of Jane Austen’s time with costume designer and fashion historian David James Cole.

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Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI
Thursday, April 30, 7:00 p.m.
Dr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell presents her newest book, Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI, an engrossing chronicle of one of the most exciting, controversial, and extravagant periods in the history of fashion: the reign of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

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Fashioning Our Identities
Tuesday, June 9, 7:30 p.m.
The editors of the visually compelling book Women in Clothes, Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton, will have a spirited conversation about what informs and motivates women in their daily clothing choices and what those fashion choices symbolize and reflect about our lives. Over 600 surveys of women across races, creeds, religions, and ages reveal that there are myriad responses to the question “what does style mean to you?” Fashion designer Lela Rose will share insights into her creative process and how artists have inspired some of her designs.

A Table fit for a Contessa

Today is what the DMA Arts & Letters Live team has been waiting for since we began planning this event last July: INA GARTEN DAY!

ina

We are hosting the lovely Ina Garten tonight as part of the 2015 DMA Arts & Letters Live season. To celebrate the Barefoot Contessa’s visit to Dallas, below are some of my favorite pieces from the DMA’s collection that are fit for any fête in the Hamptons with Ina! Explore the DMA collection galleries for free and plan your fantasy table setting.

If you missed getting tickets to Ina Garten’s event, foodies are in still in luck, we are hosting the amazing chef Marcus Samuellson on March 27, get tickets now online.


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