Archive for the 'Behind-the-Scenes' Category

That’s a Wrap!

For thousands of years, cultures all around the world have practiced mummification to preserve departed loved ones and revered leaders along with objects that celebrated their life and prepared them for the afterlife. Check out these spook-tacular objects from the DMA’s collection related to mummification and join us on Saturday, October 29, at 2:00 p.m. for Mummies Unwrapped with DMA curators Dr. Anne Bromberg and Dr. Kimberly Jones.

Coffin of Horankh, c. 700 B.C.E., wood, gesso, paint, obsidian, calicite, and bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, 1994.184

Coffin of Horankh, Egypt, Thebes, c. 700 B.C.E., wood, gesso, paint, obsidian, calicite, and bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, 1994.184

For the ancient Egyptians, it was necessary to preserve the body so that the spirit could live on in the afterlife. Cartonnages, or coffins, were often highly personalized with a likeness of the owner and his or her name. Some include stories about the gods or even protection spells for specific parts of the owner’s body.

Canopic jars each held one of the mummified organs of a deceased person—the heart, lungs, intestines, and stomach. The four figures carved into the lids of the jars served as protectors for the organs inside. Since the heart was believed to be integral to the final judgment of a person’s soul, it was one of the most important organs to preserve.

Mantle with Condors, 300–100 B.C.E., camelid fiber, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in memory of John O’Boyle, 1972.4.McD

Mantle with condors, Peru, South Coast, 300–100 B.C.E., camelid fiber, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in memory of John O’Boyle, 1972.4.McD

This mantle was part of a funerary bundle from a Paracas burial. The deceased person, posed in a fetal position, would be wrapped in up to dozens of layers of handwoven garments embroidered with intricate designs—in this case condors with outspread wings.

Standing Female Figure, 1400–1540, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, collection of Andrew D. Christensen, gift of J.D. Christensen, 1983.633

Standing female figure, Peru, Inka (Inca), 1400–1540, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, collection of Andrew D. Christensen, gift of J. D. Christensen, 1983.633

This small figurine is similar to those used in an Inca sacrificial ritual known as capacocha. The preserved remains of young men and women who participated in capacocha rituals have been found in the Andean peaks clothed in fine textiles and accompanied by both human and animal figurines.

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

Untitled, But Not Insignificant

On your most recent visit, you might have noticed a new work of art in the Museum’s Concourse. Laura Owens’ whimsical piece Untitled (2004) was installed last week in honor of the artist’s recognition by TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art 2016 for her generous support of amfAR’s programs. TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art is an annual contemporary art auction held in the Richard Meier-designed Rachofsky House in Dallas, benefiting two organizations—the Dallas Museum of Art and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. Laura Owens will receive the amfAR Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS this Sunday during a brunch hosted by Cindy and Howard Rachofsky.


Best known for her large-scale paintings, Laura Owens came on the scene in the 1990s, creating engaging multifaceted compositions that are simultaneously fun and technique driven. Born in 1970, she received a B.F.A. in 1992 from the Rhode Island School of Design, and she graduated with an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts in 1994. For the past two decades, Laura’s work has inspired others to think outside the confines of modern painting. The artist now resides and works in Los Angeles.


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


Telling Stories

The DMA has enlisted the help of C3 Visiting Artist Ann Marie Newman to reimagine five Egyptian stories. Each story depicts Egyptian deities, many of which are represented in the upcoming exhibition Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt. Newman’s take on these stories will be available at a listening kiosk in the educational space of the exhibition. Before you visit, learn a little more about Ann Marie Newman and her process.


Tell us a little about yourself in fifty words or less.
I am a creative dreamer, storyteller, and artist. Using various materials and techniques, my sensory-rich, interactive stories are a unique fusion of colorful characters, improvisation, and fine art–inspired visuals. My love for people, stories, and art is made manifest through my life’s calling to be a storyteller, a “story sharer”!

How did you become interested in writing and storytelling?
In a purely organic way! I’ve always loved stories, hearing them told orally when I was small, and later, reading them in books. Being an intensely curious person, I discovered that folktales, legends, myths, and personal tales illuminated and helped me better understand the world and its people. Writing came about naturally as I embraced my creative need to tell the stories and to share my joy, love, and respect for them with others.

Describe your process of reimagining the Egyptian stories for the Divine Felines educational space.
It starts with research: reading three or more versions of each myth, studying the images and descriptions of the gods and goddesses, looking at maps of Egypt, noting cultural details. I jot everything down in a mess of chaotic writing only I can decipher—LOL!

Then it’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, except I don’t have a picture on the box lid to use for a guide. Instead, I create a movie of the myth in my mind. I look at all the pieces and select a starting point, a dramatic statement that allows the story to unfold. During the movie, I note how I feel emotionally, how my body feels, what senses are awoken. If something doesn’t “feel” right, I go back and reimagine it until it does. The ability to daydream is huge for me, and I like best to do it in cozy little coffee shops for some reason. All these tales were written, except one, in a quaint little coffee shop along the Truckee River in Reno, Nevada.

Which story is your favorite and why?
Pick a favorite!?! I love them all. Under the surface of these myths lie deeply symbolic meanings and analogies about the human condition.

Take the myth of Sakhmet for instance. Sent by the gods to punish mankind, Sakhmet is the embodiment of the ferocious lioness on a hunt. Her destructive nature knows no constrain; she quickly begins exterminating mankind from the earth. She is eventually stopped, tricked by her own gluttony. She passes out cold. Upon awakening, she immediately falls in love with Ptah, a god whose name means Life and Stability. She forgets her past, marries Ptah, and they give birth to Nefertum, whose name means Mercy. Thus, Sakhmet’s destructive ferocity disappears when she embraces life and stability, and this brings mercy. The insightful wisdom in this myth makes it a favorite of mine.


What did you enjoy most about working on this project?
Discovering the powerful, protective, clever “superwomen” goddesses of ancient Egyptian mythology. I have been a storyteller for over twenty years, and somehow I’d missed these amazing myths about strong, heroic women. They deserve more attention, and I am a very happy storyteller who can do just that.

I should also mention a cat owns me. His name is Leonidas and he is king of our home. After working on the myths, I enjoyed becoming more appreciative of his cat characteristics. He is a male, but he inhabits all the good traits of the goddesses, and even a few of the not so good, but he is still simply divine.

Visit Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt, on view October 9, 2016, through January 8, 2017, to see more than eighty objects featuring domestic cats, feline deities, cat burial practices, and luxury items decorated with feline features, as well as a small section on dogs. Be sure to stop in and listen to Ann Marie Newman’s reimagined Egyptian stories in the educational space.

Stop by the October 21 cat-themed Late Night for lectures and programs related to Divine Felines. Ann Marie Newman will perform stories of Warrior Goddesses of Ancient Egypt at 7:30 p.m. in the C3 Theater.

And mark your calendars for the upcoming Divine Felines–themed Gallery Talks by Dr. Anne Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art; storyteller Ann Marie Newman; and Aditi Samarth, Professor of Humanities.

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

Fairground Count Down

This Friday marks the opening day for the State Fair of Texas. As you countdown the days and plan your visit, get your fair-fix by stopping at the Center for Creative Connections (C3) to view these recently installed photographs by Texas based photographer, filmmaker, and journalist Geoff Winningham.

These are part of Winningham’s photographic series, “A Texas Dozen.” In total, twelve of the fifteen photographs from this series are currently on view at the DMA.

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

Connecting Fibers

Alexandria Clifton and Kyli Brook are two students of UNT professor Lesli Robertson and both recent grads from the college’s Fibers program. Earlier this year, they set off to research the process of making traditional batik on the island of Java. They were tasked with the challenge (and we are so glad they accepted!) with producing eight batik samples that illustrate the complex creative process of traditional batik makers. These samples will be installed in Waxed: Batik from Java, opening this weekend on Level 3. (Read a little more about the process and the installation in this post.)

Clifton and Brook’s journey began with a trip to the DMA’s textile storage with curator Roslyn Walker and preparator Mary Nicolett to examine some of the textiles up close and personal. These works are incredibly detailed, and photos alone do not do them justice!

Back in the studio on UNT’s campus, they mixed wax based on traditional Javanese recipes. The wax must be sufficiently durable to resist dye, but also removable. Their research determined that both hand-drawn and stamped batiks involve an initial application of a brittle but easily removable wax mix (klowong) followed by various applications of a stickier, more durable wax mix (templok). The ingredients for hand-drawn wax—their method of wax application—include paraffin, pine resin, beeswax, and fat. Wax for stamp application also includes eucalyptus gum. They used strips of fabric to test out the waxes.

Today in Central Java, indigo dye is generally made from indigo paste, lime, and ferrous sulfate mixed with water. A soga brown dye mixture includes bark from various trees and shrubs. In an effort to be as authentic to the process as possible, Clifton and Brook also used natural dyes for their project. (Learn about UNT’s cool Natural Dye Garden here.)

The design of their final eight samples is based on the motif of the red wraparound skirt (kain panjang) with blue clouds (megamenlang). Ultimately, the concentric outlines of this motif more clearly illustrate how to produce gradated hues with subsequent wax applications and dyeing; however, throughout their process the two tested a multitude of designs, all inspired by the DMA’s collection.

During their research Clifton and Brook compiled a robust binder of samples and experiments and shared it with us. I was particularly impressed because even their notes are lovely!

Not only are Clifton and Brook’s “finished” products on view in the exhibition, but visitors can actually touch and feel the samples. During the fall semester, we look forward to receiving a second set of batiks from Amie Adelman’s class. A HUGE thank you to our friends and colleagues from the UNT Fibers program for another wonderful collaboration!

Andrea Severin Goins is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA.

Meet the McDermott Interns



September is already upon us, which means it’s once again time to meet our new McDermott Interns. Each year we offer nine internship positions—four in the Museum’s Education Department and five in the Curatorial Department—to talented individuals who are interested in exploring museum careers. Established in 1974, the McDermott Internship Program allows interns to work closely with staff throughout the Museum and provides opportunities for individual contributions. Below you’ll find some brief background information on our brilliant new bunch, along with their official positions.

Grace Diepenbrock
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching
Grace completed her BA in Studio Art at Mars Hill University in North Carolina. She most recently served as the Family Programs Assistant at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where she led programs for families and early learners. Grace has also held positions with the EdVenture Children’s Museum and the Madison County Arts Council, where she developed the curriculum for an art-based afterschool program.

Kelly Filreis
McDermott Graduate Intern for Contemporary Art
Kelly received her BFA in Print/Paper/Book from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and recently completed her MA in Art History from the University of California, Riverside. While at UCR, Kelly served as the Art History Graduate Student Association Vice President and coordinated the 2016 Art History Graduate Student Conference. She has also worked with multiple galleries in Minneapolis to coordinate exhibitions and special artist projects.

Sara Greenberg
McDermott Graduate Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live
Sara completed her BA in Art History at the University of Denver and recently earned her MA in Art History from the University of California, Riverside. As a collections intern at the California Museum of Photography, she initiated a print viewing program to provide increased accessibility to the collection. While in Denver, Sara held internships at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Denver Art Museum, where she helped organize their monthly late night program, Untitled Final Friday.

Angela Medrano
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching
Angela recently earned her BA from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, where she majored in American Studies. During her time at Dickinson, Angela founded a program for university student volunteers to learn and teach American Sign Language to early learners at the Dickinson College Children’s Center. Angela also worked with the university’s Trout Gallery to facilitate art-based wellness programs and programs for K–12 visitors.

Dana Olesch
McDermott Intern for Ancient American Art
Dana recently earned her BA in Anthropology and History from Beloit College in Wisconsin. During her time at Beloit, Dana served as a teaching assistant for multiple courses and worked with the college’s Logan Museum of Anthropology to create teaching materials for high school and college students based on the museum’s Andean and North American collections. She has also participated in archaeological excavations of domestic sites in Virginia and Peru.

Francesca Soriano
McDermott Intern for American Art
Francesca recently earned her BA in Art History from Colby College in Maine. While completing her degree, Francesca worked with the Colby College Museum of Art in various roles, including that of curatorial intern, student docent, and co-chair of the Student Advisory Board. She has also held internships with galleries in New York, Paris, and Berlin, during which she gained experience in development, communications, and exhibitions.

Marta Torres
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement
Marta earned her BA in Arts and Humanities from the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey and her Masters in Art Education with an emphasis on Museology from Caribbean University. Marta has worked with multiple departments at the Dr. Pio Lopez Martinez Museum of Art in Cayey, gaining experience in education, collections, and curatorial research. She also held a position researching and organizing the archives of artist Antonio Martorell.

Amy Wojciechowski
Dedo and Barron Kidd McDermott Graduate Intern for European Art
Amy received her BA in History from Oberlin College and holds her MA in the History of Art from Bryn Mawr College, where she is in the process of completing her PhD. Amy curated an exhibition of special collections at Bryn Mawr’s Carpenter Library and has also held a curatorial internship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she contributed to an exhibition on Fernand Léger. She has also served as a student docent and education intern at Oberlin’s Allen Memorial Art Museum.

Megan Zembower
McDermott Intern for African Art
Megan recently completed her BA in Art History and French at Denison University in Ohio. While at Denison, Megan held positions as a teaching assistant and as a research assistant, working with her professor to organize an exhibition of contemporary art at Kenyon College’s Gund Gallery. Megan has also conducted architectural research on the Simon Jude Chancognie House, a historic 19th-century home located in Charleston.

Sarah Coffey is the Education Coordinator at the DMA. 

Meet Our Director

This month marks the arrival of the DMA’s new Eugene McDermott Director, Agustín Arteaga. Uncrated sat down with him in the Museum galleries to get to know him a bit better:

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