Archive for the 'Behind-the-Scenes' Category

Puppy Love

We love hearing from our visitors about their experiences at the DMA. We especially enjoy learning about ways art touches lives. We recently received an e-mail from Mark and his granddaughter Fiona. Their story brought a smile to so many of the DMA staff that we asked if we could share their visit on Uncrated:

Earlier this month I took my seven-year-old granddaughter to the DMA. We visited the European galleries to look at paintings, more like glances as we raced by all the paintings. But we stopped at a large painting that depicts the myth of Zeus turning into a bull to woo his love. I asked Fi what she thought of this “crazy painting” when a woman paused near us. She shared the story the painting represented and then asked Fiona a question I should have asked at the beginning of our visit: “What kind of paintings do you like to see?”
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Without hesitation my granddaughter said animals. She told us that she had the perfect painting for us, one that Fiona would love. The painting was not where she expected it to be and a gallery attendant, named Joyce, told us the painting was “taking a rest” but that she knew of more work depicting animals. While we were touring these animal paintings, Fiona and Joyce swapped pet stories and advice, both agreeing that you need to tell your pets that you love them every day.
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After exploring the galleries we stopped at the hands-on area of the DMA (The Center for Creative Connections), where you can make your own work of art. Fiona drew and was able to make a rabbit sculpture with a piece of egg crate and pipe cleaners. She was very proud of her work and asked if she could keep it, and I told her yes. She then surprised me by saying she wanted to give it to the nice lady, Joyce.
joyce 2

A museum can be a cold, intimidating experience, but we found such warmth from our two encounters with DMA staff.
– Mark

We caught up with Joyce in the galleries to talk about her encounter with Mark and Fiona. She told us one of her favorite things about the job is being able to interact with our visitors, especially the youngest visitors like Fiona, and share her love of art. She was extremely moved by Fiona’s gift, which she has fondly named Fiona in her honor, and can’t wait to run into them on their next visit.

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

The Soundtrack to Vermeer Suite

Viols, virginals, flutes, and lutes! The small, masterful paintings in Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, each featuring an individual playing or holding an instrument, indicate the popularity and prevalence of music—both as artistic subject matter and as activity—in the Netherlands during the 17th century.

Interestingly, the associations with music at the time ran the gamut from divine gift to causing irreparable moral damage. On one side of the spectrum, music was spiritual medicine, played solely to glorify God. On the other side, music making was perceived as a worldly pleasure and at odds with Protestant values, diverting one’s attention away from spiritual salvation. Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, music playing and listening functioned as a polite form of entertainment for the elite upper classes. It was played in the household in the same way we might gather around and play charades or watch a football game today. Playing music was also a means for solidifying social and professional relationships, and it was a socially acceptable way for unmarried people to interact—to essentially be on a date without a chaperone. Beyond the household, elites could find a quasi-public outlet for practice and performance in a collegium musicum—a small group of amateur musicians that convened in one of its members’ homes or a location approved by the city council. Members of the lower classes could visit muziekherbergen (music inns), which made instruments available for patrons. At a music inn, a capable player who refused to perform was required to purchase a round of drinks for the whole tavern as penalty!

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With the artists’ careful attention to detail and intricate treatment of surfaces, the realistic paintings in Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting transport us to a lively Dutch street corner or an intimate living room gathering. While we can almost hear the music that likely accompanied these scenes, visitors to the exhibition do not have to imagine it. In the exhibition’s adjacent gallery, visitors can actually listen to the paintings’ soundtracks. Songs by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), one of the most prolific Dutch songwriters to achieve international renown, will be played continuously. A professional organist who served the Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Amsterdam for forty-four years, Sweelinck was one of the first major composers of keyboard music in Europe.

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Additionally, a sound bar in this interactive gallery offers visitors the opportunity to listen to the distinct sound of each of the instruments depicted in the paintings and learn about how they were played. Visit the DMA through August 21 to enjoy the visual and aural experience of Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, which is included in the Museum’s daily free general admission.

Andrea Severin Goins is the Interpretation Manager at the DMA.

Images: Jacob Adriaensz Ochtervelt, A Singing Violinist, c. 1666–70, oil on panel, © The Leiden Collection, New York; Gerard ter Borch, A Musical Company, c. 1642–44, oil on panel, © The Leiden Collection, New York; Lutes, Michael Praetorius, Syntagma Musicum, 1619. Syntagma Musicum is a three-volume treatise written by the German musicologist Michael Praetorius between 1614 and 1620; Jan Steen, Self-Portrait with a Lute, n.d., oil on canvas, © The Leiden Collection, New York

A New Lady in Town

This past weekend, the DMA introduced a very special guest to visitors: Johannes Vermeer’s painting Young Woman Seated at a Virginal from The Leiden Collection in New York. Everyone was excited to see her arrive in Dallas, and we captured the moment she was placed in the DMA gallery.

This 17th-century Dutch painting is one of only 36 Vermeer paintings in existence and one of only a few in private collections. This small but powerful piece is the inspiration for Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, a DMA-organized exhibition of 17th-century Dutch paintings on view through August 21, 2016, and included in our daily free general admission.

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

My Definition of Pop

It is almost time for us to say goodbye, auf wiedersehen, adiós, and sayōnara to International Pop, an exhibition that explores the world of Pop art through more than 125 works drawn from over 13 countries on 4 continents. The DMA Member magazine, Artifacts, asked several participating artists for their own personal definition of Pop to celebrate the October opening of the exhibition at the DMA. Check out their responses below, and stop by the DMA before January 17 to find out what Pop art means to you.

Jana Želibská's Toaletta I (Toiletta I) and Toaletta II (Toiletta II) from 1966 on the left.

Jana Želibská’s Toaletta I (Toiletta I) and Toaletta II (Toiletta II) from 1966 at left

Jana Želibská |  Slovakia, born Czechoslovakia
Pop meant for me a way to express myself as a woman, to articulate my ideas in the new contemporary visual language—language totally different from the academic media and topics that we were taught by the professors at the academy—literally a new realism. Aside from that, Pop also meant for me the Youth as such and a way to communicate with the new harmonious world of future, in which men and women will be equal in both their rights and desires, minds and bodies.

Eduardo Costa's Fashion fiction 1: Vogue, 1968 (photographer: Richard Avedon; model: Marisa Berenson) from 1968.

Eduardo Costa’s Fashion Fiction 1: Vogue USA, Feb. 1, 1968 (photographer: Richard Avedon; model: Marisa Berenson), from 1966-68

Eduardo Costa |  Argentina
Pop is a small usual object magnified many, many times and presented as a sculpture. Pop is a silkscreen print representing the face of a famous movie star left to the imagination of a sophisticated artist. Pop is a pretty girl showing off her lovely face and body from all angles. Pop is a professional body builder posing. Pop is an electric chair. Pop is the lonely image of a highway seen sometimes from a moving car. Pop is a flag representing a whole country in the space of a painting. Pop is a gold prop in the shape of an ear of gold reproduced in millions of copies of fashion magazines. Pop is a philosophy disguised as trivia and presented as art. Pop is basically a wind of life and energy from the popular mind that reaches all over the globe. Pop art seems to require no effort to be understood. Pop is best served with many definitions.

Ushio Shinohara's 1968 piece Oiran on the left.

Ushio Shinohara’s 1968 work Oiran on the left

Ushio Shinohara |  Japan
For the work Oiran (1968) I chose Japanese ukiyoe (pictures of the floating world) as my creative theme due to the influence of Pop art. First, I removed the eyes, nose, and mouth from the woodblock print of a famous picture of a courtesan. Second, I simplified her hair accessory and kimono design. Third, I used fluorescent paint. As a result, it became a great work of art that is much flashier than the original woodblock print. In this way, the image was reborn as a contemporary painting.

(Rosalyn Drexler's Sorry About That from 1966 on the right.)

Rosalyn Drexler’s Sorry About That from 1966 on the right

Rosalyn Drexler | United States
Pop is the sound made when a cork is removed from a bottle. It announces that the “liquid” in the bottle is ready to be released. It is a reminder that Pop is an announcement of what is to come. If you are sleeping, Pop will wake you up. It is in the same class as an alarm clock. Simply put, the public at large may not have to struggle with MEANING any longer, but may at last understand the painting. It means nothing. It repeats itself. It advertises what it is, and nothing else. It does reveal the careful hand of the artist and his/her acceptance of nothing done beautifully. The more things change, the more one’s expectations are short-changed. However . . . ignore the label; press one on yourselves. Wash in cold water. Do not iron. The wrinkles are permanent. Pop is not Mom.

Delia Cancela 1966 Portrait of Girls and Boys: Antoine and Karine (Retrato Muchachas y Muchachos: Antoine y Karine) on the left.

Delia Cancela’s 1966 Portrait of Girls and Boys: Antoine and Karine (Retrato Muchachas y Muchachos: Antoine y Karine) at left

Delia Cancela |  Argentina
Pop was, for me, a label that I accepted. Critics said I was Pop; they wrote it. Personally, I don’t like categories. Then, in my life, what counted was pop music, cinema, and fashion, and women’s social situation too. Also, as I intended to introduce fashion into art language, magazines were part of my inspiration. My partnership with Pablo Mesejean was not only artistic but personal too. Life and art mingled. Jorge Romero Brest, the art critic who was at the time the director of the Institute Di Tella’s Visual Arts department, said that Pablo Mesejean and I were the most truly Pop artists of our generation.

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

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!

 

Sketching a Collection

To celebrate the opening of the DMA’s newly renovated Arts of Africa Galleries, we put together something fun.

This video, featuring thirty sketches, highlights the creativity and talent of our visitors and showcases their unique perspectives and imagination.

These drawings were originally hung on a temporary wall on Level 3 in the Museum until late August. We’re lucky to have such talented visitors, and we are pleased to be able to show off some of their work on Uncrated.

 

Gregory Castillo is the Multimedia Producer at the DMA.

Preserving Pollock: A Conversation about Art Conservation

Jim Coddington at work on Jackson Pollock’s One: Number 31, 1950 in the Conservation Studio at MoMA

Jim Coddington at work on Jackson Pollock’s One: Number 31, 1950 in the Conservation Studio at MoMA

I’ll be talking with Jim Coddington, the Chief Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, this Friday evening, November 20, at 9:00 p.m. about his extensive experience with the work of Jackson Pollock. We’ll be discussing the materials and techniques Pollock used in his paintings, the ways in which those materials have aged and changed over the years, and how conservators approach the preservation challenges that Pollock’s works present.

For a preview of some of the topics that we’ll touch upon, you can have a look at the “Jackson Pollock Conservation Project” blog posts that Jim has been making over the past few years.

MoMA has generously lent Echo: Number 25, 1951 to the Dallas Museum of Art for the Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots exhibition, opening Friday, November 20:

Echo Number 25 1951

Jackson Pollock, Echo: Number 25, 1951, 1951, enamel on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest and the Mr. and Mrs. David Rockefeller Fund, © 2015 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jim carried out technical studies and conservation treatment on Echo, and we will be discussing some of the details of that work during our Late Night conversation. Here is a photo of the reverse of Echo during its treatment, with the stretcher removed, which reveals darkening of the canvas where it had been in direct contact with the wood stretcher support:

Conservation Blog Post

In addition to a behind-the-scenes look at the conservation treatments that Jim has undertaken, we’ll also examine Pollock’s working methods. Jim and his colleagues at MoMA have done pioneering analytical studies of Pollock’s materials and techniques, lending new insight into our understanding of this extraordinary artist’s work. Join us this Friday at the DMA!

Pollock in Studio

Source: MoMA.org

Mark Leonard is the Chief Conservator at the DMA.


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