Archive for the 'Center for Creative Connections' Category

The Name Game

In our Center for Creative Connections, we provide opportunities for visitors to respond to works of art through discussion, drawing, making, and writing.

Due to its history of multiple names, Arthur John Elsley’s Hard Pressed (Late for School/Any Port in a Storm) provides us with an opportunity to ask visitors to rename the painting.

Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan

Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan

When reading through the responses, we were surprised by how many were pop culture references. Check out some of our favorites.

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Next time you are in the Center for Creative Connections, add your contribution to the wall and maybe you will see it on Uncrated!

Jessica Fuentes is the Center for Creative Connections Gallery Coordinator at the DMA.

A (Warm) Winter Wonderland: Autism Awareness Family Celebration

This past Saturday, we had the first Autism Awareness Family Celebration of the year. Our theme was snowy weather, which was a fun contradiction to the sunny Texas forecast that we had for the day. Families who attend every Autism Awareness Family Celebration joined first-time families for a fun morning in the Center for Creative Connections making pom-pom snowflake paintings in the studio, relaxing in the TWU sensory room, sketching from works of art in the galleries, and gathering resources from Autism Speaks. Check out all of the DMA’s access programs online at DMA.org.

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

Leaves of Light with Writer Kendra Greene

 

Kendra Greene, the DMA's current Writer-in-Residence

Kendra Greene, the DMA’s current Writer-in-Residence

Since July 2014, the Center for Creative Connections (C3) has worked closely with printer and essayist Kendra Greene. As our Writer-in-Residence, Kendra is assisting in the evaluation and re-purposing of thousands of visitor responses received in relation to a recent C3 installation.

Images (left to right): A Panel Depicting the Tuba Tree, with the 99 Names of God on its Leaves, c. 1900, watercolor on paper, The James and Ana Melikian Collection; Visitors leaving responses at the C3's Tree of "LIGHT" interactive

Images (left to right): A Panel Depicting the Tuba Tree, with the 99 Names of God on its Leaves, c. 1900, watercolor on paper, The James and Ana Melikian Collection; Visitors leaving responses at the C3’s Tree of “LIGHT” interactive

In the spring of 2014, in connection with Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World, C3 asked visitors to respond to a painting of a Tuba tree with the 99 names of God written on its leaves. Nur is the Arabic word for “light,” so we asked visitors to write a characteristic of light on a gold leaf and hang it on our tree. Over three months, we received 4,394 contributions.

Uncrated sat down with Kendra and asked her a few questions:

Tell us a little about your background with museums.
In my first job, as a preparator, I used to put text on the museum wall—one vinyl letter at a time. As a curatorial assistant, I started writing those texts. I was managing a contemporary photography collection when I discovered the best day I could have was introducing a visitor to some remarkable thing they could never have known to ask for, which may or may not have led to volunteering at a natural history museum to costume their giant ground sloth.

What interested you in working with the Dallas Museum of Art?
Museums are storytelling institutions, and yet so many of those stories go unheard. There’s never enough room on the labels to say everything worth saying, and then there’s the internal stories, the fragile oral history of what it is to live with a museum, that almost never get recorded in the first place. I wanted to capture stories that might otherwise be lost, and I wanted to give voice to surprising things well worth hearing.

Describe your process of unpacking and making sense of the information in the leaves.
The prospect of coming to grips with thousands of discrete words and phrases was overwhelming. I started alphabetizing to organize the leaves, and doing so I found not just patterns of meaning but rhythms of language. I got really interested in the effect of proportion in the responses: the power of “Love” being repeated 242 times, and the power of “Flowers & Weeds” being said just once.

Kendra’s notebook documenting the Tuba tree responses

Kendra’s notebook documenting the Tuba tree responses

What are some of your favorite poems that you generated from the leaf responses?

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How does this kind of creative re-purposing support the process of meaning making?
I’m a writer and a maker essentially because I believe in conversation. It’s exciting whenever creating something generates a response, but when that response generates more making, the whole exchange grows that much richer. It was really important to me to listen to everything this collection of visitors chose to say, and then think about what those writings had to say both individually and en masse. I see a lot of my questions and interpretations in my compositions from the leaves, but mostly I see a portrait of a community that can only happen through collaboration.

Join Kendra Greene for an evening of discovering the galleries through language, unlocking the power of art to spark poetry and prose, Thursday, February 12, from 6:00 to 8:50 p.m., and experience Kendra’s assembled poetry at the February Late Night on Friday, February 20, in the C3 Theater at 8:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Jessica Fuentes is the Center for Creative Connections Gallery Coordinator at the DMA.

What’s in a Name?

Last week, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School) by Arthur John Elsley was installed in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). If the title seems like a mouthful, it’s because it is actually three titles. This painting, completed in 1898, appeared in two magazines, Illustrated London News and Pears Annual, under the aliases Late for School and Any Port in a Storm, respectively. When I think of works of art appearing in magazines today, I assume they would appear under the original title. So, in this case, why the name change? In researching this work of art, we found a digital copy of the 1899 Illustrated London News edition in which Hard Pressed appeared, and we noticed some small differences between the painting in our collection and the image that appeared in the magazine. Perhaps these small differences warranted a title change. What differences can you find in the two images?

Images (left to right): Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan; "Late for School." Illustrated London News [London, England] [27 Nov. 1899]: n.p. Illustrated London News. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.

Images (left to right): Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan; “Late for School.” Illustrated London News [London, England] [27 November 1899]: n.p. Illustrated London News. Web. 24 September 2014. Gale Digital Collections

In the Center for Creative Connections, we focus on learning by doing. In planning for this installation, we designed an activity to build on this painting’s history of multiple titles. We are posing a simple question to our visitors. “What would you title this painting if you could rename it?”

Peruse these title suggestions from the Education team.

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Stop by to view this newly installed painting and participate in the renaming activity.

Jessica Fuentes is the Center for Creative Connections Gallery Coordinator at the DMA.

ARTifacts: Gateway to the DMA

When the DMA moved downtown, the new museum included a dedicated education space called the Gateway Gallery. The gallery was named Gateway Gallery to indicate that it was to be a gateway to understanding art and the Museum’s collection.

Director Harry S. Parker III with children in the Gateway Gallery, 1984 [Photographer: Tim Mickelson]

Director Harry S. Parker III with children in the Gateway Gallery, 1984 [Photographer: Tim Mickelson]

The first installation for the Gateway Gallery in January 1984, designed by Paul Rogers Harris, allowed visitors to explore the basic elements of art and discover how artists use those elements to create artworks.

"The Gateway Gallery Guide to The Elements of Art" brochure cover

“The Gateway Gallery Guide to The Elements of Art” brochure cover

There were activities to discover line, form, and color. Also texture:

Child exploring texture through sample materials in the Gateway Gallery, 1984

Child exploring texture through sample materials in the Gateway Gallery, 1984

And perspective:

Children explore a mirrored Room of Infinity to understand perspective [Dallas Morning News]

Children explore a mirrored Room of Infinity to understand perspective [Dallas Morning News]

The Gateway Gallery had many different installations, held special exhibitions, and put on an uncountable number of programs for a variety of audiences, a Museum tradition maintained by the Center for Creative Connections.

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

Fall Transition

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Transition in the Center for Creative Connections is always a bittersweet time. While we’re excited by the infusion of new art in our gallery because it brings new experiences for our visitors, this week we had to say good-bye to some favorites:  The Visitors by Jacob Lawrence, Frank Smith watering his horse, Cross-B Ranch, Crosby County, Texas by Erwin Smith, and Soul Three by Romare Bearden. Now we’re welcoming Ram Mask with Feather Cape by the Kom people in Cameroon, two films by Isa Genzken, and The Mother Load Project, an interactive installation by local artists Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio. Here’s a little more about our newest installations:

Helmet mask with feather costume, Kom peoples, North West Province, Cameroon, Africa, Early to mid-20th century, wood, fibers, and feathers, Dallas Museum of Art, African Collection Fund

Helmet mask with feather costume, Cameroon, North West Province, Kom peoples, early to mid-20th century, wood, fibers, and feathers, Dallas Museum of Art, African Collection Fund

This mask depicts a ram, an animal that is sacrificed in religious rituals. While the face of the animal is carved naturalistically, the horns are designed as two stylized spherical knobs composed of concentric rings. When the mask is worn, it fits snugly on top of the dancer’s head and the dancer’s face is concealed under a fitted hood. The dancer also wears a costume of chicken feathers. masks_of_mbuoshu_book_scan_descreenWhile we are interested in visitors being able to explore the sensory elements of this piece, including the texture of the materials, the weight of the mask, the sounds of a masquerade, and the sight of the feathers in motion, this month we will focus activities in the C3 on mask making. If you were to create a mask symbolic of yourself or an event in your life, what animal would you choose as a symbol, and why?

Additional works from our African collection have recently been installed in the African Galleries on Level 3, including the new acquisition of a sword ornament in the form of a spider.

genzken-chicagodrive
In conjunction with the current exhibition Isa Genzken: Retrospective, on view through January 4, 2015, the Center for Creative Connections is showing two films by Genzken in the C3 Theater. On weekdays you can see Chicago Drive, a 16mm film made in 1992 while Genzken was in Chicago preparing for her Renaissance Society exhibition. It reveals her fascination with local architecture, both the famous and the mundane, and also includes intermittent blues music on the soundtrack. On the weekends, My Grandparents in the Bavarian Forest will be on view. This 63-minute film has English subtitles and is a personal account of Genzken’s grandparents’ home in southern Germany. Through the recording of seemingly banal conversations and her grandparents’ quotidian rituals, Genzken draws a moving portrait of the complexity of family dynamics, and the difficulty of coming to terms with the survivors of the World War II generation.

DSC_0092
This week artists Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio have been on hand in the Center for Creative Connections installing The Mother Load project, an interactive work that hopes to start a dialogue with visitors about the balance of nurturing in one’s life. The collaborative project began as a way to engage with women who lead the creative life of an artist while also being a mother. Through the project, Robertson and Macellaio are collecting fingerprints from artists and their children, recording experiences through written word and audio interviews, and documenting the ongoing project through their interactive website (themotherload.org). In the interactive component of the installation, visitors are asked to respond to this question: “In your life right now, what are you nurturing, and why?” Look for an upcoming post where we interview Robertson and Macellaio about The Mother Load.

Jessica Fuentes is the C3 Gallery Coordinator at the DMA.

#DMAVacation

Nic Nicosia, Vacation, 1986, cibachrome photograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Meisel Photochrome Corporation © 1986 Nic Nicosia, Dallas, Texas

Nic Nicosia, Vacation, 1986, cibachrome photograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Meisel Photochrome Corporation, © 1986 Nic Nicosia, Dallas, Texas

Earlier this month, the large photograph Vacation by Nic Nicosia was installed in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). Vacation is one of seven photographs that comprise Nic Nicosia’s Life As We Know It series. In this series depicting contemporary American life, Nicosia plays with everyday topics such as fashion, youth, and violence. Through his use of fabricated environments and staged scenes, Nicosia blurs the line between illusion and reality. This surreal atmosphere is enhanced by the ironic twists, such as the burning plane in the background, on what would otherwise be ordinary situations.

Inspired by this work of art, the C3 team created a photo station where visitors can pose for their own staged picnic-themed photograph. Some have embraced the surreal nature of Nicosia’s work more than others. Check out our visitors’ photographs and stop by C3 to snap a photo of your DMA vacation.

Jessica Fuentes is the C3 Gallery Coordinator


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