Archive for the 'Collections' Category

Beyond “México 1900–1950”

The DMA is thrilled to host México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde, opening March 12. I was fortunate to be able to view this exhibition in Paris at the Grand Palais, and was captivated by the works’ color, scale, and diversity of subject matter. This exhibition is coming to Dallas already chock-full of the heavy hitters of Mexican modernism, but the DMA is taking the opportunity to highlight and include some of our own Mexican greats. Look for the following DMA-owned works in the Dallas presentation:

Andrea Severin Goins is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA

A Deeper Look: John Thomas Biggers

As the McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching at the DMA, every Friday morning I am lucky enough to lead Go van Gogh® outreach programs in elementary school classrooms across Dallas. Each lesson is rooted in the DMA’s collection, and one of the works of art that I have grown particularly fond of teaching is a painting called Starry Crown by John Biggers.

John Thomas Biggers, Starry Crown, 1987, acrylic and mixed media on masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund 1989.13, Art © Estate of John Biggers / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

John Thomas Biggers, Starry Crown, 1987, acrylic and mixed media on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Fund, 1989.13, Art © Estate of John Biggers/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

The patterns of Starry Crown reflect images and symbols from African life and culture. The string held within the mouth of the three women represents the spoken word that passes tradition, knowledge, and history from one generation to another.

It is Biggers’ own history—his story—that, to me, makes this painting all the more significant.

John Biggers’ story begins in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1924. Growing up as a black child during a racially segregated time in the southern United States deeply influenced his perspective of the world. According to Olive J. Theisen’s A Life on Paper: The Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers (2006), individuals with darker skin tones were allowed to enter art museums only one day of the week. Although there were talented and skilled black artists at the time, recognition, and thus financial success, was often denied to artists of color.

When Biggers entered college at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in 1941, he registered with the intention of learning a more practical trade, like plumbing; however, Biggers’ intentions dramatically changed within his first year when an art course taught by Viktor Lowenfeld empowered him to take ownership of the culture and creativity of his own heritage through the arts.

Image via Hampton University Archives

Image via Hampton University Archives

With Lowenfeld’s encouragement, in 1946 Biggers left Hampton Institute as a dedicated artist with a clear mission: to tell the honest story of the black American through art—to make the once invisible known and respected.

Flash forward to 1952: Biggers submits one of his finest drawings, Sleeping Boy, to the fifth Southwestern Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, sponsored by the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the precursor to the DMA.

Biggers describes how Sleeping Boy came to be:

Sleeping Boy was drawn in the doctor’s office on a scrap of paper. I had carried my mama to the doctor’s office, was waiting there, saw a little child asleep on a chair, sketched him on a scrap of paper. When we got home, I immediately transferred the sketch to a large sheet.

(from A Life on Paper: The Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers, by Olive Jensen Theisen)

John Thomas Biggers, Sleeping Boy, 1950, conte crayon, Dallas Museum of Art, Neiman-Marcus Company Prize for Drawing, Fifth Southwestern Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, 1952 1952.1

John Thomas Biggers, Sleeping Boy, 1950, conte crayon, Dallas Museum of Art, Neiman-Marcus Company Prize for Drawing, Fifth Southwestern Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, 1952, 1952.1

Biggers did in fact win the Neiman-Marcus Prize for drawing and was invited to the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts for the awards presentation; however, as noted by former DMA staff member curator Philip Collins, once the committee discovered that Biggers was black, his prize was handed to him without ceremony at the Museum’s door. This was Biggers’ first experience with the Museum. Thirty-seven years after this incident, his painting, Starry Crown, was shown as part of the Black Art, Ancestral Legacy exhibition in 1989. During the opening, Biggers not only received red carpet treatment, but he also gave a talk—a talk that was prefaced with his very first experience at the DMA.

The knowledge of Biggers’ history with the DMA makes presenting Starry Crown to students that much more meaningful to me. By teaching this work of art with the artist’s story in mind, I encourage tolerance and acceptance for individuals of all backgrounds within the students in Dallas.

To learn more about John Biggers and his work:

  • A Life on Paper: The Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers (2006) by Olive Jensen Theisen
  • Ananse: The Web of Life in Africa (1996) by John Thomas Biggers
  • Black Art in Houston: The Texas Southern University Experience (1978) by John Thomas Biggers, Carroll Simms, and John Edwards Weems
  • John Biggers: My America (2004) by Michael Rosenfield
  • Black Art-Ancestral Legacy: The African Impulse in African-American Art (1989), Editors: Robert V. Rozelle, Alvia Wardlaw, and Maureen A. McKenna
  • DMA mobile resources: Link

Angela Medrano is the McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching at the DMA.

Listen Hear

The Center for Creative Connections (C3) has been working closely with our Manager of Access Programs, Emily Wiskera, to create new sensory activities at each of the Pop-Up Art Spots. This month we have added a new activity to our Pop-Up Art Spot in the 18th-Century European Gallery. The works of art on view in this gallery are so epic they feel like they are straight out of a movie. So, we invited local musicians Clint Niosi and Claire Hecko to compose one-minute “film scores” for four of the works of art on view. Here’s a sneak peek of two of them:

Claude-Joseph Vernet, A Mountain Landscape with an Approaching Storm, 1775, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund 1983.41.FA

Claude-Joseph Vernet, A Mountain Landscape with an Approaching Storm, 1775, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 1983.41.FA

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, The Harp Lesson, 1791, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund 2015.10.FA

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, The Harp Lesson, 1791, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2015.10.FA

Stop by the Pop-Up Art Spot on Saturdays between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. or on Late Night between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m., check out an iPod, and listen to these mesmerizing sounds as you look closely at these works of art.

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

Genre Bending

Walter De Maria

“Every good work of art should have at least ten meanings,” remarked Walter de Maria, one of the major figures in the history of Minimal, Conceptual, Installation, and Land, in 1974. One thing I admire about his work is how complex and multifaceted it is (literally and figuratively); it invites us as viewers to hold in mind a few ideas at once and to consider it from a variety of perspectives.

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, January 18 to do exactly that, and to celebrate the DMA’s recent co-acquisition with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art of Large Rod Series: Circle/Rectangle 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 by De Maria at a DMA Arts & Letters Live event.

Top: author Geoff Dyer Bottom: DMA curator Gavin Delahunty

Top: author Geoff Dyer
Bottom: DMA curator Gavin Delahunty

This Artful Musings event will feature senior curator Gavin Delahunty who organized the Walter De Maria: Counterpoint installation and will provide an overview of the artist, his work, and importance; award-winning author Geoff Dyer who has written about De Maria’s work in his newest book White Sands; and percussionist Stockton Helbing, who will perform some of the artist’s rare musical compositions.

After 5:00 p.m., you can linger in the installation before it goes off view on January 22 — it’s the perfect opportunity in a quieter setting to experience the artist’s work. As Caitlin Haskell notes in her catalogue essay, “it takes time to come to know them.” There is rich resonance between El Greco’s painting of Saint Francis Kneeling in Meditation (1605-1610, on loan from the Meadows Museum) and De Maria’s sculpture. The juxtaposition of these two works creates a rich meditation on the themes of minimalism, mathematics, progression, and sensory perception.

Walter De Maria, Counterpoint

Walter De Maria: Counterpoint, 2016

Shortly after 7:00 p.m., percussionist Stockton Helbing will perform of one of De Maria’s musical compositions, with Gavin Delahunty’s and Geoff Dyer’s insights and conversation kicking off at 7:30 p.m. Dyer will then sign copies of his books, and Delahunty will sign copies of the newly published exhibition catalogue.

demaria-jackets-05

Both artist and author defy easy classification or categorization in their respective fields. De Maria was a painter, sculptor, illustrator, and composer. The New Yorker calls Dyer “a restless polymath and an irresistibly funny storyteller. . . . adept at fiction, essay, and reportage, but happiest when twisting all three into something entirely his own.”

Dyer’s newest book, White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World, showcases his series of fascinating adventures and pilgrimages across the globe. They range from searching for Gauguin’s notion of exotic paradise in Tahiti to nearly freezing and being trampled by a dog sled on a quest to see the Northern Lights. Weaving stories about recent travels with images and memories from his childhood, Dyer tries to discern what a certain place and, like De Maria, what a certain way of marking a landscape, means; he explores the power and attraction that certain places hold and what we seek in them.

My favorite chapter in White Sands is the one in which Dyer, his wife, and friends experience De Maria’s The Lightning Field in western New Mexico, where the only way to visit is to reserve a cabin on the property and stay overnight, allowing you to experience the 400 rods in at various times of day and in varying degrees of sunlight.  Reading it made me want to prioritize this as my next road trip.

Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field, Quemado, New Mexico

Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field, Quemado, New Mexico

For those who want to delve further into this topic and artist, don’t miss the opportunity to hear Walter De Maria in his own words about his land art installations as part of a free film screening of The Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art on Saturday, January 21 at 2:00 p.m. at the DMA. Explore Arts & Letters Live’s lineup of more than 30 events over the next six months here.

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

Tails of Wonder

Oh my pugness! The DMA staff has been going mutts over Dress Your Pet Up Day on January 14! We were so excited that we decided to start celebrating a little bit early this year. Our canine friends didn’t mind the inter-ruff-tion to their schedules, and our feline friends were glad there was to be no pro-cat-ination this time around—after all, they are purr-fessionals (whatevfur).

There is so much pet-tential with this round of dogglegangers that they just might head to Pawllywood after this blog post gets out! After all, the puparazzi eats this stuff up!

Sniff below for a fetching array of DMA pets re-creating works of art from the collection.

Thank you very mush for reading!

bearblog
DMA Staffer: 
Katie Cooke, Manager of Adult Programming
DMA Pet: Bear, Tuxedo Cat, age 6 months
Portrait Inspiration: Fox in the Snow, Gustave Courbet
I chose this piece for Bear to re-create because his tail is as fluffy as that of this beautiful fox in Courbet’s painting. Since it was 75 degrees when I took this photo, fake snow was used, and since he is a cat, Photoshop had to be used as well. Who knew cats don’t want to do what you tell them?

devils-dress-blog
DMA Staffer: Andrea Severin Goins, Head of Interpretation
DMA Pet: Artie, Maltese-Shihtzu , age 7 years, and Shelby, Golden Retriever, age 9 years
Portrait Inspiration: The Devil’s Dress, Michaël Borremans
Shelby chose this work because she is drawn to the ambiguous drama and theatricality of Borremans’ paintings. Despite her fear of most things, she is an avid theater-lover and an aspiring Broadway actress. She included her little sis in her photo shoot because she thinks Artie is the drama queen of the household.

dogs

DMA Staffer: Kimberly Daniell, Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy; and Amanda Blake, Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences and Interim Director of Education
DMA Pet: Chloe, age 11 years, and George Costanza, age 10 years, West Highland White Terriers
Portrait Inspiration:  Twins, Everett Spruce
Chloe and George are just like peas in a pod and are the dynamic duo of pet costumes. These two furry friends have partnered up for the past two years, and it was an obvious choice to have this seeing-double pair bring Spruce’s Twins to life. Chloe is still intimidated by George’s professionalism; he is the ultimate pro, even wearing a wig.

floydblog
DMA Staffer: Queta Moore Watson, Senior Editor
DMA Pet: Floyd, Orange and White Tabby, 1 year old
Portrait Inspiration: Portrait of Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour
In this distinguished portrait of artist Edouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour “represents Manet as a respectable bourgeois citizen, rather than a painter, . . . to defuse the idea that Manet was a social as well as artistic radical.” We like to think of Floyd as a dapper young cat (yes, he is actually wearing that hat on his head!); however, in reality, Floyd drinks from the faucet, chases his tail in the bathtub, and still hasn’t learned his name. #catgoals

share-cropperblog
DMA Staffer: Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services
DMA Pet: Parker, English Springer Spaniel, age 3 (he belongs to my parents; I borrowed him when I was home for Christmas in what has become a new holiday tradition)
Portrait Inspiration: Share CropperJerry Bywaters
My mom and I looked at several portraits before picking Share Cropper because Parker often has the same lost look on his face. My mom was the official costumer for the photo shoot—she made the hat out of my dad’s socks, cardboard, and Velcro, bought a child’s pair of overalls, and found some palm leaves in her neighbor’s yard to represent the corn stalks in our photo.

jetblog
DMA Staffer: Jordan Gomez, Marketing Manager
DMA Pet: Jet, Toy Poodle often referred to as “Poodle Jet,” age 5
Portrait Inspiration: Portrait of Mrs. Emery Reves, Graham Sutherland
Since Jet is a French Poodle, I felt like she needed to dress up as a portrait in the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection. I borrowed a puppy beret from another staff member and purchased the feather boa from a craft store and thought my lavender office chair would be the perfect setting for Poodle Jet to have her portrait made.

jupiterblog
DMA Staffer: Jessie Frazier, Manager of Adult Programming
DMA Pet:
Jenny, Basset Hound, age 6 and a half
Portrait Inspiration: 
The Abduction of Europa, Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre
Jenny shares a few traits with the Roman king of the gods—determination, a mischievous twinkle in her eye, and unwavering confidence in her supremacy. Also, like her less freckled COW-nterpart, she always gets what she wants . . . a peanut butter treat.

lylablog

DMA Staffer: Julie Henley, Communications and Marketing Coordinator
DMA Pet: Lyla Jane, Australian Shepherd, age 9 months
Portait Inspiration: Sea Nymphs, Hans Enri
Much like the sea, Lyla Jane only has two modes, calm and tranquil or unruly and intrusive. When I looked into these goddesses of the deep, two seemed to perfectly describe my little monster, AMPHITHOE, which means “she who moves swiftly around,” and AUTONOE, which means “with her own mind.” Ironic, since Lyla Jane hates water.

T43286, 9/24/07, 11:10 AM, 8C, 5232x7792 (496+208), 100%, Custom, 1/8 s, R42.0, G17.7, B32.2

DMA Staffer: Jessica Fuentes, Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections
DMA Pet: Nene, age 7 and a half, and Cleopatra and Frappuccino, age 4 weeks, Chihuahuas
Portait Inspiration: Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), John White Alexander
I chose this work of art because it has been a favorite of mine for a long time and we have the perfect green chair to use as a prop! Originally I thought of posing Nene in the role of Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt and my daughter in the role of the dog. Then, Nene unexpectedly gave birth to these two precious girls and I thought this would still be a great image for the three of them.

annblog

DMA Staffer: Anne Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art
DMA Pet: Miss Suzl, Maine Coon Cat, age 6 years
Portrait Inspiration: The Peaceable Kingdom, Edward Hicks
Suzl’s good with other animals so this work made sense!

Nicolas Party

DMA Staffer: Fran Baas
DMA Pet: Captain Charles and Annie, age 6 years
Portrait Inspiration: Nicolas Party, Two Men with Hats2016
I pass this marvelous Nicolas Party pastel daily in the concourse.  The bright colors, hats, snazzy collars and makeup make me happy. Obviously, this Photoshop mashup had to happen. My artist process was sitting on the floor with my lovely smart teenage niece and playing in Photoshop.  Life can be stressful, but smiling and laughing with my niece last night was priceless.

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

Gustave Courbet, Fox in the Snow, 1860, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 1979.7.FA; Michaël Borremans, The Devil’s Dress, 2011, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund 2012.3, © Michaël Borremans; Everett Spruce, Twins, 1939–40, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dealey Prize, Eleventh Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1940, 1940.21 © V. Alice Spruce Meriwether; Henri Fantin-Latour, Portrait of Manet, 1867, pen and ink on wove paper, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.27; Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937 1937.1, © Estate of Jerry Bywaters, Dallas, Texas; Graham Sutherland, Portrait of Mrs. Emery Reves, 1978, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.72; Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre, The Abduction of Europa, 1750, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 1989.133.FA; Hans Erni, Sea Nymphs, n.d., color lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, 1961.16; John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901-02, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan, 2007.36; Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846-47, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund, 1973.5; Nicolas Party, Two Men with Hats, 2016, pastel on canvas, courtesy of the artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster, Ltd., Glasgow, © Nicolas Party

2016 in a Flash

It’s been a busy year at the DMA. From the opening of Eagle Family Plaza to the hiring of Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the new Eugene McDermott Director, my cameras have not taken a break! Now, I get that this is pictures of the year, but before we get to the photos, let’s run some numbers (Because who doesn’t love math when you’re trying to look at pictures).

Since January 5, 2016, I’ve photographed between 140-150 assignments. After a quick scan of all my folders from 2016 and some elementary-school-level math, my approximate total for photos taken this year is give-or-take 20,000.

With a little help from accounting, factoring that we work about 260 days a year, that’s an average of 77 photos every day. It’s also about 150 gigabytes of data for our computer savvy audience.

Clearly, a small fraction of the frames I take actually end up being used for our publications, ads, blogs, and more, but still, that’s a lot! In those 20,000 photos are celebrities, artists, politicians, dignitaries, and of course our amazing visitors. But, as corny as it may sound, nothing makes my day more than taking a photo of a group of kids creating art in the C3, a new mom holding her baby in the Young Learners gallery, or someone with their eyes glued to a painting in the DMA’s galleries.

These images range from some of the most momentous occasions we’ve had in 2016, to some fun behind-the-scenes moments and even just some of my personal favorites. Either way, I can’t wait for the next 20,000.

Greg Castillo is the Multimedia Producer at the DMA

Gaming in the Galleries

When friends and family gather from far and wide over the holiday season, awkward moments tend to be inevitable. This year, however, be the conqueror of confrontation, the hostess with the mostest, and the vanquisher of uncomfortable silence. How, you may ask? Over winter break, visit the Dallas Museum of Art and arm yourself with this gallery game—believe me, it’s more fun than a stale round of Monopoly! Suitable for all ages, distant relatives, and potentially odd social outings.
image3

Directions:

  • Print enough cards for each member of your party to have at least one (or if you don’t have access to a printer, you can easily draw your own icons!).
  • Cut out each individual icon and place in a plastic bag.
  • Bring your whole group to an exhibition or gallery of the Museum of your choosing.
  • Once in the gallery you selected, give your group 10 to 15 minutes to explore.
  • Bring the group back together, and then have each person in your group draw a card from the bag.
    handsgiphy
  • Each person leads the group to the artwork they chose to match their card.
  • While at each artwork, discuss your findings.
  • Try questions like
    • Why did you choose that particular artwork? Does anyone feel differently?
    • Who would you give this artwork to? Why?
    • Where would you hang this piece?
      gallerygiphy

Here’s what each icon symbolizes:
symbols

Download the symbols here to print at home.

After everyone in your group has gone, you can challenge yourselves to come up with your own cards, or go visit another part of the Museum to play again!

Expand your visit with the DMA app! Get to know the collection in a new way with the tours found in the “Explore” section. Download the app now!

Grace Diepenbrock is the McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching at the DMA.


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