Archive for the 'Curatorial' Category

30-Minute Dash: Eric Zeidler

Because we offer free general admission, visitors often pop in for a few minutes when they are in the Dallas Arts District. Our Visitor Services team is frequently asked this question: “What would you recommend seeing if you only had thirty minutes to visit the Museum?” We thought it would be fun to pose this tough question to DMA staffers from different departments to see what they consider to be among the highlights. First up is Eric Zeidler, our Publications Manager:

If a visitor had thirty minutes and accepted me as a guide, I would take them to many galleries to highlight multiple works in the collection, starting with the African galleries on Level 3.


My favorite stops include the Fang reliquary guardian figure. It is so riveting and perfectly carved, I can never get my fill of looking at it. Another work to visit is the Songye female power figure with her sheen (she exudes the oil with which she has been anointed down through the years) and that unnerving grin. I can well imagine her exerting a beneficent or malefic power, depending on the inner qualities of those who come into contact with her. Last stop in this gallery would have to be the Djennenke/Soninke figure, with her protuberant eyes and spare, almost angular, elegance.


Continuing our tour on Level 3 in the Arts of Asia gallery includes time to take in the serene Buddha Muchalinda. I love his canopy of naga heads and the fascinating expressiveness of his lips. The Vajrabhairava, with its horns and fangs and union of ecstatic abandon with higher truth, is always a must see, as is the sensuously provocative celestial female with that scorpion on her thigh. And finally we would visit the Vishnu as Varaha, with its diagonal lines and the redoubtable tusks and snout.


We would then dash downstairs to the European galleries on Level 2 to look at a large selection of some of my favorite works, starting with Paul Signac’s neoimpressionist masterpiece Comblat-le-Château, the Meadow (Le Pré), Opus 161. We would then continue on to Paul Sérusier’s Celtic Tale, which partly reminds me of Paul Gauguin but also has symbolist elements reminiscent of Javanese-Dutch artist Jan Toorop, with whom (for me) its imagery has luminous affinities. Next would be Piet Mondrian’s Farm Near Duivendrecht, in the Evening, with its low light, reminds me of Dahl’s Frederiksborg Castle, on view around the corner (it makes me wish that we could acquire some Atkinson Grimshaw canvases), and a quick look at Hans Hofmann’s expressive masterpiece Untitled (Yellow Table on Green).


Going down the other side of the European galleries, I would point out the nice little Still-life with Fruit by Emilie Preyer; Sir Joshua Reynolds’ commanding Portrait of Miss Mary Pelham (she has such a penetrating stare, which for me suggests a certain formidable willfulness); the gorgeous still-life Basket of Flowers by Beert the Elder, with its petals lying strewn on a tabletop; and my beloved College of Animals by Cornelis Saftleven. I think this work, beyond its allegorical subtleties and its charm for all those who love animals, is a beautifully painted canvas, and I love studying its various striking details.


I would also take a quick trip to the Level 4 to see the Dust Bowl and other Texas paintings, which show that beauty can be found amidst stark desolation, and the Navajo eye-dazzler blanket, which is a pleasure to gaze upon. We would end our whirlwind tour with the fascinating little painting by Roberto Montenegro, The Shell, one of my favorite works in the entire collection.

Follow Uncrated to catch the next DMA Dash and more behind-the-scenes scoops. Visit our collection online anytime here.

 Reagan Duplisea is the Associate Registrar, Exhibitions at the DMA.

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.

Cocktail Creations: A Toast to the DMA

The DMA turns 112 this month and we wanted to celebrate with a fun cocktail contest inspired by works of art in our collection, giving our visitors a chance to toast the DMA with their creativity!

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We asked visitors to choose a work of art in our collection that inspired them to create a cocktail recipe along with a fun (or even punny) name for the drink. We saw a lot of great submissions from our community of art and alcohol connoisseurs, and with the help of our Executive Chef we have picked a winner and four finalists.

Single snake armlet, 1st century A.D.Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Funds, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., and Cecil H. and Ida M. Green in honor of Virginia Lucas Nick, 1991.75.92.1

Single snake armlet, Roman Empire, 1st century A.D., gold, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Funds, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., and Cecil H. and Ida M. Green in honor of Virginia Lucas Nick, 1991.75.92.1

The winning cocktail, Twisted Serpent, created by Lori Pasillas, was inspired by the single snake armlet in our ancient Mediterranean collection. This drink, made with amaretto, Chambord, club soda, Italian soda, mint leaves, and a twist of orange peel, will be available for purchase at our upcoming Late Night on Friday, January 16.

That night, we will host a Creative Cocktail Lounge in our Founders Room, where you can purchase this winning drink plus the drinks created by the four finalists. While you enjoy these libations, DJ Yeahdef will spin a set of eclectic music.

It was interesting to see that our visitors were inspired by works of art from across our global collection. We had submissions that drew inspiration from our Japanese, decorative arts, ancient American, and contemporary collections, in addition to artworks in our American and European collections.

The works chosen by the four finalists were The Fish and the Man by Charles Webster Hawthorne, Heat Wave-Texas by Coreen Mary Spellman, Still Life by Perry Nichols, and the Miss Blanche armchair by Shiro Kuramata.

 

Miss Blanche chair by Shiro Kuramata, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Caren Prothro, Vincent and Dara Prothro, and Nita and Cullum Clark, and Catherine, Alex, Charlie, Jack, and Will Rose, Lela Rose and Grey, Rosey, and Brandon Jones in honor of Deedie Rose, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, and Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, 2012.29.A-E

Miss Blanche chair, Shiro Kuramata, designer; Ishimaru Company Ltd., manufacturer, designed 1988, executed 1989, acrylic, artificial roses, and aluminum with Alumite (anodized) finish, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Caren Prothro, Vincent and Dara Prothro, and Nita and Cullum Clark, and Catherine, Alex, Charlie, Jack, and Will Rose, Lela Rose and Grey, Rosey, and Brandon Jones in honor of Deedie Rose, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, and Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, 2012.29.a-e

To find out what drink concoctions these works inspired, visit the Creative Cocktail Lounge this Friday. While you are here, don’t forget to go to Tim Federle’s talk at 7:00 p.m. Tim’s punny cocktail books Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist and Hickory Daiquiri Dock helped inspire this contest and his talk is sure to be fun!

tequilamockingbird

So come and join us in toasting the DMA this Friday!

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA.

Toasting the New Year

As New Year’s Eve is upon us, we thought it only appropriate to pop, fizz, and clink our way through the collection with some objects created for cocktails. We hope they inspire you to raise a glass and ring in an artful 2015. To get you off to the right start, we’ve got plenty of lively libations in store during our first Late Night of 2015 on January 16. Enjoy the winning cocktail from our Creative Cocktail Contest and then take a tour of more objects perfect for cocktail hour. Cheers and Happy New Year!

 

Sarah Coffey is the Education Coordinator at the DMA.

A Dallas December

Edward G. Eisenlohr, December, Dallas, 1938, pencil on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Gertrude Helmle, the estate of E. G. Eisenlohr

Edward G. Eisenlohr, December, Dallas, 1938, pencil on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Gertrude Helmle, the estate of E. G. Eisenlohr

This drawing of a Texas meadow in December by Edward Gustav Eisenlohr from the DMA’s collection of early Texas art seems simple in its portrayal, yet subtle details add texture and depth to the page. Notice the hatching on the rock formation in the foreground or the care given to the hundreds of individual leaves and petals throughout—a departure from the idea of a Texas landscape as an endless desert or barren prairie.

The temperature in Dallas in December 1938 averaged 48 degrees, but interestingly a record high of  84˚ was set on December 10 of that year. Therefore, despite being a winter month, the white patches to the left are  likely not snow. Eisenlohr often represented bare spots in the ground, a common occurrence on the prairie, with colorless patches.

Eisenlohr was a Dallas painter, printmaker, and teacher. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1872 of German descent, he died in Dallas in 1961 and is buried in Oak Cliff. Eisenlohr initially moved to Dallas as a child with his family, and later the area would become his inspiration and artistic base. He studied in the early 1900s with Texas art legends Robert J. Onderdonk and Frank Reaugh, which included lessons during outdoor trips. Eisenlohr would continue to make sketching trips to sites all over Dallas, so the above work was most likely done en plein air, or created outside from life. He was involved in establishing the Dallas Art Association, forerunner of the Dallas Museum of Arts, in 1903, which, as you know, became the DMA.

Rae Pleasant is the Research Associate for Early Texas Art at the DMA.

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.

Cold Case Closed

Prime Minister Stephen Harper (right) of Canada listens as Parks Canada’s Ryan Harris talks about an image showing one of two ships from the lost Franklin expedition, in Ottawa. Photo: Reuters. Website: http://www.smh.com.au/.

In news disclosed this week, history came to life and reached out to touch Frederic Edwin Church’s masterful painting The Icebergs (1861) in the DMA’s collection. The recent discovery of one of two ships submerged in the arctic waters off the Canadian coast also brings to closure one of the great mysteries of expeditionary navigation. In the trip led by Captain Sir John Franklin, two ships sailed in 1845 in a failed attempt to map and navigate the Northwest Passage. The captain and his men perished in the cold conditions. In 1863 Frederic Church would tap into this tragic tale in an attempt to make The Icebergs more appealing to British collectors. Before shipping the work to England, he added the broken mast of a ship in the foreground as a direct allusion to the doomed expedition. The opening for the painting’s exhibition in London was attended by many Arctic explorers, as well as the widowed Lady Franklin.

Learn more about the discovery of one of Franklin’s ships, including video of the discovered ship, on BBC.com.

Dallas Museum of Art_The Icebergs painting

Sue Canterbury is The Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art at the DMA.


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