Archive for the 'Exhibitions' Category

In-House Photography

It has been a few years since the DMA has hosted a photography exhibition, and it has been a real treat to present Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty—the artist’s first retrospective in 20 years and the first since his death. While Penn is well known for his work in fashion and portraiture for magazines like Vogue, the exhibition also features some of his lesser-known, personal work, like his street photographs and a series of nudes.

In celebration of National Photography Month, we sauntered down to the studios of the three DMA staff photographers—Chad Redmon, Ira Schrank, and Jerry Ward—for their take on the exhibition.

Chad Redmon, Assistant Photographer, Digital Media at the DMA

Chad Redmon, Assistant Photographer, Digital Media, at the DMA

Ira Schrank, Digital Collection Photographer at the DMA

Ira Schrank, Digital Collection Photographer at the DMA

Jerry Ward, Collection Photographer at the DMA

Jerry Ward, Collection Photographer at the DMA

On their own work
Chad: The piece that was in the DMA staff art show last year was a pretty good example of my work: I cut a hole and my arm was reaching through, taking a picture. It was a trompe-l’œil, speculative space. I like to play with your expectations of looking at photographs, something that would obviously not actually happen in real time. People have to take a second look at it, even if I’m standing next to them.

Ira: I shoot landscapes mostly. But I’ve also done environmental portraits. I’ll use backdrops to hide the background, or take the environment out, not quite like Penn; I didn’t try to have one specific look. I often use either paper or fabrics to isolate the things I shoot. To a photographer, it enables you to really look at what it is you are looking at, without letting the world cloud it.

Jerry: I’m a commercial photographer; this is my first museum job. My background is in sports, food, and journalism—mostly ads and billboards. I was a Saints team photographer when I was younger. So if it moves, I can capture it.

On their familiarity with Penn:
Chad: I saw an Irving Penn show at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. in 1988, when I was a freshman at art school. I saw that show 20 times. I went over and over again. I even bought the book, which was one of the first coffee table books I ever bought, and I still have it to this day.

Ira: I’m really fine art oriented, but of all the commercial photographers, he is my favorite.

On their favorite work in the show
Chad: Willie Mays, jumping up. It looks like he’s flying like Superman. It’s not an often-seen photograph. It’s one of the few actually manipulated. He took a photo from a long way away of Willie Mays in action, cut him out of whatever background he was on, and stuck him on a field of white. It doesn’t look like anything else in the show.

Ira: I don’t really have a favorite. There is so much different work. He is all over. The early work that he’s done, where he is an editorial photographer, I love those. But those are so different. It’s hard to see how he goes from those pictures—like traveling around the South—to how he got to his studio work. I guess his experience of being an artist in New York got him from point A to point B.

Jerry: The lady with the martini (Woman in Dior Hat with Martini (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), New York, 1952). It’s really high contrast. And it’s cool how the martini works in the glass. And I like food stuff, since I’ve shot food.

On Penn’s most interesting body of work
Chad: I like the portraits of intellectuals crammed in corners, on scaffolding, and what not. It’s really egalitarian the way he took portraits. He would take that mobile studio to North Africa and take pictures of the locals. It looked basically like the set he would shoot fashion people in in New York. It highlights the differences between the people, but it also highlights the similarities between them. It divorces them from the background to such a degree that you have to see the similarities and differences immediately.

Ira: I love the raw backgrounds, which allow the photographic process to show. His portable studio, in a way, cancels out the environment, and he can just engage in his process. And he took the portable studio everywhere, to South America, Africa.

Jerry: I like the food and the American South section. I’m from New Orleans—so, the old barber shop and the people outside. You still see those signs at home. It’s familiar.

On what’s surprising
Chad: I had never seen any of the early street photography. I don’t like it very much. There’s nothing exceptional about them to me, but seeing them doesn’t take the shine off of the rest of his work. It’s good to know that he grew into his aesthetic, as opposed to just arriving fully realized.

Ira: No surprises. But what makes so many of his pictures work so well is that he isolates them. None of the sets are fancy—sometimes it’s torn-up carpet turned upside down. It’s interesting that in our show, when you turn the corner and enter into that newer, color work, it doesn’t quite work in the same way. To me, there is a big difference between what looked like commercial work and his art, which is what we all respond to. Like that work when you walk in [to the exhibition]. What a spectacular photograph.

Jerry: What’s surprising is that Penn would go out and do it his own way. But a lot of [commercial] photographers buckle under to the art director. It’s pretty obvious that Penn was so great that they let him run free. They didn’t tie him up with an art director. The collaboration looked like this: Penn, and-oh yeah-there is an art director, as opposed to, an art director and-oh yeah-there’s a photographer pushing a button. As a commercial guy, that is really cool.

Thanks, Chad, Ira, and Jerry for your insight! Come celebrate National Photography Month with a visit to the DMA this May.

Andrea Severin Goins is Head of Interpretation at the DMA.

The Golden Age: Dominic Smith

The DMA hosted author Dominic Smith as part of our Arts & Letters Live 25th anniversary season, and this event is also the launch party for his new novel, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos. We are excited to be the first place where book and art enthusiasts can grab a copy of the novel and spend time with the Texas-based author. The book has already received high acclaim, including from author Ben Fountain, who praised it as “quite simply, one of the best novels I have ever read, and as close to perfect as any book I’m likely to encounter in my reading life.” Uncrated was able to chat with Smith prior to his appearance and learn a bit more about his love of art and the focal point of his novel, Sara de Vos.

Photo: Stacy Sodolak

Photo: Stacy Sodolak

DMA: Have you always been drawn to art and in particular Dutch work?
DS: I’ve always loved museums and old paintings. I first experienced the Dutch Golden Age up close about 15 years ago, when I spent a year living in Amsterdam. During my time there, I was struck by the sheer variety and output of the Dutch baroque period. Bawdy genre scenes, delicate floral still lifes, serene landscapes, austere portraits—the subjects run the gamut. And by some estimates, there were about 50,000 Dutch painters plying their trade across the 17th century; if you walked into an Amsterdam butcher shop or bakery in 1630 you might have found floor-to-ceiling paintings. A painting could cost the same as a fish at the market, or it could cost the same as a house. This period endlessly fascinates me, especially the artistic fate of the 25 or so women who were admitted to a Guild of St. Luke, the main professional body for painters. We have surviving works for only a handful of those two dozen baroque women painters.

Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, c. 1670–1672, oil on canvas, The Leiden Collection, Inv# JVe-100 28.2015.1 © The Leiden Collection, New York

Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, c. 1670–72, oil on canvas, © The Leiden Collection, New York

DMA: Tell us a bit about your character, Sara de Vos. What do you feel Sara’s response would be to a few of the eight works from her contemporaries on view in the DMA’s exhibition Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting?
DS: I think Sara de Vos would be very pleased with these paintings. Like the real Judith Leyster, who sometimes painted genre scenes of merrymaking in taverns, Sara de Vos belongs to a moment of Dutch painting that celebrated music as part of everyday life. In the novel, Sara de Vos mostly paints landscapes and still lifes, but she would have greatly admired Vermeer’s Young Woman Seated at a Virginal. The light from the unseen window and the dramatic shadows on the virginal and in the woman’s clothing really capture this as a moment of suspended time. Her hands look as if they’re continuing to play the piece of music, even as she’s looking directly at us. I can’t help wondering what that music sounds like.

Last Painting_Layout 1-2.indd

DMA:  Why is it unique that de Vos would have painted landscapes, and how did this shape your story?
DS: There are no known landscapes by Dutch women painters of the Golden Age. So part of the conceit of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos involved working out the circumstances under which a woman might have created a landscape. The traditional explanation for the lack of landscapes by women is that it was a genre that required many hours spent out of doors and this was not the domain of women during the 17th century. I accept this explanation somewhat. But it’s worth remembering that there were women who defied convention during this time period. Maria Sibylla Merian left behind her estranged husband at the end of the 17th century and moved with her daughter to Surinam (a Dutch colony at the time) in South America for two years. She spent her days in the jungle sketching botanical specimens. If a Dutch Golden Age woman can do that, then surely she could spend a day sketching outside by herself, in preparation for a landscape that might be finished in her studio. Maybe a brother, husband, or older son could have accompanied her. My hunch is that the masters who presided over the Guilds of St. Luke decided that landscapes would be the exclusive realm of men. The novel tries to subvert this notion and bring a landscape by a baroque woman to life.

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

An Attempt at Dinner with Jackson Pollock

This Friday, author and photographer Robyn Lea will be here to discuss her cookbook Dinner with Jackson Pollock during our March Late Night. And, in what has become a tradition for the Adult Programming team, we decided to try our hand at making a few of the recipes. You can find our other cooking attempts here and here.

Dinner with Jackson Pollock

Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services:

I decided to make Pollock’s Spinach Muffins with Tomato Chutney because it sounded delicious and I had never made a chutney before.

Stacey Ingredients

The recipe was pretty straightforward and easy to make. Because the chutney takes an hour to simmer on the stove, I started that first by putting all the ingredients in a pot on medium-low heat. While that was simmering, I prepared the spinach muffin dough.

The “muffin” dough was very wet and very dense, and after baking it, I would classify the final product as a stuffing more than a muffin.

Once the chutney was finished simmering, I sampled it, and while I loved the flavor I did not like the texture (as I am not a fan of raisins, which was a main ingredient). So I took half of it and used an immersion blender to smooth it out. I loved the smoother chutney and used it in other dishes I made for dinner that week.

Stacey Two Chutneys

On its own, I felt the spinach muffin was very salty; the recipe called for one teaspoon of salt, and if I made this again I would go down to half a teaspoon of salt. Though pairing the spinach muffin with the sweet and savory chutney did help balance the saltiness in the muffin.

Stacey Final

Things I learned: Your home will smell amazing after simmering chutney for an hour on your stove. Even a good chutney can’t make me like raisins.

 

Jessie Frazier, Manager of Adult Programming:

In Lea’s recipe for Long Island Clam Pie, she references an interview that Pollock gave for a 1950 New Yorker story in which he recalled his and Krasner’s first year in Springs, living off of the sale of one painting and some clams that he dug out of the bay with his toes. True or not, it’s a pretty romantic story. Plus, I wanted to try my hand at cooking clams.

Jessie Ingredients

After scrubbing the recommended thirty-six clams and letting them rest in a brine to release their sand and grit, I steamed them for a few minutes in a Dutch oven with two cups of water. Word to the wise: do not let clams boil over. Terrible things happen.

Jessie Action Shot

I sautéed the chopped clam meat with a little onion and more than a little butter. Then I added peeled and chopped potatoes, flour, milk, lemon juice and zest, herbs, and some of the leftover clam juice for an extra punch. I poured the mixture into a *cough* store-bought pie dough, added a top crust, finished with an egg wash, and baked for forty minutes.

The creamy roux and potatoes made for a hearty pie, but the lemon and the parsley gave it a really light, refreshing flavor.

Jessie Final Pie

Things I learned: Next time I will increase the clams, decrease the lemon zest, and step up my pie decorating game.

 

Madeleine Fitzgerald, Audience Relations Coordinator for Programming:

I love to cook! But working for both DMA Arts & Letters Live and Adult Programming at the DMA means that I’m regularly not home in the evenings. So I chose a recipe that would be a full day’s affair for a Sunday dinner with my brother and his girlfriend! I have never roasted beef or made Yorkshire Pudding or gravy before, so I was pretty concerned and excited to see how things would turn out. Any recipe that starts with a giant steak stuffed with six cloves of garlic is already a winner in my book!

Madeleine Raw Steak

The recipe also called for twelve small onions, but that seemed like an insane amount of onions. Maybe Lee Krasner meant twelve pearl onions?! But I come from a family of onion lovers and that didn’t seem like enough. I decided to quarter four small regular onions instead.

Once the meat was browned on the outside, I transferred it to my pan filled with potatoes and onions. This was no easy task and required a pair of tongs, a wooden spoon, and help from the multi-armed goddess Shiva Nataraja. I tossed in some fresh rosemary from my balcony garden as well.

Madeleine Cooking Steak

After cooking for thirty-five minutes for medium-rare, the steak looked perfect: crispy on the outside, very pink on the inside. And my apartment smelled like rosemary and garlic. But I could already tell the potatoes and onions could use another ten minutes.

Madeleine Table

This section of the cookbook also had a recipe for Yorkshire pudding, which was fantastic! I used bacon grease instead of goose lard (because who has that in their kitchen?!), and they were smoky and delicious! I also made the gravy recipe (not pictured), but having never made gravy before, it wasn’t pretty. Tasted good, but quite lumpy. The recipe also suggested this meal be served with roasted Brussels sprouts, which are one of my favorite vegetables. I followed my mother’s recipe, which is essentially 1 part Brussels sprouts, 1 part garlic, 1 part olive oil, roasted at 425 for 20 minutes. DELICIOUS!

Madeleine Plate

Things I learned: Gravy is hard. Transferring a giant steak from a frying pan to a baking dish is also hard. Making your apartment smell amazing for the rest of the evening and feeding your family with a delicious and historical meal? Worth it.

Did we whet your appetite? Then please join us on Friday, March 18, at 9:00 p.m. to hear Robyn Lea discuss her cookbook Dinner with Jackson Pollock.

Last Chance

When I’m painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It’s only after a “get acquainted” period that I see what I’ve been about. I’ve no fears about making changes for the painting has a life of its own.

—Jackson Pollock

pollock blog

“Lasts” are always so very bittersweet, from the final dance, to a wave goodbye, or a glimpse in the rearview mirror, these absolutes are tinged with melancholy for what is passing and an even greater fondness for what has transpired.

For the past five months, the Dallas Museum of Art has been home to only the third major U.S. museum exhibition to focus solely on the artist hailed as “the greatest painter this country has ever produced.” Experts deemed it a “once in a lifetime” exhibition and for good reason. It includes more than 70 works, many which have not been exhibited for more than 50 years.

Like most singular events, the show focuses on something unexpected. It is not dedicated to works from the height of Jackson Pollock’s celebrity, but instead highlights his lesser-known paintings, offering an entrancing juxtaposition between the two. The exceptional presentation, which critics hailed as “sensational,” “exhilarating,” “genius,” “revelatory,” and “revolutionary,” offers the opportunity for visitors to appreciate Pollock’s broader ambitions as an artist, and allows them to better understand the importance of the “blind spots” in his practice.

As we reach the eleventh hour of the exhibition, don’t let the opportunity pass you by to say hello to Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots, so that you can also help us say farewell to such a life-changing show in its final week here at the DMA. The ending to our journey with Jackson will be on Sunday, March 20, with extended hours on Saturday and Sunday until 8:00 p.m. As with all goodbyes, we are sad to see the works go, but we are even prouder of the legacy and inspiration they leave behind.

Experience the exhibition in a new way with DMA curator Gavin Delahunty by accessing an exhibition highlights tour below:

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator 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.

picture

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.


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