Archive for the 'Guest Blog Post' Category

The Light and the Dark

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day and in recognition of this day which brings awareness to this disease, we are sharing a post by one of our DMA Meaningful Moments participants.

DMA Canvas

What is it about art that speaks to us so deeply? How does it tap into our soul and speak so loudly to us, sometimes even uncomfortably shouting our truths to other people? We spend all of our time hiding the deepest parts of our souls from others around us, sometimes even from the people closest in our lives. But art, this amazing living and breathing thing, shouts our truths back at us and makes us feel emotions that we were positive we had locked away deep in our hearts where they could not escape. Suddenly, there it is. That work of art that is so profound, so fierce, that it stops us in our tracks and we are taken aback. This seemingly unassuming piece vividly screaming out to us and all surrounding us.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Here I was, a four decade veteran of…

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Artist Interview: Lisa Huffaker

This summer the Center for Creative Connections invited C3 Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker to design an in-gallery activity inspired by a work of art on view in C3. Meet Lisa here and learn more about her musically engaging activities designed for visitors of all ages.

Tell us about yourself. (In 50 words or less)
I am a classical singer by training, but have always created visual art and poetry as well. My latest project is White Rock Zine Machine, which offers tiny handmade books of art and writing through re-purposed vending machines. I am interested in the community we form through creative work.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?

Nam June Paik, Music Box Based on Piano Piece Composed in Tokyo in 1954, 1994, Vintage TV cabinet, Panasonic 10 TV model 1050R, Panasonic mini video camera, incandescent light bulb and 144-note music box mechanism, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum 2015.48.113

While visiting the Museum, I saw Nam June Paik’s Music Box Based on a Piano Piece Composed in Tokyo in 1954. It’s an old television transformed to show a video of a music box, and it reminded me of my vending machines, which are also “communication boxes” with knobs, whimsically reinvented to give us new content. I loved the idea of exploring the relationship between these two objects, within the interactive space of the C3 Gallery, and inviting visitors to interact with and even contribute to the project.  I’m so grateful to the DMA for embracing my crazy vision!

Tell us about the process of creating your zine machine.

I found a retired baseball card vending machine on Craigslist, and transformed it.  I sanded it down to bare metal,  then used old player piano rolls as stencils to paint a pattern on the sides. I cut a hole in the front panel and covered it with glass, so we could see the zines inside. I attached Victorian-era music box disks to the machine,  including a sort of halo at the top. Then I added other objects — carved wood pieces, various metal oddities, a kalimba, gears and springs taken out of broken alarm clocks, and eight music box mechanisms, including one that plays original music composed by punching holes in a strip of paper.

What did you enjoy most about this experience?
While creating the zine machine, I really enjoyed the contradiction between noisy power tools and delicate, beautiful mechanisms! But most of all I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore certain ideas — the overlap of music, memory, and machine — and invite others to interact with the project. It has been fascinating to see the drawings and writings created by visitors in response to the music I chose for the listening station in my installation.

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Visit the Center for Creative Connections through September to contribute drawings to Huffaker’s zines and to receive a zine from the machine.

Join C3 Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker as she hosts a series of programs in September:

Tuesday, September 5, First Tuesday: Music with Ms. Lisa; 11:30 a.m. – Noon
Friday, September 15, Late Night Tour; 6:30 p.m.
Friday, September 15, Late Night Performance with Piano; 9:00 p.m.
Friday, September 22, Teen Homeschool; 1:00-4:00 p.m.

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

Sounds of the Middle Ages

Take a walk through the DMA’s Art and Nature in the Middle Ages exhibition and you’ll see beautiful paintings and tapestries, pieces of architectural wonder, and some ancient oddities from the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. But looking only gives a bit of the story. What would people back then not only see but hear?

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By way of introduction, let’s start with the architecture. Looking at the capitals that once sat atop soaring Gothic structures is a sight for the eyes. But what would the music be like inside, say, a great cathedral? Here’s a musical example from around the year 1200 that might have been heard inside Notre Dame in Paris one joyous Christmas night. The piece is by the composer Perotin.

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Coming around the corner to the right we see a vibrant painting from about the year 1500 called The Virgin of the Wheat.  The work comes from northern France around Amiens. The Virgin Mary has long been a favorite topic for composers. Here we have one of the most famous examples from this era, Ave Maria, virgo serena by the Franco-Flemish master Josquin des Prez.

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Secular music was an equally important part of life in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The tapestries in this exhibition show everyday scenes of love and romance. Chivalry and knighthood meant not only bravery and codes of conduct but also courtly love. One of the most popular instruments of the time was the lute.

Before the printing press, books were also works of art. Monks created illuminated manuscripts from which they would sing their daily prayers. Smaller versions called Books of Hours would be sold to wealthy people so that they could take part in monastic prayers in their own homes. Pages from the Litany of the Saints can be seen on the interactive tablet in our exhibition. This is what it might have sounded like.

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come into the next room and we see an odd wooden carving called a misericord, or, “act of mercy.” What’s funny about this piece is the carvings depicting, among other things, laughing pigs playing an organ. You’ll also notice a little shelf on top of the piece. So what’s going on here? This is actually from a section of choir stall where monks or choir singers would have to stand for hours at a time during church services. When the seats were flipped up for standing, the little shelf allowed them to discreetly rest their tired rear ends without anyone really noticing.

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Continuing on, we see a small 14th-century carving of the Virgin Mary, whose seat is covered with roses. The rose was a common metaphor for Mary, the rose without thorns. Here we have an English medieval carol, “There is no Rose of such virtue.”

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Finally, we see some interesting metal work. Tabernacles and monstrances were used to house the consecrated bread of the Mass, which Catholics consider to be the actual body of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it was kept in special vessels. One to take note of is the bird, which would have been understood to be the dove of the Holy Spirit. Here is some music from a Mass by the 15th-century composer Ockeghem.

Rather than being a “dark” period, the Middle Ages was actually a vibrant time of creation, both visual and aural. Don’t miss the DMA’s exhibition Art and Nature in the Middle Ages.

Dr. Alfred Calabrese is Director of Music at St. Rita Catholic Church in Dallas and Music Director of the Denton Bach Society.

Building Blocks

The DMA’s M2 hallway is hosting work by the winners and finalists of the 2016 Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition, which celebrates the best in architectural delineation by professionals and students throughout the world. Averaging more than 400 entries from 25 countries in recent years, KRob is currently the most senior architectural drawing competition anywhere in the world.

Julien Meyrat, a senior designer at Dallas-based architecture firm Gensler, shared some insight into the history of this four-decades-old competition. Be sure to visit the work, on view through December 5 and included in free general admission, on your next visit to the DMA.

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What is the Ken Roberts Delineation Competition?
The AIA Dallas Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition (or “KRob” for short) is an annual event that recognizes excellence in how architecture is visualized through drawing. Organized by the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects, students and professionals from around the world are invited to submit drawings and renderings done either by hand or by digital means. Most entries are received by the competition’s official website, but people are also encouraged to deliver their submission to the AIA Dallas office. A three-person jury selected by the committee evaluates the entries for technical and expressive qualities and not for the merit of the architectural designs they illustrate. Winners are chosen for various categories: Hand Drawing, Digital/Mixed Media, Travel Sketch, Physical Submissions, and 3D Printing.

How did it get started?
Dallas architect Jack Craycroft noticed an abundance of quality perspective drawings produced by young designers who worked alongside him in the early 1970s. When he was installed as president of AIA Dallas in 1974, he decided to create a competition for Dallas-area architects to showcase their delineations that would have otherwise been given to clients or hidden in flat-file storage cabinets. He enlisted his young up-and-coming colleague Ken Roberts to lead the new committee to organize the event. It was a major success, though Roberts tragically passed away several months later. AIA Dallas resolved to make the new delineation competition an annual event, and renamed it after its first committee chair.

What has changed about the competition over the years?
Going on its 42nd year, the Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition is the longest-running architectural drawing competition anywhere. Thanks to Dallas’s supportive community of architects and faculty from the University of Texas at Arlington, the competition has served as a window into how we continue to find new ways of depicting buildings and environments. One can study how hand drawing was enhanced with a variety of physical media, how the computer enabled exponentially new avenues for visual communication, and how films and video games continue to influence the way individuals tell stories in their delineations. Eight years ago, KRob opened itself to the world, allowing individuals from over 25 countries to participate. Recently the competition added a new category for 3D-printed models, since this new media continues the critical tradition of using drawing as part of the dynamic design process. The annual exhibition that features the winning finalists is intended to convey the tremendous breadth in visual and graphic talent inherent in the art of architectural drawing.

Thomas Rusher, registered architect , Rusher Studio LLC, 3D Print, 2016

Thomas Rusher, registered architect, Rusher Studio LLC, 3D print, 2016.

Julien Meyrat, AIA, is a senior designer at Gensler. He is also a former chair of the AIA Dallas Ken Roberts Committee.

Freeze Frame

It’s hard to believe, but we’re in the final week of the celebrated exhibition Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty. Prior to the show’s opening in April of this year, Allison V. Smith, photographer and granddaughter of Stanley Marcus, shared with the DMA Member magazine, Artifacts, her first encounter with the work of Irving Penn and the impact of his legacy.  Read about her experience below, and discover the work of Irving Penn for the first time or for the hundredth time through Sunday with buy one get on free exhibition tickets offered every day.

One of the Real Greats
By Allison V. Smith
Original publish date: Artifacts Spring–Summer 2016

Irving Penn’s name is synonymous with beauty in fashion photography. So it’s no surprise that in 1990 my grandfather Stanley Marcus gave me, a young, passionate photographer, a signed copy of Issey Miyake’s catalogue photographed by Irving Penn. An enclosed handwritten Post-it note read:
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“Dear Allie— Penn, in my opinion, is the greatest of the fashion photographers and perhaps one of the real greats of the 20th century. Are you friends with him?”

I wasn’t, but I quickly took the time to educate myself.

Penn’s prolific photographic career spanned seventy years, and in this time he managed to merge the lines between fashion and fine art. His first cover for Vogue magazine was published in 1943, and he would shoot at least 150 more.

Irving Penn, Salvador Dali, New York, 1947, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist. Copyright © The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn, Salvador Dali, New York, 1947, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, © The Irving Penn Foundation

Penn’s assignments ranged from shooting striking models in designer dresses on location in Paris, to contemporary still lifes of familiar objects, to the simple “corner portraits” of artists that included Salvador Dalí and Truman Capote. These portraits were made sometime in 1948 in a constructed corner in his studio. The sitter embraced the corner, demonstrating his or her own personality and making the static background Penn chose into a private stage. Dalí fills the frame in a confident pose, with both arms placed firmly on his knees. Capote kneels on a chair, wearing an oversized tweed jacket and looking directly at the photographer. It’s hard to tell whether he’s feeling vulnerable or safe.

Irving Penn, Truman Capote, New York, 1979, printed 1983, silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. Copyright © The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn, Truman Capote, New York, 1979, printed 1983, silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation, © The Irving Penn Foundation

Penn wrote in Passage: A Work Record about this process: “This confinement, surprisingly, seemed to comfort people, soothing them. The walls were a surface to lean on or push against. For me the picture possibilities were interesting; limiting the subjects’ movement seemed to relieve me of part of the problem of holding on to them.”

Working for Vogue, Penn had the dream job of traveling the world photographing portraits of everyday people—artisans and blue-collar workers in Paris and London, a gypsy community in Spain, and the tribes of New Guinea. Penn approached all of his portraits with the same respect and elegance as he did in posing a model in Paris or an Issey Miyake design.

Irving Penn, Issey Miyake Fashion: White and Black, New York, 1990, printed 1992, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. Copyright © The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn, Issey Miyake Fashion: White and Black, New York, 1990, printed 1992, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation, © The Irving Penn Foundation

Penn’s photographs are subtle and sophisticated, often finding his subjects against a blank backdrop. His meticulous flowers are a study of visual rhythm. His nudes, whom he shot on countless rolls of film on his Rolleiflex camera between 1949 and 1950, went largely unseen until 1980. He closely examined the shapes of models of all sizes. The results were about form and less about nakedness.

A prolific photographer and a technical master, he made personal work throughout his life, including his early photographs of shop window displays, and later cigarette butts, smashed cups, and chewing gum. These simple photos of litter experimented with different photographic processes, such as platinum and palladium, giving them a rich quality—and also leaving an indelible mark on me.

Allison V. Smith is an editorial and fine art photographer based in Dallas. In 2008, the DMA presented “Reflection of a Man: The Photography of Stanley Marcus,” a retrospective of photographs taken by the department store magnate and produced by Smith and her mother, Jerrie Smith.

 

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.
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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.

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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