Archive for the 'Late Nights' Category

Colors of Kente

Alongside the gold ornamentation, furniture, and weaponry, one of the other art forms in the new exhibition The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana is kente cloth. The cloth is made from weaving thin strips of woven fabric together to create large blanket-size pieces. You can see in the photo below how detailed the vertical strips can be, and how colorful the patterns are. Once all of the thin strips are created, they will turn into the kente pattern like the ones you see below. Both of these kente textiles will be on view in the exhibition.

Detail of a man’s kente, Oyokoman pattern, Ghana, Asante peoples, c. 1920–1930, Ssilk, Dallas Museum of Art, Textile Purchase Fund, 2015.12

Kente, Ghana, Asante peoples, c. 1925, silk and dye, Dallas Museum of Art, African Collection Fund, 2006.45

To learn more about the kente cloths that will be shown in the exhibition, we invited world-renowned kente weaver Kwasi Asare to be a part of our April Late Night and an Adult Workshop. Kwasi Asare is part of a lineage of kente weavers who played an enormous role in the popularity and visibility of the traditional cloth in Ghana. His father, A. E. Asare, created the kente worn by the president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, in 1957 for his official portrait and visits to the United States. This gained worldwide attention because Ghana had just become the first independent country in sub-Saharan Africa. A. E. Asare also weaved a kente for the United Nations General Assembly in the 1960s. Kwasi Asare, following in his father’s footsteps, weaved a kente to replace the old and fraying version his father had made, which now hangs in the UN building. Kwasi Asare called his kente Adwene Asa, meaning “consensus has been reached.” The Adwena Asa stands as an emblem of diplomacy, peace, and compassion and as an aspirational symbol for all the world’s delegates who gather there. Kwasi Asare will be demonstrating his weaving and leading a tour of the kente cloths in the exhibition during Late Night on Friday, April 20.

Kwasi Asare weaving on his large loom

Prime Minister of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah arriving at the White House, Washington, DC, US, July 1958

Adwene Asa, Kwasi Asare’s kente cloth that hangs in the United Nations General Assembly Building

The last three images are taken with permission from Kwasi Asare’s website.

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programs at the DMA.

Have a PAWsome New Year!

Friday is Chinese New Year and we invite you to start the New Year with us as we celebrate the Year of the Dog during our monthly Late Night. Throughout the night, you can experience lion dances, watch Chinese martial arts demonstrations, have your name written in Chinese calligraphy, and listen to traditional Chinese music in our galleries. There will be dog-themed tours, of course, but you can get a jump-start learning about the dogs in our collection with two previous blog posts here and here.

While dogs take precedence this year, be sure to check out these works of art from China on Level 3 that feature other animals from the Chinese zodiac:

Funerary plaque, China, Western Jin dynasty, 219-316 CE, limestone, The Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, 2016.33.a-b

This tomb marker features two of the four “spiritually endowed” directional deities – the tortoise and the dragon. The other two deities are the phoenix and the unicorn. While not one of the animals represented in the Chinese zodiac, the tortoise is important in Chinse Buddhist belief because it symbolized longevity.

Pair of Lokapala (Heavenly Guardians), China, Tang dynasty, 1st half of 8th century, pottery with colored lead glazes, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Fund, in honor of Ellen and Harry S. Parker III, 1987.1-2.MCD

Learn more about these heavenly guardians, which often featured lions and tigers on their armor and showed triumph as guardians by balancing on the figure of a bull (or ox), on our 6:30 p.m. spotlight tour with DMA Teaching Specialist Jennifer Sheppard.

Rectangular box, China, mark and reign of Emperor Wanli (r. 1573-1619), dated in inscription to 1595, cinnabar lacquer over wood core, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. George A. Shutt

The cover of this box features two symmetrically opposed imperial five-clawed dragons chasing the flaming pearl of wisdom.

Polo horse tomb figure, China, attributed to Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-907), ceramic, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Rothwell, 1960.167

This horse is a mingqi or “spirit object” that was buried with the deceased in underground tombs. With the accession of the emperors of the Tang dynasty, the number of funerary objects placed in tombs increased, as funerary art became a means to display your wealth publically.

Friday’s Late Night will also feature a talk by DMA curator Dr. Anne Bromberg who will discuss our new installation Asian Textiles: Art and Trade Along the Silk Road which features these two coats from China:

Short coat: dragons and auspicious symbols, China, late 19th century, silk with metal-wrapped yarn, Gift of Betty Ann Walter and Ruth Walter Benedict in memory of Ethyl Walter and Gladys Walter, 1993.70

Woman’s semi-formal court coat, China, 19th century, silk and metal-wrapped yarns, Gift of Mrs. Beatrice M. Haggerty, 1995.40

So if January wasn’t all you thought it would be, start fresh this Friday and join us as we kick-off a PAWsome new year!

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services

The Two Käthes

Join us for Late Night this Friday when we will host artist Käthe Kollwitz of the feminist activist art collective the Guerrilla Girls as part of a celebration of women artists featured in Visions of America. For more than thirty years, women artists from across the country have donned gorilla masks and joined the ranks of the Guerrilla Girls to produce public art campaigns that raise awareness about gender and ethnic discrimination in the art world and beyond. Having decided early on that the members of the Guerrilla Girls would remain anonymous, they took this opportunity to shine some limelight on great women artists of the past by assuming the names of pioneers like Käthe Kollwitz, Frida Kahlo, and Zubeida Agha.

Guerrilla Girls at the Abrons Art Center, 2015

In an interview for the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art Oral History Program, Käthe explained the origin of their pseudonyms.

“Eventually we realized that we needed individual names within the Guerrilla Girls.  When we went places in a group or in pairs, we needed to be individuals in some way.  So this idea came up to have dead women artists as pseudonyms, and it was a useful idea because art historians were re-finding and representing the work of a lot of women artists from history.  Most of the pseudonyms that people took were artists they’d never heard of before they started and only discovered when they read up on women artists, looking for a name.”

Käthe’s own namesake, Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945), was a German printmaker and sculptor who also addressed social injustice in her work. She also happens to be well represented in the DMA’s collection

Kollwitz’s work is at times touching and heart-wrenching with intimate portraits of mothers with their children as well as genre scenes depicting the plight of the urban poor. Her subjects are often gaunt figures whose shadowy eyes and pained poses speak volumes about the dire circumstances under which they lived. Having endured multiple personal tragedies and both world wars, she was an artist who did not shy away from showing the realities of war, poverty, and loss.

Käthe Kollwitz, Revolt (Sturm), 1897, Etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg, 2000.192.FA

Remarking on how she arrived at the pseudonym Käthe Kollwitz, the artist said, “It’s very personal for everybody.  Käthe Kollwitz is not my all-time favorite artist, but she’s a great role model.  She was an activist as well as an artist.  She didn’t believe in the expensive, fancy art system.  She did a lot of cheap prints that she gave and sold very cheaply.  She did a lot of work about working people, about women and children, even work about sex.  She was a fierce woman artist.”

Over 70 years after Kollwitz’s death the Guerrilla Girls are continuing the practice of using art to raise awareness. Reflecting on their own 30 year legacy, Käthe will speak about favorite projects and how the group has approached activism in their work. For more information about this and other Late Night programs, visit DMA.org.

Jessie Frazier is Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA

Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being

At Late Night this Friday journalist and author Susana Martínez Vidal will speak about her beautiful new book, Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being, which looks at the iconic and carefully curated style of Frida Kahlo and the artist’s lasting influence in the worlds of fashion and art. Before her visit, I asked the author to share a few insights about this project.

Frida Kahlo Cover 3D crop

What inspired you to write a book about Frida Kahlo?

During the almost 18 years that I headed EllE Spain and attended international fashion shows, I saw Frida walk by on innumerable occasions, interpreted in diverse ways by the greatest designers in the world: Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld, Lacroix, Kenzo, all have paid homage to her.  Countless times I witnessed her influence in music, film, and in the best international fashion magazines.  The most famous actresses, models, and singers have evoked her: Monica Belluci, Naomi Cambell, Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, Beyoncé, Madonna, Patti Smith, Cold Play.

In 1993 Frida Kahlo inspired the first fashion shoot I published as the director of EllE.  Through the eye of Canadian photographer Michel Pérez, actress and model Patricia Velásquez, the exotic beauty for “The Mummy” saga (who along with Frida shares indigenous heritage), was transformed in an Aztec princess. Years later, I was impacted by the spring collection of the great Jean Paul Gaultier, the first of the major designers to evoke her.

It powerfully attracted my attention that a woman who was half indigenous and was not from a first world country nor from show business (she wasn’t an actress, singer, or dancer) had gatecrashed into ranking among the most iconic women of the 20th century, next to Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy or Maria Callas.

In 2012, shortly after relocating to live in Mexico, the Huffington Post asked me to write a blog about the exposition of Frida Kahlo’s clothing that had recently opened.  Seeing this fantastic showcase in the Casa Azul Museum, I started to remember all the images of Frida from the runways and decided that the subject deserved to be explored more profoundly.  At the end of the article I expressed my desire that one day a book would speak to the influence of Frida Kahlo on fashion.  It was a challenge I gave myself to dare myself to take the step.  For months the article was one of the most read on Huffington Post, and this convinced me that Frida lived even though she had died more that half a century prior.   Frida Kahlo: Fashion As the Art of Being is the realization of that dream.

Frida Book 2 crop

In your opinion, what is the biggest lesson Frida taught us about fashion, art, or life?

Her determination to transform pain into beauty, while being an imperfect beauty, motivated her to build an image that she cared for and cultivated in order to elevate her self-esteem. She used fashion like therapy, emphasizing her defects to develop her own hallmark image and identity. The more pain she was in, the greater she made herself up. At the end of her life she dressed as if going to a party.

Her fans applaud her paintings because they admire her story, and therefore you cannot separate her life from her work. Like Stephen W. Hawking, she is someone who knew how to transform her limitations into opportunities. In both situations, their disabilities have transformed in aids that encourage them to focus on there abilities. Certainly, she was her finest work of art.

Frida in Gallery 01

Do you see the fashion world’s appropriation of her style as honoring her, exoticizing her–both?

Perhaps both: Fashion has resurrected Mrs. Kahlo, to give her the glory she didn´t have during her life.

Since the beginning, the idea of the book has been to show the influence of Frida Kahlo in contemporary fashion and pop culture and why she continues to appear so modern in the 21st century.

My objective has been to unravel fashion’s constant obsession with Frida Kahlo, despite being a field which by definition is always in constant motion, and decipher why it is that her style continues to provoke an irrepressible appeal the world over.

Frida in Gallery 02

Join Susana Martínez Vidal this Friday for talks in both English and Spanish and pick up a copy of Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being, available for purchase in the DMA store.

And let Frida inspire your own fashion – come dressed like Frida Kahlo on May 19 and your Late Night ticket will be $5.

Jessie Frazier is Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.

The DMA Test Kitchen

This Friday, author, artist, and editor Natalie Eve Garrett will be here to discuss The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook which features intimate, funny, and heartbreaking stories paired with recipes from some of the most brilliant creative minds of our time.

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 featured in the book. You can find our other cooking attempts here, here, and here.

Madeleine Fitzgerald, Audience Relations Coordinator for Programming:

I couldn’t resist choosing Alice Hoffman’s Grandmother’s Recipe for Life (also known as potato soup) for a couple of reasons. First of all, my mother’s potato soup has literal healing powers. Anytime one of my family members or friends had surgery, my mother and I would make the Famous Magical Potato Soup and by morning you would miraculously feel better. I knew going into this that nothing would beat my own mother’s recipe, not even Alice Hoffman’s grandmother’s recipe. There’s no way this soup could be more magical than my mother’s. Even if it’s from the writer of Practical Magic.

This recipe called for very few ingredients, and three of them were garlic, onion, and leeks. Nothing compliments potatoes better than onions and garlic! Also, any recipe that calls for wine is a friend of mine.

First you chop the trifecta of the onion family. It’s important to spend a sold 5 minutes admiring and photographing the geometric shape and bright green color of the leeks.

In a heavy saucepan, melt an entire stick of butter, the onion, lots of garlic, and leeks and cook until soft and starting to caramelize.

While you stir for about 10-15 minutes, open the wine early and pour yourself a glass (especially in a cute DMA wine glass!).

Then chop up the potatoes and toss them in as well. The recipe said to sauté for 7 minutes, but I wanted them to get some brown crispy spots on them before adding in the liquid (caramelization equals flavor!), so I actually let them cook for about 20 minutes before adding chicken stock, wine, salt, and lots of pepper. I poured a second glass of wine here.

The recipe does not tell you how long to cook the soup once you add the liquid. The last step is literally “Hope for the best.” I cooked it for about 20 more minutes until potatoes were cooked through and the starches in the potatoes naturally thickened the soup.

I garnished with some homegrown chives and more pepper (and maybe another splash or two of wine). I liked the soup just fine, but it needed more than just potatoes and onions.

Things I Learned: Next time I’ll add a lot more veggies: corn, peas, carrots, and even chicken or bacon. This soup was very creamy, even without any actual milk, cream, or cheese, which my mom uses heavily in her recipe. And this is why, for me, my mom’s recipe will always be better than Alice Hoffman’s grandmother’s.

 

Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services:

I decided to make the Kentucky Pizza because I am always on the lookout for a new pizza crust recipe and I was curious what zucchini and squash would add, texture-wise, to a pizza.

When I have made pizza dough before, the recipes usually call for you to let the dough rest for two hours, giving the yeast time to do its job. This recipe calls for a 24 hour resting period. So I made the dough on a Saturday in preparation for a Sunday pizza dinner.

This recipe also mentioned using a pizza stone – and while I normally make my pizzas on a sheet pan I thought I would treat myself to a pizza stone and a pizza sheet (used to transfer your pizza to and from the hot stone).

After preparing all my ingredients – shredding the smoked mozzarella and cooking the vegetables – I assembled my pizza on the pizza sheet.

I used plenty of corn meal and flour on the pizza sheet to make sure it wouldn’t stick and could slide right off on to the hot stone…but apparently I did not use enough. As I ended up with this:

Needless to say, my Sunday pizza dinner ended up being this:

Things I learned: When you are trying out a new kitchen tool, like a pizza stone, you maybe should do a few test runs before trying a recipe that will be featured on a blog.

 

Jessie Frazier, Manager of Adult Programming:

I’ve always found it kind of magical when a recipe makes strange ingredients tasty, so the editor’s own contribution to the cookbook, Disgustingly Good Cookies, caught my eye.

The recipe begins with chickpeas, drained, dried, and chopped in a food processor until they form a fluffy and surprisingly dough-like consistency. I added peanut butter, honey, vanilla, banana, and baking powder to the mix and finished it off with dark chocolate chips. I’m ashamed to say I was not brave enough to try the raw dough.

After scooping gobs of dough onto a cookie sheet and pressing them with a fork, I topped each cookie with a pinch of sea salt and put them into a 350 degree oven for about 13 minutes.

The flavor is nutty, oaty, just sweet enough, and thankfully not reminiscent of chickpeas. The texture is more akin to no-bake energy bites than crispy, ooey gooey cookies. These are not the indulgent cookies that I would eat while binge-watching Netflix. They are the ones I would put in my gym bag for a boost of energy before spin class, if I went to spin class.

Things I Learned: I still want to eat real cookies. But I’m glad to add this trick to my repertoire.

 

Katie Cooke, Manager of Adult Programming:

I was drawn to Francesca Lia Block’s Apple “Betty” recipe at first because I would be able to eat baked apples and call it work. And second, because of the beautiful, but sad poem that went along with it. The early stanzas call for white tapers, a crystal, and a plastic horse. I hope everyone will be okay with my substitutions of white tea candles and a tuxedo cat.

This recipe is about as simple as it gets, all I needed was flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, butter, and 4 apples. I’m always happy with a recipe that calls for things that I already have in my pantry.

You combine all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, easy enough. And then I went to work peeling the 4 gala apples. The recipe called for sweet or tart apples. I honestly do not know what the best apple is for baking, but gala apples are usually pretty sweet, so I chose them! After peeling the apples I cut them into quarters and pared them. To be honest, I think I may have cut them a little thinner than I should, but they were all uniform and isn’t that what really matters in the end? I’m going to tell myself, yes.

After all that cutting you throw the apples in the buttered pie pan. You melt the “cube of butter”, that is all it said in the recipe, so I used my best judgment. You melt it and mix that into the dry ingredients and then scoop it evenly onto the apples. I covered the pie pan with foil and baked it for 15 minutes then removed the foil and baked it for half an hour. It smelled amazing while it baked, 10 out of 10 for smell alone.

The first reaction I had was that the topping was good, but that was probably due to the clumps of warm, brown sugar. I wanted there to be cinnamon or nutmeg, some other flavor to really bring out the apple’s sweetness. But, for a recipe that I could make pretty much any day, at a moment’s notice, AND have Blue Bell ice cream, I was a happy camper.

Things I learned: Warm, baked apples should still count as a serving of fruit, even when there’s ice cream involved. Also, it’s great when a recipe is simple, but expect the taste to be on the simple side.

 

Please join us on Friday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. to hear Natalie Eve Garrett discuss The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook: A Collection of Stories with Recipes.

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

Whiskered Deities

Cats are invading the DMA beginning this Sunday, October 9, when the Museum opens the nationally touring exhibition Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt. The exhibition features 80 objects from the world-renowned Egyptian collection of the Brooklyn Museum depicting cats and lions in ancient Egyptian mythology, kingship, and everyday life (and a few dogs too).

Below is an interview with DMA curator and avid cat-lover Dr. Anne Bromberg that was first published in the DMA Member magazine Artifacts. Mark your calendars for a cat-tastic night on Friday, October 21, during a special Late Night celebrating all things cat and Egypt. Listen to the purrrfect soundtrack to understand why cats are the Furry Conquerors of Culture, and follow the DMA on Spotify.

What are you most excited to present in this exhibition?
The ancient Egyptians were superb artists. Or perhaps one should say they were wealthy enough that they could afford to pay artists generously. The other interesting aspect is that for the Egyptians, cats were very important as divinities, as well as fun and delightful in ordinary life. I’ve said this to practically everybody, but cats have the closest brains to primates, or us, monkeys!

Sphinx of King Sheshenq, c. 945–718 B.C.E., bronze, Brooklyn Museum. Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.586

Sphinx of King Sheshenq, Egypt, Third Intermediate Period, c. 945–718 B.C.E., bronze, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.586

Many people associate the ancient Egyptians with death or funerary rituals.
That’s partly because tombs were substantially built, so they survived. It’s clear from tomb paintings that the homes of the ancient Egyptians were equally glamorous, but almost none of that has survived.

What did this glamorous life look like?
They had beautiful clothes and were well fed. Furnishings of the everyday, as well as ritual objects, were exquisitely made. I’m sure they had trashy junk (because everyone does) but the impression you have is that the objects people lived with were really beautiful. The Egyptians believed that after death you could live forever in the land of eternal life. Part of the appeal of all Egyptian art, and certainly of this show, is that you see art made by people who believed you could take it with you.

Cat's Head, 30 B.C.E. to 3rd century C.E., bronze, gold, Brooklyn Museum. Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.114

Cat’s Head, Egypt, Roman Period, 30 B.C.E.-3rd century C.E., bronze and gold, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.114

It’s impressive that the ancient Egyptian civilization lasted so long.
They were isolated to some degree, and they had a foolproof source of food with the Nile River. They were also extremely literate. People who conquered Egypt knew they were taking over one of the most sophisticated cultures in their world, so they allowed that culture to continue. This many-thousand-year continuity of culture did not disappear until the coming of the Christians, who were opposed to traditional Egyptian religious ideas.

Does any part of that culture persist today?
Something that has continued unabated from prehistoric times and up until today is the passion for cats. It is still a very pro-cat civilization.

Figure of a Cat, 305 B.C.E.–1st century C.E., wood (sycamore fig), gilded gesso, bronze, copper, pigment, rock crystal, glass, Brooklyn Museum. Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund , 37.1945E

Figure of a Cat, Egypt, Ptolemaic Period-Roman Period, 305 B.C.E.–1st century C.E., wood (sycamore fig), gilded gesso, bronze,rock crystal, and glass, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1945E

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


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