Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Make This: Camera Obscura

Today is a big day for the moon, check out this post from 2016 to find our how you can make a camera obscura to watch the moon’s time in the lime light.

DMA Canvas

Johannes Vermeer, star of the eponymous Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, is famous for his illusionism. Vermeer’s small, gem-like paintings are little windows into 17th century Dutch life. Instead of composing his images from naked-eye observation, however, some art historians believe that Vermeer used a device called a camera obscura.

A camera obscura, Latin for dark chamber, is the precursor to the modern camera, and has been known to artists, scientists, and philosophers since the time of Aristotle. At their most basic, they are made from light-tight boxes with a tiny hole on one side. Light enters the hole and casts an inverted image on a screen inside the box. Its earliest uses can be traced to astronomers, who used the camera obscura to safely view eclipses. However, it didn’t take long for artists to use it as a drawing tool. Camera…

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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

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Tomorrow night, July 13, we are celebrating Mexico of the past and present with our Second Thursday program, Off the Wall to kick off our closing weekend of Mexico: 1900-1950. Since this exhibition is all about telling the stories of Mexico and the artists who documented its history and people, we thought Once Upon a Time in Mexico would be the perfect way to encapsulate the evening. We have so much going on all evening, tours, music, crafts, and more and each activity connects back and tells a story about an artwork in the exhibition.

Murals are such a large portion (literally) that connects the exhibition together, so we wanted to highlight murals as an art form. All night you will be able to watch as the artist collective Sour Grapes create a mural inspired by the exhibition on Eagle Family Plaza. Sour Grapes has been around since 2005 and you can’t drive around Dallas without seeing their work on walls and buildings. Even though we have a few murals to choose from, this one was a visitor favorite and with its bold colors and the scale of the work, you can see why.

Diego Rivera, Juchitán River (Río Juchitán), 1953–1955, oil on canvas on wood, Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA, Mexico City Assigned to the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes through the Sistema de Administración y Enajenación de Bienes of the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, 2015 © 2017 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New

Artists like, Gunther Gerzso, Leonora Carrington, and Alice Rahon, all featured in the exhibition, were important players in the Surrealist movement in Mexico. This movement encouraged artists to unlock their subconscious and use their imagination to create a new world on the canvas.  Spend a few minutes with friends putting yourself into the minds of the Surrealists with the game, Exquisite Corpse. In the game, a piece of paper is folded into sections and passed around; the challenge is that each artist must work on one particular segment without having seen the others. The results are sometimes crazy and monstrous but always hilarious.

Gunther Gerzso, The Days of Gabino Barreda Street, 1944, oil on canvas, Lent by private collection

On the Before Mexico, was Mexico tours, we have Dr. Kimberly Jones the DMA’s Assistant Curator of the Arts of the Americas speaking on our Pre-Columbian collection in English and Spanish. Pre-Columbian art was an enormous influence on many of the artists represented in the exhibition. Just one example is the mural by Saturnino Herrán entitled Our Gods, which shows a group of Aztec people during a ritual to the god, Coatlicue.

To finish up your night, don’t miss Mariachi de Oro performing the upbeat music of Western Mexico. Mariachi has been around since at least the 18th century and is a large part of Mexico’s cultural history. Around the 1920’s when the piece below was painted, Mariachi music was being broadcast on the radio for the first time, and instruments like the trumpet were being infused into the arrangements because of the growing popularity of jazz and Cuban music.

Don’t miss out on a fun filled evening celebrating the closing weekend of Mexico: 1900-1950. We are going to miss this exhibition once it is gone next Monday, but thankfully, we have a few pieces that are staying with us! These images below among others will still be in the DMA’s collection and can be enjoyed many times to come after Mexico is over.

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow from 5:00-9:00 p.m. for July Off the Wall: Once Upon a Time in Mexico. The cost is $5 for the public and free for DMA Members. An additional $10 ticket is required to see the exhibitions that evening.

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA

Party Like It’s 1776

Are you too cool for British rule? Then celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by exploring more than 150 outstanding prints from the colonial era to the present, drawn exclusively from the National Gallery of Art’s collection. Visiting Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art is how you get Fourth of July HamilDONE right. Ain’t no party like a George Washington party, because a George Washington party don’t stop! See you Tuesday friends, the DMA is open on the Fourth of July from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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

At an arms length

Are selfies a form of art? With the advent of the front facing camera, the digital age’s self portrait was born. Whether seeking social approval, documenting travels, or not wanting anyone to be left out of the picture, selfies give us a snapshot of life’s many moments. Much like paint and brush, filters, and editing apps allow one to dictate how the world see them. Genuine and doctored images are now so seamlessly intertwined that society is left to their own interpretations. Sound familiar?  How many times have you felt differently about a work of art than the person next to you?

Whether you are a proponent of selfies or adversely opposed, you have to admire the forethought and skill involved in taking the perfect one. Has the 45 degree upward tilt been achieved, the most flattering light found, and the perfect filter picked? Not to mention the caption, is it vague or descriptive? Like the text on a label, does it leave one wanting more or fully informed?

This National Selfie Day try your hand (literally) at this art form in the DMA. We promise plenty of beautiful backgrounds, ambient light, and free WiFi, all for your selfie taking adventures.

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

A Curator’s Best Days

In celebration of Paul Gauguin’s birthday today, we thought we would revisit one of Uncrated’s first blogs from August 2010 exploring the conservation work on the DMA’s “Under the Pandanus” painting by Gauguin.

Dallas Museum of Art Uncrated

The best days in a curator’s professional life are often the days spent in the conservation lab. That’s where we get to spend quality time with works of art and talk to conservators, the fantastically knowledgeable people who can look through a microscope or infrared scope and tell you the life history of an object. I was lucky enough to spend several hours in the painting conservation lab of the Midwestern Art Conservation Center (MACC), a private conservation center housed at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). I was there to confer with conservator David Marquis just before he begins cleaning an important painting in the DMA’s collections, Paul Gauguin’s Under the Pandanus, also known by its Maori title I Raro Te Oviri.

Gauguin painted Under the Pandanus in 1891, a few months after he arrived in Tahiti for the first time.  Sometime later, possibly the next year…

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The Golden Age on the Silver Screen

This summer, as part of our México 1900-1950 exhibition, we are celebrating Mexico’s Golden Age of Mexican cinema with free screenings of some of the era’s most beloved and acclaimed films. I asked Alex Garcia Topete, Lead Programmer for Latino and International Programming with The Dallas International Film Festival, to share a few words about what makes this period of film so special and how these films continue to impact filmmaking today. Here’s what he had to say:

What is the Golden Age of Mexican cinema and what is its legacy in the history of film?
It’s the period between the late 30s and late 50s when Mexico became a powerhouse of cinema because of the quality of talent, technical achievements, and overall success of the now-classic films. Without the Mexican Golden Age, there would be no Scorsese, no Spielberg, no Coppola. It also established many of the stars and characters that are worldwide icons of Mexico since then.

Salón México, 1949

What are some of the recurring themes and genres of films made during this period?
First and foremost, strong women are one of the constants. Even when the female lead may be a damsel waiting for her lover, she would still be the one in control and driving the narrative in most Golden Age films. The theme of family and duty also appears a lot, thanks to the changing social mores of the era. In terms of genre, the “ranch comedy” surged—funny or romantic stories that happen in rural settings, kind of a subdued western; however, every major genre had a presence in the Golden Age: film noir, screwball, musicals, biblical epics, you-name-it!

La Perla (The Pearl), 1947

What do you think modern day audiences might like about these films?
Modern audiences will appreciate the universality of the Golden Age films. Yes, they’re all emblematic of what “Mexico” means and what a lot of people think of when they hear that, but the stories and characters are all timeless and universal. Yearning lovers, matriarchs, funny goofballs—the Golden Age presented the whole world in the setting of Mexico.

What are a couple of your favorites and why?
Ahí está el Detalle is one of my favorite comedies because it was the beginning of the legacy of Cantiflas, Mexico’s Charlie Chaplin; Los Olvidados and El Ángel Exterminador because they’re Luis Buñuel at his most masterful; and Los Tres García because it’s a milestone bringing together three of the biggest stars of Mexican cinema. I could go on and on.

Check out a full lineup of film screenings at DMA.org, and don’t miss your chance to see these classics on the big screen.

Jessie Frazier is the Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA.


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