Archive Page 2

Visions of America

What do Paul Revere and Andy Warhol have in common? Seemingly nothing, right? Wrong. Both of these men, who are equally renowned for different reasons, were also American artists (yes, the Paul Revere “The British are coming” fellow) responsible for depicting important moments in the nation’s history through prints. This Sunday, May 28, their works will be joined at the DMA by others from greats such as James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, George Bellows, John Marin, Jackson Pollock, Louise Nevelson, Romare Bearden, Robert Rauschenberg, Chuck Close, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, and many more.

Politics in an Oyster-House

Michele Fanoli, after Richard Caton Woodville, Politics in an Oyster-House, 1851, hand-colored lithograph, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Gift of the Estate of William Woodville, VIII)

Just in time for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art takes a look at how America and its people have been represented in prints made by American and non-American artists between 1710 and 2010. As the final venue of a four-city international tour and the only other US venue, the DMA will present more than 150 outstanding prints from the colonial era to the present, drawn exclusively from the National Gallery of Art’s collection.

Lose yourself in the nation’s spacious skies and amber waves of grain through September 3, 2017.

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

Cats in the Archives

An exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art about cats in their collections inspired me to go searching for cats in the DMA Archives collections. Here is what I found.

Painter, printmaker, and DMFA Museum School instructor Lucille Jeffries with an unidentified cat. Barbara Maples Papers, Photographs, DMA Archives

Sculptor James Surls plays with a black cat under his sculpture while a second cat looks on. Exhibition Photography, Visions: James Surls, 1974-1984, December 2, 1984-January 13, 1985, Artist photographs, DMA Archives

Artist Brent Steen with his cat, photographed during artist studio visits in conjunction with the 2003 exhibition Come Forward: Emerging Art in Texas. Exhibition Photography, Come Forward: Emerging Art in Texas, February 23-May 11, 2003, Artists in studio, DMA Archives

Keep an eye out for dogs in the Archives in the future—and of course I’ve already done llamas. Enjoy!

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

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.

Finding Yourself at the DMA

As an art museum educator, I live for the tales of visitors who have had meaningful, inspirational, life-changing experiences in museums—perhaps because it was exactly this kind of personal experience that propelled me down the career path I’ve taken. Working in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), a participatory educational space for visitors of all ages, I have the privilege of hearing these kinds of statements often; however, a few months back I was surprised to hear from a visitor who literally found herself in a photograph by Geoff Winningham currently on view in the C3.

Geoff Winningham (artist), The Cronin Gallery (publisher), U.T. Cheerleaders, negative 1972, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank 1981.36.6

During a Late Night event, Laura was walking through C3 with her husband when they both stopped dead in their tracks as they walked by the photograph. “I think that’s you,” her husband stated. “I know it’s me!” Laura exclaimed.

I had so many questions for her. What was it like seeing yourself in a work of art in a museum? Did you know this photograph existed or that you were being photographed at the time? Can you recall the other cheerleaders in the photograph? Luckily, Laura was happy to meet up to discuss her experience.

As you might imagine, Laura was quite surprised to see a photo of her college-age self in the Museum. As a University of Texas cheerleader, she was aware they were photographed in action from time to time—once her image ended up as part of the opening montage of ABC’s Wide World of Sports for a full year—but she never imagined she would make it into a work of art in the DMA’s collection. Laura is uniquely well versed in the DMA collection, but until recently she had never seen this photograph before. Not only is Laura a DMA Member, but she was also part of the PM Docent class for five years, starting with the charter class under the leadership of Gail Davitt.

Both the University of Texas and the Dallas Museum of Art have loomed large in Laura’s life, but she never imagined that the two worlds would collide. In fact, UT Cheer isn’t just a distant memory as Laura regularly attends the Cheer Reunions and keeps in touch with fellow cheerleaders, including some of those captured alongside her in Winningham’s photograph. In the image below, the woman on the far right is the same woman on the far left of the UT Cheerleaders photograph by Winningham.

Now that Laura knows of the existence of this photograph, she comes back to visit it from time to time. She was also keen to meet the photographer, Geoff Winningham, and looked him up immediately to learn more about him and his work. Fortunately, Winningham was at the DMA in April to lead a Gallery Talk about the series this photograph is part of—A Texas Dozen.

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

Picture Yourself

Self-portraits are compelling images because they appear to show us the person behind the artwork, offering us a special peek into who the artist was. We hope that by looking at the self-portrait, we can learn something about the subject. Yet, much like the selfies we post on social media, the artists were presenting themselves how they wished to be seen.

Just as selfies allow our friends and family to feel like they’re sharing in our daily lives, they are ultimately the result of our own conscious decisions, just like a self-portrait. The self-portraits we see in museums are images that exist somewhere between how we see the artist and how the artist wanted us to see him or her.

My upcoming exhibition Multiple Selves: Portraits from Rembrandt to Rivera, opening this weekend in the Museum’s European Galleries on Level 2,  focuses on this play between how we want to be seen and how we are seen. The majority of the images are self-portraits, ranging from the 17th to the 20th centuries in a variety of media, including etching, lithography, and drawing.

Just as we use objects and clothing in our selfies to identify ourselves (think college t-shirts to mark us as alums or pictures in front of tourist landmarks to show where we’ve been), artists in these self-portraits use different objects and costumes to help us identify the person we see in the portrait as an artist.

Koloman Sokol, Self-Portrait, mid-20th century, wood engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift, 1949.11

In many of the works, these objects are tools of the trade, or items that are specific to an artist’s working life. This includes palettes, canvases, mahl sticks (used by artists to keep their painting hand steady), drawing implements, and jewelry, which historically marked an artist’s inclusion in a professional guild or within a royal court.

One work in particular offers an intriguing example of this complex dynamic. Self-Portrait by Koloman Sokol is this type of double self-portrait. Sokol, a Slovakian artist by birth who worked extensively in Mexico and the United States, probably created this self-portrait sometime in his 30s. In it, we see not only the completed self-portrait but also the artist caught in the act of creating a self-portrait. At the bottom of the print, the outlines of this second self-portrait take shape. This second self-portrait is being created just as the first one was, through a printmaking process known as wood engraving. To help us identify the work he is doing, he includes his tools—the wood block he is carving on and a burin, a tool used in printmaking to cut into the metal plate or wood block.

Detail of Self-Portrait

In the works that feature artist tools, like Sokol’s, the artists are manipulating their own image to ensure that we as an audience recognize the duality of their self-portrait, that we recognize the artist as an artist through both the self-portrait as a work of art and through the artist’s self-presentation as an artist.

For more about self-portraits, join me for a free Gallery Talk on Wednesday, May 3, at 12:15 p.m. in the exhibition. For another type of double self-portrait, be sure to visit The Two Fridas, now on view in the exhibition México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde, on view only at the DMA.

Amy Wojciechowski is the Dedo and Barron Kidd McDermott Graduate Intern for European Art.

The Mondrian Brand

The abstract paintings of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian have become ubiquitous in pop culture, from architecture to designer fashions. In a sense his geometric, primary-colored compositions have become a brand. This proliferation and appropriation of an artistic style begs the question, what shapes an artist’s legacy? Why do some works of art become so intertwined with pop culture that they become icons instantly recognizable to mass audiences? Join us on Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. for The Mondrian Brand and hear from Dr. Nancy Troy, Victoria and Roger Sant Professor in Art at Stanford University and author of The Afterlife of Piet Mondrian.

Piet Mondrian, Place de la Concorde, 1938–1943, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation 1982.22.FA

To contemplate Mondrian’s pop culture legacy in my own way I thought it was finally time to attempt the complex and beautiful Mondrian Cake made famous by Caitlin Freeman in her book Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art.

The first three lines of the recipe are just a taste of what goes into this chocolate-soaked masterpiece:
Makes one 16 by 3 by 3-inch cake, serving 15
Hands-on time: 6 hours
From start to finish: 2 days


To begin, I had to make four velvety cakes: one white, one blue, one red, and one yellow. Freeman uses a delicious recipe with a shocking butter content (I made two trips to the store). As you might imagine, I ended up with a rainbow of leftover cake that I was too lazy to repurpose into another dessert.

After precisely cutting each section of the Mondrianesque composition I glued them together with 24 oz of bittersweet chocolate ganache and finished the cake with a shower of ganache. With two days of cake construction behind me I was impatient to see the finished product and did not let it set up in the fridge for the recommended three hours. Each slice revealed a mini Mondrian, if only slightly wonky and Easter-egg colored. We’ll never know if Mondrian would have approved of this culinary counterfeit, but I was certainly satisfied with my effort.

Jessie Frazier is the Manager of Adult Programming 

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.


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