Posts Tagged 'Archives'

Art as Spectacle

With all of the exciting openings and events currently taking place at the Museum, it’s interesting to pause and take a look back at installations from our past—especially this one highly ambitious execution that included a lagoon!

David McCullough, Baggie Mantra Sanctorum March, June 12, 1971

On Saturday, June 12, 1971, artist David McCullough executed a performance sculpture around and in the Fair Park Lagoon.

McCullough conceived of the project as a one-act play to be “performed” by himself and his assistants. Musicians were also on-site improvising music in reaction to the performance.

David McCullough, Baggie Mantra Sanctorum March, June 12, 1971

The sculpture consisted of large plastic bags filled with clear or colored water connected by a nylon cord. The performance consisted of a procession of the baggies from the far side of the lagoon, across the water, and along the bank, ending at the Museum steps. The sculpture remained on view for about a week after the performance.

David McCullough, Baggie Mantra Sanctorum March, June 12, 1971

David McCullough, Baggie Mantra Sanctorum March, June 12, 1971

More information about the work can be found in the press release.

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

We’ve Come a Long Way!

Since 1977 the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has promoted an annual International Museum Day, on or around May 18, to highlight how “museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” Beginning in 1992, ICOM has created a theme for the annual event. The theme for 2018 is Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics.

With this theme in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at one of the DMA’s earliest attempts at hyperconnectivity, our forays onto the Internet.

In 1993 the DMA was one of the first museums to go online with a gopher site, a text-based site of menus and documents, and a listing on Compuserve, the first major online services provider. The Museum also acquired two email addresses for staff to use, monitored by library staff members.

DMA website, circa 1994-1998, Homepage

DMA website, circa 1994-98

In January 1994 the DMA launched its first website. The DMA was one of the first five museums to go online with “click and view” access for visitors, presenting 200 images of collection objects. This site was hosted on University of North Texas (UNT) web servers. The DMA site was named one of the 1001 best Internet sites by PC Computing magazine in December 1995.

DMA website, circa 1998-2003, Homepage

DMA website, circa 1998-2003

By 1996, the Museum was outgrowing its UNT site and created an Internet Committee to evaluate the website and brainstorm content and ideas for what the site could be. This work resulted in the launch of a new website on DMA servers with a DMA domain name, DallasMuseumofArt.org, in the summer of 1998.

DMA website, circa 2003-08, homepage

DMA website, circa 2003-08

Since this time, the DMA website has continued to evolve in design and with new technological capabilities. The website underwent major redesigns in 2003, 2008-09, 2013 and, most recently, summer 2017 with the new enhanced Collections Online. All of these redesigns had the goal of providing more content and general information for the Museum’s multiple audiences in an easier-to-use package. DMA.org will continue to evolve with these same goals for future users.

DMA website, circa 2008-13, homepage

DMA website, circa 2008-13

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

ARTifacts: Gateway to the DMA

When the DMA moved downtown, the new museum included a dedicated education space called the Gateway Gallery. The gallery was named Gateway Gallery to indicate that it was to be a gateway to understanding art and the Museum’s collection.

Director Harry S. Parker III with children in the Gateway Gallery, 1984 [Photographer: Tim Mickelson]

Director Harry S. Parker III with children in the Gateway Gallery, 1984 [Photographer: Tim Mickelson]

The first installation for the Gateway Gallery in January 1984, designed by Paul Rogers Harris, allowed visitors to explore the basic elements of art and discover how artists use those elements to create artworks.

"The Gateway Gallery Guide to The Elements of Art" brochure cover

“The Gateway Gallery Guide to The Elements of Art” brochure cover

There were activities to discover line, form, and color. Also texture:

Child exploring texture through sample materials in the Gateway Gallery, 1984

Child exploring texture through sample materials in the Gateway Gallery, 1984

And perspective:

Children explore a mirrored Room of Infinity to understand perspective [Dallas Morning News]

Children explore a mirrored Room of Infinity to understand perspective [Dallas Morning News]

The Gateway Gallery had many different installations, held special exhibitions, and put on an uncountable number of programs for a variety of audiences, a Museum tradition maintained by the Center for Creative Connections.

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

New Additions to the DMA Archives

If you have stopped by the DMA recently, you will have seen a wall full of archival materials and ephemera displayed in the free exhibition DallasSITES: Charting Contemporary Art, 1963 to Present. The archival material also illustrates our new e-publication, DallasSITES: A Developing Art Scene, Postwar to Present, the DMA’s first OSCI project. But these items are just a tiny fraction of the papers, records, and collections acquired by the DMA Archives as part of the DallasSITES project. Below are a few of my favorites–hidden treasures that are not currently on view in the galleries.

Pamela_Nelson_Papers001

Watercolor sketch by Dallas artist Pamela Nelson, Florence, Italy, August 8, 2000. Pamela Nelson Papers.

Harris_GalleryMailings_001

Flyer for the Texas Kid’s Studio Raisin’ event, November 10, 1990. Paul Rogers Harris Gallery Mailings Collection.

Randall_Garrett_Papers001

Los Sons of Cain, 2008, an artist book by Dallas artist and gallerist Randall Garrett. Randall Garrett Papers.

Mitchell_Collection_001

Hot Flashes, Issue 1, December 1985, an arts newsletter for Dallas edited by Bob Trammell. Charles Dee Mitchell Collection.

Pamela_Nelson_Papers_002

Stamp art from the collection of Dallas artist Pamela Nelson. Pamela Nelson Papers.

Pamela_Nelson_Papers_003

Stamp art from the collection of Dallas artist Pamela Nelson. Pamela Nelson Papers.

Victor_Dada_Records_001

Flyer for first Victor Dada performance, “The First Annual Ontopological Da Da Koan,” held at Tolbert’s Chili Parlor, September 20, 1979. Victor Dada Records.
Victor Dada was a performance art group active in Dallas in the 1980s.

Do you have materials documenting a North Texas-based gallery, art career, or arts organization? Please consider donating your archival collection to the Dallas Museum of Art Archives and contribute to the historical record of contemporary art in North Texas for future scholarship. For more information, contact me at archives@DMA.org.

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

Posting the Past: Our ECO Project

So you had a Behind the Scenes peek in the Archives last month. Curious about what’s actually in some of those boxes?  The Archives’ Exhibition Catalogs Online (ECO) project will allow you to see some of the most interesting things from the DMA’s exhibition archive online.

The ECO project is generously funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Access to Artistic Excellence program. Through the project, we are digitizing DMA-published exhibition catalogues and related unpublished material for exhibitions held between 1903 and 1983. The archives have partnered with the University of North Texas’s Digital Projects Unit to scan the published items and make them available on the Portal to Texas History. They will begin appearing in the Portal later this fall. The unpublished material is being scanned in-house and will also be added to the Portal.

All of the exhibition material digitized through the ECO project will be available on the DMA website beginning Fall 2012 via an interface that is being developed through another NEA grant-funded project, Access to Archival Exhibition Resources Online (AAERO). There will be more on AAERO to come, but you can read the press release now.

Below is just a sample of the kinds of things that will soon be available digitally.

Checklist – Texas Panorama, October 10–November 28, 1943

Advertisement – Famous American Paintings, October 9–November 7, 1948

Catalog Cover – Signposts of Twentieth Century Art, October 28–December 7, 1959 (DMCA)

Entry Requirements – 11th Southwestern Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, January 22–February 19, 1961

Poster – The Arts of Man, October 6–January 1, 1963

Invitation – Art of the Congo, October 5–November 3, 1968

Press release – Dallas Collects: Impressionist and Early Modern Masters, January 25–February 26, 1978

Installation diagram – Visions: James Surls, 1974–1984, December 2, 1984–January 13, 1985

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

Behind Closed Doors: Archives

Go behind the Museum office doors and discover the various work spaces in the DMA. Each month we will share insight into a different department.

This month, Hillary Bober, Digital Archivist, shares her space with us.

Photography by Adam Gingrich, Marketing Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art


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