Posts Tagged 'Arts & Letters Live'

Our Portal Into Publishing

View from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group located in the famous Flatiron Bldg

View from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group located in the famous Flatiron Building

The annual DMA Arts & Letters Live planning trip to New York provides the foundation for each season of the DMA’s literary and performing arts series. During more than 30 meetings in five days at the end of July, Carolyn Bess and I learned which authors are generating a lot of buzz for their new books, and who will be on tour during our 25th anniversary season. These meetings provide a portal into the publishing world not yet revealed to the media or to the public. Here begins the dialogue regarding the authors and books publishers want to catapult into public conversation. We share statistics and successes from our recent events as we attempt to woo such “wish list” writers as Donna Tartt, Bill Bryson, and Nick Hornby. Authors often tour to a predetermined number of cities and only for a short time following their book release date, so there can be significant competition when it comes to securing them for Arts & Letters Live. We seek to balance the type of books, speakers, and performances we feature in each season to construct a mix of literary and historical fiction, poetry, memoir, nonfiction, pop culture, and emerging authors.

Though our meeting schedule certainly kept us busy, we managed to squeeze a few excellent cultural outings into our visit. The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed illustrated memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was excellent and would fit nicely into our Artful Musings category (if only Alison weren’t in such high demand these days!). We enjoyed seeing Gerald Murphy’s Cocktail on view in the glorious new Renzo Piano building of the Whitney Museum of American Art as we look forward to hosting Liza Klaussmann tomorrow night at the DMA for her new fictional account of Sara and Gerald Murphy in Villa America. On a Friday evening visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we joined the Museum Hack tour for what their brochure terms “a highly interactive, subversive, fun, non-traditional museum tour.” Their strategy did not disappoint. During our three-hour tour, we learned obscure and whimsical tidbits about a select number of pieces in the Met’s collection and wandered the galleries after hours, inciting childhood fantasies of spending the night in the Met like Claudia in E. L. Konigsburg’s iconic novel, The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

One of the things that impressed me most during these meetings was the number of times publishers commented on the excellent reputation of the Dallas Museum of Art and Arts & Letters Live. After working on events with publicists all year via phone and e-mail, it is gratifying to meet with them in person and to hear how much they appreciate the quality of events that we host at the DMA. The professional relationships built and fostered during this New York trip are a key component to Arts & Letters Live’s success.

Michelle Witcher is the Program Manager, Arts & Letters Live, at the DMA.

A Soft Touch

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This evening, in advance of our special DMA Arts & Letters Live event with Rebecca Alexander, who will discuss her memoir about losing her vision and hearing due to a rare genetic disease, we will host our first Touch Tour for adults in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden. Last summer, the DMA hosted a similar tour for a group of children with visual impairment; you can explore photos from the event below and learn more about the history here.

Tonight, artist John Bramblitt will lead participants to three works of art and then discuss his process as an artist who happens to be blind. The all-inclusive tour for those attending the Arts & Letters Live event (those with full vision will be given blindfolds for the tour) begins at 6:15 p.m. Visit DMA.org for additional information about tonight’s program and to purchase tickets.

Amanda Blake is the Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences at the DMA. 

Summer Reading

Whether you’ll be on a beach or in the air-conditioned comfort of your home, get some inspiration from works in the DMA’s collection and dive into a good book this spring and summer. In addition, don’t miss the upcoming DMA Arts & Letters Live authors appearing at the Museum through July.

(left) Miguel Cabrera, Saint Gertrude (Santa Gertrudis), 1763, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Laura and Daniel D. Boeckman in honor of Dr. William Rudolph; (right) The Sisterhood book jacket, source: Amazon.com

(left) Miguel Cabrera, Saint Gertrude (Santa Gertrudis), 1763, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Laura and Daniel D. Boeckman in honor of Dr. William Rudolph; (right) The Sisterhood book jacket, source: Amazon.com

Saint Gertrude the Great (1256–1301 or 1302) was a German Benedictine nun and a prolific mystic writer. The artist, Miguel Cabrera, is considered one of the greatest 18th-century Mexican painters. Saint Gertrude is sure to enjoy The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan. In this beautifully written novel, a woman’s journey to finish her thesis shifts as she uncovers biblical and art historical secrets that stretch back to the Spanish Inquisition.

 

(left) Mary Cassatt, The Reading Lesson, c. 1901, oil on canvas, Lent by the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation; (right) The Book With No Pictures jacket cover, source: EmertainmentMonthly.com

(left) Mary Cassatt, The Reading Lesson, c. 1901, oil on canvas, lent by the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation; (right) The Book with No Pictures book jacket, source: EmntertainmentMonthly.com

Mary Cassatt’s The Reading Lesson looks like a peaceful reading scene between a woman and a young child. Perhaps they need a little more excitement, and Arts & Letters Live alum B. J. Novak has just the book for that! The Book with No Pictures encourages the reader to read every word, even if it’s silly or loud!

 

(left) Vessel (itinate), early 20th century, Cham or Mwona peoples, ower Gongola River Valley, Nigeria, Africa, terracotta, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation; (right) Half of a Yellow Sun book jacket , source: Mr. Kew blog

(left) Vessel (itinate), Nigeria, Lower Gongola River Valley, Cham or Mwona peoples, early 20th century, terracotta, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation; (right) Half of a Yellow Sun book jacket , source: Mr. Kew blog

This vessel from the early 20th century, featuring a stylized female figure, was traditionally used in divination and healing rituals among the diverse peoples in the Lower Gongola River Valley in northeast Nigeria. This figure, were she to come alive, might be interested in reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun, which narrates the story of five individuals whose lives were dramatically altered by the Nigerian Civil War (1967-70).

 

(left) Pablo Picasso, Bust, 1907-1908, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Joshua L. Logan, Loula D. Lasker, Ruth and Nathan Cummings Art Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Marcus, Sarah Dorsey Hudson, Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, Henry Jacobus and an anonymous donor, by exchange © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; (right) Middlesex book jacket, source: Amazon.com

(left) Pablo Picasso, Bust, 1907-08, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Joshua L. Logan, Loula D. Lasker, Ruth and Nathan Cummings Art Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Marcus, Sarah Dorsey Hudson, Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, Henry Jacobus, and an anonymous donor, by exchange © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; (right) Middlesex book jacket, source: Amazon.com

Picasso’s Bust, with its ambiguous gender and powerfully defined lines, would be enthralled by Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex. This bestselling novel, featuring an intersex main character, explores the theme of identity and the many forms that it can take.

 

(left) Fernand Léger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris; (right) Mrs Dalloway book jacket, Source: penguin.com.au

(left) Fernand Léger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris; (right) Mrs Dalloway book jacket, Source: penguin.com.au

Fernand Léger’s The Divers shows many different views of a body as it moves and dances throughout space. What better way to explore Léger’s modernist art theories than to enjoy Virginia Woolf’s modernist writing? Set during a single June day in London, a memorable event ties multiple characters together in this mid-20th-century masterpiece.

 

(left) François Auguste Biard, Seasickness on an English Corvette (Le mal de mer, au bal, abord d'une corvette Anglaise), 1857, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J.E.R. Chilton; (right) Paris: The Novel book jacket, Source: Amazon.com

(left) François Auguste Biard, Seasickness on an English Corvette, 1857, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J. E. R. Chilton; (right) Paris: The Novel book jacket, Source: Amazon.com

Seasickness on an English Corvette depicts travelers, bound for France, crossing the English Channel. The woman in the middle is clearly entranced by her book, which might be Paris, written by Edward Rutherfurd. This epic narrative of the City of Lights introduces a cast of characters whose fates have been intertwined since the Middle Ages.

Madeleine Fitzgerald is the Audience Relations Coordinator, Education, and Taylor Jeromos is the McDermott Education Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

Austen Abounds

It all started last year when a colleague sent me a link to a portrait we have in our collection of Jane Austen, done by Austen’s sister Cassandra. This colleague knew I was an Austen fan and wanted to see if I was aware that we had this in our collection. I had no idea!

After Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen, n.d., engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

After Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen, n.d., engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

I shared this awesome news with other Austen fans on staff, which led us to think about how great it would be do a Jane Austen-themed Late Night. Around that time, we also heard that the Dallas Theater Center would be doing a spring production of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Voilà, an Austen Late Night was born.

DTC FY15 Sense 300w 150t 1

We brainstormed a lot of ideas, researched speakers who had talked at local and national meetings of The Jane Austen Society of North America, and met with staff from the Dallas Theater Center to talk about connections to their production.

After months of planning, we are excited to see the event take shape, and we invite you to join us for our Jane Austen Late Night on Friday, March 20, from 6:00 p.m. to midnight. You can hear music from the Romantic era, learn about the fashion world of Jane Austen, watch a Victorian fencing demonstration, listen to a dramatic reading by Dallas Theater Center actors, take quizzes to test your knowledge of all things Austen, watch films, including the 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice staring Laurence Olivier, and learn how Kate Rorick helped modernize Austen for the digital age.

Secret Diary LB Cover

For those of you who like to bring the world of Austen to life, we invite you to come dressed as your favorite Jane Austen character or in a costume inspired by England’s Regency era for a chance to win great Austen-themed prizes, including a pair of tickets to the Dallas Theater Center’s production of Sense and Sensibility. Baronda Bradley, a specialist in Regency fashion, will judge the contest, starting at 8:30 p.m.

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Our March Late Night is also our annual Spring Block Party in the Arts District. There will be a lot to do that evening with the Nasher Sculpture Center and Crow Collection of Asian Art also staying open until midnight.

And, for anyone needing an Austen appetizer, there are still tickets available to see Jo Baker, author of Longbourn, at tomorrow night’s DMA Arts & Letters Live event.

I hope to see all my fellow Austenites on Friday!

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA.

Open Book

A&LL_24thSeason
The 24th Arts & Letters Live season promises to be varied and exciting, with a celebrated lineup of award-winning authors, artists, and performers. When we were creating this season, several themes kept rising to the surface:

  • ARTPeter Mendelsund on the art of book jacket design and on what we see when we read; illustrator and New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss; Sue Roe on Matisse, Picasso, and other artists working in the Montmartre area of Paris in the early 1900s—a group portrait of men and women on the cusp of fame who profoundly changed the arts of painting, sculpture, dance, music, literature, and fashion.
  • MEMOIRCandice Bergen, Roz Chast, Gail Sheehy, Rebecca Alexander, Lynsey Addario, and Huan Hsu will all share their recent memoirs this season.
  • MULTICULTURALISM AND GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES – MacArthur Genius Grant–winner and photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who has captured war and human crises around the globe; Oral Fixation, back by popular demand with “Destination America,” featuring seven new personal stories told by immigrants to North Texas.
  • FOOD AND COCKTAILS – Emmy Award–winning host of the Barefoot Contessa television show Ina Garten, James Beard Award–winning chef Marcus Samuelsson, and Tim Federle, author of the whimsical and witty Tequila Mockingbird and Hickory, Daiquiri, Dock, which serve up a blend of literary commentary, puns, and drink recipes.
  • IDENTITY – editors of the Women in Clothes anthology (Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton) as well as fashion designer Lela Rose; Rabih Alameddine exploring identity both in writing and painting; Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning young adult author on Brown Girl Dreaming, a collection of poems depicting her childhood, which won the 2014 National Book Award for young adult literature; rising literary novelists Jacob Rubin and Rebecca Scherm
  • TEXASPhilipp Meyer and Grace Pettis (“Texas Tales in Story, Song, and Art”—involves commissioning Pettis to write a new song inspired by a work of art of her choice in the DMA’s collection); Texas Bound this year features star actors Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond), Glenn Morshower (24), and G. W. Bailey (Major Crimes) as well as many members of the Dallas Theater Center’s Brierley Resident Acting Company.
  • LOVE – Selected Shorts presents “Surprised by Love,” featuring award-winning actors Jane Kaczmarek, Mary Kay Place, and James Naughton; Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, about a brilliant but socially inept scientist who crafts a scientific survey to find a wife.
  • WAR IN FICTION AND NONFICTION – a look back at the meaning of the Vietnam War with Pulitzer Prize-winner Fredrik Logevall; Anthony Doerr and Jim Shepard on their novels, both featuring teenage protagonists in World War II; and Elliot Ackerman, a decorated veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars whose debut novel, Green on Blue, told from the perspective of an Afghan orphan recruited by a US-funded militia, is garnering high praise.
  • CREATIVE COLLABORATION – Award-winning poet Billy Collins and Oscar- and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Aimee Mann team up for a rare evening of poetry, acoustic music, collaboration, and conversation; Joshua Wolf Shenk‘s book Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs examines the creative collaboration found in iconic pairs such as Matisse and Picasso, the Beatles, and many more.

Don’t miss out on your favorite authors this year. Tickets, and the entire season schedule, are available online starting today!

Carolyn Bess is the Director of Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

The Outsiders

The DMA will host acclaimed author S. E. Hinton as part of its Arts & Letters Live series this Thursday, April 24. Hinton gave a fresh and multifaceted voice to the renegade, rebel, and rogue characters in her popular young-adult novels such as The Outsiders and Tex. Generations of readers have embraced her books for their themes of loyalty and perseverance in the face of classist and social injustice, and have projected them into Americana icon status.

Hinton’s best-selling and most well known novel is The Outsiders, about two rival gangs of upper-class and “greaser” teens in the 1960s, inspired by her own experiences growing up in Tulsa. The book was published when she was just 18 years old. Twenty-thousand copies of the book will be distributed throughout Dallas this month as part of “Big D Reads,” a community reading project. Michael Kostiuk’s Untitled from 1973 in the DMA’s collection reminded us of the backdrop for The Outsiders.

Michael Kostiuk, Untitled, 1973, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant

Michael Kostiuk, Untitled, 1973, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant

 

Reagan Duplisea is the associate registrar, exhibitions, at the DMA.

 

Nothin’ Beats the Cookie Season, and That’s the Truth

It wasn’t enough that I had purchased a flight to Dallas that arrived and departed within the same 24 hours just to see B. J. Novak at the DMA’s Arts & Letters Live event; I knew that if I wanted to thank B. J. Novak properly, I had to do just a bit more.
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As an avid baker, the decision to make him cookies wasn’t a difficult one. After deciding to theme the cookies after stories from his book, I started planning. I spent hours at kitchen stores gathering supplies and ingredients; two days before I left, I started on the big project. With minutes to spare until I had to leave my home in Utah to catch my flight, I finished them. Wrapped securely in bubble wrap and placed in a box fashioned like the book jacket for One More Thing, I lugged them through the airport.
cookies

After a couple of stressful layovers, I was finally in Dallas! At the hotel, I met my friend Cherokee, who traveled from Oklahoma. We made our way to the Museum, even though it was early, Having traveled so far, we didn’t want to take the chance of getting “bad” seats. The entire day, my stomach was in knots, not only at the thought of being in the same room as someone I’ve long admired, but also about how my gift would be received. I remember relaying my story to a few individuals, Before I knew it, pictures were being sent to his publicist and the knots in my stomach got even tighter. When Cherokee and I were let inside the auditorium, we sat up front and center, not thinking it’d get any better.

After a few minutes, a woman with the Museum’s Arts & Letters Live series approached us and asked if we had the cookies. Assuming she wanted to see them, I pulled them out. She kept talking but all I remember were my eyes glazing over when she said, “He wants to invite you backstage.” Nervously, we followed her to a holding room, knocked on the door, and from around the corner came B. J. Novak.

For the next twenty minutes, words like “blown away” and “impressive” escaped his mouth to describe my cookies. I was in awe. He had learned about my travels and went on to ask what I did for a living, why I chose Dallas, and where I learned to bake. B. J. and the other guests in the room were very gracious toward methis fan that I’m sure was coming across as a nervous mess. He indulged my requests for pictures and took many himself. We talked a bit more with him about his career and thanked him for taking time out for us, and then it was time for the event to begin.

We took our seats and B.J. killed it onstage, doing readings and answering questions from the audience. Rounding off this perfect evening, he signed our books and I was sent floating home with a hug and thanks for “making his day.”

At most I wanted him to think the cookies were fun. NEVER did I think they would receive this type of reception. B. J. Novak has inspired a lot of happy memories for me; the projects he’s contributed to have influenced relationships and formed bonds. Most recently, his book has been a light during a difficult time in my life. To borrow his words, I continue to be “blown away” by what happened. I chose Dallas because it was closest, but I see now that I wouldn’t have had this experience if it weren’t for the unbelievably kind staff at the DMA. My sincerest thanks to all involvedit meant more than I could ever put into words.
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Click here to discover where our title inspiration came from.

Jen Jake is a manager at a group home for adults with mental disabilities in Utah and an avid B. J. Novak fan.


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