Posts Tagged 'Contemporary Art'

Sculpted by Women

Over the past two weeks, the DMA’s Hoffman Galleries have been populated with sculptures that appear—for lack of a better word—unfinished. Amorphous mounds of pastel-washed, unfired clay occupy the sunlit central gallery. Wall-mounted vitrines house bits of Polystyrene and bark, which mingle with squiggles of neon and fragments of clay. In the back room, configurations of Cor-ten steel sheets lie in delicate balance, punctuated unexpectedly by soft, fluffy pompoms. To the naked eye, these works could be mistaken for preliminary models or sculptural prototypes rather than polished final products—and that is exactly what Rebecca Warren, the British artist responsible for these enigmatic sculptures, wants.

Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling installation images, March 2016

Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling installation, March 2016

On March 13, Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling opened to the public at the DMA. The artist’s first comprehensive museum show in the US, the exhibition surveys over ten years of her sculpture practice, which intentionally confounds categorization and challenges existing histories of art. In other words, Warren takes all that we expect of sculpture, and flips it on its head.

Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling continues the DMA’s commitment to supporting the work of innovative female sculptors, many of whom continue to be under-recognized within the history of art. Below are a few highlights of sculptures made by female artists from our contemporary art collection, all of which are currently on view.

Barbara Hepworth, Figure for Landscape, 1960, Bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Inc., 1983.154 © Alan Bowness, Estate of Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth, Figure for Landscape, 1960, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Inc., 1983.154, © Alan Bowness, Estate of Barbara Hepworth

In our Sculpture Garden, British artist Barbara Hepworth’s Figure for Landscape stands stoically along the west wall. An early pioneer of abstract sculpture, Hepworth modeled this biomorphic form and then cast it in bronze, leaving gaping openings in the work that distinguish positive and negative space within the body of the structure. While sculpture making had traditionally been conceived as the production of an object in space, Hepworth illuminated the possibility of sculpture making as a process of carving out space within an object.

(left to right) Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation, 1962-1964, Sewn stuffed fabric with paint on wooden chair frame, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.41 © Yayoi Kusama E-mail: contact@yayoi-kusama.jp; Yayoi Kusama, Untitled, 1976, Shoes, paint, and foam, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum, 2015.48.22.A-B

(left to right) Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation, 1962-64, sewn stuffed fabric with paint on wooden chair frame, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.41, © Yayoi Kusama; Yayoi Kusama, Untitled, 1976, shoes, paint, and foam, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum, 2015.48.22.a-b

Two works by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama are on view in the new installation Passages in Modern Art: 1946-1996. Kusama is known for her uncanny ability to imbue everyday objects such as chairs, shoes, and vegetables with the psychological intensity of dreams and fantasy. To make Accumulation, Kusama coated a wooden chair frame with phallus-like fabric forms and subsequently painted every component of the work in a neutral beige color. Untitled comes from the same series, and similarly features shoes that have been covered in phallic foam cutouts.

Anne Truitt, Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, 1979, Acrylic on wood, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Shonny and Hal Joseph (St. Louis, Missouri) in honor of Cindy and Armond Schwartz, 2002.55 © Estate of Anne Truitt

Anne Truitt, Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, 1979, acrylic on wood, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Shonny and Hal Joseph (St. Louis, Missouri) in honor of Cindy and Armond Schwartz, 2002.55, © Estate of Anne Truitt

A major figure in American art since the 1960s, Anne Truitt is best known for her streamlined vocabulary of basic forms and colors, which typically coalesced into tall, thin wooden sculptures meticulously coated in several smooth layers of paint, such as Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, currently on display in the Barrel Vault. A nearly eight-foot pillar of deep, vivid blue, Truitt’s sculpture projects a three-dimensional block of color into the space of the viewer, merging the optical experience of her work with sensuous immediacy.

Nancy Grossman, Untitled (Head), 1968, Leather, wood, metal, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1969.8.A-B

Nancy Grossman, Untitled (Head), 1968, leather, wood, and metal, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1969.8.a-b

Installed adjacent to Truitt’s column of pure blue is Nancy Grossman’s Untitled (Head), a sculpted head carved from wood and overlaid with leather. Rendered blind and mute, this unsettling figure alludes to the role of the silent witness amid cruelty and disorder within contemporary society. In fact, Grossman began making these head sculptures in the 1960s partially in response to the violence and social upheaval caused by the Vietnam War.

Sculpture takes center stage this season at the DMA, so the next time you find yourself at the Museum, be sure to take a closer look at these works in Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling and Passages in Modern Art: 1946-1996.

Nolan Jimbo is the McDermott Intern for Contemporary Art at the DMA.

The Answers She Gives

In honor of Employee Appreciation Day on Friday, March 4, we asked Writer-in-Residence Kendra Greene to share one of the stories she’s been collecting at the DMA. The following is from her conversation with Genet Mamuye, Visitor Services Representative:

Genet Mamuye and Kendra Greene in front of one of Genet's favorite spots, The Icebergs.

Genet Mamuye and Kendra Greene in one of Genet’s favorite spots, in front of The Icebergs.

On a slow day, Genet Mamuye talks to hundreds of people. There are little kids and people in their nineties and first-timers and non-English speakers. There are regulars who come almost every day and there are people who don’t know where to start. There are people who ask where to eat downtown and how to get their art on the walls and is there anything for sale? What should I see?

Genet started with the DMA 23 years ago, and spent her first nine years as a gallery attendant. In the early 2000s, she moved to the Visitor Services Desk, where you’ll find her now. There was a time when she only saw big crowds when there were big exhibitions, but now she sees more people than ever.

Visitors are always asking Genet what her favorite thing is at the Museum. That’s where they want to start. But the short answer is: She doesn’t have one. Sure, she walks the DMA two or three times a week to see if anything is new. She also keeps up with the cultural goings on in the area so she can answer the questions that have nothing to do with the Museum she represents. She believes the main thing is to ensure whoever walks in has a good experience. Which is to say, she wants to give an answer, but what she really wants is for visitors to connect with the things that matter to them. She knows people who swoon for contemporary work can’t be sent anywhere else. She finds it’s a safe bet that children and families will fall in love with Egypt on the third floor. If you announce you only have fifteen minutes for your visit and time’s a-ticking, you’ll be sent to the Reves Collection on Level 3. And when Genet asks you on your way out how it went, chances are you’ll thank her.

Once, years ago, a young man asked his father to go to the Museum. It was the young man’s birthday. The pair was from out of town. The young man adored Ellsworth Kelly, and only when they arrived did he realize there was an exhibition of Kelly’s work. What luck! The young man and his father asked Genet about it, and were crestfallen to realize the installation wasn’t quite done, the show not quite yet open. They had come so far, and they wouldn’t be back in time to see it.

It was at that moment that Mr. Kelly’s car pulled up. They could see it through the glass doors. Genet quietly noted the arrival to the young man and his father, and left it at that. Mr. Kelly was so gracious, so nice. He took that young man on a private tour of the not yet open show. The young man was overjoyed, and even now thinking about it, Genet brings her hand to her heart.

Working with the public, in Genet’s view, means you have to be open to learn. You have to be respectful and you have to be positive. Certainly, you can’t assume. There are people that wander past three times, obviously lost, and you have to find the way to approach them. Visitors come back on later visits and remember Genet. But, as she says, “It’s not just me. All my coworkers are really good. We have to be. We open our doors for everybody.”

A. Kendra Greene is The Center for Creative Connections Visiting Artist at the DMA.

State of the Arts: Contemporary Artists

We’re kicking off our fall season with our first State of the Arts program, our collaboration with Art&Seek and KERA. Join us Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. for a discussion with three DFW artists: Devon Nowlin, Arthur Peña, and Darryl Ratcliff.
soa

Uncrated was able to ask them a few questions beforehand:
1. What is the most appealing aspect of being a working artist in Dallas?
Devon Nowlin (artist; founding member, Homecoming Committee): As an artist who also works full-time, I have had good employment opportunities in my field and see some good job prospects for artists in both Dallas and Fort Worth. Along with exhibitions, teaching opportunities, and other work-work, one can construct a patchwork of professional activities for one’s self here.
Arthur Peña (artist; founder and Director, WARE:WOLF:HAUS and VICE PALACE): The two very prominent aspects I can think of are pragmatic ones. First, it is extremely affordable to be a working artist in Dallas. It’s not unheard of to have an apartment and a studio for under $600. I don’t know what other major cities can offer that and also boast world-class museums and an established art scene. Second, the accessibility to the Dallas art world is shockingly overlooked. If one wanted, they could meet and shake hands with other artists, gallery directors, collectors, and museum directors at one gathering. And they would be cordial and welcoming. Try that in NYC and see what happens!
Darryl Ratcliff (artist; Community Engagement Associate, National Center for Arts Research & Initiative on Arts+Urbanism): Affordability and opportunity. The access one has to cheap space is truly unique in Dallas, and the general cost of living is far cheaper than in other major cities. Also, there is significant upward mobility in the art scene. There is a willingness to experiment and embrace new ideas and artists.

2. What is something you are thankful for in your art community/peers/scene and how it/they have contributed to your practice?
DN: I am very thankful for the Education Department of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. I have benefited greatly from their programs both as a participant and audience member over the years, and as an artist-instructor in their programs. They give professional, and yet experimental and creative, teaching opportunities to artists in the area, and I have cherished my experiences there. So that is one of the many things in my community that I am very thankful for.
AP: Quick story: The recently retired WARE:WOLF:HAUS operated on limited funds for every show and especially the last fall season. Because of its location, security was needed on top of insurance for liability purposes. Not once did I pay out of pocket for any of that. WWH was able to operate and host shows strictly through donations from my fellow artists and supporters. People would toss whatever they had into the donation bucket, or specific people in the art community donated large funds to keep the door open and allow shows to happen. Considering that WWH was not a nonprofit art space and people were throwing down hard cash, I find this willingness to support the artists and work as a truly collaborative effort inspiring.
DR: It is cliché but I am very thankful for my fellow creatives in this city. My work is collaborative by nature, so I couldn’t have had any success without the constant support and cooperation of literally hundreds of creatives and lovers of creativity over the last five years.

3. How would you improve the Dallas art community/scene ?
DN: In Fort Worth, we are also in need of the facilities and funding that Darryl would like to bring to Dallas. What we don’t have that would really help elevate the local Forth Worth scene is more critical attention in both print and online publications. If artists here could get some press, I think it could help push the dialogue in Fort Worth in ways that I see happening in Dallas. I am encouraged by a level of interaction that is happening among artists between Dallas and Fort Worth, though it tends to be a one-way street with artists going from Fort Worth to Dallas. I’d like to see us mix things up a little more!
AP: Besides the obvious need for an influx of funds either through more grants or private donors, I’m not sure how one could improve the community other than more involvement from the community at large. There needs to be a cultural and psychic shift here in Dallas, and Texas as a whole, when it comes to the arts. Without a steady stream of interest starting at the city’s top level, the city at large will continue to view the arts as pure entrainment rather than as an agent for change and critical thought. We need more artists—not just those who make but those who have the discipline and vision to want to transform this city. I don’t think it’s about improving, rather it should be about energizing, invigorating, and giving everyone a swift kick in the a**.
DR: I would create at least 500 units of subsidized studio/living space for creatives in five geographically diverse parts of Dallas, award at least two million dollars per year in small grant funding to individual artists/projects/collectives, and create an international curator-in-residence program to help top curators become familiar with Dallas-based talent.

Be sure to join us tomorrow night to hear more from these artists.

Liz Menz is the Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA.

The Museum is History

This weekend, explore works from the Museum’s modern and contemporary collection in a new installation by the DMA’s new Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Gavin Delahunty. The Museum Is History: Modern and Contemporary Art from 1950-1990 installation, featuring work by Jackson Pollock, Atsuko Tanaka, John Chamberlain, and more, will be on view through November and it is included in the DMA’s free general admission.

 

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Artist Talk: Jim Hodges

With quiet determination, artist Jim Hodges has, over the past twenty-five years, produced one of the most affective bodies of sculpture, drawing, and installation of any artist of his generation. Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take brings together works in all media–from modest objects to room-sized installations that engage the viewer in sensory experiences–to fully reveal the breadth and complexity of Hodges’ inventive vision.

Comprising over eighty objects produced from 1987 through the present, the exhibition also includes works never before seen in the United States, along with a major new piece, Untitled (one day it all comes true), created especially for this exhibition.

I’m proud to have worked so closely with Jim Hodges and Olga Viso, executive director of the Walker Art Center, to bring this remarkable exhibition to fruition, and I invite you to be among the first to see it at its US premiere in Dallas, before it travels to Minneapolis, Boston, and Los Angeles. Please join me in the Horchow Auditorium for a conversation with Jim Hodges tomorrow evening, October 3, at 7:30 p.m., and join us for a sneak peek on Saturday, October 5, a day before the exhibition opening.

Jeffrey Grove is the senior curator of special projects & research at the DMA.

Getting Ready to Give More

We have just under two weeks until we open the U.S. premiere of a major traveling exhibition, Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take . The exhibition is an exciting one not only because it is the first comprehensive retrospective of Hodge’s career in the U.S. but also because it is co-organized by the Museum and the DMA’s senior curator of special projects & research, Jeffrey Grove.

The nearly eighty works on display in the exhibition consist of hundreds of items, from brass chains to denim, from napkins to head scarves, from silk flowers to light bulbs. If you passed by the DMA’s Barrel Vault during a recent visit, you may have seen some of the detailed installation, which began in early September. Get an up-close look at the installation below, and mark your calendars to meet Jim Hodges on October 3 during a special Artist Talk at the DMA!

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Calling all Dallasites

“Birds on the wire” Photograph from the opening of a 500X Gallery show, February 13, 1978. 500X Gallery Records, 1977-1996.

In 2013 the Dallas Museum of Art will celebrate a milestone in our institutional history: the 1963 merger of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Art with the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. The DMA is marking this occasion by launching an initiative to show how this moment was a starting point for community-wide interest in and support of contemporary art.

Brochure for the “Dallas Art ’78” exhibition at Dallas City Hall, Publications and Printed Materials.

By looking at the North Texas art scene over the past five decades, we hope to bring greater public awareness to the richly varied but widely undiscovered history of the area’s contemporary art avant-garde. People, places, and events are the subjects of this project, as we look outside the Museum to topics like the emergence of the gallery scene in the late 1960s with galleries like Valley House, C. Troup Gallery, Haydon Calhoun, Mary Nye, and more, and the establishment of an artists’ community as collectives take shape (the Oak Lawn Gang in the 1960s, the Oak Cliff Four and the “842s” in the 1970s, Toxic Shock in the 1980s, A.R.T.E. and the Good/Bad Art Collective in the 1990s, etc.) and artist-run spaces emerge, like A.U.M. Gallery,  D.W. Coop, 500X Gallery, and Stout McCourt Gallery.

Gallery announcement for David McCullough’s studio exhibition of his work with James Surls in December, c. 1976. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

Gallery announcement for “Dubious Edge” exhibition at Theatre Gallery, c. 1987. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

Gallery announcement for “el clumsio” group exhibition at Angstrom Gallery, November – December, 1996. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

Over the past year, we have developed the content that will form the basis of an exhibition scheduled to open at the Museum in May 2013. During this time, I have conducted oral history interviews with artists, arts administrators, collectors, and writers; waded through thousands of gallery announcements dating as far back as the late 1960s; burned my eyes from looking through miles of microfilmed collections; and done my best to get the word out that the DMA wants to know YOUR story.

Poster for the Old Oak Cliff Kinetic Sculpture Parade sponsored by the Oak Cliff Preservation League, September 21, 1985. Paul Rogers Harris Collection of Dallas and Texas Gallery Announcements.

So let’s hear it – do you have anything you would like to share with us regarding your experience with contemporary arts in North Texas? Is there anything you are certain MUST be part of this project? This is my formal open call to Dallasites: as we develop the content for the exhibition, we are going to do our best to represent Dallas and its surroudning arts community over the past fifty years, but we do need your help. What is sitting in your closet? Do you have photographs from gallery openings or performances? Records from your gallery? Press releases announcing your show? Publications that help to document the “scene”?

Toxic Shock page from Bwana Arts, vol. 3, 1982. Paul Rogers Harris Papers, 1959-2001.

The exhibition is only the first step as we present to you what we have found. In the coming years, we hope to add to the DMA Archives, making it the primary repository for the history of contemporary art in North Texas. So if you have something you’d like to share (be it tangible ephemera or abstract memories), please do not hesitate to contact me at larnold@DallasMuseumofArt.org. I look forward to hearing from you!

“500X in a Box,” box of a single work by every member of 500X in 1989. Charles Dee Mitchell Collection.

Leigh Arnold is the Dallasites Research Project Coordinator at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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