Posts Tagged 'Dallas Museum of Art'

Monkeying Around

We’re celebrating the Year of the Monkey by highlighting a few works featuring the animal of the hour. Some of the monkeys are out in the open, but for others it takes a little more detective work to spot them in the paint. Happy Chinese New Year!


Kimberly Daniell is Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

Puppy Love

We love hearing from our visitors about their experiences at the DMA. We especially enjoy learning about ways art touches lives. We recently received an e-mail from Mark and his granddaughter Fiona. Their story brought a smile to so many of the DMA staff that we asked if we could share their visit on Uncrated:

Earlier this month I took my seven-year-old granddaughter to the DMA. We visited the European galleries to look at paintings, more like glances as we raced by all the paintings. But we stopped at a large painting that depicts the myth of Zeus turning into a bull to woo his love. I asked Fi what she thought of this “crazy painting” when a woman paused near us. She shared the story the painting represented and then asked Fiona a question I should have asked at the beginning of our visit: “What kind of paintings do you like to see?”

Without hesitation my granddaughter said animals. She told us that she had the perfect painting for us, one that Fiona would love. The painting was not where she expected it to be and a gallery attendant, named Joyce, told us the painting was “taking a rest” but that she knew of more work depicting animals. While we were touring these animal paintings, Fiona and Joyce swapped pet stories and advice, both agreeing that you need to tell your pets that you love them every day.

After exploring the galleries we stopped at the hands-on area of the DMA (The Center for Creative Connections), where you can make your own work of art. Fiona drew and was able to make a rabbit sculpture with a piece of egg crate and pipe cleaners. She was very proud of her work and asked if she could keep it, and I told her yes. She then surprised me by saying she wanted to give it to the nice lady, Joyce.
joyce 2

A museum can be a cold, intimidating experience, but we found such warmth from our two encounters with DMA staff.
– Mark

We caught up with Joyce in the galleries to talk about her encounter with Mark and Fiona. She told us one of her favorite things about the job is being able to interact with our visitors, especially the youngest visitors like Fiona, and share her love of art. She was extremely moved by Fiona’s gift, which she has fondly named Fiona in her honor, and can’t wait to run into them on their next visit.

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

The Soundtrack to Vermeer Suite

Viols, virginals, flutes, and lutes! The small, masterful paintings in Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, each featuring an individual playing or holding an instrument, indicate the popularity and prevalence of music—both as artistic subject matter and as activity—in the Netherlands during the 17th century.

Interestingly, the associations with music at the time ran the gamut from divine gift to causing irreparable moral damage. On one side of the spectrum, music was spiritual medicine, played solely to glorify God. On the other side, music making was perceived as a worldly pleasure and at odds with Protestant values, diverting one’s attention away from spiritual salvation. Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, music playing and listening functioned as a polite form of entertainment for the elite upper classes. It was played in the household in the same way we might gather around and play charades or watch a football game today. Playing music was also a means for solidifying social and professional relationships, and it was a socially acceptable way for unmarried people to interact—to essentially be on a date without a chaperone. Beyond the household, elites could find a quasi-public outlet for practice and performance in a collegium musicum—a small group of amateur musicians that convened in one of its members’ homes or a location approved by the city council. Members of the lower classes could visit muziekherbergen (music inns), which made instruments available for patrons. At a music inn, a capable player who refused to perform was required to purchase a round of drinks for the whole tavern as penalty!

Thurs 10_16 118

With the artists’ careful attention to detail and intricate treatment of surfaces, the realistic paintings in Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting transport us to a lively Dutch street corner or an intimate living room gathering. While we can almost hear the music that likely accompanied these scenes, visitors to the exhibition do not have to imagine it. In the exhibition’s adjacent gallery, visitors can actually listen to the paintings’ soundtracks. Songs by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), one of the most prolific Dutch songwriters to achieve international renown, will be played continuously. A professional organist who served the Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Amsterdam for forty-four years, Sweelinck was one of the first major composers of keyboard music in Europe.


Additionally, a sound bar in this interactive gallery offers visitors the opportunity to listen to the distinct sound of each of the instruments depicted in the paintings and learn about how they were played. Visit the DMA through August 21 to enjoy the visual and aural experience of Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, which is included in the Museum’s daily free general admission.

Andrea Severin Goins is the Interpretation Manager at the DMA.

Images: Jacob Adriaensz Ochtervelt, A Singing Violinist, c. 1666–70, oil on panel, © The Leiden Collection, New York; Gerard ter Borch, A Musical Company, c. 1642–44, oil on panel, © The Leiden Collection, New York; Lutes, Michael Praetorius, Syntagma Musicum, 1619. Syntagma Musicum is a three-volume treatise written by the German musicologist Michael Praetorius between 1614 and 1620; Jan Steen, Self-Portrait with a Lute, n.d., oil on canvas, © The Leiden Collection, New York

From Behind the Shadow

You know the old saying “January showers bring February flowers,” or at least that’s what the phrase should be this year according to Punxsutawney Phil. The famous groundhog did not see his shadow this morning, which means we should be in for an early spring. If the warm weather we’ve been experiencing in Dallas is any indication of Phil’s accuracy, we’ll see spring scenes like the ones below in no time.

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

From the Archives: The Museum During WWII

“No annual report, no discussion of affairs, at this time, can ignore the one major fact of this year: we are at war.”

This is the opening sentence of the Report of the Director, dated April 9, 1942, and published in the May-June 1942 Bulletin. The report goes on to describe the effects of the first months of WWII on the Museum. It sparked my interest to investigate how the Museum prepared for and supported the war effort.

Two service men at an exhibition of war posters

Two service men at an exhibition of war posters

I discovered that while many east and west coast museums focused on civil defense preparations, the DMFA (Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, which would later become the DMA) was able to focus its wartime efforts on offering cultural programs of wide general appeal, including exhibitions, musical performances, movies, gallery talks, art classes, and recreational activities. These programs were designed to support the service men and women stationed in the area and boost morale among the civilian residents of Dallas.

Twenty exhibitions representing the part that art plays in the war effort were assembled from army camps and individual artists in the Service and were held between 1942 and 1945.

Prints by British Artists in Service, July 1942
Red Cross Poster Exhibition, August 1942
British and American War Posters, September 1942
Art in War, July 4-August 8, 1943
Exhibition of Work by Soldiers from Camp Maxey, September 12-October 3, 1943
John Knott: War Cartoons, October 3-November 7, 1943
War Posters, October 10-31, 1943
Lt. Bill Lumpkins: Watercolors, December 1-21, 1943
Speak Their Language: British and American Cartoons, March 19-April 3, 1944
Pfc. Benham Dangers: Alaska Paintings, June 18-July 11, 1944
Costumes of 7 American Wars, June 18-July 16, 1944

The World War II section of the exhibition Costumes of Seven American Wars

The World War II section of the exhibition Costumes of Seven American Wars

Fred Darge: Paintings of Bougainville, July 2-August 1, 1944
Paintings from Camp Barkley, July 9-August 13, 1944
Alexandre Hogue: Aviation Production Drawings, October 15-November 3, 1944
[Pfc.] Walt Wiggins: Photographs, December 3-28, 1944
The Abbott Collection: Paintings of Naval Aviation, December 10, 1944-January 9, 1945

The Abbott Collection included over 100 paintings and drawings by seven nationally known American artists depicting the varied phases of naval aviation from pre-flight to combat. The artists visited Naval Air Stations and lived and talked with students, instructors, and fighter pilots in order to produce this important historical record of the Navy.

Mayor Woodall Rogers and Dr. Umphrey Lee, president of Southern Methodist University, view the Naval Aviation paintings with a group of Waves

Mayor Woodall Rodgers and Dr. Umphrey Lee, president of Southern Methodist University, view the Naval Aviation paintings with a group of Waves

Paintings from Frederick Army Air Field, December 31, 1944-January 30, 1945
Ben Culwell: War Paintings, March 4-16, 1945
Army Arts Exhibition-8th Service Command, April 29-May 13, 1945

The Army Arts exhibition included 191 works from 800 entries submitted. The jury consisted of Lt. Col. Ward Lockwood, Major Louis D. Smith, Lt. T.A. Reeves, Jr., DMFA Director Jerry Bywaters, and Dallas artist Allie Tennant. A national jury visited the Museum and chose 30 works to represent the 8th Service Command in the national exhibition in Washington, D.C.

War Bond House Organ Cover Designs Exhibition, July 15-29, 1945

Members of the Armed Services at the Sunday Canteen sponsored by the Museum League

Members of the Armed Services at the Sunday Canteen sponsored by the Museum League

In addition to programming, the Museum League sponsored a canteen for members of the Armed Services in the Museum’s Lounge every Sunday afternoon. The canteen is noted as one of the most appreciated activities by service men and women far from home. The Museum League also sold defense stamps, put on special events for soldiers and their wives, and generally worked to bring the Museum to the attention of those in the Armed Services.

Certificate of appreciation for the museum's wartime support from the United Stated Marine Corps, presented to Jerry Bywaters.

Certificate of appreciation for the Museum’s wartime support from the United Stated Marine Corps, presented to Jerry Bywaters

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



Women in the Arts

On Thursday, January 28, the DMA is pleased to host State of the Arts: Women in the Arts, highlighting Dallas-area women who are shaping the cultural landscape of our city and the surrounding area through leadership positions in their respective fields. The conversation will be led by Anne Bothwell, Director of KERA’s Art&Seek, and will include Amy Lewis Hofland, Director of the Crow Collection of Asian Art; Margie Reese, Executive Director of Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture; and Tina Parker, Co-Artistic Director of Kitchen Dog Theater.

As we look forward to hosting these great leaders in one space, let’s take a moment to highlight works of art in our permanent collection by women. From Berthe Morisot’s 1880 painting of a woman in winter to Margaret Lee’s 2013 photograph Dots on Top, these women have made their mark in the timeline of art history.

Jessica Fuentes is The Center for Creative Connections Gallery Manager at the DMA.

Let’s get Zen-ical

The DMA’s Asian Collection features many works of art that express the Japanese Zen Buddhist tradition. Essentially, Zen art seeks to express the True or Formless Self, a form of being that is prior to and free from any physical form. In order to channel one’s True Self, the creative act must be conducted in a state beyond thinking. In other words, the pinnacle of artistic achievement results from an act of creation made with no inhibitions or restraint in a flow of consciousness.

Hakuin Ekaku, Daruma, Edo, n.d., ink on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1972.1

Hakuin Ekaku, Daruma, Edo, n.d., ink on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1972.1

A few works that demonstrate this most purely include the Daruma Scroll (c. 1603-1868) by the Zen priest Hakuin Ekaku and the Tiger Scroll (c. 1603-1868) by Nagasawa Rosetsu.

Nagasawa Rosetsu, Tiger, Edo, after 1792, ink and color on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1972.13

Nagasawa Rosetsu, Tiger, Edo, after 1792, ink and color on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1972.13

Daruma is the Buddhist monk that transmitted Chan Buddhism to China from where it was then transferred to Japan and became its own distinct phenomenon known as Zen. The inscription on the Tiger scroll indicates that the artist was able to express the essential nature, the pure essence of “tiger.” Notice that in both works, the outlines of the images are loosely defined, suggesting that the boundaries of the forms are permeable and in a state of flux. Indeed, both works appear as if done in a rush, which reflects the Zen ideal that the creative act must be a reflection of the Formless Self, something only attainable in a state of non-thinking.

Another concern at play in these scrolls is the display of rugged masculinity and strength. For instance, the tiger, an animal not indigenous to Japan, was appropriated from Chinese mythology due to its association with power and military might. Daruma appears ruggedly knowledgeable with his unkempt beard and wrinkled forehead. These characteristics contrast with more traditional forms of Buddhism, in which holy figures were generally depicted with pristine, youthful appearances and perfectly symmetrical faces. The emphasis on masculine characteristics and the association of age with holiness reinforced the patriarchal structures responsible for maintaining the feudal system in Japan.

Meditate on these works and more that capture Zen Buddhism in the DMA’s free collection galleries.

Devon Hersch is the McDermott Intern for Asian Art at the DMA

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