Posts Tagged 'Dallas Museum of Art'



Brothers and Sisters

Today is Brothers and Sisters Day, a day to cherish your siblings per the holiday’s description. I don’t have any siblings to cherish, but I did find some in the archives.

Jerry-Dick-Bywaters_001

In this photo, sculptor William Zorach is demonstrating sculpting to a group of young students at the Museum School in 1945. His models—seated on the table on the left side of the image—are sister and brother Jerry and Dick Bywaters, the children of then Museum director Jerry Bywaters.

Another set of siblings in the archives are Nora (Howell) Wise and Frank Howell. In 1976, the Museum acquired a collection of pre-Columbian art from Nora and her husband, John Wise; papers from John and Nora came to the Museum after Nora’s death. The papers include this postcard from Nora’s brother Frank, a solider in WWI, telling her that he was coming home.

My dear sister, “All is well that ends well.” Though the end has not quite come yet, nevertheless we’re well on our way from war, etc, back to the dear old U.S. Will be at a sea-port in a few days. Best love to all, Frank

My dear sister,
“All is well that ends well.” Though the end has not quite come yet, nevertheless we’re well on our way from war, etc, back to the dear old U.S. Will be at a sea-port in a few days.
Best love to all, Frank

 

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

Black Tie Optional, Style Mandatory

Folly at the Art Ball, our new annual fundraiser hosted by the DMA Junior Associates to benefit the Dallas Museum of Art, will launch this weekend as the After Party of the Museum’s annual gala. And we’re giving a special offer to our Uncrated readers to join in on the fun (see below). The attire “black tie optional” might sound intimidating, but it’s really about what makes you feel your best!

Inspired by fashion bloggers and chic instagrammers, we asked a few DMA Juniors to give us a sneak peek at their ensembles for the best night of the year:

Abigail Baber Rust, DMA Member since 2008
Abigail Baber Rust, DMA Member since 2008
Jennifer Anthony, DMA Member since 2015
Jennifer Anthony, DMA Members since 2015
Julia Anthony, DMA Member since 2015
Julia Anthony, DMA Member since 2015
Vodi Cook, DMA Member since 2015 wearing Custom Couture designed by fellow DMA supporter MacKenzie Brittingham
Vodi Cook, DMA Member since 2015 wearing Custom Couture designed by fellow DMA supporter, MacKenzie Brittingham.

When trying to decide what to wear, remember to ask yourself, “Would I look great driving away in a Jaguar in this outfit?” The evening includes a chance to win a brand-new 2017 Jaguar F-Pace Prestige. No matter what, make sure you are ready to dance to the tunes of DJ Lucy Wrubel and the Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra!

Since you are loyal Uncrated readers, we’d love to treat you to 25% off entry tickets to Folly at the Art Ball. Use the discount code UNCRATEDSTYLE when you purchase yours before Saturday, April 23, at noon! Tickets will be sold at the door for an increased price of $250.

Rebekah Boyer is the Assistant Manager of DMA Member Groups at the DMA.

Mother of Dragons

In anticipation of the airing of the sixth season of Game of Thrones, we asked the DMA’s “Mother of Dragons,” curator Anne Bromberg, to share the history of dragons and the many ways they are represented in the Museum’s collection. 

People all over the world have imagined dragons—horned, winged, and fire-spitting serpents—as powerful spirit figures, capable of both helping humans and killing them. Since actual snakes shed their old skins and appear to be newborn periodically, dragons were thought to be deathless. They were also usually considered to be both male and female in one body and thus were spirits of fertility.

Dragon eyes were thought to be translucent jewels, as they reflected the light of the moon and stars. Often these eyes were called pearls. As part of the natural forces in the world, dragons were associated with both earth and water; hence they represented the four basic elements: earth, air, fire, and water.

Stories about dragons appear in some of the earliest religious texts, both in Near Eastern kingdoms and early Greece and in the Hindu Upanishads. The Greeks called dragons Ouranos, the Heavens, who is both child and husband of Gaea, the Earth Mother. A form of dragon is notable in pre-Columbian religions as the feathered serpent, and in China and Japan as an imperial symbol. In India the dragon figure became the seven-headed cobra Naga king, while gods like Vishnu are associated with sacred serpents. Famous stories related to dragons include the Greek hero Perseus saving Andromeda from a sea monster and, in Christianity, St. George killing an evil dragon.

An interesting note on dragons is that early mankind, who imagined winged serpents, considerably anticipated modern science, which describes how birds descended from dinosaurs. The word dinosaur means “terrible reptile.”

Vase, n.d., Japan, gold lacquer, silver, gold foil, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, The John R. Young Collection, gift of M. Frances and John R. Young 1993.86.41.FA

Vase, Japan, n.d., gold lacquer, silver, and gold foil, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, The John R. Young Collection, gift of M. Frances and John R. Young, 1993.86.41.FA

Several vases in the DMA’s Young Collection of Meiji period decorative arts represent dragons as part of the design. Although most of the Young Collection works were made for the export market to Europe or America, the nature of these dragons is derived from Chinese art. On the neck of this handsome vase, the main scene of which shows a typically Japanese landscape scene, a sinuous dragon curves around, as if waiting to ambush its victims. The silver dragon is the classical curving winged figure, with gaping jaws and large claws.

Takenouchi no Sukune Meets the Dragon King of the Sea, Designer: Sanseisha Company, Meiji Period (1868-1912), 1879–1881, bronze and glass, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, The John R. Young Collection, gift of M. Frances and John R. Young 1993.86.11.FA

Takenouchi no Sukune Meets the Dragon King of the Sea, Sanseisha Company, designer, Meiji period, 1879–1881, bronze and glass, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, The John R. Young Collection, gift of M. Frances and John R. Young, 1993.86.11.FA

Takenouchi no Sukune Meets the Dragon King of the Sea is the most striking work in the Young Collection of Meiji period Japanese arts. These works were made for export to Europe and America and were deliberately made in styles that would appeal to the market for Japanese work. Here the Japanese warrior hero Takenouchi no Sukune is being rewarded by the Dragon King of the Sea, whom he has helped. An emissary of the king, accompanied by an attendant who appears as part human-part sea monster, offers the Jewel of the Tides to the warrior. It resembles a pearl, recalling that dragon eyes were imagined as jewels or pearls.

The base of the work is like a sea shore, with a rocky strand covered with crabs, snails, and terrapins. The under support is raised on sea dragon feet. The artist has brilliantly imagined a folk tale as a grand dramatic scene.

Dragon finial, 15th–17th century, Thailand, bronze, Intended bequest of David T. Owsley PG.2007.57

Dragon finial, Thailand, 15th–17th century, bronze, Intended bequest of David T. Owsley, PG.2007.57

In Southeast Asia, where kings in Cambodia and Thailand often identified themselves with Hindu or Buddhist deities, dragons were considered beneficent beings, powerful, but protective of the king and his people. Upper-class palanquins (carrying chairs) were ornamented with various auspicious images, including dragons. This example is a fine piece of craftsmanship that suggests the nature of dragons as beautiful, sinuous figures, with the fierce jaws of a killer but also the grace of a winged serpent. The Hindu Naga serpent-king is adapted to the finely detailed bronze work of the Thai kingdoms.

Finial: Dragon head, Iran, Seljuk period, 11th–14th century, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase 1963.24

Finial: dragon head, Iran, Seljuk period, 11th–14th century, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1963.24

This ferocious looking dragon head from Iran is another example of using popular spirit imagery to ornament furniture and other useful objects. The dragon’s jaw gapes wide, showing sharp teeth and suggesting the fire that dragons were believed to spit. Religious imagery in ancient civilizations was as much about nature as mankind, since people were very dependent on the natural world for food, clothing, and building materials. The early Persians, as well as the Greeks and many peoples, projected their fears and hopes onto spirits that, like dragons, embody the power and violence of nature, as well as showing protective qualities.

Shiva Nataraja, India, Chola dynasty, 11th century, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, the Hamon Charitable Foundation, and an anonymous donor in honor of David T. Owsley, with additional funding from The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation and the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund 2000.377

Shiva Nataraja, India, Chola dynasty, 11th century, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, the Hamon Charitable Foundation, and an anonymous donor in honor of David T. Owsley, with additional funding from The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation and the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, 2000.377

The great god Shiva was associated with serpent dragons, as you see in this great sculpture, where the god wears snake bracelets; however, Shiva is far more closely related to dragons than his ornaments indicate. In his cosmic form as Nataraja, the divine dancer, Shiva is encircled with flames. As the lord of life, death, and rebirth, he symbolizes creation, destruction, and ongoing life, as dragons were thought to do. In many ways, Lord Shiva was himself a dragon. The circle of flames surrounding him and the fire he holds in his hand represent death and the burial ground, but also pulse with continuing life. Like dragons, Shiva is a god of fertility. His hair is the eternal waters of Mother Ganges. The drum he carries holds the music of life. Again like dragons, he can bring both disaster and new birth.

Blue Five-Clawed Dragon Robe, late 19th century, China, , silk, metal-wrapped yarn, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift in honor of Joe B. Blakey 1981.6

Blue five-clawed dragon robe, China, late 19th century, China, silk and metal-wrapped yarn, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift in honor of Joe B. Blakey, 1981.6

As symbols of prosperity and power, dragons in China became particularly associated with the Chinese emperor and his relatives and associates. This fine silk and metallic robe is one of several garments at the DMA that exemplify such Chinese taste. The dragons here are particularly charming and attractive, as they curl around, rather like superior pets. Another Chinese belief was that dragons could shrink themselves to the size of silk worms or blow themselves to the size of a thunderstorm. As in other cultures, Chinese dragons represented the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water.

Albrecht Dürer, St. George on Foot, c. 1502 - c. 1503, engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Calvin J. Holmes

Albrecht Dürer, St. George on Foot, c. 1502-c. 1503, engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Calvin J. Holmes, 1971.83

German artist Albrecht Dürer’s image of St. George shows the hero as he has just slain an evil dragon. European Christians believed in the monstrous character of dragons, unlike the favorable idea you find in Greece, India, or China; however, in another way St. George is the successor of a Greek hero like Perseus, who also killed vicious dragons. In Christianity, a dragon was seen as an aspect of satan. In Dürer’s powerful scene, St. George seems to have effortlessly crushed the fallen dragon.

Figure of a Chimera (mythical beast), Han, China, 25–220 C.E., earthenware and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift 1995.66

Figure of a chimera (mythical beast), China, 25–220 C.E., earthenware and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift, 1995.66

An imaginary animal closely related to dragons is the chimera, a vision that first appeared in central Asia, but was to become popular from Europe to China, thanks to trade along the Silk Road. The chimera combines lion, goat, and snake features. Like dragons, it spits unquenchable fire, and can destroy people or bring them good fortune. In China it became, like dragons, an image of prosperity and power.

Buddha Muchalinda, Cambodia, Khmer empire, late 12th–early 13th century, copper alloy, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund 2005.3.A-C

Buddha Muchalinda, Cambodia, Khmer empire, late 12th–early 13th century, copper alloy, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, 2005.3.a-c

In this fine Cambodian image, the Buddha is shown meditating before he achieved enlightenment. According to a story of this time in the Buddha’s life, a demon of ignorance tried to prevent him from reaching the Dharma by raising the waters of the lake where he sat until they drowned him. But the Buddha-to-be was protected by the holy Naga serpent king, who lifted the Buddha up and saved his life. This image of the Buddha protected by the Naga serpent (as a seven-headed cobra) was to become one of the most popular Buddhist icons.

Helmet mask (komo), mid–20th century, wood, glass, animal horns, fiber, and mirrors, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley 1997.24

Helmet mask (komo), Mali and Cote d’Ivoire, mid-20th century, wood, glass, animal horns, fiber, and mirrors, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley, 1997.24

Masks like this were used among the Senufo and the neighboring Bamana people by high-ranking members of the men’s powerful Komo association, which was responsible for maintaining social, spiritual, and economic harmony. The added female figure may refer to Senufo women as diviners. The fearsome image, with its sharp teeth and jutting animal horns and tusks, projects terror. Glass eyes and reflective mirrors add a sense of supernatural force.

Dr. Anne R. Bromberg is The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art at the DMA.

But Clouds Got in My Way

While browsing our online collection for a project, I entered the word “cloud” into the search field. I was surprised by how many works of art in our collection had cloud connections, either as part of the work’s title or featured in the work itself. As I was looking through the images, I kept hearing Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now playing in my head. Go ahead and give it a listen as you look at just a few of the clouds in our collection.

 

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

Common Thread

This month the Center for Creative Connections (C3) says goodbye to a few of our favorite works of art currently on view. Anytown USA by Jack Pierson, The Minotaur by Marcel Dzama, and Starry Crown by John Biggers are all set to come down the last week of April. It has been a joy to witness the frequent Instagrams taken of Anytown USA, to see the countless drawings made by visitors of all ages of The Minotaur, and to read the numerous visitor responses to Starry Crown.

samaran89 I saw this at an art gallery today in #Dallas. I feel like it should be the image of my travels around America!

samaran89 I saw this at an art gallery today in #Dallas. I feel like it should be the image of my travels around America!

marc.os.c

lisavanahn Loved this interactive piece of art at DMA, it asked you to write a piece of advice a wise woman had given you and pass it down. and right there front and center "you are enough" #bestadviceevergiven

lisavanahn Loved this interactive piece of art at DMA, it asked you to write a piece of advice a wise woman had given you and pass it down. and right there front and center “you are enough” #bestadviceevergiven

In honor of the thousands of visitors who have responded to our prompt related to Starry Crown, with the help of C3 Visiting Artist Kendra Greene, we have compiled booklets of visitor responses to give back to the community.  Stop by the Center for Creative Connections this month to pick up a keepsake, “Common Thread: Selections of women’s wisdom, guidance, counsel, advice, experience, notions, revelations, hard truths, and plain facts.”

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Stop by C3 at the beginning of May to see these new additions to the space. How will they inspire you?

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

The Golden Age: Dominic Smith

The DMA hosted author Dominic Smith as part of our Arts & Letters Live 25th anniversary season, and this event is also the launch party for his new novel, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos. We are excited to be the first place where book and art enthusiasts can grab a copy of the novel and spend time with the Texas-based author. The book has already received high acclaim, including from author Ben Fountain, who praised it as “quite simply, one of the best novels I have ever read, and as close to perfect as any book I’m likely to encounter in my reading life.” Uncrated was able to chat with Smith prior to his appearance and learn a bit more about his love of art and the focal point of his novel, Sara de Vos.

Photo: Stacy Sodolak

Photo: Stacy Sodolak

DMA: Have you always been drawn to art and in particular Dutch work?
DS: I’ve always loved museums and old paintings. I first experienced the Dutch Golden Age up close about 15 years ago, when I spent a year living in Amsterdam. During my time there, I was struck by the sheer variety and output of the Dutch baroque period. Bawdy genre scenes, delicate floral still lifes, serene landscapes, austere portraits—the subjects run the gamut. And by some estimates, there were about 50,000 Dutch painters plying their trade across the 17th century; if you walked into an Amsterdam butcher shop or bakery in 1630 you might have found floor-to-ceiling paintings. A painting could cost the same as a fish at the market, or it could cost the same as a house. This period endlessly fascinates me, especially the artistic fate of the 25 or so women who were admitted to a Guild of St. Luke, the main professional body for painters. We have surviving works for only a handful of those two dozen baroque women painters.

Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, c. 1670–1672, oil on canvas, The Leiden Collection, Inv# JVe-100 28.2015.1 © The Leiden Collection, New York

Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, c. 1670–72, oil on canvas, © The Leiden Collection, New York

DMA: Tell us a bit about your character, Sara de Vos. What do you feel Sara’s response would be to a few of the eight works from her contemporaries on view in the DMA’s exhibition Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting?
DS: I think Sara de Vos would be very pleased with these paintings. Like the real Judith Leyster, who sometimes painted genre scenes of merrymaking in taverns, Sara de Vos belongs to a moment of Dutch painting that celebrated music as part of everyday life. In the novel, Sara de Vos mostly paints landscapes and still lifes, but she would have greatly admired Vermeer’s Young Woman Seated at a Virginal. The light from the unseen window and the dramatic shadows on the virginal and in the woman’s clothing really capture this as a moment of suspended time. Her hands look as if they’re continuing to play the piece of music, even as she’s looking directly at us. I can’t help wondering what that music sounds like.

Last Painting_Layout 1-2.indd

DMA:  Why is it unique that de Vos would have painted landscapes, and how did this shape your story?
DS: There are no known landscapes by Dutch women painters of the Golden Age. So part of the conceit of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos involved working out the circumstances under which a woman might have created a landscape. The traditional explanation for the lack of landscapes by women is that it was a genre that required many hours spent out of doors and this was not the domain of women during the 17th century. I accept this explanation somewhat. But it’s worth remembering that there were women who defied convention during this time period. Maria Sibylla Merian left behind her estranged husband at the end of the 17th century and moved with her daughter to Surinam (a Dutch colony at the time) in South America for two years. She spent her days in the jungle sketching botanical specimens. If a Dutch Golden Age woman can do that, then surely she could spend a day sketching outside by herself, in preparation for a landscape that might be finished in her studio. Maybe a brother, husband, or older son could have accompanied her. My hunch is that the masters who presided over the Guilds of St. Luke decided that landscapes would be the exclusive realm of men. The novel tries to subvert this notion and bring a landscape by a baroque woman to life.

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

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder

Twist and STOUT! Thursday is National Beer Day, so why not start the celebration early? We’ve got the cure for whatever may ALE you. After all, it’s no coincidence that beer rhymes with cheer! The words may be different, but the meaning is the same, whether you say gān bēi, Sláinte, Gesondheid, or bottoms up, cheers is cheers! So here’s to you and here’s to me—grab a cold one and check out these drinking accessories from around the world.

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


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