Posts Tagged 'Texas'

Holding Up a Mirror to Texas Icons

If you’ve visited the DMA lately, you likely noticed the large red mural created by Minerva Cuevas in our Concourse. For those unfamiliar with Cuevas’s art, she is known for her conceptual multi-media installations, and the way her images, language, found objects, and sculpture work together to create political critiques. Some of her projects reformat the visual language of advertisements, using it to harness advertising’s power to affect cultural narratives. For example, see Cuevas’s morbid reimagining of the Del Monte logo. What makes her work so interesting and accessible is the way it explores the relationships among socioeconomic systems, indigenous identity, and the environment with a sense of dark humor. Sometimes, as we see in Fine Lands, her work is downright playful.

Fine Lands, on view at the DMA through September 2, transforms the Museum’s central Concourse into a dystopian Texas landscape, rendered in a powerful comic-book style. Familiar silhouettes of oil wells become menacing, insectlike forms, while crude oil spewing from a derrick morphs into a cloud of bats filling the sky.

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Alongside cacti and desert scrub, a tortoise’s shell is reimagined as a backpack, a reference to the northward journeys of migrants. A tough, muscled armadillo and wide-eyed prairie dogs wear bulletproof vests. It’s easy to imagine these critters as comic book characters with individual personalities.

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Meanwhile, enormous ants represent industrial and agricultural labor. Echoes of the Texas State Fair’s midway evoke the quintessential cultural icons of Dallas. Framing the mural at one end of the Concourse are the words “LAND LIBERTY LIFE,” a message that is equally evocative of the American dream and of indigenous struggles for autonomy and food sovereignty.

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Fine Lands Press Preview, May 11, 2018

This imagery and its layers of associations allow us to imagine unfolding narratives, or to insert our own memories of the Texas landscape. Although the mural clearly references hot-button issues such as pollution, migrant labor, and the power of the fossil fuel industry, there is no single overarching message. Rather, Cuevas holds a mirror up to Texas culture, reflecting it back to us with the added insights that creative metaphor brings. For example, she treats oil in several ways: as a natural resource, as an element of our economy (for better or worse), and as a visually fascinating substance that oozes and seeps across the landscape. More than a simple warning about the dangers of oil as a pollutant, this imagery evokes the role of fossil fuels as the bedrock of Texas industry and an important component of our deep-rooted sense of independence.

Through its examination and reframing of common cultural stereotypes surrounding our state, Fine Lands offers a new way of seeing and understanding subjects such as immigration, the politics surrounding natural resources, and ideas about Texan identity. The presence of bright white crosshairs distributed throughout the mural lends an undertone of menace. The sight of these crosshairs hovering on the wall just ahead implies an immediate threat, lurking right behind us. How we understand that implied threat, and the extent to which we participate in Cuevas’s reflection on the Texas landscape, is up to each of us.

Chloë Courtney is a Digital Collections Content Coordinator at the DMA.

State Pride

Everyone can admit there is just a certain draw to Texas. We aren’t sure if it’s the Art, Bar-B-Que, or the Cowboys, but we love Texas and we’ve picked our favorite back to school gifts for you to show off your state pride. All are available online and on-site at the DMA Store.

Texas

Pegasus Snow Globe – Decorate your desk with this red Pegasus that has come to represent the city since it first flew over the Magnolia Oil Company building in 1934.

Gold Texas Necklace – This custom gold necklace is a delicate way to show your state pride.

This Is Texas by Miroslav Sasek – The stylish, charming illustrations, coupled with Sasek’s witty, playful narrative, make this book a perfect souvenir that will delight both children and adults.

Dallas Home Glass Set – Cheers to loving Dallas! This glass set makes a great addition to any home.

 

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Saturday is the 177th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. Celebrate Texas Independence Day this year by viewing newly installed works by Texas artists in the American Art Galleries on Level 4 or visiting the new exhibition Loren Mozley: Structural Integrity.

Otis Dozier, Cotton Boll, 1936, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Otis Dozier, Cotton Boll, 1936, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Alexandre Hogue, Drouth Stricken Area, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Alexandre Hogue, Drouth Stricken Area, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Florence E. McClung, Squaw Creek Valley, 1937, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Florence E. McClung

Florence E. McClung, Squaw Creek Valley, 1937, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Florence E. McClung

Charles T. Bowling, Mason County Landscape, 1938, egg tempera on composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Charles T. Bowling, Mason County Landscape, 1938, egg tempera on composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937

Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937

Merritt Mauzey, Neighbors, 1938, oil on masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Arthur Kramer and Fred Florence Purchase Prize, Ninth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1938 1938

Merritt Mauzey, Neighbors, 1938, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Arthur Kramer and Fred Florence Purchase Prize, Ninth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1938 1938

Kimberly Daniell is the Public Relations Manager at the Dallas Museum of Art and Elizabeth Donnelly is the Exhibitions Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Fourteen Years of TWO x TWO

TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art is an annual contemporary art auction held in the Richard Meier-designed Rachofsky House in Dallas and benefiting two organizations—the Dallas Museum of Art and amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. The event has raised over $34 million in the past thirteen years, enabling the Museum to acquire more than 125  works of art. October 20 marks the fourteenth annual gala and auction, which features Richard Phillips as amfAR’s 2012 Honored Artist. To learn more about the history of TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art, and this year’s events, including the First Look preview party tomorrow evening, visit the TWO x TWO website. Explore past TWO x TWO events below with guests such as Barry Manilow, Alan Cumming, Patti LaBelle, and more.

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Seldom Scene: Installing 1950s Dallas

Did you get a chance to travel to 1950s Dallas this weekend? Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas opened on Sunday and will be on view through August 19. Below are a few images from the installation of the exhibition.

Photography by Adam Gingrich, DMA Marketing Assistant.

Insider Tour of Paris

In May, Olivier Meslay, Interim Director of the Museum—and a former chief curator of the Louvre—led a group of eighteen DMA Donor Circle members to Paris for an “insider’s tour” of the city.

As you all may know, it’s hard to have a bad time in Paris, especially in the gorgeous spring. Here are just a few of the highlights.  The trip began with a visit to the Château of Fontainebleau, where the group had a special tour with chief curator Vincent Droguet that included a stop at the stairs where Napoleon gave his farewell address before being exiled to Elba.

We were also able to visit one of Marie Antoinette’s private cabinet rooms, which is not open to the general public. Climbing several narrow, winding sets of stairs, Vincent led us into a small private room where the queen used to retreat from the demands of royal life with just one or two companions.

When we visited Vaux le Vicomte, another château in the countryside, it was lit by candles for a beautiful and dramatic evening, which included fireworks in the garden.

The studio of Rosa Bonheur, which is a private museum still managed by her family, was a special stop. I love her work, and the DMA will soon acquire a Bonheur painting, which made this visit even more special.

Her unfinished final painting hangs on an easel in her studio.

And her stuffed parrot still resides in her bedroom (a little worse for wear).

 

The high point of the trip has to be our visit to the Louvre. We arrived very early in the morning, before it got crowded, and Olivier took us through the Grand Gallery to view some of the masterpieces of 18th- and 19th-century painting.

During his sixteen-year tenure at the Louvre, Olivier held a number of senior positions before coming to the DMA in 2009 in the joint position of Senior Curator of European and American Art and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art. Being with him at his “old stomping grounds” was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Another very special visit was to the atelier of Nicolas Marischael, a silversmith working in the center of Paris. Following in the footsteps of three generations of his family, Nicolas creates beautiful works of art, jewelry, and cutlery using old-world techniques and tools. Visiting his tiny atelier was amazing!

One of the last places we visited was the Musée de la chasse et de la nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature), where the director, Claude d’Anthenaise, has creatively displayed works of art that focus on hunting, nature, and animals.

Kim Bryan is the Director of Donor Circle Membership at the Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Activities Get a Splash of Color with Late Nights

As you know, our Late Nights are a staple for Dallas activities in the Metroplex. For our second YouTube video, we chose to feature what makes this program so special. If you know anyone who has not experienced Late Nights, share the video with them and plan your visit!


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