A Conversation with Rashid Johnson  

Pictured Left to Right: Artist Rashid Johnson; Dr. Anna Katherine Brodbeck, Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art; Dr. Agustín Arteaga, The Eugene McDermott Director

Rashid Johnson, this year’s TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art 2022 honoree and renowned multidisciplinary artist, gifted the DMA with his multimedia work, The New Black Yoga Installation. Featuring five men performing an enigmatic dance of ballet, yoga, tai chi and martial arts across a sun-soaked beach, the work explores the complexity of personal and cultural identity. Johnson’s ongoing meditations on black masculinity and mysticism are reflected through their choreographed dance movements. Rugs branded with crosshairs, a symbol that is etched into the sand in the video, are situated throughout the gallery, projecting the film’s combined sense of peace and foreboding into physical space.  

Below is an excerpt from a transcript of a conversation between Rashid Johnson and the DMA’s Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Dr. Anna Katherine Brodbeck, at The Warehouse in Dallas, Texas. This dialogue has been edited for length and clarity. 

Katherine: 

When I saw you yesterday at the Museum, you were saying it’s been probably eight or nine years since you’ve really interacted with the piece and seen it in person. I’m so happy to have this work on view and to discuss it with you for the first time because it’s a very layered and enigmatic work. Perhaps you could speak a little bit on how this work came about in your practice. 

Rashid: 

This film, The New Black Yoga, was born of a time when I was living with my wife, Sheree, in Berlin. And it was the first time I was living internationally. I was working on an exhibition and doing a residency. But, as anyone who’s familiar with my work knows about me, I’m an anxious person. And I was asking myself, how do I start to deal with this anxiety? My doctor said I should go do yoga. Since I was in Germany, all the yoga classes were in German. Apparently, that’s just how it works, right? [Laughs] I thought I would just follow what the other people did. 

And, apparently, that’s just not how a real yoga practice is formed [laughs]. And so, because of that my sense is to do something absurd and continue to follow a path. I found a male performer and made a film, and I called it Black Yoga. Now, this man knew nothing about yoga—I, too, knew nothing about yoga [laughs]—but he was interested in ballet. I had an 8mm camera and I said, “Let’s do it, let’s make up black yoga.” I just started giving him moves to do and we made this film called Black Yoga. And by expanding on that was born this film, which is executed using five characters called The New Black Yoga and shot on 16mm film. 

It’s this fun way to kind of revisit this idea of healing, or the creation of healing, using your own creative sensibility to invent a way to navigate complicated circumstances. And that’s how this film was born. That’s its origin story.  

Katherine: 

Thank you for that. I want to talk a little bit about the healing aspect of the piece. The installation that we have at the DMA has a series of branded rugs on the floor. Then you look at the film—it is a very serene film of beautiful movement on a beautiful beach at dusk—and there also appears to be crosshairs that are written into the sand. Then you notice that there are enigmatic runes that give a sense of mysticism but also of foreboding because it does appear that there are these crosshairs in the rugs. I wondered if you could talk a little bit about the kind of symbolism that you’re dealing with.  

Rashid: 

You know, throughout my practice I’ve built an iconography, or a series of symbols and signs, that reference either personal or collective experience—for example, the rugs through branding, but also on the beach, a kind of simple technique of drawing in the sand. And one that you mentioned, Katherine, is the crosshairs.  

I’m a child of the eighties. The day before yesterday, I went to see a play by an incredible playwright and screenwriter named Susan Laurie Parks—she happened to also write the script for a film that I made. But I was sitting behind Spike Lee. I love Spike Lee. I’m just a huge, huge fan of Spike Lee. 

I have to say that, early on, I was quite obsessed with his films. One of his early films is a film many of you have probably seen called Do the Right Thing. I was quite young when it came out. But, there’s a song in it by a band called Public Enemy, and the song is called Fight the Power. I fell in love with Public Enemy. I thought that they were so brilliant. It was this radical discourse but it was also urban music and it was philosophy. Chuck D, who was the lead singer for the band, was this activist and this really brilliant character. On the cover of their albums, they often had this kind of crosshair—a gun sight. I remember asking myself over the course of looking at that album, listening to the music, and seeing how they employed the symbol—who was that sight for? Was the gun being pointed at them? Were they in the crosshairs or were they projecting the crosshairs onto whoever they were battling against? I’ve borrowed this symbol a lot in my work through branding. 

Of course, Katherine, you mentioned there’s several rugs that lay on the floor. Well, my wife is Iranian and I always joke that my mother-in-law and I don’t have a ton in common. But she likes Persian rugs and I like Persian rugs. So I started using these things in my work—almost as a way of reflecting on this relationship that I was building with her, and these cultural signifiers and the possibility that cultural encampment, instincts, and signifiers can become global and employed in different ways and borrowed, sanctioned, and given agency in different languages. So I coated the floor in these Persian rugs and then I branded them with different symbols. I’m excited about how they become both legible and potentially mysterious, simultaneously.  

Focus On: Rashid Johnson 

The Dallas Museum of Art invites visitors to step into the artwork of renowned multidisciplinary artist Rashid Johnson in Focus On: Rashid Johnson, an installation showcasing Johnson’s multimedia work The New Black Yoga Installation. Gifted to the DMA by the artist in 2022, this installation combines a video projection and branded Persian rugs to create an experience that is, at once, intense and intimate. The film features five men performing an enigmatic dance of ballet, yoga, tai chi, and martial arts across a sun-soaked beach, exploring the complexity of personal and cultural identity. Their choreographed movements reflect Johnson’s ongoing meditations on Black masculinity and mysticism, as well as his investigations of the body in space. Rugs branded with crosshairs, a symbol that is etched into the sand in the video, are situated throughout the gallery, projecting the film’s combined sense of peace and foreboding into physical space. 

About Rashid Johnson 

Rashid Johnson’s practice encompasses a wide range of media, including sculpture, painting, drawing, filmmaking, and installation. Via a rich visual lexicon of coded symbolism and autobiographical materials, Johnson’s artwork conducts searing meditations on race and class, in addition to examining individual and shared cultural identities. The artist, who was born in Chicago in 1977, is perhaps best known for translating cultural experiences, most commonly that of Black Americans, through his unique visual language. Johnson was recognized as the 2022 honoree for his contributions to contemporary art at the 2022 TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Gala and Auction, a charity auction that benefits both the DMA and amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. 

Edited by Trey Burns, Multimedia Producer, and Ellee McMeans, Communications Manager  

Photos Trey Burns, Multimedia Producer

Under the Influence: What Inspired Picasso 

Pablo Picasso’s first financial success came in spring 1906, when he sold the entire inventory of his studio to art dealer Ambroise Vollard for the then large sum of 2,000 francs. This allowed him and his partner, Fernande Olivier, to travel to Barcelona and from there to the Pyrenean village of Gósol. In Spain, Picasso was a different person, Olivier remembered: “[A]s soon as he returned to his native Spain, and especially to its countryside, he was perfused with its calm and serenity. This made his works lighter, airier, less agonized.”1 It is not surprising then that in the almost three months the couple spent in Gósol, Picasso produced more than 300 paintings, drawings, and sculptures with Olivier as his main model. A significant change in his style announced itself during these months, influenced in part by the spare landscape and the region’s unique colors, but also by two exhibitions he had recently seen: the Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres retrospective at the 1905 Salon d’Automne, and a display of Iberian art at the Louvre from recent excavations in Andalusia. 

Picasso, Nude with Folded Hands, 1906. Gouache on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., bequest of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, 2019.67.19.McD
Picasso, Head of a Woman, Modeled 1905–1906, cast 1960. Bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., bequest of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2019.67.18.McD

A diamond pattern and the contours of a figure bleed through the thin paint of the pale pink background in Nude with Folded Hands. Only Olivier’s own ocher outlines set her apart from the nondescript, empty environment in which she is standing, giving the painting the effect of a bas-relief. Her voluptuous body seems awkwardly twisted at the waist and shoulders, her head is slightly bent down, and her almond-shaped eyes are closed. In its rigidity, the face evokes Iberian art, as well as a sculpture bust of Olivier, Head of a Woman, that Picasso made in the same year. Standing in front of her beholder, she is timidly folding her hands below her pudenda; however, her modesty is a false one, her hands revealing more than they hide, guiding the viewers gaze. Olivier often posed in the nude for Picasso, and while the young artist frequently made small drawings and caricatures of his sexual escapades, the studies and paintings of Olivier from 1906 stand out through their intimate eroticism, absent in his earlier works and in the following years. 

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, 1987.399.FA
Yaure peoples, Je face mask, c. 1930-1952. Wood and pigment, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art, 2018.7.McD

Bust, probably painted in the winter of 1907–08, looks fundamentally different from Nude with Folded Hands, and much had happened in the meantime. In spring or summer 1907, Picasso visited the Indigenous art and culture collection at the Musée du Trocadéro in Paris, which, though dusty and deserted, opened his eyes to a new influence: art from outside the Western canon, originating from European colonies in Africa and Oceania, leading him to finish his monumental painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907, MoMA). Finally, at the Salon d’Automne, he saw the retrospective dedicated to Paul Cézanne. These exhibitions greatly influenced Picasso’s artistic development and his quest for an escape from the confines of illusionistic art, established during the Renaissance. Picasso further explored the pictorial means of simplification, thus the muscular woman in Bust, lifting her arms above her head, pulling her hair into a bun, is reduced to outlines and shading that was achieved through isolated application of color and expressive brushstrokes, rather than through the traditional method of gradients from white to black. Her face, devoid of emotion, echoes the masks Picasso saw at the Trocadéro, which might have looked like the Je face mask from the Yaure peoples. The fragmented body is reduced to basic geometric shapes, with the contours opening so that the background and the foreground merged, as Picasso had observed in Cézanne’s work.  

Paul Cézanne, The Rooftops, About 1898. Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art,
The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., bequest of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, 2019.67.6.McD

Despite being celebrated as an inventor, Picasso never worked in an artistic vacuum. Trying to find a new language from 1906 onward, he was especially receptive to influences from outside the traditional Western canon, which makes these works compelling, even for the present-day beholder.  

[1] Fernande Olivier, Picasso und seine Freunde. Erinnerungen aus den Jahren 1905-1913, 1989, p. X. Translated from German by the author. 

Christine Burger, Curatorial Research Assistant for European Art 

One Way of Looking at a Mola

The Guna people live in an autonomous region of coastal Panama. The molaa blouse with appliqué panels on the front and back—is one of the most recognizable Guna art forms.  Guna women devote hours daily to making molas together while they converse about their craft. This social context of production reinforces a shared set of aesthetic principles, including symmetry, contrast, and evenly distributed detail.[1] Well-made molas are admired and copied by others.

This brightly colored mola features birdlike figures rowing boats. Velvety sleeves and rick-rack trim elevate the sumptuous detail of the appliqué panels. There are many ways—cultural, historical, and economic—to approach these intricate works. For now, let’s look closer at this mola to understand its key aesthetic attributes.

Symmetry: Imagine drawing a line from the center of one side of either panel straight across to the other side. The top half and the bottom half of the panel would mirror each other—with minor variations on either side. You would discover the same effect if you drew a line down the center of the blouse. This mola is symmetrical in quarters.

Duality: This blouse features near identical panels on the front and back. Guna women often make molas in pairs. This practice, along with the symmetry that governs individual panels, relates to the Guna belief that every living being has a double.[2] However, Guna women are not wedded to cosmology. They are artists who explore aesthetic convention and respond to market conditions. Women sometimes tear apart blouses to sell individual molas, thus interrupting the ability of their objects to reflect the cultural value of duality.

Stitches: Small, evenly spaced concealed stitches are also a hallmark of prized molas. While some stitches are visible in a close-up of this blouse, they are light in color, small, and evenly spaced and do not detract from the quality of the mola.

Contrast: Pay attention to the range of colors in this detail. Notice the red shapes over an area of blue and an area of green. Layers of bright contrasting colors articulate the shapes of this mola.

Filler motif: Guna women aim to create molas with little empty space. This technique leads to a cohesive composition while highlighting technical expertise. Guna artists have developed varieties of “filler motif”—small, simple repeated shapes—to cover spaces between main compositional elements. Filler motifs can be made from small circles, triangles, or, as we see here, slits called tas-tas.[3] The slits extend over the boats and figures to create an especially cohesive composition.

It can be tempting to interpret unattributed Indigenous art as a direct transmission of a unique—often exoticized— culture. While a cultural framework is key to interpreting Guna art forms, close looking reveals how women’s aesthetic choices also inform the production of molas.


[1] Mari Lyn Salvador  and Vernon Salvador, Yer dailege! Kuna women’s art. (Albuquerque, NM: Maxwell  Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, 1978)

[2] Michel Perrin and Deke Dusinberre. Magnificent Molas: the Art of the Kuna Indians (Paris: Flammarion, 1999), 45.

[3] Diana Marks, Molas Dress, Identity, Culture ( Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2016)

Madeleine Aquilina, Michigan Summer Intern for Latin American Art, PhD Candidate in History of Art at University of Michigan

Late Night Recap: Celebrating “Spirit Lodge”

We honored the opening of Spirit Lodge: Mississippian Art from Spiro with a night of artist demonstrations, performances, art making, and more. See how we celebrated at Late Night in this slideshow, and visit Spirit Lodge for free now through August 7!

It’s All in the Family: The Earles in “Spirit Lodge”

For over a thousand years, Caddo peoples lived, traded goods, made art, and grew crops in communities clustered around rivers in present-day Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. They, like other Mississippian peoples, constructed earthen mounds that marked and shaped their landscape for political and ceremonial purposes. You can visit and learn more about three of those mounds at the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in East Texas.

Colonization and colonialism dealt blow after blow to the Caddo, with epidemic diseases, forced removals to reservations, and the boarding school system all threatening the continuation of knowledge within Caddo communities. Many traditions survived through the concerted efforts of Caddo knowledge keepers, and others, though disrupted, have now been revived and revitalized through the work of contemporary artists and other cultural practitioners.

Among those artists are brothers Chad “Nish” Earles and Chase Kahwinhut Earles and their father, Wayne “Tay Sha” Earles, all of whom have artworks featured in Spirit Lodge: Mississippian Art from Spiro (on view through August 7, 2022).

Tah-nah-hah “Buffalo,” Chad “Nish” Earles, Caddo, 2018. Acrylic on maple skateboard deck

Academic and professional experience in art and graphic design, a background in graffiti art, and deep engagement with Caddo history and traditions have all shaped Chad’s art. These varied influences are visible in his piece in Spirit Lodge, Tah-Nah-Hah “Buffalo, a hand-painted skateboard deck featuring his characteristic bold lines and creative use of negative space.

Horse tripod vessel (Deé-Tumbah Kah’-Wis), Chase Kahwinhut Earles, Caddo, 2015. Ceramic. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2018.12

Chase’s Batah Kuhuh alligator gar fish effigy bottle, acquired by the DMA in 2020, welcomes visitors into the exhibition. After its acquisition, Chase and Dr. Michelle Rich, the DMA’s Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Assistant Curator of the Arts of the Americas, had a conversation about his ceramic practice, which can be found here.

When you enter Spirit Lodge’s galleries, you’ll find not one, not two, but three additional works by Chase—two more of his ceramic vessels and one collaboration with Muscogee painter Starr Hardridge. The intricately incised designs on many of Chase’s pieces, as seen on Deé-Tumbah Kah’-Wis above, reflect his own spin on motifs used by pre-contact Caddo potters. Jeri Redcorn, the Caddo pottery revivalist, helped him start working in uniquely Caddo styles.

Inspiration isn’t only flowing from the older generations to the younger though—while Wayne had loved art since he was a child, his interest in stone carving was sparked by going to art shows with his sons (and some encouragement from Chase and Chad!). The stunning ceremonial weaponry featured in the exhibition is a testament to his rapid mastery of the art form. And there’s an extra layer of family connections—Wayne’s ceremonial mace shares a title with Chad’s skateboard deck, and his monolithic axe—like Chase’s effigy bottle—is in the shape of a gar fish.

Left: Ceremonial mace (Tah’-nah-ha—Buffalo), Wayne “Tay Sha” Earles, Caddo, 2018. Stone. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2019.34.1
Right: Monolithic axe (P-i-ta-u-ni-wan’-ha—To Have Power), Wayne “Tay Sha” Earles, Caddo, 2018. Stone. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2019.34.2

Join us for the Late Night event on March 25 to see Chad along with the Caddo Culture Club exhibiting traditional Caddo dances, Chase demonstrating his potting, and many other artists and knowledge keepers sharing their expertise. And of course, come experience the Earles family’s incredible art in person in Spirit Lodge: Mississippian Art from Spiro!

Becca Merriman-Goldring is the McDermott Intern for Arts of the Americas at the DMA.

Behind the Scenes: Installing Senga Nengudi’s “Water Composition I”

Influenced by Black cultural traditions and Japanese Gutai, artist Senga Nengudi’s work synthesizes multiple ideas circulating in the 1960s and 1970s: feminist practice, the role of materiality, and the relationship between activation, viewership, and performance. In her sculpture Water Composition I, currently on view in Slip Zone, Nengudi encloses colored water in plastic, creating a body-like form.

Senga Nengudi, Water Composition I, 1969-1970/2019, heat-sealed vinyl and colored water, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund

We asked Senior Preparator and IPM Coordinator Mary Nicolett what stood out to her about her experience installing this abstract work. Here’s what she had to say:

First priority upon being approached to work with Fran Baas, Interim Chief Conservator, on the Nengudi was sourcing two 2-gallon jugs for filling the piece. 

Once that had been done, we set about opening the contents of the packing tube. There I found a beautiful rope, tubing and funnels, pre-filled dye containers with pre-measured amounts, and of course the plastic “bags.” Also included, and very important, was the template for placement! We were able to figure out exactly where on the platform the piece would go, and it detailed the exact pinpointed location of each PVC bag including position of the heat-sealed-seam. 

It took a while to truly understand the tubing and funnel system. What I wasn’t prepared for was how exquisitely this PVC bags where packed, in order of installation, one by one. Preparators often wish for things to be packed better, but this was a thing of beauty! 

Fran and I set about the morning hooking the tubes into each bag and filling with the prescribed amount of dye mixed with the prescribed ionized distilled water. It was “slow and steady wins the race” and we did not spill a drop! Each funnel was marked with tape on the wall, as to which bag the tube went to, just to avoid any possible confusion. 

After all the bags were filled, Fran and I began removing bubbles in the bags by gently thumping each bag until the bubbles moved to the top. 

A bit of tape removal, sweeping, touch-up paint, and we were done! And it looks marvelous!

Come see this work for yourself in the free exhibition Slip Zone: A New Look at Postwar Abstraction in the Americas and East Asia, on view now through July 10, 2022.

Mary Nicolett is the Senior Preparator and IPM Coordinator at the DMA.

Q&A with Yonavea Hawkins, Caddo Beadwork Artist

Yonavea Hawkins is an artist who creates intricate beadwork for Native American and Caddo cultural items. We are delighted to have her participate in the upcoming Late Night celebrating the new exhibition Spirit Lodge: Mississippian Art from Spiro, during which she will showcase several of her pieces and talk about her process and the connection between traditional and contemporary beadworking. Read our special Q&A with her to learn more about her practice ahead of the event on March 25!

Yonavea Hawkins working on a belt on a loom during a “Live Bead” on stage at an event.

How did you begin creating art?
As a child I was always drawing and painting, with art class in school being my favorite subject, then to obtaining a fine arts degree from Oklahoma City University and started working as a graphic designer. Eventually my 8 to 5 creative jobs morphed into print quality control with organized paperwork of meeting deadlines and budgets. Then and now with a full-time job, evenings and weekends are my creative times. Working from a small desk, my present work evolved from learning to sew and bead to make Caddo regalia for myself, my children, and then Native American regalia for others. Now I create a variety of bead work, cultural items, or diverse art with different beading techniques for juried art markets with competitions. Changing from pencil and paint to beads and buckskin became new mediums to work in and another way to express myself creatively.

Hawkins completing beadwork on a commissioned piece while in her booth at an art market.

The words “contemporary” and “traditional” carry a lot of weight when describing Indigenous arts. Where do you situate your work?
For my work it’s a combination of contemporary and traditional because of the materials used and the design elements, to the construction of the finished work. Contemporary because of the use of the current Charlotte bead colors and todays materials to bead on. Traditional, when I find the materials online to buy as I am an urban Native American without access to harvest and collect traditional materials once used. The use of glass bead work starts from European contact as beads, wool and silk were trade goods to Indigenous peoples, and these trade goods became traditional for some Indigenous peoples. Beading techniques developed for using trade beads and used today holds the traditional look, but in contemporary colors and designs, unless you find a stash of antique beads.

Three of Hawkins’ bracelet cuffs

Tell us about some of the work you’re showing at DMA’s Late Night.
Several years back, a collector of my art told me that my beadwork was “Wearable Art”. As such a great deal of my work created for art markets are bracelet cuffs, contemporary beaded belts, belt buckles, hair barrettes, necklaces, and hatbands. After attending an art market, I never know what work will sell out and what I will be creating next, but I plan to show a variety of pieces mentioned earlier. I will also show cultural items that have won awards at art markets such as moccasins, turtle shell purses, bandolier bags, and pipe bags.

________

You can find out more about Yonavea Hawkins in this recent artist interview. Don’t miss out on our Late Night celebration on March 25, featuring artist demonstrations, art making, performances, films, and talks about the exhibition Spirit Lodge: Mississippian Art from Spiro, and more! Get tickets here.

The Women of the Museum School

Margaret Hull taught children’s classes at the Museum School from 1957-1970.

Arts education has been an important feature of the museum since its founding in 1903. The Dallas Art Association held lecture series and programs featuring the artists, collectors, and art historians of the day to educate members on art and to promote collecting. After the first professional director was hired in 1929, the adult education offerings expanded to include director-led art history lecture series and gallery talks.  

Educational offerings were extended to children in 1937 when Director Richard Foster Howard started the school tour program with the Dallas Independent School District and a program of free Saturday art classes for children. By 1940, Maggie Joe Hogue, first head of the education department, reported that the DMFA’s education programs were unique in that they focused on creative teaching where most other museums confine their teaching to appreciation.

Children’s classes at the DMFA

The creative teaching element was formalized with the founding of the Museum School in 1941, which offered a variety of art classes for children and adults. A number of well-known Dallas artists taught at the Museum School including Octavio Medellin (see exhibition and library case), Otis Dozier, Merritt Mauzey, and Roger Winter. But as this is Women’s History Month, let’s focus on a few of the women artists who taught at the Museum School.  

Left: Barbara Maples working with two students
Right: Barbara Maples, Plastic Boxes 2, c. 1967–1968, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Texas Artists Fund, 2009.5

Barbara Maples (1912-1999) was painter, printmaker, photographer and educator. She began her career teaching elementary and secondary art for the Dallas Independent School District from 1937-1964, and concurrently taught children’s classes at the Museum School from 1940-1954. She went on to become Professor and Head of the Department of Art Education at Southern Methodist University from 1965-1978. Maples had three one-person exhibitions at the DMFA in 1941, 1944 and 1947, in addition to having her works selected for or included in at least 38 exhibitions at the museum. Three prints and one photograph are in the permanent collection. 

Left: Lucille Jeffries working with students
Right: Lucille Jeffries, Bouquet, n.d., color linoleum cut, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. C.P. Wright, 1964.65

Lucille Jeffries (1903-1950) was a painter and graphic designer. She taught children’s classes at the Museum School in the 1940s, while also teaching at Mt. Auburn School in Dallas. She also had three one-person exhibitions at the DMFA in 1941, 1943, and 1947, and had work included in over 25 juried or group exhibitions. Twenty-five of her lithographs, watercolors and linoleum cuts are in the permanent collection.  

Left: Evaline Sellors offered Adventures in Clay to the young artists in her summer classes, 1960s.
Right: Evaline Sellors, Bowl, c. 1951, glazed stoneware, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Craft Guild of Dallas, 1951.65

Evaline Sellors (1907-1995) taught adult pottery and ceramic sculpture classes at the Museum School in partnership with the Craft Guild of Dallas from 1950-1968. She also taught children’s classes at the Fort Worth Art Center, and designed costumes and puppets. Her work was included in over 20 juried exhibitions held at the DMFA and was featured in an exhibition of Fort Worth artists with two others in 1934. Two works by Sellors are included in the DMA’s permanent collection. 

Left: Mary Doyle working with students
Right: Mary Doyle, Texas Oranges, 1953, serigraph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the artist, 1954.3

Mary Doyle (1904-2000) was a printmaker, painter and watercolorist, but her favorite mediums were serigraphy and silk screen. Doyle taught children’s painting classes at the Museum School from the 1940s-1960s, later joining the museum full time as Education Director and Registrar. She also taught art for the Dallas Independent School District from 1935-1972. Doyle had work selected for 10 juried exhibitions held at the DMFA, and two works in the permanent collection.  

These are just three of the many women who taught at the Museum School from 1941 to its closure in 1970. Others include: Eloise Blondel, Dorothy Brake, Caroline Daniel, Ellen Dennis, Carolyn Dodson, Sybil Edwards, Patsy Eldridge, Ann Cushing Gantz, Estella Henkel, Wanda Hill, Margaret Hull, Frances Jenkins, Annelies Kahn, Dorothy Kay King, Rita Mallett, Virginia Oechsner, Martha Jane Reed, Coreen Spellman, Jane Stare, Ruth Tears, and Peggy Wilson. 

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

Connections Across Collections: Love is in the Art

Love is in the air—and in the art at the DMA! Take a look below to see our staff picks of art that we heART in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Wedding vase with butterflies, Mary Louise Eteeyan, Jemez Pueblo, 1975–2000. Ceramic. Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert I. Kramer, 2014.43.18.

Becca Merriman-Goldring, McDermott Intern for Arts of the Americas
Each spout of a Pueblo wedding vase represents one spouse; the two are joined by a bridged handle to form a continuous whole. Mary Louise Eteeyan emphasizes that significance in the decoration of this vase, with two butterflies coming together over a single basket of corn.

Wedding ring, department of San Marcos, San Pedro Sacatepequez, Guatemala, Maya — Mam, probably 1930s or 1940s. Dallas Museum of Art, the Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Collection of Maya Textiles from Guatemala, gift of Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher, 1983.524.

Dr. Mark A. Castro, The Jorge Baldor Curator of Latin American Art
There are several wedding rings, like this one, in the Museum’s collection of Maya textiles from Guatemala. We don’t know if they were ever used, but perhaps they might bring you good luck if you’re popping the big question this Valentine’s Day!

John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901–1902. Oil on canvas. Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan, 2007.36.

Martha MacLeod, Senior Curatorial Administrator and Curatorial Assistant for American Art
John White Alexander painted Dorothy’s portrait shortly before she married Langdon Greer. It was possibly a gift for her soon-to-be husband. The composition includes her beloved Irish Setter, Shamrock. Artists often include dogs in paintings to symbolize fidelity and devotion.

LaToya Ruby Frazier, Grandma Ruby’s Refrigerator, 2007. Gelatin silver print. Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund, 2018.37.

Hilde Nelson, Curatorial Assistant for Contemporary Art
In her series The Notion of Family, Frazier centers three generations of women—herself, her mother, and her grandmother. Here, the artist honors her grandmother; the fridge covered with the proud matriarch’s family memorabilia conveys their loving bond.

Stretching Ed Clark’s “Intarsia”

Ed Clark is an American abstract expressionist and pivotal Black artist in the DMA’s collection who experimented with shaped canvases. His large-scale painting Intarsia is on view for free in the exhibition Slip Zone: A New Look at Postwar Abstraction in the Americas and East Asia. To create this work, he laid raw canvas on the floor, poured acrylic paint directly on the surface, and spread it across the canvas with a push broom in a performative process. The title of this painting refers to a knitting and metalworking technique used to create fields of different colors that appear to blend in and out of one another. Combined with the elliptical shape of the canvas, which Clark saw as evocative of the shape of an eye, the radiant colors give the overwhelming sense of an expanding, pulsating image. Find out how our team of art conservators and preparators worked to preserve this work’s thick layers of paint by stretching the canvas before displaying it.

From Laura Hartman, Paintings Conservator at the DMA:

It was a true team effort—the painting measures over 5 meters by 3.5 meters, and weighs over 200 pounds! This painting is unique in that the artist has applied so many layers of paint that the paint is in fact thicker than the canvas, which changes the entire physics of the work. It has also traditionally been shown pinned directly to the wall, which was possible in 1970 when it was painted, but now the work has aged and needs a new approach to ensure longevity.

We worked directly with a stretcher maker in New York to design a stretcher that would hold the weight of the piece while remaining thin, giving the appearance that the work is pinned to the wall.

I worked with our preparators to create edge extensions, or a strip lining, and attach these to the back of the work to be able to stretch it while retaining the illusion of pinning. We first stretched a loose lining, which is a giant piece of canvas that acts as an additional support, and then carefully stretched the work onto the prepared stretcher, slowly increasing tension over several days to allow the paint to relax and release into a comfortable position. The work is now secure for the long haul, while retaining the artist’s original intention.

It took a lot of hands but we got it done! It takes at least 8 people to safely move the work, so all hands were on deck for this one!


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