Archive for October, 2009

Art Beyond Sight

DMA guest artist, John Bramblitt, instructs workshop participants

DMA guest artist, John Bramblitt, instructs workshop participants

Have you ever made an artwork blind-folded? 

This past Saturday, visitors to the Museum did just that—painting purely through the sense of touch—under the skilled direction of blind painter, John Bramblitt.  Bramblitt is a guest artist at the DMA in October, in conjunction with Art Beyond Sight Awareness month. Organized by Art Education for the Blind (AEB), Art Beyond Sight Awareness month raises awareness about integrating art into the lives of adults and children affected by sight loss. Bramblitt will demonstrate his process and hold another participatory workshop at the Museum on Thursday, October 29th from 6:30-8:30 in the Center for Creative Connections

We hope you’ll join us then!

Amy Copeland   
Coordinator of Learning Partnerships with Schools and the Community

I Want My DMA TV

DMA TV image

A recent addition to the Museum’s Web site is DMA TV,  This site stores a variety of multimedia content, like podcasts and videos, that relate to works of art in the Museum’s collection and special exhibitions, as well as public programs and community projects.   I am continually surprised by the treasure trove of information that is available and found a few gemstones that I think you might like as well.  




Just recently, more interviews with artists, dancers, musicians, actors, and scholars have been added to DMA TV in relationship to the new exhibition All the World’s a Stage:  Celebrating Performance in the Visual Arts.  This site is growing by leaps and bounds!

Happy watching and listening!

Until next time…

Jenny Marvel

Manager of Learning Partnerships with Schools

Gallery Conversation Tomorrow Night

Apollo and Diana Attacking the Children of Niobe by Jacques-Louis David

Apollo and Diana Attacking the Children of Niobe by Jacques-Louis David

The Abduction of Europa by Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre

The Abduction of Europa by Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre







Do you have plans for tomorrow night, Thursday, October 8?  If not, I hope you will join me for a gallery conversation at 7:00 p.m.  All educators are welcome, and the program is free.

This will be our second Thursday Evening Program for Teachers, which is a new series of monthly programs for educators.  We’ll be discussing two paintings in our collection of 18th century French art: The Abduction of Europa by Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre and a new acquisition by Jacques-Louis David, Apollo and Diana Attacking the Children of Niobe.

The program starts at 7:00 p.m., and we will meet in the Atrium Café.  Arrive early and listen to live Jazz in the Atrium.  Tables will be reserved starting at 6:30 for a “Teachers Lounge.”  Food and drink are available for purchase in the Café…bring a friend and make an evening of it. 

Hope to see you there!

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs


The Beat Goes On

A few weeks ago, I gave a Gallery Talk at the DMA that made connections between Abstract Expressionism and the Beat Generation.  I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Art History as well as English, so I am always looking for ways to make literary connections in our galleries.  Jackson Pollock’s Cathedral is one of my favorite paintings in our collection, and it provides the perfect comparison for the writings of the Beat Generation. 

The Beats believe in spontaneity and writing what is on your mind—an “undisturbed flow,” as Jack Kerouac called it.  Part I of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, an iconic work of Beat literature, is one long run-on sentence.  Ginsberg uses commas and semicolons to punctuate stanzas, but a period does not appear until the very end of Part I.  The Beats also felt that an author should write in the moment and shouldn’t worry about grammar or punctuation (see Jack Kerouac’s The Essentials of Spontaneous Prose, 1959).  Kerouac’s first draft of On the Road was written over the course of three weeks, and in the end looked like one massive paragraph.  He didn’t think about punctuation or line breaks—he just let his words flow.  

So what does all of this have to do with Jackson Pollock?  Just as the Beats were letting words and ideas spontaneously stream onto paper, Jackson Pollock allowed paint to flow from his brush onto canvas.  His gestures draw our eye across—and right up to the edges—of the canvas, and we can imagine how he moved his arm and body through the picture plane.  There is a fantastic quote from Pollock that really illustrates just how similar his technique was with the Beat philosophy of writing: 

“When I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing.  It is only after a sort of ‘get acquainted’ period that I see what I have been about.  I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own.  I try to let it come through.  It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess.  Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.” ~Jackson Pollock, My Painting, 1947-1948.

Pollock painted “in the moment,” and his lines and gestures come together to create one unified masterpiece.  It’s also interesting to note another link between Pollock and the Beats–Cathedral was titled by another Beat poet: Frank O’Hara.  O’Hara described the painting in this way: “Cathedral is brilliant, clear, incisive, public—its brightness and its linear speed protect and signify, like the façade of a religious edifice…”
 I’m looking forward to continuing to explore interdisciplinary (especially literary) connections in the DMA’s collection and sharing these connections with our docents—and with student groups.  Are there other interdisciplinary connections that you make in your classrooms using the DMA’s collection?  If so, I would love to hear about them!       


Shannon Karol                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Tour Coordinator

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