Archive for November, 2009

Amy's Favorite Arms

Almost everyday I walk through the galleries and am surrounded by amazing works of art. Here are a few paintings from our European galleries that I always enjoy seeing. They all have wonderful arms in them! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Amy Wolf
Teaching Programs Coordinator

The Arts of Africa at the DMA

November has been an exciting month at the DMA—several of us attended the Texas Art Education Association conference last week, we’ve had a busy month with tours, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. However, the most exciting event (and the one for which I am most thankful) is the publication of a brand new catalogue spotlighting the Museum’s African collection: The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art.

The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art

Written by our curator of African Art, Dr. Roslyn Adele Walker, the catalogue has been published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the DMA’s first acquisition of African art in 1969. The catalogue highlights 110 works of art in our collection and includes beautiful photography of the objects.  Contextual photos have also been included to illustrate how many of the objects would have been (and in many cases still are) used in Africa.

Four years ago, before I was Tour Coordinator at the DMA, I worked with Roz as a McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern. Over the course of my year with Roz, I contacted many scholars and photographers asking for permission to use their contextual photographs in the catalogue. I also researched various works of art, including our Egungun costume (which I blogged about in September), and I love finally seeing everything in print! This is an exciting moment for the DMA, but also for Roz, and I couldn’t be happier for her.

To celebrate the publication of The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art, Roz will give a brief talk, followed by a book signing, on Thursday December 10th at 7:00 pm. I hope you’ll join us in the Center for Creative Connections Theater to learn more about our African collection, and to congratulate Roz on this wonderful accomplishment.

Shannon Karol
Tour Coordinator

It's a Whole New Media World

It is Saturday now.   I’m one day late with the weekly Friday Photos post.  But check out these cool photos from the Late Night last night.  New media art was presented in the Tech Lab by students from the University of North Texas School of Visual Art.  New Media mixes the materials and concepts of technology and art, emphasizing the experience of the viewer who plays an active role in the artwork.  Thanks to Lindsay Hooker for help capturing these images!

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Learning Partnerships with Schools and the Community

Late Night visitors enjoyed Christina Day's interactive self-portrait. Animated images of the artist projected on a lycra screen change when visitors touch the screen.

In the Mood is a work by Eric Flye. Heat sensors, LED lights, and a computer program calculate your temperature and your mood.

Arash Sabha played with ideas about time and infinity in his work, Revisited, which uses mirrors, motion sensors, and a video camera.

Francois Boucher Paintings in European Gallery

The second floor European gallery was recently reinstalled, and among the new works of art is a series of four mythological paintings by the French court painter Francois Boucher. The paintings are on loan from the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. The works of art included in the installation are Mercury Confiding the Infant Bacchus to the Nymphs of Nysa, Boreas Abducting Oreithyia, Venus at Vulcan’s Forge, and Juno Asking Aeolus to Release the Winds. All of these paintings were produced for Jean-Francois Bergeret de Frouville in 1769, the year before Boucher died.

What a wonderful sight these paintings are! When I see them in person, I am always amazed at their large scale. Light pinks, greens, and blues express the grandness of eighteenth-century French Rococo art in the hands of Boucher.  Each painting was carefully composed by the artist using diagonal lines to form each scene and arranging the mythological figures in the foreground and in the sky.  Boucher has given these figures the curves of voluptuous women and muscular men. 

Boucher portrays each god or goddess with his or her attributes to tell each story. For instance, in Venus at Vulcan’s Forge, Vulcan is seen leaning forward giving Venus a sword, completely under her powers and submissive to her will. In fact, he is in love with Venus, which Boucher indicates with the doves and putti on his lap. In the lower right corner, a three-eyed figure in Vulcan’s forge is shaping steel to make weapons. Above the main scene the sky is revealed to show putti and other figures looking on at Venus and Vulcan.

To see photographs of these paintings being installed in the European gallery, visit the DMA’s Flickr site.

Amy Wolf
Teaching Programs Coordinator

Artist is the New Astronaut

During the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to visit classrooms throughout the Dallas Independent School District, teaching 1st-6th graders about works of art in the DMA’s collection.  Educational outreach programs like Go van Gogh and the museum’s Talented and Gifted (TAG) program reach hundreds of kids each month, and so far I’ve met some great kids with some great art insights.  Here are a few stories from my first months at the museum:
Last week I was out in the community visiting David G. Burnet Elementary School.  I was teaching a Go van Gogh program called Art of the Lone Star State to a group of excited fourth graders.  We had just finished looking at four works of art by Texas artists.  To wrap up, I asked, “What was your favorite work of art that you saw today?”  One student raised his hand, looked out the window, and pointed to the Go van Gogh van parked in the school parking lot—“THAT!” he said.  Is the van art?  This budding artist seemed to think so.
"Get Along Little Dogies," from Art of the Lone Star State

Art with Four Legs

The Go van Gogh van

Art with Four Wheels

A few days ago I was walking through the hallways of Felix Botello Elementary carrying my Go van Gogh bag, and I heard a student whisper to his friend, “It’s the museum man!”  As I passed by, he slapped me a high-five.  Walking into the classroom, another student excitedly shouted, “It’s an artist!”  As it turns out, they were the artists that day; they made extraordinary model chairs out of ordinary materials like straws and tin foil.

Yesterday I visited James B. Bonham Elementary, teaching a Go van Gogh program called Creative Connections: Ordinary to Extraordinary.  I asked one student how his art project was coming along— “This is the best day of my life!” he said.  Another student said, “When I grow up, I want to be an artist!”  I’m glad to see that artist is the new astronaut.

If you’re a teacher or a parent and I’ve mentioned your school, let us know.  We’d love to hear from you.  As more stories come in, I’ll keep you updated.

Justin Greenlee

Learning Partnerships Intern

Community Connection: Write to be Heard, the Power of Spoken Word

During the 2008-09 school year, we partnered with Spoken Word artist Will Richey for our afterschool program.  Will led weekly workshops at YMCA’s and Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the Metroplex.  Students were encouraged to write original poetry inspired by their lives and by artworks from the Museum.  The afterschool program concluded with performances by the students at their branches, a reception at the Museum, and a book of poems by all program participants.  For about four months, Will and I saw each other or spoke almost daily.  Afterward, we both became busy with different projects, so it was a treat to catch up with him over lunch.

Will Richey

The animated Will Richey

What first made you want to become an artist?

The artistic side is my mom’s influence.  She had me in art and piano lessons as a child.  My first love was basketball, and that seemed to get in the way of my art.  As an adult, I’ve reconnected with my creative, artistic spirit.  I feel it honors my mom to be well-rounded.  She is Puerto Rican, and the arts are a very strong part of that culture.  My mother wanted to instill that in me, so I have an appreciation for different types of art – dance, music, performance, visual art, and poetry.

Tell us about Journeyman Ink.

Journeyman Ink. is a way of connecting my personal life and journey with my desire to transcend and connect cultures, creeds, and races through creative expression.  In the fall of 2001, I walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a 500 mile walking pilgrimmage across northwest Spain.  This experience taught me that life is more about the journey than the destination.  Ever since then, I’ve tried to make the most of every day.  That’s what we’re trying to do with Journeyman Ink.  Through Spoken Word performances, creative art workshops, and speaking opportunities, we try to encourage people of all ages to embrace life as a journey.  Look for more information at in 2010.

Describe your approach to teaching Spoken Word to students.

The best way I can answer this question is with the first four lines of a new piece:

     It’s not about poetry, it’s about personal connection
     It’s not about writing, it’s about self-expression
     It’s not about reading aloud, it’s about taking pride in your name
     It’s not about performing for the crowd, but realizing we’re all the same

Of course, Spoken Word is about all of these things, but my philosophy is that I am a facilitator.  I am not there to impose my craft on someone.  I’m there to draw out the interests, the personality, the dreams of the kids.

Will works with a student at Westlake Village Boys & Girls Club.

Will works with a student at Westlake Village Boys & Girls Club.

 What serves as inspiration for your work?

I’m very inspired by the human story.  I try to help people understand we have so much more in common than we are different.  We have so many barriers (religion, academic achievement, economic status) that get in the way, but the bottom line is we are all connected.  We all share the human experience. 

Could you write a short poem about today’s lunch?  (No pressure!)

Today is an opportunity – a joyous moment
     Shared over good food and conversation
Reminiscing over magical collaborations
     And answering questions with purpose.
Blessed with friendship and creativity
     Connecting the DMA with young artists
Realizing we have nothing more than today
     To smile and let our light shine!

Will signed his impromptu poem, which was written on the back of a to-do list.  I hung it with pride next to my desk.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Learning Partnerships with the Community

New Friday Photo Posts

We have started a new weekly feature: a photo post each Friday.  A different staff member will post a few photos each week.  This week, my “Friday Photos” are details of a few of my favorite artworks in the gorgeous new reinstallation of our European galleries.

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

Detail of The Bath of Diana by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, c. 1855

Detail of The Bath of Diana by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, c. 1855

Detail of Portrait of a Woman in a Blue Turban by Eugene Delacroix, c. 1827

Detail of Portrait of a Woman in a Blue Turban by Eugene Delacroix, c. 1827

Detail of Portrait of the Honorable Mrs. Seymour Bathurst by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1828

Detail of Portrait of the Honorable Mrs. Seymour Bathurst by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1828

Detail of Winter (Woman with a Muff) by Berthe Morisot 1880

Detail of Winter (Woman with a Muff) by Berthe Morisot, 1880

Connect: Teachers, Technology, and Art

Our work on a new grant project, Connect: Teachers, Technology, and Art, has officially begun!  Through the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and their Museums for America grant program, the DMA was awarded $150,000 in October 2009 to begin redesigning online teaching materials.  Over the course of the next two years, we will work to create five new dynamic, web-based resource units that present the wealth of our collections in African and South Asian art.  How will we do it?  Thoughtfully, by connecting these three things:

Teachers: Results from a 2007 evaluation with 450 teachers, which focused on how teachers learn and teach with art, will inform the initial selection and organization of artwork images and information.  Staff will also collaborate closely with twenty teachers, who will help design and test the new teaching resources in their classrooms.  How do you currently use the Museum’s online teaching materials?  We welcome your comments!

Technology: Digital images, video, and audio, similar to those on DMAtv, will enliven the resources by providing extended information about works of art and cultures.  Imagine all of this packaged into custom units that are easy for teachers to access, search, and share with students.

Art: Works of art from Africa and South Asia will be the focus for the five new resource units.  The units will reflect recent curatorial scholarship and upcoming catalogue publications for both collections.  They will also highlight artworks recently added to the collection, such as the olumeye from Nigeria and the Buddha Sakyamuni from Thailand.


Kneeling female figure with bowl (olumeye)


Buddha Sakyamuni

Grant work to tackle over the next two months includes taking inventory of great images, information, video, and audio content related to the African and South Asian artworks, as well as selecting ten teachers to begin collaborating with staff.  If you would like to hear more about the grant, please feel free to email us.  Also look for future progress reports on the Connect project here on the blog or delivered via the Educator Newsletter.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Learning Partnerships with Schools and the Community

Jenny Marvel
Manager of Learning Partnerships with Schools

Is it a slug? The letter "j"? A prehistoric sea creature?

Dorothea Tanning’s Pincushion to Serve as Fetish has inspired me to create a soft sculpture project for our afterschool program.  All it took was some cool fabric, a stapler, polyester stuffing, and a hot glue gun.

What does it look like to you?

I tested the project first and made an example before introducing it to the students. What does it look like to you?

The students were really excited about their fabric choices.

The students were really excited about their fabric choices.

Pincushion to Serve as Fetish, Dorothea Tanning, 1979

Inspiration for the project. See Pincushion to Serve as Fetish in the Center for Creative Connections.

Artist Spotlight: Yinka Shonibare MBE

One of the Dallas Museum of Art’s most recent and exciting exhibitions, Performance/Art, centers around contemporary works of art. Along with paintings and installations, the exhibition includes two films, one by Eija-Liisa Ahtila and the other by Yinka Shonibare. Shonibare’s film, Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball), is based on an opera by the same name by Giuseppe Verdi and is a visual spectacle that will attract and intrigue visitors.

Shonibare, Un ballo in maschera

Un ballo in maschera, Yinka Shonibare MBE

While the story underlying Shonibare’s film is interesting (the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden), so too is the real life of the artist. Shonibare was born in London in 1962 but raised in Nigeria. This duality of experience and identity is explored in much of his work, which extends beyond film and includes sculpture, painting, photography, and installation. As apparent in the brilliant costumes in Un ballo in maschera, Shonibare frequently works with dyed fabrics which complicate issues of history, colonialism, and our global economy.

Shonibare’s art delves into complex ideas, often layered with multiple points of view, and he emphasizes the aesthetic experience in the process. Some works, such as Lady on Unicycle and Hopscotch, both large-scale installations, include mannequins dressed in Dutch wax-printed cotton. Others, like Dorian Gray, are two-dimensional and include less flamboyant imagery, in this case neutral-colored prints.

Since being awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 2005, Shonibare has taken the honorary title as part of everyday usage of his name. This small action hints at what much of his artwork overtly discusses, specifically the ambiguous and contradictory relationship he has with his nationality and identity. More information about Yinka Shonibare and his artwork can be found online at Art:21.

If you would like to experience Un ballo in maschera as well the other works in Performance/Art and All the World’s a Stage, come to our Teacher Workshop this Saturday, November 7, where we will be going through the exhibitions and talking about performance. To sign up, e-mail or select the Teacher Programs link on our ticketing Web site  to register online.

Logan Acton
McDermott Teaching Programs Intern


Flickr Photo Stream