Archive for September, 2010

Celebrating Mexico's Bicentennial

José Guadalupe Posada, La calavera catrina, 1889-95, woodcut, anonymous loan

The Dallas Museum of Art is celebrating the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence with a special project called Mexico 200.  This project includes a bilingual brochure that highlights works of Mexican art throughout the collection, including Maya, Spanish Colonial, and modern Mexican artworks.

Additionally, two special exhibitions of works on paper are on view this fall. Jose Guadalupe Posada: The Birth of Mexican Modernism showcases prints by this prolific artist who is considered the most influential Mexican artist of the early 20th century.  Tierra y Gente: Modern Mexican Works on Paper is installed in the Concourse and features works of art by Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, and other 20th-century Mexican artists.

Check out our Online Teaching Materials to learn more about Mexico 200, or participate in the Late Night on Friday, September 17.  The theme is Mexico 200, and teachers get in free with their educator ID!  Share the arts of Mexico with your students by scheduling a Museum Visit or Go van Gogh Outreach Program

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

Q&A with a DMA Docent

We have a corps of over one hundred volunteer docents who lead tours for students K-12 as well as for our adult visitors. They play an important role at the DMA, introducing our collections to museum-goers and sharing their passion for the beauty and importance of art. We are proud of their hard work and dedication and would like to introduce you to several of them over the coming months.

First up, meet Tom Matthews. Who knows, you might even run into him the next time you’re in the galleries. Rumor has it that he and his fellow docents spend a lot of their free time enjoying the art.

Number of years as a docent at the DMA: 10

A little bit about me: When I was a boy, my father piqued my interest in art by taking me to the Art Institute of Chicago. Though not trained in art, my father – an attorney – had a keen eye and did much reading on his own. His comments about art and artists stirred a life-long fascination for me. In my adult years, this interest continued. On family vacations, we usually stopped – often despite the protest of our daughters – at museums. My understanding was deepened by a twenty-five-volume series the Met in New York did for the public on art history and appreciation. While I was serving as pastor of a church in the coal fields of western Pennsylvania, a highlight of the month would be the arrival of one of these volumes. My wife alerted me to the docent program by referring me to an article in the Dallas Morning News.

My favorite experience as a docent at the DMA: I feel I have succeeded as a docent when I have “opened” a piece of art for the viewer. What does it feel like to be a griever in Jacob Lawrence’s Visitors or to “walk” as one of the figures in Giacometti’s sculpture? Assisting others in engaging with a work of art brings me satisfaction.

My three favorite works of art to share with visitors at the DMA:

Shiva Nataraja, India, 11th century: The dancing figure, holding strange objects and surrounded by a ring of fire, mystifies and entices.

Oedipus at Colonus, Jean-Antoine-Theodore Giroust, 1788: The story of Oedipus always commands attention. Giroust captures the pathos of the final moments.

Genesis, the Gift of Life, Miguel Covarrubias, 1954: Viewers are fascinated by the colors, imagery, and technique of mosaic making.

If you would like more information on the docent program at the Dallas Museum of Art, click here.

Intern Update

postcard from Justin Greelee's travels in Italy

 A few short months ago, we said farewell to our interns Logan Acton and Justin Greenlee, and last week we welcomed our new interns for 2010-2011, Karen Colbert and Ashley Bruckbauer.   

Logan Acton, Assistant to the Director of Education

Since wrapping up their internships, Justin and Logan have both been very busy. Justin left the States for Italy to work for a study abroad program run by his alma mater, Kenyon College.  He’s had the chance to do a lot of traveling — mostly art-related — including an amazing trip to Assisi.  

Logan completed his M.A. in Aesthetic Studies from The University of Texas at Dallas and was hired in August as a full-time DMA staffer. He is now the Assistant to the Director of Education, and we are thrilled to get to continue working with him.  

Ashley Bruckbauer, McDermott Intern

 Ashley Bruckbauer is the new McDermott Intern for Programs and Resources for Teachers. She received her B.A. from Southern Methodist University in Art History and Advertising Management. Her experiences prior to joining the DMA are graduate-level research in France, an internship at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, and teaching abroad in Shanghai, China.  

Karen Colbert, McDermott Intern

 Karen Colbert is the new McDermott Intern for Teaching Programs. She is currently completing her Master’s degree in Art Education, with a focus on museum education and arts leadership, at the University of North Texas. Before joining the DMA staff, Karen was an educator at the Women’s Museum in Dallas and an art teacher with the Dallas Independent School District. 

 We are excited to have Ashley and Karen on our team for the 2010-2011 school year! Keep an eye on this blog for upcoming posts about their experiences as DMA interns. 

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

Uncrating Stickley: A Registrar’s Report

Just before Labor Day I left Dallas for New Jersey to be on-site for the uncrating and installation of the exhibition Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Organized by the DMA, this exhibition opens at the Newark Museum of Art next week, and as the DMA’s Registrar, it is part of my job to help in the moving of these works to ensure proper handling.

It's nice to see a museum being promoted at a sporting event. I noticed this sign for the Newark Museum while watching the Newark Bears play the Bridgeport Bluefish.

It’s early September and the ideal weather makes this a great evening to catch a minor league baseball game in Newark. After working all day installing the exhibit at the Newark Museum, this is a nice change of pace. Even the annoyingly loud music that plays every time a batter steps up to the plate can’t ruin the great atmosphere.

Daniel Brophy makes sure he doesn't run me over as he helps David Bonner and Seth Goodwin move a crate into the galleries for unpacking.

It’s proving to be a challenge installing an exhibition at another museum as the opening tour venue–usually the organizing institution opens the show but in this case it premieres in Newark to coincide with the 100th birthday of Stickley’s home, Craftsman Farms, in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey. But the Newark Museum exhibition team and registrars are working hard to make sure we unpack, condition report (as a registrar, it is also part of my job to carefully document any change in condition or damage that might occur), and install the 100-plus objects before the first opening event on September 14.

One of the specific challenges revolves around the fact that this is the first time I’ve seen the majority of the objects in person. This adds to the amount of packing documentation and condition report notes that must be made before the objects can be finally installed. But we’ve worked out an effective system where Newark Museum registrars Antonia Moser and Amber Germano have been completing many of the condition reports while I update packing notes and direct the art handlers (Seth Goodwin, Daniel Brophy, Diane June, and David Bonner) on the order of crate unpacking. It’s vital to keep the unpacking and condition reporting process moving smoothly with as little down time as possible in order to meet our deadline.

Newark Museum Associate Registrar Antonia Moser performs a condition report on a folding screen in one of the museum galleries.

Daniel Brophy and Seth Goodwin install a folding screen after unpacking it. Gloves are required when handling works of art to protect the surface of objects.

While crates look like simple wooden boxes on the outside, their interiors can be filled with numerous braces and other packing features to ensure the safety of the artwork while being transported. It's vital to follow any instructions provided by the various craters, who often write directions and registration marks directly on the crate and crate components for easy visibility.

And while every exhibition installation has its fair share of bumps in the road and unique challenges, it’s what makes my job as a registrar so appealing. There’s not much that beats opening crate after crate of fine art and making sure it’s installed safely for museum visitors to enjoy. And as a bonus, I’ve discovered that Stickley’s ash furniture pieces are quite beautiful. Be sure to check them out if you’re in Newark, Dallas, or San Diego during the exhibition dates in those cities.

Oh, and here’s a double bonus: the home team Newark Bears have erased a 4-1 deficit and now lead the Bridgeport Bluefish 7-5 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Go Bears!

Brent Mitchell is the Registrar for Loans and Exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Friday Photos: The Dallas Arts District

Last year, the AT&T Performing Arts Center opened in Downtown Dallas, and everyone celebrated the completion of the Dallas Arts District.  October marks the one-year anniversary of the ATTPAC, and a month-long celebration has been planned throughout the Arts District, including performances, festivals, and more.    Art in October will end on October 31st with a Closing Celebration, including free admission to the DMA.  A complete calendar of events is available online.

Not only is the Arts District a great place to experience art and culture, but it’s also a wonderful place to explore architecture.  Below are some photos that I took between rainstorms this week of some of my favorite sites in the Arts District.  I hope you’ll bring your students down to explore the Arts District, too!

Shannon Karol
Coordinator of Museum Visits

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SLANT 45: Service Learning Adventures in North Texas

Volunteering and art make a great combination.  Add football and Super Bowl XLV to this combination and you get a power-packed project called SLANT 45.  In the football world, slant 45 references a specific play used by Daryl Johnston and Emmitt Smith when they played for the Dallas Cowboys.  Johnston, the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee, and Big Thought are giving slant new meaning in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with the SLANT 45 project, also known as Service Learning Adventures in North Texas. Sponsored by Bank of America and The Ted and Sharon Skokos Foundation, the project is an educational youth initiative promoting volunteer service in the community and providing participating youth with an opportunity to create unique artwork reflecting their service learning adventures.  It’s a great opportunity to encourage and recognize the champions of community service.  

The goal for the SLANT 45 community-wide service project is to involve at least 20,000 youth, logging in nearly 45,000 hours of volunteer work.  Wow!  After teams of youth complete their projects, the final step is the creation of a reflective artwork.  Selected works of art will be on view in the SLANT 45 Community Heroes Art Exhibition, which will be on display at various locations across North Texas before, during, and after Super Bowl XLV.

The Dallas Museum of Art is partnering with Big Thought and artists in the Dallas community to provide workshops for SLANT 45 participants.  A few North Texas youth participating in SLANT 45 visited the DMA recently to participate in a workshop with artist Sara Cardona.  Having recently completed their volunteer work at an animal shelter and a clothes closet, these boys and girls met with Sara to reflect on their projects and create works of art inspired by their service.  The youth created an artwork based on the idea of stained glass windows.  They drew words and images reflecting their community volunteer work on a transparent film, then backed the film with metallic paper, and then completed the work with a colorful frame.

More workshops are scheduled to occur at the DMA in September and October with artists Jill Foley, Adriana Martinez, Will Richey, and Ann Marie Newman.  Visit SLANT 45 for more information about how to register.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Do you have a Teacher Membership?

As a special “thank you” to teachers, we are offering a unique opportunity to extend your membership!  Get a colleague or friend to join* the Museum, and you will receive one extra month of membership.  Get 10 colleagues to join and you will receive one full year FREE.  You will both receive a FREE gift when you stop by the membership desk.  Act now, offer ends October 31, 2010.  

Call 214-922-1247 to join and tell us who referred you or stop by in person.  We love meeting new members.

 *not valid on renewals

Wendi Kavanaugh
Member Outreach Manager

Ask a Curator Day in the Twittersphere

Wednesday, September 1, was the first ever “Ask a Curator” day on Twitter. The event was organized by Jim Richardson of Sumo, a design agency in England. Over 300 museums worldwide participated and the DMA was thrilled to be one of only three in Texas to sign-up. Our curators, from the areas of ancient to contemporary art, jumped into the Twittersphere to talk about their work. They answered questions from what to visit at the Museum if you only had one day (so hard to pick when we have over 24,000 works!), to their favorite work of art in the collections (Decorative Arts and Design curator Kevin W. Tucker says it is impossible, like picking your favorite child) and favorite city to see art (Anne Bromberg, who curates our ancient and Asian art collections, named Isfahan, Iran). A lot of people wanted to know what to study to become a curator (DMA curators studied Art History, Studio Art, and Anthropology to name a few). The biggest challenge of the day, other than avoiding all the spam that hit the world-trending topic midday, was figuring out how to answer all of the great questions in only 140 characters! If you still have a question, post it on Facebook and Twitter and we will do our best to track the curators down in the galleries.

#askacurator Day @ the DMA was a blast; below are some of our favorites:

@JoseSPiano #askacurator How often does a curator walk through the galleries and interact with the public once an exhibit has opened?
Roslyn Walker, Curator of the Arts of Africa, likes to walk through the gallery daily and to give talks and tours when she can.

@deadsunflower #askacurator What part of your job do you love the most?
Anne Bromberg, Curator of Ancient and Asian Art, says the best part of her job is thinking about art all day

@hoperobertson How do you decide what exhibitions to feature at your museum? Personal choice, or is it all pre-arranged? #askacurator #iloveart
Olivier Meslay, Curator of European and American Art, says, One of many factors is to see how it relates to the rest of the museum’s collections. #askacurator

@kayommm What did you study at schools and what career will be required to be a curator? #askacurator
Curator of Contemporary Art Charles Wylie studied American Studies and Art History. #askacurator

@hummeline @DallasMuseumArt What piece in your collections still stops you in your tracks when you see it?
Anne Bromberg, Curator of Ancient and Asian Art, answered, Brancusi’s “Beginning of the World #askcurators

@artistMFReid @DallasMuseumArt What art would you love to add next to your collection? Dream big…
Olivier Meslay, Curator of European and American Art, would love to have a large painting of the Grand Canyon by Thomas Moran

Fall Top 10

It’s September already!   If you’re like me, September is a month to look ahead and start filling the calendar with fall activities.  Below is a Top 10 list of dates to save and new and fun Museum initiatives to look forward to in the coming months. 

  1. New DMA blog, Uncrated.  Colleagues from all departments of the Museum are contributing to this new blog, which already has lots of great behind-the-scenes photos and insight.
  2. Reinstallation of European galleries.  Curators Olivier Meslay and Heather MacDonald recently reinstalled the 15th-18th century European galleries on our 2nd floor.  Look for new objects, new loans, and old favorites. 
  3. New bite-sized tours. This summer, the Museum unveiled bite-sized tours; self-guided adventures that are a perfect way to discover something new in the galleries.  Current tours include: All That Glitters, Superheros, and Seeing Red
  4. Encountering Space in The Center for Creative Connections.  The C3 will re-open on Saturday, September 25th with a new exhibition that explores how artists manipulate space and how visitors engage with it.  Opening day coincides with Museum Day, a Smithsonian Magazine-sponsored annual event that provides free museum admission with a pre-printed ticket.
  5. Free days for teachers and families.  September and October are chock-full of free days for teachers and families!
  6. Visiting Artist John Bramblitt. Painter John Bramblitt will be the C3 Visiting Artist in October, which is Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month.  Bramblitt recently shared his process, artworks, and experiences as a blind artist with our summer art campers.  Check our website for more information about experiences he will lead in October.
  7. Thinking Creatively Workshops. Starting in October, creativity expert Dr. Magdalena Grohman will team up with our C3 visiting artist to lead a monthly Thursday evening workshop.  The experience will begin with creative thinking exercises and conclude with a making activity that builds on ideas generated during the exercises. 
  8. Arts & Letters Live/C3 program on Innovation.  On Tuesday, October 19th author Steven Johnson will discuss his forthcoming book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.  Also this fall, the Museum will offer an incredible array of lectures.
  9. Texas Space.  With the Texas Space component to the new C3 exhibition, we’ll be displaying visitor artworks in the galleries.  To submit a photo, visit our Flickr site.
  10. The Butter Sculpture at the State Fair of Texas.  Speaking of Texas-related things!  This always makes my not-to-miss list for the fall. 

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

Big Yellow Bus

School is officially back in session. As the big, yellow buses begin to pull up on Harwood Street later this month, a flurry of young feet will file out, pass by a large fountain, and ultimately find themselves standing before the likes of Jackson Pollock’s Cathedral, Frederic Church’s The Icebergs, or a huge sculpture of the Mixtec rain god Tlaloc. These works of art and thousands of others become the stuff museum memories are made of for over 60,000 students in grades K-12 who visit the Dallas Museum of Art each year. Another 17,000 students annually experience the Museum’s treasures through our Go van Gogh® classroom outreach programs and through an after-school program created in partnership with Thriving Minds and managed by the nonprofit Big Thought.

During the 2010-2011 school year, hundreds of teachers will participate in professional development sessions, visit the Educator Blog, access online resources, and partner with DMA museum educators to create unique, in-depth experiences for their students.

And our galleries will soon fill with the buzz of young minds and voices actively learning. This is how my colleagues and I who work in the Department of Teaching Programs and Partnerships like it. We are a passionate team of seven staff memers, two interns, and nearly two hundred volunteers, and we welcome students and teachers with the belief that art is essential to all of our lives. The Dallas Museum of Art is a place to imagine, to explore, and to form personal connections with works of art from around the world and throughout time.

Nicole Stutzman is the Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships.


Flickr Photo Stream