Archive for October, 2010

Friday Photos: Art and Death in Africa

Last week, I led a training session for our docents related to the theme of “Art and Death in Africa.”  In honor of this training session, and because Sunday is Halloween, I wanted to share some of my favorite pieces from the African collection that relate to the theme of death.  Some of these artworks represent ancestors, others were used at funerals, and one is a guardian figure for a reliquary.  To learn more about these works, visit the African collections online

Come back to the DMA Educator Blog on Tuesday when I’ll share information on additional projects that I have been working on related to African art. 

Shannon Karol
Coordinator of Museum Visits

A Day in the Life: Intern Ashley

When asked to write a post about a day in life of my job here at the DMA, I wondered how I would ever choose what to include.  My days at the Museum are so varied, from docent trainings on Mondays, meetings galore on Wednesdays, to catching up on anything yet to be done on Fridays.  So, I decided to select a day that is one of my favorites and really illustrates the reasons why I love my time at the DMA: Thursdays!

My Thursday calendars primarily consist of two activities: touring and researching

Touring: From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday mornings I have the pleasure of touring K-12 students at the museum.  I typically arrive at the docent desk fifteen minutes before my tour to ensure that everything is on schedule before welcoming the children into the Museum.  Once everyone is in the door, we talk about museums, museum visits, and things to remember while on the tour.   The students are always eager to share their knowledge of museum etiquette: “stay with the group,” “use inside voices,” and “keep a safe distance between ourselves and the art.”  Next, we head into the galleries to look closely at six or so works of art.  Since we only have an hour for our tour, I attempt to be as strategic as possible, selecting objects across a wide variety of cultures, time periods, and media.  The students are amazed to realize how much they can discover just through looking and how much knowledge they already have.  It is such a joy to share in their experience!

Research: My Thursday afternoons are spent researching various objects in the collection, compiling information, and writing text, which eventually becomes online resources for teachers to use in their classrooms.  I also research special exhibitions and some of our collection for upcoming teacher workshops.  For example, I’ve been conducting research the last few weeks on The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy in preparation for our upcoming workshop on French art.  It is wonderful to have the opportunity to learn about periods in history and styles of art to which I’ve had little exposure or with which I’m less familiar. 

Teaching and research are two of my passions, and I feel so lucky to be able to dedicate a large amount of my time to pursuing both.

Ashley Bruckbauer

Programs and Resources for Teachers Intern

TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art

"Untitled" (1990) by Christopher Wool

The week culminated in a brunch on Sunday honoring American artist Christopher Wool, whose work Untitled is on view at the DMA and also seen above (it’s one of my personal faves in our collection).

A few of the many acquisitions that TWO x TWO has made possible over the past decade are pictured below.

The Eye by David Altmejd

David Altmejd’s "The Eye" (2008)

 

 

 

 

EliassonTheoutsideofinside

Olafur Eliasson’s "The outside of inside" (2008), which will be on view in our upcoming exhibition "Big New Field: Artists in the Cowboys Stadium Art Program"

We’re a lucky bunch to have an event of this magnitude benefit the DMA!

Erin Murphy is the Contemporary Art Curatorial Administrative Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.

A Day in the Life of an Intern

I have been an intern at the Museum for almost two months and have had some exhilarating moments.  I have enjoyed walking through the galleries with the curators as they speak about the works of art. They are walking encyclopedias. I have also had the opportunity to be a part of some great training sessions. The docent trainings, which occur every Monday, have been wonderful. The docents, along with the education staff, learn about works of arts in the collection and exhibitions. Sometimes these trainings are led by the curators, and other times, by an education staff member. The docents and staff  also go into the galleries and work on activities to better familiarize ourselves with the artworks in order to create great teaching moments.

Another area of the Education Department I worked with is Go van Gogh. I have also attended a few of the volunteer trainings. Sometimes during training we go into the galleries and look at the works of art and other times we get to make artwork for the different programs we teach. Go van Gogh allows me to travel to different elementary schools in Dallas and discuss with children works of art from the Museum’s collection. How cool is that! I get an opportunity to spend one hour with students and have these amazing and in-depth conversations about artists and their artworks.  By the way, another great aspect of this program is driving the Go van Gogh van.

I have recently started giving tours at the Museum. I have given two so far and each time the students have left giving me great big hugs and saying how much they have enjoyed their visit. Leading the tours allows me to continue to work with children. I will also be giving several “A Looking Journey” Tours for 4th graders  throughout the remainder of my internship.

Other moments at the Museum consists of meetings. Meeting over here, meeting over there, meeting everywhere! I want to say there is not a week that goes by in which I haven’t attended a meeting. I enjoy the meetings because it allows me to bond with the Education staff and learn how to plan for future programs. One of my favorite meeting moments was a  meeting, in which the staff brainstormed fifty Ideas based on a pair of 3-D glasses. What an incredible experience.

So there you have it. There is always something exciting going on in “A Day in the Life of an Intern.”

Karen A. Colbert
Teaching Programs Intern

The Curator’s Perspective: Dr. Jeffrey Grove on Re-Seeing the Contemporary: Selected from the Collection

On October 15th, the DMA opened Re-Seeing the Contemporary: Selected from the Collection which highlights 60 works of art mindfully culled from our contemporary collections. The curator of the exhibition, Dr. Jeffrey Grove, sheds some light on the compelling nuances and powerful juxtapositions contained within the installation.

What’s your favorite object or room in the exhibition? Why?

Among my favorite rooms is the “Minimalist” room with a great sculpture by Larry Bell, a painting and prints by Brice Marden, two paintings by Robert Mangold, Sol Lewitt prints, a massive David Novros painting, and a luminous sculpture by Robert Irwin. This installation contradicts the notion that so-called minimal works are somehow cold and hard. It is a sensuous, vibrant, and thrilling space to occupy.

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What is it about this exhibition of works that caused you to conceive of it in these groupings?

The installation was envisioned in a roughly chronological sequence, with a desire to have each gallery encompass either a span of time, reflect select movements, or explore ideas expressed in radically different ways over many decades. This allows for some unlikely pairings and eccentric passages that nonetheless help us see some of these works in a new or perhaps unexpected ways.

What were the challenges for this exhibition?

Editing! We have so much great material and there is always a temptation to want to “over share.” How do you pull back, keep the focus, and tell clear stories? That is one of the exciting challenges of being a curator.

Jeffrey Grove is the Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art.

To hear more from Dr. Grove on the exhibition, join us for his Gallery Talk on November 10th at 12:15p.m. See you there!

New Acquisitions in African Collection

Two works of art from the Asante peoples in Ghana are now part of the DMA’s collection and are currently on view in the African galleries.  Both works of art were made for Asante chiefs and relate to proverbs.

The Linguist Staff has a finial which refers to an Asante proverb that states, “one who climbs a good tree always gets a push,” that is, if a chief’s intentions are good and fair, he will have the support of his people.  A ruler owns several linguist staffs in order to display the one that best visualizes the message he wishes to convey to his people at a particular time.

The Sword ornament in the form of a lion is a hollow cast gold sculpture.  Similar to linguist staff finials, the imagery on sword ornaments is meaningful.  The lion, for example, is an emblem for the bravery of the chief.  A proverb states, “If the lion has no intention to attack, it will not show its teeth before you,” advising a person to heed the warnings of a chief.  This lion’s teeth are bared.

Visit the Museum soon to see these new acquisitions!

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

Linguist staff (okyeame poma), Ghana, Asante peoples, first half of 20th century, wood and gold leaf, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., 2010.1.McD

Linguist staff (okyeame poma) (detail), Ghana, Asante peoples, first half of 20th century, wood and gold leaf, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., 2010.1.McD

 Sword ornament in the form of a lion, Ghana, Nsuta State, Asante peoples, c. mid-20th century, cast gold and felt, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., 2010.2.McD

Interview with Visitors Services Staff

Ginan Kalenik, Visitor Services Manager

One of the first individuals a DMA visitor encounters is a member of the Visitor Services staff. This team works hard to ensure that all visitors have enjoyable experiences during their museum visit. Ginan Kalenik, Visitors Services Manager, recently answered questions related to her position at the Museum.

Name and Title: Ginan Kalenik, Visitor Services Manager

Years Employed at the Dallas Museum of Art: Six years employed; twenty years as a Visitor Services  volunteer prior to that.

Describe your job here at the Museum: Visitor Services sells tickets to our visitors and answers visitors’ questions.

What is your favorite part of your job? Helping an excited visitor plan their experience at the DMA.

What is a challenge you face in your job? Helping visitors understand that there are rules of conduct in the museum that are intended to preserve the art, not to prevent them or their children from having a good time.

How did you decide you wanted to work in a Museum? I’ve always loved museums, especially art museums.  I decided to volunteer to be a part of the new museum when it opened at its current location.  At an opportune time there was an opening to join the staff part-time, and that morphed into a full-time position.

If you weren’t working at the Museum, what is something else you would be doing?  I would be back on my former career path in a corporate environment as a Project Manager dealing with technology.

Amy Wolf
Coordinator of Gallery Teaching

Membership Memories

This month we spotlight Caroline and Robert Belanger, DMA members since 2004.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves and why you joined the DMA? The strength of the Dallas arts community is what independently brought both of us here. Caroline moved from Austin to help run Pan American Art Projects, a Latin-American art gallery. Rob relocated from Atlanta to work with Dr. Anne Bromberg in the curatorial department at the Dallas Museum of Art. We are now running our own art-consulting business, Belanger Art Methods,  and we are proud to serve the arts community and to support the Museum as active members of the Junior Associates Circle.

What’s your favorite activity at the DMA and why? For us, it would have to be Curator’s Choice, the first Junior Associates Circle event of the year. It is always an exceptional opportunity to meet new members and to hear a curator speak about one of their favorite works of art in the Museum’s collections – right in the galleries. Not to mention that is the very event where we first met!

What is or was your favorite exhibition at the DMA and why? Caroline: In 2005, Dr. Dorothy Kosinski curated the exhibition Dialogues: Duchamp, Cornell, Johns, Rauschenberg, which revealed both the overt and covert dialogue and shared visual vocabulary evident in the work of these four modern and contemporary artists. Personally, as an art historian, I enjoyed how this exhibition investigated the exchange of philosophies and strategies throughout modernism from Dada and surrealism to pop art, and even found-object assemblage. Also, it was nice that the majority of the works in the show are in the DMA’s collections.

Rob: Charles Sheeler’s “Power” Series from 2006, curated by Dr. William Keyse Rudolph, is a great example of how small, intimate exhibitions can be among the most memorable. The exhibition focused on a series of six iconic paintings by Charles Sheeler, a self-proclaimed “precisionist” painter and founder of American modernism. The key to this exhibition was that it not only reunited all of the paintings for the first time in many years but also skillfully integrated numerous original photographic studies and archival materials into the gallery layout, offering an exceptional snapshot of the creative process from start to finish.

What is your typical day like? As art consultants, no day is really the same, but the one constant is that we are always problem-solving. For example, one day we will be curating, inventing mounts, and physically installing works of art on-site for a private collector. The next, we are in the office researching, designing, and editing an exhibition publication for a museum. The day after, we may be visiting a gallery to help a client buy or sell. Since we have a broad range of expertise, we get the chance to work on a lot of great projects with some really fascinating people.

Arts & Learning

In my daily life as an educator at an art museum, I can easily be caught up in the administrative aspects of my job.  With this post, I would like to step back and reflect on the importance of our jobs as art educators – whether in the classroom or at an art museum – and why learning through the arts is so important.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a national organization that “advocates for 21st century readiness for every student.  As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation).”  Learning through the arts plays an important role in the development of these skills.  “…the arts promote work habits that cultivate curiosity, imagination, creativity, and evaluation skills.  Students who possess these skills are better able to tolerate ambiguity, explore new realms of possibility, express their own thoughts and feelings, and understand the perspective of others.”  View a map for the arts and 21st century skills.

A four-year research initiative at the Guggenheim evaluated the impact of its pioneering arts education program Learning Through Art (LTA) on students’ problem-solving abilities and creativity.  “With this study of the Learning Through Art program, we are pleased to demonstrate that arts education helps develop the skills necessary to persistently and adaptively work through problems,” said Kim Kanatani, Deputy Director and Gail Engelberg Director of Education, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. “By asking students to think like artists, we are imparting 21st-century skills in encouraging them to approach problems with creativity and analytic thought rather than just recitation of facts.”

Finally, the National Art Education Association website has a list of Ten Lessons the Arts Teach, which include “the arts celebrate multiple perspectives” and “”the arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source.” 

I believe that experiences with works of art can be transformative, and the DMA Teaching Programs & Partnerships department values and supports the work of classroom teachers who are providing these learning experiences for students.  Thank you for the work that you do!

Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

A Foot in the Door

 

2009 - 2010 McDermott Intern Stacie Jackson leads a tour of "The Lens of Impressionism"

 

What do Madeleine Albright, Frank Lloyd Wright, Sylvia Plath, and Conan O’Brien have in common? They all started on their career paths as interns, just as many museum curators and educators do. Internships offer invaluable opportunities to try a potential profession on for size; for those who wish to explore a career in museum work, internships provide a great way to gain firsthand experience and insights.

 

Leticia Salinas, 2009 - 2010 McDermott Intern for Family Experiences, leads a family workshop in the galleries.

 

Over one hundred people have participated in the Dallas Museum of Art’s McDermott Internship program since its inception, including many current DMA staff members as well as colleagues working at other institutions in Dallas, throughout Texas, and across the country. Each year, eight interns work closely with the Museum’s curators and educators on a variety of projects, including doing research for upcoming installations or exhibitions; writing labels, catalogue entries, and other materials; and developing and facilitating programs for Museum visitors of all ages.

The program was founded in honor of Eugene McDermott, who had a passion for learning and the arts, and the interns have the remarkable opportunity to visit with Margaret McDermott to inaugurate their internship year. Our current interns recently had lunch with Mrs. McDermott, and she encouraged them to “work hard, learn a lot, and have fun” during their nine months at the DMA and in Dallas.

Shannon Karol worked with Dr. Roslyn A. Walker, Senior Curator of the Arts of Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific and The Margaret McDermott Curator of African Art, as a McDermott Curatorial Intern in 2005–2006, and she returned to the DMA as Coordinator of Museum Visits in 2007. I asked Shannon about her experience as a McDermott Intern, and she said:

The best part of being a McDermott Intern is that you are truly a member of the DMA staff.  Even though I was a Curatorial Intern, I was able to collaborate with staff members in the Collections and Education departments on projects and installations. I also love the sense of camaraderie that you feel as a McDermott Intern. My fellow interns from that year are still some of my closest friends!

 

Shannon leads a tour of "All the World's a Stage"

 

Logan Acton worked with the Teaching Programs staff last year as a McDermott Education Intern, and he accepted a permanent position as Assistant to the Director of Education this summer. Logan said, “As an intern, I was able to explore the Museum’s collections and share my growing knowledge of them, and particularly my passion for contemporary art, with students and other visitors.” You can read more from Shannon and Logan on the DMA Educator Blog.

 

Logan discusses contemporary art at a Teacher Workshop.

 

Eight new McDermott Interns began their nine-month tenure at the DMA in September, and they will all contribute to Uncrated in the months to come. We look forward to sharing their experiences and insights about life and work at the DMA. You can join the interns, along with other members of the DMA staff, to explore the Museum’s collections and exhibitions during weekly gallery talks on Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m.

 

Welcome to the 2010 - 2011 McDermott Interns!

 

Lisa Kays is the Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art


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