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)






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

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