Archive for October, 2010

Friday Photos: Mesquite ISD

We are fortunate to have a long-standing partnership with Mesquite ISD students and art teachers, and we all look forward to their DMA visits each year.  Last Thursday, thirty art and social studies teachers from Mesquite ISD spent the evening at the Museum exploring the galleries and special exhibitions in preparation for their upcoming DMA Mesquite Week visits.  Teachers visited a variety of special exhibitions, including The Mourners, the new C3 installation Encountering SpaceAfrican Masks, and Mexico 200: Jose Guadalupe Posada.  After spending forty-five minutes in the galleries, teachers created a lesson plan relating to one of the exhibitions that they will use in their classrooms. The Posada exhibition sparked a lot of great ideas with the teachers, and it was exciting to hear how they plan on having students turn 2-D illustrations into 3-D works of art.

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This week we welcomed 7th and 8th grade students from each Mesquite middle school for docent-guided visits.  Students spent time in our special exhibitions, as well as in our European galleries.  Art I students focused on art historical developments during their tour, while Art II students viewed contemporary art. Over 1,200 Mesquite middle schoolers visited the DMA this week, and we’ll see each Mesquite 6th grader before the month of October is over!  

Shannon Karol
Coordinator of Museum Visits

We [Heart] Office Supplies

Especially when we repurpose them as art materials!

Teachers, here’s a fun challenge to give your left brain a break (should you or your students need one after standardized testing).  This DMA Creativity Challenge, aka art-making activity where limited materials and time are provided, is guaranteed to flex your brain muscle and challenge your creativity. 

We [Heart] Office Supplies Challenge
The Challenge: To create a sculpture using only materials commonly found in office desk drawers. 

  • Begin by gathering materials.  Try combinations of the following to create your artwork: binder clips, post-it notes, rubber bands, file folders, paper clips.  Grab a pair of scissors, but leave the tape, glue/glue sticks in the desk drawer for more of a challenge.
  • Sketch out your ideas on blank paper.  
  • Give yourself a time limit.  The pictures below are artworks made over an hour’s time, but making sculptures in ten or fifteen minutes is just as fun.
  • Make a label for your sculpture: title it, date it, name the artist(s), and write a short creative description of it.
  • Display your artwork in the classroom or wherever else you keep your creations.

 Ready, go!

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

European Gallery Reinstallation

The 17th and 18th century European galleries were reinstalled over the summer. Curators Olivier Meslay and Heather MacDonald created a fresh floor plan in order to permit more works of art to be on display. Artists currently represented in the galleries include Jacques-Louis David, George Romney, Joseph Vernet, J.M.W. Turner, Paolo de Matteis, and Jean-Baptiste Greuze.

In addition to these changes, the 19th and 20th century galleries will be closed between October 22 and November 12 for reinstallation. We hope you will visit these galleries to see their updated works of art after the 12th.

Amy Wolf
Coordinator of Gallery Teaching

Let’s Celebrate the Arts

On Saturday we were excited to launch Art in October in the Dallas Arts District with a free admission day of activities and even an exhibition sneak peek.


Art in October


There are so many wonderful cultural events happening every day in Dallas, and especially in the Arts District, that we need a month to celebrate them all!  Here at the DMA we hosted a delegation from Dallas’s “Sister City,” Dijon, France–five Michelin-starred chefs and one sommelier–outside our Flora Street Entrance.


Chefs from Dijon shared some amazing dishes with visitors.



Some delicious French food prepared by our visiting chefs from Dijon.


For four hours they prepared and offered samples of food and wine  from Burgundy, the land of The Mourners.


Visitors enjoying a free sneak peak at "The Mourners"


Inside, we had performances throughout the day, including spoken word pieces by Booker T. Washington students, flash mob dances, and an appearance by the Plano Senior High Chamber Singers in full medieval dress (see them again on the October 15 Late Night).


The Plano Senior High Chamber Singers



Masterpieces in the works at the Space Bar in C3


Your Museum staff happily joined in on the fun, even grabbing a few bites of escargot panini along with our more than 4,500 weekend visitors. We can’t wait for the rest of the Art in October celebration!

The hole goes all the way down to space…

Lee Bontecou, Untitled (35), 1961, welded metal and canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, 1963.92.FA.

We spend a lot of time here in the Education Department thinking about works of art in our collection and how we can engage visitors with them in provocative, meaningful ways.  The fun part comes when we go out into the galleries to talk to visitors about what they see and what artworks mean to them. 

This past Tuesday afternoon, I spent some time in the Center for Creative Connections talking to a few visitors and one staffer about Lee Bontecou’s Untitled (35), an artwork in the new Encountering Space installation.  Next to Untitled (35), we have a metaphor response wall where visitors can leave their thoughts about the artwork, in response to a few prompts.  I asked visitors a variation of one of the prompts:  What words or pictures come to mind when you look at the work of art?  Below are their responses (look for visitors in the slideshow!). 

It looks like a well, an endless well.  It goes down deep in the ground, so deep you can’t see it.  Not even a flashlight would help.  If you keep imagining, the hole goes all the way down to space, you can see stars.
-Corinthia, 9 years-old

It looks like something’s in it.
-Kody, 4 years-old

It’s mysterious, and very intriguing.
-Brittany, Kody’s mom

Upon walking up, it looks like a carpet design coming out at you.  Like it used to be flat, but it’s coming out at you.  I thought it looked like a volcano, too.

From far away it looks like a stadium, but then I got closer, and it looks like a building.  It reminds me of the movie Inception–how the buildings come apart.

It looks like it should be in the Nightmare Before Christmas.

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Readers, what words or pictures come to mind when you see this artwork?

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

All the Duke's Mourners

The exhibition The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy opened at the Dallas Museum of Art this past Saturday, October 2.  Forty small, exquisitely carved alabaster figures fill a deep blue gallery where we have the opportunity to look closely, examining every detail in their hands, faces, and drapery.  The figures represent a traditional funeral procession in the Middle Ages.  Included among the procession are choir boys, a Bishop, deacons, Carthusian monks, and lay people.  In this case, the figures mourn for John the Fearless, the second Duke of Burgundy, and are part of John’s elaborate tomb.

During the early 15th century, John was a powerful figure in the Burgundy Court, which was established in Dijon, France by John’s father, Philip the Bold.  He profited from his father’s strategic political moves, expanded territory, and wealth.  Both Philip and John worked with many artists and commissioned works to decorate their homes as well as the Charterhouse of Champmol, a monastery that Philip initiated in 1383.  The Dukes were both entombed in the Charterhouse originally.  Eventually the tombs were moved to a main hall in the duke’s former palace, which had become part of the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Dijon.

The Mourners will be on view at the Dallas Museum of Art through January 2, 2011 and a great number of programs and resources accompany the exhibition.  Teaching resources created by the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, the next venue for the exhibition, present more information about the history of the Dukes of Burgundy and the creation of their tombs.  Grab your 3-D glasses and view the mourners in the round with 21st century technology, or see an interactive presentation about John the Fearless’ tomb.  In early November, Dr. Sherry Lindquist will give a lecture on the sculptural innovation of these medieval sculptures.  Students and teachers are invited to celebrate the art of France throughout the Dallas Museum of Art this fall and winter.  View The Mourners, the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, and works of art in the second floor European galleries during your Museum visit and participate in the French Art Teacher Workshop on November 13.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Encountering Space in the New C3

Amy Copeland is the Coordinator of the Museum’s Go van Gogh outreach program to local elementary schools and a frequent blogger on the DMA Educator Blog. She has graciously agreed to share some of her experiences with the new exhibition in our Center for Creative Connections, aka C3. Last Saturday, more than 3,000 visitors helped us celebrate the opening of Encountering Space in the completely reconfigured C3 on National Museum Day. Stop by during Art in October, a monthlong celebration of the Dallas Arts District, for a chance to experience Encountering Space for yourself.

And now, here’s Amy . . .

One of my favorite things to do is poke around the Museum when exhibitions are being installed. I like seeing the bare walls pre-installation, and then watching as they get painted, and the vitrines begin to appear in the galleries, and objects are brought into the space, bringing it to life. I usually only catch glimpses of this process, but I’ve had a fun last few weeks walking through the Center for Creative Connections every day during the construction of the new Encountering Space exhibition. (My office is at the back of the space–lucky me!)

Below are pictures from the installation and a few from the opening day celebration last Saturday. They show just a fraction of this incredibly dynamic space, so I hope you’ll come explore it for yourself.

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Amy Copeland is the Coordinator of the Dallas Museum Art’s Go van Gogh outreach program

Community Connection: Nasher Sculpture Center

This past weekend marked the kick-off of Art in October, a celebration of the Dallas Arts District that features a variety of performances, exhibitions, programs, and events throughout the month.  In honor of this celebration, I walked across the street to the Nasher Sculpture Center for a coffee break with Stephen Ross.  Stephen began working in Admissions at the Nasher months after it opened in 2003.  Since then, he has held the title of Education Coordinator, Assistant Curator of Education, and for the last two years, Curator of Education.  See if you can find Stephen in this picture (hint: you can often identify a museum educator by his/her all-black outfit).

Stephen Ross seen through Jaume Plensa’s Twenty-nine Palms, 2007

What sparked your interest in museum education?
I think you have two choices coming out of graduate school – stay in school and become a curator (even though you don’t know what that is) or get a job at a museum.  I like museum education because I get to work with the public.

What has been the most enjoyable, challenging, or surprising aspect of your work with the Nasher?

I really like our Education Department.  It is limited because of our small staff, which is a total of three people.  I work with two really good people, and together we reach a wide spectrum from young children to adults.  We do a lot – we reach different audiences with different types of learning – so we all get to do a variety of things.

If you could take home any work of art from the Nasher, what would you choose?

I would take home Alberto Giacometti’s Two Figurines (Deux figurines sur socles) because they’re wonderful and tiny.  I love their size and portability – each figurine is less than two inches tall.  Giacometti would carry them around in matchboxes and put up small “exhibitions” on café tables.  They are the smallest pieces in the Nasher collection.

Tell us about your relationship with the DMA.

I work with the Museum Forum for Teachers, a five-day summer program for teachers that occurs at the Nasher, the DMA, The Rachofsky House, the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.  We also collaborate on the docent program, which is a big help.  A small museum like ours could never have its own docent program, and we are thankful that DMA docents also lead tours at the Nasher. 

I love the sense of collaboration, in general.  I feel I can pick up the phone and call anyone in the DMA Education department to talk about program ideas, ask questions, etc.

Describe your idea of a perfect day.

Reading Beckett.  Listening to the Rudy Van Gelder sound.

Check out the Nasher and other Arts District venues during Art in October.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Friday Photo Post: Walk a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes

This morning, I was thinking about the physical action of walking – putting one foot in front of the other and repeating the process until you arrive at your destination.   As I walked around in the galleries, I couldn’t help but think about “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.”  Here are some shoes/footwear that I found interesting.   Can you figure out the works of art by looking at the feet below?


Until next time….

Jenny Marvel
Manager of Programs and Resources for Teachers


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