Archive for November, 2010

"Rubbing Elbows" with Artists

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One of my most rewarding professional experiences occurred several years ago during the implementation of an NEA grant project.  Lynda Davis — dancer, professor, and choreographer — was a visiting artist at the Museum.   She flew in from Florida for two separate weeks during the year and led multiple workshops with high school students (dancers, musicians, visual artists, and actors) focused on improvisation and the creative process, with a nod to the interrelationships among the arts.  She liked to refer to this as the “arts rubbing up against each other.”

Each week Lynda visited was an inspiration for everyone who interacted with her.  Each week was also intense and, as the project manager, I wore many different hats: chauffeur, art historian, collaborator, gopher, and documentarian.  In the beginning, I knew nearly nothing about dance, nor had I thought much about the relationship between visual art and dance.  But by the end of the project (and perhaps even now), I hoped to be a dancer and choreographer in my next life.

This experience was my first real opportunity to figuratively “rub elbows” with a living artist.  My training and education was heavily focused on art history.  Most of the artists I studied were in books and in the past.  I welcomed the opportunity to make this experience with Lynda a significant part of my own creative development, observing closely and listening carefully, seeing the world through Lynda’s eyes for a brief time, catching a glimpse of where she drew inspiration, and looking for new connections between things in my world.  I carry this experience with me always, and it impacts my work.

Tell me about a time that you “rubbed elbows” with an artist?

If you’re looking for more opportunities to connect with artists, I invite you to visit the DMA.  Each year we work with hundreds of living artists of all art forms: dance, theater, visual arts, music, and literature, to present, perform, and celebrate the arts.  Consider the following opportunities and make a connection with an artist!

Experience Process
Programs with C3 visiting artists celebrate creativity and the artistic process. Join us for lively conversation and art-making projects during drop-in workshops.   Visiting artists during December and January include Teresa Rafidi, Annette Lawrence, and Brian Fridge.

Enjoy Youth
Annually, the Dallas Museum of Art celebrates the creativity of young artists in our community through the exhibitions Something Beautiful, Young Masters, and the Art Ball Young Artists Program.

Explore Many Art Forms
Artists of diverse disciplines join us for commissions and programming that celebrate the creative process and build bridges among various art forms.  2011 marks the 20th anniversary of Arts and Letters Live, our literary and performing arts series.  This season features over 60 artists and writers including Simon Schama, Annie Proulx, Carlos Fuentes, and more!

Embrace Contemporary Art
Exhibitions highlighting work by established and emerging national and international artists celebrate the art of our time.  At times these artists work with the Museum on the installation of their work, and they often participate in lectures or talks, which are open to the the public.  Big New Field: Artists in the Cowboy Stadium Art Program opens at the DMA in December and includes work by Trenton Doyle Hancock, Annette Lawrence, Olafur Eliasson, and Teresita Fernandez, as well as others.  Visit an exhibition of works by Mark Bradford in fall 2011!

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Seldom Scene: Installing Eliasson

Dallas Museum of Art preparators Mike Hill and Lance Lander fine-tune the installation of Olafur Eliasson’s The outside of inside. This work of art, recently acquired by the DMA, is included in the new exhibition Big New Field: Artists in the Cowboys Stadium Art Program, which opens this Sunday, December 5.

Olafur Eliasson, The outside of inside, 2008, projectors, spotlights, color-filter foil, stainless steel, and control unit, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2009.1.a–aa, © 2008 Olafur Eliasson

Photography by Adam Gingrich, DMA Marketing Assistant

Celebrating the Silver: The Reves Collection at Twenty-Five

We just celebrated the silver anniversary of the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection and ever since its opening twenty-five years ago, it has been one of our most visited galleries. Featuring more than 1,400 European artworks and decorative objects, including masterpieces by Renoir, Manet, Degas, and Pissarro, this remarkable gift from the Wendy & Emery Reves Foundation, Inc. on behalf of Wendy’s late husband, Emery, transformed the Museum’s collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century European art and European decorative art.

What’s also amazing is that visitors see this collection in a 16,500-square-foot wing made specifically for it.  Built in 1985, this is not the run-of-the mill gallery space. These rooms are a faithful reproduction of the couple’s villa in the South of France. Named La Pausa, it was built in 1927  for that ultimate fashionista Coco Chanel, who directed its design. For example, the patio and the hall were built specifically to remind “Mademoiselle” of the Romanesque convent outside Paris where she boarded as a child. Many of the furnishings in the Museum’s Reves wing, including a chair in the living room, were part of Chanel’s original décor of the villa.

DMA architect Edward Larrabee Barnes meticulously re-created the library, dining room, salon, bedroom, hall, patio, and central courtyard from this  luxurious—and historically fascinating—Mediterranean retreat.

On this silver anniversary here’s a look back:

Today, visitors to the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection can access a DMA smARTphone tour of highlights from the collection. On it, Wendy Reves shares memories of life at Villa La Pausa and of her and her husband’s passion for collecting art.

Martha MacLeod is the European and American Art Curatorial Administrative Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Giving Thanks at the DMA

Thanksgiving is a time where people gather with family and friends, enjoy turkey, stuffing, and an array of other foods together. This season it is also a time to remember all that we are thankful for in our lives. For this blog post, I asked my fellow DMA bloggers to divulge information about their favorite Thanksgiving dish. Also included images of works of art from our collection that celebrate food.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish and why?

Melissa Nelson: I love green bean casserole topped with French’s fried onions. There is no such thing as low-fat foods at my family’s Thanksgiving table, including vegetable dishes! My sister makes this every year.

Karen Colbert: Dressing, hands down. It is the best food for Thanksgiving.

Amy Copeland: Pumpkin pie – I love anything pumpkin!

Shannon Karol: My favorite Thanksgiving food is Polish kielbasa. It’s a family tradition that my Dad makes kielbasa for every holiday. I love the smell of it waking me up first thing in the morning!

Nicole Stutzman: Cooked turnips! I love them because they are tasty. They represent the hearty, root foods of the Midwest, where I grew up, and they are a part of my family’s Thanksgiving traditions.

Ashley Bruckbauer: Mashed potatoes all the way. This is my favorite food regardless of Thanksgiving. I especially like garlic or sour cream mashed potatoes. Yum!

Amy Wolf: I love pistachio pudding! The pineapples, cherries, and cool whip make it just sweet enough and delicious. I can’t eat enough of it.

Jenny Marvel: Admittedly, I enjoy eating pie…especially triple berry pie. There is something about ‘made from scratch’ desserts that brings a smile to my face.

Amy Wolf
Coordinator of Gallery Teaching

Seldom Scene – A Penguin’s Night at the Museum

To help us celebrate our exhibition African Masks: The Art of Disguise, the Dallas Zoo’s Animal Adventure Program made an appearance at Friday’s Late Night with a few animals that call Africa home. Donny, the Black-footed Penguin, was a big hit with the DMA staff (see the BIG smiles) and with visitors too.

An Extraordinary Ten Years

After a decade of working with school programs at the Dallas Museum of Art, I have recently resigned as Head of Teaching Programs in order to continue to develop my two passions – works of art and teaching.

The last ten years have been extraordinary in many ways as I have learned about and taught with the DMA’s encyclopedic collections and special exhibitions.  I’ve met several teachers who share my passion for art and teaching and have spent many meaningful hours in the galleries with them as we explored works of art together.  I’ve directed our docent program and have worked closely with over a hundred dedicated volunteers who give several hours of their time each week to make Museum visits possible for tens of thousands of Dallas-area students each year.

Although I’m looking forward to new adventures, I’m sad to leave behind the wonderful friendships I’ve made – with works of art and with people.  I appreciate all of the time and energy that teachers devote to sharing their love of works of art with their students and the time they commit to scheduling and preparing for art museum visits.  I believe that experiences with works of art can be transformative, and I wish all of you art teachers and my staff and docent colleagues all of the best as you continue to make these experiences possible.


Molly Kysar
Head of Teaching Programs

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TAEA 2010

This past weekend, my colleague Shannon Karol and I took a trip down I-35 to Austin for the annual Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) conference.   TAEA brings together art educators in K-12 classrooms, universities, and museums.

My favorite part of TAEA has been getting to hear what other museums in the state are doing.  This year, I learned how ArtPace works with community partners in a program called ¿Como Vives?, how the Meadows Museum structures a multiple-visit program with area 6th graders, and how the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston engages audiences with contemporary art.  There was a lot to take in! 

Shannon and I also got a chance to talk about the DMA in presentations we gave.  Shannon shared her expertise in African art with conference-goers in her session, Themes for Teaching with African Art.  The session included themes (including family, proverbs, and royalty) that can be used to engage students of all ages with African art.  If you are interested in integrating African artworks into your classroom, I hope you’ll check out Shannon’s African Art Resources

In my session, Close-Looking, Collaboration, and Creative Response: Interactive Experience with Works of Art, I shared three activities that allow for my favorite kinds of gallery experiences: ones that are open-ended, involve groupwork, and art-making or writing in response to a work of art.  My favorite of the three is Post-It poetry.  I like poetry exercises; I think they’re a great way to get students to distill their ideas about an artwork into brief, meaty responses.  With Post-It poetry, students write words that describe an artwork on individual Post-Its and stick them to a board that serves as a group word bank.  After all group members have contributed responses, the group works together to rearrange Post-Its to create phrases or sentences.  Click here for more detailed Post-It poetry instructions.

What I like most about this activity are the unexpected resonances that happen when students read poems.  Hearing different, fresh combinations of words always enriches the experience of looking at an artwork for me.  Below are some Post-It poetry pictures, and a Post-It poem participants made during my TAEA session.

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The two of us also took in the sights in Austin.  We checked out the Blanton Museum of Art, stopped by the capitol, shopped funky stores on South Congress, and had a blast eating out of trucks!  (Not the F-150 kind, but the street-food-vending kind).   All in all, it was quite the weekend.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

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