Archive for May, 2011



Seldom Scene: Moving 1.7 tons

Silence and Time opens on Sunday, but weeks ago we started moving in several heavy sculptures. Below are images of the journey Bojan Šarčević’s She (1.7 ton onyx sculpture) made to the Barrel Vault. Stay tuned for more updates.

Photography by Adam Gingrich, Marketing Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art

Friday Photos: Teens Only!

Coming soon to the Dallas Museum of Art…URBAN ARMOR: Building Identity through Art-Making, an exclusive program specially designed for teens.

Ceremonial Mask, A.D. 900-1100, South America: Peru, Sican Culture, Gold, copper, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

MEET.  RELATE.  INVESTIGATE.
Look at hidden gems in the Museum’s collection.  Then, get your creativity on with unique projects using advanced techniques from movie making to screen printing your own T-Shirts and posters inspired by the Museum’s collection.  All experience levels are encouraged and welcome.  URBAN ARMOR programs will start in June and run through August, every Thursday from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.  For more information, call 214-922-1822.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Coming Soon: The BooksmART Festival

Growing up, I loved to read.  I looked forward to trips to the library, and the arrival of the Scholastic Book Fair was always the highlight of my school year.  I’m still an avid reader today, and I have a soft spot for children’s literature and young adult fiction (Harry Potter, and yes, even Twilight).  So imagine my delight when it was announced last month that Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, was one of the featured keynote authors for the DMA’s first ever BooksmART Festival.

What exactly is the BooksmART Festival?  It is a day-long free event put together by the DMA’s Arts & Letters Live team.  On Saturday, June 11th, visitors of all ages can enjoy presentations, book signings, and hands-on demonstrations from a wide array of award winning authors and illustrators.  A complete listing of participants can be found on our Web site.  A schedule of events – including storytelling, musical performances, and tours led by our Teen Docents – will be available shortly.

In preparation for the BooksmART Festival, I interviewed my colleague and friend, Katie Hutton.  Katie is the Interim Head of Arts & Letters Live, and one of the great minds behind the festival.

Katie Hutton (R) with Tony and Lauren Dungy at a BooksmART event earlier this year

How long have you worked at the DMA?
I have worked at the Dallas Museum of Art for almost six years.  I started as a McDermott Adult Programming Intern for a year and then worked for four years as Program Manager for Arts & Letters Live.  Last November, I took over as Interim Head of Arts & Letters Live. 

Describe your job as the Interim Head of Arts and Letters Live.
Arts & Letters Live is the literary and performing arts series at the Dallas Museum of Art.  We are celebrating our 20th anniversary season this year and have featured some of the greatest names in contemporary literature and the performing arts.

I oversee approximately thirty-five to forty Arts & Letters Live programs each season.  I work with the Director of Programming and the Arts & Letters Live team to plan each season and implement the programs.  I have found that the writers, actors and artists we bring in are some of the most thoughtful and interesting people I have ever met. 

During your five years with Arts and Letters Live, which author has left you the most star-struck?  Why?
Ooooh, that’s a good question.  I was definitely a little star-struck by Gary Paulsen, author of the children’s adventure novel, Hatchet.  I read that book more times than I can count when I was growing up, so it was a real thrill to get the chance to meet the man behind the story.

I was also definitely star-struck by Tony Kushner.  I was a drama minor in college and loved Angels in America.  Tony Kushner was so smart and funny.  Getting to have dinner with him and get a sneak peek into the next play he was working on is one of the highlights of my time with Arts & Letters. 

How did the idea for the BooksmART Festival come about?
The idea was born about a year-and-a-half ago. We have had a BooksmART series as part of Arts & Letters Live for a number of years, in which we brought in children’s and young adult authors and illustrators.  We have developed a terrific, loyal audience base for this series over the years.

What we found, however, was that these events were cost-prohibitive for some people, and we wanted to find a way to reach a broader cross-section of the Dallas community.  We decided to shift the emphasis to a day-long free festival featuring something for everyone.  We hope that our loyal BooksmART audiences will come and celebrate with us, and that we will also get new visitors to the Museum to discover and embrace all that the DMA has to offer. 

Which BooksmART Festival author are you most looking forward to hearing speak?
I am especially excited about Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.  I heard Norton Juster at the National Book Festival last fall.  He is in his eighties but still has this boyish zeal for life.

I am also very excited about Cynthia Leitich Smith.   A fellow Texan, she has such an incredible range to her work.  She writes for very young children right up through older teens.  I find that very admirable. I also love the ways she has incorporated her Native American heritage into her stories. 

My hope is that people will perhaps come to hear an author they are more familiar with but will stay and discover some new favorite authors while they are here.

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Papered Walls

Sara Woodbury, McDermott Curatorial Intern for American and European Art, recently organized an installation of prints for the Works on Paper gallery on the Museum’s second floor. Cross Cultural Dialogues in European and American Landscapes features landscapes from the 19th and 20th centuries that demonstrate artistic influences occurring between Europe and America. The show also highlights different printmaking techniques. We’d like to explore a few of these methods here, and also share a behind-the-scenes look at how works on paper are stored and cared for at the Museum. All of the prints you’ll see here are included in the installation, so be sure to check them out in person next time you visit the DMA.

Printmaking Techniques

Artists use a variety of printing techniques, but we’ll highlight just three methods here: woodcuts, etching, and lithography.

Lyonel Feininger, Mansion on the Beach (Villa am Strand), 1921, woodcut

Woodcuts are recognized by their linear quality, reflecting the laborious process required to make them. An artist draws onto a block of wood, and then all of the wood surrounding the drawing is carved away, turning the design into a three-dimensional relief. These raised lines are coated with ink, and the block is pressed to a piece of paper, printing the image. The oldest known printing method, the woodcut developed in Europe around 1400. It became less popular as easier printing techniques emerged, but many 20th-century artists embraced the medium’s bold, linear character.

Charles Emile Jacque, A Corner of the Forest of Fontainbleau, n.d. (mid to late 19th-century), etching

Another interesting technique is etching, which is similar to drawing. To make an etching, an artist draws with a tool called an etching needle onto a metal plate that has been coated in wax. Next, the plate is submerged in an acid bath, which corrodes, or “bites” into the exposed metal lines, leaving the wax-covered areas unaffected. The plate is then rinsed, covered with ink, and wiped down. The ink remains in the grooves of the etched lines, and the plate is ready for printing. Etching first appeared in the 16th century and became especially popular during the 17th century. It also experienced a resurgence in popularity during the late 19th century, a period that has become known as the Etching Revival.

John Rogers Cox, Wheat Shocks, 1951, Lithograph

One of the most important printing techniques in 20th-century art is lithography. An artist draws onto a stone or metal plate with a special greasy crayon. The stone is treated with acid, and then covered with ink and rinsed with water. The ink sticks to the greasy crayon, but washes off everywhere else. A piece of paper is pressed to the stone to print the image.

Lithography was invented in 1798 by Alois Senefelder and was initially used for commercial images. By the late 19th century, however, artists had begun exploring lithography’s creative possibilities. Lithography accommodates a wide range of styles, making it an ideal medium for the stylistic variety that characterizes 20th-century art.

Behind-the-Scenes with Registrar Anne Lenhart

Did you know that works on paper–including prints, drawings, photographs, and other types of work–are  stored and cared for differently than paintings and sculptures? Works on paper are sensitive to various conditions and must be handled with special care and attention. We asked Anne Lenhart, Assistant Registrar, to share insight into how the Museum stores and handles its large collection of works on paper.

What DMA department is responsible for handling prints?

Anne: The care and handling of prints is a shared responsibility between the curators, registrars, conservators, and preparators. The curators are responsible for choosing the works on paper for installations and exhibitions. Once the works on paper are chosen, the registrars, conservators, and preparators are responsible for making sure the prints are in good condition and ready for installation.

Where are the prints stored in the Museum? How are they stored?

Anne:  All of our objects are stored in secured art storage spaces. These areas, which have limited staff access and are monitored twenty-four hours a day, have a consistent temperature of 70° Fahrenheit (+/- 2°) and 50% (+/- 5%) relative humidity. Because paper is susceptible to even small changes in humidity (think about what happens to a sheet of paper when it contacts a drop of water), we try to be especially vigilant in terms of how we store our paper collection.

These numbers are considered guidelines for very stable pieces, such as those created with carbon-based ink applied to a good quality rag paper. Objects that are less stable—where the pigment and the materials are of lower or unknown quality or in the case of color photographs (especially Polaroids)—are exhibited for shorter periods of time.

A display table in the Print and Textiles Study Room, where the Museum’s works on paper are kept.

Many of the Museum’s unframed prints are stored in Solander boxes, such as this one.

How long can prints stay mounted in the galleries?

Anne:  The general rule for exposure of works on paper is one to three months, and we try to keep the maximum period of time any work on paper is on view to less than six months. After a work comes down, we usually do not reinstall it for eighteen months so that it can “rest.”

Cross Cultural Dialogues in European and American Landscapes is on view now, and we hope to see you soon at the Museum.

Sara Woodbury is the McDermott Curatorial Intern for American and European Art, and Karen A. Colbert is the McDermott Education Intern for Teaching Programs.

Gerald Murphy and Archibald MacLeish

Of all the art in the DMA’s collection, I think I like Gerald Murphy’s Watch most of all. I adore how Murphy makes a complex technological system look bright and vibrant. But moreover, I appreciate how his painting explores the difficult relationship between the people and science of his time. In the 1920’s, the idea of time was changed dramatically by the widespread dissemination of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in 1919. Suddenly, the Newtonian concept of time as a uniform absolute was invalidated. For many writers and artists of the period, Einstein’s discovery dramatically revised the way they saw the world.

 

Gerald Murphy, Watch, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist

 

Murphy’s Watch explores one man’s view of this sudden change in the perception of time, how it went from an external force outside of the comprehension or control of people to something interior, relative, and subjective. In the painting, Murphy represents his watch internally, by the gears and machinery which make it function and give it power rather than by its most familiar characteristic: its face.

Shannon Karol nicely summarizes the relationships between Murphy and Lost Generation writers. In it, she talks about Murphy’s friendships with Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Murphy was also friends with Archibald MacLeish, a poet who shared Murphy’s fascination with time. In MacLeish’s poem “You, Andrew Marvell,” he describes the shadow of the night as it spreads over the face of Asia and Europe. The title of the poem makes reference to poet Andrew Marvell who, in his own poem “To his Coy Mistress,” speaks about the sway of time over the affairs of lovers. By naming his poem this way, MacLeish reminds readers of time’s slow and steady creep and of its great and terrible power over the lives of people.

By discussing literature and art together, one can explore thematic connections which might not be otherwise apparent. Share some literary or thematic connections you use to talk about DMA art with your students in the comment section below.

Tom Jungerberg

IMLS Grant Coordinator

Seldom Scene: Meaningful Moments

Meaningful Moments is our monthly Access Program for individuals with early stage dementia and their family members or caregivers. Here are some images from last month’s program. For information on the May 17th Meaningful Moment and other Access Programs at the DMA visit our Access Programs page on the DMA’s web site.

Friday Photos: Asian Festival

Springtime brings green grass, sunny weather, and fun festivals around the Metroplex.  Go van Gogh provides art activities for visitors of all ages at annual arts and cultural festivals including the Asian Festival, CityArts, Juneteenth, Discovery Days at the Museum of Nature and Science, and the Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair.

This past Saturday, we participated in the MetroPCS Asian Festival, which took place in Main Street Garden in downtown Dallas.  Visitors to our booth were welcomed with images of “Mushrooms”, a Haiku Poem, a scroll from our Japanese collection.  The scroll features a haiku written in Japanese calligraphy accompanied by an illustration of mushrooms, the poem’s subject.  View pictures of our visitors below as they draft their haikus, carefully write and illustrate their poems on delicate rice paper, and mount their poems with printed origami paper.  Ending the slideshow is an image of dancers from Ka Pā Hula O Manulani, Texas Hawaiian Culture and Hula School. 

If you’d like to visit the DMA booth at an upcoming festival, check our web site to see where we’ll be next! 

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Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community


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