Archive for July, 2011

Friday Photos: Provocative Comparisons Part Two

Last week, Shannon introduced one of our 9×9 experimental programs, Provocative Comparisons.  On Saturday, I led our second Provocative Comparisons conversation focused on She, an onyx sculpture by Bosnian-French artist Bojan Šarčević, and The Icebergs, by American painter Frederick Church.  My conversation with two visitors while looking at these works of art was rather delightful, as we all shared our observations, questions, and ideas about these artworks.  I especially loved seeing new aspects of these artworks and new connections through the eyes of my partners.  What connections can you find between these two works of art?

Bojan Šarčević, She, 2010, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2011.4

Bojan Šarčević, She, 2010, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2011.4

Frederic Church, The Icebergs, 1861, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Norma and Lamar Hunt, 1979.28

Tomorrow, Nicole will lead Provocative Comparisons with two more works of art.  Below is a sneak peek…to see its counterpart, join Nicole on Saturday, July 30, at 3:00 or 7:00 p.m.

Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre, 1953, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds, 1953.22

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Behind Closed Doors

Go behind the Museum office doors and discover the various work spaces in the DMA. Each month we will share insight into a different department.

This month, our in-house design team shares their space with us.

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

Taking Time in Silence and Time

The DMA special exhibition Silence and Time has been a great springboard for conversation on tours with students and in programs with teachers this summer.  Since we have just a month left to enjoy the installation, I thought it would be fun to share some new experiences and conversations it inspired, and some familiar activities we revisited.  Look for a blog post in mid-August about a half-day teacher workshop in Silence and Time that incorporated some of the experiences below.

Start with silence
Prime yourself for time in the galleries by sitting in silence for a few minutes.

Silence and Time was inspired by a specific few minutes of silence: American artist John Cage’s 1952 composition 4’33.”  As the introductory wall text states, “Cage’s controversial work comprises three movements…arranged for any instrument or combination of instruments. All of the movements are performed without a single note being played. The content of this composition is meant to be perceived as the sound of the environment that the listener hears while it is performed, rather than as four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence.”

What did you notice during your 4’33” of silence?

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Just one minute
Take just one minute to look at an artwork.  When your time is up, turn so your back faces the artwork, and write down as many details about it as you can.  If you’re with a friend, have him or her quiz you about the artwork with your back turned.  How much were you able to notice and remember in just one minute?

Look longer
Spend fifteen minutes with just one artwork in the exhibition.  Get close, move far away, and use ideas below to help you look closely.

  • Create a log of what you see.
  • Make a sketch of the work of art.
  • Write down questions you have about the work of art.
  • Write down what you like about the work of art.
  • Write down what confuses you about the work of art.
  • Write down how the work of art makes you feel.

Tracking time
Consider all the ways time can be measured both mechanically (clocks, calendars) and naturally (changing of seasons, hair growth, erosion).  Find as many examples of ways we mark time as you can in works of art in the exhibition.

Find the time
Are there artworks that suggest suspension of time?  Time moving slowly or rapidly?  That time is cyclical or linear?  Challenge a friend to identify different representations of time manifested in artworks in the exhibition.  If you enjoy thinking about possible shapes time could take, pick up Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams, a collection of short stories that describe parallel universes where time behaves differently–sometimes in circles, sometimes backwards, etc.

Make your own artwork
Use make-shift art materials from your purse or pockets to create an artwork that will change with time.  As you’re looking for materials in your purse or pockets, consider which objects show more or less wear and tear and which objects age more or less quickly.  Then, explore the galleries looking specifically at materials the artists used.

Silence and Time is on view until August 28.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

A Gem of a Diamond Anniversary

With the 75th anniversary of the Texas Centennial Exposition around the corner, we decided to dive into our archives and share some of our finds with you. 

Texas Centennial Exposition ticket

Seventy-five years ago, in the summer of 1936, people throughout Texas and the United States traveled to Dallas for the Texas Centennial Exposition. The Exposition, held at Fair Park, was both a world’s fair and a gateway to attractions and events throughout the state celebrating the 100th anniversary of Texas’s independence from Mexico.

The following four photographs are from a set of twenty images  published by John Sirigo, official photographer for the Texas Centennial Exposition, as “Genuine Official Photographs, No. 1.”

Texas Centennial Exposition, Esplanade and Exhibit Buildings

Texas Centennial Exposition, Midway

Texas Centennial Exposition, State Building

Texas Centennial Exposition, Ford Building

Advertised as An Empire on Parade, attractions included the Esplanade of State; exhibit halls and sponsored pavilions focusing on major industries in Texas; The Cavalcade of Texas, a living saga of over four hundred years of Texas history; Sinclair’s Dinosaurs, a prehistoric “zoo” of dinosaur reproductions; The Old West, with replicas of historic buildings; the Midway; and the Civic Center, made up of six units of cultural and educational attractions.

Souvenir Guide

Postcard view of museum building (E.C. Kropp Co., Milwaukee, Wis.)

The Hall of Fine Arts, the largest building in the Civic Center, was the permanent home of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, now the Dallas Museum of Art, for nearly fifty years. For the Exposition, the Museum held an enormous exhibition of paintings, sculpture, and graphic arts, including European art from before 1500 to contemporary Texas painting and everything in between. The exhibition, which filled the whole building, included almost six hundred works of art loaned by ninety-six major museums, galleries, private collectors, and artists.

Texas Centennial Exposition, Exhibition of Paintings, Sculpture & Graphic Arts, catalog cover

The French Room at the Texas Centennial Exhibition included works by Manet, Renoir, Picasso, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Grant Wood's "Amercian Gothic" was in the Contemporary American Paintings section of the Texas Centennial Exhibition.

The Texas Centennial Exposition ran from June 6 to November 29, 1936, and over six million people attended. Exhibit halls constructed for the Exposition still form the core buildings at Fair Park.

Hillary Bober is the Digital Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

C3 Artistic Encounters: Giant Constructions

There are things I expect to see coming into work on a Monday, like empty galleries, art being moved, staff shuttling to and from Starbucks for morning coffee.  One thing I definitely did not expect to see this past Monday was a 12-foot sculpture of a rocket ship made of chicken wire, burlap, tape, and felt lurking in the corner of our C3 Tech Lab space.  Talk about surprising!

The Rocket Ship is a communal artwork created by visitors during our 9×9 C3 Artistic Encounters program last Saturday. What I love about the Rocket Ship, which looks like something from a Michel Gondry movie or a cousin of a Claes Oldenberg soft sculpture, is that it is a realization of visitor interpretations of a work of art.

In the Center for Creative Connections, we have a metaphor response wall where visitors can leave their thoughts about Lee Bonteou’s Untitled (35).  One of the prompts visitors respond to is: “If this work of art was part of something larger, what would it be?”  Multiple responses to this prompt have been “Rocket Ship.”  So, as part of our new 9×9 Programing initiative, C3 staff teamed up with artist Rene Muhl to make this response real on a very large scale.  Kari Laehr, Center for Creative Specialist, worked with Susan Diachisin, Director of the Center for Creative Connections, and is excited to share her rocket ship-making experience with us.  Here’s Kari:

Last weekend in the Center for Creative Connections, we launched our new 9×9 Programing, specifically our third consecutive program called Giant Constructions. The program was based on Bontecou’s Untitled (35), currently found in our gallery and, I must admit, one of my favorites in the space!


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

This work of art encourages participants to contemplate space through a mysterious dark opening that simultaneously toys with depth perception and confrontational elements. Participants were encouraged to create a large-scale sculpture that would act as an extension of the Bontecou piece.  We had a wonderful time with Rene discussing Bontecou’s work and trying to answer questions about the artist’s intent, types of materials used, and other interactive prompts.   As Amy mentioned above, the main prompt was “If the piece were a part of something larger, what would it be?”  Many responses to our interactive prompt came back with the same answer – ROCKET SHIP!  With the help of artist Rene Muhl, imagination became reality as our rocket ship took shape.

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The program lasted four hours and was a casual come-and-go process. As you can see, everyone had a great time adding to our Rocket Ship.  There are many ways to interact with art, and we look forward to continuing to promote new and exciting programs through the rest of 9×9 in July!

Kari Laehr
Center for Creative Connections, Specialist

Amy Copeland
Coordinator for Go van Gogh Outreach

Friday Photos: Provocative Comparisons

Last weekend, the Museum launched an experimental summer program: 9×9.  For nine days in July, the Museum will stay open later than usual (until 9:00 p.m.) and will offer a variety of new and fun programs.  The program I am most excited about is Provocative Comparisons.  Offered on Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Provocative Comparisons encourages participants to look closely, contemplate, and converse about two works of art in the collection.  Through these conversations, we begin to discover meaning and connections that tie these works of art together.

I led the first Provocative Comparisons session this past Saturday, and we looked at a Shield Cover and Shield in Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection, as well as Jackson Pollock’s Portrait and a Dream.  What connections can you find between these two works of art?

Shield Cover and Shield, Apsáalooke (Crow) people, Montana, ca. 1860, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y.

Jackson Pollock, Portrait and a Dream, 1953, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, 1967.8

Join Melissa on July 23rd at 3:00 and 7:00 for the next installment of Provocative Comparisons.  To whet your appetite, here’s a preview of one of the works of art that will be discussed.  What work of art from the DMA’s collection would you compare with She?

Bojan Šarčević, She, 2010, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2011.4

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Discover your DMA Art Doppelgänger!

Have you ever imagined which artist you are most like? Well now is your chance to find out with our new Artist Personality Quiz. On Friday nights during 9×9 you can stop by the Artist Personality Quiz table in the DMA’s concourse and take our 11 question quiz to find out which artist you are.

Start getting in touch with your inner artist with a sneak peek of the Artist Personality Quiz below, and stop by Friday to find your match.

My friends would most likely describe me as:
a. The brooding rebel.
b. The independent bohemian.
c. The laid-back hipster.
d. The charismatic life of the party.
e. The contemplative dreamer.
f. The detailed-oriented planner.

When I am vacationing, you can find me:
a. Renting a cottage on a secluded bluff in the Hamptons.
b. Soaking in the sun and desert landscape in Santa Fe.
c. Relaxing on the beach in Santa Monica.
d. Running with the bulls in Pamplona.
e. Taking a culinary tour of the French countryside.
f. Enjoying the hustle and bustle of Times Square.

Once you discover who your DMA Art Doppelgänger is you will receive a button proclaiming which artist you are. Then stroll through the galleries and strike up conversations with other doppelgängers to discuss how you answered the quiz questions and to find out what you have in common.

Button images (details): ClaudeMonet, Water Lilies, 1908, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation Incorporated, 1981.128; Piet Mondrian, Place de la Concorde, 1938–43, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, 1982.22.FA, © 2004 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust, c/o

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