Archive for July, 2011



Music Connections to the DMA Collection

The DMA’s collection offers a number of opportunities for cross-disciplinary study. Shannon has written blogs that focus on the literary connections to Abstract Expressionist works of art and other areas of the DMA’s collection. In this post, I thought I could share a few of my favorite music-related objects.

Below is a collage by Romare Bearden called Soul Three. In addition to being an accomplished artist, Romare Bearden also occasionally composed jazz music and associated with musicians such as Branford Marsalis, Duke Ellington, and Fats Waller. This musical influence appears frequently in his collages in the form of musical themes and subjects. Soul Three, for instance, shows three musicians playing guitar and tambourine.

Romare Bearden used music in many ways when he created art. Sometimes he drew while listening to music. He described this experience by saying, “[o]ne of the things I did was to listen to a lot of music. I’d take a sheet of paper and just make lines while I listened to records—a kind of shorthand to pick up the rhythm and the intervals.” Bearden also advised that, in making art, you “become a blues singer—only you sing on the canvas. You improvise—you find the rhythm and catch it good, and structure as you go along—then the song is you.”

Romare Bearden, Soul Three, 1968, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund and Roberta Coke Camp Fund

Shiva, the Hindu god of creation and destruction, is shown in the bronze sculpture below in his most transcendent state as Nataraja, or Lord of the Dance. Here, Shiva is the embodiment of cosmic energy who dances the rhythm of the universe and beats his drum in time. Music and dance, in the Hindu tradition, are considered pathways to divinity, and worshippers perform to honor the god.

Shiva Nataraja, 11th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, the Hamon Charitable Foundation, and an anonymous donor in honor of David T. Owsley, with additional funding from The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation and the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

 

Next, this black serpentine bust of Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter shows the musician as he appeared a few years before his death. Leadbelly was a troubled folk singer and two-time murderer who was reputedly pardoned for his crimes when the governor of Texas heard his music. In this bust, he is portrayed sensitively by the sculptor Michael G. Owen, Jr.

Michael G. Owen Jr., Leadbelly, 1943, Dallas Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Gooch Fund Purchase Prize, Twelfth Annual Texas Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1951

 

Finally, for the Senufo peoples of Côte d’Ivoire, the drum is an instrument of music and communication. Drums are used by Senufo women to accompany songs sung in a secret language to deal with gender conflicts and other frustrations, and serve as a sort of “public address system” for the Senufo community announcing important events or rituals. They are also pounded to create a rhythm which encourages competition among young men hoeing the fields.

Drum, 20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus

 

These are only a few of the many works at the DMA which celebrate music. List your favorites in the comments below.

 

Tom Jungerberg

IMLS Grant Coordinator

Behind the Scenes: YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs Program

Coming into my second month at the museum, I am beginning to learn more about the different facets of our education department.  Last week, I participated in our YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs Program, a week-long program that employs interactive gallery experiences through tours, as well as hands-on art activities based on objects explored in the Museum.  By documenting my first experience with the YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs Program, I aim to shed some light on our summer programs at the DMA.
 

Tour supplies

Our week begins on Monday at the Grand Prairie Boys & Girls Club.  My colleague Melissa Nelson and I head out in the beloved Go van Gogh® van, armed with a bag full of art supplies.  Because it’s our first interaction with the students, we start off with introductions about us and the Museum.  As a group, we talked about the different collections the DMA has to offer and what their first visit will be like.   Finally, we ended the session with an art activity, in which the students drew their own museum filled with items they collect at home.
 

On Tuesday, the students traveled to the Museum for their first visit, and the tour theme is Animal Safari.  The Animal Safari tour is a fun and engaging tour that encourages students to look closer at the different types of animals found in artworks throughout the Museum.  Some activities I included are an animal scavenger hunt in the American silver gallery, an acrostic poem about a seal or sea otter spirit mask, and a drawing based on the sculptures of mythical animals (aso) from Indonesia.  You can find more interactive activities on our Teaching Resources page.

Preparing for an Animal Safari tour

On Wednesday, we went back to the Boys & Girls Club and reviewed some of the animals we saw on the tour.  Two objects that we asked for them to recall are the sword ornament in the form of a lion and the mythical animal (aso).  Inspired by these two objects, the students created their own animals with Model Magic clay.  It was a great way to connect the students with the artworks and spark their interest in returning to the Museum on Thursday.

On Thursday, the students returned to the DMA for a second time, ready to participate in the Heroes tour.  During the tour, students explored characteristics of heroes and what it means to be a hero in artworks from diverse cultures.  During the tour, we read Courage by Bernard Waber, drew a hero portrait, and wrote a story about heroes together as a group.

Students working hard on their trophies

Our final meeting took place on Friday at the Boys & Girls Club.  We reviewed the different roles of a hero and talked about which artworks we liked the most.  One object that was visited was the Nautilus Centerpiece, which is a yachting trophy.  In this activity, students created their own trophy that either represented themselves as heroes, or to give to someone they consider their hero, like a family member or a friend.

Artist Trophy

My first week with the YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs Program has been a blast!  I can’t think of a better way for students to spend their summer than having fun with art and taking the time to look, question, and create.

Loryn Leonard
Coordinator of Museum Visits

Live from the Red Carpet: Gaultier Opens in Montreal

An entry to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with exhibition banner above

An entry to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with exhibition banner above

As the DMA’s curator for the forthcoming exhibition on Jean Paul Gaultier, I recently had the opportunity to travel with some of my colleagues to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, where the exhibition had its international premiere. The Montreal Museum, which had organized the exhibition, did a tremendous job in presenting the works not simply as couture draped across mannequins, but as truly vibrant objects of art and design. The excitement was indeed palpable, as the red carpet was rolled down the front steps of the Museum and the crowds began to gather for opening night. Even for the second night’s reception, over 2,000 people gathered for a preview of the exhibition!

The crowds converge for one of the opening receptions

The crowds converge for one of the opening receptions

Gaultier arrived from Paris to join in the festivities and one could see he was enjoying himself as much as anyone else in attendance. One of the remarkable aspects of the installation was the creation of specially “animated mannequins” for the clothing which incorporated custom-molded heads to accommodate video projections of which made them appear to speak, sing, and scan the crowds (at the entry stood Gaultier’s own double—a mannequin welcoming those many visitors). Throughout the exhibition, Gaultier’s fashions reflected both his exceptional talents and sheer joy in life. As guests poured through the crowded galleries, they stopped to admire their new favorites—perhaps a dress of brilliant feathers making the wearer appear exotic and bird-like or a Can-Can dress with the repeated image of kicking legs on the interior?

Animated sailor mannequins with Gaultier's  fashions in his iconic marinière (sailor striped shirt) motif

Animated sailor mannequins with Gaultier's fashions in his iconic marinière (sailor striped shirt) motif

The Gaultier mannequin is programmed

The Gaultier mannequin is programmed

Crowds gather around the exhibition's moving catwalk

Crowds gather around the exhibition's moving catwalk

More crowds in the "Urban Jungle" section of the exhibition

More crowds in the "Urban Jungle" section of the exhibition

Come November, Dallas and DMA members will have the opportunity to enjoy their own welcoming party for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier!

Kevin W. Tucker is The Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Dallas Museum of Art

Teacher Workshop on American Indian Art

Dear teachers, we would like to invite you to participate in the last DMA teacher workshop of the summer.  This workshop will take place on Tuesday, August 9th from 9:00am-12:30pm at the Dallas Museum of Art and will explore American Indian art and belief systems presented in the Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection exhibition.  The workshop offers 3.5 CPE hours.  The full workshop cost is $25 or $20 for DMA members, and you can register online.

Selected works of art from the exhibition.

We look forward to seeing you at this workshop and our upcoming 2011-2012 programs throughout the school year!

Ashley Bruckbauer
Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Friday Photos: The Lovely Lady Godiva

Every time I begin to say her name, I want to sing it, stretching it out with emphasis on the vowel sounds like the British Invasion duo Peter and Gordon.  L-A-A-A-D-E-E-E  G-O-D-I-I-I-V-A-A-A. The legend of Lady Godiva has inspired a broad spectrum of artists, such as the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Disco group Boney M, as well as entrepreneur Joseph Draps, founder of Godiva Chocolatier.  I, too, am inspired and have been happy to spend some time looking at a sculpture of Lady Godiva that was recently added to the DMA’s collection.  This life-size, marble beauty was carved by nineteenth-century American sculptress Anne Whitney.  In the sculpture, Lady Godiva appears to remove her belt, foreshadowing the famous naked ride she took on horseback through Coventry to protest her husband’s tax policies.  Come take a look at this sculpture now on view in the American galleries!

Detail of Lady Godiva

Detail of Lady Godiva, robe trim with horses

Lady Godiva, Anne Whitney, c. 1861-1864, Marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. Alessandra Comini in memory of Dr. Eleanor Tufts, who discovered the Massachusetts-backyard whereabouts of this long-forgotten statue and brought it to Dallas, 2011.8.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Designing Women (and the Cure for Mad Men Withdrawal)

In summers past, our reward for coping with insufferably hot temperatures and an endless parade of reruns on TV has been the return of a new season of Mad Men – the exploits of Don Draper and his cohorts at Sterling Cooper Draper Price Ad Agency offer an escape to the chic and sophisticated world of 1960s New York. Alas, this year the return of Don, Joan, Peggy, Roger, and company has been delayed until later this fall.

Never fear! The DMA has a cure for your Mad Men withdrawal. On Thursday we will kick off our summer film series, Pictureshow, with the classic 1959 romantic comedy Pillow Talk. Like Mad Men, the film takes place in Manhattan and is filled with stylish apartments and gorgeous clothes that would make Betty Draper swoon. The film is especially well known for its set design and is considered so “aesthetically significant” that it was added to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in 2009.

Cathy Whitlock will join us to introduce the film. Cathy is a Nashville-based interior designer, a journalist, and the author of Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction. Her blog Cinema Style explores the world of interior design and style in the movies. In preparation for her visit to Dallas, we asked Cathy about some of her favorite films and her own creative process.

You write about the intersection of design and film on your blog Cinema Style and in your most recent book, Designs on Film. What inspired your love of the movies? 

Ironically my first movie experience as a child was Pillow Talk and I was mesmerized with the interiors, fashion, and life in Manhattan. Apparently, the die was cast as I moved there years later and became an interior designer. I grew up in the sixties, which was such a ripe time for film – the Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedy “romps,” Cleopatra, 2001, The Graduate, and the James Bond franchise – and it left a huge imprint. Movies provide such an inspiration in so many areas as well as the ultimate two-hour escape!

Your blog and book cover films made recently as well as throughout the 20th century. Do you have a favorite era in the history of Hollywood?

Besides the sixties, I love the films of the thirties, as it was the time of big musicals (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers) and the “Big White Set” (such as Dinner at Eight). The decade ended with two of the biggest films of the century, The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind.

The cast of Gone with the Wind on the grand staircase of Tara

Jean Harlow's bedroom in Dinner at Eight

 

 How can moviegoers be inspired by the sets they see on screen? How can we translate what we see on screen to our own homes?

Often it can be something as simple as a color or a feel that inspires us. I have literally had clients pull out a DVD where they marked a certain scene and wanted to get the look. Thanks to technology, we can do that. What audiences need to remember is the rooms are almost always shot on a soundstage and on a budget and often we are responding to the overall “feel” of the scene. That being said, it’s pretty easy to pick out a few elements of a movie interior for use in our own homes.

Doris Day's apartment in Pillow Talk

 Pillow Talk is a classic romantic comedy that stars Doris Day as an interior designer.  What makes this film so iconic from a design standpoint?

I think it’s the overall design of the film – the interiors, Doris Day’s wardrobe, and Manhattan is very clean and carefree. From a design standpoint, the film literally gave birth to the “bachelor pad” and I am not even sure the set decorators got credit for that. They introduced the first electronic apartment complete with buttons that turn on the stereo, turn the sofa into a bed, and dim the lights. Now we call that a “smart house” but in the sixties it was pretty radical!

Where do you find inspiration for your interior design work?

 I am a huge student of pop culture and find inspiration through a variety of places – music, museums, magazines, books – but, most importantly, film!

Join Cathy for Pillow Talk this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. She will sign copies of Designs on Film before the screening. Don’t miss the Museum’s collection of objects from the era of Mad Men and Pillow Talk – visit Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present in the Tower Gallery on Level 4.

Lisa Kays is the Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Cruisin' in the Go van Gogh Van

You may have noticed the colorful Go van Gogh® van driving around town and wondered to yourself, “Is that van as fun to ride in as it looks?”  The answer is “Yes!”  Catching a ride in our van is easy: just sign up to be a Go van Gogh volunteer.  Volunteers are trained by Museum staff to lead interactive conversations and art activities based on works of art in the DMA’s collections and special exhibitions.  Taking these programs into classrooms throughout Dallas is a fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved, including the students, teachers, and volunteers.
 

A volunteer teaches fourth graders in a Dallas ISD classroom.

But you don’t have to take it from us that volunteering with Go van Gogh is a wonderful experience.  Kari Laehr, who just completed her first year as a volunteer, recently shared this with us:

“Working with the Dallas Museum of Art’s Go van Gogh Outreach Program has been a great pleasure.  Every program that I have taught has been not only exciting for the students, but for me as well.  There is something extremely special about sharing my passion for art with youngsters, and I consider it a great honor to represent the museum in this way. I was very nervous during my first teaching session; however, having that one “light bulb” moment with a student during the art-making process makes everything worthwhile in the end. In fact, I have heard numerous times in my class, “This is the best day ever! When are you coming back?” I feel that what I am doing with the Go van Gogh Program is making an impact in Dallas classrooms and would highly recommend this experience to others.”

Volunteers discuss a work of art during training.

Afterward, they perform a short skit inspired by the work of art.

Do volunteers need to have teaching experience?  No.  Do they need to be art history experts?  Not at all.  The two primary requirements for our Go van Gogh volunteers are (1) an interest in sharing works of art with students in grades 1-6, and (2) a commitment to attend volunteer training at the Museum and present programs in Dallas schools during weekday mornings.

If you are interested in volunteering, please complete and return the volunteer application by Friday, August 5, 2011.  Help us spread the word to any friends who may be interested as well.  You can also contact me with questions about the programs at 214.922.1230 or MNelson@DallasMuseumofArt.org

I look forward to hearing from you!

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community


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