Archive for August, 2011

Photowalking with Ted Forbes

Last Friday, as part of 9×9, the DMA hosted a Photowalk with staff member and photographer Ted Forbes.  Over a dozen visitors attended, myself included.  Ted began with a brief talk about photographing people and their environment, showing us portraits taken by world-renowned portrait photographer Arnold Newman (who photographed John F. Kennedy, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Marilyn Monroe, and many others).  Then, we were set loose in the second floor European galleries.  What were our directions? “Go out and shoot portraits!” Ted said.

The Photowalk experience was very hands-on experience.   Ted gave us the freedom to wander the European galleries and take pictures of Photowalk participants, strangers we encountered, and works of art around us.  As I walked around the second floor, I tried to keep in mind the concepts of negative space, people and their environment, and the commonly used “rule of thirds” when framing my shots.

Taking pictures of people in specific poses proved to be a bit challenging in the galleries, so I began to look for ways to incorporate people into my pictures while focusing on the artwork as my main subject.  I also played with reflections in windows and looking through panels of glass.  Concentrating on reflections of people against works of art as well as reflections of the artwork itself led to some intriguing images.

After we took pictures in the European galleries, we went back to the Tech Lab in C3 to look at each other’s pictures.  It was fun seeing other people’s pictures, because everyone took the instructions and captured images in completely different ways and styles, with unique perspectives.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the Photowalk, as well as some shots I captured of participants photographing one another!

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Leala Rosen
Teachings Program Summer Intern

Leala Rosen is a sophomore at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. She is studying sociology/anthropology and art history. As a summer intern for the Teachings Program department of the DMA, she worked with Go van Gogh outreach programs and led museum tours.

Seldom Scene: A Tip of the Hat

African Headwear: Beyond Fashion opened yesterday and will be on view through January 1, 2012. The exhibition celebrates the artistry of African decorative design and initiates us into the world of fashion a few months before we host Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. Below are a few images showing the preparation that went into creating the African Headwear exhibition.

Extra! Extra! Special Go van Gogh program for fifth grade classrooms

This year, Go van Gogh is offering a special program exclusively to fifth grade classrooms during the month of September.  Art of the American Indians is inspired by our special exhibition Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection, on view until September 4.  We are excited to offer a program with such strong ties to the fifth grade Social Studies emphasis on  American history.

Horse Mask, c. 1875-1900, Nez Perce or Cayuse, Idaho, Oregon, or Eastern Washington, Thaw Collection, Fennimore Art Museum, photograph by John Bigelow Taylor

Since the exhibition closes soon, we’re extending this offer from September 19-29 only.  Request your program now using our online request form!

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Meet Monsieur le Directeur de Transition

Late in the summer of 2009, when Olivier Meslay joined the DMA as the Senior Curator of European and American Art, he never imagined that two years later he would be the Interim Director. Yet, that is exactly what he was asked to be when Bonnie Pitman stepped down earlier this year. Honored by the appointment, Olivier gladly accepted this important responsibility.

Admired for his accomplishments as a curator, scholar, and professor, as well as for his humor and kindness, Olivier is the perfect person to lead the DMA during this transitional time, because, as they say in Texas, “this is not his first rodeo.” Before joining the DMA’s curatorial staff, he spent sixteen years at the Musée du Louvre. His credentials include graduating from some of the finest educational institutions in France, including the Institut National du Patrimoine, (the French State School for Curators), the Ecole du Louvre (where he was also a professor from 1997 to 2006), and the Sorbonne. Yet, Olivier is quite familiar with American museums; from 2000 through 2001 he was a fellow at the renowned Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

During his career at the Louvre, he held a number of senior positions, including curator of British, American, and Spanish painting. He curated several exhibitions, such as the innovative “Louvre Atlanta” project, a three-year collaboration with the High Museum of Art that presented seven shows drawn from the Louvre’s collections that attracted more than one million visitors. Other exhibitions over the course of his career reflect his expertise in British, Spanish, and American Art. A few of the most notable are William Hogarth, American Artists and the Louvre, and La collection de Sir Edmund Davis. He also played a pivotal role developing databases on the Louvre website that provide public access to the entire catalogue of American and British art in French museums. Beginning in 2006, he served as Chief Curator of Louvre Lens, a satellite of the noted Paris museum under development in northern France.

Olivier remained there until 2009, when he moved to Texas to assume his role as the DMA’s Senior Curator of European and American Art. Since leading that division, he curated José Guadalupe Posada: The Birth of Mexican Modernism, and, reflecting his eagerness to embrace his new home, Texas Sculpture. Olivier also spearheaded a complete reinstallation and reconfiguration of the Museum’s European galleries. Thanks to a recently completed project, of which he is most proud, almost the entire collection of the DMA is now available for viewing on our website. Olivier recognizes that this herculean effort came to fruition through the extraordinary efforts of many of his colleagues. His innovative spirit and dynamic leadership quickly made a difference at the DMA. Those qualities will help him lead us through the months ahead. In his spare time, Olivier, his wife, and their two sons have traveled to cities throughout our state, including Paris (Texas not France), El Paso, Laredo, Amarillo, and Midland. This thoughtful, intelligent Frenchman has not forgotten his heritage, but he has developed a keen interest in his new hometown. He has a deep appreciation for everything in Dallas, from its people, to its food, and, of course, its art museum.

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

My Summer in Paris

Last month, I celebrated a birthday milestone.  In honor of turning 30, I spent the week of my birthday in Paris.  I had never been to Paris, but have dreamed about visiting the City of Lights since I was little.  Paris really became my “must-visit” destination once I decided to major in Art History.  I just had to see in person all of the works of art I studied over the past twelve years.

Paris was breathtaking, and every monument–museums, cathedrals, towers, arcs–made me feel like I was walking into my old art history textbooks.  The two works of art that most impressed me were The Raft of the Medusa (at the Louvre) and Olympia (at the Musée d’Orsay).  I could have spent hours with both of them!  But my favorite place, by far, was Claude Monet’s home at Giverny.  Being there, it was easy to see why he was so inspired by nature, and especially by water lilies.  I didn’t have a canvas or paints with me, but I did use my camera to capture some of my favorite artistic locales.

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Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Joyeux Anniversaire Coco Chanel

You may know that one of the most popular areas of the Museum is the Reves Collection, housed on our third level in a partial re-creation of the Villa La Pausa, the home of Wendy and Emery Reves in the south of France.

But what you may not know is that La Pausa was formerly owned by the designer Coco Chanel and was originally built for her in 1927. Wendy and Emery Reves bought it in the early fifties, and for almost eighty years the villa welcomed high-profile guests such as the Duke of Westminster, Luchino Visconti, Jean Cocteau, Greta Garbo, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Somerset Maugham, and Graham Sutherland.

In honor of Chanel’s birthday on Friday (she would have been 128), we gathered a few photos to share of Chanel’s life at La Pausa.

Coco Chanel at La Pausa, 1938

Coco Chanel (in front of window) in the dining room at La Pausa, 1938

The La Pausa dining room in the Reves Collection

Friday Photos: Provocative Comparisons Part Three

Ecce Homo, c. 1615-1620, Giulio Cesare Procaccini (Italian, 1574-1625), Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

El Hombre, 1953, Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991), Vinyl with pigment on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds

This is the final post in our photo series focused on Provocative Comparisons.  My experiences looking at these two paintings with out-of-town visitors led to powerful conversations about scale, the male figure, religion and beliefs, color, composition, and aspirations.  We wondered about the impact of these works on those who experienced them originally, shortly after their initial creation, and compared our thoughts on this to our own reactions as 21st century viewers.  I invite you to take a long look at Rufino Tamayo’s El Hombre and Procaccini’s Ecce Homo.  What do you see?  What do you think about?  What relationships between the two, if any, resonate with you?

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Staff Profile: In the Sound Booth

Uncrated tracked down Corbett Sparks, one of the DMA’s multimedia technicians, to talk about his job at the Museum. Corbett can frequently be spotted behind the sound board during Thursday Night Live and Late Nights in the Atrium and is also the “great Oz” in the Horchow Auditorium control booth.

Describe your job in fifty words or less.
I am a multimedia technician, which means I take care of any audio/video needs that come up at the Museum. I am also in charge of editing and cataloguing all recorded audio.

What might an average day entail?
I really don’t have average days—I don’t even have a regular schedule! The only consistent part of my week is Thursday night, where I run sound for jazz (Thursday Night Live). I also take care of all the atrium performances for Late Nights on the third Friday of every month. Other days I might be setting up a laptop and projector for a meeting or running the sound and light boards for a lecture in the Horchow Auditorium.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges?
Meeting the artists and performers that come through here and making sure their lecture/show goes off the way they want is my favorite part of this job. I am a people-pleaser and enjoy exceeding their expectations. My biggest challenge might be dealing with all the people that get me confused with the other tech, JD. We kind of look alike.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum?
I always knew I would work in a creative field. When I was younger, I wanted to either be a fine artist or movie director. That being said, I still don’t know if I am grown up yet.

What is your favorite work in the Museum’s collections?
Bill Viola’s, The Crossing. He was an early inspiration for me as an artist. My first introduction to his work was actually at the DMA. That piece was called The Sleep of Reason:

“A black-and-white monitor on a wooden chest shows a close-up view of a person sleeping. At random intervals, the lights cut out and the room is plunged into total darkness. Large color moving images momentarily appear on three walls and a loud disturbing sound of moaning and roaring fills the space — fires burn out of control through city buildings, fierce attack dogs lunge at the camera, violent ocean waves crash into shore, a provoked owl flies into a bright light. Just as suddenly, the images vanish, the lights come back on, and the room returns to normal.

This piece opened my high school eyes to what art could be—not just paintings and sculpture, but concepts and the use of technology to get those ideas across.

Is there a past exhibition that stands out in your mind as a favorite, or is there a particular upcoming show you’re looking forward to seeing?
I really enjoyed Fast Forward. I am also definitely looking forward to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition. I am intrigued by the use of the “Tony Ousler”-ish  projections on the mannequins and the general atmosphere surrounding them. Looks like fun!

Teen Docent Program: Loads of Fun

Every summer something special happens at the DMA.  High school students from around the DFW area lend us their free time to participate in our annual Teen Docent program.  Celebrating ten years of summer fun, the Teen Docent Program offers an invaluable experience for teenagers, ages 14-18, to learn about art, sharpen their speaking skills, and interact with younger students in the galleries.

Teen docent Jennifer Mayen discussing Miguel Covarrubias's "Genesis: The Gift of Life"

This summer we have eleven returning students and thirteen fresh faces, and it’s easy to spot all of them in their official “uniform,” which includes a gray Dallas Museum of Art t-shirt and a Teen Docent badge. 

Most often you’ll find them around the Museum carrying a docent bag full of fun supplies and guiding a group of students on an Animal Safari or A Looking Journey tour.  Other times, you may see them helping out on weekends with Family Experiences programming like Studio Creations and Collections Connections, or pitching in with program hits like First Tuesday or Late Nights.

Teen docent Tennessee Bonner handing out supplies

I asked one our new teen docents, Tennessee Bonner, why he wanted to join the program. “The reason I joined the docent program was the fact that I would be able to help the museum and I would have fun doing it.”

What a great answer!  Teen docents are not only summer tour lifesavers, but they help create a fun, learning environment for younger audiences.  It is the teenagers’ willingness to learn about the Museum and share their enthusiasm with younger students that makes this program work.   

2011 Teen Docents

For the past ten years, the Teen Docent Program has become an integral part of our summer programming.  I commend all the volunteers that have donated hours of their cherished summer time, and I hope to see many of them next summer.

Loryn Leonard
Coordinator of Museum Visits

Remembering Nancy Hamon

Nancy Hamon was an extraordinary benefactor of our city’s most important cultural and educational institutions, and she was a beloved member of our Dallas Museum of Art family for more than 50 years. Her support touched all aspects of the Museum and helped the DMA grow into the institution of international prominence that it is today. Her legacy lives on, in particular, through the DMA’s Hamon Building, which contributes greatly to the life and personality of our Museum and the City. Nancy’s “joie de vivre,” style, and panache defined her life and her tremendous philanthropy.

Nancy Hamon and Dallas Mayor Annette Strauss use special shovels to break ground in 1991 for the Museum’s new Nancy and Jake L. Hamon Building. Standing by are Chairman Irvin Levy and Dr. John W, Tatum, Sr., pastor of the St. Paul United Methodist Church, who gave a blessing on the occasion.


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