Archive for August, 2011

Behind Closed Doors: Archives

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, Hillary Bober, Digital Archivist, shares her space with us.

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

Friday Photos: Teacher Workshops

Last week, we finished up a great summer series of professional development workshops for K-12 educators.  Thank you to everyone who joined us for cool experiences (temperature and otherwise) and stimulating discussions in the DMA galleries.  Here are a few photo highlights and teacher reflections from the summer workshops.

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“Conversations that arise from looking at the various art is, to me, the most significant aspect of workshops like these.”

“The activities helped us examine pieces in a way we might not do on our own.  It also gave us ideas for classroom activities….”

“The experience was even better than I anticipated.  Unlike most professional development, the focus is on providing good teachers with tools to bring out the best in their students.”

At DMA Teacher Workshops, educators have fun, learn something new, share ideas, and collect CPE hours for each workshop.  In October, professional development workshops will begin again and we invite you to join us for the following.

  • Layered Materials, Layered Meanings: Mark BradfordSaturday, October 22
  • Art and Games with Artist Tom Russotti — Saturday, November 12
  • Art and Fashion — Saturday, December 3
Visit Programs for Teachers on the DMA Web site for more information.

Nicole Stutzman

Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Staff Profile: Prepping Up

Uncrated tracked down Preparator, Mary Nicolett, to talk about her job at the Museum. Mary is a key member of the installation team and is known for her keen eye and attention to detail.

Describe your job in 50 words or less.
My official title is “Preparator, Logistics Facilitator,” which is a fancy way of saying that when I am not busy as a preparator moving, installing or taking care of the art, that I am ordering supplies or tools in preparation for the teams’ upcoming tasks.

What might an average day entail?
My days and weeks vary, depending upon what installation we are working on.  I may be moving works in storage, building archival boxes for delicate items, researching the newest drills, touch-up painting the walls, or installing an intricate or obsessive artwork.  There are always the deliveries and pick-ups that interrupt the flow of the day, but I am lucky that I get to uncrate works of art, which sometimes makes me the first person in the building that gets to see something new! Only one thing is consistent in my day: the coffee during our afternoon break.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges?
I am continually learning. My coworkers have a wide variety of talents, and both the exhibitions and collections departments work wonderfully together as a team. I learn something new during most installations. The variety of artworks that enter the building vary in age, material and construction and thus their needs differ. This diversity continually specifies what techniques or care are needed in order to preserve the works, keeping us on our toes.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum?
I was too busy being a kid to think about a career, but I was very influenced by my father who worked as an architectural draftsman and took some evening terracotta studio courses from Octavio Medellin. My ease in math, geometry and spatial relationships steered me towards a degree in sculpture, but even then I did not think about working at a museum.

What is your favorite work in the DMA collection?
That is a tough question, as the answer probably changes with my moods!  The lovely Indonesian textiles from the Sarawak area, with their wealth of history, intricacy of detail, and process of dying the wefts prior to weaving are inspirational to me. I have continual fondness for the graceful serenity of the Henry Moore maquettes. But, I have to admit, my first week at the museum I just HAD to see Tom Wesselmann’s Mouth #11, as I remember it from an elementary school tour, when the DMA was at Fair Park.

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?
The J. M. W. Turner exhibition was fantastic! The layout and gallery design with the moldings created a perfect environment for his works. I like contemporary art more than landscapes and port scenes, but his paintings continually stopped me in my tracks while doing my duties. The upcoming Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit has many challenges for us ahead, and our designer, curator and exhibition team are still in the process of deciding all the intricate details that go into such a show. With this being our first big “fashion” exhibition, I look forward to dressing the mannequins and getting an up-close view of the pieces, some of which are more like strange sculptural forms than clothing.

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.

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