Archive for September, 2011

The New Kids on the Block

No, not the eighties boy band…last week, a group of fresh faces joined DMA staff – the new class of McDermott Interns. I am delighted to introduce you to Hannah Burney, McDermott Intern for Community Teaching, and Jessica Kennedy, McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching. Hannah received her B.A. in the History of Art and Visual Culture from the University of California in Santa Cruz and completed a year-long internship in the education department at the de Young Museum in San Francisco before coming to the DMA. Jessica holds both an M.A. in History with a concentration in Museum Studies and a B.A. in Art History from the University of Missouri in St. Louis. She also served as Interpretive Assistant in the Educational Media Department at the St. Louis Art Museum.

Hannah Burney, McDermott Intern for Community Teaching

Jessica Kennedy, McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching

Hannah will work primarily with Go van Gogh and community programs, and Jessica will focus on docent and gallery teaching programs. Both interns will also participate in other areas of our department, such as Programs for Teachers, as well as contribute to DMA Educator Blog. We are so excited to have them with us for the next nine months, and hope that you will have the opportunity to meet and work with them during their time here as well.

Neither of you are Dallas natives. What do you most look forward to about living in Texas?

Hannah: Being a huge fan of food, I am very excited about the famous Texas BBQ, steak, and Tex-Mex. I also look forward to all the cultural experiences Texas has to offer that can’t be found on the West Coast, including the State Fair, a fried foods institution (where, I am told, the “corny dog” was first introduced), and hoedowns, where I hope to partake in two-stepping, line dancing, Texas swing, and the like. But, what I most enjoy about Texas is all the warm and welcoming southern hospitality.

Jessica: The thing that I most look forward to when visiting any new city is discovering local restaurants and cuisine. I love trying food that is unfamiliar to me as well as finding new versions of old favorites. I am especially eager to explore the various types of BBQ and Tex-Mex offerings specific to the DFW area.

How do you spend your free time?

Hannah: I consider myself a bit of a foodie, and love trying new foods or enjoying old favorites. Apart from dining, I love being outdoors: going for a walk, a swim, a hike, kayak trip or adventure of any kind. So, once the weather starts to cooperate, I am looking forward to exploring the Katy Trail. In the meantime, I’ve been very much taking advantage of my new pool, something I never had in San Francisco! If I have a bit of extended free time, traveling is what I most love to do.

Hannah hangs from a zip line in Mexico

Jessica: I enjoy reading, trying new recipes, taking photos (although not as often as I would like), and hanging out with friends and family. Also, I have spent a bit of time traveling around the country to accompany my husband with his lifelong goal of seeing a baseball game played in every major league stadium in America. We have eight down and twenty-three to go!

Jessica and her husband made sure to check Rangers Ballpark off of the list!

Describe your first week at the DMA.

Hannah: The incredibly friendly, patient and endlessly knowledgeable staff have really eased me into my first week. From learning security policies to activity prep procedures, I have had not just  one, but many helpful hands leading the way. Besides getting to know the wonderful staff and learning the nitty-gritties of the position, I have most enjoyed spending time in the galleries exploring the vast comprehensive collection here.

Jessica: Amazing! Everyone on staff has been so welcoming and encouraging. Our schedule was packed full of introductions and training sessions, which seemed daunting at first, but it really showed me just how much the DMA values its employees. Despite the fact that it is very easy for me to get lost in the halls and galleries (my directional skills aren’t that great), in a few short days, I felt completely at home within this Museum!

What aspect(s) of your internship are you most excited to begin?

Hannah: The other interns and I discussed why some of us chose to pursue a path towards education versus curatorial work in the Museum. And we light-heartedly agreed that it was dependent upon whether you are primarily a people person or a book person. As a people person, I am most excited to begin working with the many diverse groups of people both inside and outside of the Museum. I feel very lucky to have the unique opportunity to work with docents, volunteers, students, and teachers throughout the next year.

Jessica: One of the things that I am most excited about is really learning and exploring the DMA’s collection with student groups that come to visit. I love the enthusiasm and imagination that they bring when viewing works of art. I am also looking forward to working with and learning from the wonderful education staff!

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

There’s a New Girl in Town

Earlier this year, the DMA was very fortunate to receive a lovely gift from SMU’s distinguished Art History professor emerita Dr. Alessandra Comini. She gave us a beautiful sculpture of Lady Godiva by one of 19th-century America’s premier female sculptors, Anne Whitney. Whitney’s work frequently reflects her commitment to social activism. In fact, before Whitney became an artist she often wrote essays and poems that were published in a contemporary periodical dedicated to women’s rights called Una. Soon she became notable for expressing her abolitionist and feminist views through both the written word and sculpture. Whitney’s sensibilities made Lady Godiva’s story particularly appealing.

Anne Whitney, Lady Godiva, c. 1861–64, 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.

Generally, we think of Lady Godiva on her legendary ride, but Whitney chose to depict a moment much earlier in the story. Godiva lived in Coventry England during the 11th century. As the story goes, she complained to her husband that the tax he levied against his subjects was excessively high. He agreed to lower them if in return she would ride naked on a horse through the streets of Coventry. Whitney depicts the moment when Godiva accepted her spouse’s challenge. Gazing heavenward, fully clothed and just starting to remove her girdle, she is about to begin protesting on behalf of Coventry’s vulnerable and oppressed.

It is especially unusual to own an artwork depicting the earlier, more poignant moment in the account of Lady Godiva’s famous ride. Moreover, owning a full-sized marble sculpture of a woman by a woman artist is quite rare. We are grateful to Dr. Comini for her generosity, and we encourage you to come see this exquisite sculpture in the DMA’s American Galleries on Level 4.

Join Dr. Alessandra Comini on Thursday, October 27 for a special lecture on women sculptors from America who descended upon the seven hills of Rome during the 1860s and beyond.  Click here for additional details.

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

Dallas Museum of Art’s C3: A Space To Channel Your Creative Energy

The Dallas Museum of Art’s Center for Creative Connections is a unique, hands-on space for museum visitors of all age. C3 gives Dallas creatives of all ages a place to learn about art and develop their own creativity in a fun, interactive environment. Find out more about C3 in the video below.

DMA Teacher Workshops: Top Ten Reasons to Attend

10.  Experience something new.

9.  Spend time in special exhibitions.

8.  Share and learn new strategies for teaching and learning with art.

7.  Collect CPE hours.

6.  Explore ideas across cultures and times.

5.  Connect with DMA staff, visiting artists, and scholars.

4.  Gather with educators and dive into rich conversations.

3.  Participate in creative thinking and making.

2.  Take long and close looks at works of art.

1.  See art, teaching, and life in a fresh way.

French Cancan collection, women’s prêt-à-porter, fall/winter 1991-1992, © P. Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

Scorched Earth, 2006, Mark Bradford, billboard paper, photomechanical reproductions, acrylic gel medium, carbon paper, acrylic paint, bleach, and additional mixed media on canvas, 94 1/2 x 118 inches, collection of Dennis and Debra Scholl, photo: Bruce M. White

Whether it’s your first or fifty-first workshop, we invite you to join us for several teacher workshops occurring this Fall and Winter at the Dallas Museum of Art.  Each workshop begins with an introduction, creative warm-up, and browse of resources.  Gallery experiences include sketching, writing, independent reflection, and group discussion with peer educators, artists, and experts.  K-12 teachers of all disciplines are welcome!

Join us on Saturday, October 22 for Layered Materials, Layered Meanings: Mark Bradford to take a close look at the work of L.A.-based artist Mark Bradford.  Artist Tom Russotti will lead an Art & Games workshop on Saturday, November 12, emphasizing play, problem-solving, and games in relationship to works of art.  Spend a full day exploring Art & Fashion in the exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier and throughout the DMA collections.  Teachers may register for workshops online.

Visit the DMA this Friday, September 16 for the monthly Late Night.  Educators receive half-price admission ($5) after 5:00 p.m. on September 16 when they show their school I.D.  Drop by the Educator Resource table, talk with staff about upcoming teacher programs, and win door prizes.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Resources

Remembering September 11

Today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and in memory of that day we want to share a recent addition to the DMA’s collection, September, a print by Gerhard Richter.

Gerhard Richter, September, 2009, print between glass, Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund

Richter was on a Lufthansa flight to New York from his home in Cologne when the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were attacked. He was traveling to New York for the September 13 opening of his exhibition at the Marian Goodman Gallery; his plane was forced to land in Halifax and he was able to return to Germany a couple of days later. Richter nearly witnessed the attacks, but in the end he only experienced them, as did the rest of the world, through images.

Throughout his long career, Richter has confronted in his work the most charged and painful issues of our day. His art has always suggested that imagery, photographic imagery in particular, carries an unbearable burden of how we perceive our world. This print of Richter’s September painting provides us with minimal information to register the subject, yet a further clue is given by the title.

Friday Photos: Mystery Artwork Series

Last Friday, I started off our Mystery Artwork Series with this rhyme and scrambled image:

His paintings reference color theory,
and his color palette is seldom dreary,
with three layers of squares,
this painting hangs across from a chair.

Are you ready for me to reveal the answer?  The painting is—Josef Alber’s “Homage to the Square: Straight.”   If you would like to find this work in the Museum, it is located on the second floor in the European Gallery. 

Josef Albers, "Homage to the Square:Straight," 1962, Bequest of Louise W. Kahn and Edmund J. Kahn.

If bright colored squares and layering is your thing, you might want to check out the upcoming Mark Bradford exhibition this fall.  Also, don’t miss out on a great teacher workshop in October—Layered Materials, Layered Meanings: Mark Bradford.

We will now commence the second round.  The next object in our Mystery Artwork Series is one of my favorite works in the DMA’s collection.  I will post an altered photograph of the mystery artwork and give you a clue in the form of a rhyme.  It is up to you to visit the Museum and search our galleries or practice your good research skills by searching on our online collections page. 

The cryptic artwork will be revealed the following Friday, with the presentation of a new mystery artwork.  Here is this week’s puzzler:

Press the button to turn on the light,
and you’ll see many birds in flight.
Woven checkers of red and black,
this textile once covered a man’s back.

Helpful hint: this object can be found on the 4th floor.

Happy hunting,

Loryn Leonard
Coordinator of Museum Visits

60 Minutes in the Dallas Museum of Art

As a child, my first museum visits were orchestrated by my parents. These all-day excursions began the moment the museum opened its doors and ended sometime after five o’clock, when a security guard shuffled us to the nearest exit. Before the day was through, we’d make it a point to see everyone’s favorite area of the museum, eventually charting its every offering.

Today trips like this are harder and harder to come by and actually, now that I work for the Dallas Museum of Art, one of the hardest parts of my job is finding the time to experience the artwork! For me, shorter more frequent trips to the Museum have helped me get to know the DMA one gallery or even one artwork at a time.

Thanks largely to the DMA’s great variety of lunchtime tours, after-hours programs, and lectures, you can broaden your knowledge of the collection nearly every week. These guided experiences are the perfect way to spend a short visit to the DMA, and hopefully they’ll encourage and equip you to do more focused exploring on your own!

With just sixty minutes to work with, you’d be surprised at the great multitude of experiences that await you. Here are some of my favorite works to get you started. They’re just a small sampling of the amazing works that will inspire you to take your time and get a closer look.

Gandharan culture, Hadda region, "Thinking Bodhisattva", 4th to 6th century A.D., Terracotta, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendover Fund, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation, Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, and General Acquisitions Fund

This Buddhist sculpture, located on Level 3, represents a bodhisattva, or someone who has achieved enlightenment but delays Nirvana to help others achieve transcendence. In fact, he’s not just any bodhisattva, but the one destined to become the historic Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

I enjoy this sculpture mostly because of its rich detail and lively gestures. When I stand before him, he seems to be not only reflecting upon his impending destiny but truly at the heels of it. At any moment he seems ready to step off his throne and into his next life as the Buddha.

Toraja, Sulawesi, Galumpang area, Indonesia, Shroud or ceremonial hanging (sekomandi), probably late 19th century, Cotton, Dallas Museum of Art, the Steven G. Alpert Collection of Indonesian Textiles, gift of the McDermott Foundation

Of all media, I am least familiar with and most intrigued by the textiles. You can get fairly close to these objects in the galleries, and attempting to deconstruct their striking complexities by doing so can be nothing short of mesmerizing.

This example, located on Level 3, was woven by the Toraja peoples of Indonesia and exquisitely combines bold arrangements in color, pattern, and texture to reveal in its central quadrant a series of geometric and interlocking human figures believed to represent generations of beloved ancestors.

Mvaï group, Fang peoples, Ntem region, Gabon, Africa, Reliquary guardian figure, 1800-1860, wood, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Predating Western notions of cubism by nearly half a century, this rare sculpture from the Fang peoples of sub-Saharan Africa is sure to stun you in your tracks. Composed of beautifully carved abstract and voluminous forms, the shining figure was probably modeled in the likeness of an ancestor and positioned protectively atop a reliquary box containing familial remains. Now I like to think of him as standing guard over the African galleries on Level 3 at the DMA, humbling our viewers and summoning their attention.

Roman, Battle sarcophagus, c. 190 A.D., marble, Dallas Museum of Art, Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund and gift of anonymous donor

This sarcophagus, located on Level 2, was probably made to commemorate the military victories of a Roman general whose corpse it was intended to house. Its battle scene is deeply carved in a complex relief that reveals warriors, horses, and captives, each densely intertwined and submerged in the real chaos of war.

Every time I visit this work, I’m fascinated by the great number of unique figures and gestures captured against its surface. Every few inches reveals a new layer of intense drama.

Frederic Edwin Church, The Icebergs, 1861, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Norma and Lamar Hunt

During my first visit to the DMA, The Icebergs, located on Level 4, was the first masterpiece to truly floor me. Based on sketches made during a monthlong boat trip in the North Atlantic, it is an enthralling triumph by Frederic Edwin Church.

Its exquisite palette and sharp glow entice any viewer. I have to visit the painting time and time again, simply because each time I do, I swear, it changes. No matter how hard I try, I can never fully recall its subtle warmth and reflection of light.

Zaha Hadid (British born Iraq, 1950), designer; Sawaya & Moroni (Italian, est. 1984), maker, Tea and coffee service, designed 1996, executed 2002, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift of in honor of Lela Rose and Catherine Rose

This puzzle-like tea and coffee service, located on Level 4, represents a first foray into silverware for renowned architect Zaha Hadid. When not in use, the lustrous components gather into a single architectural form that defies symmetry and cleverly disguises its function.

How cool is that?! I challenge you to stand in front of this service and try to piece it together in your head. It’s no easy feat, I assure you, but in the meantime you’ll definitely enjoy getting lost in its abundance of reflective surfaces and voids.

Auriel Garza is the Curatorial Administrative Assistant to Non-Western and Decorative Arts at the DMA.

Getting to Know the New Docents

The desire to communicate the power of art to others is the main requirement to become a docent at the Dallas Museum of Art.  This year, we have twelve candidates in our New Docent class, and they begin their training next Monday.  The next nine months will be jam-packed with training sessions that will help them prepare for giving tours to visitors of all ages.  We’ll spend a lot of time talking about how to teach in the galleries, and a majority of their time will be spent getting to know the over 23,000 works of art in the DMA’s collection (not an easy feat).

The members of the new docent class of 2011-2012 come from a variety of backgrounds: we have artists, retired teachers, lawyers, and bankers.  One thing they all have in common is a passion for art and enriching students’ lives.  I asked all of them why they want to become a docent at the DMA and what they hope to gain from the experience.  Below are responses from some of the new docents in their own words.

Students on a docent-guided tour of the DMA

  • “As a student of the arts my entire life, I would love nothing more than to share this love and understanding with others of all ages and knowledge levels.  I think it’s fascinating to see art through the eyes of a child; they often point out things that I have never noticed; fresh eyes are essential to keeping artworks alive.  I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than a child’s face lighting up as they explore a new piece, learn something new, and go home with excitement about art.” —Suzie Curnes
  • “I would like to help young people understand that to fully appreciate a work of art, you have to know its history, you have to look at it very carefully and, ideally, even sketch it.  You also need to think about how it makes you feel.  Then you have formed a relationship with it, and you won’t ever forget it.” —Sanlyn Kent
  • “I enjoy standing in front of a group of people, young or old, and explaining the topic, asking them questions, helping the group get involved in the discussion…There is nothing more exciting and fun than talking about and teaching about something that you love.” —Cynthia Camuel
  • “I have a strong emotional connection to the DMA.  After the Museum moved downtown, I would frequently go to the DMA and walk through the galleries during my lunch hour.  Spending time at the Dallas Museum of Art gave me a great education.  Being a docent will give me an opportunity to make a modest payment for those great experiences.” —Bill Bounds
  • “As a native Dallasite, I have enjoyed the DMA for many years, and have always seen the Museum as a vibrant learning environment.  As a docent, I believe I can expand my experiences, while passing on my knowledge to others.  I’m truly excited about the possibility!” —Harriet Stoneham

This will be my first year to train a new group of docents, and I’m also excited about all of the possibilities we will discover together.  The new docents will begin touring in early 2012, so you and your students may just have a chance to meet them when you visit the DMA during the coming year!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Back to School: Student and Teacher Programs By the Numbers

Even though it’s still warm outside, it seems like fall now that school has started. Those of us in the Teaching Programs and Partnerships department spent our summer vacation getting ready for the 2011-2012 school year. We were busy planning for tours, Go van Gogh outreach programs, and teacher workshops that relate to the DMA’s collection, as well as our upcoming special exhibitions. We thought it might be fun to share with you a “by-the-numbers” look at the different programs we offer for students and teachers.

66,661—Number of K-12 students from the DFW Metroplex who had a DMA experience (museum visit, Go van Gogh program, or special partnership) during the 2010-2011 school year

51,166Number of views accumulated thus far since launching the DMA Educator Blog in September 2009

Museum Visits

48,327—Number of K-12 students who received a docent-guided or self-guided tour of the DMA in 2010-2011

3,917—Number of higher education students who visited the DMA for a tour during the 2010-2011 school year

12,568—Number of Dallas ISD 4th graders who will visit the DMA this year for docent-guided tours

34—Weeks available to schedule a tour for your students

119—Number of docents who will give tours during the 2011-2012 school year

24—Number of Teen Docents who volunteered at the DMA this past summer

Go van Gogh Classroom Outreach

8,236 – Number of students in Dallas who experienced a Go van Gogh program in 2010-2011

32 – Go van Gogh visits to Dallas Public Libraries during summer 2011

128 – Days available to schedule Go van Gogh visits during 2011-2012

10Satellite and Site-Specific Go van Gogh programs in 2011-2012, including schools in Richardson, McKinney, and Waxahachie

40 – Number of Go van Gogh volunteers in 2011-2012

14,779 – Miles on the Go van Gogh van

Programs for Teachers

34Number of online teaching material units available FREE on the DMA website

578 – Number of teachers who participated in professional development sessions at the DMA during summer 2011

3.5Number of CPE credit hours teachers will receive for attending one of seven teacher workshops this year

$5Price of admission (half off) for teachers attending the September 16 Late Night

1 – Number of nights each week that teachers receive free admission. Show your school ID between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. on Thursday nights and gaze at art free!

$40Price of a teacher membership, which provides free admission and parking for you as well as discounts on shopping, dining, and attending teacher workshops!

All of our programs will officially begin the week of September 19, and we are currently accepting reservations for the 2011-2012 school year.  We look forward to welcoming you and your students to the Museum soon!

Shannon Karol is the Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching.

Teaching for Creativity: Chairs, Frank Gehry, and Combinatorial Thinking

Time to nurture your creativity!  Try this fun activity involving associative and combinatorial thinking by yourself or with a friend.

Step 1: Draw a chair. (any chair that comes to your mind)
Step 2: Interview this chair that you have drawn.  What questions would you ask this chair?
Step 3: Imagine this chair that you’ve drawn has a GIANT ego.  Look a second time at the interview questions you wrote.  Which of the questions best fit an egotistical chair?
Step 4: Place the word “chair” in the middle of a piece of paper.   Build a chain of associations, starting with chair.  For instance: chair – leg – foot – walk – path – journey.  Get it?  Each word in the chain is an association with the word before it.  Try to make one, two, or three more chains of association.  Let your mind open up and flow with ideas!
Step 5: Circle the last word in each of your chains.  For instance, I would circle the word “journey” in my chain above.
Step 6: Test your combinatorial thinking abilities.  Take one of the circled words (example: journey) and combine it with chair.  The goal is to make something new through the combination of two words/ideas.  In this example, we are combining JOURNEY + CHAIR to create something new, and maybe even improved.  What new associations, ideas, and creations can emerge from mixing together two seemingly different ideas?
Step 7: Draw the new object or idea that you created from the two words.  Write an advertising slogan or jingle for this new product.

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Last night, I got my creativity on by participating in the DMA’s Thursday evening C3 Artistic Encounters program with creativity expert Dr. Magdalena Grohman and architect Peter Goldstein.  After Magda led us through the thinking and drawing exercise presented above, Peter shared with us some provocative connections to the work of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry through a PowerPoint of Gehry’s ideas, drawings, chair designs, and architectural structures.  Encouraging us to think about “collisions of spaces,” “forms crashing together,” and “the space between” when viewing Gehry’s work, Peter also highlighted an example of combinatorial thinking in Gehry’s work.  Bentwood chairs created by Gehry are an exploration of forms inspired by bushel baskets.  Gehry even took it a step further, adding notions of hockey and the flow of players’ movements on the ice to the combination of ideas reflected in these chairs.  CHAIR + BUSHEL BASKET + HOCKEY = “HAT TRICK” SIDE CHAIR

"Hat Trick" side chair, Frank Gehry (American, born 1929), designed 1992, manufactured by Knoll International, wood and bentwood, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of the Knoll Group

A viewing of Sculpting Space: 299 Chairs was next on the agenda.  This installation of chair clusters, created by Peter’s architecture students at Skyline High School in Dallas ISD, invited a long look for collisions of spaces and forms.  Just as he asked his students to think about the space between, Peter asked us to explore spatial intersections through sketching exercises emphasizing loose, flowing lines.

Throughout September, join us for more spatial explorations of art and architecture on Thursday evenings with  C3 Artistic Encounters.  Peter Goldstein will be back on September 15, and his Skyline High School colleague Tom Cox will be the visiting artist on September 8 and 22.  These programs, which are FREE with paid admission, occur on Thursdays from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.  And guess what?  Educators receive FREE general admission to the DMA on Thursday evenings when they show their school ID at the visitor services desk.  What are you waiting for?  It’s time to get your creativity on!

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships



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