Archive for October, 2011



Member Appreciation Week

The DMA’s third annual Member Appreciation Week (MAW) is less than a month away. Each year we set aside one week to celebrate our members! Membership contributions are vital to the Museum’s operations, allowing us to present exquisite special exhibitions and rich multidisciplinary programming like Late Nights. The Dallas Museum of Art is extraordinary because of the generosity and investment of its members.

We’ve added a couple of days to this year’s MAW so that we can incorporate the opening of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk. Over twenty events are planned during these nine days, which was no easy feat, and there is something that will appeal to all of our members. Some of the week’s highlights include:

  • Member previews of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier – Preparation for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition has been in the works for months, but we reserved time for our members to have the opportunity to view the exhibition prior to the November 13 public opening.
  • Arts & Letters Live special lecture: Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock: Changing What Art Is – Authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith will discuss their new book Van Gogh: The Life as well as the similarities they found between Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, on Monday, November 14. Members will be able to attend this event free (to make reservations click here), and I’m taking this night off so that I can enjoy my membership benefits!
  • Story Time – Every summer the education department sends an e-mail to staff members asking who wants to read books during Story Time. I’m always one of the first to volunteer to read a children’s story in one of the collection galleries. It is a popular event with families and we want to offer our members this experience in the fall. After the story, we talk about the art. Hearing children tell me about their experience with art is one of the highlights of my job!
  • 20% off in the Museum Store – who doesn’t love a good sale! The extra 20% is just in time to start your holiday shopping.

For a full list of events, visit Events for Members. Don’t forget to stop by the Member Services Desk to introduce yourself so that we can thank you in person! For information on how to become a member, call 214-922-1247 or visit  DallasMuseumofArt.org.

Wendi Kavanaugh is the Member Outreach Manager at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Urban Armor: Urban Art

Urban Armor is a program for tweens and teens focusing on building identity through discussion and artmaking. This month, we’re offering a graffiti workshop inspired by the Mark Bradford  exhibition.  We’ll look at several works in this incredible show, and talk about the relationship between place and identity on both a personal and communal level.

Mark Bradford, A Truly Rich Man Is One Whose Children Run into His Arms Even When His Hands Are Empty, 2008, Collection of Marguerite Steed Hoffman

What has me excited about this workshop is the opportunity to discuss with participants the idea that not only are we influenced by our environment, we in turn leave our mark on the spaces we inhabit through our presence and actions. For teens, I think this desire to make someplace your own is particularly strong—from their rooms at home, lockers at school, to their personal space (how they dress, for example). This connection between place and identity is fundamental not only to Mark Bradford’s work but to street art as well, which is something we’ll explore during the workshop. Teens will also  have the chance to talk about their own reactions to Bradford’s work in terms of his materials and his use of layers.

Participants will then have the opportunity to make a work of graffiti art using a wide variety of materials that focus on their individual creative strengths.  Some may feel more comfortable with  drawing, others with collage, etc. Regardless of the medium they choose, we’ll emphasize the notion of self-expression through the use of layers. They’ll learn how to make their own stencils and how these can be used to create patterns through repetition in their artwork as well as a way of personalizing their own stuff at home after the workshop.

My sample, Training Wheels/Bull Market, shows layering and stencil processes

Urban Art will be offered Friday, October 21 from 9:30-11:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 29 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  The October 29 workshop is currently full, and registration is encouraged for the October 21 workshop (drop-ins will be welcome but space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis).  All supplies will be provided, and the program is free with paid admission to the Museum.

JC Bigornia
Coordinator of Family Experiences

Off the Wall: Alternate Universe

In our Center for Creative Connections we ask visitors to reflect on their responses to the spaces they encounter in art, as well as those they encounter in their everyday life.

For one work of art specifically, Lee Bontecou’s Untitled, we ask visitors to respond to one of three prompts:

  • To me, sharing space with this work of art feels like…
  • The words or pictures that come to mind when I look at this work of art are…
  • If this work of art was part of something larger, describe what it would be.

    Untitled (35), Lee Bontecou, 1961, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of an anonymous foundation

We have gotten a lot of great responses from visitors and want to share a few with you. Once a month we will have an “Off the Wall” post featuring three responses left by visitors.

Next time you are in the Center for Creative Connections add your contribution to the wall and maybe you will see it on Uncrated!

Friday Photos: Artist Encounters

We love Mark Bradford!

Teaching Programs and Partnerships staff with Mark Bradford.  An exhibition spanning ten years of his career opens at the DMA on October 16th.

A Monumental Install

Detail, the massive ark currently grounded in the Barrel Vault, recreates part of Mark Bradford’s earlier work Mithra which was installed in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. Detail consists of a steel and wood core to which is attached plywood panels to form the outer hull. The only part of the original Mithra that is used for this new piece is the outer plywood hull; the inner structure is new and was designed and fabricated for Bradford’s retrospective.

Because of the size and complexity of Detail, it was decided early in the planning stages of our exhibit that I would travel to Chicago to observe the piece being installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Being able to watch and participate in the assembly of Detail at the MCA answered most of the questions we had about its construction. Well before we began our installation, we had a very firm idea of how the piece would go together and how long it would take to build.


The first two days of installation were spent bolting together the inner steel core, which comprises thirteen steel uprights, sixteen corrugated steel panels, and almost forty horizontal and diagonal braces. Due to the size and weight of the individual components, and the fact that the steel panels were an extremely tight fit to the uprights, this was the most difficult part of the installation. The prep staff made judicious use of rubber mallets to “persuade” the steel panels to fit. When completed, this inner core replicates the look of the steel shipping containers used in the original MithraDetail is designed so that the viewer can get a slight glimpse of this inner structure through small gaps between the plywood panels that form the hull.

Once we were finished assembling the steel core, the installation went fairly quickly. The next step was to attach eleven large wooden “ribs”—each in two sections, a top and a bottom—that bolted on to flanges on the steel uprights. At this point what had been a huge steel box began to take on the shape of a giant boat. Next a series of horizontal wooden braces were screwed between the ribs. These horizontal braces, along with the wooden ribs, served as attachment points for the outer plywood “skin” that forms the hull of Detail. The final step was screwing the plywood panels to the ribs and horizontal braces, which completed the hull. The fit of the panels was not really precise; at this stage, we relied on our own aesthetic judgment, plus images from the installation in Chicago, to determine the exact placement and alignment of each panel in relation to the others around it.

We completed Detail in five days, right on schedule. Mark Bradford’s monumental boat and the Barrel Vault space seem to be made for each other, and Detail will certainly be as memorable a viewing experience as it was to install.

Mike Hill is a Preparator at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Educator Resources: Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford opens this Sunday, October 16 at the Dallas Museum of Art and you do not want to miss this exhibition.  Bradford’s abstract, large-scale, mixed-media paintings look beautiful and comfortable in the expansive contemporary art galleries at the DMA.  As you plan your own visit or a visit for your students, there is great information about Bradford, his work, and his process available on several websites.  Spend some time with the following resources to learn more about Bradford and to gather ideas for dialogue and studio projects with your students.

Potable Water, 2005, Billboard paper, photomechanical reproductions, acrylic gel medium, and additional mixed media, 130 x 196 inches, Collection of Hunter Gray, Photo: Bruce M. White

1.  Pinocchio is On Fire
This is the official website for the exhibition Mark Bradford, organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio.  When you visit the site, you have four ways to dive into Bradford’s work. Select “the studio” and view a unique presentation of two videos featuring Bradford talking about his process.   “The art” guides us through a look at several works in the exhibition.  Finally, you can choose “the artist” to learn more about Bradford’s biography, or select “process & materials” to learn more about what media he uses and how he creates.

2.  Art21
This popular PBS documentary about art in the 21st century features Mark Bradford and eighty-five additional contemporary artists presently working in the United States.  Each season of Art21, which is now in its fifth season, explores several thematic episodes that bring together multiple artists for consideration within the specified theme.  Bradford is featured in the “Paradox” episode, season four, which looks at how contemporary artists address contradiction, ambiguity, and truth.  For Bradford and each of the artists featured on the website, visitors can access videos, slideshows, interactive resources, and educational materials.

Mark Bradford in his studio, fall 2009, Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

3. Open Studio
Mark Bradford conceived of Open Studio as part of the Getty Artists Program.  Designed for K-12 teachers, the resource is a collection of art-making ideas developed by Bradford and ten international artists that he engaged in the project.  Open Studio art lessons reflect the contemporary world that we live in and the ways in which young people move through this world (often faster than the rest of us as Bradford suggests).  The website also includes biographies and several color images for each artist.

4. Exhibition smARTphone tour
If you are coming to the exhibition or wish to reconnect with the artworks after visiting the exhibition, don’t forget that you can pull out your smartphone (iPhones, Androids, Blackberrys, etc.) and listen to Mark Bradford talk about several works in the exhibition.  This tour has been available at many of the exhibition venues.  If you do not have a smartphone, just type “www.dallasmuseumofart.mobi” into your internet browser to view the resources on your computer.  Select “Mark Bradford,” then select the artwork of your choice to listen.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Einstein's Dreams of the DMA

If you’re a follower of the DMA Educator Blog, then you’ve read about our Staff Reading Group.  Last Friday, our reading group combined a work of fiction with works from the collection in an engaging and provocative conversation.

Melissa selected five excerpts from Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman.*  The novel imagines what Einstein may have been dreaming about during the time that he was developing the theory of relativity.  Our instructions from Melissa were simple: read the  excerpts, each of which offers a definition of time, and select one work of art from the collection to illustrate that definition.  This idea was first introduced by Amy in a blog post over the summer.

Six staff members participated in the conversation, and we were shocked when we learned that we had each responded to the same excerpt: 14 April 1905.  In this chapter, time is defined in the following way: “Suppose time is a circle, bending back on itself.  The world repeats itself, precisely, endlessly” (Lightman, 6).

Both Hannah and Melissa selected Shiva Nataraja as the art equivalent of time as a circle.  Shiva is the Hindu deity of creation, destruction, and rebirth, and in this sculpture he dances out the rhythm of the universe.

Shiva Nataraja, India, 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

Our part-time intern, Mary Nangah, thought Jackson Pollock’s Cathedral best represented this concept of time.  It’s difficult to identify and starting and ending point for each line.  Time is also represented through the repetition of color and line on the canvas.

Jackson Pollock, Cathedral, 1947, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard J. Reis

Jessica selected Harry Koerner’s June Night, which shows an intimate view of an apartment complex.  Jessica felt that these vignettes could happen any time, anywhere.  The images of the bride and groom, as well as the baby, also reminded her of the cycle of life.  The final line of this excerpt reads “For in each town, late at night, the vacant streets and balconies fill up with their moans” (Lightman, 9).  Jessica could imagine hearing sorrowful moans on the fire escape of this painting.

Henry Koerner, June Night, 1948-1949, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Joshua L. Logan

My selection was Apollo and Diana Attacking the Children of Niobe by Jacques-Louis David.  I was especially struck by the last paragraph of the reading, which was about people with unhappy lives who realize that they cannot change their actions and their mistakes will be repeated over and over again.  Here, Niobe pleads with Apollo and Diana to spare the last of her fourteen children from death.  She is being punished for her pride after boasting that her children were more beautiful and strong than Apollo and Diana.  Her final punishment comes when she is turned into a sculpture, forced to mourn for eternity.

Jacques-Louis David, Apollo and Diana Attacking the Children of Niobe, 1772, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund in honor of Dr. Dorothy Kosinski

If you were going to select one work of art from the DMA’s collection to represent time as a circle, what work would you choose?  I look forward to reading your responses in the comments!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

*Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams, New York: Vintage Books, 1993.


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