Archive for November, 2011



Friday Photos: Haute Couture at the DMA

Jean Paul Gaultier is well known for his creative use of unusual materials when crafting his clothing lines. While he employs many materials that are typical  of the fashion industry, such as silk, furs, tulle, and lace, he also experiments with more uncommon items such as wheat, chicken feathers, aluminum cans, trash bags, and human hair. It is this wide use of sometimes strange materials that inspired this Friday Photos edition of Haute Couture at the DMA.

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What types of materials would you use to make your own line of clothing?

Jessica Kennedy

McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching

Images used:

Pair of Lokapalas (Heavenly Guardians), early 8th century, earthenware with three color (sancai) lead glazes, China, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of, Ellen and Harry S. Parker III

Nature or Abundance (La Nature or Fécondité), Léon Frédéric, 1897, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund

Joan of Arc, Anna Hyatt Huntington, n.d., bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, Kiest Memorial Fund

Emma in a Purple Dress, George W. Bellows, 1920-1923, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Mink and Mannequin, Reginald Marsh, 1940, watercolor, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Portrait of Two Children, Probably the Sons of M. Almeric Berthier, comte de LaSalle, Jean-Joseph Vaudechamp, 1841, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange

Xipe impersonator, Aztec culture, Late Postclassic period, c. A.D. 1350-1521, volcanic stone, shell, and paint, Mexico City area, state of Mexico, Mexico, North America, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene McDermott, the McDermott Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Takenouchi no Sukune Meets the Dragon King of the Sea, Japan, Meiji period (1868-1912), 1875-1879, bronze and glass,  Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, The John R. Young Collection, gift of M. Frances and John R. Young

Community Connection: Sport as Art

We first met artist Tom Russotti in July, after he contacted us about working together during his time at CentralTrak, The University of Texas at Dallas’ Artists Residency program.  We were immediately intrigued by his interest in combining art and sport, and have collaborated with Tom on multiple programs including the Art & Games Teacher WorkshopC3 Artistic Encounters, training for docents, Thriving Minds After-School program, Booker T. Washington Partnership Learning Lab, and Late Night Creativity Challenges.

Art & Games Teacher Workshop

Describe what you do.

I’m interested in the connection between art and sport, the idea of sport as an art form, and how all the different elements can be combined to have individual expression.  I’m also interested in my own history of playing sports and games, connecting that to other people through playing, and using play as an educational tool.

How did you get into games?

I invented a sport as a way of getting more active and more social in my artmaking. I was a documentary photographer previously, so I was driving around by myself and taking pictures, and editing alone in the darkroom.  I hadn’t played sports in a while, and thought it would be fun to get out and play and make sports fun for me again.  I also realized this could be an art form, something I could pursue artistically, and I could get other people involved by creating events.

My first invented game was called Wiffle Hurling, a new version of the sport of hurling, one of Ireland’s national sports. Hurling is a dangerous sport – it looks like rugby with large baseball bats.  I lived in Ireland for a year, and tried to join the hurling team at University College Dublin.  They said I would lose all my teeth and wouldn’t let me join the team.  Fast forward seven years: I had all these wiffle ball bats, and happened to walk by a practice football field with the same lines as a hurling field.  It dawned on me to put the two together and make it a social event with uniforms, cameras, and friends.  It turned into spectacle and was really fun.

What motivated you to contact us?

I was involved in a project in England, where kids made up their own sports and played them in a festival.  Since I couldn’t go to England, I told them I’d work with some youth groups here and have these groups invent sports and send them over.  They would have this international festival/competition, and bridge the gap between England and Dallas.  I started by calling the YMCA, and they said I should talk to the DMA because they do all sorts of afterschool programs, and they’d probably be into this.

What has been your most memorable project?

Every time an event works, it’s memorable.  In Sweden this past August, we had an amazing game of forty people playing soccer with ten balls in this old forest that once was a soccer field.  The first Wiffle Hurling was amazing.  The first Drinking and Dancing Competition was amazing.  The first Straitjacket Softball was amazing.  (You can view all these projects on the Institute for Aesthletics web site.)

MegaSoccer in Dals Langed, Sweden

Where do you see yourself in five years?

One of the reasons I’ve become an artist is so I can avoid answering that question.  I go where projects take me – five years ago, I could never have imagined  the projects that I’ve done.  Every time I try to over-rationalize what I do as an artist, the projects get boring. When you tap into something you’re doing naturally, that’s when you really create a project that has legs.

Take part in Tom’s upcoming gallery exhibition Hatchjaw and Bassett LLP at Conduit Gallery, open from November 19-December 31.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier Has Arrived

After months of preparation and anticipation, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is now open to the public.  The DMA’s galleries have been transformed into an immersive fashion environment, complete with singing mannequins and a moving catwalk.  I couldn’t stop saying “wow” my first time through the exhibition–I kept forgetting that I was inside the DMA.

Les Vierges collection, Apparitions dress, Haute couture, spring/summer 2007, copyright P. Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

The exhibition celebrates a 35-year span of Gaultier’s career (from 1976 to 2011), and is divided into six distinct galleries:

  • The Odyssey of Jean Paul Gaultier, which is an introduction to Gaultier using three of his favorite motifs: sailors, mermaids, and virgins.
  • The Boudoir, which explores Gaultier’s reinterpretation of corsets and lingerie for the modern woman’s wardrobe.
  • Skin Deep, which celebrates how skin (our first garment) and its various types of decoration have inspired Gaultier.  This section is also devoted to Gaultier’s take on male fashion, including his men’s skirts.
  • Punk Cancan, which reflects the influence of Paris and London on Gaultier’s designs.
  • Metropolis, which explores the worlds of technology and science fiction.  This section of the exhibition also includes Gaultier’s collaborations with artists in the fields of film and dance.
  • Urban Jungle, which demonstrates the influence of world cultures and peoples in the fashions of Jean Paul Gaultier.

Les Actrices collection, Barbarella body-corset, Haute couture, fall/winter 2009-2010, copyright P. Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

Of course, Jean Paul Gaultier’s name is forever tied to Madonna, and the gold corset from her Blond Ambition tour has pride-of-place in the Boudoir gallery.  The labels in the exhibition reveal a “who’s who” of other celebrities who have worn the designs in the exhibition, including Kylie Minogue, Dita von Teese, Sarah Jessica Parker, Anthony Keidis and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Catherine Deneuve, and Beyoncé.  Several of the labels also list the number of hours required to make that particular garment.  For me, that is the most fascinating part of the exhibition.  I spend my weekends sewing, and I get annoyed if something takes me longer than a day or two to complete.  I can’t imagine spending 200+ hours working on one garment!  I guess that’s the distinction between haute couture and something home-sewn.

Les Indes galantes collection, Lascar dress, Haute couture, spring/summer 2000, copyright P. Stable/Jean Paul Gaultier

If you would like to experience The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, I encourage you to sign up for our full-day Art & Fashion Teacher Workshop on December 3rd.  I am co-leading the workshop and we’ll explore the exhibition, as well as other examples of fashion from the DMA’s collection.  There are still spaces available, and it’s guaranteed to be a fashion-filled day (bonus points if you arrive for the workshop wearing sailor stripes). If you’re not able to join us for the Teacher Workshop, keep an eye out for Jessica’s fashion-inspired Friday Photo Posts in the month of November.

Jean Paul Gaultier's love note to Dallas

The DMA’s Uncrated blog also has a behind-the-scenes peek at Gaultier’s time at the DMA last week, including photos and video.  Of course, I also encourage you to come check out the exhibition for yourself.  This is the DMA’s first-ever fashion exhibition, and it truly is phenomenal.  Don’t let these fashions walk off the catwalk on February 12th without seeing them in person.

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Big Love from Jean Paul Gaultier

You may have heard that the U.S. Premiere of The Fashion World From Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk opened yesterday at the Dallas Museum of Art. But we had a week of pre-opening  events prior to Sunday, including the Press Preview on Thursday morning. Below are a few of our favorite shots from our time with the “enfant terrible”.

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Kimberly Daniell, Public Relations Specialist at the Dallas Museum of Art

Friday Photos: Haute Couture at the DMA

Jean Paul Gaultier is famous for his use of nautical-esque stripes in his designs. For this installment of Haute Couture at the DMA (inspired by the exhibition opening this Sunday) let’s focus our fashion-seeking eyes on the use of patterns within works of art. I love that the idea of a pattern (a repetitive form, order, or arrangement) is so universal that cultures from around the world have been using it for centuries!

Here are just a few of the many examples that you can find in our galleries:

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These are just a few works of art that incorporate patterns. What are some of your favorites that weren’t included?

Jessica Kennedy

McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching

Images Used:

Tunic with profile heads and stepped frets, Huari culture, Middle Horizon, c. 650-800, Cotton and camelid fiber, probably south coast, Peru, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Carol Robbins’ 40th anniversary with the Dallas Museum of Art

Tunic with checkerboard pattern and stepped yoke, Inca culture, Late Horizon, A.D. 1476-1534, Camelid fiber, Peru, South America, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc. in honor of Carol Robbins

Single-spout strap-handle vessel depicting a wounded warrior, Nasca culture, Early Intermediate period, Nasca Phase 7, c. A.D. 500-600, Ceramic south coast, Peru, South America, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund

Virgin of the Rosary, Attributed to Melchor Pérez Holguín, late 17th-early 18th century, Gold leaf with oil on canvas, Potosí, Bolivia, Dallas Museum of Art, The Cleofas and Celia de la Garza Collection, gift of Mary de la Garza-Hanna and Virginia de la Garza and an anonymous donor

Issun-Tokubei Holding a Spear, Utagawa Kunisada, 1859,Color woodcut, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Lise Sewing, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1866, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Helmet mask (kifwebe), Tempe-Songye peoples, late 19th to early 20th century, Wood and paint, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa, Dallas Museum of Art, The Clark and Frances Stillman Collection of Congo Sculpture, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Portrait of a Gentleman, possibly a Member of the Deutz Family, Michael Sweerts, 1648-1649, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation

Self-Guided Visits: Tips for Teachers

Students enjoy Miguel Covarrubias's Genesis, the Gift of Life

Arranging a self-guided visit for your students is great way to explore the Museum.  It allows your students to encounter the Museum on your terms, observe art at their own pace, and spend more time in front of objects that interests them.  Setting up a self-guided visit is easy, and to ensure that your Museum experience is educational and enjoyable, try these helpful hints:

Getting Started

Sign up for a self-guided visit by filling out an online request form.  If you  have already arranged a docent-guided tour and would like to add a self-guided visit to your Museum experience, send me an email at Tours@DallasMuseumofArt.org.

Be Prepared

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of logistics.  Save yourself some time and energy by preparing before you visit.  Once you have a date and time confirmed, start considering the layout of your self-guided visit.  If you have a large group, break them up into smaller groups before you visit.  Smaller groups make it easier to navigate through the galleries, and dividing them before you arrive gives you more time to spend in the galleries. 

Have a Game Plan

Most visitors feel that they need to see everything when they come to the Museum.  While every object on display deserves to be seen and appreciated, it’s just not feasible to see everything in our collection, unless you can spare a couple of hours.  Instead, challenge your students to focus on a handful of objects that encompass a topic or theme learned in class.  Short on inspiration?  Check out our online teaching materials for themes used on docent-guided tours.

Students in the European galleries

Be Creative

As teachers, you learn to be creative in just about every situation.  Consider your self-guided visit as another opportunity to show off your inventiveness.  Try adding some of these activities to your self-guided visit:

      • Create a scavenger hunt.  This activity works great with large groups and can be a fun game for all ages.  You can find loads of factual information and teaching tips in our CONNECT teaching materials.
      • Incorporate a sketching activity.  Have students take a closer look by having them sketch an object.  You can incorporate this activity in your scavenger hunt, or have a more in-depth drawing session.
      • Take a smARTphone tour.  Don’t have a smartphone?  Borrow an iPod Touch from the Visitor Services Desk.

Make the Most of Your Trip
After you’ve had plenty of time to gallivant through the galleries, why not enhance your Museum visit by stopping by Center for Creative Connections.  The Center for Creative Connections, or C3, is an innovative space that encourages interactive experiences with art.   There are fun activities for all ages, and you can create a make-and-take art project at the Space Bar. 

Students Sketching in the Galleries

There are many ways your students can experience the Museum, and as a teacher, you are the architect behind their visit.  Remember, encountering art can be exciting and educational, so be sure to have fun!

Wishing you all a terrific Thursday,

Loryn Leonard
Coordinator of Museum Visits

A Pair of Twos: Two Authors’ Take on Two Painters

Part of what’s most fun about working on Arts & Letters Live is getting to hear the buzz about new books several months before they are released. We first heard about Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith last winter and couldn’t wait for the release. This new biography came out less than a month ago to tremendous acclaim. Leo Jansen, Curator at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, called it “the definitive biography for decades to come,” and the authors were  profiled on 60 Minutes.

We are thrilled to be able to host these two authors for a program at the Dallas Museum of Art on Monday, November 14. They will discuss their new book and the similarities between Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, the subject of their Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Jackson Pollock: An American Saga.

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith were gracious enough to answer a few questions for us in advance of their event.

How did you come to tackle Vincent van Gogh as a subject for this book?
While we were still working on our biography of Jackson Pollock, more than twenty-five years ago, we began to think about the next artist we might want to write about. The challenge for a biographer is to find a subject (1) who is significant, in terms of the work he or she has left behind; (2) who led an interesting life; (3) whose life had a particular impact on the work; (4) who left behind enough of a record in order to be able to reconstruct the life; and (5) who hasn’t already been the subject of a definitive, or even a thorough, account. No one met these criteria better than van Gogh. The only hurdle was that we don’t read Dutch, a hurdle got past with the help of eleven translators. 

Other than Vincent van Gogh himself, who is the most interesting figure that you write about in this book?
Theo, certainly. He was easily the most important person in van Gogh’s life. He was Van Gogh’s only consistent source of emotional and financial support. He was an interesting person in his own right – both audacious enough to be one of the first dealers in Paris who showed the work of the impressionists, but also conservative enough to show only work he knew would sell. He was intensely conflicted in his feelings for his brother –fully aware of Vincent’s willingness to take advantage of his generosity, furious that Vincent caused their family so much trouble, and angry that Vincent refused to accept his advice about how to make his work more salable, yet caring for him deeply, utterly.

How do you feel van Gogh’s letters shaped Van Gogh: The Life?
The letters are the starting point for any biographer of van Gogh. They are astonishingly long and detailed, and yet they often have a manipulative intent. Van Gogh usually wanted something from Theo, and he was sometimes elegant, sometimes ham-fisted, in his efforts to cloak his requests. But because of van Gogh’s intermittent self-knowledge, because of his extraordinary intelligence and intellect, because they were written for the most part to one person, and because he didn’t think anyone else would ever read them, van Gogh’s letters open an almost unique window onto a great creative mind.

Sheaves of Wheat, Vincent Van Gogh, 1890, Oil on Canvas, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Do you have a favorite work of van Gogh’s? What draws you to that piece?
We have many, many favorites, but one that comes to mind is a painting of underbrush in the Van Gogh Museum collection. It shows both his absolute mastery of color – extraordinary and subtle combinations of browns and purples and blues, hundreds and hundreds of them – and a dazzling display of his command over his brush, and in particular his Sargent-like ability to paint wet on wet.

Tree Roots, July 1890, Oil on Canvas, 19 3/4 x 39 1/4 in. Van Gogh Foundation, Amsterdam.

Have you visited Dallas before? If so, what did you think of the city?
(Steven) Yes, I have a lot of family in Texas – in fact I was Congressman Charlie Wilson’s first intern on Capitol Hill. Dallas has some spectacular architecture, including I. M. Pei’s Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, and the Museum has a first-rate collection, including two key works by Jackson Pollock, Portrait and a Dream and Cathedral. We have not yet seen the Nasher Sculpture Center and are thrilled at the opportunity to see it.

Cathedral, Jackson Pollock, 1947, Enamel and aluminum paint on canvas, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard J. Reis

The November 14 event is sold out but overflow seating is still available in a live simulcast in the Center for Creative Connections Theater.

Katie Hutton is Program Manager of Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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