Archive for December, 2011

Winter Break: Playful Poses

Do you ever wonder what the DMA staff does during winter break?

Have a happy New Year!

Jessica Kennedy
McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching

Artworks pictured above:

Eleanor Nightengale, John Smibert, 1727, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund and gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Portrait of Dr. Otto Ruhle (Retrato del Dr. Otto Ruhle), Diego Rivera, 1940, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth B. Blake

Head of the rain god Tlaloc, Mixtec culture, Late Postclassic period, c. A.D. 1300-1500,Teotitlan del Camino, state of Oaxaca, Mexico, North America, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus in memory of Mary Freiberg

Mask: The Bad Spirit of the Mountain, Yupik Eskimo, late 19th century, St. Michael, Yukon River area, Alaska, United States, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth H. Penn

Crouching frog (one of pair), Mixtec, Late Postclassic period, c. A.D. 1300-1500), Teotitlan del Camino (?), state of Oaxaca, Mexico, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Lokapala (Heavenly Guardian), early 8th century, China, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Ellen and Harry S. Parker III

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

The Halberdier, Ferdinand Hodler, 1895, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Nona and Richard Barrett

Altar depicting the first female ancestor (luli), 19th century, possibly Luang or Sermata, western Southeast Moluccas, Indonesia, Asia, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Shiva Nataraja, Chola dynasty, 11th century, India, 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

Jina, 12th century, western Rajasthan, India, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Junior Associates

The Shade, or Adam from “The Gates of Hell”, Auguste Rodin, 1880, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene McDermott

Bacchante with Grapes, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, 1907, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund

Star in a Dream (Astre en Reve), Jean Arp, 1958, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark

Santa Gertrudis (Saint Gertrude), Miguel Cabrera, 1763, Gift of Laura and Daniel Boeckman in honor of Dr. William Rudolph

Art Beauty Shoppe, Isaac Soyer, 1934, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project

Standing Female Figure, Central Veracruz Culture, A.D. 450-600, 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

A Registrar’s Mobile Euphoria

I like my office workspace. It has what I need to get through each day . . . desktop computer, telephone, robot USB flash drive, exhibition catalogues, personal photographs. It’s my home away from home. But as a museum registrar, my job requires me to leave my workspace pretty regularly. And lately, I’ve been enjoying that mobility more than usual.

What has led to my mobile euphoria? Two words . . . i. Pad.

My job requires me to work in a variety of locations including art storage spaces and exhibition galleries. Not to mention at museums across the country and throughout Europe when I travel as a courier. And normally, I would carry a bagful of supplies. But no more.

With an iPad handy, registrars can enter framed artwork dimensions directly into the database from art storage.

Now with an iPad in my hand, I can leave the clipboard, paperwork, digital camera, and pencil behind when I trek to the galleries or to art storage. Thin and lightweight, the iPad is the near-perfect substitute for the traditional methods of doing several registrarial tasks.

In the Registrar’s Department, we’ve developed iPad workflows for tasks including condition reports, incident reports, and art movement location changes. We can also access our database remotely in order to enter data directly without the need for taking notes and returning to our desktop computer. To the layman, these are neither the sexiest nor the most fun things to do with an iPad. But to a museum registrar, they seem heaven-sent.

It’s a great feeling to walk out of an art storage space or exhibition gallery knowing that when I return to my desk, I don’t have a step 2 of the process to complete. For several tasks, the iPad allows me to complete all phases of the process remotely.

By converting condition report forms to PDF documents, we can now markup these essential documents using the PDF Expert app on the iPad. This app not only has a variety of useful tools, but the marks are editable which makes for cleaner documents.

Need to mark up a condition report to show an area of concern on a painting surface? Done.

Need to sign, e-mail, and print a shipping receipt from the art dock? Done.

Need to edit an exhibition floor plan illustrating art placement changes and e-mail it to the exhibition designer? Done.

Need to take a photo of installed casework and record the measurements between objects for future reference? Done.

Thank you, iPad.

A registrar compares submitted text for an upcoming publication to the text on the object labels in the galleries. Her edits on the iPad can then be saved and emailed to the Publications Department before she ever leaves the galleries.

While working on recent exhibitions, both at the DMA and outside the museum, I used an iPad to access crate lists, object checklists, and gallery floor plans, and to send e-mails and photos directly from the galleries. It is so refreshing not to have to sort through piles of paperwork, stapled lists, and hand-jotted notes trying to find what I need. Just a few simple taps of the screen, and I’m jumping between apps and documents with little effort or confusion.

We’ve been using the iPads since the summer, and we’ve only begun to unlock the potential. It’s a bit time-consuming to research the apps to find the best ones suited to our needs and then to develop the necessary workflows, but, in all honesty, it’s actually a lot of fun.

The iPad will be a game-changer for museum registrars, and at the DMA we’re embracing that change one app at a time.

Brent Mitchell is Registrar for Loans and Exhibitions at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Winter Break: Taste of the Holidays

One of my very favorite holiday traditions is all the delicious treats. Between stuffing, turkey, candy canes, and cookies, what’s not to love about the holidays? To inspire this season’s holiday feasting, you’ll find the tastiest food of our collection below.

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Happy holidays!

Hannah Burney
McDermott Intern for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Images used:

Still Life with Landscape, Abraham Hendricksz van Beyeren, 1650s, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation

Brioche with Pears, Edouard Manet, 1876, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, lent by the Wendy and Emery Reves Foundation

Still Life: Bouquet and Compotier (Nature morte: bouquet et compotier), Henri Matisse, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Dr. Bryan Williams

Stirrup-spout vessel depicting a clustered pepino fruit, Moche culture, c. A.D. 1-300, ceramic, Dallas Museum of Art, The Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. John

Still Life with Spanish Peppers, Camille Pissarro, 1899, oil on canvas, Lent by the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation

Flowers and Grapes, Henri Fantin-Latour, 1875, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation Incorporated

Still Life with Apples, Pear, and Pomegranates, Gustave Courbet, 1871 or 1872, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Still Life with Vase of Hawthorn, Bowl of Cherries, Japanese Bowl, and Cup and Saucer, Henry Fantin-Latour, 1872, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Mrs. Bruno Graf by exchange

Munich Still Life, William Michael Harnett, 1882, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Nature or Abundance, Leon Frederic, 1897, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund

Winter Break: Where the Treetops Glisten

May your days be merry and bright and may all your Christmases be white!

Courtyard in the DMA offices covered in snow

Fleischner Courtyard covered in snow

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

The Twelve DMA Days of Christmas

As Christmas approaches we wanted to share with you some works from our collection inspired by the song The Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me….Yucca and the Prickly Pear

William Lester, "Yucca and the Prickly Pear", 1941, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of A. H. Belo Corporation and The Dallas Morning News

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Love Birds

Ruth L. Guinzburg, "Love Birds", n.d., Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Robert A. Beyers

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me a….Hen

Elwyn Lamar Watson, "Hen", c. 1930, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Emma Downs Green

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me a…Bird-form finial

Zenu culture, "Bird-form finial", c. A.D. 500-1500, Dallas Museum of Art, The Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…”The Golden Fleece” ring

Giovanni Corvaja, "'The Golden Fleece' ring", 2008, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Deedie Rose

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Geese

Reveau Bassett, "Geese", 1915-1933, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Olin H. Travis

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me a…Bridge at Pont-Aven, 1891

Emile Bernard, "Bridge at Pont-Aven, 1891", 1891, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Estate of Ina MacNaughton

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…The Maids

Paula Rego, "The Maids", 1987, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. I. C. Deal

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Ballet Dancers on the Stage

Edgar Degas, "Ballet Dancers on the Stage", 1883, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin B. Bartholow

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me a…Portrait of Lord Lovat

William Hogarth, "Portrait of Lord Lovat", 1746, Dallas Museum of Art, Junior League Print Fund

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me a…Young Man with a Flute

George Romney, "Young Man with a Flute", late 1760s, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Mrs. Sheridan Thompson

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Drum Solos

Brad Tucker, Drum Solos, 2001, Dallas Museum of Art, Texas Artists Fund

Stacey Lizotte is the Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Wishing for a wintery holiday season filled with snowflakes and snowmen?  Even though a snow-white holiday may be wishful thinking here in Dallas, you can still get in the holiday spirit at the Museum.  Bring the whole family to enjoy the many winterscapes we have displayed in the galleries, and create your own holiday-inspired work in the Center for Creative Connections!

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Wishing you all a very happy holiday,

Loryn Leonard
Coordinator of Museum Visits

Images used:

  • Frederic Edwin Church, The Icebergs, c. 1861, gift of Norma and Lamar Hunt
  • Ice Bowl and Spoon, Gorham Manufacturing Company, c.1871, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc
  • Gustave Courbet, Fox in the Snow, c. 1860, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund
  • Georgia O’Keefe, Bare Tree Trunks in Snow, c. 1946, Dallas Art Association Purchase
  • Childe Hassam, Along the Seine, Winter, c. 1887, bequest of Joel T. Howard

Friday Photos: Jumping in Fort Worth Museums

Last Friday, our McDermott Interns took their annual trip to Fort Worth to get acquainted with our neighboring art institutions and explore all the wonderful exhibitions they currently have on view. We enjoyed John Marin at the Carter, Caravaggio at the Kimbell, and said hello to the DMA’s own Diebenkorn at The Modern. It was an exhausting artful day!

Inspired by our previous post and Jumping in Art Museums, we decided to do a little jumping of our own in Fort Worth. Enjoy!

In front of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art

In front of the Kimbell Art Museum

In front of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

Off the Wall: I Don’t Like the Color Grey

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!

Teaching for Creativity: A Few Good Books

I am often inspired by a good read and I am an equal opportunity reader.  I love both fiction and non-fiction books and find that both can ignite my creative capacities.  Through fiction, I escape the day-to-day to walk in a character’s shoes and visit places unfamiliar, perhaps discovering an interesting metaphor that results in a richer understanding of the world around me.   Encountering new perspectives from an expert in another field and reading about real-world stories and events are a few things I appreciate about non-fiction reading.   These too can lead to richer understandings.  Here’s a list of books on my radar presently (some in the mail as I write) for which I have high expectations of stirring my creative spirit.  After you take a look at this list, then share with us what’s on your bookshelf or nightstand that is provoking you to think in new ways and see the world with fresh eyes?

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer – This one comes out in March, 2012 and is the third book written by author Jonah Lehrer.  Lehrer has a background in neuroscience and a strong interest in the relationships between art and science.  In Imagine, he discusses new science about creativity and proposes that all of us can achieve increased creativity through effectively using a distinct set of thought processes.  Lucky for me (and others), Lehrer will be in Dallas on March 23, 2012 presenting at the DMA’s Arts and Letters Live programming.

Sketchbook with Voices by Eric Fischl and Jerry Saltz

Sketchbook with Voices by Eric Fischl and Jerry Saltz – This collection of prompts from contemporary artists was compiled in 1986 by Fischl, an artist, and Saltz, an art critic.  The book was reprinted this year and I discovered it recently as I ambled through a museum gift shop.  Full of empty, ready-to-be-filled pages, this sketchbook includes inspirations from artists such as Richard Serra, Susan Rothenberg, and John Baldessari.

Mr. g by Alan Lightman

Mr. g by Alan Lightman – This is the forthcoming book from one of our department’s favorite authors!  Remember the recent post about Einstein’s Dreams?  We cannot wait for Lightman’s new book to come out in January, 2012.  Lightman, like Lehrer, is a scientist intrigued by the blurred and crossing boundaries of art and science. However, Lightman explores these ideas through novels and in Mr. g, the story of creation is told, as narrated by God.  Alan Lightman is also coming to Dallas next year!  On May 20, 2012 Lightman will be the featured author for Arts & Letters Live.

The Toaster Project by Thomas Thwaites

The Toaster Project by Thomas Thwaites – This is a recent addition to my “books to read” list.  I heard about it the other day on the radio and love the curious story behind the book.  In pursuit of wanting to know more about where things come from, Thomas Thwaites decided to build a toaster from scratch….

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Community Connection: Accumulation Project

What’s 2,490 feet long, made of paper, and on view at the DMA?  Hint: visit the current Community Partner Response Installation titled Accumulation Project, by Annette Lawrence, Professor of Drawing and Painting at UNT.  Over eleven months, visitors of all ages contributed to Accumulation Project during workshops led by Annette during her time as a C3 Visiting Artist.  She also invited staff from various DMA departments to help with the installation in the days leading up to its unveiling.

Do you typically invite people to help you install your work?

In different contexts, I have students or volunteers or preparators or whoever works at the gallery, museum, etc. help with installation.  I work more often with staff than with the public. For the DMA, part of the project was with the public, during workshops for people of all ages.  Often, the adults were more interested in the idea of creating a long line of paper than the children were.  Some kids got into it, depending on their personality.  At the time of installation, we were in a time crunch and invited DMA staff to help, and I was really happy with the response.  It was a pleasure working with everyone, and it seemed like it gave folks a break from their regular work. There was a great energy about pitching in.  Once everyone was there, the installation was finished quickly.

The help of other people can cut the installation time in half.  At the MFA Houston Glassell School of Art, l had one guy working with me consistently, and people coming in and out through the day to install Theory.  That took us six days.  Usually when someone starts working with me, they start to own the piece: they’re committed and want to see it finished.  In this case, my helper wasn’t an artist; he was the maintenance guy, and he had time to help.

Theory, Annette Lawrence, 2003, installation at the Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX

What do you enjoy about teaching college students?

Mainly, I enjoy the process of discovering things with them.  It depends on the level of class.  In beginning classes, students are introduced to materials and are figuring out how to use them.  After that, students pursue things that interest them, and I point them towards resources.  I often find I am learning with them as they explore different processes.  Lately, there has mostly been more interest in paint than anything else, but at times it veers off in other directions like installation work or sound.  Photography has also been incorporated into work as well as lots of mixed media while students are finding their own way.

You spoke at the DMA earlier this year about your work at Cowboys Stadium.  What was your initial reaction to the request for a commissioned work of art at the Stadium?

Lisa Brown of Dunn and Brown Contemporary loaded the conversation with artists who had already said yes – Mel Bochner, Laurence Weiner, Matthew Ritchie and Olafur Eliasson – she was kind of setting me up.  I said “Oh well, OK I guess I’ll do it.”  I studied Mel Bochner and Lawrence Weiner as an undergraduate student, and I was pretty excited about being in a collection that they were in.  Meeting them in real life – in the context of a celebration for the Cowboys Stadium Art Program – I could not have imagined that.

It was an odd request; a contemporary art collection at a professional sports stadium had not been done before.  I wasn’t opposed.  I was excited and interested in seeing the work happen, but it is a little bit ironic considering my interest in sports (or lack thereof) that the one permanent installation of my work is in a football stadium.

I designed the piece based on the space I was given, one of the main entryways.  In the interest of relating the piece to football, I looked up a glossary of football terms on Google.  As soon as I saw the words “Coin Toss”, I knew it was the right title.  It just fit, beyond the shape of the piece – a circle moving in space – but it also goes with the start of game, and the artwork’s placement in the entryway.  The Jones’s response to the title was so positive, and it was part of the enthusiasm for the work.

Coin Toss, Annette Lawrence, 2009, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington TX

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

Look at other people’s creations, mostly.  Looking at art, films, theater, dance, music, and all the arts take up most of my time.  Visiting friends and family is high priority, where we often talk about art.  If it’s with friends, we generally have art conversations.  With family, it can be anything.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Just visiting and being with good friends and family. I’m not interested in Christmas hype, but I like how things slow down a little bit and everyone is observing that this is time to spend with people you care about.  I alternate between doing Christmas or not doing Christmas.  This is a not year – we’re just not really doing it.  We’ll probably send out greetings to friends and families around New Year’s – after Christmas.  Last year, we sent a fun video, so we’re thinking about what we will do this year.  Whatever we send will be homemade.

Installing at Cowboys Stadium

Accumulation Project is on view in the Center for Creative Connections through May 2012.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community


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