Archive for February, 2012

Educator Resources: Video Visions

Ever since it killed the radio star, video has been thriving.  Let’s take a look at three valuable resources with great videos featuring art, art history, artists, and curators.  Educators in and out of the classroom just might want to add these to their “toolboxes,” if you haven’t already.

1. Smarthistory – Started as a blog in 2005, this oh-so-smart, multimedia resource makes art history come alive on the web.  No more expensive, heavy textbooks to tote around!  Smarthistory includes over 360 videos and continues to grow through a recent merger with Khan Academy, which allows founders Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker to focus full-time on expanding content.  In addition to the videos, which are easily sorted via thirteen categories ranging from art historical periods to materials, the website includes images and information for over 440 artworks, as well as sample syllabi and strategies for teaching art history online.

2. Artists Documentation Program – This is a new favorite of mine, discovered while surfing the Art 21 blog last year.  The Artists Documentation Program (ADP) features twenty-nine interviews with contemporary artists and their close associates discussing the materials and techniques of the artists’ works.  Jasper Johns, Mel Chin, Cy Twombly, Ann Hamilton, and Sarah Sze are just a few of the artists interviewed.  Conducted by conservators, the videos are intended primarily as research documents to aid in preservation and care of the art.  Some of the footage goes back to the early 1990s when the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a grant to the Menil Collection in Houston.  Following this initial grant, the project continued and expanded under the leadership of former Menil conservator Carol Mancusi-Ungaro.  The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Center for the Study of Modern Art at Harvard are key collaborators.   Note: while viewing of the videos is free, the ADP requires users to register before granting access to video interviews.  This acknowledges and supports appropriate use of the videos.

3. DMA.Mobi – Available via mobile devices and the web, this home-grown, Dallas Museum of Art resource showcases artworks in the Museum’s collection and current exhibitions.  Piloted in summer 2009, the smARTphone tours re-launched this month with a new design and fifty new artwork stops.  Videos featuring DMA curators discussing works in the collection are a key component.  Cultural information, contextual images, and audio clips provide additional information about the artworks.

DMA smARTphone tour screen

Anne Bromberg, the Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art, discusses a Roman mosaic in the DMA's collection

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Installing the American Twenties

Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties opens this Sunday after an inaugural presentation at the Brooklyn Museum. Preparation for the exhibition began in January, and below are a few images of the installation process.

Adam Gingrich is the Administrative Assistant for Marketing and Communications at the DMA.

Friday Photos: The Best Thank You Notes Ever

Every once in a while, we are fortunate to receive thank you letters from students after their docent-guided tours and Go van Gogh classroom visits.  Below are some of our favorites:

Inspired by a Japanese bronze sculpture, pictured below

Takenouchi no Sukune Meets the Dragon King of the Sea, 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

Inspired by the Egyptian collection

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Art-filled Memories

Have you ever stopped to think about that moment when you decided to make art an important part of your life? I bet for some people the spark was ignited by a single educator, or perhaps a single project that they created in their young lives. My fellow bloggers and I sat down and thought about what art related experiences we remember from our past. I wanted to post them here as nice reminder to all educators that the experiences you are creating are not only influential to your students now, but will likely become a memorable project that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives!

One of my most memorable projects was making a miniature haunted house in fouth grade art class. We partnered up and used whatever materials we could find (within the art room, of course). I remember that half the fun was creating a “script” in our minds of what would happen to the person once they set foot into our shoebox-sized house. Once we were finished making bloody walls and cobwebbed hallways, the storytelling element really kicked in. Describing the “horrors” to our fellow classmates was one of the best Halloween art activities that I can remember!

Here are some childhood memories from the Teaching Programs staff:

“The best art teacher I ever had was my high school ceramics teacher Mr. Block.  Mr. Block was a huge inspiration to me and one of the main reasons I studied art in college.  The most memorable project was when our class participated in the Dallas Empty Bowls Event.  Empty Bowls is a program designed to help end hunger by bringing local artists and restaurants together.  When you go to an event, you buy a hand-made bowl, and then you get all the food you want!  The best part is that all the proceeds go to the North Texas Food Bank.  Our entire class made bowls for this event, and I still have the bowl that I purchased over ten years ago.  This project showed me that creating art can be fun and expressive, but it can also be for a good cause.” – Loryn

“The childhood art activity that stands out to me the most is an upside-down painting a la Georg Baselitz. I was probably in second or third grade and attending art camp at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (in the Museum’s old building), and we had explored/discussed Baselitz’s Elke (1976).  I used to place all my stuffed animals on their heads because I thought they looked better that way, so I was thrilled when I my art camp assignment was to paint my dog upside down! I remember how proud I was of my finished product and of my new knowledge of the artist Baselitz.” – Andrea

Elke, Georg Bazelitz, 1976, Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Museum purchase, The Friends of Art Endowment Fund

“My favorite kind of activities in school didn’t have too many directions. I always had the most fun when I got to use my imagination and make it up as I go. My most memorable project was in elementary school, when we were given clay tiles to decorate however we wanted. I decided to paint myself yelling to my mom what I thought at the time was a sassy yet sweet sentiment, “Wake up, I love you!” (imagine ‘wake up’ being said like hellooo or duh). I had some pretty sweet shoes back in the day, and on that particular day I just happened to be wearing my platform sneakers. The six-inch rubber heels were carved with flower designs that I decided to press along the edges of the tile, printing the pattern onto the clay. I remember feeling really proud of coming up with an unconventional idea for decorating my tile.” – Hannah

“In the fourth grade, I had to make a large display for one of the fifty states.  My state was Hawaii, and my greatest artistic achievement was making a diorama of Waikiki Beach using sand (from my backyard sandbox) and Dep hair gel.  The gel was electric blue (it was 1989), and it was the perfect color for the waves of Waikiki.” – Shannon

Shannon's creation (note the surfer catching a serious hair gel wave!)

“One of my favorite art projects was a papier mâché penguin I made in high school.  I loved the process of creating the form with wadded up newspaper, tape, and cardboard.  I also loved the messiness of applying the wet papier mâché strips to create the exterior of the sculpture.  As I finished with several coats of paints, I decided to give my penguin green eyes, disregarding the possibility (and fact) that penguins do not actually have green eyes.  I eventually gave the penguin sculpture to my older sister; it now lives in her garage.” – Melissa

A great BIG thank you to all of the hard-working educators out there for helping us construct our creative memories!

Jessica Kennedy
McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching

Au Revoir Monsieur Gaultier

Last week we bid adieu to The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier after three months of hosting the internationally touring exhibition at the DMA. Before the exhibition travels to its final U.S. museum, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: de Young, here are a few stats from the DMA’s presentation:

  • 114,986 visitors over three months
  • 16,044 postcards purchased
  • 1,020 catalogues sold
  • 142 ensembles
  • 73 works on paper
  • 49 wigs designed by Odile Gilbert
  • 30 animated mannequins
  • 13 weeks on view
  • 6 galleries of works
  • 2 custom cowboy-inspired greeters
  • 1 incredible fashion designer

See the exhibition from arrival to departure and everything in between.

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Kimberly Daniell is the PR Specialist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Intern Project: Artworks for Me & My World

Last month, Jessica and I introduced you to Me & My World, a program specifically designed for first grade students. There are two versions of the program, one created for tours in the museum and another developed for classroom visits. Although Jessica and I will be doing a lot of collaborating, she will be primarily focusing on the docent-led tour, while I will be working on the Go van Gogh classroom experience.

Our first step in the Me & My World revision process was to select new works of art for each program. Go van Gogh is a sixty-minute program that is broken up into two equal parts of looking at works of art and then making works of art. With half an hour to look closely and discuss the art, there is just enough time to have quality experiences with four artworks. With thousands to choose from within the collection, picking just four is no easy task. When teaching in the classroom, we bring reproductions of artworks to be projected onto a screen; as a result, visibility can become an issue. For example, paintings that are really dark usually won’t project well, and sculptures with a lot of detail or incising can be washed out and difficult to see. Besides keeping all of these basic logistical challenges in mind, it was also really important to find works specifically ideal for engaging first-graders.

We started by seeking the advice of volunteers, docents, and education staff for their insights from past experiences. This resulted in a lot of great ideas, almost too many! To further narrow down our selections, we developed two main criteria to focus on: themes and teaching opportunities. In an effort to make the programs well-rounded with a variety of diverse topics, we categorized the artworks by themes, such as family or sports. These themes are meant to be easy for first-graders to relate to, so they can develop personal connections with the works. Then, by using the DISD curriculum for first grade, we created a general list of possible teaching opportunities that could be addressed through looking at art. Finally, we chose works that clearly matched some of those teaching goals and also fit into one of the themes.

With the thoughtful suggestions of our department, volunteers, and docents, as well as the criteria Jessica and I created, I was able to narrow down my search to seven final works of art to begin testing for Go van Gogh. I provided two examples below.

Apple Harvest, Camille Pissarro, 1888, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Theme: Family/Teamwork

Teaching Moments

  • Look at brushstrokes/dots of paint
  • Count the people
  • Name the colors
  • Discuss the weather/seasons

Personal Connections

  • Teamwork – helping family or working with other students at school
  • Fruit/food
  • Outdoor activities

Wild Cattle of South Texas: Ancestors of the Longhorns, Tom Lea, 1945-1946, oil on canvas covered masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Life Magazine

Theme: Natural World/Texas

Teaching Moments

  • Discuss and count longhorns – native to Texas
  • Look at landscape – cactus, stream, plush green trees and grass
  • Talk about weather/seasons

Personal Connections

  • Texas
  • Animals
  • Outdoors

In preparation for testing these artworks with first-graders, I will need to develop guidelines for conversation and activities that incorporate various learning styles. If you have had any memorable experiences with activities or conversation starters related to these themes, please share them in the comments section below!

Hannah Burney
McDermott Education Intern for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

Today we celebrate the 280th birthday of our first president, George Washington. A pivotal and iconic figure in our nation’s history, Washington is easily recognizable on the dollar bill and quarter. Here on view at the DMA are a couple more examples of representations of our founding father.

"George Washington", c. 1786, Jean-Antoine Houdon, Painted plaster, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Ronald E. Fritz

The artist Rembrandt Peale saw how the nation was being shaped through art. Using the popular neoclassical style of the time, Peale depicted the president as an idealized, authoritative figure in military garb. In this famed “porthole portrait,” Peale monumentalizes Washington by depicting him gazing pensively out of the painted stone frame.  Peale created over seventy iterations of this portrait in hopes of creating an image as iconic as Gilbert Stuarts’s (which can be found on the quarter and the dollar . . . as well as at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). Peale’s painting is also used in the George Washington Portrait Program. You can learn more about this program on Mount Vernon’s website.

"George Washington", Rembrandt Peale, c. 1850, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation

Encouraged by the then French ambassador Thomas Jefferson, the well-known French neoclassical sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon journeyed across the Atlantic from France to Mount Vernon with the goal of creating a life-size sculpture of the president.  Houdon created a life mask of Washington, which later served as a model for the DMA portrait bust and the life-size sculpture now in the State Capitol at Richmond. Again, Houdon idealizes the president and portrays him as an enlightened leader. (Some artists took this “idealized” representation a little too far. See Horatio Greenough’s massive sculpture, dubbed the “Enthroned Washington.”)

Don’t miss these works in the galleries as you celebrate President’s Day weekend!

Fun Facts:
• George Washington was 6 feet, 2 inches.
• Washington owned at least eight sets of dentures, none of them made of wood.
.• At his inauguration in 1789 he had only one tooth left.
• Washington’s presidential inauguration was held in the Federal Hall in New York City, as opposed to Washington, D.C.

Melissa Barry is the McDermott Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art at the DMA. Lexie Ettinger is the Adult Programing Intern at the DMA.

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