Archive for March, 2012



Flat Stanley: On the Road

While Flat Stanley enjoyed his time exploring the DMA, he really had fun hitting the road with me.  I took Flat Stanley to a wedding in Ontario, Canada and to a conference in New York City.  He had fun seeing the sights and meeting my family and friends!

Crossing the Blue Water Bridge from Michigan into Canada

Crossing the Blue Water Bridge from Michigan into Canada

After crossing the bridge, Stanley waits with his passport to go through Customs

After crossing the bridge, Stanley waits with his passport to go through Customs

With a replica of the Statue of Liberty in New York

With a replica of the Statue of Liberty in New York

Flat Stanley in Times Square

Flat Stanley in Times Square

With the Empire State Building lit up in the distance

With the Empire State Building lit up in the distance

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

An Affair of the Art: Glory of the Age

On Saturday March 3rd the DMA was transformed into a scene straight out of The Great Gatsby.

Nearly 400 of Dallas’ young professionals, members of the DMA’s Junior Associates Circle and their guests, gathered for the 19th annual gala, An Affair of the Art: Glory of the Age. The black-tie event coincided with the opening of Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, the DMA’s new exhibition that is supported by funds raised at the event.

The Atrium was filled with dapper lads in top hats and tuxedos, and women in sparkling gowns. Dressed in garb from the era, guests revived The Charleston and danced the night away.

Mr. Gatsby himself would have been impressed.

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Jessi Moore is the Development Writer at the Dallas Museum of Art

Flat Stanley: In the Galleries

You might have noticed a small, somewhat thin, two dimensional visitor at the DMA recently. Flat Stanley has been all across our galleries, looking at and learning about many different artworks in our collection. Feel free to bring him along on your next tour!

Flat Stanley with the DMA’s Banquete chair with pandas.

Flat Stanley with the DMA’s Bed.

Flat Stanley with the DMA’s Red-figure krater.

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

Artworks visited by Flat Stanley:

  • Banquete chair with pandas, Fernando Campana and Humberto Campana, 2006, stuffed animals on steel base, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2009.9
  • Bed, Crawford Riddell, c. 1844, Brazilian rosewood, tulip poplar, and yellow pine; Dallas Museum of Art, gift of three anonymous donors, Friends of the Decorative Arts Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, and the Boshell Family Foundation, 2000.324
  • Red-figure krater, Metope Group, c. 340-330 B.C., ceramic, pigment; Dallas Museum of Art, the Melba Davis Whatley Fund and Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, 1996.147

The Dallas Museum of Art’s Founding Women

In honor of Women’s History Month, we would like to introduce you to the founder and first four women presidents of the Dallas Art Association from the first decade of the 20th century. The Dallas Art Association (DAA) was founded in 1903 to offer art interest and education through exhibitions and lectures; to purchase works of art on a regular basis and form a permanent collection; to sponsor the work of local artists; to solicit support of the arts from individuals and businesses; and to honor citizens who support the arts. The DAA, after a number of name changes, became the Dallas Museum of Art.

Mrs. May Dickson Exall is considered to be the founder of the Dallas Art Association. In January 1903, Mrs. Exall, then president of the Dallas Carnegie Library Board of Trustees, invited all those interested to meet in the Art Room of the library to form a permanent art organization. About 80 people attended and the new organization was named the Dallas Art Association, and a 21-member board of trustee was established.

Mrs. Grace Leake Dexter was the first president of the Dallas Art Assocation for 1903, and was a board member from 1903 to 1906. Mrs. Dexter was an amateur painter and a civic leader.

From the Collection of the Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division, Dallas Public Library; Image #PA92-1/22

Mrs. Lulie Huey Lane was President in 1907. Mrs. Lane was a gifted musician with an unusually fine voice and also held leadership roles in a variety of other civic organizations.

Mrs. Robbie Buckner Westerfield was DAA president in 1908. She was also a leader in religious and women’s club work in Dallas.

1923.2 "Portrait of Mrs. George K. Meyer" by Francis Luis Mora. Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Mrs. Sallie Griffis Meyer was president of the DAA from 1909 to 1926. Mrs. Meyer was one of Dallas’s earliest and most prominent arts patrons. In addition to her long tenure as DAA president, she was also superintendent in charge of art for the State Fair of Texas.

Discover more about the DMA’s history on the Museum’s web site.

Hillary Bober is the Digital Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Arturo is BooksmART!

Hello everyone! Arturo here, the family mascot of the Dallas Museum of Art! I bet you already know that I like spending my time at the Museum painting, drawing, and doing yoga, but did you know that I like to read too? Picture books, chapter books, comic books–I like to read everything! This spring, Arts & Letters Live is bringing some of my favorite authors to the Museum to talk about their work–and I wouldn’t miss them for anything! If you like to read too, then I would love for you to come to a BooksmART event with me. I’ll be sitting on the front row–you can’t miss me!

If you’ve never been to an Arts & Letters Live BooksmART event, let me tell you a little bit about it. Arts & Letters Live is the DMA’s literary series, bringing authors of all kinds to talk to readers (like you and me) about books they have written. After the event, the author meets everyone at the book signing. Last year I met Rick Riordan!

Mark your calendars now for these upcoming events.

On Friday, March 16, as a part of our Spring Break Late Night, author Laura Numeroff will be talking about her new book, The Jellybeans and the Big Art Adventure. Laura is the author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Pig a Pancake. I’m going to suggest that she title her next book If You Give a Parrot a Paintbrush! She’s going to start at 7:00 p.m. so make sure you get your mom and dad to get you to Horchow Auditorium on time!  ickets to this event are FREE with paid general admission to the Museum but a reservation is required.

On Sunday April 15, the legendary author-illustrator Marc Brown will be right here at the DMA talking about If All the Animals Came Inside. You may know him as the creator of Arthur Read, everyone’s favorite aardvark! Did you know that Arthur was born one night while Marc Brown was telling his son a bedtime story?  Now his son has grown up and reads Arthur books with his children!  Before the event there will be a tour of some of the animals in the DMA’s collection, inspired by If All the Animals Came Inside.

On Thursday, April 19, we are having a huge birthday party at the DMA. No, no, it’s not my birthday! Judy Blume’s book Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is turning forty this year, so we are celebrating in true BooksmART style. I know you won’t want to miss it! Judy will be here talking about all of our favorite books–Frecklejuice, Blubber, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, and of course, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and the indomitable Fudge. It’s going to be a lot of fun!

To order tickets, you can have your mom or dad call my friends in the Arts & Letters Live office at 214-922-1818 or they can always get them online.  For more information about all our events, visit our website. I hope to see you at one of these events soon. Until then, keep reading!

Arturo is the mascot for all Museum family programming. He makes appearances on First Tuesdays and Late Nights; you can also find him on all family related print materials and as a temporary tattoo. He had a bit of help with this post from Hayley Dyer, Audience Relations Coordinator for Programming.

Friday Photos: Splish, Splash!

From ancient Greek sculptures of Aphrodite with a vessel of bathing water, to paintings of bathers by turn-of-the-century artists like Cézanne, swimmers and bathers remain popular subjects throughout western art history. Why have so many artists chosen this subject? Perhaps it is because cleansing oneself is universal, or because bathing can be related to purity.

Our new exhibition, Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties features a number of bathers and swimmers. With physical culture in its heydey, 1920s artists often presented bathers and modern swimmers as models of the ideal physique.

Here are some works in our collection featuring bathers and swimmers. Click on any of the artworks to scroll through larger images. The next time you visit the Dallas Museum of Art, be on the lookout for other bathing beauties!

Why do you think artists include bathers in their artworks?

Andrea V. Severin
Coordinator of Teaching Programs

Artworks shown:

      • Edgar Degas, The Bathers, c.1890-1895, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
      • Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Bather with Cigarette, 1924, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase Fund, Deaccession Funds/City of Dallas (by exchange) in honor of Dr. Steven A. Nash
      • John Marin, Bathers, 1932, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation Incorporated
      • Albert Meyeringh, Landscape with bathers, n.d., Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Arthur Kramer, Sr.
      • Camille Pissarro, Bathers, 1895-1896, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
      • Felix Edouard Vallotton, Three Bathers (Les Trois Baigneuses), 1895, Dallas Museum of Art, Beatrice and Patrick Haggerty Acquisition Fund, the Jolesch Acquisition Fund, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, and contributions in memory of Richard D. Haynes

How it's Made: Japanese Lacquer

Next time you visit the Dallas Museum of Art, make sure you stop by our Japanese collection.  You can find the Japanese gallery on the third floor in the Arts of Africa, Asia, and Pacific Island galleries.  In the center of the gallery, you will find three exquisite examples of Japanese lacquer.  In fact, one of my favorite works in our collection is a Japanese lacquered Chest of drawers.

History of Japanese Lacquer

According to Monsieur Gonse, a French connoisseur and art critic, “Japanese lacquered objects are the most perfect works of art that have ever issued from the hands of man.”

The art of lacquer actually came to Japan from China around the 6th century A.D.  Originally connected with Buddhism, early lacquer adorned the walls of Buddhist temples.  As the medium became more popular, lacquer objects became more utilitarian and were primarily used as everyday objects.  Individuals who commissioned such decorative objects had to be patient with the time commitment involved, for it could take months to even years to complete a lacquered object.

What makes Japanese lacquer special?

In order to appreciate the true value of Japanese lacquer, it’s important to understand how lacquer objects are made.

Lacquer comes from the sap of the lacquer tree, Rhus vernicifera,and is known as

Extracting lacquer from the Rhus vernicifera tree

urushi.  Most lacquer forms begin with a wooden foundation, a special wood called Hinoki, a species of Japanese cypress.  Before the layering of the lacquer begins, the lacquer artist wraps the wooden object in a silk or hempen cloth saturated with a mixture of lacquer and rice flour called nori urushi.  Then, a layer of powdered earthenware mixed with lacquer is applied over the cloth and sanded smooth.   This method is applied with finer grades of powder until an even layer is produced.

After the foundation layers are smoothed, the object is ready for the refined lacquer. The refined lacquer is blackened by iron and applied carefully in layers.  Because the lacquer takes a long time to dry and needs high humidity for hardening, the object is placed in a “wet box” for three to four days before the next coat is applied.  After the object is removed from the “wet box”, it is carefully smoothed and polished with magnolia charcoal.  This is repeated about thirty to eighty more times until the final coat is applied.  After the last coat has dried, the object is finger polished with deer’s horn ashes and oil.

Fun Fact: Because the humidity in Japan is so high, the three lacquered objects here at the DMA are placed in humidity controlled cases.

This precise artform requires a huge amount of skill and patience.  If one were to apply thirty coats of lacquer and wait four days in between each layer, it would take up to 120 days to complete the lacquer portion of the object.  This is not including any special techniques such as inlay or other carving methods.  Altogether, it could take half a year to complete a lacquer object!  How long do you think it took to create this Lacquered wood saddle?

Next time you’re at the Museum, come by and see some of the finest hand-made objects in our collection.  Once you see these beautifully-crafted objects in person, they are bound to become your favorites!

Over and out,

Loryn Leonard
Coordinator of Museum Visits

Resources:

  • Mody, N.H.N., “Japanese Lacquer,” Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Jan., 1940), pp. 291-294
  • Weintraub, Steven, Kanya Tsujimoto, and Sadae Y. Walters, “Urushi and Conservation: The Use of Japanese Lacquer in the Restoration of Japanese Art,” Ars Orientalis, Vol. 11 (1979), pp.39-62

Act Now: Spring Break at the DMA!

***We interrupt your regular programming with this special public service announcement.***

Wondering how to entertain the kids for spring break? Need to get out of the house? Well, have we got a deal for you! During the week of March 13–16, the DMA will throw open its doors for HALF-PRICE ADMISSION. Each day we’ll have loads of activities for the entire family, from story time and art-making to robotics workshops and family tours. In fact, our staff couldn’t wait for spring break, so they got an early start trying out what is in store for you.

Enjoy story time in Arturo’s Nest with our favorite feathered friend, Arturo!

See amazing works of art created by local high school students in Advanced Placement art classes.

Make a masterpiece in the Art Studio.

Fuel your imagination and creativity in a hands-on interactive robotics workshop led by faculty from the American Robotics Academy.

Explore the galleries and make new discoveries during a family tour.

Wow your family with a one-of-a-kind sketch made during a lively session of Sketching in the Galleries.

Finish the day off with a family film in the C3 Theater.

Don’t delay! Take advantage of this amazing deal available for a limited time only. For details and a full schedule of events, visit our website.

***We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.***

Amanda Blake is the Manager of Family Experiences and Access Programs.
Leah Hanson is the Manager of Early Learning Programs.

Me & My World: Testing in the Galleries

As Hannah and I continue our revisions of the Me & My World docent tour guide and Go van Gogh program, I wanted to share a few works of art that I was able to test out on two groups of first-graders during thier Me & My World tour.

Below you will see three of the five works of art that I chose to look at with the students. I have included the clues, some of the questions that led the discussions, as well as other activities that I used.

Stop #1
Clues: We are looking for a painting that shows a little girl wearing a hat who is dressed in all white.

Dorothy, John Singer Sargent, 1900, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc.

.

This little girl’s name is Dorothy. Let’s look at what Dorothy is wearing. Can you describe her clothes?

Do you have fancy or nice clothes? Where do you wear them?

Do you like dressing up? Why or why not?

Look at Dorothy’s face. Does she look happy or sad?

Why do you think she looks sad?

Stop #2
Clues: We are looking for a painting of another little girl who has very short hair and is wearing a blue and white dress.

Dutch Girl Laughing, Robert Henri, 1907, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

.

We don’t know this little girl’s name. What should we call her?

Let’s describe her clothes.

Does she look like Dorothy? Why or why not?

Does she look happy or sad?

Why do you think she looks happy?

Compare/contrast both portraits: Let’s imagine that these girls could talk to us. What would they say? What would they say to each other? What would they say to these other people (the other portraits in the gallery)?
Favorite clothing: Can you tell me what is your favorite thing to wear? Can you describe it (color, print, etc.)? Where do you like to wear it?
Emotions: Let’s looks at some of the other people’s faces in this gallery. Do they look happy? Sad? Angry? Scared? Bored? Sleepy? Why do you think so?

Stop #3
Clues: We are looking for a whole room that is full of shelves holding lots of things that people use to eat dinner.

Examples of objects in the Decorative Arts Study gallery. Left: “Century” shape dinner plate with “Sunglow” pattern decoration, Eva Zeisel, Hall China Company,1956, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David t. Owsley Right: “Tricorne” shape luncheon plate with “Mandarin” decoration, Donald Schreckengost, Salem China Company,1933, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kenn Darity and Ed Murchison.

.

Can you find something in this room that…

You can eat soup out of?

What about a piece of cake?

What about hot chocolate?

OR

I spy something that is… (red, blue, striped, polka dot, etc.)

I am going to read you a silly poem about someone who is eating dinner:

Mashed Potatoes on the Ceiling
by Kenn Nesbitt

Mashed potatoes on the ceiling.
Green beans on the floor.
Stewed tomatoes in the corner.
Squash upon the door.

Pickled peppers in my pocket.
Spinach up my sleeves.
Mushrooms in my underpants with
leeks and lettuce leaves.

Okra, onions, artichokes,
asparagus and beets;
buried neatly underneath the
cushions of our seats.

All the rest I’ve hidden in my socks
and down my shirt.
I’m done with all my vegetables.
I’m ready for dessert! 

Let’s pretend that we are making a huge dinner for everyone in the Museum to eat tonight. Let’s go around the circle and tell everyone what kind of food you would bring to share. Now, let’s choose a dish from these shelves to serve it in.

Stop #4
Clues: We are looking for an object that is small, brown and white, and looks like a face.

Mouth mask depicting the head of a bird, Leti Island, Indonesia, 19th century, Dallas Musuem of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

.

What kind of animal does this look like?

Can you find its beak? Its feathers?

If you could touch this, do you think it would be soft? Hard? Rough? Smooth?

What do you think this is made of?

The person who used this would put it in his mouth and pretend that he was a bird. Have you ever worn a costume?

Can I have a volunteer come up and show us how they would move if they were wearing this bird mask?

What are some other animals that you like to pretend to be? Can you show us how you’d move?

Overall, the students seemed very receptive to the works I chose to explore. Both groups were very talkative, and I was surprised at how comfortable and focused they were with the discussion topics that I brought up. They were very good at comparing and contrasting the two paintings of the young girls, and seemed to enjoy talking about them. The “Mashed Potatoes on the Ceiling” poem was a big hit, and so was the “dinner party” conversation. I soon realized that any time a first-grader is given the opportunity to share ANYTHING about themselves, they will. One of my favorite moments was watching those students move like an animal in front of the group. I am thankful that most first-graders aren’t shy!

Jessica Kennedy
McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching

Remaking the Arts of Africa Gallery

My name is Edleeca Thompson and I am the curatorial research assistant for the Arts of Africa Reinstallation Project, sponsored by the Texas Fund for Curatorial Research. The research for the reinstallation project involves photographing gallery spaces and observing the use of technology and interactive media, as well as visitor responses, in order to ascertain the “best practices” in exhibition design for African art. I am also collecting information on educational programs, activities, and events that support a more innovative approach to the representation and interpretation of African art. This information will be used for the upcoming reinstallation of the DMA’s Arts of Africa gallery in the fall of 2013.

Since June 2011, Roslyn Walker, Senior Curator and The Margaret McDermott Curator of African Art, and I have visited twenty museums (together or separately) in the United States and Europe for this project. For me, the most impressive displays are at the Louvre (Paris), the Musée Rietberg (Zürich), the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum (Cologne), and the Museum Aan de Stroom (Antwerp).

Musée du Louvre, Porte des Lions, Paris, France

In Paris we toured the Pavillon des Sessions, where African art has been presented at the Louvre since 2000. The first picture shows the cool and serenely elegant African gallery at the Louvre. Although the Louvre is most known for its vast collection of masterpieces of Western art, the arts of Africa and Oceania have become increasingly popular with the general public. In response to public demand for more information on the objects, the museum added more labels and portable laminated information cards that visitors can take with them as they tour the galleries.

Museum Rietberg, Zurich, Switzerland

The Rietberg Museum also follows the tendency toward cool elegance, but with more color contrast in their restrained, yet intimately formal, spaces.

Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, Cologne, Germany

The Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum carries spatial intimacy even further in an exhibit that explores the theme of death and the afterlife. The serene, contemplative environment, with its white walls, cushy flooring, featherlike ceiling, and soft, ambient music, evokes otherworldly experiences of the afterlife. The visitor approaches the gallery in stages before entering a large, veiled space. In order to view some of the objects, it is necessary to part the veil in front of the display case.

Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp, Belgium

The Museum Aan de Stroom, which houses the ethnographic, maritime, folklife, and Antwerp history collections, by far exceeded all expectations regarding the use of technology. Here, the visitor is surrounded by multimedia devices.

Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois

The Art Institute of Chicago’s newly reinstalled gallery features a number of sculptures displayed in the round. The gallery also incorporates videos of ritual performances and still photographs of artists at work, as well as a historical timeline that parallels the cultural developments of both Europe and Africa.

Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

The African collection at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, was reinstalled in 2012 and includes objects ranging from pre-dynastic Egypt to the mid-20th century. Themes of body adornment, economics, and the afterlife are addressed through time and space.

All in all, being given this opportunity to travel and work with Dr. Walker has been a total blast! I’m excited for the DMA in anticipation of making the Arts of Africa exhibit more appealing and engaging for visitors for years to come.

Edleeca Thompson is Curatorial Research Assistant at the DMA.


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