Archive for July, 2012

Friday Photos: Summer Inspirations

If you haven’t already, you should take the advice of my colleague Hannah and Vacay at the DMA.  Not only are there family-friendly experiences to uncover, there are lots of works of art to inspire your summer vacation.  For example:

Soak up some sun on the beach.

Albert Marquet, The Beach at Trouville, c. 1906, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation Incorporated

Spend the afternoon playing tennis.

George L.K. Morris, Mixed Doubles, c.1948, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley and Alconda-Owsley Foundations

Paint en plein air in France.

Paul Signac, Comblat-le-Chateau, the Meadow (Le Pre), Opus 161, June-July 1887, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Bonnie Pitman

Do some gardening…but beware of those pesky garden snakes.

Mark Handforth, Dallas Snake, 2007, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund and Lay Family Acquisition Fund

And when the heat becomes too much to bear, go swimming.

Fernand Leger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Loryn Leonard
Coordinator of Museum Visits

Off the Wall: BOOM

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

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: Scribble Characters

Consider testing out this entertaining creativity exercise with your students or even with friends. (It’s THAT fun.) When Summer Seminar instructor, Magdalenda Grohman facilitated this exercise with this year’s participants, they had a blast with it.

  1. Every person should have a piece of paper and a writing utensil.
  2. Close your eyes. Keeping your pen or pencil on the paper, scribble for about forty-five seconds. Think about the mood you are in, and try to reflect that mood through your scribbles.
  3. Once everyone is finished drawing, open your eyes, and gather together all the scribbles. Shuffle the scribbles.
  4. Choose one scribble. As a group, think about and describe the scribble. What adjectives come to mind?
  5. Imagine that this scribble is a person. Who is it? What is his/her name? How old is he/she? What does he/she do for a living and/or for fun? What is his/her relationship with his family? What interesting events have occurred in his/her life? What is his/her biggest wish and/or greatest fear?
  6. Jot down the most important aspects of this person, and continue personifying the rest of the scribbles as a group.
  7. Once you have a set of scribble-characters, then randomly distribute one to each participant. Ask one participant to create a sentence to begin a narrative. The scribble-character in his/her hand must be involved in the narrative.
  8. The next person adds another sentence and another character to the narrative, until you have a funny, collaborative story that incorporates all of the scribble-characters.

Here are some of our scribble characters:

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In what ways are you encouraging open-minded, creative attitudes and training transformative thinking in your classroom?

Andrea V. Severin
Coordinator for Teaching Programs

Lights, Camera, Action!

From 1950 to 1952, the Museum, in partnership with the Junior League of Dallas, presented a thirty-minute weekly television program on WFAA called Is This Art? The show consisted of a panel talking about topics including discussions on specific artworks, collections, or types of objects; demonstrations of craft techniques; how to become an artist; and aesthetics. We found a few images in our archives from the show’s two-year run.

Dallas Morning News, News Staff Photo, October 10, 1950

This image is probably from the first episode of the series, which aired on September 24, 1950. The show included an introduction to the series and a demonstration of plastic arts, emphasizing the upcoming State Fair exhibits with objects from the Contemporary Design and Pre-Columbian exhibitions. Pictured from left to right are Mrs. Betty Marcus, Museum League President; Jerry Bywaters, Museum Director; Stewart Leonard, Assistant to the Director of the City Museum of St. Louis; and Mrs. John Rosenfield, moderator.

The image above likely depicts an episode from December 8, 1951, featuring a demonstration of silver objects in various stages of construction by John Szymack, a silver craftsman with the Craft Guild of Dallas. Seen here from left to right are Mrs. Howard Chilton, chairman of the Junior League’s television committee; Mrs. Bruce Steere, Craft Guild member; Alvin Jett, permanent panel chairman; and John Szymack (seated).

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

Friday Photos: Creative Teens

Armed with tissue paper, construction paper, wire, and art straws, our Teen Docents were asked to complete a Creativity Challenge during their training last month.  Their challenge was to create a 3-D response to a 2-D work of art using only the materials provided to them.  They were not given any scissors, glue, or tape, and they had a time limit of forty minutes.  Their creations were quite impressive, and I hope you enjoy this peek at their finished products.

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Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Red, White, and Blue

Some visitors to the DMA may have taken our self-guided tour Seeing Red, and loyal readers of our blog may remember a post we did back in December about works in our collection that are white. So while we have not focused on the color blue yet, we thought this would be a good day to share with you a few works in our collection that feature red, white, and blue.

Striped chevron bead, Drawn glass, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Dozier Foundation

Childe Hassam, Flags, Fifth Avenue, 1918, Watercolor, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund, in memory of Mrs. George Aldredge

Anne Vallayer-Coster, Bouquet of Flowers in a Blue Porcelain Vase, 1776, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Michael L. Rosenberg

Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre (Man), 1953, Vinyl with pigment on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds [credit line published in 1997 DMA Guide to the Collections: Dallas Museum of Art, commissioned by the Dallas Art Association through Neiman-Marcus Exposition Funds]

Piet Mondrian, Composition with Large Blue Plane, Red, Black, Yellow, and Gray, 1921, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mrs. James H. Clark

Yves Tanguy, Apparitions, 1927, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Nancy O’Boyle

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, Oedipus at Colonus, 1788, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund

James Brooks, Quand, 1969, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation Incorporated

Wassily Kandinsky, Boating (from Sounds), 1907-1911, 1913, Volume with thirty-eight prose poems and twelve color and forty-four black-and-white woodcuts, Dallas Museum of Art, Centennial gift of Natalie H. (Schatzie) and George T. Lee

Stacey Lizotte is the Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services.

Vacay at the DMA

Well folks, we have officially broken one hundred degrees, which means that the Dallas summer is really here. You may get a chance to escape the weather with a trip to cooler climates. But I am here to tell you that it is possible to beat the heat and enjoy a fun-filled day of play right here in Dallas! At the Dallas Museum of Art you can travel all over the world, eat any type of food your heart desires, and participate in creative activities without ever leaving downtown.

Here are some great ways to enjoy a DMA get-away:

Self-Guided Tours

With over 25,000 works of art at the DMA, chances are that you won’t be able to see everything in one day. But don’t worry, any of our bite-sized tours will show you how to have a quality experience at the DMA instead of a quantity one. You can choose from four different themes to match your interests, either by downloading and printing them at home or by asking the Visitors Service Desk for a copy.

smARTphone Tours

For a more customized experience, use your smartphone to access interactive content specific to each gallery.


  • With a variety of lunchtime favorites, the bright and open Atrium Cafe is a great place to have a meal.
  • The Sculpture Garden is a perfect spot to relax, soak up some sun, and enjoy your lunch while surrounded by art.
  • Or try any one of the tasty and affordable food trucks just a couple of blocks away; they have something for everyone!

After Hours

  • If you are a late-nighter, you are in luck, because every Thursday Night the Museum stays open until 9:00 pm. You can enjoy a cocktail while listening to jazz music in the Atrium Cafe, or create an original work of art in the Center for Creative Connections.
  • Every third Friday of the month the Museum stays open until midnight, offering a variety of fun and free programs inspired by the Late Night theme of the month.

Need more ideas for engaging with the collection? Check out our list of 100 Experiences.

I’ll see you at the Museum,

Hannah Burney
Go van Gogh Programs Assistant

Let Your smARTphone Be Your Guide

For many of us, our smartphones are an integral part of how we interact with and even interpret the world around us. At the DMA, we’ve been using smARTphone tours as a tool to do precisely that–allow visitors to become actively engaged with works of art throughout the Museum.

In 2009, when smartphones were first becoming popular, the DMA decided to experiment with creating tours for visitors on them. The Museum offers free Wi-Fi throughout the building, so we went with a web-based application that would work on any web-enabled smartphone. We gathered videos and audio clips, images, and text related to thirteen works of art in the collection and made them accessible to visitors via smartphones. There is so much fascinating information that can’t be displayed on labels and wall texts, and that first tour demonstrated the exciting possibilities offered by the interactive and multimedia features. Since then, we’ve created smARTphone tours for special exhibitions and added many stops to our collection tour.

Currently on the DMA’s smARTphone tour, you can listen to audio and video introductions for more than seventy-five works of art, learn about the artists and cultures that created them, check out community response projects like poems and sound designs, and look through archival and contextual photographs. Personally, some of my favorite choices include watching Dr. Heather MacDonald discuss why Claude Monet’s painting The Seine at Lavacourt was a failure, listening to sound designs created by UTD students in response to our Indonesian jaraik, and perusing the photographs of Coco Chanel at the Villa La Pausa.

While our initial efforts were well received, in 2011 the Museum embarked on a new phase of development of the smARTphone tours program. We revamped the design and organization, created a feature that allows multiple staff members to publish content, and added over fifty-five new stops to the tour.

From the interface design to the production of content, the DMA’s smARTphone tours are created entirely in-house and bring together staff from many of the Museum’s departments including IT, Education, Curatorial, and Marketing. While IT and Marketing worked on the new look of the tour, staff from the Education and Curatorial departments decided which works of art should be included and developed content.  The new tour stops include over one hundred video and audio clips of curators speaking about works of art and artist biographies, and reflect the collaborative efforts of the various departments.

It was thrilling to see all of our hard work come to fruition when the new stops were released in February 2012 at the opening of the exhibition Face to Face: International Art at the DMA. The real highlight, though, is to see visitors using it. While conducting an evaluation of the smARTphone tour, I spoke with a mom and her twin 9-year-old boys, who said they had looked at every video in Face to Face and wanted to look at more when they got home!

Feedback from our visitors is especially important, and periodic evaluation has played an integral role in the development of the tours. From user experience to content, we’ve assessed visitor experiences with the smARTphone tours four times over the past several years. Each time we learn something new.

If you’re at the DMA or at home, be sure to check out the smARTphone tour at

Laura Bruck is a museum consultant and also adjunct assistant professor of art history at the University of Dallas.


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