Archive for August, 2012

Friday Photos: Plumed Serpent Resources

Have you visited The Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico yet? I think there is wonderful opportunity for interdisciplinary exploration with this exhibition. A variety of cultures are represented, all of which were connected by a shared pictorial language that crossed geographic, ethnic, and linguistic boundaries. To learn more, check out the DMA’s online teaching materials related to the exhibition on CONNECT.

We recently added the following works of art to our exhibition resources:

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On September 8, 2012  the DMA will host a half-day workshop, Cacao, Codices, and Cross-Cultural Connections in Ancient Mexico. Workshop participants will investigate the exhibition The Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico and explore the artwork, narratives, and pictorial language that bridged the Toltec, Mixtec, Maya, and other disparate Mesoamerican cultures between A.D. 900 and 1521.

We would love to see you and your colleagues at this workshop or another one of our upcoming teacher workshops. You can register online or by contacting teacherprograms@DallasMuseumofArt.org

I hope everyone’s school year is off to a fabulous start!

Andrea V. Severin
Coordinator of Teaching Programs

Off the Wall: Audrey Hepburn

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!

Time to Ring in the New School Year

Last week, Go van Gogh staff and volunteers celebrated the upcoming new school year at our annual welcome back party. Generously hosted by Go van Gogh volunteer Deborah Harvey, the lively group gathered at her home for coffee, snacks, mingling and a very special private art tour. Growing up, the love of art was infectious in Deborah’s family and collecting became a beloved family tradition. Today, she has an impressive collection of exquisite original works. Deborah guided us through her home with charisma and charm relating fun facts and anecdotes about each piece. Check out pictures from the festive event in the slideshow below.

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I still can’t believe that summer is already coming to an end. I guess it’s true what they say, time flies when you’re having fun! But before we all get swept up into fall, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate some of the successes of this busy, yet fun, summer.

While school was out for the summer, Go van Gogh staff and volunteers traveled all over the city, bringing interactive art programs to your neighborhood libraries, YMCAs, and Boys & Girls Clubs. Through the Go van Gogh Summer Library Program we taught at over fifty venues with a staggering total of 1,393 participants. Although library programs are recommended for ages five-twelve, anyone is welcome and encouraged to participate. Reflecting back, many volunteers have expressed how much they enjoyed interacting with entire families that included children as well as parents. Receiving positive feedback from parents, volunteers, and librarians has been a highlight of this year’s program. I have provided just a couple of these such comments below.

May Shen, Children’s Librarian at Arcadia Park Branch Librar, wrote:

The children were engaged in the museum artwork, made good observations, and had a lot of fun with their own creations.  I was thrilled to see how involved the parents were as well!”

Karen Wyll, a Go van Gogh volunteer shared:

The parents were very complimentary and so pleased to be there.  Both programs were a very positive experience for everyone, I think.”

It’s been a wonderful summer, and I look forward to a fantastic new school year.

Hannah Burney
Community Teaching Programs Assistant

Pick Our Main Stage Act

September’s Late Night theme is “iMuseum,” where you can use technology to explore the DMA and participate in new, experimental, and interactive programs. We also want you to pick our September Main Stage Act by voting for your favorite performance from our Be Our Main Stage Act contest. The winner will be announced next week.

And the finalists are (click here to cast your vote):

Daniel Hart

Veronica Lopez

Jon Meyer

J. D. Whittenburg

Little Birds

Urban Armor Street Art Camp with Isaac Davies

Guest Artist Isaac Daniel Davies

Urban Armor is the Dallas Museum of Art’s unique program for tweens and teens.  These photos highlight the first summer camp  for this age group focused on identity through street art.

During this camp, students developed new ways to express themselves with the assistance of our Urban Armor teachers Amanda Batson, JC Bigornia and guest artist Isaac Davies.

Teens Working

Isaac Daniel Davies and Urban Armor student

Late Night Camp Demo with Isaac Daniel Davies, Anthony Gonzales,  DJ EZ Eddie D, Amanda Batson, JC Bigornia, and Urban Armor students

Completed

For upcoming Urban Armor programs, please visit our website.

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator

Focus on: Nobuo Sekine

For the past few months, Japanese sculptor Nobuo Sekine’s (b. 1942) works have been on view in the Marguerite and Robert Hoffman Galleries. For those of you who haven’t seen them yet, or are still wondering what these works are all about, this blog post is for you.

Phase No. 10 (1968), Phase of Nothingness-Water (1969/2005), and Phase of Nothingness-Cloth and Stone (1970/1994) were originally created in the late 1960s, and what they have in common is the word “phase” in their title. In order to understand these works better, let’s first talk briefly about global art trends in the late 1960s and then explore the idea of “phase” that so interested Sekine.

In the early 1960s, artists such as Richard Serra, Donald Judd, and Robert Morris made a clear shift away from the gestural quality of abstract expressionism (Jackson Pollock) and embraced a more minimal aesthetic. Minimalist art was intended to discard the emotionality of the past along with all non-essential formal elements related to the art object. The resulting work took shape as hard-edge geometric volumes created with industrial materials that showed little-to-no evidence of the artist’s hand in its making. As minimal sculpture evolved, artists in the late 1960s began moving outside the white cube of the gallery and museum space to create large-scale outdoor works that used the earth itself as the medium. Known as Land Art, this movement was closely associated with the work of Robert Smithson, Michael Heitzer, and others. It is within this transitional moment between minimalism and Land Art that the work of Sekine Nobuo and the Mono-ha movement in Japan came into being.

Phase Mother Earth (1968/2012) (Photo courtesy of artspacetokyo.com)

The term Mono-ha (meaning “School of Things”) encompassed a variety of different forms and approaches, but at its core the short-lived movement explored the encounter between natural and industrial objects. Using natural materials such as stone, wood, and cotton in their unadulterated states, in conjunction with wire, light bulbs, glass, and steel plates, the work of Mono-ha artists presented objects “just as they are,” with the hope of bridging the gap between the human mind and the material world.

The tenets of Mono-ha are most clearly embodied in Nobuo Sekine’s famous outdoor sculpture Phase Mother Earth (1968/2012). Often cited as the beginning of the Mono-ha movement, Sekine’s sculpture consists of a 2.2 meter-tall cylinder of earth positioned beside a hole of the exact same dimensions. While clearly in dialogue with other American and European Land Art of the time, the modest scale of Sekine’s work invites the viewer to experience the earth simply as earth rather than as a grand artistic gesture writ large across the landscape.

Phase No. 10, Nobuo Sekine, 1968, Steel, lacquer, and paint, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

Sekine’s Phase-Mother Earth is closely related to the artist’s previous sculptures exploring the mathematical field of topology. Topology is a field of spatial geometry in which space and materials are considered malleable and can undergo countless transformations from one “phase” (state) to another without adding or subtracting from the original form/materials. In Sekine’s words, “a certain form can be transformed continually by methods such as twisting, stretching, condensing, until it is transformed into another.” This idea of manipulating form and space can be seen in Sekine’s work Phase No. 10 (1968) currently on view at the DMA. This wall-mounted sculpture closely resembles a Mobius strip, and when viewed head-on it appears to be a flat, curvilinear design, but when viewed at an angle the sculpture juts out from the wall, creating an optical illusion.

Phase of Nothingness—Water, Nobuo Sekine, 1969/2005, Steel, lacquer, and water, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

The work Phase of Nothingness—Water (1968) continues Sekine’s engagement with topology. To illustrate these ideas, the artist juxtaposed two equivalent shapes—a cylinder and a rectangle—both containing the same volume of water. At first glance, it doesn’t appear that the shallow rectangular tank and the tall cylindrical tank both hold the exact same amount of water. Similar to his earlier outdoor sculpture Phase—Mother Earth, this work attempts to depict a sense of equivalence and emphasizes the continuity of form and material. These two shapes are not meant to be seen as opposites but as equals. As Sekine explains, “[T]he mass of the universe neither increases nor decreases. This is the universe of eternal sameness. When one becomes aware of this, then the futility of modern concepts of creation can be realized.”

I hope this blog helps explain some of the fascinating (and at times complicated) ideas that inform Sekine’s sculpture. The exhibition closes Sunday, so plan your visit to the DMA before it’s too late!

Gabriel Ritter is The Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Top Ten List of New and Upcoming Programs and Events

  1. iMuseum 2.0 Late Night:  Our September 21st Late Night is a not-to-miss night of new, experimental, and interactive programs.  Among them are a Choose Your Own Adventure tour and your chance to text a work of art with your questions.
  2. New acquisitions on viewCurrent exhibition Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s-Present features more than a dozen of the Museum’s 2011 and 2012 new acquisitions.  Check out online versions of the Museum’s Annual Reports and What’s New to keep up with our recent acquisitions, and then come see them at the Museum.
  3. Art-making in Posters of Paris. An art-making area in the upcoming Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries exhibition will provide visitors with everything they need to create their own artistic poster.  Leave a copy of your creation at the Museum (to be posted on a wall in the exhibition), and take the real thing home for the fridge!
  4. Staff Art, Staff Selections.  Visit in November to see an exhibition with artworks created by staff members.  Also on view in the Center for Creative Connections is our Personal Point of View series where a Museum staffer is invited to select and respond to an artwork for the main gallery space.
  5. Book Talk.  A book club-style event, Book Talk brings together Museum members (Sustainer level and above) for exhibition-inspired book discussions, exclusive lectures and tours, and author meet & greets.
  6. Klyde Warren Park Opening & Art Beyond Sight.  On Saturday, October 27th and Sunday, October 28th, the DMA takes art-making activities into Klyde Warren Park for their grand opening.  In honor of Art Beyond Sight Awareness month, we are focusing on experiencing art with senses other than vision. Sketch a nature scene, and then use scented paint to create your scene based on how it might smell.
  7. Karla Black: Concentrations 55:  As part of Concentrations—a series of project-based solo exhibitions by emerging artists— artist Karla Black will transform our Hoffman galleries with a sculptural installation.
  8. Urban Armor: Programs for Teens & Tweens.  As someone who discovered her love of art as a teenager, I’m pretty excited about the new suite of programs we offered are offer for a teen/tween audience. Urban Armor recently wrapped up a two-day graffiti project with a local artist and will kick off its Open Lab program this Sunday, August 26th, from 1:00-3:00pm.
  9. Arts & Letters Live presents Chris Cleave. On Tuesday, October 9th, the New York Times bestselling author of Little Bee will discuss his newest novel.  Chris Cleave’s Gold is a tale of friendship between two female cyclists and how they traverse the shifting sands of ambition, loyalty, and love on the eve of their last Olympics.
  10. Thinking Creatively Workshops.  I’m cheating a little with this one; it isn’t new to us, it’s just a great program. Starting September 13th, creativity expert Dr. Magdalena Grohman will lead a monthly Thursday evening Thinking Creatively workshop. The experience will begin with creative thinking exercises and conclude with a making activity that builds on ideas generated during the exercises. Workshops will be held on October 11th, November 8th, and December 6th, all from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in the Center for Creative Connections.  To get a taste of what you can expect, check out our Teaching for Creativity series; many featured activities are inspired by Dr. Grohman’s past workshops.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach


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