Archive for August, 2012



Marty Grosz Does the DMA

Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas closed yesterday after three months on view. Earlier this month, George Grosz’s son musician Marty Grosz joined us for a special gallery talk with exhibition curator Dr. Heather MacDonald. Below are some images from his visit, and you can listen to the talk online. Even though the exhibition is closed, you can still take George Grosz home with you with our free e-catalogue.

Photography by Adam Gingrich, Marketing Administrative Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art

Urban Armor: Meet. Relate. Investigate.

Urban Armor is the Dallas Museum of Art’s unique, ongoing program for tweens and teens that offers students a chance to meet, relate, and investigate the world around them. Classes are designed in a way that the concept of identity is the heartbeat of each workshop. Urban Armor classes serve teens, who represent an often underserved age group in museums and are at a critical age of self-discovery.

Untitled #21, Karel Funk, 2006, Acrylic on panel, Overall: 31 x 27 in. (78.74 x 68.58 cm), The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2010.28

Each workshop is built around the concept of identity. The name Urban Armor is inspired by the Karel Funk painting Untitled #21, currently on view in Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s-Present, and the notion that we clothe ourselves in physical layers of clothing to protect us in a literal sense against the elements but also as a metaphorical means of protection. It could be to guard ourselves against the scrutiny of others, attempting to fit in, or wanting acceptance. In a similar way, the different faces we present to others depending on the environment can be seen as figurative armor to serve the same purpose. Who are we underneath these layers? That question drives us to help support teens through the program and to facilitate transformative experiences with art that allow for personal expression. They also learn new techniques, meet artists and DMA staff, and develop social bonds through their interactions with each other.

Teens participating in Urban Armor Street Art Camp with Isaac Davies

This year, Urban Armor launched its first exclusive teen summer camp in an effort to provide teens with a way to enhance their world and the space around them. Students encountered new forms of expression with the assistance of our Urban Armor teachers and guest artist Isaac Davies. They contributed to a large community “piece” on Ross Avenue Plaza, worked on their personal expression and self-statements in their sketchbooks and on their own painted panels, and explored how artists express themes of identity and space in artworks throughout the DMA’s collection.

Street Art Camp with Isaac Davies

Regardless of diverse opinions about street art, everyone can agree that it is a public way people are communicating or expressing themselves in our city. It is common now to see a tag, sticker, mural, or art bomb on any given street of Dallas. With heavy influences from artists like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Shepard Fairy, Banksy, and the many unnamed artists on every wall in town—it is important to recognize street art’s strong influence on our culture. For today’s generation, this is a prevalent force in their lives and a heavy part of their visual culture.

Watch participants from the summer camp Urban Armor: Street Art Camp and guest artist Isaac Davies as they demonstrate learned techniques from their camp experience tonight during Late Night at 7:00 p.m.

Amanda Batson is the Program Coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections and JC Bigornia is the Coordinator of Family Experiences.

Friday Photos: Welcome, Juniper!

Mommy and baby Juni

We are delighted to welcome little Juniper Leonard to the DMA community!  Juni made her debut Monday, August 6.  Loryn and baby are happy and healthy, and we were thrilled to have them visit the DMA last week.

Shannon and Juni

Hannah, Nicole, and little Juni

With the arrival of Juni comes a change to our department: Loryn has resigned from her position as the DMA’s Coordinator of Museum Visits in order to take a teaching job at Howard Junior High in Waxahachie ISD.  Her new job will leave her with a one-mile commute to work, rather than a thirty-mile commute to the DMA.

Loryn began working at the DMA in June of 2011 and scheduled Museum visits for over 50,000 students during her time here.  On top of that, she also coordinated the schedules of the DMA’s 120 docents.  She has been invaluable to our department, and we will all miss her when she leaves.  Help us wish Loryn and Juni well in the exciting months to come!

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Teaching for Creativity: A Conversation Between Artworks

Have you read Shannon’s post about our gallery experience with ­­­Anytown, USA during Museum Forum for Teachers? After we imagined businesses, shops, and restaurants inspired by typography, we moved into a gallery in Variations on Theme with figural works of art. In this fun, creatively-charged gallery experience, we projected character traits and narratives onto the ambiguous figures.

To warm up, we created scribble characters and characterized one as a large group. Then, small groups of four or five people turned their attention to the artworks in the gallery. Each group chose two figures to explore and characterize. Then, each group wrote a short piece of dialogue between the two figures. To add a little challenge, each group randomly chose one line of dialogue to incorporate. Though it may seem counterintuitive, limitations within a lesson actually inspire more creativity than a completely open assignment.

These dialogue lines included:

  • What is that smell?
  • You are never going to believe what just happened…
  • I have never been so embarrassed.
  • No, I’m not kidding.
  • Tell me it isn’t permanent!
  • Did you get dressed in the dark?
  • Happy birthday!
  • I tried everything I could…
  • What’s on your face?
  • I heard it on TV…
  • I’m telling you…it won’t work.

Most of the groups’ conversations between artworks were light-hearted and humorous. However, each conversation was diverse with rich characterization. I really enjoy experiences when art-viewers combine what they see visually with their own experiences and ideas to create unique interpretations.

It would fun to tweak the creative twist for a classroom experience. Instead of incorporating a specific line of dialogue, try assigning the students a specific historical era or geographic location to research as a setting for a conversation between two artworks. Or, ask the students to create conversations between a figure in a work of art and a historical or literary figure. One of our Museum Forum participants suggested that students research artists and write hypothetical conversations based on what they discover of those artists.

What might a conversation look like between these two figures?

Andrea V. Severin
Coordinator of Teaching Programs

The Wise Llama

What do a llama and an urban planner have in common? Not much actually, but they did briefly share an office.

This photo depicts the day that Nora Wise brought Sir Lancelot, a pure white llama, wearing a textile from John Wise Ltd. around its neck, to the office of Robert Moses, New York City urban planner. Sadly, it is unknown why Nora took a llama to visit the urban planner, but it looks like he found the gesture quite amusing.

The image is from the John and Nora Wise Papers.

Update: Robert Moses was the President of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair, so it makes more sense that he would be visited by Sir Lancelot, during the llama’s day at the Fair.

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

Friday Photos: Artistic Gymnastics

After two weeks of exciting competition, the London 2012 Summer Olympics will end this weekend with the Closing Ceremony on Sunday. Gymnastics was one of my favorite sports this year and Team USA’s Fierce Five certainly did not disappoint, bringing home five medals, three of them gold.

Five fierce artworks from our contemporary collection—interestingly enough, all Untitled—remind me of this graceful sport.

The vault:

Untitled, Franz Kline, 1959, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of George T. and Natalie H. (Schatzie) Lee

The balance beam:

Untitled, Nigel Hall, 1973, Dallas Museum of Art, Bryan Williams Fund

The uneven bars:

Untitled, Carlo Guaita, 1988, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. I. C. Deal

The floor exercise:

Untitled, Richard Anuszkiewicz, n.d, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan E. Boeckman

A gymnast in the midst of her routine:

Untitled, Joel Shapiro, 1981-1984, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Exxon Corporation

What artworks remind you of the Olympics?

If you’re not ready for the Olympic spirit to end just yet, you’ll want to get tickets for Arts & Letters Live on October 9. Chris Cleave will discuss his new novel Gold, which centers on two athletes at their last Olympic Games, London 2012.

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

Meet the DMA’s Teen Docents

The 2012-2013 DMA Teen Docents.

If you have spent any time at the DMA this summer, you may have noticed teenagers in gray DMA T-shirts leading groups through the galleries. These aren’t just any teenagers, though—they are our dedicated DMA Teen Docents. The Teen Docent program has been going strong since 2001, and this summer we have our largest group ever. Thirty-one high school students are spending their summer vacation at the Museum, and we are thrilled to have them with us.

Our Teen Docents come from across the Metroplex, attending school at TAG Townview Magnet, Episcopal School of Dallas, Ursuline Academy, Greenhill School, Fulton School, Plano West, Plano Senior High, Cedar Hill Collegiate High, Jasper High, Vines High, Lovejoy High, Mesquite High, and Lake Highlands High. We even have one volunteer who lives in Bryant, Texas, but is spending the summer in Dallas so she can be a Teen Docent. Talk about dedication!

Teen Docents Sahil and Jennifer look on as students re-create Fernand Leger’s “The Divers.”

The requirements to be a Teen Docent are simple: you have to be in high school, you must be available to volunteer for a total of twelve hours over the summer, and you have to love talking about art with kids. Our Teen Docent application asks what our applicants hope to gain from their experience volunteering at the Museum. Their answers always astound me because their passion and excitement shine through. Here are just a few of their responses:

  • “I have always loved the DMA since the very first time I went in third grade, and I am SUPER excited to be a Teen Docent!”—Grace
  • “I want to be a Teen Docent so I can be the catalyst for learning in the Museum. I can rise to the challenge of engaging diverse audiences in creative ways. I can be the bridge between visitors and the Museum.”—Sahil
  • “I have grown up surrounding myself with art, with my first art class at age five. Ever since, I have gained a passion for art and to share this with other people would be great!”—Vickie
  • “I love having the opportunity to be at the DMA and get kids interested not just in art but simply looking at things in a different way and thinking about the world around them.”—Becky
  • “I really have a great time volunteering at the DMA. It’s one of my favorite places in Dallas and I love learning about the art and sharing that knowledge with future art enthusiasts!”—Sarah

Not only are the Teen Docents passionate, but they’re also really creative. Just look at what they made during a Creativity Challenge in June.

Teen Docent Jasmine helps a visitor write a postcard.

As the summer comes to a close, I want to publicly thank our Teen Docents for their hours of service to the DMA this year. Between leading tours, volunteering at Late Nights, and assisting in a myriad of roles on First Tuesdays, these teenagers go above and beyond when it comes to volunteering at the DMA.

Shannon Karol is Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching.


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