Archive for October, 2012

Macabre Museum

We’re celebrating Halloween with works in the Dallas Museum of Art’s collection that are grim and ghastly, a little haunting, and might even give you the creeps. Be sure to check out the rest of our “Macabre Museum” on our DMA Pinterest page. Happy Halloween!

John Alexander, Dancing on the Water Lilies of Life, 1988, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. Claude Albritton and the Museum League Purchase Fund

Mask: The Bad Spirit of the Mountain, Alaska, Yukon River Area, St. Michael, Yupik Eskimo, late 19th century, wood, paint, and feathers, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth H. Penn

Edward M. Schiwetz, The Fulton House, 1946 (?), watercolor and oil on board, Dallas Museum of Art, Lida Hooe Memorial Fund

Emma-O, Japan, Momoyama period, late 16th-early 17th century, wood, lacquer, gold gilt, and glass, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendover Fund in memory of Alfred and Juanita Bromberg and the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

Dean Ellis, Aspect of a Mexican Cemetery, 1950, oil and wax on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Gerhard Richter, Galerie Heiner Friedrich, and Tünn Konerding, Spherical Object II (Kugelobjekt II), 1970, black-and-white photograph, wood, glass panels, and steel balls, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art League Fund, Roberta Coke Camp Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, and the Contemporary Art Fund: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon E. Faulconer, Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., Marguerite and Robert K. Hoffman, Howard E. Rachofsky, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and two anonymous donors

Kimberly Daniell is the Public Relations Specialist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Reading the Cards: Part 2

This post is the second in a larger series finding connections between the ever-mystical tarot cards and the extraordinary collection of the Dallas Museum of Art.  Head over to the first post for an introduction and a quick look at three card-art comparisons.

The Emperor is the fourth trump card within the major arcana.  He is often depicted sitting on a throne and holding a scepter and shield.  The tarot Emperor is considered the absolute ruler of the world and represents the desire to control one’s surroundings.

Vishnu and attendants, c. 1026 AD, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. John Leddy Jones

Richly jeweled as a king would be, Vishnu can be identified in this relief by his traditional attributes: a mace, conch shell, sun wheel (chakra), and beads.  He is shown as a calm, upright figure surrounded by his heavenly court and divine kingdom.  As the Preserver to Shiva’s destruction, Vishnu is the bringer of blessings and prosperity to his followers.


The Empress is the third major arcana card in a tarot deck.  The Empress holds a scepter representing her power over life, wears a twelve-starred crown asserting her dominance over the year, and sits on a throne amidst a field of grain showcasing her control over growing things.  Occasionally shown pregnant, the Empress represents creation and abundance.

Madonna and Child, early 15th century, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Crowned as the Queen of Heaven, Mary sways gracefully as she supports her son Jesus.  Prophetic in nature, the sculpture displays Mary’s distress resulting from her foreknowledge of her son’s fate.  This portrayal of the Virgin and Child exemplifies Mary’s role as mother and Jesus’ role as savior.


The Fool is normally unnumbered, though occasionally represented as zero in the major arcana.  He represents the search for experience and a childlike wonder at the workings of the world.  The Fool is often accompanied by a dog representing the distractions of the “real world.”  Standing at the edge of a cliff, the Fool is oblivious to danger and recklessly seeks out adventure.

Alberto Giacometti, Three Men Walking, 1948-1949, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus

Artist Alberto Giacometti said that he sculpted figures as people actually looked to him.  Stick-like in nature, the three bronze figures wander dangerously close to the edge of an elevated platform.  Each faces a different direction as if eager to seek out his or her own adventure.


The Hanged Man is the twelfth trump card in a tarot deck.  Depicted as a man suspended from a tree, the Hanged Man’s symbolism often points to the crucifixion of Christ, Osiris in Egyptian mythology, Mithras in Ancient Persian mythology, and Odin in Norse mythology.  The Hanged Man card and these archetypal stories all allude to the destruction of self bringing life to humanity.

Octavio Medellín, El Ahorcado (The Hanged One), c. 1942, Dallas Museum of Art, Kiest Memorial Purchase Prize, Fourteenth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1943

Raised amidst the ravages of the Mexican Civil War, Octavio Medellí drew much of his inspiration from the Maya-Toltec cultures.  El Ahorcado (The Hanged One) is thought to symbolize Mexico’s effort to free itself from centuries of colonial subjugation and its struggle to find its own democratic path.


The Hermit is the ninth major arcana card.  He is shown as an elderly man carrying a staff in one hand and a lit lantern in the other- both signs of wisdom and knowledge.  Sparse in design, the card’s background is mostly sky with the lower portion depicting a wasteland and mountain range in the distance.  The Hermit has already learned the lessons of life throughout his journey and represents a shamanistic hero.

Portrait of an Arhat, 13th century, Dallas Museum of Art, the Roberta Coke Camp Fund, and Lillian B. Clark

Contemplating a lotus flower, this monk represents an arhat.  Arhats were holy men who were originally disciples of the Buddha.  Though they achieved extraordinary spiritual levels, arhats put off their own enlightenment in the pursuit of helping others.

My next post will look at the Hierophant, the High Priestess, Judgment, Justice, and the Lovers!

Pilar Wong

McDermott Intern for Community Teaching

A Weekend of Celebration

This weekend we welcomed our newest neighbor to the Dallas Arts District, Klyde Warren Park, with two days of activities and free general admission to the DMA. On Sunday, October 28, we also celebrated ancient Mexico through our free Family Celebration, which took place during the closing celebrations of Art in October. We even held some of our programs at Klyde Warren Park. Below are a few pictures from the day’s events. Be sure to visit The Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico before the exhibition closes on November 25!

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Costumes from the Collection

Every year I struggle to think of a creative new Halloween costume to wear. Oftentimes the month somehow escapes me and I end up recycling one of my old costumes: a cat, witch, or something with a mask. However, this year I realized that inspiration is all around me in the DMA galleries. As I wandered through the Museum this month, I was flooded with images of myself as a fierce Hindu goddess with multiple arms, an affluent Asante chief covered with gold, or even a mummy wrapped in linen. Excited by all the endless possibilities, I decided to ask my fellow authors which artwork they would choose to base a Halloween costume on.

Amanda Batson

“Amanda Panda” drew her inspiration for a Halloween costume from the Banquete chair with pandas.

Jessica Fuentes

“I would be Marcel Dzama’s The Minotaur. The sculpture already lends itself to a costume as there appears to be a person underneath the Minotaur’s mask-like head and the white cloth.  I like that the Minotaur should be a scary creature, but it looks defeated as it is portrayed here, with one horn, one arm, and one leg.  I also like that the artist includes the artist tools, paint brushes in a can, I think it would be fun to walk around as this character with all of the accessories.”

Andrea Severin

Andrea created a headpiece inspired by our new Karla Black installation.


Andrea’s adorable dog Artie also wanted to dress up!

Hannah Burney

As for me, I decided to base my costume on the spooky gorgon head featured on the inside of this Black-figure kylix. In Greek mythology gorgons are treacherous female creatures that have snakes for hair and can turn anyone who looks them in the eye to stone.

Hannah Burney
Community Teaching Programs Assistant

Artworks used:

  • Banquete chair with pandas, Fernando Campana and Humberto Campana, 2006, stuffed animals on steel base, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund
  • Bird-form finial, Zenú culture, South America, Colombia, c. A.D. 500-1500, gold, Dallas Museum of Art, The Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison
  • Black-figure kylix, Greek, Attic, 6th century B.C., ceramic, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green
  • Necessity, Karla Black, 2012, cellophane, sellotape, paint, body moisturisers and cosmetics, Courtesy Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London and Galerie Gisele Captain, Cologne
  • The Minotaur, Marcel Dzama, 2008, plaster, gauze, rope, fabric, chair, bucket, and paintbrushes, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

Welcome to the Neighborhood

This week our city’s newest amenity comes online: Klyde Warren Park. Now that we have glorious palaces for high culture, bridges into developing communities, and burgeoning opportunities to live downtown, the next accomplishment to celebrate is a green attraction with an identity open for interpretation by every visitor.

The DMA staff looks forward to the impact of a pedestrian-friendly destination just steps from our front door. The car culture of Dallas is not unique, but whatever we can all do to encourage residents and visitors to stretch their legs and open their eyes can only improve the quality of life for all in our city.

Parks and museums share a great deal—we welcome people of all backgrounds, regardless of particular interests, we offer an informal setting for conversation and relaxation, and we don’t prescribe a route, a timetable, or an outcome for your visit. We both try to offer a respite from the commercial din of contemporary life, some perspective on daily life, and enjoyment that comes from a freedom to wander and explore without confinement.

We look forward to collaborating with the Park as it gets underway with programming, and to accelerating the pedestrian-friendly potential of the Dallas Arts District in a variety of ways. Welcome to the neighborhood, Klyde Warren Park!

Celebrate the grand opening of Klyde Warren Park this weekend. The DMA will move the Studio Creations program outside on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and on Sunday our Maya ballgame demonstration with Grupo Pakal will be held at the Park at 1:45 p.m. Visit the Park’s website for a complete list of events.

Maxwell L. Anderson is The Eugene McDermott Director at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Teaching for Creativity: Questioning Coloring Books

Perhaps you enjoyed coloring books as a child or have coloring books around your home for your children. Creativity specialist and University of Texas at Dallas professor, Magdalaena Grohman, provides insight into the creative value of coloring books and ideas for enriching the coloring experience.

As a psychologist and a mom of two, I have an unrelenting tendency to look for games, toys, and activities that teach children to think and communicate, that develop imagination, and that shape creativity and multiple intelligences. And recently, coloring books have caught my attention.

For the past couple years my two sons, ages 6 and almost 4 years old, have been bringing coloring sheets home. I’ve been thinking: What do coloring books teach our children? What is their educational value?

For starters, the act of filling in the color within boundaries plays an important role in the development of hand-eye coordination, a crucial component in mastering handwriting. I’m afraid, however, that’s about it. How so? Well, let’s look at the most accessible coloring books you can buy in a supermarket. Most of them include outlines of  popular movie and book characters. If a child is familiar with a given character, it may significantly restrict the color palette. Spiderman, for example, will most likely be red, blue and black. There are even more restrictive activity books, in which a specific color pigment is already embedded in the pages and ready to use. Just dip a brush in water and you’re good to go. How convenient! Not only does a child remain clean (so do walls and floors), she doesn’t have to think what colors need to be used. At the very least, coloring books reinforce mindless copying and schematic color use.

So, shall we throw them away? Well, here’s a caveat. Children do like coloring, and—let’s admit it—it is a perfect activity to keep them busy so we can catch up with chores or steal 10 minutes to pause and think.

But, if you have some time to sit down with your children and play with them, I suggest you try the following fun activities with your ordinary coloring book:

  • Use an atypical color scheme (Spiderman is yellow, pink and green) and discuss the character “wearing” different colors
  • Add different elements to the picture
  • Change a given outline into something completely different and give it funny titles
  • Glue small pieces of torn magazine pages within the outline

Thank you, Dr. Grohman for your ideas!

Dr. Grohman leads Think Creatively! workshops in the Center for Creative Connections on the first Thursday of every month.

Andrea V. Severin
Interpretation Specialist

What’s your (learning) style?

Roger Winter, Self-Portrait with Family, 1969, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. George J. Perutz

At an Education staff meeting last month, each branch of the department took time to examine their programs through the lens of different learning styles and categorizations. We considered John Falk’s different kinds of visitors, such as the Explorer and the Facilitator; we examined Howard Gardner’s Nine Multiple Intelligences, such as Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence and Linguistic Intelligence; and finally, we reviewed Bernice McCarthy’s 4-MAT Learning Styles.

In fact, each staff member took a short test to determine which of the four McCarthy categories best described their learning style. As it turns out, analytic learners are the most common among DMA Educators. These learners, myself included, are fact seekers and especially good at creating concepts and models. They are motivated by the goals of self-satisfaction and intellectual recognition.

The analytic learners were closely followed by dynamic learners. Dynamic learners, such as our Manager of Go van Gogh Programs, Amy Copeland, are interested in hidden possibilities, self-discovery, and potential. They enjoy making things happen by taking risks and by being flexible and enthusiastic.

McDermott Intern for Community Teaching, Pilar Wong, falls under the next most common style: common sense learners. Practical and factual, these learners love to figure out how things work. They tend to enjoy problem solving and hands-on experiences.

Lastly, we have the imaginative learners. These learners, like Community Teaching Programs Assistant, Hannah Burney, are reflective and innovative. They learn from their own experiences and by listening to and sharing ideas with others. They are idea people.

Try out the McCarthy Learning Styles quiz, and tell us, what’s your learning style?

Alex Vargo
McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching

Off the Wall: Where Does It End?

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!

Culinary Canvas: Sarah Bernhardt Cookies

For this month’s recipe, we’re taking a trip through Paris with our new exhibition, Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries. Alphonse Mucha created this poster for Sarah Bernhardt, one of the most renowned actresses of the 19th century. She was so loved, in fact, that a Scandinavian baker named a cookie for her. Though somewhat complex, these multilayered confections are sure to dazzle, much like their namesake and her posters.

Alphonse Mucha, Gismonda, 1894-1895, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Kurt J. Wagner, M.D., and C. Kathleen Wagner Collection, M.87.294.1

Sarah Bernhardt Cookies

Yields about 60 cookies
Level: Advanced


6 ounces good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
Scant ½ cup sugar
Scant ½ cup water
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
¼ cup heavy cream, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


3 cups blanched slivered almonds
1 ½ cups sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
Splash of water


12 ounces good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Filling: Whisk chocolate in a glass bowl set over a small pot of simmering water until smooth and melted. Remove chocolate from heat and set aside to cool. Combine sugar and water in small saucepan and simmer until syrup becomes clear, about 5 minutes, then set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer set over a small pot of simmering water, whisk egg yolks until warm, about 2 minutes.

Transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add cream and beat mixture on medium until combined. Reduce speed and slowly pour in hot syrup. Return speed to medium and continue beating until cool and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add melted chocolate, scraping down sides of bowl as needed until fully incorporated. Refrigerate filling until firm, about 1 hour (or up to 1 week).

Cookies: Preheat oven to 325° F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place almonds in food processor and process for 1 minute. Add sugar and process into a fine crumb, about 3 minutes. Add egg whites and almond extract and process until mixture wads around blade. Scrape bowl with spatula and add splash of water. Process a few more seconds until paste is firm yet smooth enough to pipe.

Transfer paste to pastry bag fitted with coupler only (no tip). Pipe small rounds onto prepared baking sheet, applying pressure to bag for about 4 seconds per cookie and leaving 1 inch between each. Bake until golden around the edges, about 20 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Allow to cool slightly on baking sheet then transfer to metal rack to cool completely.

Once cookies are completely cool, transfer filling to pastry bag fitted with coupler only or with #11 tip. Pipe a peaked mound of filling on top of each cookie. Transfer cookies to freezer until filling is very firm, about 1 hour.

Coating: Whisk chocolate in a glass bowl set over a small pot of simmering water until smooth and melted. Remove from heat and stir in shortening. Cool until barely warm.

Remove cookies from freezer and place on cooling rack. Working quickly so filling doesn’t melt, spoon melted chocolate over cookies until filling is completely covered. Refrigerate finished cookies and serve chilled.


Sarah with a finished Sarah, dusted in gold like her beautiful posters.

Almond macaroon recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated and used with Sarah Bernhardt cookie recipe, adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies.

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

How to Win an Election

Election season is upon us! Join us at the Dallas Museum of Art on Thursday, October 25, at 7:30 p.m. for a lecture on the ancient Roman election of 64 B.C, when Marcus Cicero won the office of consul, the highest office in the land, with the help of his brother Quintus. Dr. Philip Freeman translated Quintus’ Latin text, How to Win an Election, written to guide Marcus to victory, and discovered the text to be as timely today as it was in ancient Rome. Uncrated caught up with him for a short Q&A and preview:

What piqued your interest in How to Win an Election?

I read the original in Latin back when I was a graduate student in Classics at Harvard. I was struck then by how timeless the advice in the letter was, so I’ve used it since then in my own undergraduate classes with positive responses from the students. A couple of years ago, I decided that it would be great if the general public could read this virtually unknown piece of ancient literature. I was thrilled when Princeton University Press agreed to publish and publicize it!

Does the advice really hold up for the modern-day election? Do you think your book should be required reading for those running for office?

It certainly holds up for today’s elections. Every time I read of a new scandal or technique from the presidential candidates, I think of Marcus Cicero and the election of 64 B.C. I do sometimes worry that modern candidates will apply the principles laid out in the letter, but I think most people running for office today know all the dirty tricks already!

Your work is rooted in the “dead” languages of the ancient world. What is the most difficult thing you have ever translated? And do you think anything is lost in translation?

Every translation is a compromise that loses something of the original. You can try to be painfully literal, but that misses the spirit of the original. You can try to just capture the broad meaning, but that won’t be accurate. I usually compromise and try to take a middle path. How to Win an Election is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever translated because I was struggling so hard to capture the flavor of the letter while staying true to the text.

We’re right around the corner from the next major presidential election. What are your thoughts on our current election process?

I’ve learned that nothing has really changed in 2,000 years. Politicians are still using the same techniques and making the same mistakes.

Any last minute advice you would give the candidates before November 6?

I think Cicero would say never take anything or anyone for granted. Even at the last minute, elections can change completely!

Dr. Philip Freeman is a Professor of Classics at Luther University in Decorah, Iowa. He has been interviewed by NPR’s All Things Considered and has talked on Roman politics across the country. He will lecture on Thursday, October 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Dallas Museum of Art as part of the Boshell Family Lecture Series on Archaeology.

Liz Menz is Manager of Adult Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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