Archive for March, 2013



Creative Comics

Dallas students had a great time learning about comics on Sunday, March 10, at the DMA’s Urban Armor workshop. Urban Armor is a program that allows teens and tweens to take a closer look at the Museum’s collection and create unique art in the DMA’s computer-equipped Tech Lab.

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Workshops are generally scheduled twice a month for two hours and are free; for more information, and to register, visit the DMA’s Urban Armor page.

Local comic book artist and illustrator Kristian Donaldson led our recent workshop, which covered the basics of drawing comics and their history and progression. Donaldson completed his training at the Savannah College of Art and Design and has worked for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse Comics, and Dallas Observer/Village Voice Media. He has also taught several classes for young adults and college-age students across the U.S.

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The workshop was inspired by the recent Arts & Letters Live program featuring Art Spiegelman on February 27. One of the perks of being the McDermott Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live is getting the chance to create a program based on my passions and interests. I grew up in small-town Texas, far from any art institutions, so as a relatively new museum-goer I have become keenly aware of a certain gap in museum activities. While programs for children, families, and adults abound, similar activities for teens and young adults often do not. One of the things I love about the DMA is that we do have programs like Urban Armor, teen-friendly author events, and student discounts. When I saw that Spiegelman was coming to Dallas, I thought that the formula of comics + teens + local art programs at schools like Booker T. Washington + Urban Armor at the DMA + FREE = awesome.

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And so it began. Students age 14-17 gathered in the Center for Creative Connections to be schooled in the awesomeness that is comic book art. Kristian was very open-minded and supportive in his approach, encouraging the students to run with whatever style comes naturally, because there is no “right” or “wrong” way to draw a comic. While working with his self-professed current obsession with outer space, Kristian showed us step-by-step how to divide a basic template into three parts, set the scene with a general landscape, bring in human anatomy and emotion using shapes and positive and negative space, and lead into a story that is completely up to the artist. WOW. It was mesmerizing to watch the students create their own unique interpretations of what a comic should be. One student focused on what can only be described as a well-drawn noodle monster. I was amazed at the skill level and creativity flowing in the room.

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After the workshop was over, Kristian kindly signed some of his work for the students as they begged for another program with him later in the season. Comics: Part II, anyone?

Emily Brown is the McDermott Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

Cindy Sherman SmARTphone Tour

Cindy Sherman, a retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work from the mid-seventies to the present, opened this past weekend.  About 160 larger-than-life photographs fill up the Barrel Vault and its adjacent galleries. The majority of the photographs show the artist as model, posing in a variety of costumes and guises.

Sherman often creates her photographs in a series. In this exhibition, for example, you can see Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills, which were created to appear like snapshots of movie scenes, or her History Portraits that stylistically reference Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Neo-classical portraiture.

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Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #56

Before, during, or after a visit to the exhibition, check out the Cindy Sherman smARTphone tour. This tour includes audio commentary from MoMA curators and from Cindy Sherman herself about her work. It also includes ten video interviews, with artists and other art-world figures who are asked to discuss their favorite Cindy Sherman photograph. These offer a unique, personal perspective to work in the exhibition. Which Cindy Sherman photograph is your favorite?

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The DMA offers free Wi-Fi in the galleries, so be sure to connect before accessing the smartphone tour for optimum access!

Andrea V. Severin
Interpretation Specialist

Artwork shown:

  • Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #56, 1980, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Acquired through the generosity of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder in memory of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd © 2012 Cindy Sherman

Open Office: Foundation and Government Relations Director

I inherited my office–and the majority of this wall collage–from its former resident. I had always admired her creative office décor, so I immediately added to it when I moved in. The timespan of exhibitions reflected on the wall ranges from 2004 (Splendors of China’s Forbidden City: The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong) to present day (the newly opened Cindy Sherman). It’s fun to see a visual history of the shows we’ve presented over the last decade. Too bad it’s the only organized area of my office.

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Anne Palamara Smith is the Director of Foundation and Government Relations at the DMA.

Friday Photos: Spring Break

Many families have enjoyed spending their Spring Break staycation at the Museum! We’ve had several activities this week including puzzles, interactive tours, and a family film, Dropping in on Picasso.

Families participated with our interactive Story Time, led by Museum Education staff who read books in front of related artworks and engaged children in a gallery activity. Kids (and a few adults) donned capes and crowns and pretended to fly across the sky in our photo shoot inspired by the exhibition, Chagall: Beyond Color. Adults and kids competed against each other in a battle of wits and creativity during our ART You SmARTer Than Your Grown-Up? game. Indeed, kids were smarter than their grown-ups!

Our week of fun culminates tonight during Late Night. Our theme this month is the Wizard of Oz, so the evening will be full of family friendly activities you won’t want to miss. And DMA Friends who drop by donning their favorite pair of ruby slippers will find a surprise waiting for them over the rainbow!

Holly York
McDermott Intern for Family Experiences

Community Connection: Shay Youngblood

We are excited to introduce Shay Youngblood as the first Writer-in-Residence at the DMA.  It’s easy to sit down and talk to Shay for a few minutes, and somehow it turns into a few hours.  She is a great listener, but she is also a great storyteller.

In Houston, February 2013

In Houston, February 2013

Name five things that you love.
Art, books, peace, love, food.

Tell me about your work with the DMA.
I am currently a Writer-in-Residence at the DMA. What I would like to do in that role is create an art project based on visitors’ art experiences. It’s an experiment for me. My belief is that encounters with art or engaging with art can change the way we see the sky, a flower, a face, a body, ourselves. Art that stirs up our senses makes us think and wonder and makes us feel more alive. I contacted Susan (Director of the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA) because I want to visit the Museum regularly, as if I’m visiting another country to learn a new language.

Shay Youngblood and Susan Diachisin, on Shay's first day as Writer-in-Residence

Shay Youngblood and Susan Diachisin, on Shay’s first day as Writer-in-Residence

You are both a writer and a painter. How would you describe your creative process?
In different genres, I start differently. My process comes out of being a storyteller. Whether I’m working on a play, or a novel, or a short story, or a painting, it’s really about telling a good story. With writing, it starts with a character. I get to know the character as well as I can, from their shoe size to their favorite color. I’m interested in a lot of different things – art, food, social justice, politics, race, class – all kinds of things. The work comes out of my interests. But all of my work involves telling a good story.

You recently travelled to Japan through the U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program, which seeks to “promote cultural understanding between the United States and Japan.” How would you say cultural understanding occurred during your time abroad?
My work in Japan was about my wanting to understand the culture through its people. I conducted interviews with artists and architects, but I also met strangers on the street. The most interesting thing to come out of that whole time was that I met two women separately in Tokyo, a city of millions of people. One Japanese woman went to SMU in Dallas. The other, I met while I was trying to get food and was having a hard time – I looked lost. On the last day of my time in Japan, these two realized they knew each other from college thirty-seven years ago; they hadn’t seen each other since then.

I felt not only did I learn about Japanese culture, I think I was also able to share a lot of American culture with the people I met there. A lot of people had not been to the U.S. or ever interacted with an African American person.

In a Tokyo art gallery during U.S./Japan Friendship Commission Creative Artist Fellowship

In a Tokyo art gallery during her U.S./Japan Friendship Commission Creative Artists Fellowship

Through books I have read and films I have seen about Japan, I get the impression that this is a place that appeals to all of the senses. Tell me something that comes to mind for each of the following:

  •  Sight – When I think about Japan, I think about beauty – there is beauty everywhere. One of the most memorable sights was sitting on a beach in Takamatsu and looking out at the water. There is beauty everywhere, and quiet beauty in nature. On the street there were little flowers. There was a general aesthetic of beauty in the simplest things.
  • Sound – Temple bells in the afternoon. That sound was wonderful to me. I felt like I was inside the temple in my hotel room. It was like a moment of meditation every day.
    In the evening, when the children get out of school, you hear a little song playing through speakers around the city. The music essentially says “time to go home now” and plays at the same time every day. This song permeates the whole city.
  • Touch – The traditional way of greeting someone or showing respect in Japan is to bow. My American self would sometimes forget that, and when I was moved by a kindness sometimes I would hug people. I have to say I missed touch. So when a Japanese person would give me a hug because they knew that was in my culture, that was a really special moment for me.
  • Taste – Japanese food is so amazing! It attends to all of the senses.  It is beautiful to look at, some tastes are unusual, and the food in general is some of the best I’ve had in my life. And, the best Mexican restaurant in Tokyo was down the street from my hotel.
  • Smell – There are so many gardens that I visited all over the city, beautiful traditional Japanese gardens. Just the smell of the flowers and the trees and the earth in these gardens was really quite stimulating for me.

Shay will be interviewing visitors about their experiences with art tomorrow during Late Night. Look for her friendly face in the galleries!

Melissa Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager

A Dot That Went for a Walk

Once again, the Works on Paper Gallery on the Museum’s second level is being reinstalled. Fourteen drawings, lithographs, etchings, and engravings by some of the 20th century’s greatest artists—Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, and many more—will adorn the gray walls.

The new installation, titled Linear Possibilities in Modern European Prints, didn’t come together overnight. I’ve been working on it for the last six months, and I am now very excited (even a bit nervous) to present it to the Museum’s public. The idea came to me after looking many times through the Museum’s collection of European works on paper, which includes over 2,000 prints, drawings, and photographs dating from the late 1400s to the 1980s.

Henri Matisse, Loulou, 1914, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Wendover Fund

Henri Matisse, Loulou, 1914, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Wendover Fund, © 2013 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

I had to work with a few limiting factors before finding my final concept. The three walls of the gallery can only accommodate a certain number of works comfortably, so I had to keep the number within a range of eight to fourteen works. Also, works on paper are very sensitive to natural light. The longer a work is on view, the more damage that occurs, causing the paper to darken and certain media to fade. Therefore, I couldn’t use any work that had recently been on view. I found a few possibilities based on particular themes or artistic movements before choosing to investigate lines, one of art’s most basic elements.

Alberto Giacometti, Annette in the Studio, 1954, lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Alberto Giacometti, Annette in the Studio, 1954, lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

The idea was influenced by a great quote from the Swiss artist Paul Klee: “A line is a dot that went for a walk.” Lines appear in many types and sizes: vertical, horizontal, zigzagged, curvy, squiggly, thick, thin, long, short. When combined, lines reveal spaces or forms and allude to volume or mass. They can possess emotive qualities as well as imply movement.

Paul Klee, Hoffmanesque Scene (Hoffmaneske Szene), 1921, color lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Stuart Gordon Johnson by exchange; General Acquisitions Fund; and The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange

Paul Klee, Hoffmanesque Scene, 1921, color lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Stuart Gordon Johnson by exchange; General Acquisitions Fund; and The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange, (c) Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Pablo Picasso, Three Standing Nudes, at Right, Sketches of Heads (Trois nus debout, à droite esquisses de têtes), 1927, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Pablo Picasso, Three Standing Nudes (left) and Sketches of Heads (right), 1927, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, © 2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The works in the installation demonstrate how painters and sculptors of the European avant-garde turned to drawing and printmaking in a new manner, creating with nothing but lines. They explored the possibilities of rhythmic or abstracted sequences of delicate, robust, and expressive lines in their compositions of a nude, an artist’s studio, or more abstracted scenes. There is an astonishing beauty to be found in these prints and drawings by Matisse, Giacometti, Picasso, and others. I encourage you to visit the Dallas Museum of Art (general admission is free!) to see these amazing and innovative works.

Linear Possibilities in Modern European Prints goes on view in the European Art Galleries on Level 2 Sunday, March 17.

Hannah Fullgraf is the McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern in European Art at the DMA.

I Could Have Danced All Night!

Artists take cues from the surrounding world when creating their own works of art.  Inspiration can come from any number of subjects including fashion, popular culture, and poetry.  The DMA is currently playing host to an exhibition titled, Chagall: Beyond Color, which features the artist’s paintings alongside his works in sculpture, ceramics, and collage. The DMA is the only US venue for this exhibition, so you definitely don’t want to miss it!

Marc Chagall never aligned himself with any single movement, but combined elements from various styles including Cubism, Fauvism, Symbolism, and Surrealism.  He also drew inspiration from his Jewish background, Russian upbringing, and many international travels.  While Chagall is most famous for his paintings, he also experimented with other media and venues.  For example, he designed and produced costumes and scenery for the production of the ballet Aleko, choreographed by Léonide Massine and set to the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A Minor.

Marc Chagall, A Wheatfield on a Summer's Afternoon, Study for backdrop for Scene III of the ballet Aleko, 1942, Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest

Marc Chagall, A Wheatfield on a Summer’s Afternoon, Study for backdrop for Scene III of the ballet Aleko, 1942, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest

Three years after the immense success of Aleko, Chagall worked on the stage curtain, sets, and costumes for Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird.  The ballet, based on a Russian folktale, was restaged by the American Ballet Theater with choreography by Adolphe Bolm.

Marc Chagall, Model for the curtain in the first act of "The Firebird" by Stravinsky: The Enchanted Forest (Maquette pour le rideau de scène du 1er acte de "L'Oiseau de feau" de Stravisky: La forêt enchantée), 1945, Private collection, Paris

Marc Chagall, Model for the curtain in the first act of “The Firebird” by Stravinsky: The Enchanted Forest (Maquette pour le rideau de scène du 1er acte de “L’Oiseau de feau” de Stravisky: La forêt enchantée), 1945, Private collection

Marc Chagall is not the only artist to have been inspired by the passionate art form of dance.  As a strong cultural element, dance can be found represented in a variety styles throughout history and across geography.  Below are some examples of works in the DMA collection that also draw inspiration from various forms of dance.

Pilar Wong
McDermott Intern for Community Teaching


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