Archive for May, 2013

Friday Photos: Self Found

I was recently wandering around the Art Spot in the Center for Creative Connections, looking at all the wonderful creations visitors share with us, when I saw visitor Chris Jackson doing the same. “Hey, that’s me!” he said, holding a collaged portrait up to his face.

Friday photo 5-17-2013

Chris with his self portrait

“I noticed the glasses, nose, and chin and thought it was me–in the future. Sometimes I don’t have a beard. And maybe in about 20 years, my hair will be that gray.” There was no label, so we weren’t sure who made it. But I loved the enthusiastic way he connected with this anonymous smiling portrait–that’s what C3 is all about!

Susan Diachisin
The Kelli and Allen Questrom Director of the Center for Creative Connections

Once Upon a Time…

Works of art are often seen as telling their own unique stories.  However, artists can also use stories as inspiration when creating artworks. For example, the story “How Wang-Fo was Saved” inspired the German artist Sigmar Polke to create his painting Clouds (Wolken). Check out a version of this story below:

Sigmar Polke, Clouds (Wolken), 1989, Dallas Museum of Art, 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, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and two anonymous donors

Once upon a time in a Chinese kingdom there lived an angry Emperor. When the Emperor was young, he was not allowed to leave the palace and explore the outside world. The young Emperor’s palace was decorated with the paintings of a very famous artist named Wang-Fo. Since the Emperor had never been outside, he thought that the world looked just like Wang-Fo’s beautiful paintings.

Finally, the time came when the Emperor was allowed to leave the palace. At first he was so excited, but his excitement quickly turned to disappointment. The real world was not nearly as beautiful to him as were Wang-Fo’s paintings. The Emperor believed he had been tricked and blamed Wang-Fo for his disappointment. He decided to punish Wang-Fo by tricking him as well.

The Emperor requested that Wang-Fo complete a painting he had left unfinished in the palace. Upon his arrival, Wang-Fo realized that it was trap. He immediately set to finishing his work, adding the sea at the bottom of a mountain. As he painted the water, the palace began to fill with actual water. Next, he painted a rowboat, and Wang-Fo could hear the oars splashing in the water. Wang-Fo quickly climbed into the boat!

The level of the water dropped and soon everyone in the palace came to see Wang-Fo’s finished masterpiece. In the painting they could see Wang-Fo in the rowboat slowly floating away from danger. Farther and farther down the river he rowed, until Wang-Fo disappeared and was never to be seen again. The End.

Concluding thoughts:

  • If you were to create an artwork inspired by “How Wong-Fo was Saved,” what would you choose to capture?
  • Do you think that Sigmar Polke’s Clouds (Wolken) effectively captured the story?  Was he focusing in on a particular moment or theme?
  • Are there childhood or family stories that you would want to commemorate through a work of art?

For more art-based stories, click on the links below:

Sacred textile (mawa') depicting tadpoles and water buffalo, early 20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, the Steven G. Alpert Collection of Indonesian Textiles, gift of The Eugene McDermott Foundation

Tadpoles and Water Buffalo

Takenouchi no Sukune and the Dragon King of the Sea

How the Moon got its Rhythm

The End!

Pilar Wong
McDermott Intern for Community Teaching

Cindy Sherman Doppelgängers

DMA staff members found their inner Cindy Sherman earlier this month when we re-created our popular April Late Night Art Byte: Cindy Sherman Photo Booth. Create your own Cindy Sherman doppelgänger before the exhibition closes on June 9 to receive the limited edition DMA Friends Super Fan: Cindy Sherman Badge! Find out how to earn this badge and bonus points here.

Adam Gingrich is the Marketing Administrative Assistant and Kimberly Daniell is the Public Relations Manager at the DMA.

Collection Connections: The Body Beautiful

A beautiful thing is never perfect. – Egyptian proverb

The opening of The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum has prompted an interesting dialogue on what qualifies as “beautiful.” Greek ideals have long influenced societal standards of beauty for both men and women, but many of the pieces in our permanent collection offer varied perspectives on this matter. Below are several such works of art that will hopefully challenge and diversify our concept of female beauty in particular.

Olowe of Ise, Kneeling female figure with bowl (olumeye), c. 1910 to c. 1938, Nigera, Effon-Alaiye, Yoruba peoples, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Olowe of Ise, Kneeling female figure with bowl (olumeye), c. 1910 to c. 1938, Nigera, Effon-Alaiye, Yoruba peoples, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

These types of containers, known as olumeye, are used in rituals of domestic hospitality for particularly distinguished guests. The word olumeye means “she who brings honor” and refers to the carved kneeling female figure presenting the bowl, which would have traditionally held kola nuts. Her long neck, oval-shaped face, and scarred back reveal Yoruba ideals of feminine beauty.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Bather with Cigarette, 1924, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase Fund, Deaccession Funds/City of Dallas (by exchange) in honor of Dr. Steven A. Nash.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Bather with Cigarette, 1924, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase Fund, Deaccession Funds/City of Dallas (by exchange) in honor of Dr. Steven A. Nash.

Though Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s bather does not portray the Italian Renaissance standards of beauty, her pose and the presence of the miniscule clamshell do recall Sandro Botticelli’s iconic Birth of Venus. This woman, however, flaunts her figure unapologetically, revealing a certain confidence and comfort with herself.

India, Doorjamb, 10th - 11th century, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendover Fund, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation and General Acquisitions Fund.

India, Doorjamb, 10th – 11th century, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendover Fund, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation and General Acquisitions Fund.

This carved doorjamb would have adorned one side of the entrance to a Hindu temple. The graceful, sensuous women at the bottom represent the Yamuna and Ganga Rivers and offer prosperity to the incoming worshipers.

Julie la Serieuse - Dubuffet

Jean Dubuffet, Julie la Serieuse, 1950, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark.

Jean Dubuffet states: “The female body, of all the objects in the world, is the one that has long been associated (for Westerners) with a very specious notion of beauty (inherited from the Greeks and cultivated by the magazine covers); now it pleases me to protest against this aesthetic, which I find miserable and most depressing. Surely, I am for beauty but not that one.”

Untitled 122 - Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #122, 1983.

Photographer Cindy Sherman, whose retrospective is currently on view at the DMA through June 9, 2013, received several fashion commissions throughout her career. These photographs subvert expectations by featuring a wide range of eccentric characters rather than traditional fashion models. She states: “The world is so drawn toward beauty that I became interested in things that are normally considered grotesque or ugly, seeing them as more fascinating and beautiful. It seems boring to me to pursue the typical idea of beauty, because that is the easiest or the most obvious way to see the world. It’s more challenging to look at the other side.”

Fertility Goddess - Syria

Syria, Fertility Goddess, late 2nd millennium BC, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark.

This kind of ceramic female figuring was quite common in Syria during the Bronze Age. The statuettes consist of standing frontal female figures that are nude, though usually wearing ornaments and headdresses. These common figurines were possibly votive offerings or amulets to a mother-goddess, and their form may have been influenced by cult statues in a temple.

The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece will be on view through October 6, 2013. And be sure to check out the new self-guided tour available in the exhibition, Beauty Beheld, to further explore the complex concept of beauty within the DMA’s permanent collection.

Alex Vargo
McDermott Education Intern for Gallery Teaching

Friday Photos: We heART Moms

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We love moms at the DMA, and there is a special place in our hearts for those moms who take the time to bring their children to the Museum. In honor of Mother’s Day, here is a peek at some of the many “museum moms” we want to celebrate on this special day.

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

Wanted: A Few Good Volunteers

If you would like to become more deeply involved with the DMA, consider these exciting volunteer opportunities.  We are currently recruiting applicants to fill three different volunteer positions!

Starting in Summer 2013: C3 Volunteer Program
Pairs well with: An interest in interacting with people of all ages, leading fun activities in the galleries, and spending time with works of art

The Center for Creative Connections (C3) is an experimental, dynamic learning environment that provides interactive encounters with works of art and artists. C3 volunteers act as hosts and welcome visitors, answer their questions, and personalize their Museum experience by providing information on the Museum’s collections, programs and activities. In addition, volunteers manage the C3 space by organizing and maintaining the C3 area, enforcing good Museum behavior, observing visitor flow, and prepping program and activity supplies. Volunteers also lead activities in the galleries and assist with special events such as Late Nights.

Volunteers attend mandatory trainings at the Museum beginning in June. The first training is on June 15 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Three-hour volunteer shifts are available Tuesday-Sunday from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Thursdays 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., and select Fridays 6:00 p.m.-12:00 p.m.

We are especially in need of volunteers who are available Tuesday-Friday from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., but folks who are available on evenings and weekends are equally welcome to apply. To request an application, email Rhiannon Martin. The application deadline is Friday, May 31.

Georgia, a C3 Volunteer, greets visitors as they enter the Center for Creative Connections.

Georgia, a C3 Volunteer, greets visitors as they enter the Center for Creative Connections.

Starting in Fall 2013: Docent Program
Pairs well with: A passion for teaching and learning, leading conversations and gallery experiences, and spending time with works of art

The desire to communicate the power of art to others is the main requirement to become a docent, and we are currently recruiting new docents for the 2013-2014 training year. New docents complete a yearlong training program consisting of lectures, gallery talks, and workshops led by Museum staff and outside experts. These training sessions, held each Monday from September through May, prepare new docents for tours by introducing them to the DMA’s collection and immersing them in our teaching philosophy. After completing training, docents conduct weekly tours for groups of visitors ranging from elementary school students to adult visitors.

If you (or someone you know) would like to learn more about the DMA docent program or to request an application for the 2013-2014 training year, email Shannon Karol. The application deadline is Friday, May 24.

Marilyn, a DMA Docent, talks with students about Edward Hopper's Lighthouse Hill.

Marilyn, a DMA Docent, talks with students about Edward Hopper’s Lighthouse Hill.

Starting in Fall 2013: Go van Gogh Program
Pairs well with: Enthusiasm for teaching 1st-6th grade students, leading conversations and art-making activities at Dallas-area schools, and spending time with works of art

Check back in July for information about volunteering with the Go van Gogh® program during the 2013-2014 school year.

Karen, a Go van Gogh volunteer, helps students with an art project

Karen, a Go van Gogh volunteer, works with first grade students on an art activity

We hope you’ll consider volunteering with us!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Pop In to the Pop-Up Art Spot

Art Cart 3

On January 21, the Dallas Museum of Art introduced our new Pop-Up Art Spot, a place for free artistic activities in our galleries! Each week, the roaming Pop-Up Art Spot can be found in a different location, such as in the European art galleries on Level 2 or the Asian art galleries on Level 3. When you stretch your creativity muscles at the Pop-Up Art Spot, you can earn points and a badge through the DMA Friends program. Currently, we have three locations mapped out for our cart ,and each location has activities specifically designed to let visitors slow down and enjoy a new experience with works of art.

Here’s an example. When the cart pops up to the 20th-Century American Art Gallery, you can explore how artists use simple shapes to make complex compositions. Activities include using Shape Stencils to make a sketch inspired by Gerald Murphy’s Watch. Is sketching not your skill set? Have no fear! See below for more ideas.

When you join us on Level 3 near the entrance to the Asian art galleries, you will find a range of sketching and writing activities. Even the littlest visitors can look at the silver shrine and imagine themselves on top of an elephant. Or, if you are looking for something more challenging, take a Story Starter, find a work of art, and write a story about it. How will your story unfold from the introduction line that is provided?

Elephant Drawing

Elephant Drawing

This week, you can find us on Level 2 in the 20th-Century European Art Gallery. There, you can choose from surrealist-inspired games and creativity games like Speed Sketching, Unusual Combinations, or Take a Chance PoetrySpeed Sketching is great for those with a competitive streak. Play the game and see who can draw the most details from a single painting in two minutes. Unusual Combinations is a great collaborative game where participants take turns contributing to a communal drawing; the end product is a fun surprise for all! Take a Chance Poetry is an easy way to write a poem using the words of an artist from our collection. Start with a poem, then simply black out words to create a new poem of your own.

The next time you visit the Dallas Museum of Art, look for a Pop-Up Art Spot to have a creative experience with works of art in our collection for free. You might walk away with a new perspective about a work of art, someone you’re with, or yourself!

Jessica Fuentes is the C3 Gallery Coordinator.

The Art of Storytelling

If you stop by the DMA on a First Tuesday or Late Night, chances are you have encountered our resident storyteller Ann Marie Newman. She was a born storyteller, creating alternate worlds and narrating stories as a child. She has been a professional storyteller for nineteen years and has been at the DMA for six.

Anne Marie dispels the myth that storytellers only read stories to children; rather, she says they “carry on oral traditions of what it is to be human.” She believes storytelling unites people from all cultures. She performs stories as if they are a memory, allowing her to connect with the audience as they journey through the story together. She not only engages her audience through participation but also by incorporating the senses into her performance, which helps audience members imagine they are experiencing the same sensations as the characters.

Artworks from the DMA’s permanent collection and special exhibitions inspire the stories Anne Marie performs at the the Museum. For her, there is a very natural connection between stories and art. When preparing for a performance, she prefers to view the art first with little contextual information. This allows for her own interpretation and creative response to the art. She describes her mind working like a spider’s web, connecting stories and folktales to the art she views.

She says creativity is her greatest gift, because it allows her to visualize and verbalize her stories. She suggests that people “don’t give up being a kid–experience life in magical ways.”

Join Ann Marie Newman and her cast of characters inspired by our special exhibition The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum during our Late Night on May 17th at 7:30 p.m.

Holly York
McDermott Intern for Family Experiences

Twinkle Toes

Celebrate Wednesday’s “No Sock Day” and bare your ankles when you visit our new exhibition, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum.

Friday Photos: Mighty Aphrodite

Having just visited Rome for the first time last week, I am certainly geared up for our new exhibition, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum. While there, I not only enjoyed a ridiculous amount of bread and pasta, I also discovered some fantastic ancient artwork. One lady that I liked to search for in the many museum collections was Venus or, as she was known to the Greeks, Aphrodite. Here are some ancient sculptures of the Goddess of Love that I came across during my trip:

Stop by and visit Aphrodite and some more beautiful bodies in the exhibition when it opens this Sunday, May 5. And if you’re a DMA Friend, don’t forget to check in for your special exhibition badge!

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives


Flickr Photo Stream