Archive for August, 2013

Summer Conservation at the DMA: Treatment of Sanction of the Museum by Daniel Buren

If you’ve visited the DMA lately, you may have been wondering what is going on behind the closed doors of the Chilton Galleries, the same galleries that held the recent Chagall: Beyond Color exhibition. The galleries have been transformed into a temporary conservation workspace, where we have been busily working on a massive installation artwork by Daniel Buren.

Daniel Buren in 1995. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Daniel Buren in 1995 (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Daniel Buren (b. 1938) has been creating dynamic public installations since the early 1970s. His conceptual artwork challenged the traditional formats at the time and frequently combined modern pieces with historical architecture. Now Buren’s large striped artworks are recognized instantly across Europe, earning him revered status in his native France.

Sanction of the Museum being unrolled for the first time at the DMA.

Sanction of the Museum being unrolled for the first time at the DMA

The DMA recently acquired Buren’s 1973 Sanction of the Museum, which consists of six enormous panels of cotton fabric with alternating white and colored vertical stripes. Each panel bears two stripes of white acrylic paint applied to both the front and back of the fabric at the far left and right edges. The panels will hang from the ceiling near the Ross Avenue Entrance (at the south end of the Museum’s main Concourse) like a series of banners that can sway slightly in the air. They will lead the way upstairs to the new Conservation Studio, where Museum visitors will soon have a window into the often-unseen world of art conservation.

Conservation Interns Diana Hartman and Jessica Ford steaming one of the large canvas panels

Conservation interns Diana Hartman and Jessica Ford steaming one of the large canvas panels

As conservation interns, our job was to stabilize and restore visual integrity to the canvas panels. They had been rolled up in storage since the artwork’s last installation in 1989, prior to their acquisition by the DMA last year. This is good in that the artwork hasn’t seen a lot of wear or fading from UV, but because it was rolled improperly a number of minor damages were incurred. (If you’re curious about how to properly care for your paintings, here is a good place to start!) The most pressing issues we encountered were the extreme creases and wrinkles that marred the artwork’s stoic appearance. We also found numerous small stains and tears.

side by side

Before performing any treatment on the artwork itself, we made mock-ups and conducted tests to decide on the best option. In conservation practice, a “less is more” approach is always best, using minimal interference and always using reversible materials. In this particular case, we successfully steamed away most of the wrinkles in the fabric and reduced the most severe creases under custom weights. Small tears were mended with thread-by-thread reweaving and custom-made patches. Soft vinyl erasers and cellulose pulp poultices were used to reduce scuffs and dirt.


After an intense eight weeks of preparation, installation is now underway! We are thrilled to have been a part of the team that helped bring this important contemporary artwork to Dallas. This conservation treatment is just the start of many more exciting projects that will be taking place on public view in the new Conservation Studio when it opens this fall. Be sure to check out Sanction of the Museum the next time you visit the DMA!

Diana Hartman and Jessica Ford are art conservation interns working with Chief Conservator Mark Leonard at the DMA this summer. Diana is a conservation technician at Winterthur Museum, and Jessica is a graduate fellow in paintings conservation at Winterthur/University of Delaware.

Splish Splash – Escaping the Texas Heat

With multiple days of triple-digit temps, we are feeling the heat right with you. So we pooled together works in the collection that really make a splash. Take a refreshing dip into our DMA waters below, find even more on our Pinterest page, and stop by the Museum to escape the heat. We keep it a cool 72 degrees inside; the AC’s even included in free general admission.

Kimberly Daniell is the Public Relations Manager at the DMA and Hayley Dyer is the Audience Relations Coordinator for Programming

Defining Beauty


As you may know, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum, featuring key works from the collection of Greek and Greco-Roman masterpieces at the British Museum, is currently on display at the DMA. This exhibition, on view through October 6, highlights many representations of the human body and invites us to consider how beauty is defined. Greeks believed that one’s physical, outward appearance was a reflection of one’s inner character—if one was outwardly beautiful, one must also be inwardly virtuous. The body was of utmost importance, and the physical was strongly linked to the moral in Greek minds and culture.

Marble statue of discus thrower (diskobolos), Roman period, second century AD, after a lost Greek original of about 450–440 BC, from the villa of the emperor Hadrian at Tivoli, Italy, GR 1805,0703.43 (Sculpture 250) AN 396999, © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

Marble statue of a discus thrower (diskobolos), Roman period, 2nd century AD, after a lost Greek original of about 450–440 BC, from the villa of the emperor Hadrian at Tivoli, Italy, © The Trustees of the British Museum (2013). All rights reserved.

Now, almost two thousand years later, how much have our ideas about beauty changed? Looking at the stunning Diskobolos, do you believe that physical beauty reflects virtue? Or do you think that inner and outer beauty are independent of one another? And how much are your ideas about beauty a product of the culture in which you live? Because the DMA believes that art should spark further thought and discussion, at the end of The Body Beautiful exhibition we created a visitor response wall, where visitors can share their thoughts about beauty after experiencing the exhibition. The response wall consists of two different cards that visitors may choose to fill out—one asks, “Can you separate inner beauty from outer beauty?” and the other reads, “I don’t want to answer a question, but I had a thought about beauty…”


As you can see, we’ve gotten some excellent, insightful, and varied comments! We’re keeping track of them, and we’d love for you to respond as well. This month, receive a $4 discount on an exhibition ticket when you purchase online prior to your visit!

Elizabeth Layman is a summer intern at the DMA with Adult Programs and Arts & Letters Live.

Friday Photos: Breaking News at the DMA

WFAA Channel 8's Cynthia Izaguirre sharing newscasting tips with summer campers

WFAA Channel 8’s Cynthia Izaguirre sharing newscasting tips with summer campers

What happens when you give six to eight year olds a video camera, a sparkly pretend microphone and the chance to be newscasters for the day? The latest, breaking edition of DMA Art News! Campers in the New World Kids 2 summer art camp spent two weeks learning about how creativity comes in all shapes and sizes. One of the highlights of camp was working with WFAA Channel 8’s Cynthia Izaguirre to learn the ins and outs of broadcast news.

Shooting B-roll for our Art Newscast with Ted Forbes

Shooting B-roll for our Art Newscast with Ted Forbes

After a practice session with Cynthia, the kids were ready to roll. Ted Forbes, the Museum’s Multimedia Producer, worked his magic to help the kids get their ideas from paper to camera. The final result is this debut of the DMA Art News!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

Arts & Letters Live By-the-Numbers

Each July, I travel to New York City with Carolyn Bess, the DMA’s director of programming and Arts & Letters Live, to meet with publicists at all the major publishing houses. We get a sneak peek at which authors will have new books out during the Arts & Letters Live season and who will be touring to promote their book. Arts & Letters Live relies heavily on author tours to create the best possible season line-up. Once we return from New York, we sift through our notes and prioritize a wish list of authors for the upcoming season. This past week, we were in New York for this annual planning trip. It is always a complete whirlwind. Here is a by-the-numbers look at this year’s Arts & Letters Live season planning trip (along with a few photos from our journey):
2 tickets to New York
5 days
30 meetings with
50 publicists
97 pages of notes
380+ books pitched
1 unforgettable season (check the DMA’s website this fall for the season announcement!)

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Katie Hutton is the Program Manager of Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

Art Babies

Do you think your baby is too young to bring to the DMA? Think again! We are currently testing a potential program for infants (3-23 months) and their parents or caregivers called Art Babies, based on research by Dr. Katerina Danko-McGhee, Director of Education at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Creating a stimulating environment contributes to a baby’s brain development. Visiting the Museum is one way to provide a stimulating environment for your child. Looking at art promotes early neuron connections while talking about art helps early language development.

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Now that you know the Museum is a great place for your baby’s development, what kind of art should you look at during your visit? Art that is high in contrast or uses bright bold colors captures a baby’s attention best. Babies like both abstract and representational art; however infants 13-18 months particularly prefer representational art.

Several babies from our first test group were captivated by the contrasting colors of The Divers by Fernand Leger. Portraits also work well, especially faces with big eyes (think of Dora the Explorer) or depictions of babies. Also look for artworks that feature familiar objects such as animals or plants.

You might be wondering, “How can I tell if my baby is interested in a work of art?” Babies communicate their aesthetic preference through body language. They might visually fixate, smile, laugh, or reach toward the object that interests them. When looking at art with your baby, it is best to hold them or have them in a front carrier at a safe distance from the artwork. This allows the baby to physically react to the art they prefer.

The Divers, Fernand Leger, 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

Fernand Leger, The Divers, 1942, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

While viewing art with your baby, it’s important to validate the child’s response by being supportive and interactive. When your child reaches toward a particular painting, talk about colors, shapes, or familiar objects in the artwork. This will aid in language development and help them create meaning from familiar objects.

Our first test for Art Babies received positive feedback and parents were amazed at their babies’ reactions to the artworks. Follow the DMA on Facebook or Twitter for future information on this program.

Holly York
McDermott Intern for Family Experiences

New Additions to the DMA Archives

If you have stopped by the DMA recently, you will have seen a wall full of archival materials and ephemera displayed in the free exhibition DallasSITES: Charting Contemporary Art, 1963 to Present. The archival material also illustrates our new e-publication, DallasSITES: A Developing Art Scene, Postwar to Present, the DMA’s first OSCI project. But these items are just a tiny fraction of the papers, records, and collections acquired by the DMA Archives as part of the DallasSITES project. Below are a few of my favorites–hidden treasures that are not currently on view in the galleries.


Watercolor sketch by Dallas artist Pamela Nelson, Florence, Italy, August 8, 2000. Pamela Nelson Papers.


Flyer for the Texas Kid’s Studio Raisin’ event, November 10, 1990. Paul Rogers Harris Gallery Mailings Collection.


Los Sons of Cain, 2008, an artist book by Dallas artist and gallerist Randall Garrett. Randall Garrett Papers.


Hot Flashes, Issue 1, December 1985, an arts newsletter for Dallas edited by Bob Trammell. Charles Dee Mitchell Collection.


Stamp art from the collection of Dallas artist Pamela Nelson. Pamela Nelson Papers.


Stamp art from the collection of Dallas artist Pamela Nelson. Pamela Nelson Papers.


Flyer for first Victor Dada performance, “The First Annual Ontopological Da Da Koan,” held at Tolbert’s Chili Parlor, September 20, 1979. Victor Dada Records.
Victor Dada was a performance art group active in Dallas in the 1980s.

Do you have materials documenting a North Texas-based gallery, art career, or arts organization? Please consider donating your archival collection to the Dallas Museum of Art Archives and contribute to the historical record of contemporary art in North Texas for future scholarship. For more information, contact me at

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

Friday Photo: Expect the Unexpected

Hello all! My name is Rachel and I am one of the interns for Family Programs at the DMA this summer! I am about to start my senior year at Texas Christian University, studying Early Childhood Education and Child Development. My love of the arts and children led me to the DMA this summer and it has been quite an adventure! My favorite part has been watching the children create such wonderful works of art – never underestimate the power of a child’s creativity!

My favorite painting in the gallery is Georgia O’Keeffe’s Grey Blue & Black – Pink Circle. I love this painting because of the soft colors and swooping movement.

The piece of art that describes my time at art camp is Angry Owl, a sculpture by Pablo Picasso currently on view in the Museum’s special exhibition, Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. But it’s not because the owl is angry–It’s because this piece is so unexpected for Picasso since he isn’t known for sculptures! At art camp you should always expect the unexpected! 🙂

Rachel Moss
Summer Programs Intern


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