Archive for January, 2014

Makers Made

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Now in its fifth month, Maker Club is a free drop-in program for ages 13-19 that asks, “What happens when art, science, and technology mix?” Capitalizing on the popularity of the Maker movement and incorporating elements from STEAM education, Maker Club is a combination between open studio and led workshop that explores a different theme each month.

Image courtesy of makeymakey.com

Image courtesy of makeymakey.com

Experimentation and open-endedness rule the day as traditional art materials and tech-based supplies are thrown into the ring together. Past projects have included creating a Makey Makey mini-arcade, making found-object sculptures from discarded electronics, and using electro-luminescent (EL) wire and glow-in-the-dark screen-printing ink to make light-up clothing and accessories.
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Since no experience is required to take part, Maker Club also provides an opportunity for teens to learn and “level up” a variety of skills–from new artistic processes and creative problem solving, to circuit building, soldering and more. Group learning and collaboration is also a happy by-product of this process; oftentimes, the adult facilitators are learning just as much from the students as vice versa.
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So why have a maker-type program in an art museum? To me, the ideas aren’t mutually exclusive, but rather complementary. In the latest issue of Make magazine, Don Undeen, manager of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MediaLab, writes that all artists are, in fact, makers, and that museums have the potential to be a living forum where the two groups can talk to and inform one another.

There are even makers in the DMA’s collection, and those artists inspire the Makers Club members. Martin Delabano’s Family Portrait gave one teen the idea for this found-object sculture (pictured below). See how many makers you can spot in the DMA’s collection on your next visit.
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Martin Delabano, Family Portrait 1963, 2001, mixed media, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., Lorine and David H. Gibson, and Sonny Burt and Bob Butler

JC Bigornia is the C3 program coordinator at the DMA.

Happy Chinese New Year

Today is the start of Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year. Traditionally, this day marks the beginning of the plowing and sowing season, but this festive holiday also celebrates new life. All over the world, people are celebrating the Incoming Year of the Horse. So we rounded up some of our own horse artworks to kick off the Lunar New Year. Come visit our fabulous fillies tomorrow and then join in the celebration at the Crow Collection’s annual Chinese New Year Festival!

Artworks shown:

    • Antoine–Louis Barye, Turkish Horse, c. 1838, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund
    • Polo horse tomb figure, China, 618-907 A.D., Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Rothwell
    • Harrison Begay, Indian Woman on Horse, 1952, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase
    • Horse-and-rider figure (elesin Shango), Yoruba peoples, Africa, Nigeria, Owo, 17th to 18th century, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.
    • Bank Langmore, Horse Silhouette, Bell Ranch, New Mexico, 1974, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Paul Brauchle
    • Horse and rider, Boeotia, Greek, 6th century B.C., Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark
    • Cynthia Brants, Horse and Rider, n.d., Dallas Museum of Art, Creative Arts Guild fund, Seventh Southwestern Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, 1957
    • Deborah Butterfield, Horse #6-82, 1982, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Edward S. Marcus Fund
    • Anthony Gross, Horse Bath, 1954, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Andrea Severin Goins
Interpretation Specialist

Happy 30th Anniversary 1717 N. Harwood

January 29, 1984, was a warm, clear day. At 12:15 p.m. a ribbon was cut . . .

Ribbon cutting ceremony on January 29, 1984 marking the grand public opening of the Dallas Museum of Art's new downtown location.

Ribbon cutting ceremony on January 29, 1984, marking the grand public opening of the Dallas Museum of Art’s new downtown location.

Visitors poured into the new galleries . . .

First visitors in the new museum, January 29, 1984

First visitors in the new Museum building, January 29, 1984

And the great city of Dallas finally got the great art museum it deserved.

Brochure with slogan "A great city deserves a great art museum" encouraging Dallas residents to vote "yes" in the 1979 bond election providing funds to build the new Dallas Museum of Art.

Brochure with the slogan “A great city deserves a great art museum,” encouraging Dallas residents to vote “yes” in the 1979 bond election to provide funds to build the new Dallas Museum of Art

Hillary Bober is the digital archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Get Immersed in Contemporary Art

Have you ever wondered how it would feel to create a painting over eight feet tall and almost seven feet wide? If so, stop by our newest Pop-up Art Spot in the Contemporary gallery and get immersed in Richard Diebenkorn‘s Ocean Park No. 29. Visitors of all ages are invited to assemble a life-size puzzle of this painting with large pieces of felt. Just be ready to get physical as you bend over, stretch, and reach as far as you can to put it together!

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This Pop-up Art Spot engages other senses, too: use your sense of touch (unusual in an art museum!) as you explore the texture of oil paint on small canvas samples or pair different scents with the colorful paintings around you.

Below is our upcoming schedule for the Pop-up Art Spot. We change locations from week to week, so be sure to visit us between February 11-16 to engage your senses!

    January 28-February 2: fourth floor landing, Modern American gallery
    February 4-9: third floor, Indonesian gallery
    February 11-16: first floor, Contemporary gallery

P.S. – This Pop-up Art Spot was created by our wonderful intern Tyler Rutledge, who was featured in a blog post last month.

Melissa Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager

Your Inner Edward Hopper

Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process show us in exciting detail the creative process of painter Edward Hopper. We see him working out the shapes and angles of spaces and subjects that interested him—subjects and spaces that would become the focal points of his famous paintings. When you visit the exhibition, look for little differences in his drawings and paintings, as Hopper often tweaked the composition’s point-of-view, added or eliminated figures, and used creative license to make visual departures from reality.

As you meander through his preparatory sketches and drawings, consider testing out your own creative process. Pick up a pencil and a clipboard at the exhibition’s entrance and sketch what you see: it could be an interesting corner, a Museum visitor in a fabulous hat, or a tree in Klyde Warren Park. Then, on the back of the page, channel your inner Edward Hopper and combine your observations into a composition that incorporates some of your imagination. As Edward Hopper once said, “no amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.”

Check out the artistic process of other DMA visitors!

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Andrea Severin Goins is the interpretation specialist at the DMA

Friday Photos: Contemporary Kids

Throughout the month of January, our Early Learning program participants have enjoyed spending time with contemporary art here at the DMA.

January’s Toddler Art class focused on the colors found in Sam Francis’ breathtaking Emblem. The toddlers had a blast pretending to mix and splatter paint onto the giant canvas!

We also celebrated a successful launch of the DMA’s newest class, Art Babies, designed for children 0-24 months and their caregivers.

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Amelia Wood
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Artworks shown:

  • Mark Rothko, Orange, Red, and Red, 1962, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated
  • Sam Francis, Emblem, 1959, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated
  • Sam Francis, Untitled (Black Clouds), 1952, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, by exchange
  • Adolph Gottlieb, Orb, 1964, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase
  • Ashville Gorky, Untitled, 1943- 1948, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, Contemporary Arts Council Fund
  • Clyfford Still, Untitled, 1964,  Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated
  • Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park No. 29, 1970, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Counting Down to the Caldecott

For children’s book lovers, January is the month when we wait in anticipation to hear who will win the Caldecott Award. We’ve spent the year oohing and ahhing over gorgeous illustrations, delighting in quirky characters and being filled with wonder as yet another story reaches The End. Several of this year’s contenders are books that I think would feel right at home here at the DMA, both because of the quality of their illustrations and the power of their stories.

In Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown, Mr. Tiger is quite the respectable, gentlemanly tiger. His top hat and bow tie are endearingly dapper, and his manners are every mother’s dream. But that is all about to change when Mr. Tiger has a wild idea. Brown’s watercolor and gouache illustrations perfectly capture Mr. Tiger’s journey from the orderly, precise city to his walk on the wild side in the jungle. When I read the book, I immediately thought of Henri Rousseau’s vivid jungle scenes and the sneaky tiger on a Japanese scroll here at the DMA. Can you imagine this tiger in a suit and tie?

The Tiny King has a huge army, a massive castle, and all the things a person could wish for. But he is very, very lonely. When he meets a big princess, and asks her to be his Queen, his life gets noisier, more crowded, and definitely more happy—bigger in every way! Taro Miura creates bold, colorful illustrations that remind you how simple shapes and a lot of imagination add up to memorable visual images. Pair this book with a close look at some of the Abstract Expressionist paintings on view at the DMA, and you can have your own shape-filled adventure. To see more of Miura’s amazing illustrations, visit Carter Higgins’ blog Design of the Picture Book (one of my favorites).

What can you do with a piece of chalk? Create an entire world! Reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon, Journey’s heroine uses red chalk to draw a door to another world. She creates a hot air balloon, a magic carpet, and a bicycle to help her get around, and the illustrations beg you to look closer and closer as she explores this new place. When she loses her chalk, it seems like all is lost, until she gets some help from a surprising place. Aaron Becker’s watercolors make you feel like you’ve jumped into a painting, and reminded me of Claude-Joseph Vernet’s A Mountain Landscape with Approaching Storm. With an interrupted picnic in the foreground and a shiny castle in the background, you wish you could just walk around this mountain landscape and experience the frantic activity as the storm draws closer. Journey would work well as a classroom warm-up to practice close-looking, storytelling, and searching for contextual clues before a visit to see the Vernet at the museum. (To see a video demonstrating how the illustrations for Journey were created, visit the author’s website).

Duncan’s crayons have gone on strike and instead of an afternoon spent coloring, he faces a pile of complaint letters. Yellow and orange are arguing over what color the sun really is, blue is worn out from coloring water, white is feeling neglected, and the beige crayon worries that he is only ever a stand-in for the brown crayon. Duncan’s colorful solution for soothing everyone’s frazzled nerves shows some stellar out-of-the-(crayon)-box thinking. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt is just as entertaining for kids as it is for adults, and makes you wonder what your crayons would say if they could talk. Oliver Jeffers’ whimsical illustrations bring the crayons to life and offer the perfect way to start a conversation about the surprising ways artists use color in their work. You can meet artist Oliver Jeffers here at the DMA on February 9th as part of the Arts & Letters Live BooksmART series. Learn more about the program and reserve your free tickets here.

Do you have a favorite picture book that you hope will walk away with the Caldecott next week?

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

Friday Photos: Late Night Photo Booth

Stop by Late Night tonight for our birthday bash and take your own fun photo booth pic from 8:00 -10:00! We’ll be open until midnight with a full schedule of activities you won’t want to miss!

Photo Booth

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

Silver, Pearls, and Squirrels: The DMA’s Newest Acquisition

The Dallas Museum of Art recently acquired the Wittgenstein silver cabinet, a stunning example of early 20th-century design from the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops, founded 1903), which was a major producer of lavishly designed silverwork. Intended to be a work of art as much as the objects housed within it, the cabinet (also called a “vitrine”) demonstrates a shift in design toward an elaborate ornamental aesthetic.

Silver Vitrine (for the 1908 Kunstschau), 1908, Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops), Vienna, Austria, 1903-1932, maker; Carl Otto Czeschka, Austrian, 1878-1960, designer; Josef Berger, Austrian, 1874/75-?, goldsmith; Josef Hoszfeld, Austrian, 1869-1918, Adolf Erbrich, Austrian, 1874-?, Alfred Mayer, Austrian, 1873-?, silversmiths; Josef Weber, dates unknown, cabinetmaker; Wabak, Albrech, Plasinsky, Cerhan (unidentified craftsmen), silver, moonstone, opal, lapis, lazuli, mother-of-pearl, baroque pearls, onyx, marble, ivory, enamel, glass, and Macassar ebony veneers (replaced), image courtesy of Richard Nagy Ltd, London, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Silver vitrine (for the 1908 Kunstschau), 1908, Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops), Vienna, Austria, 1903-32, maker; Carl Otto Czeschka, Austrian, 1878-1960, designer; Josef Berger, Austrian, 1874/75-?, goldsmith; Josef Hoszfeld, Austrian, 1869-1918, Adolf Erbrich, Austrian, 1874-?, Alfred Mayer, Austrian, 1873-?, silversmiths; Josef Weber, dates unknown, cabinetmaker; Wabak, Albrech, Plasinsky, Cerhan (unidentified craftsmen), silver, moonstone, opal, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, baroque pearls, onyx, marble, ivory, enamel, glass, and Macassar ebony veneers (replaced), image courtesy of Richard Nagy Ltd, London, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Currently on view in its own niche gallery on Level 2, and included in free general admission, the cabinet initially stuns visitors with its brilliant polished finish and begs for closer inspection, enticing viewers with brightly colored enamel, pearls, opals and other gemstones.
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Two female figures, called “caryatids,” support the cabinet’s onyx top while emphasizing the verticality of the object and giving the flowing organic design an added sense of regal structure. Bright blue enamel and bold patterns draw the eye to these elegant figures.
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If you look closely, you will see a wide variety of birds, some with elaborate plumage and others so small they seem to disappear among the leaves and pearls. Gemstones dot the eyes of the birds, giving them a spark of life despite their metallic forms.
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Squirrels frolic around the cabinet, hiding among the leaves and gathering pearls like acorns. Like the birds, their gemstone eyes enliven them and their differing poses suggest their distinct personalities. Further, the animals represent multiple breeds, including the red squirrel with tufted ears and the grey squirrel with rounded ears.

The cabinet by the numbers:
2 – caryatids
3 – cubic feet of wood
4 – interior glass shelves
5 – feet tall
10 – types of birds
14 – squirrels

If you look really closely, you will find other animals like lizards and mice!

Alexa Hayes is the McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern for American and Decorative Art at the DMA.

Artist Astrology: Capricorn

This week’s post is written by guest-author Alexa Hayes, the McDermott Curatorial Intern for American and Decorative Arts. Alexa is a specialist on John Singer Sargent, having written her honors thesis on Sargent’s portraits of women during the 19th century. I’m very grateful for her contributions to this edition of Artist Astrology!

The chilly months of winter match the seemingly-chilly exterior of those born under the sign of Capricorn (December 22 – January 19). Capricorns are outwardly reserved, dedicated hard workers driven by private ambitions. Rarely reckless, they pursue their goals with resourcefulness and practicality, often enjoying success because of their intense commitment to their work. Capricorns are fiercely loyal, making friends for life with those who can see past their elitist demeanor to the deeply sensitive and loving character hidden inside.

The DMA’s collection offers stellar works of art by many of history’s most beloved Capricorns:  Joseph Cornell (December 24), Henri Matisse (December 31), John Singer Sargent (January 12), Berthe Morisot (January 14), and Paul Cézanne (January 19).

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Joseph Cornell – December 24

An eclectic recluse, Joseph Cornell rarely left the state of New York and held a long-standing suspicion of people, particularly men. Despite this isolation, his pioneering of assemblage and collage as fine art earned him acclaim throughout the art world. He maintained a commitment to studio practice, constantly collecting objects, scraps, and images to create his works of art, preferring to work with items that already have a life and history rather than to produce something brand new. Although many art historians focus on the Surrealist influence in Cornell’s work, his style tugs at viewers in an emotional way, playing with their own nostalgia, thus distancing him significantly from the Surrealists’ crisp world of dreams and fantasy.

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Henri Matisse – December 31

Originally trained as a lawyer, Henri Matisse did not develop an interest in art until age twenty one. During a period of illness, Matisse’s mother brought him art supplies to keep him entertained, unintentionally igniting a passion for art. Matisse worked in all media, from sculpture to drawing to printmaking, but became most famous for his daring employment of color, denial of realistic spatial relationships, and energetic brush strokes in painting. He is praised for his monumental contributions to modern art and remains one of the most beloved painters of the twentieth century.

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John Singer Sargent – January 12

Although John Singer Sargent lacked the reserved demeanor of most Capricorns, he did possess a distinct elegance and personable charm that gained him many friends in the elite literary and art circles of America and Europe. True to his Capricorn birth, however, he was extremely dedicated to a rigorous studio practice, maintaining a sketchbook at all times and spending hours developing the effortless painterly appeal of his portraits. Sargent had a keen eye not only for aesthetic design but for grasping the character of his sitter within minutes of their introduction. In Dorothy, broad streaks of paint shape the face of an angry child, seemingly furious at being forced to sit inside for a portrait in her fluffy white gown and impractical hat.

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Berthe Morisot – January 14

One of the most important female artists of the nineteenth century, Berthe Morisot established herself at the forefront of the Impressionist movement, developing her own artistic style and deviating from the subject matter of her male peers. Her work focused primarily on the feminine or domestic sphere, depicting the intimate relationships of women and children. Morisot primarily used friends and members of her household as models, but chose to present them in a modern painterly style, thus elevating a mundane subject to the level of high art competitive with the works of other Impressionists. Throughout most of her life, Morisot maintained a close friendship with her brother-in-law, Edouard Manet, who encouraged her to be less self-critical while supporting her career as an artist.

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Paul Cézanne – January 19

A prolific artist throughout his life, Paul Cézanne demonstrated time and again his commitment to his craft, even risking his father’s wrath when he rejected a career in law to pursue art. Cézanne radically changed the art world by flattening the picture plane rather than using a mathematical linear perspective with a single vanishing point.  Further, he simplified objects to basic geometric forms, enhancing their physical presence and sculptural qualities. Cezanne painted objects from a “lived” perspective, attempting to imitate the way that we see subjects in life from multiple angles or with varied impressions. His work greatly influenced the Cubist movement, inspiring artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque to experiment with vision and perception.

Artworks shown:

  • Joseph Cornell, Portrait of Fiona, 1965-1970, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation
  • Henri Matisse, Still-life: Bouquet and Compotier, 1924, Dallas Museum of Art, the Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation, Incorporated, in honor of Dr. Bryan Williams
  • John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1990, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Incorporated
  • Berthe Morisot, Winter (Woman with a Muff), 1880, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated
  • Paul Cézanne, Still-life with Carafe, Milk Can, Bowl, and Orange, 1879-1880, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reeves Collection

Hayley Prihoda
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching


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