Archive for May, 2015



Communicating in Quechua

INCA

Months. It took literally months during the summer of 2014 to decide on the orthography (the correct spelling/writing) for the exhibition Inca: Conquests of the Andes/Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes, which opened Friday. For example, should the Museum use “Inca” or “Inka,” among other spelling differences that would emerge in the exhibition texts. Many factors weighed into my decision, from popular recognition to modern linguistics, from consistency in labels to proper pronunciation. For the first few months of the exhibition project, I solicited the opinions of many individuals about the issue—from leading pre-Columbian linguists to Inca archaeologists to fellow curators, and even friends and family. I read the most recent publications, edited volumes, scholarly monographs, and online blogs to ascertain the most current opinions. Indeed, I researched, inquired, and deliberated so long that there was general confusion around the DMA itself about the final decision for months after I had finally settled on a position. Mea culpa; thank you to everyone for their kind patience. And I appreciate the generous input from many colleagues on an issue that elicits deep passion and strong opinions from scholars across disciplines.

Quipu (Khipu) fragment with subsidiary cords/Quipu (khipu) parcial con cuerdas afiliadas, Perú: Andean highlands or coast, Inca (Inka) culture, A.D. 1400–1570, cotton and indigo dye, Dallas Museum of Art, the Nora and John Wise Collection, bequest of John Wise, 1983.W.2174

Quipu (Khipu) fragment with subsidiary cords/Quipu (khipu) parcial con cuerdas afiliadas, Peru, Andean highlands or coast, Inca (Inka) culture, A.D. 1400–1570, cotton and indigo dye, Dallas Museum of Art, the Nora and John Wise Collection, bequest of John Wise, 1983.W.2174

The central issue is this: What is the ideal manner—in a US public exhibition context—for writing words from Runasimi, or Quechua, the language used as a lingua franca by the Inca state system and spoken today by many Andean peoples. Prior to the Spanish arrival in the 1530s, the Andean populations did not utilize a recognizable written script, one that the Spanish acknowledged and transcribed into a phonetic alphabet, as certain Spanish chroniclers attempted in New Spain. The Andean knotted cords, or quipu (khipu), that recorded information were documented by certain chroniclers in South America, who noted that the quipu were used to register taxes and census data, among other information. The individual Spanish chroniclers further documented Quechua words in the phonetic alphabet and according to Spanish pronunciation, with variant spellings. Certain spellings gained in pronunciation, popular recognition, and adoption into English.

Since the mid-20th century, there have been great efforts to revise the orthography of Andean languages, in particular Runasimi (Quechua), with laws passed in Peru during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The revised orthographies introduced changes such as the reduction from a five-vowel alphabet to a three-vowel system for Quechua. Modern linguists, such as the Peruvian scholar Ramon Cerrón-Palomino, have provided welcome standards for ongoing publication in Inca and Andean studies.

Four-cornered hat/Gorro de cuatro puntas, Peru: south-central highlands or coast, Huari (Wari) culture, A.D. 700–900, camelid fiber, 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, Incorporated, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison, 1976.W.2013

Four-cornered hat/Gorro de cuatro puntas, Peru, south-central highlands or coast, Huari (Wari) culture, A.D. 700–900, camelid fiber, 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, Incorporated, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison, 1976.W.2013

As an Andean scholar, I had actively used many revised spellings in teaching and coursework, as well as in a recent 2013 exhibition, Between Mountains and Sea: Arts of the Ancient Andes, at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. Upon joining the DMA, I had further standardized the terms within the Museum’s database, emphasizing the revised spellings of Wari (for Huari), Tiwanaku (for Tiahuanaco) and Inka (for Inca). With specialization in the cultures of the Formative Period and the north coast of Peru, I confess to addressing only superficially the issue of orthography prior to the DMA exhibition. The spellings of the Cupisnique, Moche, and Chimú—the successive north coast cultures—have remained relatively constant. So I had adopted the basic premise that to utilize the new Quechua spellings was to honor indigenous rights, which aligns well with my role as a researcher of Andean cultural heritage.

Through the months I spent researching, however, the issue became less black and white for this context; it came to include various factors regarding public recognition and spelling consistency through the exhibition design. In the end, the decision to maintain historical spellings as the primary terms in the Inca exhibition likewise presented the wonderful opportunity to introduce an audience to corresponding Quechua spellings. The exhibition Inca: Conquests of the Andes/Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes thus features not only English and Spanish text but also dual spellings for most Quechua terms. A wall panel explaining the chosen orthography opens the exhibition, providing viewers with an opportunity to consider the complex ways language records, reflects, and defines a historical culture.

Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, is The Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Assistant Curator of the Arts of the Americas at the DMA.

Friday Photos: From STEM to STEAM

Each year, the DMA partners with Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, in order to teach students about STEAM. STEAM is a movement championed by the Rhode Island School of Design, which seeks to add art and design to the national agenda of STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This past Friday, May 8, marked the girls’ third and final visit to the Museum this year. During these visits spent mostly in the galleries, docents and staff work together to teach the students about connections between art and STEM, and then the girls complete STEAM-related activities!

The theme of this last visit was nature: the girls explored subjects ranging from marine biology to evolution, meteorology and natural resources!

We hope the girls enjoyed their time at the DMA and we’re excited for next year’s Rangel visits!

Liz Bola
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Late Night Sketching Party

This call goes out to all of you who like to put a pencil to paper and draw! We invite you to join us during Late Night this Friday night, May 15, from 7:00 – 10:00 pm for an African Art Sketching Party. Artist Ellen Soderquist will host, guiding you in the process of sketching your favorite African artworks in the DMA’s collection. All ages and skills levels are welcome, and all materials will be provided.

If you leave your sketch with us (pretty please!), it will be included in a public exhibition this summer. That’s right, your work will be on view in the DMA! Visitors’ sketches of African art will be displayed during July and August on temporary construction walls built near the DMA’s African Gallery, which will close to the public in June for a reinstallation project. While the real artworks will not be on view for a few months, we look forward to sharing your sketches with the public this summer. Seeing things through the eyes of another can often enrich our own view of the world.

See you Friday at the Sketching Party!

Nicole Stutzman Forbes
Director of Education

Stir Your Senses

For Friday’s Late Night, we wanted to make sure we engaged all of the senses, giving visitors an immersive experience at the DMA. There will be many programs to stir your senses of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch.

To tempt you to stay out late, I have highlighted one program for each of the five senses.

SIGHT

Visit our Flora Street Entrance and our Sculpture Garden to see vivid outdoor installations representing color, pattern, and movement created by The Color Condition.

Color Condition 2

SOUND

Experience the physicality of sound with a newly commissioned performance by New York artist Kevin Beasley. BLACK ROCKER will premiere at the DMA as part of the inaugural SOLUNA festival.

Kevin Beasley

TASTE

Our Lounge @ Founders will tempt all of your taste senses with something salty, sour, sweet, and bitter.

Founders 2

SMELL

Families can stop by the exhibition Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga and check out a Sensory Art-to-Go Family Tote Bag. The tote bags are filled with a variety of activities, such as imagining how a work of art would smell and then writing a poem about it.

Tote Bags

TOUCH

While you can’t touch the art, you can stop by the Art Spot in the Center for Creative Connections and make your own work of art using a variety of materials.

Art Spot 2

We hope you’ll join us on Friday to see what else is in store!

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA. 

Student Voices Coming to a Smartphone Near You

15693436309_69bbc65d49_k

Last October, staff from the Center for Creative Connections, Founder and Director of Make Art with Purpose Janeil Engelstad, and Skyline High School Architecture program teacher Peter Goldstein began a new project building on a past collaboration at the DMA.

Translating Culture: Community Voices at the DMA originally started as an initiative to create links with the community by providing different platforms to share varied perspectives on the collection. After a very successful first collaboration with AVANCE Dallas, the project took a second life with a group of 11th grade Architecture Cluster students at Skyline High School.

After months of hard work, Translating Culture II: Community Voices at the DMA will finally launch on the DMA.mobi site this coming Friday, May 15. That night as part of Late Night, we’ve organized two programs for visitors to engage with this new project.

The events scheduled for the night include a self-guided tour throughout the Museum of new stops (which are both in English and Spanish) and an opportunity to meet up with the students themselves. You can find maps with the outlined stops at the Center for Creative Connections from 6:00 p.m. until midnight. And you can join us there from 8:00-9:00 p.m., where students will be available to talk to visitors about the project, their individual contributions to the site, and to share about their overall experience.

To spark some excitement about the launch, I thought I would speak to two of our key people in this project–Janeil and Peter–and ask them a few questions about Translating Culture II and their expectations for the future. I leave with you their answers below. Be sure to check out the student contributions on DMA.mobi beginning May 15!

Skyline

Describe Translating Culture II in one sentence: 

Janeil: Translating Culture II: Community Voices at the DMA is a bi-lingual, Spanish-English, smartphone tour where museum goers engage with and experience interpretations of art work in the DMA permanent collection from the point of view of students from the architecture cluster at Skyline High School.

Peter: It’s a program that provides students with the opportunity to share their insights, observations and experiences with works of art in the DMA collection.

15877460231_9f1789c3e8_kSkyline Students

How will this collaboration contribute to the DMA and the community of Dallas?

Janeil: Translating Culture II is a statement by the DMA that the voices and ideas of people from different Dallas communities and cultures are a relevant part of the dialogue about art. I see this statement as gesture or a sort of offering that creates new spaces for engagement and play. Through the process of the project, new relationships and connections between the institution, the collection and the community have been built, which is a new and valuable thread in the fabric of the community.

Peter: The DMA is an invaluable part of our community–it is a unique place of learning and inspiration with a diverse collection of art from around the world. The DMA encourages and facilitates student and community involvement through a wide range of activities focusing on their outstanding collection of art.

In your opinion, what do you think was most valuable about this project?

Janeil: The expression of diversity and inclusion around art was most valuable, providing access and bringing under-represented voices into the larger cultural conversation, which is a key part of MAP’s mission.

Peter: The Translating Culture II project allowed students to engage in a conversation about works of art that spoke to them on a personal level. The students discussed and analyzed the artworks they encountered, and then created responses that are a reflection of their own unique interests and perspective.

Art has the ability to communicate beyond geographic boundaries and across time. With the support and guidance of the DMA and MAP, the students involved in this project were able to explore works of art from artists and cultures around the world, and then embark on a journey to communicate their ideas and discoveries for others to enjoy.

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What do you hope will come out of Translating Culture in the future?

Janeil: I hope that the visitor who takes one of these tours has his or her imagination lit in a way that inspires new thinking or new ideas, and brings joy.

Peter: Our hope is that the work you see on the DMA.mobi site will spark the interest of other students (and adults!) and inspire them to explore the incredible richness and diversity of the Dallas Museum of Art. Translating Culture is about discovery–and sharing those discoveries with others.

Eliel Jones
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

Sound Waves

We have plenty in store to stimulate your senses during this Friday’s Late Night, and one program in particular is sure to hit the right note. As part of a special DMA Friends reward, DMA Friend Kyle West has created a soundtrack for our European collection on Level 2 that you’ll be able to enjoy that night. To whet your appetite, listen to this lively jig he paired with Seasickness on an English Corvette. We hope to see you Friday to hear the rest!

François Auguste Biard, Seasickness on an English Corvette (Le mal de mer, au bal, abord d'une corvette Anglaise), 1857, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J.E.R. Chilton 2011.27

François Auguste Biard, Seasickness on an English Corvette, 1857, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J. E. R. Chilton, 2011.27

Sarah Coffey is the Education Coordinator at the DMA.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Mirror engraved with flute-player, Etruscan, late 5th-early 4th century B.C, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association purchase, Edwin J. Kiest Memorial Fund 1966.7

Mirror engraved with flute-player, Etruscan, late 5th-early 4th century B.C,, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association purchase, Edwin J. Kiest Memorial Fund, 1966.7

Mirrors were present throughout different ancient civilizations such as the Egyptian, Greek, and Etruscan, and were luxury items primarily associated with women. Additionally, a mirror was an object of profound symbolic significance, as it was considered to be a receptacle for the soul of the person whose image was reflected on its surface. The Etruscan word hinthial means both “soul” and “reflected image.” This dual concept relates to the ancient Egyptian word ankh, which means “life,” but also denotes the image of a mirror. In relation to the idea of life, many mirrors have been retrieved from the graves of Etruscan women, indicating both their desire to take earthly possessions of value into the next world and their need to not leave behind the device that contained their souls.

Mary Cassatt, Woman with Mirror, n.d., ink, paper, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg 2000.255.FA

Mary Cassatt, Woman with Mirror, n.d., etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg, 2000.255.FA

In the 19th century, women and mirrors were painted frequently by the French impressionists. Mary Cassatt, an American expatriate artist, used them as a possible motif for the vanity of women and the pleasure received when looking at one’s own reflection. Simultaneously, the viewer’s passive activity turns into an active interpretation of “reality” based on the power of paintings to construct reality. Such issues raise open-ended questions around the topics of female empowerment and physical subjugation: Are female subjects denied their own agency when viewed by an oppressive male gaze? Or do they become autonomous beings that exert physical potency and awareness by deliberately looking into their own selves?

Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, Into the World Came a Soul Called Ida, c. 1929, lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase 1947.18

Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, Into the World Came a Soul Called Ida, c. 1929, lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1947.18

With the advent of modernity, critical philosophers and thinkers developed new theoretical forms to describe psychoanalytic experience during the 20th century. Most notably, French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan is attributed with the concept of the “mirror stage.” This theory proposes that human infants go through a stage in which an external image of the body (reflected in a mirror, or represented to the infant through the mother or primary caregiver) produces a psychic response that gives rise to the mental representation of an “I.” Such precarious observations begin to interrogate the ideas of “self,” “self-identity,” and the “ego” at an early stage of life. This brings into discussion the notion of “reality” and the existential gestalt that relates to elements that correspond to individual experience and personal being.

Ryan Trecartin, (Tommy-Chat Just E-mailed Me), 2006, video, Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, © New York Ryan Trecartin

Ryan Trecartin, (Tommy-Chat Just E-mailed Me), 2006, video, Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, © New York Ryan Trecartin

On view through December 6, 2015, and included in free general admission, Concentrations 59: Mirror Stage— Visualizing the Self After the Internet explores themes of personal identity and “self” in the 21st century cyberworld. Consisting of eight different contemporary multimedia artists, Mirror Stage encapsulates the heterogeneous nature of visual Internet culture and its complex development since the dot-com era. Ryan Trecartin’s (Tommy-Chat Just E-mailed Me) (2006) is situated on the inside and outer liminal space of an e-mail conversation as it emphasizes the paradoxical role of online communication as a unifying digital tool, while revealing the effect of an impending, manic social isolation on its users in the offline “real” world.

Historically, mirrors were regarded as a tool for truth and recognition through the reflection of one’s personal appearance. After centuries of being associated with femininity and the female body, the concept of a mirror as a “screen” has drastically changed with the emergence of modern technology. Online Internet resources, including social websites and gaming platforms, have enabled Internet users to create new forms of identity that break with the historical past of mirrors as a conveyor of truth. Are we ready to adopt multiple, complex identities offline in the real world as well as in the online world? What will be the future resources for affirming one’s own personal identity within the (cyber)world? Mirror Stage—Visualizing the Self After the Internet invites the viewer to question, explore, and reflect on the new forms of presenting oneself within the digital age.

 Fabian Leyva-Barragan is the McDermott Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art at the DMA.

Sources: de Grummond, N. T., ed. A Guide to Etruscan Mirrors, Tallahassee, Fla: Archaeological News, 1982; Lacan, Jacques. “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the Function of the I as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience.” Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Norton, 1977).


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