Archive for February, 2016



Puppy Love

We love hearing from our visitors about their experiences at the DMA. We especially enjoy learning about ways art touches lives. We recently received an e-mail from Mark and his granddaughter Fiona. Their story brought a smile to so many of the DMA staff that we asked if we could share their visit on Uncrated:

Earlier this month I took my seven-year-old granddaughter to the DMA. We visited the European galleries to look at paintings, more like glances as we raced by all the paintings. But we stopped at a large painting that depicts the myth of Zeus turning into a bull to woo his love. I asked Fi what she thought of this “crazy painting” when a woman paused near us. She shared the story the painting represented and then asked Fiona a question I should have asked at the beginning of our visit: “What kind of paintings do you like to see?”
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Without hesitation my granddaughter said animals. She told us that she had the perfect painting for us, one that Fiona would love. The painting was not where she expected it to be and a gallery attendant, named Joyce, told us the painting was “taking a rest” but that she knew of more work depicting animals. While we were touring these animal paintings, Fiona and Joyce swapped pet stories and advice, both agreeing that you need to tell your pets that you love them every day.
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After exploring the galleries we stopped at the hands-on area of the DMA (The Center for Creative Connections), where you can make your own work of art. Fiona drew and was able to make a rabbit sculpture with a piece of egg crate and pipe cleaners. She was very proud of her work and asked if she could keep it, and I told her yes. She then surprised me by saying she wanted to give it to the nice lady, Joyce.
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A museum can be a cold, intimidating experience, but we found such warmth from our two encounters with DMA staff.
– Mark

We caught up with Joyce in the galleries to talk about her encounter with Mark and Fiona. She told us one of her favorite things about the job is being able to interact with our visitors, especially the youngest visitors like Fiona, and share her love of art. She was extremely moved by Fiona’s gift, which she has fondly named Fiona in her honor, and can’t wait to run into them on their next visit.

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

Friday Photos: Intern-errific

This year’s McDermott Interns have already made quite the impact on us here at the DMA: from leading myriad programs for every type of visitor, to contributing to varied exhibitions, to researching our global collection–the list goes on and on. We simply couldn’t accomplish it all without their enthusiasm, skill, and gumption!

With four more months and much still left to accomplish, we certainly aren’t ready to say goodbye to our current bunch just yet. But as 2016 is already well underway, it’s time once again to open up our online application for this fall’s 2016-2017 McDermott Internship!

Be sure to peruse this year’s flyer for complete details and descriptions before plunging in to the application. Then check out all the fun our interns have had thus far and imagine yourself in their shoes this fall!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

The Soundtrack to Vermeer Suite

Viols, virginals, flutes, and lutes! The small, masterful paintings in Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, each featuring an individual playing or holding an instrument, indicate the popularity and prevalence of music—both as artistic subject matter and as activity—in the Netherlands during the 17th century.

Interestingly, the associations with music at the time ran the gamut from divine gift to causing irreparable moral damage. On one side of the spectrum, music was spiritual medicine, played solely to glorify God. On the other side, music making was perceived as a worldly pleasure and at odds with Protestant values, diverting one’s attention away from spiritual salvation. Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, music playing and listening functioned as a polite form of entertainment for the elite upper classes. It was played in the household in the same way we might gather around and play charades or watch a football game today. Playing music was also a means for solidifying social and professional relationships, and it was a socially acceptable way for unmarried people to interact—to essentially be on a date without a chaperone. Beyond the household, elites could find a quasi-public outlet for practice and performance in a collegium musicum—a small group of amateur musicians that convened in one of its members’ homes or a location approved by the city council. Members of the lower classes could visit muziekherbergen (music inns), which made instruments available for patrons. At a music inn, a capable player who refused to perform was required to purchase a round of drinks for the whole tavern as penalty!

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With the artists’ careful attention to detail and intricate treatment of surfaces, the realistic paintings in Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting transport us to a lively Dutch street corner or an intimate living room gathering. While we can almost hear the music that likely accompanied these scenes, visitors to the exhibition do not have to imagine it. In the exhibition’s adjacent gallery, visitors can actually listen to the paintings’ soundtracks. Songs by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), one of the most prolific Dutch songwriters to achieve international renown, will be played continuously. A professional organist who served the Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Amsterdam for forty-four years, Sweelinck was one of the first major composers of keyboard music in Europe.

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Additionally, a sound bar in this interactive gallery offers visitors the opportunity to listen to the distinct sound of each of the instruments depicted in the paintings and learn about how they were played. Visit the DMA through August 21 to enjoy the visual and aural experience of Vermeer Suite: Music in 17th-Century Dutch Painting, which is included in the Museum’s daily free general admission.

Andrea Severin Goins is the Interpretation Manager at the DMA.

Images: Jacob Adriaensz Ochtervelt, A Singing Violinist, c. 1666–70, oil on panel, © The Leiden Collection, New York; Gerard ter Borch, A Musical Company, c. 1642–44, oil on panel, © The Leiden Collection, New York; Lutes, Michael Praetorius, Syntagma Musicum, 1619. Syntagma Musicum is a three-volume treatise written by the German musicologist Michael Praetorius between 1614 and 1620; Jan Steen, Self-Portrait with a Lute, n.d., oil on canvas, © The Leiden Collection, New York

From Behind the Shadow

You know the old saying “January showers bring February flowers,” or at least that’s what the phrase should be this year according to Punxsutawney Phil. The famous groundhog did not see his shadow this morning, which means we should be in for an early spring. If the warm weather we’ve been experiencing in Dallas is any indication of Phil’s accuracy, we’ll see spring scenes like the ones below in no time.

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

Groundhog Day Shadow Play

Celebrity groundhogPunxsutawney Phil, may not have seen his shadow today, but that didn’t stop me from being inspired by shadows here at the DMA!

Here are a few of my favorite shadowy works of art from our collection, followed by a selection of activities and books, so that you can explore shadows at home or in the classroom!

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Shadow Art Activities:

Books for Exploring Shadows and Groundhogs:

See you soon, early spring!

Emily Wiskera
McDermott Graduate Intern for Family and Access Teaching


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