Archive for March, 2016



An Attempt at Dinner with Jackson Pollock

This Friday, author and photographer Robyn Lea will be here to discuss her cookbook Dinner with Jackson Pollock during our March Late Night. And, in what has become a tradition for the Adult Programming team, we decided to try our hand at making a few of the recipes. You can find our other cooking attempts here and here.

Dinner with Jackson Pollock

Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services:

I decided to make Pollock’s Spinach Muffins with Tomato Chutney because it sounded delicious and I had never made a chutney before.

Stacey Ingredients

The recipe was pretty straightforward and easy to make. Because the chutney takes an hour to simmer on the stove, I started that first by putting all the ingredients in a pot on medium-low heat. While that was simmering, I prepared the spinach muffin dough.

The “muffin” dough was very wet and very dense, and after baking it, I would classify the final product as a stuffing more than a muffin.

Once the chutney was finished simmering, I sampled it, and while I loved the flavor I did not like the texture (as I am not a fan of raisins, which was a main ingredient). So I took half of it and used an immersion blender to smooth it out. I loved the smoother chutney and used it in other dishes I made for dinner that week.

Stacey Two Chutneys

On its own, I felt the spinach muffin was very salty; the recipe called for one teaspoon of salt, and if I made this again I would go down to half a teaspoon of salt. Though pairing the spinach muffin with the sweet and savory chutney did help balance the saltiness in the muffin.

Stacey Final

Things I learned: Your home will smell amazing after simmering chutney for an hour on your stove. Even a good chutney can’t make me like raisins.

 

Jessie Frazier, Manager of Adult Programming:

In Lea’s recipe for Long Island Clam Pie, she references an interview that Pollock gave for a 1950 New Yorker story in which he recalled his and Krasner’s first year in Springs, living off of the sale of one painting and some clams that he dug out of the bay with his toes. True or not, it’s a pretty romantic story. Plus, I wanted to try my hand at cooking clams.

Jessie Ingredients

After scrubbing the recommended thirty-six clams and letting them rest in a brine to release their sand and grit, I steamed them for a few minutes in a Dutch oven with two cups of water. Word to the wise: do not let clams boil over. Terrible things happen.

Jessie Action Shot

I sautéed the chopped clam meat with a little onion and more than a little butter. Then I added peeled and chopped potatoes, flour, milk, lemon juice and zest, herbs, and some of the leftover clam juice for an extra punch. I poured the mixture into a *cough* store-bought pie dough, added a top crust, finished with an egg wash, and baked for forty minutes.

The creamy roux and potatoes made for a hearty pie, but the lemon and the parsley gave it a really light, refreshing flavor.

Jessie Final Pie

Things I learned: Next time I will increase the clams, decrease the lemon zest, and step up my pie decorating game.

 

Madeleine Fitzgerald, Audience Relations Coordinator for Programming:

I love to cook! But working for both DMA Arts & Letters Live and Adult Programming at the DMA means that I’m regularly not home in the evenings. So I chose a recipe that would be a full day’s affair for a Sunday dinner with my brother and his girlfriend! I have never roasted beef or made Yorkshire Pudding or gravy before, so I was pretty concerned and excited to see how things would turn out. Any recipe that starts with a giant steak stuffed with six cloves of garlic is already a winner in my book!

Madeleine Raw Steak

The recipe also called for twelve small onions, but that seemed like an insane amount of onions. Maybe Lee Krasner meant twelve pearl onions?! But I come from a family of onion lovers and that didn’t seem like enough. I decided to quarter four small regular onions instead.

Once the meat was browned on the outside, I transferred it to my pan filled with potatoes and onions. This was no easy task and required a pair of tongs, a wooden spoon, and help from the multi-armed goddess Shiva Nataraja. I tossed in some fresh rosemary from my balcony garden as well.

Madeleine Cooking Steak

After cooking for thirty-five minutes for medium-rare, the steak looked perfect: crispy on the outside, very pink on the inside. And my apartment smelled like rosemary and garlic. But I could already tell the potatoes and onions could use another ten minutes.

Madeleine Table

This section of the cookbook also had a recipe for Yorkshire pudding, which was fantastic! I used bacon grease instead of goose lard (because who has that in their kitchen?!), and they were smoky and delicious! I also made the gravy recipe (not pictured), but having never made gravy before, it wasn’t pretty. Tasted good, but quite lumpy. The recipe also suggested this meal be served with roasted Brussels sprouts, which are one of my favorite vegetables. I followed my mother’s recipe, which is essentially 1 part Brussels sprouts, 1 part garlic, 1 part olive oil, roasted at 425 for 20 minutes. DELICIOUS!

Madeleine Plate

Things I learned: Gravy is hard. Transferring a giant steak from a frying pan to a baking dish is also hard. Making your apartment smell amazing for the rest of the evening and feeding your family with a delicious and historical meal? Worth it.

Did we whet your appetite? Then please join us on Friday, March 18, at 9:00 p.m. to hear Robyn Lea discuss her cookbook Dinner with Jackson Pollock.

Last Chance

When I’m painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing. It’s only after a “get acquainted” period that I see what I’ve been about. I’ve no fears about making changes for the painting has a life of its own.

—Jackson Pollock

pollock blog

“Lasts” are always so very bittersweet, from the final dance, to a wave goodbye, or a glimpse in the rearview mirror, these absolutes are tinged with melancholy for what is passing and an even greater fondness for what has transpired.

For the past five months, the Dallas Museum of Art has been home to only the third major U.S. museum exhibition to focus solely on the artist hailed as “the greatest painter this country has ever produced.” Experts deemed it a “once in a lifetime” exhibition and for good reason. It includes more than 70 works, many which have not been exhibited for more than 50 years.

Like most singular events, the show focuses on something unexpected. It is not dedicated to works from the height of Jackson Pollock’s celebrity, but instead highlights his lesser-known paintings, offering an entrancing juxtaposition between the two. The exceptional presentation, which critics hailed as “sensational,” “exhilarating,” “genius,” “revelatory,” and “revolutionary,” offers the opportunity for visitors to appreciate Pollock’s broader ambitions as an artist, and allows them to better understand the importance of the “blind spots” in his practice.

As we reach the eleventh hour of the exhibition, don’t let the opportunity pass you by to say hello to Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots, so that you can also help us say farewell to such a life-changing show in its final week here at the DMA. The ending to our journey with Jackson will be on Sunday, March 20, with extended hours on Saturday and Sunday until 8:00 p.m. As with all goodbyes, we are sad to see the works go, but we are even prouder of the legacy and inspiration they leave behind.

Experience the exhibition in a new way with DMA curator Gavin Delahunty by accessing an exhibition highlights tour below:

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

I Spy with my Little Pi

Pie: such an integral piece of American culture that has inspired ideas of prosperity and quite a few idioms. Ironically, though, pie has been around for a lot longer than the United States, dating back all the way to Ancient Egyptians and Greeks, who made them not for their delicious taste but for their reliability. However, we aren’t talking about that kind of pie today.

The Art of Pi

Where does mathematical pi come from? This constant is the relation between the diameter and circumference of a circle, first calculated by the Ancient Greek mathematician, Archimedes.

1994_37_3_o3

Detail, Melchor Pérez Holguín, Virgin of the Rosary, Late 17th-Early 18th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mary de la Garza-Hanna and Virginia de la Garza and an anonymous donor.

For thousands of years, the simple circle has inspired art and philosophy from all over the world. In religious art–from Buddha to Jesus to Apollo–circles as halos adorned the heads of the divine and sacred. On the other hand, circles and other geometric shapes became prominent in early Islamic art because of an opposition to creating figures, since they could be construed as idolatrous. These circles became part of exquisite Islamic architecture, like in the immense arches, domes, and designs of the Hagia Sophia.

recto

Detail, Folio of a Qur’an, 1409 AD, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art.

The Math of Pi

There is one place in which our old pal pi comes to play in the world of math and circles–the beloved radian. These are often addressed in pre-calculus and paired with the similarly adored unit circle. These concepts are often rushed with little explanation. Why can’t the world be fine with degrees? Don’t they just serve the same purpose as radians?

There is a reason for the existence of radians. They are an alternative that not only measure an angle, but the correlating arclength. One radian is the angle made when you wrap the radius along the circumference of a circle. We can visualize the internal relationship of radians as follows:

radian

We have a circle on the xy-plane with some angle that can be seen starting from the positive x-axis to the red line. To see this concept, we can find the arclength that is highlighted by referring to our well-known equation to find the circumference (circumference = 2πr).

Let us take the circle as the unit circle and angle as π/2. From inspection and prior knowledge, we see that the arclength is ¼ of the entire circumference. In order to find this measure, we would calculate a fourth of the circumference (so arclength = ¼ circumference = ¼ 2πr = πr/2). We see that the arclength = πr/2 with a radius of 1 (due to the unit circle) and we see that – in this case – an angle of π/2 has an arclength of π/2.

This works even without the unit circle! If our radius is 2, 5, or 1,000! Knowing that the arclength of this angle is πr/2 means that we know that it is π,  5π/2, and  500π respectively.

Activity

Here’s a familiar activity: to show pi in the real world, you can take any circular object, string, ruler, and scissors. Take your string, wrap it around your item once, and cut it so that both ends tightly meet. Measure your string and the diameter. Using our handy dandy formula, the circumference = 2pi r = pi diameter. With what we have, pi should be equivalent to circumference / diameter. Take your measures and see just how close to pi you can get!

Just a tip: make sure your string doesn’t have much give as when using it to measure, its stretch will distort your calculations.

A way to see the wonderful radian–using the same materials as before–is to measure your object’s radius and cut an equal length of string. See how many times this length will fit along the circumference. You should find that 2π – or 6.283 – pieces will cover it just nicely.

Personally, though, we think everyone should celebrate the journey of the circle with a generous slice (or two) of your favorite pie and a trip down to the DMA.

Kennedy Schleicher and Nikki Li
Teen Advisory Council Members

Spring into a Break with the DMA

It’s as if we blinked and spring is suddenly upon us! No more winter for Dallas; the sun is shining and the bluebonnets are beginning to awake from their slumber.

Do you know what that means? Not only are the pigeons at Klyde Warren Park chirping a cheerier tune but the art is buzzing, and there is an unmistakable anticipation swirling in the air (and I’m not just talking about the cottonwood that is itching our little noses!).

That’s right, Spring Break is here! For you parents this can be both an exciting and overwhelming realization. We understand that the mere thought of having to plan an entertaining and educational week is a lot of pressure. That’s why we have planned an amazing week chock full of FREE activities.

sb1

This Spring Break at the DMA you can travel through the world and time hop through centuries without even leaving Dallas, burning a hole in your wallet, or investing in a DeLorean!

The artworks have been chatting, and this year they think you deserve to have a stress-free Spring Break that will be an unforgettable experience (and for all the right reasons). Join them in creating masterpieces out of household items, using flashlights and laser pointers to draw in the air (that’s where I’ll be), and wiggling and giggling through the galleries. The sky is the limit!

The week gears up for a smashing finale with the Dallas Arts District Block Party and DMA Late Night, which will celebrate the run of Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots. I’m certain it will be the talk of the town! (I mean, it’s all we’re chatting about here.) You can stay up past bedtime and experience the exhibition with extended weekend hours (until 8:00 p.m.) as well.

sb3

Mark those calendars . . . wait, who am I kidding?; get out those smartphones and set your reminders! Festivities will be held DAILY Tuesday through Friday, March 15-18, so there are plenty of opportunities to have the coolest Spring Break in DFW.

Images: Anne Whitney, Lady Godiva, c. 1861-64, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. Alessandra Comini in memory of Dr. Eleanor Tufts, who discovered the Massachusetts-backyard whereabouts of this long-forgotten statue and brought it to Dallas, 2011.8; Andrew Dasburg, Judson Smith, 1923, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. A. Ronnebeck, 1957.21; Portrait of an Arhat, 17th century, lacquered wood, pigment, and gold, Dallas Museum of Art, the Roberta Coke Camp Fund, and Lillian B. Clark, 1991.381; Robert Henri, Dutch Girl Laughing, 1907, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1909.2

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

Friday Photos: Look Who’s Back!

DSC04888

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you probably recognize this face! Jennifer Sheppard was the McDermott Intern for Family and Access Programs for 2014-2015 (applications for this fall’s McDermott Internship close next week! #shamelessplug), and quickly won our hearts over with her quick wit, excellent teaching, and thoughtful work. It’s always sad for us to say goodbye to our interns as they go on to new adventures, but this month we managed to get one back!

Jennifer has joined the Education team as our new Teaching Specialist and has jumped right back into the thick of things. She’s been out driving the Go van Gogh van, teaching lessons to preschoolers in the gallery, facilitating conversations with visitors attending our access programs, and adding a cheerful smile to our office.

What is she most excited about in her new position? “How do you say EVERYTHING?” (that’s a direct quote, folks!)

Welcome back, Jennifer!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

Ten Times Dwight Schrute Was Your Spirit Animal

Sage Life Lessons and Wisdom from the Duke of Dunder Mifflin Himself

In anticipation of Rainn Wilson’s visit to the DMA on March 19 as part of our 25th anniversary season of Arts & Letters Live, we’ve pulled together a list of ten times our favorite obnoxious beet farmer just “got us,” with a little visual help from art in our collection. For you Jim and Pam types out there, I apologize, but let’s be honest, our pre-coffee selves will always belong to this mustard shirt-wearing maven.

Calculating Speed…

Fred Darge, Survival of the Fittest, c. 1941, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift 1944.13

Fred Darge, Survival of the Fittest, c. 1941, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift, 1944.13

“I am fast. To give you a reference point, I am somewhere between a snake and a mongoose . . . and a panther.”  

Brain Power…

Salvador Dalí, Spectacles with Holograms and Computers for Seeing Imagined Objects, 1976, Etching, Drypoint, Lithograph, Silkscreen, and Collage, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Lois and Howard B. Wolf © 2008 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Salvador Dalí, Spectacles with Holograms and Computers for Seeing Imagined Objects, 1976, etching, drypoint, lithograph, silkscreen, and collage, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Lois and Howard B. Wolf, 1998.6.1, © 2008 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

“Through concentration, I can raise and lower my cholesterol at will.”  

Healthcare…

Edward Hicks , The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846-1847, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund 1973.5

Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846-47, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund, 1973.5

“In the wild, there is no healthcare. Healthcare is “Oh, I broke my leg!” A lion comes and eats you, you’re dead. Well, I’m not dead, I’m the lion, you’re dead!”

Flu Season…

George Platt Lynes, W. H. Auden Reaching into Garbage Can, 1947, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of William B. Jordan and Robert Brownlee 2000.375

George Platt Lynes, W. H. Auden Reaching into Garbage Can, 1947, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of William B. Jordan and Robert Brownlee, 2000.375

“The principle is sound. To avoid illness, expose yourself to germs, enabling your immune system to develop antibodies. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do this. . . . Maybe they have something against living forever.”

Water Cooler Gossip…

Susan Magilow, Seven Deadly Sins: Gossip, 1986, ink on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift 1989.126.6

Susan Magilow, Seven Deadly Sins: Gossip, 1986, ink on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift, 1989.126.6

“It’s a real shame because studies have shown that more information gets passed through water cooler gossip than through official memos. Which puts me at a disadvantage because I bring my own water to work.”

Stress Management…

Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich, The Satyr in the House of the Peasants, 1739, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Carnegie Inc. 1940.48

Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich, The Satyr in the House of the Peasants, 1739, etching, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Carnegie Inc., 1940.48

“Nothing stresses me out. Except having to seek the approval of my inferiors.” 

Dealing with Crowds…

François–Auguste Biard, Seasickness on an English Corvette, 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

“Why are all these people here? There are too many people on this earth. We need a new plague.”

 The “R” Sound…

Fish knife, c. 1870, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, The V. Stephen Vaughan Collection, gift of the 1991 Silver Supper 1992.7.10.1

Fish knife, c. 1870, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, The V. Stephen Vaughan Collection, gift of the 1991 Silver Supper, 1992.7.10.1

“No, I disagree. “R” is one of the most menacing of sounds. That’s why they call it murder not ‘muckduck.’”  

Utopia…

From Paintings in Old Imperial Palace, n.d., hand-colored etching, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. B. Hopkins 1964.44.9

From Paintings in Old Imperial Palace, n.d., hand-colored etching, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. B. Hopkins, 1964.44.9

“In an ideal world, I would have all ten fingers on my left hand so my right hand could just be a fist for punching.”  

Paying Attention…

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Lise in a White Shawl, c. 1872, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection 1985.R.58

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Lise in a White Shawl, c. 1872, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.58

“You couldn’t handle my undivided attention.”  

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

 

 

 

Everything Zen

Alternative rock band Weezer’s second album, Pinkerton, was released in 1996 to little fanfare. Panned by critics and lackluster sales, the sophomore entry was a far cry from the band’s multi-platinum debut, the self-titled Weezer with the hit single “Buddy Holly.”

Retrospectively, however, the album has become a cult classic and is regarded as one of the most significant albums of the 1990s. Exemplifying this polarity is the fact that Rolling Stone readers voted Pinkerton as the third worst album of the year in 1996, yet six years later in 2002 voted it the 16th greatest album of all time.

A modified image of a print from Ando Hiroshige’s Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, a copy of which is in the DMA’s collection, was chosen for Pinkerton’s album cover. Kambara: Snow at Night depicts a snowy evening in Kambara village—an unlikely scenario, since Kambara was located in a temperate area.

Hiroshige’s romantic enhancement of reality for emotional effect makes the woodblock print a fine choice for Pinkerton, since it is such an expressive album. Angst-filled, youthful poets so often tend to exaggerate events for greater dramatic impact. Interestingly, examination of the resulting production style and various thematic elements in Pinkerton inextricably link it to Zen Buddhism and other aspects of Japanese culture.

Pinkerton features a very raw and abrasive sound in an effort to evoke a live performance. The recordings for Pinkerton were done in one take, meaning everything was recorded simultaneously with little to no overdubbing after the fact. For example, lead singer and principal composer Rivers Cuomo recorded the vocal tracks with his fellow band members in unison around three microphones close to one another. This recording method contrasts with the way vocals are usually recorded, in an isolated chamber after the instrumental tracks have been laid down. Instead, the band member’s vocal tracks bleed into one another much like the guitar, drum, and keyboard work do. Little if any editing was done to their singing or the instruments. The resulting quality of the album sounds extremely rugged and unrefined, which contributes to its liveliness and emotional intensity.

Rivers Cuomo spent his early years in upstate New York living at a Buddhist Zen Center. Eventually he would move to Yogaville, an enclave of the spiritual practice in Virginia, where he remained for the rest of his childhood. These experiences no doubt contributed to the direction of production for Pinkerton. The desire to create the audio effect of an energetic, live performance is reflective of the fluid, in-the-moment perspective treasured in Zen Buddhism for the creation of art.

Moreover, Zen artistic values that permeate into the culture of Japan to this day treasure simplicity and the rough. Indeed, Zen art seeks to inspire contemplation of human existence as something that is ephemeral, lonely and melancholic through its emphasis on imperfection.

In this way a crooked, shabby cup is perceived as more attractive than an immaculate, symmetrical, and fastidiously constructed bowl made of fine material. This perspective results from the fact that the malformed cup encourages reflection on the nature of reality instead of merely being aesthetically pleasant to look at, like the “perfect” bowl.

Due to Pinkerton’s initial poor sales and critical reception, Weezer nearly disbanded, going on hiatus for 5 years until 2001’s Weezer (Green Album). With this new release onward, the band has not recorded in the atypical fashion they had on Pinkerton, instead choosing production enhancements that resulted in greater polish and clearness. The Zen artistic values of spontaneous creation and greater emotional depth achieved through imperfection serve to illuminate the artistic brilliance and relevance the band was able to achieve at that moment.

Artworks shown:

  •  Ando Hiroshige, Kambara: Snow at Night, 1834, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus.
  • Deep Bowl for Tea Ceremony (Mukozuke), Japan, A.D. 1568-1615, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Haynes.

Devon Hersch
McDermott Intern for Asian Art

Friday Photos: Visitor Exvotos

Made with inexpensive materials like tin or sheet metal, exvotos are devotional paintings offered in gratitude by everyday people. Individuals who experienced everyday miracles–being cured of an illness or saved from an accident–expressed their gratitude by creating an exvoto composed of both a visual and written description of their experience.

Retablo Dedicated by Rosendo Gonzalez, January 1, 1907, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus Foundation

After the Center for Creative Connections installed eight exvotos from Mexico as part of Maria Teresa Pedroche’s Staff Point of View, we invited visitors to reflect on their personal experiences and prayers by creating their own exvoto in the Interactive Gallery. Visitors can take their creation home with them or add it to C3’s collection of visitor exvotos by placing it in a binder for others to read.

Since we first launched this activity in December 2015, hundreds of visitors have made exvotos expressing gratitude for their family members, their smartphones, their pets, their city, their schools–the list could go on and on! Take a look at a few of the recurring themes that we’ve found in some of our visitors’ exvotos:

Food

Nature

Art

Personal Relationships

Obstacles

What are you grateful for? Create your own exvoto the next time you drop by the Center for Creative Connections, and share your creation on Twitter or Instagram using #DMAexvoto.

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

The Answers She Gives

In honor of Employee Appreciation Day on Friday, March 4, we asked Writer-in-Residence Kendra Greene to share one of the stories she’s been collecting at the DMA. The following is from her conversation with Genet Mamuye, Visitor Services Representative:

Genet Mamuye and Kendra Greene in front of one of Genet's favorite spots, The Icebergs.

Genet Mamuye and Kendra Greene in one of Genet’s favorite spots, in front of The Icebergs.

On a slow day, Genet Mamuye talks to hundreds of people. There are little kids and people in their nineties and first-timers and non-English speakers. There are regulars who come almost every day and there are people who don’t know where to start. There are people who ask where to eat downtown and how to get their art on the walls and is there anything for sale? What should I see?

Genet started with the DMA 23 years ago, and spent her first nine years as a gallery attendant. In the early 2000s, she moved to the Visitor Services Desk, where you’ll find her now. There was a time when she only saw big crowds when there were big exhibitions, but now she sees more people than ever.

Visitors are always asking Genet what her favorite thing is at the Museum. That’s where they want to start. But the short answer is: She doesn’t have one. Sure, she walks the DMA two or three times a week to see if anything is new. She also keeps up with the cultural goings on in the area so she can answer the questions that have nothing to do with the Museum she represents. She believes the main thing is to ensure whoever walks in has a good experience. Which is to say, she wants to give an answer, but what she really wants is for visitors to connect with the things that matter to them. She knows people who swoon for contemporary work can’t be sent anywhere else. She finds it’s a safe bet that children and families will fall in love with Egypt on the third floor. If you announce you only have fifteen minutes for your visit and time’s a-ticking, you’ll be sent to the Reves Collection on Level 3. And when Genet asks you on your way out how it went, chances are you’ll thank her.

Once, years ago, a young man asked his father to go to the Museum. It was the young man’s birthday. The pair was from out of town. The young man adored Ellsworth Kelly, and only when they arrived did he realize there was an exhibition of Kelly’s work. What luck! The young man and his father asked Genet about it, and were crestfallen to realize the installation wasn’t quite done, the show not quite yet open. They had come so far, and they wouldn’t be back in time to see it.

It was at that moment that Mr. Kelly’s car pulled up. They could see it through the glass doors. Genet quietly noted the arrival to the young man and his father, and left it at that. Mr. Kelly was so gracious, so nice. He took that young man on a private tour of the not yet open show. The young man was overjoyed, and even now thinking about it, Genet brings her hand to her heart.

Working with the public, in Genet’s view, means you have to be open to learn. You have to be respectful and you have to be positive. Certainly, you can’t assume. There are people that wander past three times, obviously lost, and you have to find the way to approach them. Visitors come back on later visits and remember Genet. But, as she says, “It’s not just me. All my coworkers are really good. We have to be. We open our doors for everybody.”

A. Kendra Greene is The Center for Creative Connections Visiting Artist at the DMA.


Archives

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

Categories