Archive for March, 2016



Passages in Modern Art

Last week a new installation of contemporary art, drawn mainly from the DMA’s collection, opened in the Museum’s Barrel Vault and Quadrant Galleries. The DMA has impressive holdings of contemporary art, and here is a snapshot of some of the amazing works. Explore portions of the installation process below and plan a trip to see the art in person.

Adventures in Plating ala Pollock

Stained, poured, spattered, seeped, imprinted, feathered, and the oh-so-famous: dripped. Artworks in the DMA’s Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots radiate action verbs that describe both how Pollock made his art and how the art continued to transform once the paint/ink hit the canvas/paper. Spending the last few months surrounded by these works and their many verbs, I decided to take some of Pollock’s verbs into my kitchen to see where inspiration took me. And in a very big stroke of luck, I heard about and tracked down a local Dallas chef who had done the same thing!

First task on my adventure: source black “paint.” While I’m big on “eating my colors,” brainstorming black foods turned out to be tricky (how many can you name without Google?!). Trips to a few grocery stores provided some diverse and exotic options:

Second task: put black “paint” to “canvas.” Black paint absorbed into Pollock’s unprimed canvas leaving halos and burred edges around the solid poured lines in works like Number 26, 1951, shown in detail below. Fresh mozzarella turned out to be a perfect responsive canvas, and a thick, syrup-y reduction of balsamic vinegar and a little black strap molasses became the black(-ish) paint that stained and soaked into the cheese in big thick dollops. This also turned out to be a pretty tasty painting.

And much like Pollock, I got really into it, and had a bit of collateral damage as I worked…

balsamic reduction + phone!

Next, taking inspiration from Pollock’s works on paper, I rounded up some thin paper-like phyllo dough, which I left layered in sheets, and painted with a sweet coffee and black fig sauce. The sauce stained and puckered the phyllo, much like Pollock’s ink stained Japanese paper. I didn’t actually eat this one as it’s shown, but the sauce tasted good on ice cream!

And now, saving the best for last….While I had lots of fun playing around in the kitchen, going for more of a visual approximation than a dish you would whip up for dinner, I was excited to see how someone who cooks for a living would use Pollock’s art as inspiration. My chef friend Charlotte connected me with local chef Jordan Criss, of Deep Ellum’s Twenty-Seven, who had come to the Museum to see the exhibition and walked away with some great ideas (thank you, Charlotte!).

Below is Chef Criss’s West Bank Pho, a creation made from crispy fried garlic, cilantro, tasso ham, Sriracha, and Hoisin sauce, and beneath the tastiness, his inspiration for plating the dish:

West Bank pho

West Bank pho

The show inspired my dish by shattering my idea of contrived plating. All Of Pollock’s work is a kind of calming chaos that isn’t taught and rarely seen in culinary arts.  His work pushed the limits and I feel it’s hard not to want to do the same after walking through his exhibition.

Has an artwork or exhibition ever inspired you to head into the kitchen to play with (or plate) your food? Share in our comments, and then, check out our Education staff’s collection-inspired cookies, including a masterfully Pollock-ed cookie!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Look to the End of the Rainbow

According to legend, every Leprechaun has a pot of gold, secreted deep in the Irish countryside. In order to keep their treasure safe, the Irish fairies gave the Leprechauns magic to use in case of capture. The fairy magic allowed them to grant three wishes or to vanish into thin air!

Based on these tales, it seems that Dallas has a Leprechaun of its own. The DMA is filled with an abundance of gold representing numerous lands over many years, something very magical indeed. All of the gold is carefully protected by fairies . . . ahemm . . . I mean gallery attendants. You can look, but don’t touch! That would make our mischievous Leprechauns . . . I mean curators . . . very upset.

If you happen to spot a rainbow this afternoon, don’t be surprised if it leads you right here, to Dallas’s biggest pot of gold!

Pot of Gold Take 2

Images: Gerd Rothmann, neckalace, n.d., Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Edward W. and Deedie Potter Rose, formerly Inge Asenbaum collection, gallery Am Graben in Vienna, © Gerd Rothmann, 2014.33.284; Bruno Martinazzi, bracelet, 1969, gold and silver, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Edward W. and Deedie Potter Rose, formerly Inge Asenbaum collection, gallery Am Graben in Vienna, © Bruno Martinazzi, 2014.33.353; Graduated shell dish, Fitz & Floyd, Chunichi Toki Company, 1983, porcelain and gilding, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Robert C. Floyd, 1998.129.1; Velma Davis Dozier, pin, 1969, cast gold with diamonds, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Otis and Velma Dozier, © Denni Davis Washburn, William Robert Miegel Jr, and Elizabeth Marie Miegel, 1979.25; Jaguar effigy, A.D. 800-1200, gold, 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.261; Pendant with two figures, A.D. 700-1520, gold-copper alloy (tumbaga), 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.245; Cow’s head stirrup cup. n.d., glazed earthenware and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, the Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, bequest of Patsy Lacy Griffith, 2001.134; Single snake armlet, 1st century A.D., gold, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum League Purchase Funds, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., and Cecil H. and Ida M. Green in honor of Virginia Lucas Nick, 1991.75.92.1; Scissors, 20th century, brass, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth Weaver, 1993.68.97; Ring, Claus Bury, 1971, gold and acrylic, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Edward W. and Deedie Potter Rose, formerly Inge Asenbaum collection, gallery Am Graben in Vienna © Claus Bury, 2014.33.45

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

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.


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