Archive for May, 2016

Mi Museo Es Tu Museo

Learning English as a second language while living in a Spanish-speaking home didn’t come without its challenges—it took me years before I realized “better late than ever” wasn’t a phrase, and I could write an entire dictionary of hybrid words my siblings and I used by mistake (e.g. “moona,” or moon + luna). In spite of the occasional linguistic faux pas, having the opportunity to communicate in both languages has been incredibly rewarding in my personal life and my experience as an educator.

While I didn’t grow up in Texas, my experience growing up bilingual is pretty common throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. More than a third of the population in Texas speaks a language other than English at home, and DFW contains the 6th largest Spanish-speaking population in the United States. Current research demonstrates that both English-learners and native English-speakers benefit from educational settings that foster bilingual literacy. With all of this in mind, how does the DMA factor the demographics of its audience and the scholarship on bilingual education to engage Spanish-speaking visitors?

Since the Center for Creative Connections (C3) first began implementing bilingual signage on table prompts and wall text, the DMA has introduced a number of additional resources for visitors who want to engage with art by reading, writing, or listening in Spanish. Through a collaboration with Make Art with Purpose, C3 produced the Translating Culture and Translating Culture II gallery guides based on community voices. The 2015 exhibition Inca: Conquests of the Andes/Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes featured English and Spanish text on its labels and wall didactics, as well as an interactive art scavenger hunt available in both languages. Visitors can also find extended labels in English and Spanish related to two works by Frida Kahlo currently on view in Level 4.

Here are some more bilingual resources we’ve introduced during the past year:

First Tuesday Spanish Family Tours

On the first Tuesday of the month from September through May, visitors ages 0-5 and their grown-ups are invited to join Museum staff for interactive tours throughout the galleries in both English and Spanish. This past year, I had the pleasure of leading families on Spanish tours inspired by nature, sculptures, robots, pop art, and more. Additionally, the signs and schedules for First Tuesday this past year were printed in both English and Spanish.

Create an exvoto / Crea un exvoto Activities

The inspiration behind this table activity in the Interactive Gallery came from the exvotos on view in C3, which contain Spanish text describing everyday miracles and expressions of gratitude. When Community Engagement staff designed an off-site version of this activity at the 2016 AVANCE Latino Street Fest, we included bilingual exvoto instructions and templates giving visitors the option to write in English or in Spanish.

Young Learners Gallery

Part of the recent redesign for this interactive learning space includes bilingual wall text and activity prompts for children ages 5-8 and their families. Visitors can explore lines and line-making using English and Spanish text, and the various hands-on activities in the space were designed for a number of different learning styles.

Spanish Family Guides (COMING SOON!)

Visitors can pick up Arturo Family Gallery Guides for a fun way to explore the galleries at their own pace. Each one contains activities and questions (and maybe a few puns) for kids and their grown-ups to make meaningful connections with pieces throughout the DMA. Keep an eye out for Spanish language family guides coming soon!

Museums around the country are engaging linguistically diverse audiences in innovative ways, including video guidesco-taught bilingual gallery lessons, and workshops for adult immigrants. What other ways have you seen museums welcome visitors with diverse language backgrounds?

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

 

Death Comes to the DMA

Portrait of a Gentleman, possibly a Member of the Deutz Family, Michael Sweerts, 1648–1649, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation, 1987.25

Michael Sweerts, Portrait of a Gentleman, Possibly a Member of the Deutz Family, 1648–49, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation, 1987.25

This Friday we will host our fifth Museum Murder Mystery Game—and the scuttlebutt going around the Museum is that Portrait of a Gentleman will be the unlucky victim.

It is unfortunate that this keeps happening at the DMA, but we are once again relying on our visitors to help bring a murderer to justice! For this one night only, the seven works of art suspected of the murder will be brought to life to answer questions about their relationship to the victim, possible motives, and their alibi for the time in question.

Without revealing who the suspects are, as they are innocent until proven guilty, these photos will give you a clue to their identities.

 

If  you solve who the murderer is, the weapon he or she used, and the room where the murder took place, you will be entered to win one of five great prize packs.

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

Friday Photos: Smell Ya Later!

2015 McDermott Interns_American Gallery

It’s already that time of year when we must wish our current class of McDermott Interns farewell! We’ll certainly miss their smiling faces in the office next week, but we’ve made some lasting friendships and had some fun along the way.

Check out what they’ve done this year, and wish them well in their next adventure!

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Meeting staff their first week at the Museum

Having some holiday selfie fun!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

Wine Not?

Since today is National Wine Day, we’ve created some lovely pairings with a few wine-themed objects in our collection. So, whether you are a fan of red or white, we have something for every palate.

The Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup, Momoyama period, Japan, Ink, Pigment On Gold, Pair Of Six-Fold Screens, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc. 1989.78.A-B.McD

The Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup, Momoyama period, c. 1600,  Japan, ink and pigment on gold; pair of six-fold screens, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc. 1989.78.a-b.McD

From Japan we have The Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup, created around 1600. Although this is a Japanese work, the screen depicts an 8th-century Chinese poem about a group of high-class revelers that included politicians, priests, calligraphers, and musicians. In both China and Japan during this period, wine would have been made from rice. Today, we know this wine as sake. So, grab a glass and read this excerpt from the poem, and maybe you, too, can feel like an immortal.

“Su Jin has made a vow to the Buddha embroidered on his vest
but for his drunkenness he takes care to forget all his rules.

Li Tai-bo drinks a gallon of wine, writes a hundred poems
then sleeps it off in the back of a wine shop in Chang-an
when the emperor asked him to board the royal barge
he shouted back, I am a drunken immortal.”

Black-Figure Krater, Attic, Greece, first half of 6th century B.C.E, ceramic, gift of The Jonsson Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Frederick M. Mayer, 1972.22

Black-figure krater, Greece, Attic, first half of 6th century B.C.E, ceramic, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Jonsson Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. Frederick M. Mayer, 1972.22

You can’t talk about wine without talking about the Greeks. Even though they drank various alcoholic beverages like beer and honey mead, their main drink for a good time was wine. Here we have a black-figure krater made in the first half of the 6th century B.C.E. This piece of pottery would have been used to mix wine with water to dilute it for parties. The figures on the krater are Dionysus, the god of wine, and his followers, the maenads. The maenads were said to have been possessed by Dionysus and his drink, and they were therefore able to perform miracles, like having honey come from the ivy-covered staffs they carried. Dionysus and his maenads would want you to open a bottle of Agiorgitiko, which is a bit like a cabernet sauvignon, but please drink more responsibly than these krater characters.

“Embassy” Shape Wine Glass, Edwin W. Fuerst, Walter Dorwin Teague, Libbey Glass Company, 1939, glass, gift of The Dallas Antiques and Fine Arts Society, 1989.18.2

Embassy shape wine glass, Edwin W. Fuerst and Walter Dorwin Teague, designers; Libbey Glass Company, manufacturer; Toledo, Ohio, designed 1939, glass, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Dallas Antiques and Fine Arts Society, 1989.18.2

A wine pairing wouldn’t be complete without a glass to go with it. This is Embassy shape wine glass from 1939 was designed by Edwin W. Fuerst and Walter Dorwin Teague for the Libbey Glass Company. The company was not originally known for its blown glassware. Their beginnings were in lightbulbs and car windshield glass; however, throughout the 20th century they became known for their elegant glassware. In the 1970s, they created the first glass ever to be created through a patented “one piece and blow” technique. Today, this shape of glass with a wide mouth is used mainly to drink chardonnay. Even if you don’t have a glass quite like this one, open a bottle of chardonnay while you appreciate the beautiful Art Deco style of the Embassy shape wine glass .

Bacchic Concert, Pietro Paolini, c. 1625–1630, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation 1987.17

Pietro Paolini, Bacchic Concert, c. 1625–30, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation 1987.17

The Italian Renaissance was known for its art, music, and architectural genius. It was also a time of considerable wine consumption. In this painting by Pietro Paolini, we see a fairly mysterious scene with party goers, musicians, and someone dressed as the god Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. This scene is thought to have been from a marriage ceremony, where it was not unusual for the performers to dress as Bacchus and his followers. The image is unusual because the woman on the left has her back toward us and the woman with the lute stares directly at us. But, for today, we will just say that these performers are playing us a little tune to go along with a glass of chianti.

Katie Cooke is the McDermott Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

Early Start: Young Learners Gallery

We’ve recently debuted a new space for inquisitive young Museum visitors. Check out the Young Learner’s Gallery on your next visit!

Proud to Be an American

Today the DMA was honored to host 49 individuals from 21 countries as they became U.S. citizens in the Museum’s fourth annual Naturalization Ceremony. The always touching ceremony included performances of our national anthem and America the Beautiful by Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts student Brittany Hewitt, followed by a reception in the DMA Cafe and tours of the American art collection. Here are some images from today’s ceremony.

 

Friday Photos: Strike a Pose with Penn

This month, we’ve been exploring the new exhibition Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty during our Access Programs. In the galleries, we took an up-close look at the extensive work of one of America’s most famous photographers. Back in the studio, we put ourselves in the place of Penn’s fashion models to create our own magazine covers. Take a look at what developed!

Emily Wiskera
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Brush it Off

Director, writer, and artist Jean Cocteau is famous for saying “An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture” (Newsweek, 1955). Though Cocteau suggests that artists are not the best verbal communicators, many artists include words, characters, and writing into their works. Here at the DMA, we have many examples of handwriting and calligraphy in our collection.

Last month I took an introductory calligraphy class with my friend and fellow intern Emily Wiskera at Wildflower Art Studio. I learned a lot from our teacher Emile, and have not been able to stop practicing since! I thought it would be fun to give you guys a quick and basic tutorial on brush pen calligraphy. You can add calligraphy to your art, you can address a letter, write your name, or make a fancy grocery list! For this tutorial you will need a brush pen in the color of your choosing (which can be bought at any craft store) and a piece of paper. I have used scraps of watercolor paper for this tutorial.

Tip #1
Pressure makes perfect. When writing, upward strokes require a light amount of pressure and downward strokes require firmer pressure. Practice using different amounts of pressure by drawing straight lines. Once you feel comfortable with straight lines, try drawing loops while applying the same pressure techniques.

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BP003

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Tip #2
Practice your alphabet. Brush lettering should be fun! I like to practice writing the alphabet using variations in the thickness of the letters, with assorted flourishes, and in different styles. Develop a style of your own or find a template (like this one) of a calligraphy style you like. Now practice, practice, practice! Whether you use a found template or your own, you can use tracing paper and pencil to trace over the letters.

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Tip #3
Take your time! Calligraphy takes concentration, but it can also be very soothing. You want to write at a pace that is not too fast and not too slow so that your letters are nice and smooth.

Tip #4
Put it all together. Once you are comfortable with your loops and alphabet you can now combine the two! Try to write the alphabet with the brush pen calligraphy technique. Once you have gotten the hang of it, writing your name can be a fun way to practice your letters, too.

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Tip #5
Make it your own!
Keep it simple or add flourishes— it’s up to you. Your calligraphy style is as unique as you are! I went back and added a few little hooks at the top of my capital letters “R” and “M.”

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Show us your samples by using the hashtag #dmabrushtips on your social media sites. I’ll-pha-bet they look great! Make sure to check out our C3 gallery and Spirit and Matter exhibition to see more examples of writing and calligraphy on display at the DMA.

Whitney Sirois
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teachin

Window Gazing

Art collector and longtime DMA supporter Dorace Fichtenbaum left a generous bequest of 138 objects to the Museum. We installed a selection of these works of art, selected by curators Olivier Meslay and Gavin Delahunty, to celebrate the extraordinary personality of their collector, who died last summer.

As an exhibition designer, I was struck by Ms. Fichtenbaum’s singular vision in her collecting practice, one that was defined by personal preference and spread over multiple genres. Her worldliness comes across in the breadth of the collection, which ranged from Abstract Expressionist prints to carved African figures. This juxtaposed style, once installed all together in her home, reminded me of Alfred Barnes’ manner of collecting for what is now the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Like Dr. Barnes, Dorace Fichtenbaum included in her collection new works by the  contemporary artists of her time, including Yayoi Kusama and Nam June Paik, among others. In my efforts to design a space to do justice to this special gift, I was inspired by the collector’s manner of dense display in her home.

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My idea for the space was to create intriguing sightlines that invite visitors inside, and also distinguish this gallery within the larger Barrel Vault area of the Museum, which is installed with other works from the permanent collection. To accomplish this, we created a gray foyer-like space to temper the disconnect between the interior installation and the large exterior white gallery. The central sightline when looking into the gallery is a window that provides a key vantage point into the collection installed on the far wall. A framed door on either side of the window asks visitors to engage in the space and treat it as a more intimate interior space, much like you would find in someone’s home.

That space uses color and architectural trim to distinguish it, and to suggest a domestic interior. A classic salon-style hanging of the artworks allows for aesthetic relationships to form easily between the works that are hung on one surface and use the full height of the wall. This type of “hang,” as we call the installation of artworks on a wall, is special in that it includes three-dimensional works mounted on the wall or displayed in museum casework.

To maintain a consistency with these design concepts, no museum labels have been installed in the space; however, there is much contextual information on the collection and on each individual piece in the “label” booklets we provide. The booklets use a diagram of the installation with numbered elements so that visitors can refer to individual objects.

Our skilled team of preparators installed the works based on this detailed diagram.

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As Olivier Meslay wrote in his article for the DMA Member magazine, Artifacts, “The walls and shelves of Dorace’s home were full of remarkable works that will now grace ours. Dallas is fortunate to have had a collector like her: generous, modest, tasteful, and passionate.”

Skye Malish-Olson is the Exhibition Designer at the DMA.

Early Start: Young Learners Gallery

construction
Last week the redesigned Young Learners Gallery re-opened after a month of construction, and we are so proud of the new space. Along with a complete overhaul of the color scheme, furniture, and design elements, the new space incorporates bilingual signage, an art installation, and a variety of activities focused on the theme of Line.

 

Adrian Windmills and Von

Windmills, by El Paso–based artist Adrian Esparza, serves as inspiration for children ages 5–8 and their grown-ups as they explore line through the activities.

Julia in Reading Nook books2

These comfy cozy reading nooks are the perfect place to curl up with a good book about lines. Leah Hanson, resident children’s book guru and Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs, picked out a slew of amazing books for the reading area.

pegs blocks

Visitors to  the Young Learners Gallery can explore line through a variety of activities including building with lines, creating and transforming lines on our pegboard wall, transforming their body into a line in our distortion mirror, and exploring storylines using figures and works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection as inspiration.

YLG banner2016

Stop by the Young Learners Gallery on your next visit to the Dallas Museum of Art!

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.


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