Archive for June, 2016



Six Degrees of Francis Bacon

Have you ever played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? This week, the Digital Collections Content team played Six (plus a few more) Degrees of Francis Bacon and sought interesting connections across DMA artworks. On a daily basis, this team extensively tags artworks in the collection with terms related to material, maker, subject matter, and more, so they are pretty adept at finding connections!

Let’s start with a figural painting—a man in stark green surroundings—by 20th century artist Francis Bacon, part of the DMA’s contemporary collection.

Francis Bacon, Walking Figure, 1959-1960, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Lambert, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. David Garrison

Francis Bacon, Walking Figure, 1959-1960; oil on canvas; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Lambert, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. David Garrison, © Estate of Francis Bacon / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London

Next is another painting from the contemporary collection. This one is on paper, incorporates non-conventional materials, and is by Dallas artist Stephen Lapthisophon.

Stephen Lapthisophon, Rabbit, 2010; Spray paint, ink, coffee and pigmented bacon fat on paper; Dallas Museum of Art, Mary Margaret Munson Wilcox Fund, © Stephen Lapthisophon

Stephen Lapthisophon, Rabbit, 2010; Spray paint, ink, coffee and pigmented bacon fat on paper; Dallas Museum of Art, Mary Margaret Munson Wilcox Fund, © Stephen Lapthisophon

Our third work of art is a print, Barnyard with Tanks and Pigs, by another Dallas artist and supporter of the arts, Velma Davis Dozier.

Velma Davis Dozier, Barnyard with Tanks and Pigs, n.d.; crayon; Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Denni Davis Washburn and Marie Scott Miegel, ©Denni Davis Washburn, William Robert Miegel Jr, and Elizabeth Marie Miegel

Velma Davis Dozier, Barnyard with Tanks and Pigs, n.d.; crayon; Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Denni Davis Washburn and Marie Scott Miegel, ©Denni Davis Washburn, William Robert Miegel Jr, and Elizabeth Marie Miegel

This next container from our Pacific Rim collection incorporates the same subject: a pig!

Pig-form container, Borneo: Kayan or Kenyah peoples, 19th century; ironwood; Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Pig-form container, Borneo: Kayan or Kenyah peoples, 19th century; ironwood; Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Pigs also adorn this glass from our decorative arts collection.

Glass with decoration of pigs, n.d., Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Glass with decoration of pigs, n.d., Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Another work in our decorative arts collection is this porcelain plate by artist Acee Blue Eagle, which shows a figure in a headdress.

Acee Blue Eagle, Plate with "Bacon Rind" pattern decoration, c. 1955; porcelain and decal; Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund

Acee Blue Eagle, Plate with “Bacon Rind” pattern decoration, c. 1955; porcelain and decal; Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund

Like the central figure on Acee Blue Eagle’s plate, this Maya figure, riding a peccary, wears a headdress.

Lidded bowl with a man riding a peccary, Maya, 250–550 C.E.; ceramic; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association purchase

Lidded bowl with a man riding a peccary, Maya, 250–550 C.E.; ceramic; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association purchase

At a little over two inches long, this ridiculously cute little piggy tape measure is comparable to the size of the peccary.

Tape measure, 19th century; brass and silk; Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth Weaver

Tape measure, 19th century; brass and silk; Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth Weaver

This print depicts the inside of an antique store, full of interesting odds and ends–just the sort of place you might find a collection of sewing accoutrements like the one in which our little piggy tape measure was donated.

Peggy Bacon, The Priceless Find, 1944; lithograph; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Peggy Bacon, The Priceless Find, 1944; lithograph; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Another print—also inscribed near the bottom—is a portrait is of Nicholas Bacon, English government official and father of philosopher Sir Francis Bacon.

Crispijn Van De Passe, Nicholas Bacon, 1620; line engraving; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

Crispijn Van De Passe, Nicholas Bacon, 1620; line engraving; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

Which brings us back to the painting by Francis Bacon (not to be confused with the aforementioned philosopher), Walking Man.

Francis Bacon, Walking Figure, 1959-1960; oil on canvas; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Lambert, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. David Garrison, © Estate of Francis Bacon / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London

Francis Bacon, Walking Figure, 1959-1960; oil on canvas; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Lambert, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. David Garrison, © Estate of Francis Bacon / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London

Perhaps you might notice a broader theme running throughout our list? The connections really are endless! Which ones will you make on your next visit?

Andrea Severin Goins
Head of Interpretation

DMA BFFs

What makes a best friend? There are some common traits associated with a BFF: someone who knows you better than anyone else, someone who accepts you, someone who is honest and forgiving, someone who listens and offers advice, and someone who is trustworthy. We all have best friends, so it isn’t surprising that artists do too. But it is special when two artists share that closeness because their friendship influences each other’s work. In honor of National Best Friends Day, we are highlighting some of the artistic friendships represented in the DMA’s collection.

Facto

Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, July 1890, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection 1985.R.80

1963.34

Emile Bernard, Breton Women Attending a Pardon, 1892, oil on cardboard, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund 1963.34

Vincent van Gogh and Emile Bernard met in the mid-1880s, when Bernard was 18 years old and van Gogh 15 years his senior. Both artists were greatly influenced by Japanese art—Bernard by the simplicity and flat forms and van Gogh by the spatial effects, strong color, everyday objects, and detailed depictions of nature. The friends corresponded through mail, often sending each other drawings and discussing their artistic ideas. In 1889, following van Gogh’s highly critical response to Bernard’s Christ in the garden of olives, their correspondence ceased; however, after van Gogh’s death Bernard wrote the first published biography on Vincent van Gogh.

Front

Octavio Medellín, Smoky Celadon, n.d., glazed stoneware, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1949.36

1951_108_v02_o4

Carlos Mérida, Dancers of Tlaxcala, 1951, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1951.108

Octavio Medellín met Guatemalan painter Carlos Mérida in Mexico in the late 1920s. The friends traveled together and taught at North Texas State (now University of North Texas) from 1941 to 1942. Though Mérida eventually returned to Mexico, the two remained close friends and influenced each other’s work until Mérida died in 1985.

1984.174

Jacob Lawrence, The Visitors, 1959, tempera on gessoed panel, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund, 1984.174

after conservation

Romare Bearden, Soul Three, 1968, paper and fabric collage on board, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund and Roberta Coke Camp Fund, 2004.11

Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence grew up in Harlem following the Harlem Renaissance and were profoundly influenced by the music, literature, and culture of their neighborhood. As young men, both participated in various community-based art classes and workshops in the area and were inspired by writer and philosopher Alain Locke. The two corresponded throughout the years, and some of their letters are available through the Archives of American Art.

Barney Delabano studied under Otis Dozier when he attended Southern Methodist University and then the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts School in the late 1940s. Over time, Dozier and his wife, Velma, came to be Delabano’s close friends. The Doziers would even come to be mentors for Barney Delabano’s son, artist Martin Delabano.

Helen Frankenthaler and David Smith were first introduced by art critic Clement Greenberg in 1950. Throughout their 15-year friendship, they not only visited each other’s studios and corresponded through mail but even vacationed together with their families. They remained close friends until Smith’s death in 1965.

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

 

Cross-Cultural Connections

Hi, I’m Taylor Strander, a senior from McKinney Boyd High School and a DMA Teen Advisory Council member. As the school year draws to a close and graduation looms near, I thought it was a perfect time to reflect on my busy year at the DMA! I have spent a great part of my school year exploring the DMA collection and collaborating with staff on a project for my ISM class.

What is ISM? ISM stands for Interdisciplinary Study and Mentorship – a program specifically designed for high school students who have an idea of the career they want to explore beyond high school. The goal of the class is to develop interpersonal and networking skills in the hopes of obtaining a mentor that can offer their expertise in the creation of a final product. As someone interested in studying art history in college, I immediately sought to find a mentor who worked in a museum and was immersed in art every day. I distinctly remember growing quite fond of the DMA after my first visit with my elementary school class, and since then I have seized every opportunity to learn more about the Museum by participating in the Teen Docent Program and serving as a Community Engagement Volunteer.

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Due to my prior experience, I thought it would be most fitting to select a mentor from the place that catalyzed my passion for art. So I began my weekly commute to the DMA to meet and brainstorm with my mentors, Jessica Thompson and Whitney Sirois, on my final project for the class. Working with them has offered me a deeper understanding of the field of museum education and has strengthened my desire to pursue a career in a museum one day. My final project turned out to be something greater than I ever could have imagined and best of all, it is something that can be implemented in the Museum today.

So, what did I create? In order to gain a better grasp on the role of a museum educator, I designed my very own Bite-Sized Tour and Art-to-Go Family Tote Bag complete with four different activities.

During my first meeting with Jessica and Whitney, I was inspired by the DMA’s exhibition Spirit and Matter: Masterpieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, which features a variety of Islamic works from the internationally renowned Keir Collection. It was important to me to reference this collection for my project because Islamic art seems to be misunderstood and its influence on global cultures is often forgotten. After some heavy research, I used my newfound knowledge of Islamic art to create a Bite-Sized Tour entitled “Cross-Cultural Connections.” This guide highlights Islamic works and directly compares them to other objects in the DMA’s permanent collection in an effort to encourage visitors to notice similar qualities or influences across cultures.

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The second component of my final project is an Art-to-Go Family Tote Bag, which is meant to reinforce visitors’ understanding of Islamic art through different activities that highlight specific artistic elements. Family Tote Bags are great because they offer fun, on-the-go activities for a variety of different age groups and learning styles. For the tote bag, I came up with four separate activities – write, make, draw, and talk.

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The writing activity asks visitors to reference Islamic calligraphy to create their own epic poem. The make activity allows visitors to make their own astrolabe, a navigational tool that revolutionized Islamic culture. The drawing activity invites people to design their own geometric patterns inspired by Islamic textiles and ceramics. Finally, the talk activity encourages visitors to discuss Islamic art influences within the Museum’s permanent collection. Islam’s holy month of Ramadan has just begun, so take a moment to explore the many connections you can make to this world religion and its artistic traditions on your next visit to the Museum.

A special thank you to my mentors, Jessica and Whitney, for giving a young person like me an invaluable experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Your words of wisdom and constant support will not be soon forgotten. And finally, thank you to the DMA for transforming before my eyes into a place that I know all too well, a place that feels like home.

Taylor Strander
Teen Advisory Council Member

Making Space

Today the DMA’s Digitization Team is working in the Museum’s Atrium. As the project has progressed over the past two years, the team has worked in various galleries and spaces, both in front and behind the scenes. Today’s objects to be photographed are all too large to be accommodated in the Museum’s traditional photo studio, and include the longest work on paper the DMA owns—A Gathering of Penniemama Sky Forces out in the Suburbs by Jim Roche, which is 462 inches long! In order to capture a work of this size, the Museum photographer, Chad Redmon, will be climbing into a boom lift and photographing the piece from an aerial point of view.

Katie Cooper is the Assistant Registrar for the Digitization of the Collection at the DMA.

Friday Photos: 2015-2016 School Tours

It’s hard to believe K-12 visits for 2015-2016 school year wrapped up last Friday! We’ve had a busy year here at the DMA welcoming visitors of all ages, leading tours, and helping them make meaningful connections with works of art. Now it’s time to take a look back on all we’ve accomplished!

How many groups visited the Museum?

  • 1,227 Visits Scheduled
  • 711 Schools or Community Groups
  • 96 Independent School Districts from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico

How many students received docent-guided tours?

  • 37,374 K-12 students
  • Approximately 2,698 hours discussing works of art with students!

How many students completed self-guided visits?

  • 12,275 K-12 students

What were the most popular tours?

  • A Looking Journey: 17,357 4th graders; 1,158 hours in the gallery
  • Arts of the Americas: 5,172 5th graders; 345 hours
  • Collection Highlights: 2,386 students; 160 hours
  • Recipes for Art: 545 K & 1st graders; 37 hours

How many visitors toured special exhibitions?

  • Inca: Conquests of the Andes: 888 students; 60 hours
  • International Pop: 1,312 students; 88 hours
  • Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots: 1,694 students; 113 hours
  • Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty: 370 students; 25 hours

What do our visitors say about their experience at the DMA?

“The students had a wonderful time, and they are already asking when we can visit again!” – Skyline High School, Dec. 6

“The docents were very knowledgeable (as has always been the case in the past three years that our school has been visiting). We thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you again for providing this artistic experience in our Dallas community.”– Urban Park Elementary, Feb. 17

“Thank you so much for having such amazing people working with our kiddos! We LOVED the DMA! So grateful!”– Nathan Adams Elementary, March 10

“Our docent was so knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and great with my seniors. I love that I get to bring my kids to the DMA every year, and this year’s trip was made even better because of our docent. See you next year!”– John Horn High School, May 6

Thank you to all our volunteers, staff, and visitors for an amazing school year!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Interpreting Batiks

We are looking forward to Waxed: Batiks from Java, which will highlight the DMA’s fabulous collection of Javanese batik textiles later this fall. These works will continue the thread (pun absolutely intended!) of displaying textiles on Level 3; previously, Add to, Take Away: Artistry and Innovation in African Textiles explored textiles across Africa.

Batik is a technique of textile decoration that involves applying wax to a fabric by hand with a canting (wax pen) or a stamp. The fabric is then dyed, but the wax resists dying and creates pattern and decoration in the negative. Although the earliest and most simple batiks involved applying only dots of wax, the process has evolved to yield incredibly detailed and complex designs.

Batik tools, like these wax pens, will also be on display in Waxed.  

Batik tools, like these wax pens, will also be on display in Waxed.

Making a batik requires serious creativity, skill, and time. It took several months to complete a design like this cloud motif. If you look closely, you will notice that each cloud form includes six concentric outlines that shift in tone from a deep blue (the innermost line) to white (the outermost line). In order to achieve the variations in color, the cloth had to be dyed and waxed six separate times.

Wraparound skirt, (kain panjang) [pointed-ends cloud motif (megamenlang), Indonesia: Java, c. 1910, Cotton, commercial dye (?), Textile Purchase Fund, 1991.58

Wraparound skirt (kain panjang) [pointed-ends cloud motif (megamenlang)], Indonesia, Java, c. 1910, cotton and commercial dye (?), Dallas Museum of Art, Textile Purchase Fund, 1991.58

The job of “interpreting” textiles—or presenting them to the public in a way that facilitates understanding, piques interest, invokes appreciation, or inspires curiosity (among other things)—is a unique one. Because textiles are everywhere in our day-to-day lives, from mattresses, to clothes, to carpet and upholstery, it becomes necessary to very clearly convey what makes certain textiles so special. For our Inca exhibition last year, we collaborated with University of North Texas professor Lesli Robertson and the students in her class “Topics in Fiber: Community, Culture, and Art.” They created samples of textiles that reflected the very specific weaving techniques of textiles in the exhibition. We discussed the project in this blog post. These samples were such a success in the exhibition that we wanted to collaborate with our UNT colleagues once again for Waxed.

This time, we will work not only with Lesli and two of her recently graduated students but also with Amie Adelman, UNT professor of fibers, and one of her fall classes. The students will collaborate with DMA staff to design and develop an educational display that presents the steps required to produce complex batik designs. Together, we will further explore batik production in 19th- and 20th-century Java, including specific techniques, tools, colorants, and even wax “recipes.” The students will also have opportunities to visit the Museum’s textile storage and view some of the batiks up close, before they are installed in the galleries. By the fall, the students will produce eight to ten batik samples, each illustrating a different step in the process. By breaking down each individual step, our goal is for visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the extensive time, creativity, and planning involved in producing batik. Visitors will be able to learn from looking at these samples, and also from feeling them and touching the wax applied to the fabric.

Sketch of preliminary ideas for educational display

Sketch of preliminary ideas for educational display

We look forward to working with our friends and colleagues at UNT this summer, and we cannot wait to see what they come up with! Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes pics of this exciting collaboration!

Andrea Severin Goins is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA.


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