Archive for August, 2016



Freeze Frame

It’s hard to believe, but we’re in the final week of the celebrated exhibition Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty. Prior to the show’s opening in April of this year, Allison V. Smith, photographer and granddaughter of Stanley Marcus, shared with the DMA Member magazine, Artifacts, her first encounter with the work of Irving Penn and the impact of his legacy.  Read about her experience below, and discover the work of Irving Penn for the first time or for the hundredth time through Sunday with buy one get on free exhibition tickets offered every day.

One of the Real Greats
By Allison V. Smith
Original publish date: Artifacts Spring–Summer 2016

Irving Penn’s name is synonymous with beauty in fashion photography. So it’s no surprise that in 1990 my grandfather Stanley Marcus gave me, a young, passionate photographer, a signed copy of Issey Miyake’s catalogue photographed by Irving Penn. An enclosed handwritten Post-it note read:
Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 11.05.25 AM
“Dear Allie— Penn, in my opinion, is the greatest of the fashion photographers and perhaps one of the real greats of the 20th century. Are you friends with him?”

I wasn’t, but I quickly took the time to educate myself.

Penn’s prolific photographic career spanned seventy years, and in this time he managed to merge the lines between fashion and fine art. His first cover for Vogue magazine was published in 1943, and he would shoot at least 150 more.

Irving Penn, Salvador Dali, New York, 1947, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist. Copyright © The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn, Salvador Dali, New York, 1947, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, © The Irving Penn Foundation

Penn’s assignments ranged from shooting striking models in designer dresses on location in Paris, to contemporary still lifes of familiar objects, to the simple “corner portraits” of artists that included Salvador Dalí and Truman Capote. These portraits were made sometime in 1948 in a constructed corner in his studio. The sitter embraced the corner, demonstrating his or her own personality and making the static background Penn chose into a private stage. Dalí fills the frame in a confident pose, with both arms placed firmly on his knees. Capote kneels on a chair, wearing an oversized tweed jacket and looking directly at the photographer. It’s hard to tell whether he’s feeling vulnerable or safe.

Irving Penn, Truman Capote, New York, 1979, printed 1983, silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. Copyright © The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn, Truman Capote, New York, 1979, printed 1983, silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation, © The Irving Penn Foundation

Penn wrote in Passage: A Work Record about this process: “This confinement, surprisingly, seemed to comfort people, soothing them. The walls were a surface to lean on or push against. For me the picture possibilities were interesting; limiting the subjects’ movement seemed to relieve me of part of the problem of holding on to them.”

Working for Vogue, Penn had the dream job of traveling the world photographing portraits of everyday people—artisans and blue-collar workers in Paris and London, a gypsy community in Spain, and the tribes of New Guinea. Penn approached all of his portraits with the same respect and elegance as he did in posing a model in Paris or an Issey Miyake design.

Irving Penn, Issey Miyake Fashion: White and Black, New York, 1990, printed 1992, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. Copyright © The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn, Issey Miyake Fashion: White and Black, New York, 1990, printed 1992, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation, © The Irving Penn Foundation

Penn’s photographs are subtle and sophisticated, often finding his subjects against a blank backdrop. His meticulous flowers are a study of visual rhythm. His nudes, whom he shot on countless rolls of film on his Rolleiflex camera between 1949 and 1950, went largely unseen until 1980. He closely examined the shapes of models of all sizes. The results were about form and less about nakedness.

A prolific photographer and a technical master, he made personal work throughout his life, including his early photographs of shop window displays, and later cigarette butts, smashed cups, and chewing gum. These simple photos of litter experimented with different photographic processes, such as platinum and palladium, giving them a rich quality—and also leaving an indelible mark on me.

Allison V. Smith is an editorial and fine art photographer based in Dallas. In 2008, the DMA presented “Reflection of a Man: The Photography of Stanley Marcus,” a retrospective of photographs taken by the department store magnate and produced by Smith and her mother, Jerrie Smith.

 

2016 Museum Forum for Teachers

This summer I had the opportunity to participate in my first Museum Forum for Teachers, a week-long teacher workshop coordinated by The Warehouse, Nasher Sculpture CenterModern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, and the Dallas Museum of Art. Each day, twenty-four dedicated North Texas educators braved traffic across the DFW metroplex to participate in a full day of museum experiences, discussions, and projects for CPE credit centered around modern and contemporary art. Part of the fun of Museum Forum is that each institution hosts one day of the week, so we rotate and spend time exploring different collections. What could be better than the chance to catch up on current exhibitions and collaborate with a fabulous group of teachers and museum educators!

This year marked the ten-year anniversary of Museum Forum. To celebrate, we tried out a daily “Educator Exchange” and led a session at one of the other institutions (we also consumed many, many cupcakes). I shared A Work in Progress: Plaster in the Nasher Collection, and we practiced an exercise called Drawers and Describers in pairs.

Nasher stop motion app

Discussing the Joel Shapiro exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center before creating stop-motion video shorts.

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Here at the DMA, we tried out a collaborative poetry exercise in Passages in Modern Art: 1946 – 1996. We divided into groups of five, and each group was assigned a work of art in the exhibition. After taking some time to quietly sketch and make notes, each participant wrote down one sentence on a slip of paper from the point of view of the work of art. From there, each group worked together to arrange their responses together into a narrative. Check out their outstanding work!

Speaking for myself, the week was inspiring, immersive, and left me excited to revisit some of the exercises and ideas we explored in upcoming Teacher Programs. Our participants enjoyed Museum Forum almost as much as museum staff!

I love the forum, all of the museum staff involved, and everything you guys do. Thank you so much! I’ll be back next year.

 

I was impressed with EVERY aspect of this. It was the most rewarding (personally & professionally) training I have attended in…forever!!!

 

This is by far the most fun and most challenging teacher conference I have ever attended!! The level of critical thinking necessary blows away anything I’ve done as a teacher in a very long time. Thank you so much!!!

Interested in joining us for Museum Forum for Teachers next summer? Sign up to receive our emails and check the box for Information for Teachers, so you can stay connected to exciting professional development opportunities here at the DMA!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Going for the Green

Have you ever wondered why Olympians are crowned with a wreath of leaves when receiving a medal? Well, you see, it was not always about going for the gold: in ancient times, victors were adorned with a crown of wild olive leaves (kotinos). Legend has it that Hercules (also known in Greek as Heracles or Herakles) was the creator of the Olympic Games, which at its inception solely consisted of a single tournament of foot racing. He dedicated the contest to the gods, and ornamented the winners with a wreath from an olive tree that grew behind the temple of Zeus in Olympia. Ever since, the wreath has been a symbol of the Olympic Games. After all, who needs a piece of precious metal when the pride of Olympus—and Greece’s divine hero—has given you some sacred flora to show off?

Best of luck to all the athletes competing in Rio. May you be faster, higher, and stronger!

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

On your mark, get set, Go van Gogh!

The Rio Olympics may just be getting started, but some of us here at the DMA have been going for the gold all summer long. Former Graduate McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching, Whitney Sirois, wrote this year’s Go van Gogh summer outreach program,”Go for Gold: Art and the Olympic Games.” The program brings together DMA artworks that celebrate everything we love about the games (gleaming prizes for the victorious!scenes of athletes in action!, an array of incredible uniforms!), and it has definitely gotten us in the Olympic spirit.

We trained for this moment by looking closely at artworks from Ancient Greece. We crowned ourselves victors with golden pipe cleaner wreaths. We tried a toga on for size. We even got our wiggles out in Olympic fashion–stretching and doing some jumping-jacks, just like athletes! (And then we decided it was a good thing that Olympians don’t wear togas anymore–they make jumping-jacks tricky!).

The DMA’s Mixed Doubles painting inspired our art projects. We had to look very closely to determine which Olympic sport artist George L. K. Morris painted. Can you find the athlete’s arms and legs, and their sports equipment in the painting below? Using only triangles of construction paper and black markers, we then created our own similarly abstracted collages of a favorite sport. Many of our abstracted masterpieces were about the very Olympic sports we’ll be watching over the next few weeks.

Now it’s your turn to look closely at some artworks! Can you pair the Go for Gold collages below to the matching Rio sport pictograms for equestrian, soccer (football, in Olympic-speak!), and archery? What other sports do you see?

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

I’m Never Saying Goodbye!

Hey everyone, my name is Joshua Berry-Jones. I’m a summer intern here at the Dallas Museum of Art through the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program. I was chosen out of hundreds of students to come work for the DMA. In total, I interviewed at six different potential jobs. To be honest, I could have landed anywhere, but by fate I ended up here. I have to say, I couldn’t be happier–working at the DMA is the best!

What I’ve experienced at the DMA has exceeded all of my expectations. I’ve done more things than I can count on my fingers AND toes. I mainly worked with the Go van Gogh program, under my supervisor Amy Copeland. This year’s theme was “Go for the Gold.” We would educate children about Ancient Greece and how art tied into the Olympics. When I was not running around in the Go van Gogh van, I was shadowing many programs here at the DMA. One memorable moment would be when I was dressed up as a mummy for the DISD touch tour for children with visual impairment. Another would be when I choreographed a few dance moves with the Dance for PD program.

I’ve also been given plenty of opportunities to learn and build upon many valuable traits desired in today’s workforce. I was even allowed to completely coordinate a new program for the DMA in partnership with CitySquare, during which we created art with over 100 kids. I was the point of contact for volunteers, DMA staff, and CitySquare employees. I even came up with the art project the kids made. I am so thankful to Amy for giving me the chance to do that.

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Out of the few jobs that I’ve had, and the many I will have in the future, the DMA will have a special place in my heart. Every day when I walk in, I feel a welcoming presence. Every person here has a personality that I cannot forget. These eight weeks have flown by so fast, I feel like it’s still my first day. I will never forget the wisdom and guidance that I gained at the DMA, and in the future, I plan to volunteer and/or work here. For me, this was not a job. This was an amusement park with so many different rides to try. To sum it all up, I really don’t want to leave–I’m never saying goodbye!

Joshua Berry-Jones
2016 Mayor’s Intern Fellow

State Pride

Everyone can admit there is just a certain draw to Texas. We aren’t sure if it’s the Art, Bar-B-Que, or the Cowboys, but we love Texas and we’ve picked our favorite back to school gifts for you to show off your state pride. All are available online and on-site at the DMA Store.

Texas

Pegasus Snow Globe – Decorate your desk with this red Pegasus that has come to represent the city since it first flew over the Magnolia Oil Company building in 1934.

Gold Texas Necklace – This custom gold necklace is a delicate way to show your state pride.

This Is Texas by Miroslav Sasek – The stylish, charming illustrations, coupled with Sasek’s witty, playful narrative, make this book a perfect souvenir that will delight both children and adults.

Dallas Home Glass Set – Cheers to loving Dallas! This glass set makes a great addition to any home.

 


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