Archive for September, 2016

Friday Photos: Mural Mania

In celebration of Nicolas Party’s installation along the Museum’s concourse, our September Home-school and Family Workshops focused on the world of murals. After walking through the “magical underwater forest” as one participant called it, families had an interactive lesson about different forms of public art, including murals, installations, and graffiti. They were challenged with a matching game of pairing local Dallas murals to their locations, followed by a riveting game of Jeo-Party, a spin on the classic game show featuring questions about the artist.

After taking another closer look at Pathway, we came back to the studio to create our own larger than life masterpieces. Using vibrant chalk pastels on large sheets of butcher paper, the young artists had a blast creating their murals!

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Our next Family Workshop is on Saturday, October 8 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. You can register and find out more information here!

Grace Diepenbrock
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Telling Stories

The DMA has enlisted the help of C3 Visiting Artist Ann Marie Newman to reimagine five Egyptian stories. Each story depicts Egyptian deities, many of which are represented in the upcoming exhibition Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt. Newman’s take on these stories will be available at a listening kiosk in the educational space of the exhibition. Before you visit, learn a little more about Ann Marie Newman and her process.

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Tell us a little about yourself in fifty words or less.
I am a creative dreamer, storyteller, and artist. Using various materials and techniques, my sensory-rich, interactive stories are a unique fusion of colorful characters, improvisation, and fine art–inspired visuals. My love for people, stories, and art is made manifest through my life’s calling to be a storyteller, a “story sharer”!

How did you become interested in writing and storytelling?
In a purely organic way! I’ve always loved stories, hearing them told orally when I was small, and later, reading them in books. Being an intensely curious person, I discovered that folktales, legends, myths, and personal tales illuminated and helped me better understand the world and its people. Writing came about naturally as I embraced my creative need to tell the stories and to share my joy, love, and respect for them with others.

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Describe your process of reimagining the Egyptian stories for the Divine Felines educational space.
It starts with research: reading three or more versions of each myth, studying the images and descriptions of the gods and goddesses, looking at maps of Egypt, noting cultural details. I jot everything down in a mess of chaotic writing only I can decipher—LOL!

Then it’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, except I don’t have a picture on the box lid to use for a guide. Instead, I create a movie of the myth in my mind. I look at all the pieces and select a starting point, a dramatic statement that allows the story to unfold. During the movie, I note how I feel emotionally, how my body feels, what senses are awoken. If something doesn’t “feel” right, I go back and reimagine it until it does. The ability to daydream is huge for me, and I like best to do it in cozy little coffee shops for some reason. All these tales were written, except one, in a quaint little coffee shop along the Truckee River in Reno, Nevada.

Which story is your favorite and why?
Pick a favorite!?! I love them all. Under the surface of these myths lie deeply symbolic meanings and analogies about the human condition.

Take the myth of Sakhmet for instance. Sent by the gods to punish mankind, Sakhmet is the embodiment of the ferocious lioness on a hunt. Her destructive nature knows no constrain; she quickly begins exterminating mankind from the earth. She is eventually stopped, tricked by her own gluttony. She passes out cold. Upon awakening, she immediately falls in love with Ptah, a god whose name means Life and Stability. She forgets her past, marries Ptah, and they give birth to Nefertum, whose name means Mercy. Thus, Sakhmet’s destructive ferocity disappears when she embraces life and stability, and this brings mercy. The insightful wisdom in this myth makes it a favorite of mine.

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What did you enjoy most about working on this project?
Discovering the powerful, protective, clever “superwomen” goddesses of ancient Egyptian mythology. I have been a storyteller for over twenty years, and somehow I’d missed these amazing myths about strong, heroic women. They deserve more attention, and I am a very happy storyteller who can do just that.

I should also mention a cat owns me. His name is Leonidas and he is king of our home. After working on the myths, I enjoyed becoming more appreciative of his cat characteristics. He is a male, but he inhabits all the good traits of the goddesses, and even a few of the not so good, but he is still simply divine.

Visit Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt, on view October 9, 2016, through January 8, 2017, to see more than eighty objects featuring domestic cats, feline deities, cat burial practices, and luxury items decorated with feline features, as well as a small section on dogs. Be sure to stop in and listen to Ann Marie Newman’s reimagined Egyptian stories in the educational space.

Stop by the October 21 cat-themed Late Night for lectures and programs related to Divine Felines. Ann Marie Newman will perform stories of Warrior Goddesses of Ancient Egypt at 7:30 p.m. in the C3 Theater.

And mark your calendars for the upcoming Divine Felines–themed Gallery Talks by Dr. Anne Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art; storyteller Ann Marie Newman; and Aditi Samarth, Professor of Humanities.

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

Communication Across the Ages

This week, the Center for Creative Connections installed an array of communication devices dating from 1909 to 1972. These objects demonstrate the dramatic change communication has undergone over the past century: devices have decreased in size to become more portable, while our ability to communicate with each other has become more immediate. 

 

Before texts and tweets, messages were sent and received by post or telegraph. Imagine sitting at a desk in the early 1900s and using these beautifully designed, handcrafted tools. Perhaps you are opening an envelope or dipping your pen in an inkwell to compose a letter to a dear friend. “Snail mail” would have been the only way to correspond with your out-of-town friends and family. According to the U.S. Postal Service, from 1926 to 2001, the number of items mailed steadily increased from 15 million to 103 million. However, this number had decreased to 62 billion by 2015. Today, instead of waiting days to send and receive a letter, we can simply send a quick text or email that arrives in mere seconds.

 

One of the first cameras to be marketed to women, the Kodak Petite was produced from 1929-1933. It was sold in a handful of colors and its small lightweight design made it easily portable. Today, anyone with a smartphone has access to camera at all times. It’s interesting to note that when the Kodak Petite is closed, it is roughly the size of a modern day smartphone.

 

Until the birth of radio and television in the 1920s, information, news, and entertainment were dispersed to the masses through printed materials like newspapers. This 1930’s Bluebird is a small personal radio, similar in color and design to the larger Nocturne radio in the Museum’s collection. Though this elegant radio may have been outside the budget of most living through The Great Depression, the medium itself remained an important aspect of everyday life in the early 20th century. The way we listen to music has certainly changed today. Instead of waiting for our favorite song to come on the radio, we have access to podcasts and programs like Spotify, which make listening to shows and songs possible practically anytime.

 

The Ericofon was the 1950s version of an all-in-one device. This one-piece phone combined the once separate dialing component with the listening/speaking component. At the time, it’s thirteen ounce weight was a huge improvement on the typical five or six pound telephone.

 

Reminiscent of an astronaut’s helmet, the JVC Videosphere’s spherical design came on the heels of the first moon landing–doubly significant because the landing was televised. The Videosphere was one of the first televisions meant to function as “a second set” for a household. Its small size also indicates that it was designed for use by an individual rather than a group.

Perhaps what is most striking about all of these devices is that each of these modes of communication is readily available today in one small, handheld device. Stop by the Center for Creative Connections to see these works of art in person and consider how communication has changed in your lifetime. 

 

Artworks shown:

  • Gustav Stickley, Desk set, c. 1909, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Beth Cathers and Robert Kaplan
  • Walter Dorwin Teague, “Kodak petite” camera, designed c. 1927, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley
  • Walter Dorwin Teague, Bluebird radio (Model 566), designed c. 1934, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Sonny Burt, Dallas
  • “Ericofon” pattern telephone, Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson, designed 1949–1954, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund
  • “JVC Videosphere” television, Victor Company of Japan, designed 1972, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund

Jessica Fuentes
Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections

Fairground Count Down

This Friday marks the opening day for the State Fair of Texas. As you countdown the days and plan your visit, get your fair-fix by stopping at the Center for Creative Connections (C3) to view these recently installed photographs by Texas based photographer, filmmaker, and journalist Geoff Winningham.

These are part of Winningham’s photographic series, “A Texas Dozen.” In total, twelve of the fifteen photographs from this series are currently on view at the DMA.

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

Friday Photos: Welcome Baby Edie!

We’ve been eagerly waiting the arrival of our newest “member” of the Education staff here at the DMA for a long time. She’s already been to a lot of meetings, participated in many Museum events, and been behind the scenes on a lot of decisions–all before she was even born! On September 6, weighing in at 8 lbs 6 oz and 21 inches long, Edith Grace Blake made her entrance into the world, and we couldn’t be happier. Amanda Blake, Interim Director of Education and Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences here at the DMA, and her husband Ed are the proud parents. Edie is named for her great-grandmothers, and lovingly watched over by her bestie westie, George.

Mom reports that Edie is a champ at eating, smiling, and making her voice be heard. Here at the Museum, we already think that she’s a star. Welcome to the world, baby girl!

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Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

Connecting Fibers

Alexandria Clifton and Kyli Brook are two students of UNT professor Lesli Robertson and both recent grads from the college’s Fibers program. Earlier this year, they set off to research the process of making traditional batik on the island of Java. They were tasked with the challenge (and we are so glad they accepted!) with producing eight batik samples that illustrate the complex creative process of traditional batik makers. These samples will be installed in Waxed: Batik from Java, opening this weekend on Level 3. (Read a little more about the process and the installation in this post.)

Clifton and Brook’s journey began with a trip to the DMA’s textile storage with curator Roslyn Walker and preparator Mary Nicolett to examine some of the textiles up close and personal. These works are incredibly detailed, and photos alone do not do them justice!
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Back in the studio on UNT’s campus, they mixed wax based on traditional Javanese recipes. The wax must be sufficiently durable to resist dye, but also removable. Their research determined that both hand-drawn and stamped batiks involve an initial application of a brittle but easily removable wax mix (klowong) followed by various applications of a stickier, more durable wax mix (templok). The ingredients for hand-drawn wax—their method of wax application—include paraffin, pine resin, beeswax, and fat. Wax for stamp application also includes eucalyptus gum. They used strips of fabric to test out the waxes.
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Today in Central Java, indigo dye is generally made from indigo paste, lime, and ferrous sulfate mixed with water. A soga brown dye mixture includes bark from various trees and shrubs. In an effort to be as authentic to the process as possible, Clifton and Brook also used natural dyes for their project. (Learn about UNT’s cool Natural Dye Garden here.)
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The design of their final eight samples is based on the motif of the red wraparound skirt (kain panjang) with blue clouds (megamenlang). Ultimately, the concentric outlines of this motif more clearly illustrate how to produce gradated hues with subsequent wax applications and dyeing; however, throughout their process the two tested a multitude of designs, all inspired by the DMA’s collection.
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During their research Clifton and Brook compiled a robust binder of samples and experiments and shared it with us. I was particularly impressed because even their notes are lovely!
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Not only are Clifton and Brook’s “finished” products on view in the exhibition, but visitors can actually touch and feel the samples. During the fall semester, we look forward to receiving a second set of batiks from Amie Adelman’s class. A HUGE thank you to our friends and colleagues from the UNT Fibers program for another wonderful collaboration!
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Andrea Severin Goins is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA.

All Access Guide to the Museum: Dementia

We believe museums should be fun and engaging for everyone, so in this month’s installment of All Access Guide to the Museum, we’d like to share some tips for creating an enjoyable visit for visitors with dementia.

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  • Plan your visit in advance through the DMA’s website to find information about parking, dining options, and more.
  • Take a load off! Wheelchairs are available free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. All Museum galleries are accessible to wheelchair users and those who may want to avoid stairs.
  • You don’t have to see it all in one day! Plan to look at only a few works of art that spark your interest and take breaks to sit and reflect. General admission to the Museum is free and you can return again and again!
  • Consider the interests of the person you care for when choosing which galleries of the Museum to visit. You can explore the Museum’s collection online in advance, or see what catches your eyes when you arrive. If the person you care for has a special interest, try searching the Museum’s online collection for related works of art, such as “dog” or “Italy.
  • Spend time with a work of art. Begin by just looking and reflecting. Ask the person you care for to describe what they see using questions about things like colors or shapes. Encourage them to express themselves through movement, such as acting out the facial expression or pose of a portrait. Create your own story to go with a work of art.27800664023_4f799bba63_k
  • Bring some small sensory objects that connect to a work of art. For example, if you are admiring a beach scene, feeling a seashell may inspire more connections to the work of art. You can also listen to music with headphones or repurpose old spice jars into scent jars to evoke the smells of an object.1472657932-dmameaningfulmoments_al001
  • If the person you care for connects with a work of art, take note! You can revisit the object again from the comfort of your home through the DMA’s online collection. Print out images of the object and hang them up in the room of the person you care for, so they can revisit and enjoy them often.
  • If you prefer to plan your visit during non-peak hours, you may want to come September through May (Tuesday-Friday, after 1:00 pm). If you are planning your visit during Summer, Spring Break, or holidays, you may want to visit Tuesday-Friday, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
  • Some of our galleries are often less crowded and quieter than other areas of the Museum: Wendy & Emery Reves Collection, Decorative Arts & Design, Conservation Studio and Gallery, and Ancient American Art. A map of the Museum is available here. 17170929235_a4656f016b_k

We invite visitors with early stage dementia and their care partners to participate in our monthly art program on the third Tuesday of every month. Designed specifically for individuals with early stage dementia and their family members or caregivers, Meaningful Moments includes a gallery discussion, an interactive component, and an art-making activity. Participants will have the chance to relax and connect with art in the galleries, share stories, and gain inspiration.

You can find out more from our recent Meaningful Moments profile in the Dallas Morning News. The program is free, but reservations are required and space is limited. For more information or to register, call 214-922-1324 or e-mail access@DMA.org.

Emily Wiskera
Manager of Access Programs


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