Archive for June, 2017



At an arms length

Are selfies a form of art? With the advent of the front facing camera, the digital age’s self portrait was born. Whether seeking social approval, documenting travels, or not wanting anyone to be left out of the picture, selfies give us a snapshot of life’s many moments. Much like paint and brush, filters, and editing apps allow one to dictate how the world see them. Genuine and doctored images are now so seamlessly intertwined that society is left to their own interpretations. Sound familiar?  How many times have you felt differently about a work of art than the person next to you?

Whether you are a proponent of selfies or adversely opposed, you have to admire the forethought and skill involved in taking the perfect one. Has the 45 degree upward tilt been achieved, the most flattering light found, and the perfect filter picked? Not to mention the caption, is it vague or descriptive? Like the text on a label, does it leave one wanting more or fully informed?

This National Selfie Day try your hand (literally) at this art form in the DMA. We promise plenty of beautiful backgrounds, ambient light, and free WiFi, all for your selfie taking adventures.

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

Volunteering is smART!

Center for Creative Connections volunteer

The DMA is fortunate to have a committed group of volunteers who are dedicated to ensuring our educational programs succeed. If you want to get more involved at the DMA, We are currently recruiting new volunteers for the Center for Creative Connections, Go van Gogh school outreach program, and the Arts & Letters Live speaker series. A formal background in art or art education is not required, we simply seek individuals who are passionate about serving the Dallas community! There is a volunteer opportunity for all interests, so read on for details about each opening.

In the Center for Creative Connections, we seek volunteers who enjoy interacting with the public. C3 volunteers welcome and engage visitors in conversations about art and art making in the Art Spot. C3 volunteers also have the chance to take the  C3 experience to other galleries as a Pop-Up Art Spot facilitator. Volunteers are asked to serve two shifts per month, approximately seven hours, and must attend an orientation session.

Go van Gogh volunteers help teach art programs in elementary classrooms across the city. They encourage students to look closely at works of art in the Museum’s collection and get involved in hands-on art making projects. Interested volunteers must be available to attend bi-monthly training sessions on Tuesday mornings and are asked to teach two weekday programs per month from late September to mid-May.

If you love literature, then becoming an Arts & Letters Live volunteer may be the choice for you! Arts & Letters Live volunteers support speaker events, including BooksmART programs for young readers, by serving as ticket takers, greeters, ushers, and book signing assistants. New volunteers will attend an orientation session in December before the the 2018 season begins.

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Visit our Volunteer page for applications and additional information about each of these volunteer programs or email volunteers@dma.org with any questions. We hope you’ll join us!

Andi Orkin
Volunteer Coordinator for Programming

Feline Mastermind

It’s undeniable that fuzzy four-legged felines are an internet sensation. Their mischievous whiskers and silly antics have all the making of a viral video. Cats are so trendy that there is an entire month dedicated to adopting them. Much like the social media moguls, clothing, and cosmetics brands that have jumped on the kitty bandwagon, American artist Thomas Sully was in the know. The 1830s and 40s were not without financial crises, and less money meant less desire for portraiture. Sully, who was highly regarded for his artistic talents, should be equally regarded for his keen marketing and forecasting abilities. He began making “fancy pictures” that flawlessly idealized and exaggerated fashionable society, appealing to those with means. He also recognized the popularity of Cinderella, a tale that had entered America only a few decades before; an opera based on the story had taken the US by storm, putting it at the forefront of respectable society’s polite conversations. It only took Sully around three months to complete Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, which features not only a popular subject but also a cat! Talk about a win-win situation! Sully was in tune with the world around him and knew what people wanted, over a century ago and today, and so he flourished during times of financial hardship. Celebrate Thomas Sully’s birthday and National Adopt a Cat Month by visiting this pristine picture of furry fairytale marketing genius this week at the DMA.

 

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

A Truly Touching Tour

Let’s face itwhen brainstorming ideal field trip locations for a group of blind or visually impaired visitors, a visual arts museum probably wouldn’t be at the top of your list. One might assume that art museums don’t have much to offer visitors with impaired vision. However, when vision teachers from the Dallas Independent School District reached out to the DMA to request a tour in 2014, we were eager to create an unforgettable experience for their students. Each summer, the DMA has welcomed this group of students, whom we work hard to impress—challenging ourselves to bring the collection to life through multi-sensory experiences.

In past vision impairment tours, we have explored artworks in the Sculpture Garden through touch. But as any Texan knows, these surfaces can get pretty hot under the scorching Texas sun, making them uncomfortable to touch. This year, we were thrilled when our conservation team helped us identify several figurative sculptures inside the Museum that were suitable for touch. To help protect the sculptures, students and instructors wore thin gloves as we guided the students’ hands. We also explored the works of art through visual description, discussion, raised line drawings, scents, additional tactile objects, and by acting out poses.

Take a peek at some of our favorite moments of this year’s tour! We are already looking forward to next summer!

Click here for information about Art Beyond Sight programs or to request a tour for visitors who are blind or partially sighted.

Emily Wiskera
Manager of Access Programs

Artist Interview: Christopher Blay

This spring in the Center for Creative Connections, we invited C3 Visiting Artist Christopher Blay to work with us on a new design for our in-gallery activities. We hope you agree that our time was very well spent. Meet Christopher here and learn more about these imaginative and reflective activities designed for visitors of all ages.

Tell us about yourself in 50 words or less.
I am an artist, and I curate exhibitions at Tarrant County College. I also review art locally. I enjoy the process of making, and create installations that reflect a sense of place. I see value in art that meets both the artist and their audience where they live.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
I thought it would be an interesting way to share my ideas with audiences, outside of a curated exhibition. This was about creating a space for reflection, and saying the things left unsaid, in that moment of reflection.

Tell us about the activities you’ve created in C3.
I created three rounds of participatory activities under the project name Machines for Intangible Communications for the Visiting Artist Project (sketches above). They all revolved around the idea that some of the things we want to say can no longer be heard by the people we hope are listening. Part A presented visitors with a desk, a typewriter, some writing materials, and a mailbox. Part B had walkie-talkies and satellites to relay what was spoken. Part C is a phone booth and a Morse code machine for dialing and relaying messages into the void. In each iteration of this project, visitors could reach out and say the things they wish they’d said to themselves, or others. It was a way of expressing the thoughts and words we’ve always wanted to express.

Do you have any favorite visitor responses you’d like to share?
I do. There was a man from Turkey who lost his grandfather when he was about a year old. He told me that it was difficult to speak into the walkie-talkie because he was suddenly at a loss for words; however, when he did speak, he thanked his grandfather for the gift of life, and wished that he was present to see his current life. It was a beautiful moment that I was happy to share with a stranger.

What did you enjoy most about this experience?
I enjoyed being able to make a gesture in a space for art that reflected real experiences. I was inspired to build these machines out of a sense of longing and personal loss, and from stories about loss. This is a human experience and one that I hope connects with visitors. I wanted to build an impossible bridge that maybe a whisper could cross.

Visitor responses from Machines for Intangible Communications Part A.

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Join C3 Visiting Artist Christopher Blay for the Teen Workshop Revolutionary Prints on Saturday, June 24, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. The workshop is for ages 13-19; all materials are provided, and no prior experience is necessary. The cost is $8 for the public and $5 for DMA Members.

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

Friday Photos: C3 Art Spot

The Center for Creative Connections is undergoing some changes! Next week new works of art and new activities will be unveiled. One of those changes will be at the C3 Art Spot. For years, visitors have come to C3 and made small sculptures out of everyday materials like cardboard, plastic spoons, and twist ties.

Starting next week, visitors to the C3 Art Spot can get inspired by these works of art from the permanent collection and use magnetic wooden blocks to imagine and build devices for communication. Check out these devices created by visitors and staff:

What will you make the next time you stop by the C3 Art Spot? We can’t wait to see!

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

A Curator’s Best Days

In celebration of Paul Gauguin’s birthday today, we thought we would revisit one of Uncrated’s first blogs from August 2010 exploring the conservation work on the DMA’s “Under the Pandanus” painting by Gauguin.

Dallas Museum of Art Uncrated

The best days in a curator’s professional life are often the days spent in the conservation lab. That’s where we get to spend quality time with works of art and talk to conservators, the fantastically knowledgeable people who can look through a microscope or infrared scope and tell you the life history of an object. I was lucky enough to spend several hours in the painting conservation lab of the Midwestern Art Conservation Center (MACC), a private conservation center housed at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). I was there to confer with conservator David Marquis just before he begins cleaning an important painting in the DMA’s collections, Paul Gauguin’s Under the Pandanus, also known by its Maori title I Raro Te Oviri.

Gauguin painted Under the Pandanus in 1891, a few months after he arrived in Tahiti for the first time.  Sometime later, possibly the next year…

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