Archive for January, 2018

New faces and places in C3

Portrait of a Woman, 16th century, oil on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Chester Dale 1963.173

The walls of C3 were hung with a few new artworks last week. The 16th century German painting, Portrait of a Woman now resides near the Community Choice chalkboard. The oil on panel depiction acts as a useful illustration of what typically comes to mind as a “traditional” portrait.

Arnold Newman, Jacob Lawrence with “The Visitors”, 1959, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, the Jolesch Acquisition Fund 2001.259

Her unemotional gaze and detailed attire make a striking contrast with the three works installed on another wall of this gallery. These include two images by cameramen recognized for their ability to convey their subjects’ emotional as well as professional identities. In these works, the cameras captured artists Jacob Lawrence and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Kermit Oliver, Autoritratto, 1993, acrylic on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, The Barrett Collection, Dallas, Texas 2007.53.34 © Kermit Oliver

The third addition to the gallery of portraits is the lone example of self-representation in the room. Kermit Oliver’s 1993 depiction of himself includes a variety of animals, plants, and architecture arranged into one of his signature “painted collages.”

David Avison, Oak Bluff, Martha’s Vineyard, 1978, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund 1980.13

On the Communication through Narrative wall there are now two examples of Garry Winogrand’s street photography and a panoramic scene of Martha’s Vineyard produced by one of Winogrand’s former students, David Avison. Like the photos that were previously displayed in this space, the appearance of casual snapshots and indeterminate activities can act as a creative launchpad for visitors to compose their own imagined narratives at a nearby table.

Please drop by to see the new faces and places on view in the C3 galleries!

Emily Schiller is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA

Some Truths on Time-Based Media

Truth: 24 frames per second is the DMA’s first exhibition dedicated to time-based media and showcases many works from the Museum’s growing collection. But what is time-based media and why is it relevant? How do we experience it (and don’t forget you can experience it for free for the final week! The exhibition is on view through January 28)?

Time-Based Media (TBM) refers to works of art that have a fourth-dimension: time. Any artwork that changes meaningfully over a period of time can be considered TBM. Typically, TBM works are made using video, sound, film or slide-based installations, or computer technologies. As a viewer, a key aspect of experiencing TBM is observing it over time.

Nam June Paik, Music Box Based on Piano Piece Composed in Tokyo in 1954, 1994, Vintage TV cabinet, Panasonic 10 TV model 1050R, Panasonic mini video camera, incandescent light bulb and 144-note music box mechanism, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum 2015.48.113

Beginning in the 1960s with the invention of the portapak (the first portable video equipment), artists who were losing interest in material objects turned to video and sound. Experimental artists like Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell, and Joan Jonas were attracted to the transitory, immaterial qualities of sound and the moving image and the medium quickly spread.

TBM was viewed as an egalitarian art form, due to the medium’s relative affordability as well as its unchartered nature. Because TBM was not initially considered by art historians to be a valid art form, artists considered it a “founding father free zone,” where there was no canon against which to be measured. Video art, in particular, was used by many artists involved in social movements. Through its capability for wide distribution, video art offered opportunities for raising consciousness through documenting injustices and representing communities previously under or misrepresented. In Truth: 24 frames per second, Arthur Jafa’s work, Love Is the Message, the Message is Death, speaks poignantly to the role of media and representation in contemporary society.

Arthur Jafa, Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death, 2016, HD video, color and black and white, sound, 7:30 min., Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, NY

Unsurprisingly, over the following decades TBM works have evolved in step with technology. Contemporary artists produce TBM works with everything from cellphone footage to crowd sourced YouTube clips. One example of the influence of technological advance on TBM is Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas), a work by John Gerrard in the exhibition. Though it presents as a video, Gerrard’s work is actually an eternally generating digital portrait coded to change in response to the time of day and year in Spindletop, Texas. As the sun sets and rises in Spindletop, Gerrard’s software mimics the change of light in on the screen.

Because of its reliance on technology, TBM presents unique challenges to museums who collect it. Most works are allographic in nature, meaning they only exist when installed and functioning, and each time they are installed can be considered an iteration of the work. As a result, there are conceptual considerations as to where, how, and with what technology individual works can be realized. TBM also presents complex challenges to conservators, who are tasked with considering and combating issues such as technological obsolescence, digital preservation, and even broken hyperlinks.

John Gerrard, Western Flag (Spindletop Texas), 2017, 2017, simulation, Courtesy the artist and Simon Preston Gallery, New York & Thomas Dane Gallery, London

TBM works can be intimidating to engage with, but one important thing to realize is that you don’t need to be present for the duration of the work to experience it. If a work catches your attention, stick around for it to restart and watch it in entirety. Wall labels include a run time, noting how frequently each work repeats. The ideal way to experience an exhibition like Truth: 24 frames per second is to see it multiple times in order to engage with the works at different moments. But hurry in, because the exhibition closes this Sunday, January 28.

Elise Armani is the McDermott Intern for Contemporary Art at the DMA

Artist Signatures

Did you know that January 23 is National Handwriting Day? This holiday celebrates penmanship and the art of writing. “Why January 23?,” you might ask. Because that is the birthday of John Hancock, a man whose name is synonymous with the word signature. In celebration of this day, we wanted to take a look at some signatures from the Museum’s collection and consider what they might reveal about the artists.

The size of the first letter of a signature can allude to the signer’s feelings of self as compared to the rest of the world. For example, if the first letter is lowercase, the signer might be more grounded; however, if the first letter is capitalized, then that may indicate a higher sense of self-esteem or feeling of self-worth.

The slant of a signature can also be revealing. An upward slant, as seen in “Hogue” above, can indicate that the signer is ambitious or forward thinking. A downward slant can hint at a lack of self-esteem.

Which name or names a signer chooses to sign with can also be telling. Signing with initials only can indicate a lack of self-identification or a strong inclination for summarization. It is perhaps not surprising that Mondrian, for example, signed his minimalist paintings with just his initials.

Someone who signs with their first initial and their last name is likely to exhibit a balance between a strong sense of self and a strong connection with their family.

Whereas someone who signs with just their last name tends to put their loyalty and love for family above themselves.

Those who add an underline beneath their signature are likely to talk about themselves, but not excessively.

What does your signature say about you? Is your signature more like Pablo Picasso’s or Alexandre Hogue’s?

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

Supporting Art

Hopi Visions: Journey of the Human Spirit is a new year-long exhibition highlighting a forty-eight foot mural by Hopi artists Michael Kabotie and Delbridge Honanie. The mural, titled Journey of the Human Spirit, depicts the history of the Hopi people from their mythic emergence to modern day. Included in the installation are numerous works from the DMA’s permanent collection, carefully curated to enhance and highlight the story told by the mural. Many of the objects included are ceramics ranging in dates from 950 CE to the late 20th century. As can be expected with such a range of dates, the condition of the objects varies from pristine to reassembled fragments. A question that must be answered prior to installing works like these is how to best display the work while not compromising its structural integrity. This problem is often solved by building specialty mounts.

A mount is a support, backing, or setting on which an object is fixed for display purposes. There are multiple types of mounts, but the one utilized most for Hopi Visions is a custom built brass mount. Russell Sublette, who just celebrated his 39th year at the DMA, is a Senior Preparator and the Head Mount Maker at the Museum. He is responsible for the majority of mounts you see (or rather, don’t see) within the permanent collection displays.

During exhibition planning, the curator and designer work together to determine how they wish to display an object. Do they want to show a bowl placed flat on a surface in a way that reflects its utilitarian purpose or do they want to display it at an angle to better highlight the design on the interior? Once these decisions have been reached, it is up to Russell to turn these wishes into a reality. He carefully inspects the object, looking for fractures, breaks, and any other issues that might affect its structural integrity, in order to determine the best contact points between the mount and the object. He then takes measurements and works on design. Russell’s goal is to create a mount that provides maximum stability while maintaining a minimal profile. In other words, the mount needs to be as invisible as possible. It is a job that requires focus and precision.

Russell begins with long rods of brass that he cuts down and shapes to follow to contour of the object. He uses extreme care when working on the clips—the part of the mount on which the object rests. It is imperative that the clips do not put too much pressure on the object as that could lead to cracks and breakage. Once he has completed the fabrication of the mount, Russell hands it over to fellow preparator, Sean Cairns, for the finishing touches. Sean’s job is to make the visible parts of the mount disappear. He paints the mount to match the object’s design as closely possible, layering colors and making sure to inspect the piece from multiple viewpoints. When Sean’s work is done, the mount should blend seamlessly with the object.

A good mount maker is a great asset to any museum. Mount making requires skill, talent, and artistic abilities, all of which abound in Russell and Sean. So, when you visit Hopi Visions, please appreciate the objects on display, but then take an extra moment to appreciate the mounts that support the art.

Katie Province is the Assistant Registrar for Collections and Exhibitions at the DMA

“One Way Ticket”

To celebrate the day dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and his impact on America, the DMA is hosting Boston-based performing group, Trio Ardente. The Trio will be performing “One Way Ticket”, which was created by American composer Robert Bradshaw inspired by the poem with the same name, written by Langston Hughes, at the DMA tomorrow, January 13 at 2:00 p.m.. These two major artistic works were created in response to the 60 paintings by Jacob Lawrence, titled, Migration Series.

Migration Series is a prolific piece of American art that propelled Lawrence to a place amongst the most influential painters in our country’s history. The paintings depict the migration of over a million African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North after World War I had begun. I asked Adam Gautille, one of the members of Trio Ardente about the group’s process and why they chose this piece to recreate for the performance.

A photograph from the DMA collection of Jacob Lawrence with his painting The Visitors, which is also in the DMA collection
[image credit: Arnold Newman, Jacob Lawrence with “The Visitors”, 1959, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, the Jolesch Acquisition Fund 2001.259]

Q: What drew Trio Ardente to this specific musical, art, and spoken word performance?
A: I grew up surrounded by the arts, other musicians, dancers, artists and later in college became an avid reader of poetry. I realized very quickly that art, as a whole, is something we all experience very differently. Some people are very tactile and visual learners, others are aural and some don’t particularly care for either of those and they just love poetry and words. This program “One-Way Ticket” was our first commissioned work by Robert Bradshaw. We discussed a piece involving multiple mediums of art and a strong message, we eventually landed on social justice. Rob took a dive into history and came up with a great work by pairing 4 of Jacob Lawrence’s 60 paintings in the Migration Series, with a stanza about those paintings by Langston Hughes. He wrote a movement around these elements in a response to how they moved him. 

Q: Did you and the other performers look to the Migration Series while practicing for the performance as a visual prompt?
A: We absolutely looked to the art and poetry as a way to inform the mood or colors we are striving for in our performance. The subject matter of the Great Migration is extremely powerful, so often if we are struggling with a musical decision we take a step back and look at the bigger picture to give us some guidance.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about this concert?
A: For us, the chance to celebrate Black musicians, artists, and poets is incredible. Too often in classical music we miss a rich part of American history, so when we get the chance to put it on display we take it. I also love that Jacob Lawrence was so greatly affected by his time during the Great Migration, that it made him take to art and paint his experiences.

Q: What do you think the connection is between the Migration Series and Martin Luther King Jr.’s beliefs and teachings?
A: The links between the Migration Series and Martin Luther King Jr’s beliefs and teachings are parallel. Between segregation, Jim Crow Laws, a fear of death and a desire for a new life with the same opportunities others were born with, MLK Jr. and Jacob Lawrence were seeing the same things at slightly different times. We can still see these things subtly and sometimes not so subtly in our world today, which is why it is so important to us to bring this program to the public. Many people are not taught about the Great Migration or really understand its impact on America to this day.

Trio Ardente will be performing “One Way Ticket” on Saturday, January 13 at 2:00 p.m. at the DMA. Tickets are available online or at the door for $10.

Video via Phillips Collection http://lawrencemigration.phillipscollection.org/

Katie Cooke is the Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA

2018 C3 Visiting Artist Project

Last year the Center for Creative Connections launched the C3 Visiting Artist Project, as a new way to engage with local artists both in the physical space of C3 and through various educational programs offered by the Museum. Through this initiative, we worked with four visiting artists; completing a total of twenty programs throughout the year and serving over 800 visitors. Of course this doesn’t include the countless visitors who had the opportunity to interact with each artist’s creation in C3–from self-guided tours to musical zine making.

In 2018, we are looking forward to another great year of artist projects and programming. Stop by this year to participate in Timothy Harding’s exploration of gesture, contribute to Ellie Ivanova’s collaborative cyanotype neighborhood, and engage with Lauren Cross’ interactive sensory environment. Meet the artists:

Timothy Harding
January – April

Timothy Harding’s education and career have been closely tied to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He received his MFA from Texas Christian University, BFA from Texas Woman’s University, and currently teaches at Tarleton State University. His work explores the relationship between drawing, painting, and sculpture, through dimensional paintings and sculptural installations. Harding’s works have appeared at local venues including Cris Worley Fine Arts, the Power Station, and 500X Gallery. Other Texas exhibitions of his work have taken place at the Grace Museum (Abilene) and Box 13 (Houston). In addition, Harding’s art has been in shows in more distant sites including: Florida State University Museum of Art (Tallahassee, FL); SCENE Metrospace (East Lansing, MI); and And Gallery (Jackson, MS). He was a 2009 recipient of The Arch and Anne Giles Kimbrough Fund Grant from the DMA and a 2016 Artist Microgrant from the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Ellie Ivanova
May – August

Ellie Ivanova is a Bulgarian-born lens-based artist who currently splits her time between Texas and Italy. Her major creative interest is the experience of memory, home, and identity in traditional and experimental formats. She uses processes and conceptual approaches through which images continue to evolve after being captured and printed, erasing the boundaries between the factual and the fictitious. As a researcher, she is interested in the museum and the archive as a metaphor for social and artistic expression. Ivanova has an MFA in Photography from the University of North Texas, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in Art Education/Visual Studies. Her photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States in solo and group exhibitions and are part of the permanent collection of Human Rights Art at South Texas College and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, among others. In 2010 she founded Third Eye Workshops, which teach photography to children from marginalized groups in Bulgaria.

Lauren Cross
September – December

Lauren Cross is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and scholar whose work has been exhibited across the country. Cross earned her BA (2006) in Art, Design, and Media from Richmond, the American International University in London, England, her MFA (2010) in Visual Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, and her Ph.D (2017) in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. Cross is a passionate advocate for diversity in the arts, founding WoCA Projects, a non profit arts organization that curates exhibitions and community arts programs that champion women artists of color. She has also written and contributed academic research on the intersections of race, gender and the arts in the fields of women’s and gender studies, visual culture studies, and multicultural studies. In 2013, Cross was among three Fort Worth artists selected for the 2013 Fort Worth Weekly Visionary Awards, and in 2015 she was listed among 100 Dallas Creatives by the Dallas Observer.

Stay tuned to see updates throughout the year about each artist project and upcoming programming. Be sure to stop by the Center for Creative Connections to interact with their creations.

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

Haute CAT-ure: National Dress Your Pet up Day

It’s the most PAWsome time of the year for DMA pets: National Dress Your Pet Up Day is on January 14. Every year our favorite pups and kitties look to the galleries for inspiration and bring to life works of art for this dog-gone fun day.


DMA Staffer: Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services
DMA Pet: Parker, English Springer Spaniel, age 4 (he belongs to my parents but I borrowed him when I was home for Christmas)
Portrait Inspiration: This year I picked Old Pilgrim because Parker is really good at giving you all-knowing and wise expressions. I borrowed my dad’s duster and hat and my mom’s purse and used talcum powder on Parker’s ears to make him look older and more distinguished. I believe Parker is very comfortable posing for this yearly event, as he loves all the attention, hugs, and treats.


DMA Staffer: Jessica Thompson, Manager of Teen Programs, and Gregory Castillo, Multimedia Producer
DMA Pet: Bastion, Cocker Spaniel, age 11 months
Portrait Inspiration: Although the DMA has wonderful portraits of spaniels in the collection, we looked for a work of art that shares one of Bastion’s best traits: his floppy ears! We made a saddle that tied onto his harness so he could carry one of his favorite toys around; however, we don’t think Bastion was very pleased with this development.


DMA Staffer: Jessie Carrillo, Manager of Adult Programming
DMA Pet: Jenny, Basset Hound, age 7
Portrait Inspiration: Whenever I see this work of art, I’m reminded of Jenny with her long nose, knobby head, and signature expression that is some combination of skepticism, poutiness, and irritation.


DMA Staffer: Dr. Anne R. Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art
DMA Pet: Miss Suzl, Maine Coon, and Miss Bounce Bounce, Abyssinian
Portrait Inspiration: Suzl is ready to pose for anything and resembles the lively cats in this painting. Bounce loves food and would be happy to raid a larder.


DMA Staffer:
Tamara Wootton Forsyth, Associate Director of Collections, Exhibitions, and Facilities Management
DMA Pet: Hamish McTavish, Shelter dog, but definitely some Schnauzer and maybe some Scottie, age 1 1/2
Portrait Inspiration: My step-daughter Katrina Forsyth chose the pumpkins for our work of art, mainly because she loves the experience of the pumpkin infinity room. But also because we love our dog. The work is aptly titled All the Eternal Love I Have for the Hamish McTavish!


DMA Staffer:
Lindsay O’Conner, Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs
DMA Pet: Hattie, Terrier Mix, age 3
Portrait Inspiration: Hattie is known for her lively personality and long, wiggly little body, making her the perfect fit to channel Fernand Léger’s playful, seemingly weightless swimmers. Always happy to be the center of attention and no fan of baths, Hattie needed no encouragement to dive into the felt water-free re-creation of The Divers (Red and Black).

[images: Pietro Bellotti, Old Pilgrim, c. 1660s–1670s, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation 1987.4; Chess piece, India, Punjab Hills, late 18th-early 19th century, gilt and polychrome ivory, intended gift of David T. Owsley, 64.1996.2; Hakuin Ekaku, Daruma, date unknown, ink on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund, 1972.1; Frans Snyders, Cats Fighting in a Larder, with Loaves of Bread, a Dressed Lamb, Artichokes and Grapes, by 1620, oil and panel, lent by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Campbell; Yayoi Kusama, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016, wood, mirror, plastic, acrylic, LED, Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore and Victoria Miro, London, pending joint acquisition of The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, © Yayoi Kusama; Fernand Léger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, 1982.29.FA, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris]

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.


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