Archive for June, 2018

A Caribbean-Style Blast from the Past

Whenever I peruse the DMA’s photography collections in the archives, I find something unique in history that catches my eye. Sprinkle a bit of research on top, and voilà . . . I’ve uncovered something for Uncrated!

This time my interest was sparked when I saw this photo of a palm tree in the galleries. And my curiosity grew when I spied a Carmen Miranda-esque basket of fruit and oversize seashells next to it.

Gulf Caribbean International Art Exhibition, June 3–July 13, 1956
Southern Methodist University, Hamon Arts Library, Bywaters Special Collections Gift of Dr. Richard Bywaters and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters Cochran

The palm tree, and the other Caribbean-type accoutrements, added to the atmosphere of the DMFA’s installation of the Gulf Caribbean International Art Exhibition in 1956. The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to celebrate the work of contemporary artists living in the areas surrounding the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea: Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Surinam, Trinidad, Venezuela, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The exhibition was large, with over 160 works, including paintings, sculpture, and ceramics.

Gulf Caribbean International Art Exhibition, June 3–July 13, 1956
Southern Methodist University, Hamon Arts Library, Bywaters Special Collections Gift of Dr. Richard Bywaters and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters Cochran

It was also sponsored by Brown & Root, Inc., a heavy engineering and construction company, which allowed for ten purchase prizes for MFA Houston. Prizes were awarded to six foreign and four American artists. The three top $1,000 prizes went to Alejandro Obregon of Colombia; Cundo Bermudez of Havana, Cuba; and Seymour Fogel of Austin, Texas (“Foreigners Take Over Art Prizes,” Dallas Morning News, April 5, 1956).

Gulf Caribbean International Art Exhibition, June 3–July 13, 1956
Southern Methodist University, Hamon Arts Library, Bywaters Special Collections Gift of Dr. Richard Bywaters and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters Cochran

The DMFA installation of the exhibition, which traveled to four other venues after it closed in Dallas, was considered to be “as invigorating a treat that has come our way in many seasons. There is creative taste in its selection (and creative display)” (“Collection Has Talent to Spare,” Dallas Morning News, June 3, 1956). The author of the article continues the compliment: “the uniformly high level of quality in the paintings [is] matched for a change in the sculpture and ceramic entries with favorites hard to come by.” The exhibition would be remembered and noted as one of the most important exhibitions of 1956 in both Seventy-five Years of Art in Dallas (1978) by Jerry Bywaters and Now / Then / Again: Contemporary Art in Dallas 1949-1989 (1989) by Richard R. Brettell.

Gulf Caribbean International Art Exhibition, June 3–July 13, 1956
Southern Methodist University, Hamon Arts Library, Bywaters Special Collections Gift of Dr. Richard Bywaters and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters Cochran

I hope you have found this 1956 visit to the Gulf and Caribbean eye-catching and interesting as well.

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the DMA. 

 

 

Foxes and Fireflies: An Interview with Mel Remmers

When we found local artist Mel Remmers’s Instagram account, we were drawn to her distinct artistic style. With her wide-eyed, emotionally captivating portraiture, witty captions, and some sneak peek shots sprinkled into the mix, she reveals her work and process to her growing following in an engaging and down-to-earth way. Because we noticed elements of fashion, whimsicality, nature, and experimentation with textures and colors in her work, we were eager to invite her to a viewing of our Laura Owens exhibition. Inspired by Owens’s works, the paintings Remmers created welcome you into a fantasy world of their own.

 

Photo Credit: Stevie Hudspeth

Check out our interview with Remmers about her process:

Tell us about yourself as an artist.
In February 2015, I bought a child’s paint set from a grocery store. Seeking to find a creative therapy after battling cancer and needing emotional repair, I posted my first attempt at painting on Instagram and I was shocked and excited by such a positive response. I was hooked! This started Instagram becoming part of the creative process. As my following grew fast, I sold my first painting after four weeks, and as of November 2017 my 400th sold.

My paintings started out as fashion-inspired female figures, and in time I added motion to them. Now I paint portraiture that provokes a mood with either dark shadows or the expressions in the eyes. I am also fascinated by light and have focused periods with black-and-white paintings as well as ink. The majority of my paintings consist of multiple mediums and tools such as gold foil and others as I have discovered them. Hand-painted wallpaper with a nature-inspired theme has become my most requested commission and my new obsession.

What was your first impression of the Laura Owens exhibition?
As I walked into the exhibit, my eyes drew on the immense scale, the bold and playful works. Then as I moved closer I was lost in the details of unexpected elements, heavily sculpted paint textures, and her no-fear use of PINK.

What did you find most inspiring about this exhibition?
Most notably, the grand scale of her work. I have a strong desire to “Go Big”—paint on walls or just use a larger canvas than usual. This connection brought that buzz to continue on that path.

Another inspiring spark was the variance of her work. The abstract collages flowing to whimsical childlike characters of animals was a delightful scene.

I was also thrilled to see her unexpected three-dimensional elements and use of materials like felt, and her beehive painting where it looked like bees were buzzing above the canvas.

What was the painting process for your pieces like?
As I walked away from the exhibit, reflecting and imagining this collaboration, I knew to go with my gut response. Fireflies were my first whisper, and I wanted to play off the forest scene where you find animals peeping throughout the painting.

Since I usually do not plan or sketch, I started with the trees and then water emerged. All of this is evolving while I am filming to Instagram, and my specific music choices have come to set the mood of where I am in the process.

RemmersDMACollection Reflections-1

I am a fast painter so I wanted to be patient and take my time. That equaled four days of nine hours at a time, and that also included a second painting that I felt told more of the story. The water, with its intense color and light reflection of the first painting, became the continuation of the story in the second painting and introduced a new character, the glitter fox.

These paintings are made with acrylics, some oils, chalk, pastel, and ink, and the fireflies are made of tiny crystals and glitter glue.

MelRemmers ForestFinal 1

Remmers GlitterFox1

What elements or themes from Laura Owens’s work did you incorporate into your pieces?
My collaborative theme became nature. I wanted to bring a sense of belonging. I usually focus on a feminine theme, and now she became a living part of it. Her dress inspiration was taken from a large impasto glob from one of Laura’s abstracts that I found crazy good. So her dress looks like a dripping, thick waterfall floating into the water.

Do you have any other takeaways from this experience?
My takeaway is LIMITLESS. In a world where the trending word is “brand,” Laura Owens does not have a limit to her visions or exclusivity. She goes from sky high drawings of cats to a wild abstract collage. Laura’s work has calmed my doubts of risk taking, opened a larger vision, and given my creations a wider world to live in and explore. And, glitter glue IS a medium.

Hayley Caldwell is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

Dallas Pride

Last Friday we hosted our first Pride Late Night in celebration of National Pride Month. We want to thank all of the visitors—there were more than 5,500 of you!—who came to the event and showed their Dallas Pride. It was a fun night and we loved seeing the support for the DFW LGBTQ community.

Here are some photos from Late Night and the Summer Block Party in the Dallas Arts District.

Stacey Lizotte is the DMA League Director of Adult Programs at the DMA.

Visions of Home: An Interview with Artist Ellie Ivanova

This summer, the Center for Creative Connections (C3) is thrilled to have C3 Visiting Artist Ellie Ivanova here to design interactive in-gallery activities in which visitors contribute their visions of home. These perspectives then become part of a larger print created independently by the artist at her studio before finally being installed back in C3. Get to know more about Ellie and her project below, and stop by the Center for Creative Connections to contribute your own drawing to the project.

Ellie portrait

Tell us about yourself.
I am an artist who uses photography, but goes beyond the print. I have lived in several countries (Bulgaria, Latin America, the United States, and Italy) and am grateful for all the people I have met in all the places where I have lived who have shaped my experience.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
As a researcher pursuing a PhD in Art Education, my special interest is in public pedagogy, which is everything we learn from each other in informal ways outside of a classroom environment and everything we do when sharing experiences through art. Having changed homes myself many times, and living in between two homes right now, I found an affinity with people who are longing for a lost home or dreaming for one. I wanted to see what would happen when all our different ideas of home come together, and what better place to experiment with this than Dallas Museum of Art!

Tell us about the installation you’ve created in the Center for Creative Connections.
It is a participatory print, in which many different small drawings of homes—lost, dreamt, and found—are contributed by visitors on squares of transparency. Using these as photographic negatives, I put together these drawings to print a “neighborhood” of the collected homes on photo-sensitized fabric. I’m using the cyanotype process, an old photo process that has been used through the decades for scientific and architectural imaging along with creative art making. Even though a home is something personal, a place that separates us from the rest of the world, with this project we see how different or similar our ideas of home look like when they are brought together.

 

 

Ellie c3 project

C3 Visiting Artist Project Space

Do you have any favorite visitor contributions you’d like to share?
The simplest drawings have been most delightful! Of course, I enjoy the elaborate, detailed homes done by other artists or others who are invested in the process. But when we have to draw simply, the bare bones of thought show through. I enjoy seeing how our basic image of what a home is can translate into being something so creative.

fabric closeup
Kerry Butcher is the Center for Creative Connections Education Coordinator at the DMA.

An Enduring Legacy

DMA staff celebrated a true Dallas icon on Monday: Margaret Milam McDermott. Not only did she support the DMA throughout her life, but upon her recent passing, her renowned collection of Impressionist and modern art was given to The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund to benefit the Museum. These works will be on view in the special exhibition An Enduring Legacy: The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Collection of Impressionist and Modern Art. Though in true Margaret McDermott fashion, she added a special stipulation: prior to the public opening, DMA staff would be given a special time to enjoy her pictures—along with an abundant breakfast buffet, of course. That was just the type of person she was.

As her memorials attest, she touched many lives here in Dallas, not least of which included Museum staff. Russell Sublette, Senior Preparator, fondly recalls countless lunches in her Dallas home, where she would entertain guests from all walks of life. During one memorable meal in 2009, Mrs. McDermott discussed an upcoming trip to Gettysburg, a site she had not yet been able to visit. Surprised that her travels had not taken her there, Russell mentioned that he knew the Gettysburg Address. Mrs. McDermott asked him to recite it, and by the end, had tears streaming down her face. They shared a love of the written and spoken word, so Russell was always happy to repay her deep kindness with the gift of words. “Margaret built a nest in the clouds and she allowed us to visit. That was a great privilege,” he says.

Russell Sublette views his favorite artwork from the McDermott Collection: Poplars, Pink Effect by Claude Monet.

Madeleine Fitzgerald, Education Coordinator for Audience Relations and former McDermott Intern, looks back on her lunch with Mrs. McDermott with a smile as well: “She welcomed all the interns into her home and treated each one of us as if we were her own family, sharing stories of her life and experiences that I will always treasure.”

“Margaret was generous with a lot of zeros, generous with a few zeros, but most of all, generous with her spirit,” says Martha MacLeod, Senior Curatorial Administrator for the Curatorial Department. Her boundless generosity will truly be her lasting legacy—at the Museum and across Dallas.

An Enduring Legacy: The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Collection of Impressionist and Modern Art will be free for the public to enjoy from June 14, 2018, through February 17, 2019.

Sarah Coffey is the Education Coordinator for Internships and a former McDermott Intern at the DMA.

Holding Up a Mirror to Texas Icons

If you’ve visited the DMA lately, you likely noticed the large red mural created by Minerva Cuevas in our Concourse. For those unfamiliar with Cuevas’s art, she is known for her conceptual multi-media installations, and the way her images, language, found objects, and sculpture work together to create political critiques. Some of her projects reformat the visual language of advertisements, using it to harness advertising’s power to affect cultural narratives. For example, see Cuevas’s morbid reimagining of the Del Monte logo. What makes her work so interesting and accessible is the way it explores the relationships among socioeconomic systems, indigenous identity, and the environment with a sense of dark humor. Sometimes, as we see in Fine Lands, her work is downright playful.

Fine Lands, on view at the DMA through September 2, transforms the Museum’s central Concourse into a dystopian Texas landscape, rendered in a powerful comic-book style. Familiar silhouettes of oil wells become menacing, insectlike forms, while crude oil spewing from a derrick morphs into a cloud of bats filling the sky.

Minerva_Cuerva_Installation_07_o3

Alongside cacti and desert scrub, a tortoise’s shell is reimagined as a backpack, a reference to the northward journeys of migrants. A tough, muscled armadillo and wide-eyed prairie dogs wear bulletproof vests. It’s easy to imagine these critters as comic book characters with individual personalities.

Minerva_Cuerva_Installation_06_o2

Meanwhile, enormous ants represent industrial and agricultural labor. Echoes of the Texas State Fair’s midway evoke the quintessential cultural icons of Dallas. Framing the mural at one end of the Concourse are the words “LAND LIBERTY LIFE,” a message that is equally evocative of the American dream and of indigenous struggles for autonomy and food sovereignty.

Minerva_Cuerva_Installation_05_o3

 

Minerva_Cuevas_Press_Preview_3.jpg

Fine Lands Press Preview, May 11, 2018

This imagery and its layers of associations allow us to imagine unfolding narratives, or to insert our own memories of the Texas landscape. Although the mural clearly references hot-button issues such as pollution, migrant labor, and the power of the fossil fuel industry, there is no single overarching message. Rather, Cuevas holds a mirror up to Texas culture, reflecting it back to us with the added insights that creative metaphor brings. For example, she treats oil in several ways: as a natural resource, as an element of our economy (for better or worse), and as a visually fascinating substance that oozes and seeps across the landscape. More than a simple warning about the dangers of oil as a pollutant, this imagery evokes the role of fossil fuels as the bedrock of Texas industry and an important component of our deep-rooted sense of independence.

Through its examination and reframing of common cultural stereotypes surrounding our state, Fine Lands offers a new way of seeing and understanding subjects such as immigration, the politics surrounding natural resources, and ideas about Texan identity. The presence of bright white crosshairs distributed throughout the mural lends an undertone of menace. The sight of these crosshairs hovering on the wall just ahead implies an immediate threat, lurking right behind us. How we understand that implied threat, and the extent to which we participate in Cuevas’s reflection on the Texas landscape, is up to each of us.

Chloë Courtney is a Digital Collections Content Coordinator at the DMA.

PRIDE

To celebrate National Pride Month, our Late Night on Friday, June 15, will feature a variety of groups and performers from the DFW LGBTQ community. This Late Night is also part of the annual Summer Block Party, and the Dallas Arts District is joining the celebration of Pride month with outdoor festivities.

We knew we wanted to involve local community members in the planning of the event, so we asked representatives from DFW LGBTQ groups to help us brainstorm program ideas. Our team was excited and energized by their enthusiasm and support of the event, and after several months of planning we put together this full schedule of events.

We are welcoming back performers from The Rose Room (who were last here in 2012) as well as featuring new performers and groups, including Chris Chism, Flexible Grey Theatre, and Verdigris Ensemble. We also wanted to make sure we featured some of Dallas’s LGBTQ history, so Robert Emery and cast members from Uptown Players will perform stories collected from the LGBTQ community. Following that, there will be a talk looking at the overall history of LGBTQ art in America with art historian Tara Burk. And, for the first time, there will be a Kiki Ball at the DMA!

Throughout the night, DMA staff will also highlight the following LGBTQ artists in our collection:

Anton Prinner

Anton Prinner, Large Column, 1933, wood and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., 1996.148.McD

Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly, Untitled, 1982–83, stainless steel, Dallas Museum of Art, commission made possible through funds donated by Michael J. Collins and matching grants from The 500, Inc., and the 1982 Tiffany & Company benefit opening, 1983.56

Anne Whitney

Anne Whitney, Lady Godiva, c. 1861–64, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. Alessandra Comini in memory of Dr. Eleanor Tufts, who discovered the Massachusetts-backyard whereabouts of this long-forgotten statue and brought it to Dallas, 2011.8

Félix Gonzáles-Torres

Félix González-Torres, Untitled (Perfect Lovers), 1987–90, wall clocks, Dallas Museum of Art, fractional gift of The Rachofsky Collection, © The Félix González-Torres Foundation, courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, 2001.342.a–b

Marsden Hartley

Marsden Hartley, Mountains, no. 19, 1930, oil on board, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., 2008.24.McD

With all that’s in store, we hope you join the summer crowds and don’t miss out on a fun-filled night in downtown Dallas!

We would like to thank the following community groups for their help in planning the Pride Late Night:

Abounding Prosperity
Arttitude
Cathedral of Hope
City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs
Coalition for Aging LGBT 
The Dallas Arts District 
Dallas Voice 
Downtown Dallas Inc.
Flexible Grey Theatre
GALA, Gay and Lesbian Alliance of North Texas
LULAC Rainbow Council
OnBrand Productions
The Resource Center
The Rose Room
Turtle Creek Chorale 
Uptown Players 
Verdigris Ensemble


Stacey Lizotte is the DMA League Director of Adult Programs at the DMA.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,486 other followers

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

Categories