Archive for May, 2019

What to Look for When You’re in a Museum

The Inspired City, planned by the DMA’s literary series Arts & Letters Live, connects art, people, books, and ideas in creative ways, ignites curiosity, and offers unique experiences for all ages. On June 1, hear acclaimed authors talk about their latest books, meet them personally at book signings, and experience the DMA in new ways through interactive workshops and gallery walks led by authors, activities with artists, and more! All programs are FREE.

Rob Walker, author of The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday, will host a talk and tour at the DMA during this event. In his new book, he highlights a numbers of tips for enjoying your surroundings and stimulating creative thinking at an art museum. Here are some highlights to think about at your next museum visit:

PLAY “BUY, BURN, OR STEAL”*

  • Challenge yourself to examine all the works in a particular space and decide which of the artworks you’d be willing to buy, which one you despise so much you’d like to burn it, and which one you love so much you’d steal it.

CONDUCT AN UNRELATED ACTIVITY

  • Maybe it’s worth playfully accepting the notion of a museum as mere background, an environment we inhabit incidentally, as we do other spaces. At the DMA, we suggest walking and meditating. Come up with your own suitable physical and mental health regimens.

DISCOVER THE BIG WITHIN THE SMALL

  • Look carefully and seek out the humanity and the humor and absurdity in things.
  • Always be very curious and always be looking around.
  • Find the joy in wondering about a toilet paper roll or a coffee cup lid.

MAKE IT ART

  • Grant yourself the superpower of making “art” wherever you go, and see how that changes what you perceive. Art is everywhere, if you say so.

CHANGE IS TO COULD BE

  • Try your hand at conditional thinking: prime yourself to think in conditionals instead of absolutes—see something not for what it is, but what it could be.
  • Look for an answer instead of the answer, and see how you can shift and broaden your vision.

DON’T PHOTOGRAPH—DRAW

  • Suppose the next time you’re tempted to capture a snapshot of an appealing or interesting scene, you draw it instead?
  • Many people believe that they “can’t draw,” meaning that they’re not terribly good at drawing, or find trying to draw either frustrating or embarrassing. Be heartened that you don’t need to show your drawing to anyone!
  • Get yourself a cheap little notebook and pull it out the next time you’re tempted to reach for your phone. Draw one thing—just one! Then do it again. Fill your notebook.

* “Buy, Burn, Steal” concept courtesy of Museum Hack

Adapted from Rob Walker’sThe Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everydayby Valerie Chang, McDermott Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live.

The Barrel Vault’s New Look

Haute couture heaven has arrived at the DMA, and it’s here for fashionistas to feast their eyes on throughout the summer. From the moment you enter Dior: From Paris to the World, there is no shortage of “wow” moments around every corner—luxurious vintage looks dating back to the 1940s, impeccably white toiles hanging high under a mirrored ceiling, a cathedral-like wall displaying dresses worn by iconic celebrities—all of which are made even more magnificent by the space in which they are presented.

If you’ve visited the Museum some months ago, you may remember the last presentation that was held in the Barrel Vault, An Enduring Legacy. From then to now, the space has completely transformed. See for yourself:

Installation photo of An Enduring Legacy: The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Collection of Impressionist and Modern Art
Installation photo of Dior: From Paris to the World, courtesy of James Florio

To gain some behind-the-scenes insights about the making of this exhibition, I asked Skye Malish-Olson, Exhibition Designer, and Jaclyn Le, Senior Graphic Designer, some questions about what it was like working on this show.

How does Dior compare to other DMA exhibitions you’ve worked on?
Skye: This was different from other exhibitions, where the whole team is DMA staff. In my role as designer, typically I work directly with representatives of each DMA department and with the curator to understand their vision in order to translate it to a physical exhibition presentation. In this case, designers from OMA (Office of Metropolitan Architecture) created the experience of the space in collaboration with Dior. OMA also designed the exhibition for the Denver Art Museum (DAM), the show’s previous venue, but they designed a very different experience for each institution because the architecture of the two museums is so different. One thing that was important was that visitors would move from one gallery to the next in a prescribed path, not the open-ended grid of galleries that our Barrel Vault and Quads typically provide. To create this pathway, while using the full height of the existing architecture, OMA totally changed the space with a full architectural intervention, re-imagining the physical possibilities of this gallery.

Jaclyn: I had to make sure that all environmental graphics and wayfinding were consistent throughout all locations of the exhibition. Dior is also different from other exhibitions I’ve worked on because I typically create the exhibition identity and environmental graphics for our exhibitions in collaboration with the curator and our internal team. In this case, I worked with Dior’s identity, OMA’s concept direction, and design assets from DAM, and many more stakeholders were involved in the approval of all the exhibition and interpretive graphics.

Were there any aspects of this exhibition that you worked on most?
Skye: I worked between OMA’s concept, our internal team, and external fabricators and contractors to help make this conceptual vision a physical reality. With our DMA team leading the planning process, it was a big challenge to pull this off with so many stakeholders in multiple locations. It was a truly ambitious design that required a lot of troubleshooting and multiple rounds of specifying materials.

Jaclyn: Following OMA’s concepts and some of the exhibition graphics from DAM, and working with our internal team, I was involved in all of the components of the exhibition environmental graphics and interpretation graphics. Everything from handling the Concourse mural of Christian Dior’s sketches, manipulating the façade design of Dior’s Atelier Design House to fit the arched entrance to our exhibition, and designing the headers for each gallery, the exhibition map, wayfinding, and labels and identification numbers. It took a lot of coordination between the various teams and vendors, and taking mock-ups of all the designs into the galleries to get a feel for how all the graphics would play in the space.

What was the biggest challenge in the exhibition graphic design or in transforming this space?
Skye: With all of the complex and impressive design elements, the biggest challenge actually turned out to be the lighting. Each piece needs to be properly lit from multiple angles, something that needed to be built in to the infrastructure, especially in places with high ceilings or in recessed areas.

Jaclyn: The biggest challenge was probably the Concourse mural of Christian Dior’s historic sketches. It was challenging because I was working with scans of his beautiful drawings, and I wanted to keep their organic quality when reproducing them as larger-than-life graphics. Our Concourse walls are long and angled, and I had to make sure that the layout of dresses fit nicely down the length of the Concourse.

Which is your favorite room or section of the show?
Jaclyn: I really love the Creative Director galleries. Each creative director had such a distinct vision and I enjoy seeing their inspirations, mood boards, sketches, and completed works all together and showcased in such a beautiful way.

Skye: My favorite space is the Office of Dreams. I love the simple, clean construction of the space, which mirrors the clean construction of the toiles. Seeing the handwork that designed these incredible garments in three dimensions creates such a direct connection to the artful process of their creation.

Images courtesy of James Florio

Any other hidden gems or interesting tidbits about this space?
Skye: The top 40 feet of mirror at the back of the Barrel Vault is actually a stretched mirror fabric that is incredibly lightweight.

Describe this space in three words.
Jaclyn: Innovative, magnificent, magical.
Skye: Transformed, complex, impressive.

Visitors can be dazzled by Dior: From Paris to the World at the DMA now through September 1. Timed tickets are required for all visitors and must be purchased or reserved in advance. Check out our FAQ page for more information, and we hope you enjoy the show!

Hayley Caldwell is the Copy and Content Marketing Writer at the DMA.

Go van Gogh Goes Bilingual!

For 40 years, Go van Gogh® programs have traveled to kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms throughout Dallas, bringing the DMA to students through art-making activities and interactive presentations of works from the Museum’s collection. Building on the program’s mission of expanding our outreach, and as a follow up to our recent Go van Gogh post, we are excited to preview our newest Go van Gogh offering—a program designed for bilingual classrooms!

Estampas de la Memoria is a one-hour outreach experience for Spanish-speaking elementary students. The program, which I developed with C3 Visiting Artist Karla Garcia, is facilitated in Spanish and is designed to activate students’ voices and experiences.

Students gathered during a small group discussion.

Students begin their journey with image theater activities that involve them as co-creators of content. These activities are designed to increase students’ comfort level in interpreting body language and facial expressions and preface a discussion of three retablos—artworks that serve as offerings of gratitude—from the Museum’s Latin American art collection. During the discussion, students also participate in a collaborative story-writing activity that allows them to develop their own interpretations in their language(s) of choice.

Students participating in a collaborative story-writing activity.

The final portion of the program consists of a printmaking activity designed to foster connections to students’ daily lives. The blocks student use to make their prints were created by Karla Garcia, whose own work explores concepts of memory and home as someone raised along the US-Mexico border.

Students participating in a printmaking activity designed by Karla Garcia.

Estampas de la Memoria was piloted with kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms this spring and will be offered as part of our suite of Go van Gogh programs during the 2019–2020 school year. Visit our website in August for booking information!

Si le interesa enseñar nuestro programa bilingüe, ¡considere ser un voluntario para Go van Gogh!

Bernardo Velez Rico is the Teaching Specialist for School Programs at the DMA.

“The Master of the Moment” Takes Texas: Dior and Dallas

During the first ten years of the House of Dior’s existence, Dallas played a pivotal role in the label’s expansion across the Atlantic. Dallas was the first city that Christian Dior visited in the US, when he traveled in 1947 to receive the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion (called the “Oscars of the fashion industry”).[1] Not only was Dior impressed by the city and by Neiman Marcus itself, which became from that point forward a major retailer of Dior, but he also became close friends with Stanley Marcus, the store’s then-owner. Their relationship is recorded in photographs taken by Marcus as well as in telegrams and letters now kept in the Stanley Marcus Papers at SMU. Collectively, they demonstrate the importance of Dallas to this iconic label and its founder.

Christian Dior accepting the Neiman Marcus Award from Stanley Marcus, 1947, gelatin silver print, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

Dior’s 1947 visit to Dallas, when he was recognized with the Neiman Marcus Award as “master of the moment in the ranks of French couture,” introduced him to the world of American fashion.[2] Honored alongside Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo, British fashion designer Norman Hartnell, Hollywood costume designer Irene, and actress Dolores del Rio, Dior presented his revolutionary “New Look” to the American South with three outfits specially commissioned for the exposition.[3] The trip inspired him to think of adapting his work to the less formal dressing style of American consumers.[4] A year after his Dallas trip, Dior created his Christian Dior-New York label of ready-to-wear outfits for the American lifestyle. Sold primarily through the house’s boutique in New York, the label was also sold in select stores throughout the US, including at Neiman Marcus.[5] Dior likely exhibited works from this new label when he returned a second time to Dallas in 1950 to show outfits and examples from his new line of men’s ties.[6] Dallas was the site of a major exhibition of Dior’s fashion again in 1954 when it was the only US stop in a Pan-American tour of the recent Paris line.[7]

Christian Dior handing a flower to Billie Marcus, La Colle Noire, photo by Stanley Marcus, 1954, gelatin silver print, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

During this time, Stanley Marcus and Dior continued to develop their friendship. Numerous photos in the collection show that Marcus visited Dior in France at both his Paris apartment and his country home in Grasse. Letters and telegrams back and forth show the two discussing business as well as personal events in their lives. The relationship between Dior and Stanley Marcus resulted in a large representation of Dior’s products at Neiman Marcus’s 1957 French Fortnight, a two-week-long event that honored the store’s fiftieth anniversary. The accompanying booklet highlighted the range of goods from France’s most well known brands available for purchase, as well as local events celebrating French culture. Dior was represented in a stall that reproduced the original boutique on the Avenue Montaigne, and the company launched its perfume Diorissimo there.[8] Dior was unfortunately unable to attend, and, in fact, he would die before the Fortnight ended. Nevertheless, Dior’s close relationship with Dallas was highlighted by the fact that a poster advertising the Fortnight hung for a time in Dior’s Paris boutique.[9] The next year, Yves Saint Laurent’s first US visit was also to Dallas to receive the Neiman Marcus Award, citing the trip his predecessor took 11 years before.[10] Dallas was a clear focal point of activity for Christian Dior and a city of enormous symbolic importance, and it is therefore appropriate that the man and his label are currently being celebrated at the DMA.

Stanley Marcus and Yves Saint Laurent, photo by Georgette de Bruchard, 1958, gelatin silver print, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

My thanks to Hillary Bober, archivist at the DMA, Natalie “Schatzie” Lee, research volunteer, and the librarians at SMU for their assistance in this research.

Get a closer look at more archival materials that illustrate Dior’s history with Dallas in Dior: From Paris to the World, on view through September 1. Timed tickets are required for all visitors of the exhibition, which can be purchased in advance here.

Nicholas de Godoy Lopes is the McDermott Intern for Decorative Arts and Design at the DMA.


[1] Marihelen McDuff, Neiman-Marcus Award press release (Dallas: Neiman-Marcus, 1947), 1.
[2] Tenth Annual Fashion Exposition Show invitation (Dallas, Texas: Neiman-Marcus, 1947), 2.
[3] McDuff, Neiman-Marcus Award press release, 3.
[4] Alexandra Palmer, “Global Expansions and Licenses,” in Dior: A New Look, A New Enterprise, 1947-1957 (London: V&A Publishing, 2009), 78.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Katherine Dillard, “Christian Dior Says Fashion Will Stress Feminine Curves,” The Dallas Morning News, October 17, 1950.
[7] Palmer, “Global Expansions and Licenses,” 107; “Dior’s Paris Collection to Make Only U.S. Appearance in Dallas,” The Dallas Morning News, November 7, 1954.
[8] Anne Wright to Stanley Marcus, May 1, 1957; Neiman-Marcus, Neiman-Marcus Brings France to Texas: Everything from A to Z (Dallas: Neiman-Marcus, 1957), unpaginated.
[9] Stanley Marcus to Christian Dior, October 2, 1957.
[10] “For N-M Award: Shy Young Designing Genius Plans First Trip to America,” The Dallas Morning News, August 2, 1958.

 

Gone Camping (Museum Style)

As a kid, I went to two different versions of summer camp—Girl Scout camp and music camp. One was hot and dusty, the other seemed to have been a tricky way to get me to practice my viola more! But either way, summer camp brings fond memories of making new friends, learning new things, and never being bored.

Now that I’m all grown-up, I DREAM of having a week off to go to summer camp. The next best thing? Living vicariously through the DMA’s summer camps! You too can experience the fun of DMA-style camping (or glamping) through your kids. Need something to keep your children from being bored? We have camps for:

Basically, we have camps for every kid! Each day campers get to spend time in the galleries looking at art from all around the world. Then they take their ideas and creativity (and plenty of glue and paint) and create their own masterpieces in the studio. This year campers will strut their style through the Dior exhibition, build miniature play houses, create art that’s good enough to eat, and so much more. If you’re still looking for something fun to do this summer, come spend some time at the DMA! Register for camps here.

Leah Hanson is the Director of Family, Youth, and School Programs at the DMA.

Being There: Serve as a DMA School Programs Volunteer!

If you love working with children, have a passion for art, and want to support Dallas students, we want you to join our team as a DMA School Programs volunteer! DMA docents lead tours in the Museum galleries, facilitating meaningful experiences for visitors of all ages. Go van Gogh® school outreach volunteers lead experiences in Dallas elementary classrooms that encourage students to look closely at works of art and express creativity through art-making activities. Applications to become a DMA docent or Go van Gogh volunteer for the 2019–2020 school year are now open. Click here to learn more and apply!

Curious about what it’s really like to serve as a DMA School Programs volunteer? A couple of our experienced volunteers have shared some of their reflections on the impact and rewards of their volunteer work.

Marilyn Willems, DMA Docent

Describe a typical day as a DMA docent. What does leading a program look like?
A typical day starts with a tinge of nervousness only to help build excitement and anticipation for the visitors that are coming. Camaraderie with fellow docents and sharing experiences set the day in motion. I enjoy thinking about and planning how I want to engage the visitors in hopes their “takeaway” encourages them to better understand and appreciate the art and discover how much fun they can experience at the Museum. That is what makes the time spent in training worth every minute.

Why do you like volunteering for the DMA? How has your volunteer service enriched your experience?
I feel I am being rewarded by sharing the art with visitors when my enthusiasm increases their enthusiasm for the art. 

Do you have a favorite memory from your time as a DMA docent?
I am amazed by the insightful thoughts expressed by our young visitors. Those are my most rewarding experiences. Being a docent has become a very important part of my life.

What would you tell someone who’s interested in serving as a docent volunteer?
If you have a passion for lifelong learning, get joy from being with a group who share this passion, and enjoy sharing it with others, you will be rewarded and feel you are making a valuable contribution.

Terei Khoury, Go van Gogh (GvG) Volunteer

Why do you like volunteering for the DMA? How has your volunteer service enriched your experience?
Not only are the GvG training programs and access to the staff instructive and enriching, but the programs make a visible impact in each classroom and venue we visit.  You can see and sense the enthusiasm as we introduce each program, and the hands-on experience is always a special plus as the students express themselves. I’m SO proud to say that over my four years in the program, I’ve touched the lives of at least 2,500 children and had the opportunity to tie STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) together for them all!

Do you have a favorite memory from your time as a GvG volunteer?There’s just no question that our impact with the Color My World program is TREMENDOUS! When we work with special needs children, see the expressions on their faces, hold their hands as they play with clay, paint, and tools, and see their eyes light up with delight and pride as they experience their own artwork—there is no better feeling on earth knowing you’re making such a difference in the world!

What would you tell someone who’s interested in serving as a GvG volunteer?
GvG provides an outlet for one of the most meaningful interactions a volunteer in the arts can have. You touch so many minds and hearts with the generosity of BEING THERE. You aid the teachers and administrators by BEING THERE. You create enthusiasm and energy by BEING THERE. You make a difference by BEING THERE.

 


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