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30 Minute Dash – Jessica Fuentes

Many visitors, especially those coming with families, often start their visit to the DMA in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), a great starting point because it is located on the first floor, in the heart of the museum, and displays works of art from across the Museum’s diverse collection. However, after starting in C3, visitors tend to ask, “What else should we see while we’re here?” Of course, there could be a multitude of answers to that question, but I think I’ve laid out a nice action plan, using one of my favorite artworks currently on view in C3 as a starting point.

2008_43_2_a_e, 11/18/08, 12:33 PM, 8C, 6000x8000 (0+0), 100%, Custom, 1/15 s, R92.9, G57.6, B60.4

In the main C3 Gallery, notice the similarities between The Minotaur by Marcel Dzama and Ram Mask with Feather Cape created by the Kom people of Cameroon. They both depict features of two beings, The Minotaur with the head of a bull and the body of a human, and Ram Mask with Feather Cape with a stylized mask representative of a ram and a cape made of chicken feathers. Taking this idea as a starting point for works to see throughout the Museum, exit C3 and turn right down the main concourse. Headdown the concourse and take the Red Elevator up to the 4th Floor. Upon exiting, turn left and walk through the Native American Art gallery, taking a left into American Art. Then stay to the right and walk to the back corner where the American Silver Gallery is located. In a small case in the center of this gallery you will encounter the beautifully intricate silver Vase (for the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York.

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Notice the serpentine handles culminating in bird heads and the etched patterns of scrolls and masks. Next, continue to walk around and through the American Gallery and take the small staircase that leads to the African Gallery. At the bottom of the staircase, walk to the far end of the gallery and take a right to find the Helmet mask (kifwebe) and costume.

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Kifwebe masks are “composite beings,” compiled of human and animal elements. The striated designs on them derive from the markings and patterns of wild or dangerous animals such as antelopes, zebras, and okapi. The central crest may represent that of an ape or rooster. When you view this work of art in the galleries, it is accompanied by a short video which shows the mask in use, truly bringing it to life. Finally, continue through the African Gallery and take a left into the Egyptian section. To your immediate left you will find a collection of small works including a slate remnants depicting Thoth, God of Learning and Patron of Scribes a human figure with the head of an ibis.
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Visit all of these works, for free, during your Thanksgiving break.

Jessica Fuentes is The Center for Creative Connections Gallery Manager at the DMA

 

images: Marcel Dzama, The Minotaur, 2008, plaster, gauze, rope, fabric, chair, bucket, and paintbrushes, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund © Marcel Dzama 2008.43.2.A-E; Helmet mask with feather costume, Kom peoples, Cameroon, Africa, Early to mid-20th century, wood, fibers, and feathers, Dallas Museum of Art, African Collection Fund 2011.18.A-B; George Paulding Farnham, Tiffany and Company, Vase (for the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York), 1901, silver, enamel, citrines, and garnets, Dallas Museum of Art, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund 2009.40; Helmet mask (kifwebe) and costume, Songye or Luba peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa, late 19th to early 20th century, wood, paint, fiber, cane, and gut, Dallas Museum of Art, The Gustave and Franyo Schindler Collection of African Sculpture, gift of the McDermott Foundation in honor of Eugene McDermott 1974.SC.42; Thoth, God of Learning and Patron of Scribes, Late Period, 663-525 B.C., Egypt, Africa, slate, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elsa von Seggern 1979.1

Artist Interview: Timothy Harding

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Last month, our first C3 Visiting Artist of 2018, Timothy Harding, began his participatory installation in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). We’ve enjoyed watching the project grow as Harding adds new contributions to the installation biweekly. Learn more about the artist, his process, and his experiences at the DMA.

Tell us about yourself. (In 50 words or less)
I’m an artist based in Fort Worth, a die-hard Dallas Stars fan, and proud owner of a cat named Clyde. When not cheering on my team, I work in my studio and teach at Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?
Recently my practice has been confined to the studio with no outside collaboration. I was interested in coming up with a project that would allow me to collaborate with others and open the opportunity to explore methods that I have not previously used. This is the first project I’ve done that is almost entirely digital in execution and produced with people who I never directly interact with. I’m excited to see how this might impact my practice moving forward.

 

Tell us about the installation you’ve created in the Center for Creative Connections.
The installation is a site-specific line drawing made up of hundreds of individual marks. This ongoing work is produced from scribbles and gestures left by Museum visitors on an iPad. Visitors leave their mark in a program and send it to me over the creative cloud. From there I make a couple of slight alterations to the file and cut them out via laser cutter in varieties of gray, black, and white paper. After cutting, I visit the Museum and add to the installation. The marks are layered in a manner that allows each to be noticeable while working together to produce an intricate whole.

 

Do you have any favorite visitor contributions you’d like to share?
I can’t say I have any specific favorite marks that have been sent yet. What I have found most interesting about this project is the number of unique marks I receive on a daily basis. Earlier projects have used my own scribbles, which are very familiar to me. It’s refreshing to find new marks and think about the decision making of that viewer without knowing who they are or anything about them.

What have you enjoyed most about this experience so far?
I’ve enjoyed interacting with Museum-goers. I had the opportunity to give a presentation to an engaged group of people about my work and this project. That was a very rewarding experience. Other interactions have been more casual and occur during installation. People of various ages, from children to adults, seem curious about the project and what is happening. It has been fun to have casual conversations with them and solicit their contributions.

C3 Visiting Artist Timothy Harding will lead a Teen Tour and a Teen Homeschool Workshop in April. Learn more about upcoming Teen Programs here.

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

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

Artist Interview: Lisa Huffaker

This summer the Center for Creative Connections invited C3 Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker to design an in-gallery activity inspired by a work of art on view in C3. Meet Lisa here and learn more about her musically engaging activities designed for visitors of all ages.

Tell us about yourself. (In 50 words or less)
I am a classical singer by training, but have always created visual art and poetry as well. My latest project is White Rock Zine Machine, which offers tiny handmade books of art and writing through re-purposed vending machines. I am interested in the community we form through creative work.

What motivated you to apply to the C3 Visiting Artist Project?

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

While visiting the Museum, I saw Nam June Paik’s Music Box Based on a Piano Piece Composed in Tokyo in 1954. It’s an old television transformed to show a video of a music box, and it reminded me of my vending machines, which are also “communication boxes” with knobs, whimsically reinvented to give us new content. I loved the idea of exploring the relationship between these two objects, within the interactive space of the C3 Gallery, and inviting visitors to interact with and even contribute to the project.  I’m so grateful to the DMA for embracing my crazy vision!

Tell us about the process of creating your zine machine.

I found a retired baseball card vending machine on Craigslist, and transformed it.  I sanded it down to bare metal,  then used old player piano rolls as stencils to paint a pattern on the sides. I cut a hole in the front panel and covered it with glass, so we could see the zines inside. I attached Victorian-era music box disks to the machine,  including a sort of halo at the top. Then I added other objects — carved wood pieces, various metal oddities, a kalimba, gears and springs taken out of broken alarm clocks, and eight music box mechanisms, including one that plays original music composed by punching holes in a strip of paper.

What did you enjoy most about this experience?
While creating the zine machine, I really enjoyed the contradiction between noisy power tools and delicate, beautiful mechanisms! But most of all I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore certain ideas — the overlap of music, memory, and machine — and invite others to interact with the project. It has been fascinating to see the drawings and writings created by visitors in response to the music I chose for the listening station in my installation.

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Visit the Center for Creative Connections through September to contribute drawings to Huffaker’s zines and to receive a zine from the machine.

Join C3 Visiting Artist Lisa Huffaker as she hosts a series of programs in September:

Tuesday, September 5, First Tuesday: Music with Ms. Lisa; 11:30 a.m. – Noon
Friday, September 15, Late Night Tour; 6:30 p.m.
Friday, September 15, Late Night Performance with Piano; 9:00 p.m.
Friday, September 22, Teen Homeschool; 1:00-4:00 p.m.

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

See What’s New in C3!

Stop by the Center for Creative Connections (C3) this summer to see the newly installed exhibition, Art of Communication. Bringing together works from the Museum’s decorative arts and design, American, contemporary, European, and Latin America art collections, this exhibition explores some of the ways visual art serves as a tool for communication. Explore objects arranged in three categories: Communication Through Portraiture, Communication Through Design, and Communication Through Narrative. Each section has a corresponding activity so you can take a moment to draw, create, or write inspired by the works of art on display. Here’s a peek at some of the works of art on view and visitor creations:

Communication Through Portraiture

Sit at the drawing horses and sketch the portraits on view, take a seat at the table and try your hand at drawing a self-portrait or a portrait of a friend, or take turns being the artist in the Photo Studio and pose a friend for a photo portrait.

Communication Through Design

Get inspired by these works of art designed for communication and create your own communication device. Fill out a label and display your device on the shelves at the C3 Art Spot.

Communication Through Narrative

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A Texas Dozen is a photographic portfolio by photographer, filmmaker, and journalist Geoff Winningham. From Dallas to Houston, Winningham captured the life and regional rituals of Texans in the early 1970s. These photographs tell a multitude of stories from events across the Lone Star State. Choose one photograph that catches your eye and write a story inspired by the characters and scene.

Remember, the Center for Creative Connections is open anytime the DMA is open and is always free! Stop in, enjoy the art, and get creative. All ages welcome!

Images: Eugene Speicher, The Farmer, c. 1923, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase; Debbie Fleming Caffery, Looking at Me (Polly), 1984, elatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Jackson, Walker, Winstead, Cantwell & Miller Fund 1998.186;Everett Spruce, Twins, 1939–1940, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dealey Prize, Eleventh Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1940 1940.21; 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; “Ericofon” pattern telephone, Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson, designed 1949–1954, plastic, metal, molded, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund 1995.118; “Bluebird” radio (Model 566), Designer: Walter Dorwin Teague, c. 1934, glass, chrome-plated metal, fabric, and painted wood, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Sonny Burt, Dallas 2014.60.4; Geoff Winningham, The Cronin Gallery, Tag Team Action, Wrestling, negative 1971, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank 1981.36.1; Geoff Winningham, The Cronin Gallery, Lamé Pants, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, negative 1972, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank 1981.36.13

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

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

Finding Yourself at the DMA

As an art museum educator, I live for the tales of visitors who have had meaningful, inspirational, life-changing experiences in museums—perhaps because it was exactly this kind of personal experience that propelled me down the career path I’ve taken. Working in the Center for Creative Connections (C3), a participatory educational space for visitors of all ages, I have the privilege of hearing these kinds of statements often; however, a few months back I was surprised to hear from a visitor who literally found herself in a photograph by Geoff Winningham currently on view in the C3.

Geoff Winningham (artist), The Cronin Gallery (publisher), U.T. Cheerleaders, negative 1972, print 1976, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Prestonwood National Bank 1981.36.6

During a Late Night event, Laura was walking through C3 with her husband when they both stopped dead in their tracks as they walked by the photograph. “I think that’s you,” her husband stated. “I know it’s me!” Laura exclaimed.

I had so many questions for her. What was it like seeing yourself in a work of art in a museum? Did you know this photograph existed or that you were being photographed at the time? Can you recall the other cheerleaders in the photograph? Luckily, Laura was happy to meet up to discuss her experience.

As you might imagine, Laura was quite surprised to see a photo of her college-age self in the Museum. As a University of Texas cheerleader, she was aware they were photographed in action from time to time—once her image ended up as part of the opening montage of ABC’s Wide World of Sports for a full year—but she never imagined she would make it into a work of art in the DMA’s collection. Laura is uniquely well versed in the DMA collection, but until recently she had never seen this photograph before. Not only is Laura a DMA Member, but she was also part of the PM Docent class for five years, starting with the charter class under the leadership of Gail Davitt.

Both the University of Texas and the Dallas Museum of Art have loomed large in Laura’s life, but she never imagined that the two worlds would collide. In fact, UT Cheer isn’t just a distant memory as Laura regularly attends the Cheer Reunions and keeps in touch with fellow cheerleaders, including some of those captured alongside her in Winningham’s photograph. In the image below, the woman on the far right is the same woman on the far left of the UT Cheerleaders photograph by Winningham.

Now that Laura knows of the existence of this photograph, she comes back to visit it from time to time. She was also keen to meet the photographer, Geoff Winningham, and looked him up immediately to learn more about him and his work. Fortunately, Winningham was at the DMA in April to lead a Gallery Talk about the series this photograph is part of—A Texas Dozen.

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

Flat Stanley’s Latest Adventure

Flat Stanley is no stranger to the Dallas Museum of Art. In fact, he has visited a few times over the years, and each time he gets to experience a new adventure. We were happy to welcome him back this year to help him explore the DMA and beyond!

This year, Flat Stanley came on a mission! He wanted to see the collection, but specifically he was hoping to see some artwork with dolphins. Unfortunately there weren’t dolphins to be found in the works of art currently on view, but he took a tour around the Museum and found some wonderful water related works of art.

Flat Stanley’s next adventure was a trip with Go van Gogh, a program that brings the DMA to Kindergarten through 6th grade students in schools throughout DFW free of charge.

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Next on Stanley’s agenda was a quick stop at our neighbor’s the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Mostly hoping to spot a dinosaur, Flat Stanley was thrilled to also find a dolphin!

After spending some time in and around Dallas, Flat Stanley caught the travel bug and decided to hop some flights with DMA educators to explore a few cities. First on his itinerary was a quick trip to Washington D.C., where Flat Stanley spent some time at the National Mall. He got to see both the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial!

Next, Flat Stanley caught a flight to the Big Apple! Of course he had to take the subway system to navigate this new city, so he snapped a photo at the 42nd Street station. He enjoyed visiting some museums, but Flat Stanley’s favorite stop was experiencing the sights and sounds of Times Square.

After the rush of New York, Flat Stanley couldn’t just come back to Texas. So instead he made his way across the pond to London! This required a bit of a costume change–luckily, he was able to find a foot guard uniform just his size for the journey. All suited up, he got to visit Buckingham Palace, where the flag was raised indicating that the Queen was on the premises. While in the area, he also stopped by the Queen Victoria Memorial and the Wellington Arch.

After all that traveling, Flat Stanley was happy to get some rest and return to Dallas and the DMA. He took one last tour around to see the new México: 1900-1950 exhibition before heading home.

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

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