Archive for the 'Guest Blog Post' Category



What Hopper Saw

The opening of the much-anticipated exhibition Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process is just around the corner. Organized by Curator of Drawings Carter E. Foster of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the show had a very successful run there before coming to Dallas. Shortly before the show’s opening here, we were fortunate to sit down with Carter for a quick Q&A to learn a bit more about the exhibition.

Edward Hopper, Self-Portrait, 1945, fabricated chalk and charcoal on paper, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.287, © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.

Edward Hopper, Self-Portrait, 1945, fabricated chalk and charcoal on paper, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.287, © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.

In what regard did Hopper hold his drawings? Simply as a means to an end? Or more?
Hopper actually tended to belittle his drawings when asked about them. During his lifetime, he somewhat reluctantly shared them with others when they inquired about his drawings. He most definitely considered himself first and foremost a painter, and his drawings were the means through which he worked out his ideas for paintings. But he also seems to have done them for his own private satisfaction, as many artists do, as a way to keep his hand and eye honed.

 Study for New York Movie, 1938 or 1939, fabricated chalk on paper, Whitney Museum of American Art. Image courtesy of gwen-photoblog.blogspot.com

Study for New York Movie, 1938 or 1939, fabricated chalk on paper, Whitney Museum of American Art. Image courtesy of gwen-photoblog.blogspot.com

 

Do you have a favorite drawing,or suite of drawings that have a particular appeal? And, why?
There are many, but I especially love the close-up bust-length study for New York Movie, in which Hopper features just the slightest winsome half-smile on the face of the usherette (in this case, his wife, Jo, who posed for him). The technique of this drawing is just amazing, with a variety of textures and great subtlety in the play of light across her face.

Did you have any preconceived notions that were overturned by what you learned during your research?
No. When I do research I try to let the material lead the way. Research is about asking the right questions, rather than having pre-formed ideas.

How did you discover some of New York’s buildings in Hopper’s drawings?
Mainly by looking at the incredible collection of photographs from the 1930s commissioned by the Local History division of the New York Public Library. They are all online and searchable by street location. Very useful! Also, the collection of “Subway construction photographs” at the New York Historical Society was an important source of images of a vanished New York City.

How did your idea for this exhibition develop?
Since I’m curator of drawings, and half of our drawing collection is works by Edward Hopper, it made perfect sense to propose an exhibition. I was lucky to be able to delve in so deeply.

Edward Hopper, Study for Nighthawks, 1942, fabricated chalk and charcoal on paper, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase and gift of Josephine N. Hopper by exchange 2011.65, © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.

Edward Hopper, Study for Nighthawks, 1942, fabricated chalk and charcoal on paper, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase and gift of Josephine N. Hopper by exchange 2011.65, © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art, N.Y.

What new discoveries about Hopper’s drawing process did you make in the course of working on this exhibition?
The heart of this exhibition is examining what Hopper saw, what he drew, and what he painted in order to understand better his artistic process. I think the research, in particular on Nighthawks and New York Movie, helped us elucidate more clearly than ever before the way Hopper tweaked and tinkered with reality to get to his uncanny, often strange, and ultimately universal imagery of the human condition and the self in the world.

Martha MacLeod is the curatorial administrative assistant for the European and American Art Department at the DMA.

Permanent Waves and Lipstick Craves

When my husband, Bryan, unexpectedly told me that he had redeemed the Art Beauty Shoppe reward from the DMA Friends program, I could hardly contain my “blow-your-wig” (check out other 1930s lingo) excitement. Bryan and I are in love with the DMA. We are both researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and its close proximity to the Museum allows us to easily enjoy lunch breaks and late night events in one of our favorite places. I was particularly surprised that he had used his points because we were trying to redeem a voucher for the coveted Overnight at the DMA, which takes 100,000 points. (I was actually able to redeem it for us—see you there on November 1!).

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Lacey (second from right); her husband, Bryan; her friends; and Pouf stylists

With the Art Beauty Shoppe reward, three of my friends and I were able to have our hair and makeup done in 1930s style and then have photos taken in front of the DMA’s 1934 painting Art Beauty Shoppe by Isaac Soyer. Pouf Blow Dry Salon accommodated the four of us just as if we were the four customers in the painting.

I was elated to get to share my love of the DMA with some of my friends in such a “swell” way. So I gave my friends, Amanda, Stephanie, and Katrina, a “dil-ya-ble” and we hit the Internet and antique malls to find the perfect vintage-style dresses to wear for the occasion.

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Bryan had the idea of adding props to make us look as if we were actually sitting in the salon, waiting for our appointment. He found a spring 1934 edition of Women’s Home Companion for us to peruse. I could “bump gums” for hours on that magazine alone, but I digress.

Lacey with her vintage copy of Women's Home Companion

Lacey with her vintage copy of Women’s Home Companion

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Amanda was able to find a 1930s cigarette holder, Stephanie brought tons of “snazzy” 1930s-era costume jewelry, and, with the addition of my red hat and mirror, we knew we were going to look like a group of “hot tomatoes.”

Lacey with her red hat

Lacey with her red hat

Amanda with her cigarette holder (don't worry, there were no cigarettes!)

Amanda with her cigarette holder (don’t worry, there were no cigarettes!)

The day of the photo shoot went off with a “bang”! We had quite the “hop.” The ladies from Pouf did an amazing job. They even saved the day when Katrina’s hair hadn’t quite dried enough—she ended up with quite a cool up-do. With our “keen” makeup and “nobby” hair, we posed our hearts out in front of the compelling painting. It was so much fun!

Katrina with her updo

Katrina with her up-do

Stephanie with the vintage mirror

Stephanie with the vintage mirror

Then, to top it off, Sarah Coffey—DMA assistant to the chair of learning initiatives, and organizer of the event—wasn’t going to take back stage or “goldbrick” around. She gave us a history of the painting and style of the time period. What I found most interesting was that not only did Soyer have his friends pose for the painting, but the granddaughter of the woman with the red hat actually spoke to the Museum about the piece. She informed them that her grandmother had just been engaged to her grandfather prior to sitting for the painting, and you can actually see her engagement ring while her nails are being painted a bright red. It’s so fascinating that each piece in the DMA’s collection has its own unique and interesting human history. Thank you so much Dallas Museum of Art for bringing this piece to life for me during such a wonderful experience!

Lacey Smith is a DMA Friend and researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Sensing Sight

It’s Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month, and we have lots of great programs happening at the DMA throughout October that focus on visual awareness, including a number of opportunities to meet and work with artist John Bramblitt. John is a visual artist who lost his vision in 2001. Check out the month’s activities here, and meet John in the video below.

Kimberly Daniell is the PR manager and Adam Gingrich is the marketing administrative assistant at the DMA

Autumn in the Arts District

This October is going to be one of the most exciting I can recall – from the 15th anniversary of the Crow Collection of Asian Art and 10th anniversary of the Nasher Sculpture Center to the U.S. premiere of Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take at the DMA, and even (dare I say it?) the unveiling of a new Big Tex at the State Fair. Having spent most of my life in the Dallas Arts District thanks to my mom, Susan (a DMA docent since 1976), I am thrilled to serve my first year as executive director of the Dallas Arts District during the inaugural year of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Klyde Warren Park, and the Dallas City Performance Hall, and in the first year of DMA Friends (the DMA’s free membership program) and free general admission.

Image source: dbdt.com

Image source: dbdt.com

With the end of summer, the Dallas Arts District is in full swing again, beginning with a day of activities on Saturday, October 5. The Dallas Black Dance Theatre will kick off its 8th annual DanceAfrica marketplace and festival at Strauss Square with a pedestrian parade of dancing in the streets from the DMA to the AT&T Performing Arts Center. CBS Radio’s Fall for the Arts will have free family activities and three stages of performances from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can also catch a sneak peek of Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take at the DMA that day, before the exhibition officially opens. Additionally, the Crow Collection of Asian Art will celebrate its 15th anniversary with the grand reopening of its sculpture garden, which will include kids events and food truck lunch service.

Jim Hodges, and still this, 2005-2008, 23.5K and 24K gold with Beva adhesive on gessoed linen, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMAamfAR Benefit Auction Fund , © Jim Hodges

Jim Hodges, and still this, 2005-2008, 23.5K and 24K gold with Beva adhesive on gessoed linen, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMAamfAR Benefit Auction Fund , © Jim Hodges

The Crow isn’t the only institution celebrating a milestone anniversary this fall. The Nasher Sculpture Center is celebrating its 10th anniversary with Nasher Xchange, a three-day weekend of free festivities culminating in a ten-hour celebration on Sunday, October 20. Friday, October 18, will also include a free afternoon concert and tour at the Meyerson Symphony Center, TEDxSMU at the Dallas City Performance Hall, and the Arts District Fall Block Party. The Nasher, DMA, and Crow Collection of Asian Art will stay open until midnight for our fall Arts District Block Party, and light-based, site-specific new media and immersive art installations can be explored district-wide as part of Aurora’s Light of Convergence, presented by the Dallas Morning News.

Image source: dallasaurora.com

Image source: dallasaurora.com

A new class of first year students has begun their academic semester at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and a new crop of leaders is starting a new chapter in the neighborhood as well. Dr. Scott Rudes is Booker T.’s new principal; Tara Green started this summer as president of Klyde Warren Park; Doug Curtis is the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s new president and CEO; and The Dallas Opera welcomes its new music director, Emmanuel Villaume. Maestro Villaume will begin his inaugural season with Carmen on Friday, October 25, at the Winspear. The performance will be simulcast free in Klyde Warren Park – complete with a costume contest and singalong. Park visitors can also enjoy food and drink from the Park’s new restaurant, Savor, and their grab-and-go kiosk, Relish – both opening soon.

Courtesy of Dallas Opera

Courtesy of Dallas Opera

There’s far more to share, including new seasons of the Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Shakespeare Dallas, as well as newcomer Oral Fixation’s true storytelling series. You can enjoy a Pearl Cup Coffee or free Patio Sessions concerts in Sammons Park. To stay up-to-date on all the goings-on in our neighborhood, “Like” Dallas Arts District on Facebook, follow @DalArtsDistrict on Twitter, and subscribe to our weekly  e-blast here.

Thanks for supporting our new collaborative and inclusive programming, and I hope to see you soon in the Dallas Arts District!

Catherine Cuellar is the executive director of the Dallas Arts District.

Visiting the Far East with a DMA Awards to Artists Winner

The 2013 Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant recipient, Matthew Bourbon, writes about his art and how he will use the DMA travel grant to visit Japan and conduct research for his painting practice.

Matthew Bourbon, Of Two Minds, 2013

Matthew Bourbon, Of Two Minds, 2013

In order to construct my paintings, I am always on the prowl for something I deem useful to my artistic endeavor. I am an image hunter. In fact, I collect all manner of visual information, sorting items into books and office files (or when I’m less organized, into mounds of paper fragments sitting on my studio floor).

This diverse material is the generative spark that serves as building blocks from which my painted vignettes are born. The “research” material I use is essential to how I function as an artist, because everything I create involves altering and reconfiguring the sources I adopt, replacing the original intent of the imagery with my own set of concerns.

Painting, for me, is a process of gathering, adjustment, refinement, and editing. My paintings are the remainder of this process, revealing the many decisions I make about facture—the accumulated details of how I alter and invent form, color, and pattern, as well as abrogate easy interpretations of subject.

Matthew Bourbon, Made Up Your Mind, 2012

Matthew Bourbon, Made Up Your Mind, 2012

When I was awarded the Dozier Travel Grant for Artists, I was thrilled, because I knew I could go on a long-desired fact-finding mission. For many years, I have been driven to combine Western and Eastern notions of painting. Thankfully, I have been to Europe, and I am steeped in the painted histories of artists like Giotto, Fra Angelico, Piero Della Francesca, and Masaccio. I have not, however, been to Asia. Yet, I have yearned to study the masterpieces housed throughout China, Thailand, and, in particular, in Japanese museums. Feeling rather obsessed with my painting investigations, I need to deepen my understanding of the often compressed and shallow spaces created within great Eastern painting. In the spring of 2014, I will visit the preeminent art collections of Tokyo and Kyoto, with an eye to reverse-engineer screen paintings, woodblock printmaking, and the myriad abstract patterns found within traditional textile design. The Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant will allow me to decipher and absorb firsthand information, some of it planned and some of it happenstance. As travel always seems filled with what we intend to do and what spontaneously unravels, how my experiences in Japan will change and enrich my painting is unknown—but change is certain.

I am immensely thankful that the DMA has enabled me to make this trip and fulfill what feels like the necessary and inevitable next step in the development of my art.

Matthew Bourbon

Matthew Bourbon

Matthew Bourbon is an associate professor of art at the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas. His work is currently on view at the Texas Biennial at Blue Star Contemporary in San Antonio and at Kenise Barnes Fine Arts in Larchmont, New York. To learn more about his art, visit his website.

We are now accepting applications for the 2014 Awards to Artists, visit the DMA’s website for additional information and to apply.

Rewarding DMA Friends

Longtime Center for Creative Connections (C3) visitor and volunteer Mary Burkhead claimed a DMA Friends reward for six of her friends to attend a small-group artist-led art-making session. Mary was one of our first DMA Friends, joining on January 21, the official “opening day” of the program. Mary and I brainstormed about possibilities for this specialized workshop, and she requested a private Think Creatively workshop with Magdalena Grohman, Ph.D., in C3. Mary loves attending the Thursday night adult workshops and was eager to have a special class just for her and the friends that she has made over the past year in the workshops. Read the interview with Mary Burkhead below. I hope she inspires you to keep collecting your DMA Friends points!

Dr. Magdalena Grohman and class in discussion

Dr. Magdalena Grohman and class in discussion

How long have you been coming to the DMA?
Since I moved to Dallas in the mid-80s.

How many DMA Friends badges have you earned?
Oh, gosh, lots! Some more than once. I hate to admit it, but I’m rather greedy about them. I’m still disappointed that I didn’t get the last code needed for the special Neil Gaiman badge. But I did get the special JFK badge!

What is your favorite way to collect points?
By seeing and doing wonderful things in the Museum, of course! Seriously, you earn badges by doing what you already love to do: going to special exhibitions, exploring the galleries, attending workshops, lectures, and special events.

Think Creatively presentation by visitor

Think Creatively presentation by visitor

Why were you interested in claiming the “Small Group Art-Making Session in C3” reward?
I frequently attend the creativity workshops and the Artistic Encounters workshops. I encourage everyone to try them. I always have a wonderful time, and learn a lot. And I’ve met so many wonderful, fun, interesting people. I just loved the idea of having a special session with some of these new friends.

What is your favorite thing to do or see at the DMA?
Well, I have lots of favorites, and I hate to be limited. And the DMA is not limited! One of my favorite artworks is The Icebergs. I will be very glad to see it again when it returns home this month. But there are many other pieces that I also love. I love the workshops, of course. That’s why I selected it for my reward. I also love the Arts & Letters Live programs. I love how the DMA brings together many different types of art. And then there is Late Night! I could go on forever.

Dr. Magdalena Grohman and visitors responding to works of art

Dr. Magdalena Grohman and visitors responding to works of art

How did you choose the people that were going to participate with you in the workshop?
With great difficulty! I wanted everyone who had ever attended a workshop to come, but of course, that’s not possible. So I selected a group of folks who participate frequently and who interact well. That’s important for a group learning experience. Not to mention,  they are all fun, wonderful people!

Visitor in thought

Visitor in thought

What do you value the most at the DMA?
I think the most wonderful thing about the DMA is that it is available to everyone. Art is so important to individual people and to the whole community. I’ve talked to so many people at the Museum who are having fun, experiencing new things, and exploring the possibilities of art. I love that. It’s exciting to talk to people who have come for the first time, or the first time in a long time. It’s nice to talk to out-of-towners who think our DMA is great!

Do you recall a favorite moment at the DMA?
There are so many. But one wonderful moment was being in the Museum late at night–I think it was close to midnight–on the 100th anniversary. There were so many people there, and they were all having so much fun! I’m so glad that led to the monthly Late Nights.

Are you also a DMA Partner in addition to being a DMA Friend? 
I am a Partner, and I also have memberships in several other  local museums. Financially supporting the DMA is a great value for entertainment and education, and also for our community.

Two participants writing to music

Participants writing to music

Amanda Batson is the C3 program coordinator at the DMA.

Listening Hard: Remembering JFK on Record

The tragedy surrounding President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 trip to Texas inspired many songwriters to remember and honor JFK through song. Listening Hard: Remembering JFK on Record is an audio-video installation produced by Alan Govenar featuring songs of a variety of genres produced in the months after Kennedy’s assassination. Swing by the C3 Theater during the run of Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy to experience these songs.*

Listening Hard: Remembering JFK on Record, Alan Govenar, © Alan Govenar

Listening Hard: Remembering JFK on Record, Alan Govenar, © Alan Govenar

Uncrated chatted with Alan, founder and president of Documentary Arts and the installation’s producer, to pick his brain about his creative process and vision for this work. Join us at the DMA during our July Late Night on Friday, July 19, at 7:00 p.m. to hear Alan discuss his installation.

When did you begin researching JFK memorial songs?
It was 1975, so nearly forty years ago. I had heard about the Mexican-American corridos and started gathering the records when I could find them. I had written a lot about blues and jazz, and this was part of it.

What was the impetus for this project?
The piece was originally commissioned by the International Center of Photography. Brian Wallis, Chief Curator at the ICP, has organized a show of photographs, JFK November 22, 1963: A Bystander’s View of History,  that look at the assassination from the viewpoint of bystanders.

All of the singers are in a way personalizing their relationship with President Kennedy, either as friend or savior, champion of the downtrodden, the advocate for the forgotten or the disenfranchised. The songs juxtapose that sense of feeling a personal relationship with the president and the great sense of loss, the tragedy of his killing.

You’ve referred to this installation as an “experience.” How do you envision DMA visitors experiencing this installation?
All of the songs are topical. All were released on record. Most were written within days of the assassination. The installation is an audio loop, and the anchor, or punctuation point, is an eyewitness account released on an LP within days of the assassination. A man just saw the assassination, and someone put a microphone in his face and asked him what he saw. He was panicked, on the verge of crying. He had his five year old standing next to him. He was ready to pounce on top of him to protect him because he thought there was a maniac on the loose. That sets a certain stage for the rest of the piece, which is startling and haunting. But, there’s an aspect of the songs that has you smiling. It throws you back in time and place. Much of what the piece is about is perception and memory.

What was your creative process behind the image of JFK that continuously dissolves into images of record labels?
It has a meditative kind of effect, seeing that image reappearing. In some senses, I intended it to be reassuring, comforting, but also, it’s a memorial. It’s like looking at a tombstone. Those slow dissolves into the record labels that go in and out of JFK’s face are haunting, I think because of the idea that he was shot. It’s a complex, emotive kind of experience.

What was the most surprising thing you discovered?
The most surprising part of my research was the sheer vastness of songs written about John F. Kennedy in so many musical genres. People felt compelled to write them. People felt like their feelings needed to be expressed. A song in the installation called The Tragedy of Kennedy, by the Southern Belle singers recorded in December 1963, ends with:

Let me tell you people what we better do,
Keep our minds on Jesus for he’s a President, too.

It identifies Kennedy in that role, as a great savior who was martyred.

Why do you think Kennedy was memorialized through such diverse musical genres?
Corridos extol the virtues of the president who excited our passion to bring equality to all. The blues singers could identify with the sadness everyone was feeling. Country songs are often about mortality. It fit neatly into traditional music forms, where the way people were feeling could be expressed.

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* “Listening Hard” runs in the C3 Theater at designated times during Museum hours and is included in free general admission.

Andrea Vargas Severin is the Interpretation Specialist at the DMA.

DMA’s Cinderella Inspires New Show

In honor of Thomas Sully’s birthday on June 19, we sat down with William Keyse Rudolph, the DMA’s former Associate Curator of American Art. Now the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Dudley J. Godfrey, Jr. Curator of American Art and Decorative Arts, William is currently organizing a retrospective exhibition of the artist. Sully (1783–1872) was born into a theatrical family in England but made a career in America, capturing in paint many of the leading actors and actresses of the time. The exhibition will feature many of these portraits as well as his “fancy pictures”–paintings made for mass appeal, with literary, artistic, and/or imaginary subjects. While at the DMA, William acquired Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire for the collection; the painting will be featured in the traveling exhibition and accompanying catalogue.

Thomas Sully, Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, 1843, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation

Thomas Sully, Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, 1843, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation

1. You were quoted in Art and Antiques magazine as saying that the DMA’s Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire took your breath away the first time you saw it. Why is this? Why do you consider this work Sully’s “finest fancy picture”?

For one thing, the picture is bigger than you expect. It’s nearly four feet by five feet. It was hanging on the wall of an art dealer’s office, surrounded by books, clutter, papers–and it just jumped out at me, even with all that distraction. It’s a beautifully painted, delicate picture, full of all sorts of grays and pinks that never reproduce well, but that are knock-out in person. And to be honest, it has this great big wonderful orange and white cat frolicking with Cinderella almost right at front and center. At that time, I had an orange and white cat, so the die was cast. I had to love it! And to be fair, former DMA director Jack Lane’s first words upon seeing an image of the painting were “Look at that cat!” He’s a cat person, too. We were also very fortunate that Mrs. Pauline Gill Sullivan, who had been a great benefactor of the DMA, saw the painting when we brought it to the Museum on approval and very graciously agreed to fund its acquisition. Besides having her own fine collection of European and American art, Mrs. Sullivan had a wonderful track record of making acquisitions available to the Museum, such as the commanding 18th-century portrait by Ralph Earl and a really dreamy late 19th-century Frank Duveneck painting of a woman in a red hat, so I was grateful that she responded so well to a big fairytale scene, which was out of her comfort zone in terms of the artist, size, and subject matter.

2. Did you have an interest in Sully and his paintings prior to this acquisition?

Yes. I had lived, worked, and gone to graduate school in Philadelphia for ten years before coming to the DMA, so I was well aware of Sully. He is so closely linked with the city of Philadelphia, where he worked for about sixty years, that it is almost impossible to spend time in Philly and not run into his work in virtually every cultural institution, from museums to libraries and hospitals.

3. How does it make you feel knowing that a key acquisition you made while working at the DMA will now be featured in Milwaukee’s exhibition and catalogue? Was it difficult to leave Cinderella behind?

I am, of course, thrilled! Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire actually gave birth to the show. After I acquired the work, my colleague Carol Eaton Soltis (a curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and I began to talk about why this work was so interesting, which led to us proposing a show at the DMA that examined Sully’s total career: portraits as well as fancy pictures like this one. That show, which we began working on in 2005, was originally scheduled for 2009-2010 but ultimately didn’t happen due to timing and other issues. So we are really happy that years later the idea for the show was able to travel with me to Milwaukee and can now finally be seen here and then at the San Antonio Museum of Art. And yes, it was very difficult to leave Cinderella behind. You never, ever forget your first acquisition, and she was mine. I have missed her every day since I left the DMA, and I’m ridiculously excited to have her back with me for a brief time. If you ask gallery attendants at the DMA who remember me, they will tell you I used to go talk to her in the galleries. So my team here has been warned about that! I will probably burst into tears when she comes out of her crate and I see her again.

4. Since Sully also specialized in portraiture, is there any evidence that the figure of Cinderella was based on a real person?

Carol Soltis and I are convinced that the model for Sully was his daughter Rosalie, who posed for many of his works, several of which will also be in the show. She was a very talented painter herself, who died young.

5. Cinderella was painted when Sully was 60 years old. In your opinion, did it bring him the success and attention he hoped for in his later years? Did it help him attract new clients?

Yes and no. Sully hoped to sell the painting much faster than he did. He exhibited it several times in the Northeast and it was made into an engraving, but it took a few years to actually sell to a collector. One of the fascinating stories of this exhibition is how the fancy pictures like Cinderella functioned for Sully as a way to try to counteract the effects of economic crises on the portraiture market. Works like Cinderella were attempts to keep himself in front of the public, which he hoped would both result in sales of the subject pictures and remind clients that he could still turn it on when he wanted to.

6. A later version of Cinderella was (at least at one time) in the collection of Thomas Sully, Jr., of Naples, Florida. Is he a descendant of the painter? Did you ever track down this painting and will it be part of the exhibition and/or catalogue?

He is a descendant. I’ve seen an old reproduction of this picture, and I actually suspect it was the work of one of Sully’s grown children, whom he trained as artists. For that reason, I’ve never really worried about tracing it, as the DMA has the best one. What I’d be curious to see someday is another version of Cinderella done later that apparently shows her with the fairy godmother, but that one is completely obscure and only listed in Sully’s register. If anyone knows where it is, I would love to see it!

7. Do you know yet which works in the exhibition will be installed near the DMA’s Cinderella?

I don’t know exactly where the painting will go in the gallery, but it will be part of a section devoted to Sully’s fancy pictures. So she will live near an amazing picture of Little Nell Asleep in the Curiosity Shop from the Free Library of Philadelphia, which is based on Charles Dickens; and a gigantic, dramatic painting based on a scene from the early American novel The Pilot by James Fenimore Cooper that we’re borrowing from the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama. All three of them will be stunning together, and all were painted around the same time.

Thomas Sully: Painted Performance will be on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum October 11, 2013-January 5, 2014, and then at the San Antonio Museum of Art February 7-May 11, 2014. I hope some of the DMA’s visitors who love this painting will come see the show in one of these places to help celebrate this important painter and this really beautiful picture that the DMA family has been so quick to adopt as a favorite. And thank you to Sue Canterbury, Maxwell L.  Anderson, and all the DMA family for making her available for loan.

Reagan Duplisea is the Associate Registrar, Exhibitions at the DMA.

Move Over Hercules – A Greek Hero DIY

We invited DMA Friend and DMA Partner Breanna Cooke to give us the inside scoop on how to quickly and easily transform ourselves into Greek heroes for Friday’s Late Night on May 17 celebrating The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum. You might remember Breanna from March’s “Wizard of Oz” Late Night when she arrived as a flying monkey. Come dressed as a Greek hero this Friday to earn the May Midnight Masquerade Badge and 450 bonus points in the DMA Friends program!

Flying Monkey

How to Create a Greek Hero Costume

Need help creating a Greek mythology costume for the DMA’s Late Night this Friday? Below are some simple steps to make your own costume without sewing or spending a lot of money. We’ll start with making a chiton (pronounced khitōn), the draped garment typically worn in ancient Greece.

Supplies
White sheet OR 2 yards (approx.) of white or cream fabric: It should be long enough to hang from your shoulder to the floor. If you want it to be knee-length, you’ll only need about 1.5 yards or less.
Safety pins: We’ll be pinning the fabric together, but you can also sew it together.
Gold rope, belt, or ribbon
2 brooches (optional)

02_ChitonSupplies

Making a Greek Chiton

1. Cut the Fabric
Cut the fabric lengthwise so you have two long rectangles. One rectangle is the front, and the other is the back. If you’d like to have a knee-length chiton (more common for men), this is a good time to cut it shorter. (Bonus: If you don’t like the frayed edge at the bottom of the fabric, you can glue gold ribbon along the bottom edge to cover it.)

03_Step1_GreekChiton_CutFabric

2. Pin the Shoulders and Sides
With safety pins, fasten the top corners of the front to the top corners of the back. You’ll want to bunch the fabric together a bit as you pin it. Be sure to tuck in the edges of the fabric if it’s fraying. Next, pin the sides of fabric together along your ribcage. It doesn’t have to be perfect, this is to help keep the fabric from blowing open.

04_Step2_GreekChiton_PinShoulders

3. Tie on Your Belt
Tie your belt around your waist or rib cage. You can use any kind of belt, rope, or ribbon. You can even paint something gold if you don’t have anything.

05_Step3_GreekChiton_TieBelt

4. Add the Brooches
Pin your brooches to your shoulders. You can use them to hide the safety pins. I didn’t have any brooches, so I bought some earrings at a thrift store, glued them together, and added a pin to the back. You could even make your own out of cardboard or craft foam and paint them. Get creative!

06_Step4_GreekChiton_AttachBrooches

Accessories and Props for Your Specific Greek Character

It’s time to customize your outfit with some props. They don’t have to be complicated in order to be effective. Below are some simple ideas to help identify yourself as a specific character:
1. Lightning Bolt and Beard = Zeus, King of the Greek Gods
Lightning Bolt: Draw a lightning bolt on foam board or poster board; cut out the shape and color with silver paint.
Beard: Paint on a beard with face paint OR purchase a beard from a party or costume store.

2. Laurel Wreath = Apollo, God of Music, Arts, and Enlightenment
Laurel Wreath: Create a headband with poster board. Draw leaves and cut them out. Use hot glue to stick the leaves in place, overlapping as you go. Color with gold spray paint.

07_ApolloCostume_LaurelWreath

3. Feathery Wings = Eros, God of Love (Cupid!), or Nike, Goddess of Victory
Wings: Purchase wings from a costume or party store OR draw wings on poster board. Cut out the shape of the wings, attach elastic straps with hot glue, and loop over shoulders.

4. Shield, Spear, Helmet = Athena, Goddess of Warfare
Shield: Find a large plastic platter or cut a circle out of foam board. Glue on a handle made of foam board or cardboard; color with gold spray paint.
Spear: Use a broom handle or dowel and color with gold spray paint. Draw a spearhead on craft foam. cut out two spearheads from the craft foam. Glue the craft foam together at the edges, and slide the broom handle into the pocket formed by the two pieces.
Helmet: Purchase gladiator-style helmet at a costume or party store; color with gold paint OR get creative with craft foam and hot glue to make your own!

athena

4. Shield, Spear/Sword = Hercules or Achilles, Hero of the Trojan War
Shield and Spear: Follow steps above for Athena.

6. Gold Tiara/Crown, Veil = Hera, Goddess of Marriage and wife of Zeus
Tiara/Crown: Make a crown out of poster board; color with gold spray paint.
Veil: Take a piece of sheer fabric or leftovers from your chiton; attach to tiara/crown with staples.

7. Roses and Scallop Shells = Aphrodite, Goddess of Love
Roses: Purchase some fake roses or flowers from a thrift store; color them with gold spray paint.
Scallop Shells: Draw some shells on poster board; color with gold spray paint and add the shells to your flower bouquet.

Need to look up some other characters from Greek mythology? Check out this list on Wikipedia for more ideas.

See you on Friday at Late Night at the DMA!

Breanna Cooke is a Graphic Designer, Costume Creator, and Body Painter living in Dallas. To see more of her work, visit breannacooke.com. Check out progress photos of her latest projects on Facebook.

Spotlight on Raphael Parry

Many Dallasites know Raphael Parry for his extensive work in shaping the Dallas theater scene over the last thirty years. He currently serves as Executive and Artistic Director of Shakespeare Dallas, where he has directed or performed in over twenty-five Shakespearean productions. He also serves as a founder and Chief Artistic Officer of Project X: Theatre, a producing company that focuses on new play development. Raphael has been recognized by the Dallas Theatre League and the Dallas Theater Critics Forum with the Standing Ovation Award for his continued contributions to Dallas Theater.

What you may not know is that Raphael has deep ties to the Dallas Museum of Art, serving as Director and host of Arts & Letters Live’s Texas Bound series for almost two decades. The series showcases Texas-connected actors reading short fiction and essays by Texas-connected authors to a live audience. We like to say that it is “story time for adults.”

Raphael will reprise his role as Director and host again during the 2013 season of Texas Bound on February 11 and on May 6, when he will also participate as an actor.

We caught up with Raphael for a short Q&A about his involvement with Texas Bound.

Raphael Parry, Director and Host of Texas Bound series at the DMA

Raphael Parry, Director and host of the Texas Bound series at the DMA

How long have you been involved with Texas Bound?
My first season I was an actor reading a very short story—less than three minutes long. The next year, I was invited to serve as Director and host—that was 1995. I will be starting my 18th season this year.

What do you enjoy most about working with the series?
Getting to read a huge number of stories, as we search to select just the right ones for the series. It has really brought me a profound appreciation for the art of the short story. And our audience is so generous and eager to hear the readings. It is always a pleasure to take part in Texas Bound in performance.

Texas Bound rehearsal, 2012

Texas Bound rehearsal, 2012

Can you talk a little bit about the process of selecting the stories and casting them?
It starts with a huge collection of stories that have been sifted through after an open call for stories. Our Producer, Katie Hutton, reads through all the submissions and selects the ones that are candidates for Texas Bound. At this point, we have approximately eighty to one hundred stories that we can consider for the Texas Bound series. We meet twice weekly starting in the late summer and I read the stories out loud to Katie and her team. What works on paper can often not transfer to a successful story being read out loud. After reading each story, we discuss three to four potential actors that would be the right match for the story. After reading all of the stories over many weeks, we have a small collection of stories that are strong candidates. Then the real puzzle work begins. We have to find a combination of stories that add up to the right length for the evening and have some balance. We often use a meal as the metaphor for the evening: appetizer, main course, and dessert. We are looking to create a balance and flow.

What is your most memorable Texas Bound experience?
The most memorable experiences are when everything comes together: the actors, the stories, and the audience. There have been many evenings where the flow is fantastic, and we are all moving through the performance with each story and reading building on another. It is like floating on a cloud when it all clicks, and then it’s over—like an ephemeral dream it all dissolves and we are left with a great memory.

What story or stories are you most excited about this season?

'The Dangerous Animals Club' by Dallas native Stephen Tobolowsky

“The Dangerous Animals Club” by Dallas native Stephen Tobolowsky

All of the stories intrigue me, as we work so hard to find just the right ones. I am looking forward to hearing Stephen Tobolowsky read his essay “F.A.Q” from his book The Dangerous Animals Club. He has such an interesting voice, and his essays are so personal yet universal. Also, John Benjamin Hickey is reading Patricia Highsmith’s “A Curious Suicide”; it is a murder mystery with a unique tone. Those two are standouts from a stellar field of stories.

 

Stephen Tobolowsky will read on February 11th. photo credit Jim Britt.

Stephen Tobolowsky will read on February 11. Photo by Jim Britt.

Several of the featured actors this season. Matt Bomer and Stephen Tobolowsky will read on February 11th.  John Benjamin Hickey will read on May 6th.

Matt Bomer will read on February 11.

Several of the featured actors this season. Matt Bomer and Stephen Tobolowsky will read on February 11th.  John Benjamin Hickey will read on May 6th.

John Benjamin Hickey will read on May 6.

Join us for the first Texas Bound of the season on Monday, February 11. For more information on this season of Texas Bound, visit our website. You can order tickets online or call 214-922-1818.

Katie Hutton is the Program Manager for Arts & Letters Live at the DMA and Producer of Texas Bound.


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