Archive for the 'Late Nights' Category

The Secret Lives of Color

In her newest book, The Secret Lives of Color, author Kassia St. Clair reveals the hidden histories of 75 colors that shaped everything from art and fashion to medicine, politics, commerce, and religion.

This Friday at 7:00 p.m., the author will join us for a Late Night talk about her book, where she will discuss what inspired it, how she conducted her research, and a few favorite hues—from the ultra-pricey ultramarine to the morbid mummy brown. Here’s a sneak peek.

What inspired you to write The Secret Lives of Color

Several things honestly. It definitely helped that my mother was a florist, so growing up I was always seeing colors being put together creatively and was encouraged to do likewise. Academically, I became interested in color when I studied at university. I wrote my dissertations on 18th-century fashion, which involved a lot of research into the shades that were fashionable at the time: it fascinated me that they had changed so much. Some of the combinations they loved back then would make your eyes water today! I also loved researching the names or trying to figure out what a once-fashionable tone might have looked like, since often only written descriptions would survive.

How did you decide which colors made the cut? Is there one that you would have liked to include but didn’t?

When I pitched the book, I had a whole list of shades, dyes, and pigments that would go into each chapter, and although many of those did make it into the final book, many others did not and many more were added. The trick was to get exactly the right combination of story and variety. It would have been boring to have five yellows one after the other that all dated from a similar period and were used in near-identical ways. This is something that you very quickly discover when writing but which might not be obvious in the planning stage! There are certainly colors that it would have been wonderful to include full entries for, and many of these I was able to put into the glossary at the back.

In your opinion, what is the most underrated color and why?

I think black is a hugely underrated color. For a start it’s an absolutely vast category: we’re used to giving lots of different names to various whites—cream, ivory, beige, canvas, and so on—but with black it all gets collapsed in together, with very little regard for how different two shades might be from one another. I loved discovering in the course of writing this chapter that there were once two words for black: one for the glossy, luxurious kinds and another for the matte, light-sucking variety. And then again, black is often thought of as scary, unimaginative, or negative, when in fact shade and darkness can be restful, soothing, and cool.

Did the research for this book take you down any unexpected rabbit holes?

Yes, many! (See my answer above for just one example). But that’s why I love studying and writing about color; it’s never boring and you can’t help but be dragged in myriad directions. I also love how people initially think it’s a shallow, niche topic, but then the moment they start discussing it they soon realize just how vast and deep it truly is. Everyone has an opinion or a story or a fact that they want to share; it’s inclusive and I love hearing from people about the colors I’ve missed or anecdotes about festivals, customs, songs, and fashions that I might not know about.

What was one section you really enjoyed writing and why?

I love a challenge, so writing the introduction, although I always find it the hardest bit, is probably also the most rewarding. The introduction has to set the tone. It also has to cover a lot of ground and make sure everyone is carried along. Yes, you might be explaining some tricky physics (I speak as someone who gave up the sciences relatively early to concentrate on the arts), but that is no excuse for not making sure both that you understand it and that you’re making it interesting and palatable for your reader. When you’re writing, it’s my belief that you should treat your reader like an honored guest: it’s not good manners to bore on about something you enjoy but they might not. I try to be as inclusive and entertaining as possible.

If you had a signature color of nail polish what would you name it?

Because I’m going through a green phase and because it’s currently incredibly hot and parched in London so that everything is turning brown and crisp, maybe a really refreshing, cooling green-blue—something that’s a little mid-century but has just a hint of sheen: “Verdant Lagoon.”

Join us this Friday for Late Nights at the Dallas Museum of Art to hear more from Kassia St. Clair.

Jessie Carrillo is Manager of Adult Programs at the DMA.

Dallas Pride

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

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

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

PRIDE

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

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

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

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

Anton Prinner

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

Ellsworth Kelly

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

Anne Whitney

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

Félix Gonzáles-Torres

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

Marsden Hartley

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

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

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

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


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

Colors of Kente

Alongside the gold ornamentation, furniture, and weaponry, one of the other art forms in the new exhibition The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana is kente cloth. The cloth is made from weaving thin strips of woven fabric together to create large blanket-size pieces. You can see in the photo below how detailed the vertical strips can be, and how colorful the patterns are. Once all of the thin strips are created, they will turn into the kente pattern like the ones you see below. Both of these kente textiles will be on view in the exhibition.

Detail of a man’s kente, Oyokoman pattern, Ghana, Asante peoples, c. 1920–1930, Ssilk, Dallas Museum of Art, Textile Purchase Fund, 2015.12

Kente, Ghana, Asante peoples, c. 1925, silk and dye, Dallas Museum of Art, African Collection Fund, 2006.45

To learn more about the kente cloths that will be shown in the exhibition, we invited world-renowned kente weaver Kwasi Asare to be a part of our April Late Night and an Adult Workshop. Kwasi Asare is part of a lineage of kente weavers who played an enormous role in the popularity and visibility of the traditional cloth in Ghana. His father, A. E. Asare, created the kente worn by the president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, in 1957 for his official portrait and visits to the United States. This gained worldwide attention because Ghana had just become the first independent country in sub-Saharan Africa. A. E. Asare also weaved a kente for the United Nations General Assembly in the 1960s. Kwasi Asare, following in his father’s footsteps, weaved a kente to replace the old and fraying version his father had made, which now hangs in the UN building. Kwasi Asare called his kente Adwene Asa, meaning “consensus has been reached.” The Adwena Asa stands as an emblem of diplomacy, peace, and compassion and as an aspirational symbol for all the world’s delegates who gather there. Kwasi Asare will be demonstrating his weaving and leading a tour of the kente cloths in the exhibition during Late Night on Friday, April 20.

Kwasi Asare weaving on his large loom

Prime Minister of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah arriving at the White House, Washington, DC, US, July 1958

Adwene Asa, Kwasi Asare’s kente cloth that hangs in the United Nations General Assembly Building

The last three images are taken with permission from Kwasi Asare’s website.

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programs at the DMA.

Have a PAWsome New Year!

Friday is Chinese New Year and we invite you to start the New Year with us as we celebrate the Year of the Dog during our monthly Late Night. Throughout the night, you can experience lion dances, watch Chinese martial arts demonstrations, have your name written in Chinese calligraphy, and listen to traditional Chinese music in our galleries. There will be dog-themed tours, of course, but you can get a jump-start learning about the dogs in our collection with two previous blog posts here and here.

While dogs take precedence this year, be sure to check out these works of art from China on Level 3 that feature other animals from the Chinese zodiac:

Funerary plaque, China, Western Jin dynasty, 219-316 CE, limestone, The Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, 2016.33.a-b

This tomb marker features two of the four “spiritually endowed” directional deities – the tortoise and the dragon. The other two deities are the phoenix and the unicorn. While not one of the animals represented in the Chinese zodiac, the tortoise is important in Chinse Buddhist belief because it symbolized longevity.

Pair of Lokapala (Heavenly Guardians), China, Tang dynasty, 1st half of 8th century, pottery with colored lead glazes, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Fund, in honor of Ellen and Harry S. Parker III, 1987.1-2.MCD

Learn more about these heavenly guardians, which often featured lions and tigers on their armor and showed triumph as guardians by balancing on the figure of a bull (or ox), on our 6:30 p.m. spotlight tour with DMA Teaching Specialist Jennifer Sheppard.

Rectangular box, China, mark and reign of Emperor Wanli (r. 1573-1619), dated in inscription to 1595, cinnabar lacquer over wood core, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. George A. Shutt

The cover of this box features two symmetrically opposed imperial five-clawed dragons chasing the flaming pearl of wisdom.

Polo horse tomb figure, China, attributed to Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-907), ceramic, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Rothwell, 1960.167

This horse is a mingqi or “spirit object” that was buried with the deceased in underground tombs. With the accession of the emperors of the Tang dynasty, the number of funerary objects placed in tombs increased, as funerary art became a means to display your wealth publically.

Friday’s Late Night will also feature a talk by DMA curator Dr. Anne Bromberg who will discuss our new installation Asian Textiles: Art and Trade Along the Silk Road which features these two coats from China:

Short coat: dragons and auspicious symbols, China, late 19th century, silk with metal-wrapped yarn, Gift of Betty Ann Walter and Ruth Walter Benedict in memory of Ethyl Walter and Gladys Walter, 1993.70

Woman’s semi-formal court coat, China, 19th century, silk and metal-wrapped yarns, Gift of Mrs. Beatrice M. Haggerty, 1995.40

So if January wasn’t all you thought it would be, start fresh this Friday and join us as we kick-off a PAWsome new year!

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services

The Two Käthes

Join us for Late Night this Friday when we will host artist Käthe Kollwitz of the feminist activist art collective the Guerrilla Girls as part of a celebration of women artists featured in Visions of America. For more than thirty years, women artists from across the country have donned gorilla masks and joined the ranks of the Guerrilla Girls to produce public art campaigns that raise awareness about gender and ethnic discrimination in the art world and beyond. Having decided early on that the members of the Guerrilla Girls would remain anonymous, they took this opportunity to shine some limelight on great women artists of the past by assuming the names of pioneers like Käthe Kollwitz, Frida Kahlo, and Zubeida Agha.

Guerrilla Girls at the Abrons Art Center, 2015

In an interview for the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art Oral History Program, Käthe explained the origin of their pseudonyms.

“Eventually we realized that we needed individual names within the Guerrilla Girls.  When we went places in a group or in pairs, we needed to be individuals in some way.  So this idea came up to have dead women artists as pseudonyms, and it was a useful idea because art historians were re-finding and representing the work of a lot of women artists from history.  Most of the pseudonyms that people took were artists they’d never heard of before they started and only discovered when they read up on women artists, looking for a name.”

Käthe’s own namesake, Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945), was a German printmaker and sculptor who also addressed social injustice in her work. She also happens to be well represented in the DMA’s collection

Kollwitz’s work is at times touching and heart-wrenching with intimate portraits of mothers with their children as well as genre scenes depicting the plight of the urban poor. Her subjects are often gaunt figures whose shadowy eyes and pained poses speak volumes about the dire circumstances under which they lived. Having endured multiple personal tragedies and both world wars, she was an artist who did not shy away from showing the realities of war, poverty, and loss.

Käthe Kollwitz, Revolt (Sturm), 1897, Etching, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg, 2000.192.FA

Remarking on how she arrived at the pseudonym Käthe Kollwitz, the artist said, “It’s very personal for everybody.  Käthe Kollwitz is not my all-time favorite artist, but she’s a great role model.  She was an activist as well as an artist.  She didn’t believe in the expensive, fancy art system.  She did a lot of cheap prints that she gave and sold very cheaply.  She did a lot of work about working people, about women and children, even work about sex.  She was a fierce woman artist.”

Over 70 years after Kollwitz’s death the Guerrilla Girls are continuing the practice of using art to raise awareness. Reflecting on their own 30 year legacy, Käthe will speak about favorite projects and how the group has approached activism in their work. For more information about this and other Late Night programs, visit DMA.org.

Jessie Frazier is Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA

Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being

At Late Night this Friday journalist and author Susana Martínez Vidal will speak about her beautiful new book, Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being, which looks at the iconic and carefully curated style of Frida Kahlo and the artist’s lasting influence in the worlds of fashion and art. Before her visit, I asked the author to share a few insights about this project.

Frida Kahlo Cover 3D crop

What inspired you to write a book about Frida Kahlo?

During the almost 18 years that I headed EllE Spain and attended international fashion shows, I saw Frida walk by on innumerable occasions, interpreted in diverse ways by the greatest designers in the world: Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld, Lacroix, Kenzo, all have paid homage to her.  Countless times I witnessed her influence in music, film, and in the best international fashion magazines.  The most famous actresses, models, and singers have evoked her: Monica Belluci, Naomi Cambell, Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, Beyoncé, Madonna, Patti Smith, Cold Play.

In 1993 Frida Kahlo inspired the first fashion shoot I published as the director of EllE.  Through the eye of Canadian photographer Michel Pérez, actress and model Patricia Velásquez, the exotic beauty for “The Mummy” saga (who along with Frida shares indigenous heritage), was transformed in an Aztec princess. Years later, I was impacted by the spring collection of the great Jean Paul Gaultier, the first of the major designers to evoke her.

It powerfully attracted my attention that a woman who was half indigenous and was not from a first world country nor from show business (she wasn’t an actress, singer, or dancer) had gatecrashed into ranking among the most iconic women of the 20th century, next to Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy or Maria Callas.

In 2012, shortly after relocating to live in Mexico, the Huffington Post asked me to write a blog about the exposition of Frida Kahlo’s clothing that had recently opened.  Seeing this fantastic showcase in the Casa Azul Museum, I started to remember all the images of Frida from the runways and decided that the subject deserved to be explored more profoundly.  At the end of the article I expressed my desire that one day a book would speak to the influence of Frida Kahlo on fashion.  It was a challenge I gave myself to dare myself to take the step.  For months the article was one of the most read on Huffington Post, and this convinced me that Frida lived even though she had died more that half a century prior.   Frida Kahlo: Fashion As the Art of Being is the realization of that dream.

Frida Book 2 crop

In your opinion, what is the biggest lesson Frida taught us about fashion, art, or life?

Her determination to transform pain into beauty, while being an imperfect beauty, motivated her to build an image that she cared for and cultivated in order to elevate her self-esteem. She used fashion like therapy, emphasizing her defects to develop her own hallmark image and identity. The more pain she was in, the greater she made herself up. At the end of her life she dressed as if going to a party.

Her fans applaud her paintings because they admire her story, and therefore you cannot separate her life from her work. Like Stephen W. Hawking, she is someone who knew how to transform her limitations into opportunities. In both situations, their disabilities have transformed in aids that encourage them to focus on there abilities. Certainly, she was her finest work of art.

Frida in Gallery 01

Do you see the fashion world’s appropriation of her style as honoring her, exoticizing her–both?

Perhaps both: Fashion has resurrected Mrs. Kahlo, to give her the glory she didn´t have during her life.

Since the beginning, the idea of the book has been to show the influence of Frida Kahlo in contemporary fashion and pop culture and why she continues to appear so modern in the 21st century.

My objective has been to unravel fashion’s constant obsession with Frida Kahlo, despite being a field which by definition is always in constant motion, and decipher why it is that her style continues to provoke an irrepressible appeal the world over.

Frida in Gallery 02

Join Susana Martínez Vidal this Friday for talks in both English and Spanish and pick up a copy of Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being, available for purchase in the DMA store.

And let Frida inspire your own fashion – come dressed like Frida Kahlo on May 19 and your Late Night ticket will be $5.

Jessie Frazier is Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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