Archive for the 'works of art' Category

When the Painting Meets the Frame

The centerpiece of Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow is her Highland Lighthouse series. Ida Ten Eyck O’Keeffe painted seven variations of the lighthouse in the early 1930s, using mostly related color palettes and experimenting with dynamic symmetry. The first, a realistic representation, is now lost, but the following six lighthouses she painted are all reunited here at the DMA in one room.

Five of the paintings have a “clam shell” frame. The sides of a clam shell frame slope inward toward the painting. Each side is half of an arch that peaks at the inner edge where the frame meets the canvas. These frames were all made by painter and frame maker George F. Of, who worked closely with Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 gallery. Thus, it is through her relationship with her sister Georgia and her brother-in-law Alfred Stieglitz that Ida came to know Of during the early years of her career.

Ida’s paintings are not the only example of close working relationships between artists and frame makers on view at the DMA. Artists often worked closely with particular frame makers and some were known to prefer certain styles of frames.

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Maurice Prendergast, Merry-Go-Round, c. 1902-06, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

On view in An Enduring Legacy, Maurice Prendergast’s painting Merry-Go-Round is in a frame that was probably not made by his brother Charles. Many other artists of his time mechanically reproduced patterns for their frames, but Charles designed and hand carved his frames. He considered himself an artist too. If he made a frame for Merry-Go-Round, it was long gone when it entered the McDermott’s collection. Margaret McDermott chose this frame to accentuate the style of the painting.

prendergast detail

The frame has both an inner and outer edge of roughly carved wood in ropelike patterns. Between these layers is an expanse of unvarnished wood with groups of scratches perpendicular to the painting’s edges. The unfinished quality of the wood frame complements the blank canvas that is visible throughout the painting where colors meet.

George Bellows’s portrait of his wife, Emma in a Purple Dress, is in a “Bellows frame.” Bellows favored frames by the New York frame maker M. Grieve Company. This particular water-gilded gold frame has three thin, curved ridges descending toward the painting within a squared outer frame. Its back is stamped with “Grieves Co.” The gilded, textured surface of the frame emphasizes the shining fabric of the sitter’s dress.

Reviews of Ida O’Keeffe’s New York shows sometimes mention her tendency to decorate her own frames, though few of them survive today. Ida most likely didn’t make the frame for Star Gazing in Texas, but she did decorate its upper molding with star-shaped foil stickers and five-point stars cut from tin.

These stars on the frame make it part of the composition. The title, Star Gazing in Texas, reinforces the relationship between painting and frame. During Ida’s lifetime, the painting was exhibited under several other titles—Dreaming in Moonlight; Spring Lethargy, Texas; and, possibly, Texas Hillbillies. The DMA’s Pauline Gill Sullivan Curator of American Art, Sue Canterbury, chose the title Star Gazing in Texas, which Ida used in an inventory of her paintings, because it captured the interconnectivity of the painting to its frame. The star-gazing woman looks outside her painted environment, making the frame part of her world as well as part of ours.

Rebecca Singerman is the McDermott Graduate Intern for American Art at the DMA.

LGBTQ+ Equity in the Arts

On November 29 we are partnering with KERA’s Art & Seek for a night of performances and conversation with local arts leaders Erica Fellicella, Olivia Grace Murphy, and Jerome Larez (see their full bios here). The topic: how equitable and inclusive is the Dallas arts landscape for LGBTQ+ communities?

The night will kick off with each panelist sharing a selection of past work and then Art & Seek‘s Senior Arts Reporter-Producer Jerome Weeks will moderate a conversation. After the program, stick around for a meet and greet with the panelists to keep the conversation going.

I reached out to each panelist with a few questions about their lives, work, and what we can expect on November 29. Here’s what they had to say:

Erica Felicella, artist, consultant, organizer 

If you could take one work of art from the DMA home what would it be?

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Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 1981, Chromogenic color print, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund, 1982.21, © Cindy Sherman, courtesy of Metro Pictures, New York

Any advice for young artists out there?
It may be hard but don’t let that stop you.

What is something you are looking forward to?
The advancement of and changes in the art scene in the Dallas community.

You’ve lived in Dallas for about 20 years—how has the city changed in your perspective?
Growth across the board.

What are some words that you live by?
If you are not scared then you are not doing it right.

What is the last thing you Googled?
Performance art.

Is there a medium that you are interested in trying?
A bigger dive into New Media-based works with stronger technology components.

How do you recommend getting started with advocacy work?
Show up, listen, and go.

What is your hope for the LGBTQ+ communities of Dallas?
More opportunity given to shine and growth as a community.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what you will present at State of the Arts?
Think a community speaking through the voice of one.

Olivia Grace Murphy, Flexible Grey Theatre Company

If you could take one work of art from the DMA home what would it be?

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Dorothea Margaret Tanning, Jeux d’Enfants, 1942, lent by private collection

What is something you have to do before each show?
As an artist, I put a lot of importance on collaboration. I have to talk to and check in with every actor I share the stage with that night, whether it’s one other person or 100 other people.

What is something you are looking forward to?
Artistically, I am looking forward to announcing our next season for Flexible Grey Theatre Company. Personally, I am looking forward to the holidays because I make (in my humble opinion) the absolute greatest pumpkin pie.

Last play you read?
CHURCH by Young Jean Lee

What do you find most challenging or rewarding about theater as an artistic medium?
The most rewarding part is getting together with a group of fellow artists who you adore and trust completely to create something wonderful. I just recently had a profound experience working on STRAIGHT at Uptown Players. The people involved and the environment were so filled with trust and love. It was an unforgettable experience as an artist.

What are some words that you live by?
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” –Oscar Wilde

What is the last thing you Googled?
“Cute snake pictures.”

How do you recommend getting started with advocacy work?
Find something you’re passionate about. Find work that needs to be done that speaks to you. And then don’t lose that spark.

What is your hope for the LGBTQ+ communities of Dallas?
I want to continue to normalize queer culture, queer art, queer people, and make our community part of the fabric of why Dallas is so great. Acceptance and visibility are key, and I feel like we’re making great strides.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what you will present at State of the Arts?
One of my passion projects with Flexible Grey Theatre Company has been the continued work on our original piece, BRIDGES: LGBTQ+ THEN & NOW, in which interviews from the older LGBTQ+ generation are told by queer millennial performers. The audience on November 29 will have a sneak peek of this show performed by some of my favorite actors in DFW.

Jerome Larez, Co-Founder and Board Chair, Arttitude

If you could take one work of art from the DMA home what would it be?

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Terry Falke, Remnant of the Original Route 66, Arizona, 1995, Fujiflex print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Afterimage Gallery, 1997.137, © Terry Falke

What drives new projects for you?
I hope to bring people together to share a profound experience and instill pride, belonging, interaction, and human connection.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love interacting with the students and watching them develop their art-making process.

What is something you are looking forward to?
I look forward to meeting new artists and listening to their artistic processes. I especially look forward to knowing their personal stories and why they make art.

What are some words that you live by?
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

What is the last thing you Googled?
The Raising of Lazarus by Duccio

How do you recommend getting started with advocacy work?
Find a cause whose mission aligns with your beliefs and join. The biggest hurdle is getting involved.

What is your hope for the LGBTQ+ communities of Dallas?
My hope for the LGBTQIA community of Dallas is to build greater solidarity in our voices. Too many of us are fighting the battle for equality with little support. I want to see organizations and individuals of multiple backgrounds working together.

What, if anything, is missing from the arts in Dallas?
For the most part, diversity, access, and inclusivity are missing. Dallas has many creative people and art should not be an afterthought because it is who we are. Art has an extraordinary power to transform attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions, especially when art is in places that are accessible to everyone.

Can you give us a sneak peek of what you will present at State of the Arts?
We will have a Day of the Dead fashion show with artwork that we presented in past shows from our MariconX program.

Jessie Carillo is Manager of Adult Programs at the DMA.

Some Assembly Required

Have you ever wandered through the galleries at the DMA and thought to yourself, “Hmm, I wonder how they got this huge sculpture up those steps?” or “Wow! I bet it was really hard to hang that giant painting!” If you have, this post is for you! In one of the DMA’s newest installations, Women + Design: New Works, there are several pieces that required significant effort on the part of the DMA’s Collections team to install. Check out these behind-the-scenes photos and fun facts from the installation process, and visit the Museum to see these works in person—and for FREE—now through Sunday, February 17, 2019, in the Mary Noel and Bill Lamont Gallery.

Iris 3Objects Conservator Fran Baas adjusts the laser-cut polyester lace on Iris van Herpen’s Voltage Dress.

Najla 1A team of preparators works on lowering the two pieces of Najla El Zein’s Seduction onto the platform. Each piece of the sculpture weighs approximately 1,500 pounds and needs to be moved with a gantry crane. The lower stone was placed first, and then the upper stone had to be carefully lowered onto it.

Mobile 1Fran Baas, Lance Lander, and Mike Hill review the instructions for assembling Faye Toogood’s Tools for Life Mobile 2. Because the components of the mobile are heavy, the team had to know exactly what to do to minimize unnecessary handling.

Mobile 2Mike Hill and John Lendvay work to assemble Tools for Life Mobile 2 as it hangs from the ceiling.

DougDoug Velek takes measurements for the two pieces of jewelry by Katie Collins. Prior to installing the work, the preparators made the wedges and lifts used to display the jewelry in the exhibition. After confirming that the necklaces were centered on the wedge, preparators used pins to secure them in place.

SS and RSCurator Sarah Schleuning and preparator Russell Sublette discuss the placement of the three stools by Faye Toogood.

Katie Province is an Assistant Registrar for Collections and Exhibitions at the DMA.

Confectionery Connections

Ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, spider webs—these are some of the things that come to mind when thinking about Halloween. But the most important of all might be candy! I love how there is no shame in eating as much candy as I like this time of year. I must admit, sweet treats are on my mind a lot—so much so, that I couldn’t help but make some sugary connections with our collection.

Candy dish, Louis Comfort Tiffany (maker), date unknown, iridescent glass,  Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Waggener, 1983.18

If the title of this piece is not enough to spark your imagination, maybe the gorgeous color of Tiffany’s candy dish will. Tiffany may be best known for his stained glass windows, but his creative versatility was also renowned. Lamps, vessels, jewelry—you name it, he could do it. The iridescent glass on this dish reminds me of old-fashioned pulled taffy, delicately thinned out into a flower-like shape, or an unraveled, satiny candy wrapper inviting us to share its saccharine delights.

Dale Chihuly, Hart Window, 1995, glass, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Linda and Mitch Hart, 1995.21.a-ii, © Dale Chihuly

Speaking of glass, Dale Chihuly’s blown glass sculpture is an iconic installation commissioned for the Hamon Atrium. One of my fellow interns shared a story of a little girl who disagreed that Chihuly’s piece was made of glass. She asked the young girl what she thought it was, to which the girl answered, “plastic.” I was hoping she was going to say candy, because that’s what I think of every time I pass by. The vibrancy of the colors and the seemingly soft forms make me think of fruit roll-ups.

Pendant: macaw head profile, Mexico or Guatemala, Maya, 600–900 CE, Dallas Museum of Art, given in memory of Jerry L. Abramson by his estate, 2008.76

This Maya pendant of a macaw head profile has me dreaming of a flavorful lozenge. When viewed in person, this jadeite pendant pops out from the gallery’s gray walls, almost as if glowing. It’s no wonder that the Mayans valued jadeite and other greenstones as some of their most precious materials, just like diamonds are to us.

Wassily Kandinsky, Murnau, Burggrabenstrasse 1, 1908, 1908, oil on cardboard, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1963.31

Wassily Kandinsky had a neurological condition called synesthesia, a rare phenomenon in which one sense simultaneously triggers another sense. In Kandinsky’s case, he saw colors when he heard music. I like to think that I taste things when I look at art, but that’s not really true. This landscape painting reminds me of Munchkinland from The Wizard of Oz. Can you imagine the sidewalks lined with gumdrops and lollipops?

I blame candy makers for conditioning my brain to associate bright colors with candy, but I hope my connections have emphasized the enchanting qualities of these works of art. Art truly transcends visual response and transforms into palpable sensations, or at least that’s what I tell myself to feel better about my sweet tooth. I encourage you to explore which pieces from the DMA’s collection speak to you.

Paulina Martín is the McDermott Intern for Gallery & Community Teaching at the DMA.

Friday Photos: Sands of Time

Some old friends are back on view in our Barrel Vault galleries this month. Stop by the Museum to savor those last few days of summer: you might just enjoy a sandy view sans the salt and heat!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

Food on the Move + Go van Gogh: A Meeting of the Vans!

This week Go van Gogh staff, volunteers, and summer interns packed up the Go van Gogh van and spent a few days with our friends from Food on the Move. Food on the Move is a mobile meal program delivering free breakfasts and lunches to non-traditional sites like apartment complexes across the Metroplex. CitySquare’s AmeriCorps members pull out blankets and tables at each site, setup activities and games, and pass out meals from the back of their great big van.

To this already rich program, we brought art activities developed by this year’s Mayor’s Intern Fellow, Grecia Soto. Inspired by objects in our Ancient American collection, Grecia developed an activity that had us making miniature sculptures out of Model Magic clay.

Imagine our surprise when we heard an old friend was sporting new wheels! Last summer, our Mayor’s Intern Fellow Joshua Berry-Jones developed our project for the then brand new CitySquare partnership. This summer, Josh has switched flashy outreach vehicles, and is an Americorps member working for CitySquare on Food on the Move!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

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Melinda Blauvelt, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1981, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund © Melinda Blauvelt

As a New Orleans transplant, I wanted to celebrate my favorite holiday with you–Mardi Gras! When most people think of the holiday, they imagine excessive eating and drinking, harlequin masks, and colorful beads. But what is Mardi Gras in New Orleans really like and how did the holiday originate?

Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once. 
― Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic: Post-Katrina Stories

In the Catholic tradition, Carnival season starts on the Twelfth Night, also called King’s Day or the Feast of the Epiphany, and runs through Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras comes from the old French, meaning “Fat Tuesday,” and marks the last day of celebration and indulgence before the deprivations of Lent. Carnival season is celebrated across many cultures with Catholic roots, and was introduced to the Gulf Coast of the United States during the French colonial period. Carnival takes on a local flavor wherever the holiday season is observed, including the Samba parade in Rio de Janeiro and the Volo dell’ Angelo in Venice.

Carnival season festivities in New Orleans include parades and masked balls put on by krewes, private social clubs devoted to charitable work and community involvement with their own special regalia and traditions. Revelers will often celebrate in costume. At one time, masking allowed New Orleanians to escape societal and class constraints.

One of my favorite parades is hosted by the Krewe of Muses, an all-female krewe know for their dazzling, often bitingly funny floats and their prized feature throw—glittering, homemade shoes fit for a Grecian goddess. Speaking of throws, it’s estimated that 25 million pounds of Mardi Gras items get tossed from floats in New Orleans every Carnival season! Parade floats often have a special theme, and are worked on year-round in the krewe’s secret hub, or den, until it’s time for the parade to roll. Along with floats, parades include dance troupes and marching clubs, high school marching bands, and flambeaux, or torch-bearing marchers who have been part of Carnival since the first night parades in the 19th century. While there are more than 80 official krewes, the largest and most extravagant parades thrown by the super krewes kickoff the Saturday before Mardi Gras with the Krewe of Endymion. Their motto, “Throw until it hurts,” reflects the over-the-top spectacle of Carnival.

New Orleans owes many beloved Carnival traditions to its African cultural heritage. During the colonial period, many of the enslaved people and Free People of Color in the city came from the Senegambian region of Africa. Their influence on the Gulf Coast can be seen in the region’s cuisine, music, architecture, and unique culture traditions.

Egungun costume, Republic of Benin, Yoruba peoples, Late 20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Pace Primitive Gallery, New York

Egungun costume, Republic of Benin, Yoruba peoples, Late 20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Pace Primitive Gallery, New York

Masquerade and processionals are an important aspect of African culture and the continuum of these traditions can be seen in second lines and marching cultures in New Orleans. Drawing from Nigerian beading traditions, Mardi Gras Indians craft spectacular suits for processionals and performances that take an entire year to create and weigh as much as 150 pounds. While the origin of this tradition is not easy to pin down, Mardi Gras Indians name themselves after American Indians to honor the help they provided for people escaping slavery and to “create an identity of strength and resilience.” There are more than 50 Mardi Gras Indian tribes in New Orleans, and on Mardi Gras rival tribes will meet to compete through costume and song.

While I won’t be celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year, I had to make a king cake, a sweet brioche served during Carnival, for my amazing DMA colleagues to sample. King cake is decorated in the Mardi Gras colors of purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power) to honor the three kings who visited the Christ child on the Twelfth Night. It traditionally includes a hidden plastic or ceramic baby, and the person who finds the trinket must buy the next king cake or host the next party.

king-cake

FYI, calories do not count during Carnival.

After all, in essence, Mardi Gras is about celebrating the sweetness of life with your friends, family, and neighbors.

This Mardi Gras I hope you indulge a little (or a lot!), kick up your heels, and show your community some love. Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs


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