Archive Page 2

An Unbe-leaf-able Spring Break!

You are cordially invited to our Spring Break Garden Partyjust be sure to bring the whole family! Free family fun at the DMA will be in full bloom from March 12 to 15. Join the floral festivities during this week of garden-inspired story times, interactive tours, art making, and more! Our Museum mascot, Arturo, was eager to venture outside of his nest to test out some of our activities.

“Meet me in the courtyard!” Arturo couldn’t wait to try sketching outside.

It’s been a chilly winter and we’re crossing our fingers for great weather during Spring Break! Drop by the Fleischner Courtyard for a chance to sketch like never before. French Impressionist artists sketched outside, or, as they would say, en plein air, to accurately capture natural light in their works. Grab some paper and a pencil to find out if the elements are your friend or foe.

The competition heats up as Arturo plays wildflower bingo!

In the studio, create your own floral collage using paper, glue, and markers, and then stick around to add your own touch to the growing garden on the studio’s back wall. Already a garden guru? Drop by the Tech Lab to test your nose at our scent matching station or challenge your family to a game of wildflower bingo. Need some help navigating four floors of art? Be sure to catch our Girl Power (Half) Hour tour celebrating women in the art world.

“She loves me, she loves me not.” Arturo does some flower dissection of his own!

Wait—there’s more! On Friday, special guests from the Dallas Arboretum will be in the Fleischner Courtyard with a flower dissection activity. There is plenty to see and do this Spring Break at the Dallas Museum of Art. Stay for a little while or plant yourself down all day! Either way, we’re all excited to see(d) you here.

Denise Gonzalez is the Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs at the DMA.

Mini Zines: March Open Studio

You asked—we answered! After many requests for more drop-in art making in our Art Studio, we were excited to launch the Open Studio program in January, and crossed our fingers that families would show up. And you did! More than 1,400 visitors have stopped by the studio since we opened the doors in January, and we are thrilled to see so many artists of ALL ages making and creating. So what could be better than gluing and painting and drawing to your heart’s content? How about having local artists join in the fun?

The March Open Studio project is designed by local artist Raul Rodriguez, a photographer, publisher, and zine-maker from Fort Worth. His publishing company, Deep Red Press, helps Texas artists express their art through print, digital, and other formats across the United States. For the March Open Studio program, he designed a mini zine project, explaining, “I like zines because they can be easily made and they have no limits on the content, medium, or voice. Everyone can voice themselves with a zine!”

Mini Zines

In planning the project, Rodriguez was drawn to the art featured in the Women Artists in Europe from the Monarchy to Modernism exhibition, which presents work by women artists who broke the traditional rules of the time. One of the works in the exhibition is a book titled A Little’s Duck’s Nest . . . of Bad Words by Olga Vladimirovna Rozanova (Russian, 1886–1918), which includes images of art not intended to be displayed on walls or replicated. Rozanova combined poems and narratives with abstract drawings to express her emotions and thoughts in the hand-colored book. Rodriguez notes, “With just a few materials and disciplines, [women artists] counteracted discrimination and made work for the Cubist, Expressionist and modern art movements of their time.”

Creating a zine is easy and fun. Most zines don’t have specific narratives—instead, they are more like art magazines, with each page its own work of art; however, I made sure each page had a personal connection. I had a great time working on my zine, from making an “about me” page, to creating a still-life drawing based on something I saw on my desk. It was very therapeutic.

Engaging with your child

This is a great project for friends and families to do as a group, but also alone as an individual. When engaging with your child, think of a topic that interests him or her and design a page inspired by that topic. If your child is crazy about transportation, make a page all about things that go. Or choose a favorite family memory and have everyone in the family design a page that captures their favorite moments and create a family zine! Challenge older children to use mixed media like magazines or newspapers and create poems or stories to make their zine.

Possible topics to consider:

  • Self-portraits or portraits of family members
  • All about me
  • My favorite place (landscape)
  • My favorite things (still life)

Fun fact

You may wonder, “How are you supposed to pronounce zine?” and the answer is pretty simple (but I still say it wrong!). It’s like maga-“zine” or “zeen.” No matter how you pronounce it, we hope to see you here at the DMA for Open Studio!

Upcoming dates

Saturday, March 2

Sunday, March 3

Saturday, March 16

Sunday, March 17

Time: Noon–4:00 p.m.

Melissa Brito is the Teaching Specialist for Family and Access Programs at the DMA.

Zine Club’s “Opening Year”

What is a zine? Short for “magazine,” zines are self-published books of writing and art that are made for as little money as possible and circulated in limited quantities. Zines became popular in the 1970s in counter-culture circles as a way of promoting art and ideas outside the mainstream media, but creators have been self-publishing their ideas for much longer! Many can trace the lineage of zines back to 1776, when Thomas Paine published “Common Sense.”

In September 2018, the DMA hosted its first Zine Club meeting for high school students. Teens have great ideas and make interesting connections between the DMA’s collection and their own lives all the time; look no further than Disconnect to Reconnect, for example, hosted by the DMA Teen Advisory Council. Zine Club is a way for teens to explore their ideas through art and share those ideas with DMA visitors and their own communities in Zine Club’s biannual issues.

Zine Club meets the first Thursday evening of the month, and it is completely free to attend and participate. Teens enjoy snacks, go to the galleries to brainstorm, and return to the studio to make pages for the zine. Everyone who attends Zine Club gets at least one page in the final issue and receives several copies of the zine to share with friends and family. Museum visitors can pick up their own copy of the zine for a limited time in the Center for Creative Connections.

After several months of creating, Zine Club presents Opening Year. Over the course of four months, nine teens, three educators, and one visiting artist explored the following questions: What do we change about ourselves to fit in with the status quo? What do images say about beauty? What stories do you want told at a museum? Click here to browse their answers for yourself!

Physical zine copies will be available in the Center for Creative Connections for a limited time this month, so plan your visit and pick up a copy the next time you’re at the Museum. Zine Club picks back up again this spring for four meetings all about personal experience and stories, so check out our upcoming meeting schedule at DMA.org. Hope to see you this spring!

Jessica Thompson-Castillo is the Manager of Teen Programs at the DMA.

Piecing Together “Ida O’Keeffe”

Too obscure to be acquired by major museums during the artist’s lifetime, Ida O’Keeffe’s artworks ended up in some interesting places. Sue Canterbury—curator of Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow and The Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art at the Dallas Museum of Art—spent more than four years tracking down information about Ida, Georgia O’Keeffe’s younger sister. She gleaned information from archives across the country and from passing mentions in Georgia’s biographies, but along the way big and small contributions from strangers provided key pieces to the puzzle.

Michael Stipe, the musician best known as the lead singer of R.E.M., approached a DMA curator at an event in New York City and said he heard the Museum was organizing an exhibition on Ida O’Keeffe. Well, he had a photograph of Ida by Alfred Stieglitz.

Alfred Stieglitz, Ida O’Keeffe, 1924, gelatin silver print, Collection of Michael Stipe

Whirl of Life (1936) is owned by a woman who lives in New Mexico, but her sister lives in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. She heard about the DMA’s plans, called her sister, and, according to Canterbury, said something along the lines of “Hey, you know that painting you have in your closet?”

The owners of Black Lilies (1945) and Portrait of a Banana Tree (c. 1942) are sisters from Whittier, California, where Ida spent the last 19 years of her life. One of the sisters took painting lessons from Ida, and the artist was a close friend of the family.

Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow, installation view, Dallas Museum of Art, on view November 18, 2018–February 24, 2019

Aside from finding paintings, it was also critical to gather biographical information in order to create a timeline of the artist’s life and get a sense of her personality. There wasn’t any anecdotal evidence of what Ida was like as a teenager. Then, one day, a man messaged Sue to share that his great aunts were Ida’s classmates at Chatham Hall in Virginia, where she went to high school, and he had letters that described what a popular girl she was—a member of the basketball team, tennis team, and glee club. Canterbury had no idea where Ida was during the 1937–38 academic year, until a woman called to say her mother rented out a bedroom in New York City that year to Ida O’Keeffe.

And then there are the lighthouses . . . 

In 2013 Canterbury was visiting the home of a collector in Dallas when she noticed an abstract painting of a lighthouse. She considered the work very strong but couldn’t identify the artist. She asked the collector, who replied, “Ida O’Keeffe,” and Canterbury was stunned. Thus began the five-year quest to collect information on an ignored O’Keeffe sister with the hope of mounting the museum exhibition that Ida never got in her lifetime.

Based on documents, Canterbury knew that Ida had completed seven paintings of the Highland Lighthouse in Massachusetts. By 2016 she had located five. The two missing lighthouses she only knew from descriptions: one, a realistic depiction, was the first one Ida executed, and the other was an abstracted depiction in red. Out of the blue, she got a call from celebrity jewelry designer Neil Lane. He had the red lighthouse painting, which he had purchased at a flea market in Los Angeles around 25 years ago.

Ida Ten Eyck O’Keeffe, Variation on a Lighthouse Theme VI, c. 1931–32, oil on canvas, Collection of Neil Lane

Even though the exhibition has opened, new information is still trickling in. Canterbury expected that would happen and she encourages people to reach out, especially if they own an excellent painting of a certain Cape Cod lighthouse.

See Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow at the DMA through February 24, 2019.

Lillian Michel is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

The Artful Overlapping of Old and Modern Iran

A work by Houston-based Iranian-American artist Soody Sharifi is now on view in the Keir Collection of Islamic Art Gallery. Courtly Love, an archival inkjet print from 2007, is an adaptation of a 15th-century painting in the Keir Collection. The original painting is an illustration of a tale from the Khamsa of Nizami, a collection of five tragic love poems. It depicts a scene from the romance of the Iranian king Khusraw and Armenian princess Shirin. Drunk and guilty of an amorous tryst, Khusraw has arrived at Shirin’s palace on horseback. Shirin, peering out from a window, is counseled by an older woman and refuses him entry. The scene is witnessed by a variety of attendants, including three scribes holding poetic manuscripts below. A darker mood is also present; anxious angels who know the inevitable tragic outcome of the story hover at upper left, while two gardeners with golden shovels foreshadow the twin graves in which the lovers will lie for eternity.

Khusraw at Shirin’s Palace, painting from a manuscript of Nizami’s Khamsa, last quarter of the 15th century, ink, colors and gold on paper, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the DMA, K.1.2014.738

Courtly Love is one of a series of works that Sharifi has termed “Maxiatures,” a play on the term “miniatures” that is commonly used to describe the small format of Islamic book paintings. Sharifi’s works are large. For them, she has selected well-known examples of architectural paintings that illustrate Persian literary classics, such as the Khamsa, to serve as a basis for adaptation through the addition of new figures taken from photography. She also works with the architectural elements in the original image, changing their scale and contents. In this work, some of the original painted figures have vanished, and those that remain become unwitting bystanders to a new cast of figures inserted into the scene: contemporary, young Iranians, mainly women, going about daily tasks. These include making a call at a phone booth, jumping rope, playing with a hula-hoop, painting toenails, installing a satellite dish, and looking over the balustrades and through windows. Three young men speak to the women from outside the garden walls—the circumscribed formalities of courtly love referenced in the title of the work, and perhaps referring to the themes of the original painting.

Soody Sharifi, Courtly Love, 2007, archival inkjet print, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Richard and Glen de Unger in gratitude to Walter Elcock for his attentiveness and support for the Keir Collection, 2018.40

Sharifi’s work appears to be concerned with issues of dual identities, of a past and present that is especially acute for Iranians of her generation who were exiled by the revolution of 1979. Given that the figures in her works are young, this may represent the nostalgia of young Iranians today who still live in proximity to the elegant palaces and gardens depicted in historical paintings, perhaps inhabited now only by ghosts, like the figures in 15th-century paintings. Her concern with dualities—of language, of national identity, of traditions and contemporary technologies, of political tensions—seems to be present in this work, where contemporaneity hovers over a past that can no longer be reached. Certainly, there is also a sense of humor—it is clever and funny to see modern people in these poetical constructs.

Soody Sharifi’s work is displayed in the Keir Collection Gallery alongside the painting that inspired it so that the public can appreciate her interventions, decode her intentions, and enjoy the presence of both works of art at once. Join Sharifi in person as she shares insights into Courtly Love at our next Late Night on February 15.

Heather Ecker is The Marguerite S. Hoffman and Thomas W. Lentz Curator of Islamic and Medieval Art at the DMA.

 

Ruth Pershing Uhler: A Texas Woman Artist to Know

Why do some women artists become famous while others become footnotes in art history textbooks? That is the topic of discussion in The O’Keeffe Sisters and Women of American Modernism, a series of short talks at the DMA on February 2. Few art history scholars knew Georgia O’Keeffe had a younger sister named Ida who was also an artist, and whose work is now exhibited in Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow. Ahead of the talks, we thought we would take a look at another woman modernist in the DMA collection you probably haven’t heard of: Ruth Pershing Uhler.

Ruth Pershing Uhler was born in a small town in Pennsylvania in 1895. Uhler and her family moved to Houston in 1909, but she returned to Pennsylvania to study art. Receiving the proper training was the first hurdle women had to clear to become artists. Women were often encouraged to study “lesser” mediums like watercolor instead of oil, and art was seen as part of a woman’s aesthetic training to create a beautiful home rather than as a career. Uhler didn’t settle for these expectations. She studied at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (and did learn to work in oil), and after graduating she obtained a fellowship that provided her with her own studio and the ability to paint and exhibit art in Philadelphia. She worked in Philadelphia for 11 years before returning to Houston in 1925 and exhibiting across Texas in the 1920s and 30s.

Ruth Pershing Uhler, Earth Rhythms, c. 1935, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Texas Artists Fund, 2018.10, © Estate of Ruth Pershing Uhler

In 1935 Uhler went to Santa Fe with friend and fellow Texas artist Grace Spaulding John. The landscape of New Mexico inspired a series of nine paintings that Uhler completed after returning to Houston the next year. Earth Rhythms (c. 1935), recently acquired by the DMA, belongs to this series. While it is possible Uhler saw and responded to the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, Uhler’s paintings—with undulating forms that glow with an almost spiritual quality—are also reminiscent of Transcendentalists like Raymond Johnson and Agnes Pelton, who were working in New Mexico during the same period. Uhler’s series was exhibited in 1936 at the Twelfth Annual Exhibition of Houston Artists.

Uhler teaching in the MFAH galleries c. 1950. Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Archives.

At the time, it was impossible for a woman to support herself as a full-time painter without a gallery to represent her and sell her art, so most women artists took second jobs. Uhler became a teacher at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) in 1937, and in 1941 she became the MFAH’s first curator of education, a position she held until just before her death in 1967. In the same way that Ida O’Keeffe held nursing and teaching jobs on and off her entire life, being an art educator provided Uhler with financial stability, independence, and creative fulfillment. She was hugely influential in the growth of the MFAH’s education programs, but the demands of her job led her to abandon painting.

Curiously, one day in 1940 Uhler intentionally destroyed many of her paintings in a fire. She built the bonfire in the backyard of Grace Spaulding John’s house, which she had been house-sitting. John’s daughter saw her and asked what she was doing. Uhler officially ended her career as a painter that day, remarking, “Well, I only want my best work to survive.” Consequently, her works are few and difficult to find today.

As art historians reconsider the influence of women artists in modernist movements, and as Texas artists are given more serious attention, artists like Uhler will become more popular. It takes time and a conscious effort on the part of curators to shine a light on under-recognized women artists, but we get a fuller and more realistic view of art history when women’s work is recovered from the margins.

Lillian Michel is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the DMA.

2-D to 3-D Wire Creations

This February’s Open Studio will feature funky wire creations! Making sculptures inspired by paintings is a great way to engage with abstract art, and it allows your or your child’s mind to see the differences between a two-dimensional versus a three-dimensional artwork.

Imagine your favorite abstract painting—now imagine it as if it were designed as a sculpture. Would it twist or move? Would it cast shadows not conveyed in the painting? Sculpture is amazing because you can see it in a full 360 degrees and see up close what a painting simply cannot do. I love this activity because it asks the question “what would this painting look like if it were three dimensional?”

The 2-D to 3-D Wire Creations activity is a no-mess art-making project that is suitable for all ages and imaginations. It allows your child to engage with the basic elements of art—color, line, and shape—while introducing more complex subjects like abstract art, space, and movement.

As you twist and manipulate the wire, ask your child questions such as:

  • What kinds of lines can you make with the wire?
  • What colors are similar in the painting and your art?
  • What’s your favorite shape in the painting?
  • Do you like the art better as a painting or a sculpture?

I used Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting Grey Blue & Black—Pink Circle to draw inspiration for my wire sculpture.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Grey Blue & Black—Pink Circle, 1929, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 1994.54, © The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The painting has colors and lines that make my sculpture interesting and recognizable.

This will be a fun project for you and your family. The best part is that you will be able to find the painting that inspired your work of art in the DMA’s collection!

Open Studio is for families and individuals looking for something free to do on the weekend. I am so excited to share with you the monthly art activity, how to engage your child in art projects, and a sneak peek of what you might expect. So stay tuned and see you soon!

February Open Studio Dates and Times:

Theme: Wire Creations
Location: Center for Creative Connections Art Studio
Price: Free
Dates:  
Saturday, February 2
Sunday, February 3
Saturday, February 16
Sunday, February 17
Time: Noon–4:00 p.m.

Melissa Brito is a Teaching Specialist for Family and Access Programs at the DMA.


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