Posts Tagged 'Alan Saret'

What does art smell like?

This past Wednesday my colleague Hadly Clark and I took advantage of our great Spring Break crowds and tried an impromptu gallery experiment.   We spent time in Re-Seeing the Contemporary: Selected from the Collection exhibition, asking visitors to look at four artworks with us and to think deeply…with their noses!

For part one of our experiment, we asked participants:  If this artwork had a scent, what do you think it would smell like?  Why?   As someone who likes thinking with her nose, I had fun hearing visitor responses and considering how their creative associations helped me see familiar artworks in fresh ways.  Below are responses inspired by one of our stops, Robert Irwin’s Untitled:

Robert Irwin, Untitled, 1968-69, Fractional gift of The Rachofsky Collection, 2001.345

  • Coconut & banana, because it’s round
  • Money
  • Disinfectant, something very clean.  It reminds me of adventures of Buck Rogers.
  • Nothing!
  • Mint or toothpaste; it’s clear and transparent
  • It smells really clean, like clean linen or spring lilies

The slideshow below includes all four featured artworks, images of participants, and a few responses for another one of our stops, Mark Rothko’s Orange, Red and Red.   After the slideshow, Hadly explains part two of the experiment and some great opportunities to join in on other experiment-like experiences here at the DMA…

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The second half of our sensory experiment encouraged participants to actively engage their sense of smell.  We provided nine samples of scents tucked secretively inside cardboard boxes with conveniently located holes for ventilation.  Boxes held a variety of scents such as Ivory soap, leather, and cinnamon.  After smelling each box, participants selected their own “scent match” or a scent they associated closest with the work of art, and shared why that scent was evocative of the work.   Here are some scent matches inspired by John Chamberlain’s Dancing Duke:

John Chamberlain, Dancing Duke, 1974, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Harold J. Joseph in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Max Walen, 1975.69

  • Scent match #3 (peach tea) because, it smells bad! (This visitor thought of sweat and things that smell bad when he looked at the artwork, so he picked the scent he liked least).
  • Scent match #8 (leather) because it reminded me of my car
  • Scent match #9 (Clorox wipe) because it smells like paint
  • Scent match #4 (grass) because it smells green

Each week, the Center for Creative Connections (C3) hosts similar experimental, hands-on, artist-led workshops for adults. From 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. every Thursday evening, join C3 staff and a guest artist to explore what inspires them, play with new unexpected materials, or learn different techniques that can be applied to your work during a C3 Artist Encounter.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear what you smell when you look at Untitled or Dancing Duke.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

Hadly Clark
Center for Creative Connections Coordinator

Painting by Numbers

Our new installation Re-Seeing the Contemporary displays more than fifty works of the art from the DMA’s captivating contemporary collection. Some of the artists on view range from familiar abstract expressionists to lesser known artists at work today. As 2010 comes to a close, we thought it might be fun to take another look at the exhibition, re-seeing the exhibition into our own top ten list of interesting categories.

1. Paintings: 29

The majority of artworks in the exhibition are paintings.

Jackson Pollock, Cathedral, 1947 Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard

 

Pollock changed the definition of painting—instead of painting on the wall or an easel, he laid the canvas on the floor and applied paint to it from above through pouring and dripping.

2. Sculptures off the wall: 9

Larry Bell, The Cube of the Iceberg II, 1975 Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift in memory of J. O. Lambert, Jr.

Although not your typical figurative sculpture, this work has a reflective quality that involves the viewer.

3. Sculptures on the wall: 5

Alan Saret, Deep Forest Green Dispersion, 1969 Dallas Museum of Art, gift of John Weber

Though sculptures are typically displayed using a base or plinth, this work also fits the category because of its three-dimensionality. Since the piece is made out of wire and hangs off of one nail, it must be reshaped with each installation, almost becoming a living thing like the plants or moss it resembles.

4. Collages: 3

Jess, Arkadia's Last Resort; or, Fete Champetre Up Mnemosyne Creek, 1976 Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund

Jess took images from various sources such as jigsaw puzzles, art books, advertisements, and store catalogues and combined them to create a collage in the shape of a landscape.

5. Works never shown before: 6

Jack Whitten, Slip Zone, 1971 The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

A new acquisition that has not yet been on view, Slip Zone adds to the DMA’s collection of postwar abstract art. Whitten created the unique design by pulling various objects across the wet painted surface.

6. Works by women artists: 5

A few of the female artists are represented in the exhibition:

Jackie Ferrara, A213 Symik, 1982 Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift

Susie Rosmarin, Gingham, 1998 Dallas Museum of art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., in honor of Charles Wylie, The Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art

Anne Truitt, Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, 1979 Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Shonny and Hal Joseph (St. Louis, Missouri) in honor of Cindy and Armond Schwartz

7. Works by Texas artists: 2

Christian Schumann, Nomads, 1998-1999 Dallas Museum of Art, Texas Artists Fund

Christian Schumann graduated from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, located just blocks away from the DMA.

8. Works with people: 11

Wallace Berman, Untitled, 1964 Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund

At first glance, this collage may appear to be a repetition of the same picture. Upon further inspection, though, you can see that each hand holds a transistor radio, which in turn frames images of people, animals, and objects.

9. Works with text: 14

Glenn Ligon, Untitled, 2002 Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

Inclusion of text is a modern development which Ligon often uses in his art. As the text progresses, it becomes more and more unclear.

10. Works with hot pink: 3

Pink is the color of happiness and works including hot pink just make us smile.

Charline von Heyl, Untitled (3/00), III, 2000 Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kathleen and Roland Augustine in honor of Robert Hoffman

This painting, a recent museum acquisition, recalls a tropical rainforest inhabited by abstracted animal-like forms. The shocking combination of colors—yellow, green, turquoise, and hot pink—draw your attention to the composition.

Over the holidays we hope you will visit the DMA to discover the countless connections you can make with Re-Seeing the Contemporary and with the larger DMA collection.

Haley Berkman is the McDermott  Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art and Sarah Vitek is the McDermott Education Intern for Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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