Posts Tagged 'Alexander Calder'

Second Blooming

Alexander Calder’s Flower is back in the galleries after undergoing recent treatment in the Objects Conservation Lab. This mobile, a highlight of the collection, was given to the Museum in 1949, after it was commissioned for the Dallas Garden Club Flower Show by Mrs. Alex Camp and the Dallas Garden Club. The acquisition marked the beginning of the Museum’s contemporary art collection.

Fig03

An early photo of Flower from the DMA Archives.

In recent decades, Flower has not flowed or moved as Calder originally intended because of damage that occurred in 1979. While installed at the Museum’s former home in Fair Park, the mobile fell two stories and crashed to the ground after its hanging attachment failed. This caused loss of paint and some minor structural changes to the mobile’s elements. Because the piece is very carefully balanced in its construction, and weighs only four pounds overall, these slight deformations created noticeable alterations in how the mobile moved. Paint losses were addressed at the time, but all attempts to return the mobile to its original form were ultimately unsuccessful.

In preparation for Flower’s current display, DMA Associate Objects Conservator Fran Baas and I performed a conservation treatment this past fall. Our work enabled the mobile to move again in a way that more closely represents Calder’s original design. It also provided a unique opportunity to learn more about Flower’s history.

 

As we worked with DMA Archivist Hillary Bober to examine Calder’s original 1949 drawings and archival photographs of an early 1950s installation, subtle differences became clear. Most notably, one central metal hook was bent in an entirely different position than it had been. The changed areas were carefully manipulated back to their original positions to the extent that was safely possible. Although these repairs were very small, they created big changes in how the mobile moves overall.

Fig04

Flower on display after recent conservation treatment.

After many years, Flower finally hangs in a way that is much closer to what Calder intended. This beautiful floating sculpture is now on view in the Museum’s Concourse overlook on Level 3.

Elena Torok is the Assistant Objects Conservator at the DMA.

 

On the Road Again

Memorial Day is the holiday that kicks off the travel season.

So whether you are traveling by plane,

Alexander Calder, Model for Flying Colors, 1973, fiberglass and acrylic paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Braniff International in memory of Eugene McDermott © Estate of Alexander Calder / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Alexander Calder, Model for Flying Colors, 1973, fiberglass and acrylic paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Braniff International in memory of Eugene McDermott, © Estate of Alexander Calder/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

train,

James Welling, Pennsylvania Railroad, 1990, Negative November 2,1990, gelatin silver print on Oriental Seagull photographic paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Director's Enhancement Fund © James Welling

James Welling, Pennsylvania Railroad, 1990, negative November 2, 1990, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Director’s Enhancement Fund, © James Welling

or automobile

Lee Friedlander, Untitled, 1961, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant

Lee Friedlander, Untitled, 1961, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant

to places far

Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated © L & M Services B. V., Amsterdam

Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, © L & M Services B. V., Amsterdam

Florence E. McClung, Torii–Japan, 1959, silkscreen, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Florence E. McClung

Florence E. McClung, Torii–Japan, 1959, silkscreen, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Florence E. McClung

or near

Berenice Abbott, Flatiron Building, 1938, print 1983, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Morton and Marlene Meyerson

Berenice Abbott, Flatiron Building, 1938, print 1983, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Morton and Marlene Meyerson

George Grosz, A Dallas Night, 1952, watercolor on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, anonymous gift of A. Harris and Company in memory of Leon A. Harris, Sr. © Estate of George Grosz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

George Grosz, A Dallas Night, 1952, watercolor on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, anonymous gift of A. Harris and Company in memory of Leon A. Harris, Sr., © Estate of George Grosz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

we hope you have a fun and safe summer.

Lynn Lennon, Beach Party, Dallas City Hall, 1984, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Homer B. Jester Fund © 1984 Lynn Lennon

Lynn Lennon, Beach Party, Dallas City Hall, 1984, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Homer B. Jester Fund, © 1984 Lynn Lennon

Don’t forget to stop by the DMA to cool off all summer long and explore the collection for free!

Kimberly Daniell is the Manager of Communications and Public Affairs at the DMA.

Sculpture for the Body – Art Smith at the DMA

Art Smith , Untitled, 1948-1979, wood, paint, copper, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles L. Russell, 2007.61.36a-m

Art Smith , Untitled, 1948-1979, wood, paint, copper, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles L. Russell, 2007.61.36a-m

This week we are putting the finishing touches on the DMA’s presentation of the exhibition From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith. Highlighting a pioneer of late 20th-century jewelry design whose work represents the progressive modernist impulse of “sculpture for the body,” the installation is both dramatic in appearance and revealing in what it contains. This collection, which also features examples of works by Smith’s contemporaries, is drawn from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, which received a major gift of the artist’s work in 2007. While we are thrilled to host this exhibition of a leading American jewelry artist, our interest in having From the Village to Vogue appear at the DMA was also to note the larger importance of this medium and reflect upon the DMA’s interest in expanding our jewelry holdings. Just as fashion boldly entered our galleries through the 2011 presentation of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, this year we will not only feature the work of Art Smith but also, excitingly, make plans for future exhibitions of jewelry and other design arts.

Art Smith, Ellington Necklace, circa 1962, silver, turquoise, amethyst, prase, rhodonite, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles L. Russell, 2007.61.4

Art Smith, “Ellington” Necklace, c. 1962, silver, amethyst, chrysoprase, rhodonite, green quartz, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles L. Russell, 2007.61.4

Beyond the realm of curators and collectors of modernist studio jewelry, Art Smith’s work is often unfamiliar, yet his impact and those of his contemporaries in the decades following World War II helped shape a new American movement in both design and craft. Drawing from the trend toward abstraction in painting and sculpture, Smith and other designer-craftspeople experimented with highly stylized forms, particularly the biomorphic imagery that characterized the work of sculptors such as Isamu Noguchi and, notably, Alexander Calder. Unlike other sculptors who may have occasionally produced jewelry, Calder’s passion for the medium appeared at least equal to that for his more widely known large-scale mobiles and stabiles. Like Calder, Smith reveled in the whirling organic line: bent wirework that was complemented by flattened ovoid forms, semiprecious stones, and richly finished patinas. Unlike so-called “high-style” jewelry, faceted gemstones and highly polished precious metals were typically set aside in preference for subdued materials and more direct fabrication techniques that were undoubtedly less labor intensive, but also ones that provided more visceral results by reflecting the hands of the artist as an immediate, personal expression. What could be more perfect for the medium of jewelry, which is, like other elements of fashion, an equally personal manifestation of the wearer’s preferences? And they were indeed artists in keeping with the spirit of the times; the modern sculpture, painting, and rhythmic vibrancy of jazz that Smith admired certainly echo throughout the punctuated, gestural lines, which form a type of visual play in his richly syncopated designs. You may notice this almost immediately upon entering the darkly colored main gallery, which features Smith’s work. Even in static display, each piece seems to dance with a particular life of its own.

(left) Art Smith, "Modern Cuff" Bracelet, designed circa 1948, silver, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles L. Russell, 2007.61.15; (right) Peter Basch, Model Wearing Art Smith's "Modern Cuff" Bracelet, circa 1948, black-and-white photograph, Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum

(left) Art Smith, “Modern Cuff” Bracelet, designed c. 1948, silver, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles L. Russell, 2007.61.15; (right) Peter Basch, Model Wearing Art Smith’s “Modern Cuff” Bracelet, c. 1948, black-and-white photograph, Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum

As you might expect, it is always exciting for the many hands and minds that make such exhibitions possible at the DMA to delve into a new arena as we are doing now with modern jewelry. From interpretation to design, each of our exhibitions requires hundreds of hours of brainstorming, logistical planning, and creative input, all with the hope that whatever subject we bring you will be offered in a way you will find compelling or even thrilling. As a curator, communicating facts is only one part of my job; sharing my enthusiasm for looking, learning, and celebrating the diverse creative achievements of the visual world is, at heart, what I and all of my colleagues at the DMA do every day. We hope you will find From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith and our new jewelry endeavors just as exciting as we do!

Kevin Tucker is The Margot B. Perot Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the DMA.

Mother’s Day flashback

We were poking around in the Museum’s archives and found this Dallas Morning News article from May 15, 1949, featuring mothers at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. It could be fun to re-create the photos and treat your mom to a beautiful Mother’s Day at the DMA this Sunday.

Dallas Morning News Staff Photos by Ed Miley, May 15, 1949.

 

 

Dallas Morning News Staff Photos by Ed Miley, May 15, 1949.

 

Dallas Morning News Staff Photos by Ed Miley, May 15, 1949.

Hillary Bober is the Digital Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,604 other followers

Archives

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

Categories