Posts Tagged 'architecture'

Make & Take: Architectural Artistry

We have a new way to get creative at the DMA! Make & Take is a new art-making series that takes place on one Thursday every month. Drop by on October 25 and stay for as long as you want, whether it’s a few minutes or an hour, and you’ll leave with a new skill plus your own creation. Our first Make & Take was on Thursday, September 27. As the weather cooled down, participants enjoyed their time outside on our Sculpture Terrace near the Conservation Gallery, overlooking part of the downtown skyline. Local artist and architecture teacher Jay Cantrell led participants in exercises that helped give shape to the cluster of buildings in front of them. One exercise involved outlining the skyline that showed the different structures using only one line. Another was focusing on architectural details of the buildings, like windows and arches, so you don’t get overwhelmed by tackling the entire building. You can see a few examples below.

View from Sculpture Terrace

Architectural drawing made by Jay Cantrell

Outline of skyline done by participant

Small detail of building done by participant

If you didn’t get a chance to come out and sketch with us, don’t worry! Make & Take will happen once a month (except December) and explore a new art technique every time. On the 25th, we’ll be working with vibrant pastels to make abstract images inspired by the pastels on view in Günther Förg: A Fragile Beauty. On November 29, explore monotype printmaking, where you’ll make subtractive images in ink and then print using a press, like the monotypes featured in Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow.

Katie Cooke is Manager of Adult Programs at the DMA.

New on the Bookshelves

This week’s rainy weather is the “perfect storm” to send me to my sofa snuggled up with a stack of good books. I’m a self-proclaimed bookworm, and have blogged before {here and here} about how learning to read is similar to learning to look at art. Both involve making meaning through understanding context as well as visual cues, and the desire to communicate ideas. For many young children, picture books are their first introduction to art and illustration, and thus one of my favorite teaching tools. Here is my latest round-up of books to tuck in your bag on your next visit to the Museum. Or, simply enjoy them at home!

  green

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Green is exactly what the title proclaims it to be—a beautiful, engaging concept book about the color green. Each two-page spread features a different type of green with a clever cut-out that reveals a peek into the next page. There’s “lime green,” “forest green,” “jungle green,” and “glow green,” to name a few. I used this book with preschoolers to talk about how there’s not just one green, but many, and the illustrations and simple text offered a concrete way for the kids to think of how to describe different shades of a single color by connecting to real-world objects.

  • Gallery connection: Read Green in the American painting and sculpture galleries on Level 4 and go on a scavenger hunt to see how many different types of green you can discover in the art.

dreaming up

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale

For every young block-loving builder out there, this book is a dream come true! Illustrations of busy children building structures out of blocks, constructing houses out of playing cards, and finagling a fort out of blankets and pillows are paired with photographs of actual buildings that closely resemble the children’s creations. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum, Tokyo’s Yoyogi National Stadium, and Frank Gehry’s Bilbao Guggenheim are just a few of the architectural marvels highlighted. Concrete poems for each structure mimic the shapes of the buildings and show-off the beauty language can create.

  • Gallery connection: Bring Dreaming Up and a sketch pad along for a visit to the Formed/Unformed exhibit. Read the book, look at the wonderful variety of chairs on display, and then draw your own design for a new chair!

mice

Mice by Rose Fyleman, illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Two sneaky mice are out in the night getting into all kinds of things! But these “mice are nice,” and their adventures nibbling on treats, climbing into things, and even making art are sure to delight. Ehlert’s signature collage illustration style is built around the use of several simple shapes—triangles, circles, and rectangles and begs to be imitated by young artists.

  • Gallery connection: Use Mice as your artistic inspiration and make your own collage characters at the art-making space in the Center for Creative Connections. We provide the paper, tape, and pencils—you provide the imagination!

chuckclose_facebook_zoom

Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close

What if you could sit down one afternoon with artist Chuck Close and just ask him anything you wanted to? That scenario actually happened for a group of fifth graders in Brooklyn. Armed with questions like “What made you start to draw?” and “Why are your paintings so big?,” these children helped start the conversation that became the basis for this autobiography. A flip-book feature allows readers to mix and match foreheads, eyes/nose, and chins from several of Close’s own self-portraits and offers an up-close look at the small squares that compose each work of art—squares of paint, fingerprints, and leftover bits of paper.

  • Gallery connection: The DMA’s piece by Chuck Close isn’t currently on view, but you can discover another artist’s fingerprints hiding in the art by exploring the installations by Karla Black. Or, spend some time in our European galleries sketching the faces you find in the portraits on display.

Happy reading!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright in Dallas

Last Monday, our theme for docent training was “a morning of architecture in Dallas.”  I invited Katherine Seale, director of Preservation Dallas, to speak with the docents about the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement in Dallas. 
 
As director of Preservation Dallas, Katherine has firsthand knowledge of all the historic homes in Dallas. The Arts and Crafts movement hit Dallas later than on the East and West coasts, but there are many excellent examples of Stickley-esque Craftsman homes in East Dallas. 
 
Katherine spoke about Swiss Avenue and the Munger Place neighborhood, both of which I was familiar with already.  To me, the most fascinating part of Katherine’s presentation was about a neighborhood in Oak Cliff called Winnetka Heights.  Winnetka Heights is, according to Katherine, the most Arts and Crafts neighborhood in Dallas.  Craftsman bungalows–one-story homes made of wood with low-pitched roofs and exposed joinings– line the streets of this neighborhood.  I’m already planning a weekend outing to view these homes.
 
Following Katherine’s presentation, architect Ann Abernathy spoke about Frank Lloyd Wright in Dallas.  Yes, the DMA currently has an exhibition of his prints: Line and Form: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Wasmuth Portfolio.  But did you know that Wright was the architect for the Kalita Humphreys Theater?  

Frank Lloyd Wright's Kalita Humphreys Theater

Ann is the perfect person to speak about Frank Lloyd Wright, because she was the project lead for the renovation of Wright’s Oak Park home and studio.  She has also been named the project lead for the renovation of the Kalita Humphreys Theater.  This gives her the unique distinction of having worked on projects that were created at the beginning and end of Wright’s career.

The plan for the Kalita Humphreys Theater came from a 1914 theater plan that was designed by Wright but never built.  When he was asked to design a building for the Dallas Theater Center, Wright agreed, but only if he could use his 1914 plan.  What many people may not know is that the Kalita is one of the last buildings constructed by Wright–he began work on it in 1955 when he was eighty-eight years old, and it was completed after his death in 1959.

As anyone who has visited the Kalita Humphreys Theater knows, it is situated on a hillside over Turtle Creek.  The building is constructed from reinforced concrete, and is considered to have wonderful acoustics.  This comes from Wright’s own interest in the science and theory of acoustics.  The theater also features a revolving stage.  My favorite element of the theater is how the audience wraps around the stage.  Every performance at the theater feels like an intimate gathering.

Katherine and Ann’s presentations have opened my eyes to a new way of looking at buildings in Dallas.  I encourage you to spend Mother’s Day weekend at the DMA to learn more about Wright and Stickley.  Examine the drawings in Line and Form: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Wasmuth Portfolio and spend time marvelling at the beauty of Craftsman designs during the closing weekend of Gustav Stickley and the American Arts and Crafts Movement.

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Ordinary to Extraordinary: A Short Story about Chairs

“Success in your career begins in an ordinary classroom, in an ordinary chair.”
— Diana Maldonado, grade 11, Skyline High School (DISD)

 

Standard-issue classroom chairs

It is a good thing to see the world from a different point of view every now and then.  We can stand and walk in someone else’s shoes, but what is it like to sit in someone else’s chair? What if the seat of this chair rises only fourteen inches above the ground?  I recently had the opportunity to take a seat in these small-size chairs while visiting pre-K and kindergarten classrooms at Dealey Montessori, Medrano Elementary, and Urban Park Elementary in DISD. Two 11th grade students from Skyline High School, Yvonne and Lauren, joined me during the visits to interview several young students who sit in fourteen-inch chairs every day at school.

For me, sitting in one of these chairs is a little bit magical.  The world is scaled down and tiny – chalkboards hang at a lower level, tables are shorter, and objects on the lowest bookshelf (which seem to require a further reach) are more colorful and interesting.  The chair-sitting experience  may also be magical for the students who sit in these small chairs every day as they get used to going to school, learn to write, and make new friends. Chairs are an important part of the school day.  They are a place to sit and rest, but also a place to participate in important and creative work.  Students shared with Lauren, Yvonne, and me various examples of the work they do in their chairs:

  • learning to read books
  • making a lion mask
  • practicing writing letters and words
  • drawing butterflies, ice cream cones, and hearts
  • singing with friends
  • painting
  • counting numbers

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Our visits to schools are part of a larger partnership project between the Dallas Museum of Art and the Architecture Cluster at Skyline High School.  Lauren and Yvonne are just two among more than eighty Skyline Architecture Cluster students who created an amazing installation now on view in the Center for Creative Connections.  The installation, Sculpting Space: 299 Chairs, features fourteen-inch, standard-issue classroom chairs in all colors as the primary material.  The Skyline students have transformed ordinary chairs into extraordinary chair assemblages that sculpt the space of one gallery.  Museum visitors move through the space, walking under and around clusters of chairs.  Look for more information in the coming weeks about Skyline’s unique installation on the blog Uncrated.

Google Sketch-Up model for a chair assemblage that reflects the spatial concept, "fluent"

Early in the partnership project, Skyline students and their teachers, Peter Goldstein and Tom Cox, had the brilliant idea to get “used” chairs from three DISD elementary schools.  They were interested in chairs with stories to tell — marked-up with years of scratches and crayon scribbles.  The DMA purchased hundreds of new chairs, and then Skyline students swapped the new chairs for old chairs at Dealey, Medrano, and Urban Park.  As part of the process, the elementary school students were invited to draw their chairs, write about them, and think about all of the many things they do while seated in the classroom.  Video interviews with pre-K and kindergarten students about their chairs are included with the DMA installation.   Special thanks to the teachers, students, and staff at Dealey Montessori, Medrano Elementary, and Urban Park in DISD for being a part of this wonderful partnership!

“The one true connection we have made was with the chairs and when we were little kids.  They bring back memories of our childhood.  We also have a connection to the students who once sat in these chairs where they did their work, and colored and painted.”
Luis Garcia, grade 10, Skyline High School (DISD)


Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

 


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