Posts Tagged 'Art'



A Fairly Good Time

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A view of the Esplanade at Fair Park from Jessica Thompson, Manager of Teen Programs.

Last Tuesday was our sixth annual Education Fair Day, a chance to escape the chill of the Museum for some deep-fried fun in the sun at the State Fair of Texas. For some, like Jessica Thompson, going to the Fair is a time-honored tradition. Jessica’s paid a visit to Big Tex nearly every year of her life. For others, like our McDermott Interns, it was a super-sized introduction to a slice of Texas history and culture.

Emily Wiskera and I tackled the trip together. While we chowed down on Fletcher’s corny dogs (a must!), admired the blue ribbons in the creative arts building, and searched for our favorite haunted house ride, I started wondering about what connections could be made between the fair and the DMA. A set of photographs recently installed in the Center for Creative Connections certainly provides some fair feels, but what about elsewhere in the Museum?

State and World’s Fairs

The above pair of posters was an easy connection to make. On the left, we have the 2016 State Fair of Texas poster; on the right, the DMA’s poster from the 1968 World’s Fair in San Antonio. Each was designed around a unique concept. Hemisfair, San Antonio illustrates the overarching idea of people coming from all over the globe for the World’s Fair. The artist, Robert Indiana, used circles with arrows drawn in towards a star in the south of Texas to convey this message. The star, besides featuring prominently on the state flag of Texas, acts a giant X-marks-the-spot, where the Hemisfair and San Antonio are the treasure.

Immediately recognizable in the State Fair of Texas poster is our celebrity cowboy, Big Tex, surrounded by fields, livestock, and farming equipment. The design is graphic, straight forward, and conveniently explained by a page from the State Fair of Texas website:

Originally established as a livestock exposition back in 1886, it is without question that the Fair has deep roots in agriculture. In honor of its history, the Fair constantly strives to promote agricultural education and aims to further support this initiative through its 2016 event, themed “Celebrating Texas Agriculture.”

Though on different scales, state fairs and world’s fairs both bring people together for a variety of cultural experiences. Here’s how the State Fair of Texas compares to world’s fairs:

  • The State Fair of Texas, at 24 days per season, is the longest running state fair in the United States. A World’s Fair can last up to six months–the 1968 Hemisfair in San Antonio did!
  • An estimated 1.5 million – 3 million people attend the State Fair of Texas each year. For reference, the population of Dallas is 1.3 million people, and Texas’ population is 27.47 million people. The 1968 Hemisfair brought in 6.4 million people from all over the world, and the recent 2015 Expo (or World’s Fair) in Milan had 20 million visitors.
  • This year marks the 130th anniversary of the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. In contrast, world’s fairs are held in a new city and country every year.

Creative Arts

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Baltimore, Maryland, “Album” quilt, c. 1861, Martha E. Keech, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous centennial gift

The Baltimore album quilt above, despite being 155 years old, isn’t too different from a quilt you might find on a visit to the creative arts building. This kind of quilt, with its trademark white background and squares (or blocks) with floral designs in red and green, first became popular in… you guessed it: Baltimore! The style remains popular today. This particular album quilt was made by hand by one woman, Martha E. Keech. Sometimes groups of women would join forces to make one of these quilts and each would sew one block and sign their name, hence: an album quilt.

The more than 25 categories for quilts at the State Fair this year include sections for ones made by individuals, pairs, and groups, both by hand and by machine. Overall, there are over 1,100 categories in the creative arts competitions! Many people are familiar with submissions like pies, quilts, and collectibles, but did you know the Fair also has LEGO assembly categories for kids and adults, as well as a “Glue a Shoe” contest? This year’s Glue a Shoe contest features such entries as “Grumpy Flat,” after everyone’s favorite internet cat, and “Hamilton: An American Shoesical.”

Fantastic Foods

No Fair day is complete without sampling some of the sensational snacks! Here are some numbers from Eater Dallas on a fair-goer favorite, Fletcher’s corny dogs:

  • On average, 630,000 corny dogs are sold each 24-day State Fair of Texas run.
  • Fletcher’s is in its 74th year of selling corny dogs at the Fair.
  • To satisfy corndog purists, 1,500 gallons of mustard are needed each year.
  • To satisfy heathens like myself (see selfie above), only 800 gallons of ketchup are required.

Yes, corn (sometimes called maize) is a key ingredient in the batter used for corny dogs, but it’s more than a family resemblance that ties together this State Fair staple and Otis Dozier’s Maize and Windmill. Dozier, a native Texan, was a member of a circle of artists called the Dallas Nine. He regularly submitted works of art to the State Fair of Texas’s creative arts competitions – and he often won. According to a DMA docent, Maize and Windmill is one such blue ribbon winner!

A bonus connection: Dozier’s upbringing on a Mesquite farm instilled in him a lifelong love of agriculture which can be found in his many paintings of farms, fields, flora, and fauna. This ties in pretty neatly with this year’s Celebrating Texas Agriculture theme, don’t you think?

The Fair closes this Sunday, October 23, but these three works of art will still be here to greet you on your next visit, up on Level 4. What other fairly relevant connections can you find? You know that something has to relate to the butter sculpture!

Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

The Day the Crayons Came to the DMA

Earlier this week, we had some very special guests visit the Museum! Drew Daywalt, author of the book The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, will be coming to the Museum on May 22 for some family fun as part of the Arts & Letters Live BooksmART lecture series. We were able to snap some behind-the-scenes pics as Orange Crayon and Purple Crayon scouted out the galleries, and we even caught a glimpse of some of their top secret correspondence. If you haven’t already, get your tickets to see Drew in person and hear more about these crazy crayons and their colorful adventures!

The Day the Crayons letter

Artworks shown:

  • Maurice de Vlaminck, Bougival, c. 1905, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection.
  • Martha E. Keech, Baltimor, Maryland, “Album” quilt, c. 1861, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous centennial gift.
  • Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1908, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated.
  • Egungun costume, Republic of Benin: Yoruba peoples, Late 20th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Pace Primitive Gallery, New York.
  • Buddha, Thailand: La-na, 15th century, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation.
  • Oli Sihvonen, Matrix – Red, Gray II, 1967, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, © Oli Sihvonen / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Layers and colors and prints, oh my!

Whether they’re used as Weezer’s album cover or turned into emoji, Japanese woodblock prints have long been admired for their striking imagery and rich detail. At the Center for Creative Connections, we’re excited to welcome three Japanese woodblock prints from the DMA’s permanent collection by Hiroshi Yoshida.

The soft colors and fine details on these prints make them appear delicate or fragile, but the process behind each of these artworks requires some intensive labor. To illustrate a bit of the behind-the-scenes work that took place for these prints, we collaborated with Austin-based printmaker Daryl Howard to recreate a traditional Japanese woodblock printmaking station similar to the one Yoshida would have used to create the works on view in C3. Based on a diagram from Japanese Print-Making: A handbook of traditional and modern techniques by Rei Yuki and Toshi Yoshida (Hiroshi Yoshida’s son), the display case in C3 shows a few of the most essential printmaking tools used for this art form.

There are two essential steps to make color woodblock prints:

Carving the woodblocks. Each color on a final print image corresponds to a separate woodblock. For instance, creating a final image with black, red, and yellow colors would require a printmaker to carve three separate blocks-one for each color. Printmakers used a (knife), to cut fine lines into each wooden block, and various aisuki (flat scrapers) to carve out unnecessary pieces of wood. Chisels known as sōainomi and marunomi were used with wooden mallets to clear out large spaces on the wooden surface.

Printing onto the paper.  After carving each woodblock, printmakers applied colored pigments directly onto the surface of the blocks using horsehair brushes called surikomi-bake. Softer mizubake (water brushes) were used to moisten sheets of paper before printing. To transfer pigments from the wooden block surface onto the paper, printmakers placed the paper on top of the woodblock and rubbed it with a baren made of coiled fibers and bamboo sheath. The artist would repeat this printing process, laying the same sheet of paper on top of each different woodblock to create a final image made of multiple color layers.

C3_blockdetail In the Interactive Gallery, we’ve developed a printmaking station where visitors can experiment with Step 2 of the printmaking process by making their own layered color prints using paper, carved linoleum blocks, and crayon rocks. Like the traditional Japanese woodblock prints, each of the carved blocks at the C3 table activity corresponds to one color that can be layered with others to create a final image. Yoshida often used 20-30 different color block layers in his prints, but our activity only requires four layers. The crayon rocks act as both a baren and an inking brush because they simultaneously apply color and transfer the impression of the carved block onto the paper. Take a look at the slideshow below to see a step by step run-through of the C3 printmaking activity.

C3_overview

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My favorite aspect of the printmaking process is the way working with separate layers allows for countless color combinations. Yoshida used this facet of the medium to create vastly different moods and atmospheres in his prints—these kinds of prints focused on color variants are called betsuzuri. In his 1926 Inland Sea series, part of the permanent collection in the MFA Boston, Yoshida utilized the same set of woodblocks to create six entirely distinct images showing various times of day:

A small sampling of the prints visitors made in C3 this week demonstrates a similar effect using color variants to produce unique images from the same set of carved blocks:

If you’re like me and you can’t get enough of this medium, check out these DIY printmaking tutorials using styrofoam and soda (yes, the drink!). For a deeper dive into the intricacies of traditional Japanese printmaking, mark your calendars for the upcoming Late Night Art Bytes on May 20, and the C3 Visiting Artist Workshop with Daryl Howard, printmaker extraordinaire, on May 21. Happy printing!

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

 

Interviews with Young Masters

It isn’t every day that we’re able to peek into the minds behind the artworks on view at the DMA. Earlier this month, KERA announcer Shelley Kenneavy interviewed some of the teens whose work is currently on display in the concourse as part of the 2016 Young Masters exhibition. The students gave us a bit of insight into their sources of inspiration—ranging from the Star Wars musical score to insecurities about personal appearances—and shared their hopes as future artists, engineers, art historians, and musicians.

This year’s exhibition features sixty works selected from 858 submissions by AP Fine Arts students from ten local area high schools. Sponsored by the O’Donnell Foundation and on view through April 17, the exhibit includes forty-nine 2D and 3D works of art created by AP Studio Art students, five essays analyzing works of art in the DMA’s permanent collections by AP Art History students, and six original compositions by AP Music Theory students. The essays and compositions can be heard through the DMA’s mobile site here.

One of this year’s participating students is Allison Li, whose piece is titled Passing Tranquility. I first met Allison when she began volunteering at the Center for Creative Connections earlier this year, and was thrilled to see her digital photography installed as part of the Young Masters exhibition. To learn a bit more about the exhibition from the student’s perspective, I asked Allison a few questions about her influences, challenges, and takeaways as a 2016 Young Master.

AllisonLi

Allison Li, Passing Tranquility, Coppell High School

Who are some of the artists you admire? What draws you to their work?

I admire many artists, some include Monet, Nguan, Sachin Teng, and many more. Many of the artists I like, I found online through their various social media accounts. I’m mainly drawn to artist’s works because of the color they use in their pieces, especially Monet and Nguan; I really like the pastel and light colors they use for their pieces. Also, the subject matter of what artists portray in their pieces is a big factor.

How would you describe your creative process? What is most challenging about creating work? What is most rewarding? 

My creative process usually starts with a vague idea or concept in which I try to define it more in detail in my own head before I put anything on paper. Drawing ideas or sketches sometimes helps me better visualize what I want in a piece. After coming up with an idea, I will usually figure out what materials I need and how I want to create the artwork. I think the most challenging and most important part of creating art is coming up with the idea. It usually takes me a very long time to come up with ideas that I like and exactly how I want to execute the idea. I think the most rewarding part of this process is either having an idea you feel confident in or the final piece; both feel rewarding depending on the outcome.

What motivated you to submit your artwork for consideration in the Young Masters exhibition?

My art teacher at school informed us of this opportunity and gave us class time to create a piece to submit to the exhibition. My mom also really encouraged me to pursue my passion for art and thought it would be great and an honor if I was in the Young Masters exhibition.

Your work in the exhibition, Passing Tranquility, invites viewers to consider moments of peace in otherwise hectic environments. Where do you find tranquility in today’s fast-paced atmosphere?

I find the most peace when I am at home and don’t have homework to do. Those times are the most relaxing as I don’t have any lingering tasks that need to be done right away, and instead I get to enjoy my free time.

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How does participating in Young Masters change the way you approach other art exhibitions as a visitor?

After going to the DMA and seeing my artwork hung up on the Museum’s walls with other great pieces, I felt very humbled and amazed that my piece was up there. Now seeing other artworks in the Museum makes me have much more respect for all the artists that are in museums.

 

Do you see yourself continuing to make artwork like Passing Tranquility in the future?

I am actually making similar pieces to Passing Tranquility as it is part of my concentration that I am doing for my AP 2D Design class right now. This piece was actually the first piece in a series of twelve works that I am creating for my portfolio.

What advice do you have for other young artists?

I think that the best thing to do as a young artist is to keep practicing and try not to get too discouraged if things don’t always go as planned. I believe practicing will definitely pay off in the future and seeing the improvement you have made over the years will be very rewarding. I also think that seeing other artists and artwork besides your own is important; I look at many artworks online created by various artists that post their work on social media, such as Instagram or Twitter.

If you’re curious about what some of the other Young Masters have to say about their experience, don’t miss the second round of interviews with the teens at the upcoming Late Night on April 15. For a blast from the past, check out the video recordings of previous Young Masters interviews.

We can’t wait to see what Allison and the other Young Masters create next! Cast your ballot in the People’s Choice Award at the April Late Night to vote for your favorite studio art, art history, and music theory work in the Young Masters exhibition.

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

DIY Coil Basket Weaving

Each month, we offer a variety of activities at the large tables in the Center for Creative Connections gallery. Each activity is related to a nearby work of art. One of my favorite new activities is coil basket weaving, inspired by the storage basket, bowl, and burden basket created by weavers from the San Carlos Apache tribe.

The actual materials used to create these baskets–devil’s claw, willow, cottonwood, and buckskin–are natural resources found in the Arizona region where the tribe resides. To make the materials more pliable, they are often soaked in water prior to weaving. The patterns are created by alternating dark and light.

IMG_2431In the gallery, we use three colors of raffia ribbon to create our coil baskets. Red is easily distinguishable, so these strands create the basket core which will be covered during the weaving process. Then tan and black raffia are used to wrap the core and create patterns.

Once you have your materials in hand, here are the steps to guide you through the process:

 

 For your basket core, cut the red raffia into ten 24 inch long strands.

For your basket core, cut the red raffia into ten 24 inch long strands.

 Choose a tan or black strand of raffia and wrap it tightly around the red basket core strands.

Choose a tan or black strand of raffia and wrap it tightly around the red basket core strands.

Cover about two inches of the red basket core, then begin spiral the wrapped end inward

Cover about two inches of the red basket core, then begin to spiral the wrapped end inward.

Continue spiraling so that the wrapped strands resemble a snail shell.

Continue spiraling so that the wrapped strands resemble a snail shell.

Take the end of your tan or black raffia strand and loop it through the spiral to secure the basket center.

Take the end of your tan or black raffia strand and loop it through the spiral to secure the basket center.

Continue to wrap the red basket core.

Continue to wrap the red basket core.

Each time you cover a few inches of the red basket core, thread your tan or black raffia through the most recent coil to keep the coils connected.

Each time you cover a few inches of the red basket core, thread your tan or black raffia through the most recent coil to keep the coils connected.

If you want to switch colors, cut a strand of the alternate color.

If you want to switch colors, cut a strand of the alternate color.

Line your new strand up as if it was part of the red basket core.

Line your new strand up as if it was part of the red basket core.

Secure the new strand by wrapping it a few times with the old color strand.

Secure the new strand by wrapping it a few times with the old color strand.

Let the old color strand become part of the red basket core, and use the new color strand to wrap around the basket core.

Let the old color strand become part of the red basket core, and use the new color strand to wrap around the basket core.

Continue wrapping the basket core, securing the newly wrapped coil to the previous coils every few inches.

Continue wrapping the basket core, securing the newly wrapped coil to the previous coils every few inches.

Once you get the coil weaving technique down, think about experimenting with other materials. The Apache weavers used devil’s claw, willow, cottonwood, and buckskin because they were plentiful resources. What kinds of resources do you have at your disposal to weave?

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

 

 

Friday Photos: Visitor Exvotos

Made with inexpensive materials like tin or sheet metal, exvotos are devotional paintings offered in gratitude by everyday people. Individuals who experienced everyday miracles–being cured of an illness or saved from an accident–expressed their gratitude by creating an exvoto composed of both a visual and written description of their experience.

Retablo Dedicated by Rosendo Gonzalez, January 1, 1907, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus Foundation

After the Center for Creative Connections installed eight exvotos from Mexico as part of Maria Teresa Pedroche’s Staff Point of View, we invited visitors to reflect on their personal experiences and prayers by creating their own exvoto in the Interactive Gallery. Visitors can take their creation home with them or add it to C3’s collection of visitor exvotos by placing it in a binder for others to read.

Since we first launched this activity in December 2015, hundreds of visitors have made exvotos expressing gratitude for their family members, their smartphones, their pets, their city, their schools–the list could go on and on! Take a look at a few of the recurring themes that we’ve found in some of our visitors’ exvotos:

Food

Nature

Art

Personal Relationships

Obstacles

What are you grateful for? Create your own exvoto the next time you drop by the Center for Creative Connections, and share your creation on Twitter or Instagram using #DMAexvoto.

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

Finding the Art in So SMAART

Head of Community Engagement Maria Teresa Garcia-Pedroche and I spent a Saturday afternoon with the So SMAART girls, a group of motivated young ladies aged 9-12 who are “Set on Science, Math, Aviation, Art, Reading, and Technology.” Since its beginning in 2000, the So SMAART program has impacted more than 900 girls from Dallas public schools through various mentorship and after-school activities, all of which prepare the students for careers in STEAM fields including science, math, and the arts. Serving as the girls’ mentors are members of the Trinity Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, a volunteer service organization led by women of color from the DFW area who founded So SMAART to address the lack of minority female students pursuing STEAM careers.

SoSMAARTSTAFF

Trinity Links and the DMA’s Community Engagement team

Throughout their visit, the So SMAART girls and their mentors explored the Center for Creative Connections, toured the African and Ancient American galleries, and created their own masterpieces in the Art Studio. These ladies demonstrated some of the ways the arts can impact and empower the next generation of scientists, engineers, curators, and everything in between:

  • Connect with Communities

The students and mentors contributed to an ongoing basket-weaving project, a response wall discussing personal traditions, and a larger-than-life drawing at the Interactive Gallery and Community at Large installation.

  • See Things Differently

Are those ordinary scraps of cardboard and twist ties, or are they the makings of the next Oldenburg? How does our presence change the way a space feels, functions, or sounds? Our visitors experimented with these and other queries at the Art Spot and the Young Learners Gallery.

  • Blast into the Past

Museum educator extraordinaire Amy Copeland and various DMA volunteers led the So SMAART girls through the African and Ancient American galleries, where they discussed the ways that past cultures and communities influence our current beliefs, traditions, and practices.

  • Make Your Voice Heard

As part of a national competition sponsored by The Links, Incorporated, the students channeled their creativity in the Art Studio to create posters raising awareness about nutrition and healthy habits. Isn’t it a bit easier to forgo the leftover Halloween candy when you’re looking at a solar system made of fruit?

Keep an eye out for these young ladies—we can’t wait to see where the arts will take them!

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

Friday Photos: Pop Icon Collages

C3 coordinator Jessica Thompson helped us channel our inner Pop artist during last Friday’s Late Night Studio Creations workshop, where visitors used laundry bags, cardboard, magazine clippings, and handkerchiefs to create collages of their favorite Dallas icons. By the end of the night, the studio’s back wall had transformed into a fantastic community installation that gave International Pop a run for its money.

It isn’t easy to pick a favorite, but I’d have to go with the collage of Big Tex during his final moments in 2012. What are your favorite Dallas icons?

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

Friday Photos: Summer Progress

This summer, visitors to the Center for Creative Connections have participated in a communal drawing activity called Community at LARGE. Individual visitors enlarged one small portion of Progress Suite by Luis Jimenez and added their drawing to a large gridded wall, so that collectively they have created an enlarged reproduction of the original lithograph. Initially, it was exciting to watch as the blank wall slowly filled up with drawings and the image became recognizable. But now that each square has been drawn, the fun part has been watching as the drawing changes from day-to-day with the addition of new visitor contributions.

Here are a few short flipagrams of the evolution of my favorite squares.

 

 

 

Stop by the Center for Creative Connections during your next visit to the Dallas Museum of Art to make your own contribution to our communal drawing. Look for more photos of this project on Instagram and Twitter with #DMAlivingdrawing.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

Friday Photos: Touch But Don’t Look

Blind-folded touch-tour attendees experience Jurgen Bey's "Tree-Trunk Bench" (1999) in our Sculpture Garden.

Blind-folded touch-tour attendees experience Jurgen Bey’s “Tree-Trunk Bench” (1999) in our Sculpture Garden.

WARNING: Do not attempt a touch tour on your own–our trusty Gallery Attendants will stop you! However, on rare occasions (with a staff member present and the Conservation Department’s approval), you may be given permission to touch the art!

One such opportunity occurred this past Monday, June 15, when Amanda led a touch tour in our Sculpture Garden with painter John Bramblitt, who became blind in his late twenties. This tour was in tandem with the Arts & Letters Live program featuring Rebecca Alexander, author of Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found. Rebecca was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type III when she was 19 years old. This rare genetic disorder is causing her to slowly lose her vision and hearing.

Hearing both John and Rebecca’s inspiring stories, we thought it would be a great experience for a few of our visitors to learn what it is like to experience art with more than just their eyes. Amanda led a conversation focused on two different works of art and suggested techniques for exploring them with touch. We got to explore with our fingers Jurgen Bey’s Tree-Trunk Bench and Mark Handforth’s Dallas Snake.

Unfortunately, this is not something we can do all of the time. So don’t get any ideas!

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Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator


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