Posts Tagged 'Artists'

Paper Collecting: A Peek into the Archives

Did you know that in addition to keeping records that document the Museum’s activities from the past to the present for the future, the DMA Archives also collects personal papers from Dallas-based artists and galleries? I’ve previously highlighted a few things from these collections—here, here, and here are a few examples—but it has been awhile. As our quadrant galleries currently feature a group of exhibitions by female artists in the DMA’s collection, here are a few cool things from archival special collections of women artists and a women-run cooperative gallery.

Color Equations installation photo book, Pamela Nelson Papers

Artist Pamela Nelson has done a number of public art projects around Dallas. One of my favorites is Color Equations at NorthPark Center, which she created with author Robert A. Wilson. The Pamela Nelson Papers contain preliminary sketches, design and fabrication plans, and the catalogue for the initial installation exhibition.

Color Equations, Pamela Nelson Papers

Color Equations, Pamela Nelson Papers

While less visual, the exhibition list from the Coreen Mary Spellman Papers is incredibly useful for someone researching Spellman’s work, as it documents the exhibitions in which her work appeared and which works were accepted for the show.

 

The DMA Archives also holds records from the DW Gallery, also known as the Dallas Women’s Gallery. The gallery was founded in 1975 by Linda Samuels with several other women. It was incorporated in 1978, and later managed by Diana Block from 1981 until it closed in 1988. In addition to administrative, legal, and artist records, the collection also contains textiles—T-shirts promoting the gallery.

DW Gallery T-shirts

Information about these and other special collections in the DMA Archives can be found at DMA.org/research/archives or in the library catalog.

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

A Bright Evening Indeed

Teens, adults, hipsters, parents, and those strolling the halls of the DMA were treated to a wonderful evening of spoken word, music, and light last Thursday, when Denton-based collective  Spiderweb Salon hosted a poetry showcase with fifteen readers and musicians. The artists included participants from the Center for Creative Connection’s adult programs and Urban Armor teen programs mixed with well-known poets and musicians from the Denton area who are currently part of the Spiderweb Salon.

Inspired by the DMA’s exhibition Nur: Light in Art and Science in the Islamic WorldSpiderweb Salon called the event A Bright Evening and the musicians and writers used light as the basis of their compositions.  The showcase was hosted by poet and Spiderweb Salon co-founder Courtney Marie. Below are some highlights from the evening:

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Listen to one of the musical performances:

We were pleased to feature the following poets and musicians performing at A Bright Evening:

Bess Whitby

Evan Simmons

Chris Garver

Chris George

Ann Marie Newman

Ryan Creery

Monique Johnson

Nate Logan

Ennis Howard

Conor Wallace

Frank Polgar

Erica GDLR

Jordan Batson

Kiki Ishihara

Carson Bolding

Make sure to follow Spiderweb Salon on Facebook and stay connected to what is happening in the Center for Creative Connections!

Amanda Batson
Program Coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections

 

Artist Astrology: Capricorn

This week’s post is written by guest-author Alexa Hayes, the McDermott Curatorial Intern for American and Decorative Arts. Alexa is a specialist on John Singer Sargent, having written her honors thesis on Sargent’s portraits of women during the 19th century. I’m very grateful for her contributions to this edition of Artist Astrology!

The chilly months of winter match the seemingly-chilly exterior of those born under the sign of Capricorn (December 22 – January 19). Capricorns are outwardly reserved, dedicated hard workers driven by private ambitions. Rarely reckless, they pursue their goals with resourcefulness and practicality, often enjoying success because of their intense commitment to their work. Capricorns are fiercely loyal, making friends for life with those who can see past their elitist demeanor to the deeply sensitive and loving character hidden inside.

The DMA’s collection offers stellar works of art by many of history’s most beloved Capricorns:  Joseph Cornell (December 24), Henri Matisse (December 31), John Singer Sargent (January 12), Berthe Morisot (January 14), and Paul Cézanne (January 19).

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Joseph Cornell – December 24

An eclectic recluse, Joseph Cornell rarely left the state of New York and held a long-standing suspicion of people, particularly men. Despite this isolation, his pioneering of assemblage and collage as fine art earned him acclaim throughout the art world. He maintained a commitment to studio practice, constantly collecting objects, scraps, and images to create his works of art, preferring to work with items that already have a life and history rather than to produce something brand new. Although many art historians focus on the Surrealist influence in Cornell’s work, his style tugs at viewers in an emotional way, playing with their own nostalgia, thus distancing him significantly from the Surrealists’ crisp world of dreams and fantasy.

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Henri Matisse – December 31

Originally trained as a lawyer, Henri Matisse did not develop an interest in art until age twenty one. During a period of illness, Matisse’s mother brought him art supplies to keep him entertained, unintentionally igniting a passion for art. Matisse worked in all media, from sculpture to drawing to printmaking, but became most famous for his daring employment of color, denial of realistic spatial relationships, and energetic brush strokes in painting. He is praised for his monumental contributions to modern art and remains one of the most beloved painters of the twentieth century.

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John Singer Sargent – January 12

Although John Singer Sargent lacked the reserved demeanor of most Capricorns, he did possess a distinct elegance and personable charm that gained him many friends in the elite literary and art circles of America and Europe. True to his Capricorn birth, however, he was extremely dedicated to a rigorous studio practice, maintaining a sketchbook at all times and spending hours developing the effortless painterly appeal of his portraits. Sargent had a keen eye not only for aesthetic design but for grasping the character of his sitter within minutes of their introduction. In Dorothy, broad streaks of paint shape the face of an angry child, seemingly furious at being forced to sit inside for a portrait in her fluffy white gown and impractical hat.

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Berthe Morisot – January 14

One of the most important female artists of the nineteenth century, Berthe Morisot established herself at the forefront of the Impressionist movement, developing her own artistic style and deviating from the subject matter of her male peers. Her work focused primarily on the feminine or domestic sphere, depicting the intimate relationships of women and children. Morisot primarily used friends and members of her household as models, but chose to present them in a modern painterly style, thus elevating a mundane subject to the level of high art competitive with the works of other Impressionists. Throughout most of her life, Morisot maintained a close friendship with her brother-in-law, Edouard Manet, who encouraged her to be less self-critical while supporting her career as an artist.

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Paul Cézanne – January 19

A prolific artist throughout his life, Paul Cézanne demonstrated time and again his commitment to his craft, even risking his father’s wrath when he rejected a career in law to pursue art. Cézanne radically changed the art world by flattening the picture plane rather than using a mathematical linear perspective with a single vanishing point.  Further, he simplified objects to basic geometric forms, enhancing their physical presence and sculptural qualities. Cezanne painted objects from a “lived” perspective, attempting to imitate the way that we see subjects in life from multiple angles or with varied impressions. His work greatly influenced the Cubist movement, inspiring artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque to experiment with vision and perception.

Artworks shown:

  • Joseph Cornell, Portrait of Fiona, 1965-1970, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation
  • Henri Matisse, Still-life: Bouquet and Compotier, 1924, Dallas Museum of Art, the Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation, Incorporated, in honor of Dr. Bryan Williams
  • John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1990, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Incorporated
  • Berthe Morisot, Winter (Woman with a Muff), 1880, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated
  • Paul Cézanne, Still-life with Carafe, Milk Can, Bowl, and Orange, 1879-1880, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reeves Collection

Hayley Prihoda
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Artist Astrology: Sagittarius

This month, we turn our attention to the adventurous, free-spirited Sagittarius! Sagittarius individuals, born November 23 – December 21, are known for their “larger than life” personalities. They view life as a challenge and embrace opportunities for personal growth and development. The ultimate goal for a Sagittarius is to discover the meaning of life, which results in a desire to make the most of every situation. At times, their ambition is equated with recklessness or inconsistency but, in reality, their pursuits are often thoughtful and purposeful. Sagittariuses have a contagious enthusiasm and passion for life and believe nothing is out of reach!

The DMA’s collection features a handful of splendid Sagittarius artists, including Winston Churchill (November 30), Georges Seurat (December 2), Gilbert Stuart (December 3), Stuart Davis (December 7), Helen Frankenthaler (December 12), Wassily Kandinsky (December 16), and Paul Klee (December 18).

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Winston Churchill – November 30

Sir Winston Churchill is not often known for his artistry but for his profound impact and contributions as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940-1945 and 1951-1955. His strength and pride guided the British public through the Battle of Britain in 1940 and his speech “We Shall Never Surrender” remains an emblem of British courage today. Yet, through his art, the softer, introspective side of this prominent figure is revealed. As referenced by his daughter Mary Soames in the book Sir Winston Churchill’s Life Through his Paintings, Churchill’s paintings demonstrate a profound sensitivity and keen interest in the therapeutic qualities of art. In fact, in his essay Painting as a Pastime, Churchill raises questions about the relationship between memory and the act of painting. Thus, in his art as in his political policies, Churchill reveals a Sagittarius’ interest in explaining and justifying the world around him.

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Wassily Kandinsky – December 16

Wassily Kandinsky traveled extensively between 1903 and 1908, visiting the Netherlands, Italy, Tunisia, France, and Germany. The painting above was created en plein air during his stay in Murnau, Germany, where he eventually settled from 1908 – 1914. His life in Murnau and nearby Munich marked a critical period in his artistic development, beginning his transition from realistic depictions to more abstract and representational forms. The artwork above is indicative of this slow shift as the street begins to dissolve into a field of thick brush-strokes and areas of blocked colors. Ultimately, Kandinsky sought to invest his paintings with spiritual imagery without using representational subjects. In this way, he was operating according to the Sagittarius desire to create a meaningful and purposeful life.

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Paul Klee – December 18

Paul Klee aspired to develop an artistic language that “synthesized the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ worlds into a pictorial whole,” viewing artistic production as a spiritual experience of equal importance to the final product. As such, he was extremely interested in the art produced by tribal cultures, children, and the insane. His art reflects this curiosity and is intended to appear naïve and untutored. Because of his dedication to exploring art production as a spiritual and natural process, Klee is often recognized as a theoretician. He famously stated, “Art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible.”

Thank you for catching up on a few of our favorite DMA Sagittarius artists! Don’t forget to read next month’s blog for information about our caring Capricorns.

Artworks shown:

  • Winston Churchill, View of Menton, 1957, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
  • Wassily Kandinsky, Murnau, Burggrabenstrasse 1, 1908, 1908, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase
  • Paul Klee, Around the Core (Um den Kern), 1935, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift in appreciation for Dr. Dorothy Kosinski, The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art

Hayley Prihoda
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Artist Astrology: Libra

Whether or not you believe in astrology, it’s fun to read about your zodiac and the characteristics that are associated with your sign! As I was thinking about this fascination of my own, I began to wonder what artists shared my sign and whether their artwork aligned with the traits of their zodiac. So I decided to research the birthdays of some of the prominent artists in the DMA Collection to explore the relationship between their zodiac and their art. Tune in every month to find out what artists share your zodiac!

This first month of Artist Astrology will focus on the balanced, intellectual Libras (September 24 – October 23). Libras are represented by the symbol of a scale. They are often defined by their intellect and, as a result, make great problem-solvers. Although Libras posses great mental capacity, they are also extremely social and very communicative. They have the ability to look at a problem from multiple perspectives, often acting as mediators in a disagreement. Libras lead harmonious, balanced lives and seek to create peace and harmony in their surroundings, including their relationships. They are also creative spirits and their imaginative nature is often represented in their style, interior decoration, and hobbies. Libra’s are said to bring a bit of art into everything they do and enjoy creating new and unusual things. Some of our favorite DMA Libra’s include:

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Mark Rothko – September 25

Communication is a central element in Mark Rothko’s work. In the late 1940s, Rothko removed figural representations from his work, believing that a universal representation of human drama was better conveyed through large masses of color which for him suggested concrete human emotions. An intellectual thinker, Rothko stated in an interview with Tiger’s Eye magazine in 1949, “The progression of a painter’s work…will be toward clarity; toward elimination of all obstacles between painter and the idea, and between the ideas and the observer.” Rothko’s attention to the reaction of the viewer demonstrates his Libra sensibility for clear thought and observant social prowess.

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Alberto Giacometti – October 10

Throughout his career, Alberto Giacometti primarily worked in portraiture. His mature style, as seen in Three Men Walking from 1948-49, was especially popular and hailed as a symbol of the isolation and anonymity of the post-war period. Three Men Walking is demonstrative of Giacometti’s keen ability to observe humanity from an impartial and fully-encompassing perspective. Interestingly, this period also coincided with the renewal of his relationship with his brother and marriage to his long-term domestic partner, Annette Arm, in 1949. Socially active individuals, Libras are said to only achieve peace and satisfaction through loving and supportive relationships.

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Childe Hassam – October 17

Childe Hassam is typically identified as an American Impressionist. His style features soft brush strokes and an attentive perception of the atmospheric qualities of light and air. In fact, Hassam encouraged this label and considered himself a painter of “light and air” rather than solidly an Impressionist. Paintings, such as Duck Island above, demonstrate his tendency to present his surroundings in a peaceful, harmonious composition. Interestingly, the Duck Island coast, one of the Isles of Shoals near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was known among sea captains for its treacherous waves and dangerous reefs. Hassam avoids this dark reference in favor of a restful representation of this popular vacation spot.

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Robert Rauschenberg – October 22

Robert Rauschenberg collected the source material for his silkscreen prints from a variety of sources, including newspapers, Life magazines, personal photographs, and New York Times archives. His attraction to such various sources demonstrates his active engagement in current and past historical events. Having collected his varied materials, Rauschenberg successfully organized his images to present one cohesive, effective image. Produced for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Skyway is emblematic of the optimism and expansionism of the early 1960s, featuring images of President John F Kennedy, the space race, urban construction, and the American bald eagle. The title is suggestive of the “New Frontier” of American expansion as space became labeled the ‘highway’ of the future.

A few other lovable Libras include Jean-Francois Millet (October 4), Frank Duveneck (October 9), Jean Antoine Watteau (October 10), and Maurice Prendergast (October 10). Tune in next month for some of our superb Scorpios!

Artworks shown:

  • Mark Rothko, Orange, Red and Red, 1962, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated
  • Alberto Giacometti, Three Men Walking, 1948-49, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus
  • Childe Hassam, Duck Island, 1906, Dallas Museum of Art, Bequest of Joel T. Howard
  • Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr. and General Acquisitions Fund

Hayley Prihoda
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Educator Resources: Video Visions

Ever since it killed the radio star, video has been thriving.  Let’s take a look at three valuable resources with great videos featuring art, art history, artists, and curators.  Educators in and out of the classroom just might want to add these to their “toolboxes,” if you haven’t already.

1. Smarthistory – Started as a blog in 2005, this oh-so-smart, multimedia resource makes art history come alive on the web.  No more expensive, heavy textbooks to tote around!  Smarthistory includes over 360 videos and continues to grow through a recent merger with Khan Academy, which allows founders Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker to focus full-time on expanding content.  In addition to the videos, which are easily sorted via thirteen categories ranging from art historical periods to materials, the website includes images and information for over 440 artworks, as well as sample syllabi and strategies for teaching art history online.

2. Artists Documentation Program – This is a new favorite of mine, discovered while surfing the Art 21 blog last year.  The Artists Documentation Program (ADP) features twenty-nine interviews with contemporary artists and their close associates discussing the materials and techniques of the artists’ works.  Jasper Johns, Mel Chin, Cy Twombly, Ann Hamilton, and Sarah Sze are just a few of the artists interviewed.  Conducted by conservators, the videos are intended primarily as research documents to aid in preservation and care of the art.  Some of the footage goes back to the early 1990s when the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a grant to the Menil Collection in Houston.  Following this initial grant, the project continued and expanded under the leadership of former Menil conservator Carol Mancusi-Ungaro.  The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Center for the Study of Modern Art at Harvard are key collaborators.   Note: while viewing of the videos is free, the ADP requires users to register before granting access to video interviews.  This acknowledges and supports appropriate use of the videos.

3. DMA.Mobi – Available via mobile devices and the web, this home-grown, Dallas Museum of Art resource showcases artworks in the Museum’s collection and current exhibitions.  Piloted in summer 2009, the smARTphone tours re-launched this month with a new design and fifty new artwork stops.  Videos featuring DMA curators discussing works in the collection are a key component.  Cultural information, contextual images, and audio clips provide additional information about the artworks.

DMA smARTphone tour screen

Anne Bromberg, the Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art, discusses a Roman mosaic in the DMA's collection

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Teaching for Creativity: Two Cool Web Sites

One of the ways that I like to inspire and motivate my own creativity is to surf the web and see what’s happening at other places and museums in the world.  When I find something I like, I will periodically revisit a web site to see what is new and also reconnect with some of the creative sparks that caught my mind on the first visit.  For this post in the Teaching for Creativity series, I am sharing with you two art museum web sites that are quickly becoming regular stops on my web surfing adventures, and are particularly relevant to the themes of art, artists, and creativity.

Tate Modern: turbinegeneration
This innovative website is based on the idea of international exchange and collaboration. Designed for schools, artists, and galleries, the Tate’s Unilever Series: turbinegeneration project is an offshoot of their annual Turbine Hall installation sponsored by Unilever.  Each year, the Tate Modern commissions an artist to create an installation for this colossal space.  The most recent Unilever Series artist featured on the turbinegeneration website is Ai Weiwei.  The next artist to be featured is Tacita Dean.  The installation created by each artist serves as the catalyst for students, teachers, and artists participating in the turbinegeneration project.  Through basic social media, participants can connect and share ideas and artworks that are inspired by the work of artists featured in the Unilever Series.  An online gallery of artworks created in response to the work of Ai Weiwei includes participants from Brazil, United Kingdom, Korea, Portugal, and India.  How cool is it to see how students across the world respond to the work of this contemporary artist!

Denver Art Museum: Creativity Resource for Teachers
This website from the Denver Art Museum launched several years ago on the premise that the creativity of artists can inspire the creativity in each of us.  The site houses a wealth of resources that can be sorted by artwork or lesson plan topic and grade level. Each featured artwork includes information about the maker and the inspiration for the piece, as well as things to look for and multimedia resources that may be useful for teaching.  

What websites inspire you?  Which ones do you find yourself returning to over and over again for creative ideas?  Share your websites in the comment section below – I would love to hear about them and add them to my web surfing adventures.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships


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