Posts Tagged 'Arts and Letters Live'



An Evening with David Sedaris

If you’ve ever read any of the eight books by David Sedaris, you probably already consider him a close and personal friend. Through his witty short stories, he seamlessly weaves back and forth between autobiography and absurdist fiction, having the reader laughing and gasping at each turn of the page. He effortlessly wraps you up in his world, introducing you to his quirky family, and keeping you on the inside of every joke. So, it came as no surprise that he was just as enthralling and humorous in person as he is in his books.

This was David Sedaris’ fourth year coming to Dallas with Arts & Letters Live, and yet the 2,500 seat SMU Auditorium was still completely sold out. After several readings and a question and answer session, many hurried to get their place in line to meet David. I say meet, because David Sedaris does not just sign books, he has a conversation with each person who approaches his table as if welcoming them into his home. Despite this taking hours, going very late into the night, Sedaris maintains his energy and enthusiasm for each and every fan.  He uses his comedic flare to start unusual conversations with each visitor, and then references the encounter in the book he signs for them. With a drawing or clever comment, Sedaris turns a brief interaction into a special inside joke between the fan and him.

In my case, I was so excited to see him that I ran out the door without either of my two favorite books that I wanted him to sign. Fortunately with a simple explanation, he was more than happy to sign the program for me instead, writing, “Oh Hannah you forget everything”. So, just like many of the fans in line, I got to walk away with my very own personal story of David Sedaris.

Don’t miss out on the rest of this Arts & Letters Live season!

If you have any stories from an Arts & Letters Live event, please don’t hesitate to share in the comments below.

Hannah Burney
McDermott Intern for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Teaching for Creativity: A Few Good Books

I am often inspired by a good read and I am an equal opportunity reader.  I love both fiction and non-fiction books and find that both can ignite my creative capacities.  Through fiction, I escape the day-to-day to walk in a character’s shoes and visit places unfamiliar, perhaps discovering an interesting metaphor that results in a richer understanding of the world around me.   Encountering new perspectives from an expert in another field and reading about real-world stories and events are a few things I appreciate about non-fiction reading.   These too can lead to richer understandings.  Here’s a list of books on my radar presently (some in the mail as I write) for which I have high expectations of stirring my creative spirit.  After you take a look at this list, then share with us what’s on your bookshelf or nightstand that is provoking you to think in new ways and see the world with fresh eyes?

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer – This one comes out in March, 2012 and is the third book written by author Jonah Lehrer.  Lehrer has a background in neuroscience and a strong interest in the relationships between art and science.  In Imagine, he discusses new science about creativity and proposes that all of us can achieve increased creativity through effectively using a distinct set of thought processes.  Lucky for me (and others), Lehrer will be in Dallas on March 23, 2012 presenting at the DMA’s Arts and Letters Live programming.

Sketchbook with Voices by Eric Fischl and Jerry Saltz

Sketchbook with Voices by Eric Fischl and Jerry Saltz – This collection of prompts from contemporary artists was compiled in 1986 by Fischl, an artist, and Saltz, an art critic.  The book was reprinted this year and I discovered it recently as I ambled through a museum gift shop.  Full of empty, ready-to-be-filled pages, this sketchbook includes inspirations from artists such as Richard Serra, Susan Rothenberg, and John Baldessari.

Mr. g by Alan Lightman

Mr. g by Alan Lightman – This is the forthcoming book from one of our department’s favorite authors!  Remember the recent post about Einstein’s Dreams?  We cannot wait for Lightman’s new book to come out in January, 2012.  Lightman, like Lehrer, is a scientist intrigued by the blurred and crossing boundaries of art and science. However, Lightman explores these ideas through novels and in Mr. g, the story of creation is told, as narrated by God.  Alan Lightman is also coming to Dallas next year!  On May 20, 2012 Lightman will be the featured author for Arts & Letters Live.

The Toaster Project by Thomas Thwaites

The Toaster Project by Thomas Thwaites – This is a recent addition to my “books to read” list.  I heard about it the other day on the radio and love the curious story behind the book.  In pursuit of wanting to know more about where things come from, Thomas Thwaites decided to build a toaster from scratch….

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

The Dancing Pants

I recently became really inspired by one of my favorite Go van Gogh programs in which we discuss an abstract painting that we have paired with a Shel Silverstein poem. I really loved the new associations and meanings this juxtaposition brought to light. I decided to find more connections between Silverstein and the collection. Below you will find the original pairing that inspired me, followed by my own couplings.

1.

The Dancing Pants

And now for the Dancing Pants,
Doing their fabulous dance.
From the seat to the pleat
They will bounce to the beat,
With no legs inside them
And no feet beneath.
They’ll whirl, and twirl, and jiggle and prance,
So just start the music
And give them a chance –
Let’s have a big hand for the wonderful, marvelous,
Super sensational, utterly fabulous,
Talented Dancing Pants!

The Reveler

2.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends,
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Clouds (Wolken) 

3.

Hug O’War

I will not play at tug o’ war
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses
And everyone grins
And everyone cuddles
And everyone wins.

The Divers

4.

My Guitar

Oh, wouldn’t it be a most wondrous thing
To have a guitar that could play and could sing
By itself – what an absolute joy it would be
To have a guitar…that didn’t need me.

The Guitarist

6.

The Deadly Eye

It’s the deadly eye
Of Poogley-Pie.
Look away, look away,
As you walk by,
‘Cause whoever looks right at it
Surely will die
It’s a good thing you didn’t
You did? …
Good-bye.

Black-figure kylix

Space
And last but certainly not least, a very special quote from Shel Silverstein…

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.

Legal Pad Sheet

Space
These are some of the artworks I associate with Shel Silverstein’s poems. What comes to mind when you read them? Are there other artworks that they could be paired with?

Want to explore more literary connections to art? Check out Arts and Letters Live. See what this year has in store for music, film, and performance at the DMA when the 2012 season is announced on December 8th. Programs fun for all ages!

SPACE

Hope you enjoy,

Hannah Burney

McDermott Intern for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

space

Images used:

The Reveler, Jean Dubuffet, 1964, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark

Clouds (Wolken), Sigmar Polke, 1989, mixed media on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund and the Contemporary Art Fund:  Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon E. Faulconer, Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., Marguerite and Robert K. Hoffman, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Gayle and Paul Stoffel, and two anonymous donors

The Divers, Fernand Leger, 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

The Guitarist, Pablo Picasso, 1965, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

Legal Pad Sheet, Alex Hay, 1967, spray lacquer and stencil on linen, Dallas Museum of Art, Ruth and Clarence Roy Fund and DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund

Black-figure kylix, Greek; Attic, last quarter 6th century B.C., ceramic, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green

The Art of Astronomy

Nicolaus Copernicus was a cleric, a physician, a mathematician—a real renaissance man. Literally. But the true passion that drove him was astronomy. Throughout his life, he took every opportunity to observe the sky and the stars, making meticulous calculations of their positions at a time before the telescope had even been invented. With this detailed data, Copernicus formulated a new theory placing the sun at the center of the universe—an idea that helped to ignite the Scientific Revolution.

Like Copernicus, the Maya were astronomically-minded. Without the benefit of telescopes and other modern advances, they built monumental structures at sites like Chichén Itzá in perfect alignment with the sun during important days of equinox and solstice. Their calendars were also based on the movements of the sun and moon. Their myths and rituals share this cosmological focus, which permeated their entire culture. Even their artworks reflect their celestial mindset.

Eccentric flint depicting a crocodile canoe with passengers, Mexico or Guatemala, southern Maya lowlands, Maya, c. A.D. 600-900, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Mrs. Alex Spence.

This flint, shaped like a crocodile canoe carrying its passengers in profile, captures a scene from the Maya creation story. The Maya believed the soul of the First Father was paddled in just such a canoe to the underworld, after which he was reborn as the Maize God, the ancestor of all humans. Contemporary archaeologists have dated this event to August 13, 3114 B.C., based on the Maya calendar. This event was reflected in the heavens each year on August 13, when the Milky Way could be seen floating across the sky from east to west until midnight, when it shifted downward, north to south, plunging into the underworld.

Lidded tetrapod bowl with paddler and peccaries, Mexico or Guatemala, southern Maya lowlands, Maya, c. A.D. 250-550, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund.

Atop this lidded bowl sits the Maya sun god, Kinich Ahau, also in a canoe. As he paddles through the underworld each night, his path takes him through the constellations, one of which is represented by the pig-like mammals incised into the bowl’s legs.

Next Monday, October 24, Arts & Letters Live will welcome author Dava Sobel, whose new book A More Perfect Heaven recounts the revolutionary life and work of Nicolaus Copernicus. Had he been around to observe the skies of ancient America with the Maya, I think they might have found some common ground.

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

Bookends

We’ll host our 1st Annual BooksmART festival on Saturday June 11th from 11am to 5pm. General admission to the Museum will be FREE with a fun-packed day of events and activities celebrating literacy and the arts for the young and young-at-heart. Our  stellar lineup of authors, illustrators and performers include Rick Riordan, Laurie Halse Anderson, Norton Juster, Jerry Pinkney, David Wiesner and many more!

One of the authors that I am especially excited to hear  is Cynthia Leitich Smith, a New York Times bestselling and award-winning author whose fictionfor young readers  is noted for its diversity, humor, lyricism, imaginativeness, compelling action, and mid-to-southwestern settings. And I got the chance recently to ask her a few questions.

Q: Why did you decide on a career writing for children and young adults?

As a child and teen, I was an avid reader and writer. I read all of the Newbery winners and everything by Judy Blume. I transitioned to spooky stories during adolescence. Along the way, I also read graphic-format books (which we used to call “comics”).  In sixth grade, I had a column, “Dear Gabby” in Mr. Rideout’s classroom newsletter, offering advice to the troubled and lovelorn.

I went on to become editor of my junior high and high school newspapers. From there, I earned a journalism degree and law degree, working summers for small-town and major metro newspapers (including the Dallas Morning News) and in law offices.

As a first-generation college graduate, I was mindful of pursuing writing jobs with relative security to them. But in my late 20s, after the Oklahoma City Bombing, I was reminded that life can be short, unpredictable, and precious–that we should follow our dreams and do our best to uplift others. I could imagine no pursuit closer to my heart than books for young readers, and from that point on, I’ve dedicated myself to that end.

Q:  You are a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.  How has your Native American heritage and identity influenced your writing?

The quintessential advice we give to new voices is: write what you know. For me, that meant realistic stories of lower middle class, mixed blood Native American families from the mid-to-southwest. It meant stories of daily life and intergenerational relationships and military service and loss and healing.

My first book, Jingle Dancer  is about a young girl who assembles her jingle dance regalia with the aid of women of every generation of her intertribal community and then dances to honor them at a powwow. My debut novel for tweens, Rain is Not My Indian Name, is about a girl who, after the unexpected death of her best friend, slowly reconnects to the important people in her life through the lens of a camera. Indian Shoes is a collection of humorous, touching short stories for middle grade readers. They’re about young Ray and his Grandpa Halfmoon.

I’ve continued writing about Native characters and themes in my short stories. In 2012, I look forward to the publication of a companion short story to one by noted Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac, which will appear in Girl Meets Boy. Our tales are a fun pairing, about two Native teens–one who’s a tall, formidable basketball-star girl and one who’s a short, scrawny boy into martial arts. It’s a love story–naturally.

 

Q: You shifted your emphasis to fantasy for your book TANTALIZE, the first in a series.  What made you want to tackle the fantasy/gothic fiction genre?

I occasionally joke that I’m in the thrall of the master, by which I mean Abraham Stoker. I was fascinated by Dracula, especially with regard to the timelessness of its themes for teen (and grown-up) readers today. The classic touches on gender and power, orientation, the “dark other” (which back in the day meant Eastern European), plague, invasion, and more. All of those topics are still very much with us today, and looking at the vampire mythology itself….

Q: What has been one of your most meaningful interactions with one of your readers?
A handful of teenage girls have written to tell me that they have left their abusive boyfriends because of Quincie, the hero of the Tantalize series. A girl has written to say that she felt differently–better about herself–after having been assaulted by someone she’d trusted.

Other kids have written to say that Rain is Not My Indian Name helped them to cope with the loss of a loved one, and an aunt told me that her niece wouldn’t speak of a friend’s death until she could do so by using the novel as a reference point.

Most recently, I’m reminded of a boy–about age 14–who came up to me on my recent book tour. I was in New York City, and he approached me with a well-loved and quite tattered copy of Tantalize. He said it was the first book he’d ever finished. “The first book?” I asked, and he nodded solemnly. “The first book ever,” he emphasized. “All the way through.”

Q: What are you most excited about for the BooksmART festival?  Can an art museum add something to the traditional book festival?

I’m excited to connect with folks who have a global love of the arts–visual, literary, and beyond. They’re people of imagination and possibilities–kindred souls and the very kind of heroes that I love to write about.  Austin may be my home now, but Dallas will always be dear to me. See y’all soon.

Cynthia Leitich Smith will be presenting on her young adult fiction, including her latest novel, Blessed, in Horchow Auditorium. 

She will also present on her books for younger readers that explore Native themes and characters in the DMA’s exhibition Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection

Katie Hutton is Interim Head of Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art

Coming Soon: The BooksmART Festival

Growing up, I loved to read.  I looked forward to trips to the library, and the arrival of the Scholastic Book Fair was always the highlight of my school year.  I’m still an avid reader today, and I have a soft spot for children’s literature and young adult fiction (Harry Potter, and yes, even Twilight).  So imagine my delight when it was announced last month that Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, was one of the featured keynote authors for the DMA’s first ever BooksmART Festival.

What exactly is the BooksmART Festival?  It is a day-long free event put together by the DMA’s Arts & Letters Live team.  On Saturday, June 11th, visitors of all ages can enjoy presentations, book signings, and hands-on demonstrations from a wide array of award winning authors and illustrators.  A complete listing of participants can be found on our Web site.  A schedule of events – including storytelling, musical performances, and tours led by our Teen Docents – will be available shortly.

In preparation for the BooksmART Festival, I interviewed my colleague and friend, Katie Hutton.  Katie is the Interim Head of Arts & Letters Live, and one of the great minds behind the festival.

Katie Hutton (R) with Tony and Lauren Dungy at a BooksmART event earlier this year

How long have you worked at the DMA?
I have worked at the Dallas Museum of Art for almost six years.  I started as a McDermott Adult Programming Intern for a year and then worked for four years as Program Manager for Arts & Letters Live.  Last November, I took over as Interim Head of Arts & Letters Live. 

Describe your job as the Interim Head of Arts and Letters Live.
Arts & Letters Live is the literary and performing arts series at the Dallas Museum of Art.  We are celebrating our 20th anniversary season this year and have featured some of the greatest names in contemporary literature and the performing arts.

I oversee approximately thirty-five to forty Arts & Letters Live programs each season.  I work with the Director of Programming and the Arts & Letters Live team to plan each season and implement the programs.  I have found that the writers, actors and artists we bring in are some of the most thoughtful and interesting people I have ever met. 

During your five years with Arts and Letters Live, which author has left you the most star-struck?  Why?
Ooooh, that’s a good question.  I was definitely a little star-struck by Gary Paulsen, author of the children’s adventure novel, Hatchet.  I read that book more times than I can count when I was growing up, so it was a real thrill to get the chance to meet the man behind the story.

I was also definitely star-struck by Tony Kushner.  I was a drama minor in college and loved Angels in America.  Tony Kushner was so smart and funny.  Getting to have dinner with him and get a sneak peek into the next play he was working on is one of the highlights of my time with Arts & Letters. 

How did the idea for the BooksmART Festival come about?
The idea was born about a year-and-a-half ago. We have had a BooksmART series as part of Arts & Letters Live for a number of years, in which we brought in children’s and young adult authors and illustrators.  We have developed a terrific, loyal audience base for this series over the years.

What we found, however, was that these events were cost-prohibitive for some people, and we wanted to find a way to reach a broader cross-section of the Dallas community.  We decided to shift the emphasis to a day-long free festival featuring something for everyone.  We hope that our loyal BooksmART audiences will come and celebrate with us, and that we will also get new visitors to the Museum to discover and embrace all that the DMA has to offer. 

Which BooksmART Festival author are you most looking forward to hearing speak?
I am especially excited about Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.  I heard Norton Juster at the National Book Festival last fall.  He is in his eighties but still has this boyish zeal for life.

I am also very excited about Cynthia Leitich Smith.   A fellow Texan, she has such an incredible range to her work.  She writes for very young children right up through older teens.  I find that very admirable. I also love the ways she has incorporated her Native American heritage into her stories. 

My hope is that people will perhaps come to hear an author they are more familiar with but will stay and discover some new favorite authors while they are here.

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Connecting with the DMA in January 2011

With the fall semester winding down in the next few weeks, I would like to suggest a few ways you can connect with the Dallas Museum of Art in the new year.

Thursday, January 13, 2011
7:30 p.m., Horchow Auditorium
State of the Arts: Celebrating Big New Field: Artists in the Cowboys Stadium Art Program

    

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
7:30 p.m., Horchow Auditorium
Arts & Letters Live:  Kim Edwards
 

Friday, January 21, 2011
Late Night at the Dallas Museum of Art
Show your Educator ID to receive FREE Museum admission
   

Thursday, January 27, 2011
7:30 p.m., Horchow Auditorium
The Seventh Annual Michael L. Rosenberg Lecture: 
“Beguiling Deception”: Allegorical Portraiture in Early 18th-Century France 
 

Friday, January 28, 2011
7:30 p.m., Horchow Auditorium
Arts & Letters Live:    Annie Proulx
 
 

Saturday, January 29, 2011
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. 
Teacher Workshop:  Animals from Africa at the Dallas Zoo and the Dallas Museum of Art

There is always something to do and see at the DMA or within the Arts District!    We  look forward to seeing you soon, whether you are visiting with your students or visiting with friends and family.

Until next time….

Jenny Marvel
Manager of Programs and Resources for Teachers

Fall Top 10

It’s September already!   If you’re like me, September is a month to look ahead and start filling the calendar with fall activities.  Below is a Top 10 list of dates to save and new and fun Museum initiatives to look forward to in the coming months. 

  1. New DMA blog, Uncrated.  Colleagues from all departments of the Museum are contributing to this new blog, which already has lots of great behind-the-scenes photos and insight.
  2. Reinstallation of European galleries.  Curators Olivier Meslay and Heather MacDonald recently reinstalled the 15th-18th century European galleries on our 2nd floor.  Look for new objects, new loans, and old favorites. 
  3. New bite-sized tours. This summer, the Museum unveiled bite-sized tours; self-guided adventures that are a perfect way to discover something new in the galleries.  Current tours include: All That Glitters, Superheros, and Seeing Red
  4. Encountering Space in The Center for Creative Connections.  The C3 will re-open on Saturday, September 25th with a new exhibition that explores how artists manipulate space and how visitors engage with it.  Opening day coincides with Museum Day, a Smithsonian Magazine-sponsored annual event that provides free museum admission with a pre-printed ticket.
  5. Free days for teachers and families.  September and October are chock-full of free days for teachers and families!
  6. Visiting Artist John Bramblitt. Painter John Bramblitt will be the C3 Visiting Artist in October, which is Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month.  Bramblitt recently shared his process, artworks, and experiences as a blind artist with our summer art campers.  Check our website for more information about experiences he will lead in October.
  7. Thinking Creatively Workshops. Starting in October, creativity expert Dr. Magdalena Grohman will team up with our C3 visiting artist to lead a monthly Thursday evening workshop.  The experience will begin with creative thinking exercises and conclude with a making activity that builds on ideas generated during the exercises. 
  8. Arts & Letters Live/C3 program on Innovation.  On Tuesday, October 19th author Steven Johnson will discuss his forthcoming book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.  Also this fall, the Museum will offer an incredible array of lectures.
  9. Texas Space.  With the Texas Space component to the new C3 exhibition, we’ll be displaying visitor artworks in the galleries.  To submit a photo, visit our Flickr site.
  10. The Butter Sculpture at the State Fair of Texas.  Speaking of Texas-related things!  This always makes my not-to-miss list for the fall. 

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

Upcoming Arts and Letters Live…

Arts & Letters Live has a slew of exciting authors slated to visit the DMA in the coming months, coinciding with the recent opening of the DMA’s new special exhibition Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea.  Author Robert Kurson will be at the DMA on Thursday, May 6th to talk about his book Shadow Divers, which tells the story of two weekend scuba divers who risk everything to solve one of the last mysteries of World War II (get tickets).  If you haven’t visited Coastlines already (or even if you have), there is a great opportunity to learn about the exhibition before the lecture; Heather MacDonald, The Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art, will lead a tour of Coastlines at 6:30, with Kurson’s lecture to follow at 7:30.  Then join Isabel Allende at First United Methodist on Thursday, May 13th to hear about her new book Island Beneath the Sea, which tells the story of the intertwined lives of Tete, a Haitian slave, and Toulouse Valmorain, a plantation owner’s son.  Click here for tickets. 

Justin Greenlee                                                                                                                               McDermott Intern, Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Arts and Letters Live: Texas Bound II

Over the years the DMA has actively collaborated with students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.  We’re neighbors, and we benefit from having each other around.  It’s a self-sustaining engine: students share their talents with us, we instigate and inspire new creative effort in them, and they share their creative output with us all over again.                                                                                        

The Dallas Museum of Art, Booker T. Washington, and The Dee and Charles Wyly Theater for the Performing Arts recently collaborated on Arts & Letters Live’s Texas Bound: Texas Stories I.  Texas actors gathered to read short stories by Texas authors Larry L. King, Jennifer Mathieu, Mark Wisniewski, and Matt Clark.  G.W. Bailey’s reading of Matt Clark’s The Crowned Heads of Pecos was a particular treat: Sad to say, but the bridge is gone now… If you haven’t read it, get a copy.  It’s wonderful.  As the actors read, photographs of works by students from BTW’s Portfolio Class were projected behind them. 

There won’t be any student artworks this time (the BTW students are busy preparing for the DMA’s Art Ball), but Arts & Letters Live has put together a fantastic line-up for Texas Bound: Texas Stories II.  The event takes place on Monday, April 19th at 7:30 p.m. in the Horchow Auditorium and features stories by Sarah Bird, Will Dunlap, Tim O’Brien and Cristina Henríquez read by Julie White, John Benjamin Hickey, and James Crawford (tickets).  Don’t miss it!

Justin Greenlee  

McDermott Intern with Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Lightning Kiss by Angelica Valdez

The Stricken Affair by Billie Beth Ricca

Neurological Fears by Danni Rogina-Lopez

 

A Part of You by Deanna Smith


Archives

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

Categories