Posts Tagged 'Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga'

Uncrating 2015

At the DMA, 2015 was a great year full of art, fun, and visitors enjoying an array of exhibitions, programs, and events. Highlights include the fifth anniversary of two of our access programs (Autism Awareness Family Celebrations and Meaningful Moments), the presentation of four DMA-organized exhibitions (Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga, Michaël Borremans: As sweet as it gets, Spirit and Matter: Masterpieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, and Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots), eleven Late Nights, an active year of paintings and object conservation, dozens of classes and art camps for kids, the hosting of our third naturalization ceremony, the topping out of the Museum’s new Eagle Family Plaza and north entrance, and more than 700,000 visitors in 2015. We can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!

 

After Midnight: When the artwork is an early riser

Eight months ago, I joined the Dallas Museum of Art as the Director of Collections Management, helping to oversee the care of our art collection—both on and off the walls in our galleries and for our special exhibitions.  As part of that responsibility, I supervise the Museum’s team of preparators and registrars. Preparators are the staff who actually handle the art and are responsible for installing the artwork you see hanging in the galleries. Registrars, among other duties, are in charge of all logistics and coordination of loans coming to the DMA. Members of our excellent team have written about their adventures on Uncrated before (relive some of those stories here, here, here, here, and here!).

Last month we were all focused on the arrival of paintings from around the globe for our newest special exhibition, Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga.

Art travels in specially built crates, and there are particular companies that coordinate the shipping and customs procedures for works of art. The DMA Registrar staff works in close contact with these companies to make sure the works are safe and sound at all times. They know what size crate can fit in the cargo hold of different aircrafts and all possible flight options. We are kind of the travel agent for the artwork! We know that if a crate is higher than 63 inches it means that it will need to fly in a cargo plane.

That was the case for some of the most amazing artwork you will see in Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga, which opens at the DMA on February 8. We had 30 crates of 52 works of art travel from Japan to Dallas accompanied by the staff from the Japan Foundation and couriers from two of the lending institutions, the Mie Prefectural Art Museum, and the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art.
Truck arrival

As there is no need to cater to passengers, cargo flights tend to leave and arrive at not the most convenient times. They are likely to arrive in the middle of the night—or in the middle of the morning, depending on how you look at it!

Truck manovering

The Shiraga and Motonaga works arrived at the DMA on a cold January night. Registrar and Preparator staff, armed with lots of coffee, good attitudes, and heavy coats, were at the DMA to receive the shipment. Our galleries were dark, and so was the night outside. Under the watchful eyes of our Security staff, we worked just as we would during the day, moving quickly and carefully. Preparators unloaded the big truck and moved the crates into our galleries. There they would acclimatize—a museum term for adjust to the current conditions (sort of like getting over jet lag)—for a 24-hour period. Afterward, these beautiful works were uncrated and installed in the presence of their couriers.

Truck at dock

I hope you will visit the DMA soon and enjoy this stunning exhibition!

Isabel Stauffer is the Director of Collections Management at the DMA.

Forward Facing

With the onset of a new year, it’s useful to take stock of what is up next at the Museum. At the end of January, we will mark the second anniversary of DMA Friends, our much-heralded free membership program. With more information gleaned from our visitors than ever before, we are excited to share insights among four major art museums exploring the opportunities presented by this program, thanks to a six-figure grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and DMA are partnering in a roll-out of the museum Friends program, and will have much to learn in the months ahead.

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Maxwell L. Anderson discussing the Wittgenstein Vitrine with AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Chris Heinbaugh

 

Following the evocative exhibition of 19th-century oils titled Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse, which local critics hailed as one of the best  exhibitions of 2014, we look forward to presenting three remarkable exhibitions of art of the last half-century. Between Action and the Unknown: The Art of Kazuo Shiraga and Sadamasa Motonaga opens on February 8 in the Hoffman Galleries, for the first time revealing some of the breadth of the Museum’s newly formed collection of postwar Japanese painting and sculpture, which augments an already major collection of European and American art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The newly acquired Marcia H Travels (1970), the first work in the DMA’s collection by the Guyanese-born British painter Frank Bowling, will be displayed along with four other paintings by Bowling from private collections. Frank Bowling: Map Paintings, opening February 20, will mark the first time in nearly forty-five years that these “Map Paintings” will be brought together since their debut at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1971.

Rounding out the spring, the US premiere of the internationally traveling exhibition, Michaël Borremans: As sweet as it gets, on the work of contemporary Belgian artist Michaël Borremans opens at the DMA in March 2015. Co-organized by the DMA and Center for Fine Arts, Brussels (BOZAR), this retrospective will draw our visitors into the fascinating realism of one of today’s most heralded painters.

A feast for the eye, all are made possible by the generous supporters of the DMA, to whom the Board and staff extend our sincere appreciation. I look forward to welcoming you to the Museum this winter and spring, and hope you will encourage others to join as DMA Partners to undergird free general admission—a year-round gift to our community.

Maxwell L. Anderson is The Eugene McDermott Director at the DMA


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