Posts Tagged 'connections'

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

baltimore

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

Six Degrees of Francis Bacon

Have you ever played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? This week, the Digital Collections Content team played Six (plus a few more) Degrees of Francis Bacon and sought interesting connections across DMA artworks. On a daily basis, this team extensively tags artworks in the collection with terms related to material, maker, subject matter, and more, so they are pretty adept at finding connections!

Let’s start with a figural painting—a man in stark green surroundings—by 20th century artist Francis Bacon, part of the DMA’s contemporary collection.

Francis Bacon, Walking Figure, 1959-1960, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Lambert, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. David Garrison

Francis Bacon, Walking Figure, 1959-1960; oil on canvas; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Lambert, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. David Garrison, © Estate of Francis Bacon / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London

Next is another painting from the contemporary collection. This one is on paper, incorporates non-conventional materials, and is by Dallas artist Stephen Lapthisophon.

Stephen Lapthisophon, Rabbit, 2010; Spray paint, ink, coffee and pigmented bacon fat on paper; Dallas Museum of Art, Mary Margaret Munson Wilcox Fund, © Stephen Lapthisophon

Stephen Lapthisophon, Rabbit, 2010; Spray paint, ink, coffee and pigmented bacon fat on paper; Dallas Museum of Art, Mary Margaret Munson Wilcox Fund, © Stephen Lapthisophon

Our third work of art is a print, Barnyard with Tanks and Pigs, by another Dallas artist and supporter of the arts, Velma Davis Dozier.

Velma Davis Dozier, Barnyard with Tanks and Pigs, n.d.; crayon; Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Denni Davis Washburn and Marie Scott Miegel, ©Denni Davis Washburn, William Robert Miegel Jr, and Elizabeth Marie Miegel

Velma Davis Dozier, Barnyard with Tanks and Pigs, n.d.; crayon; Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Denni Davis Washburn and Marie Scott Miegel, ©Denni Davis Washburn, William Robert Miegel Jr, and Elizabeth Marie Miegel

This next container from our Pacific Rim collection incorporates the same subject: a pig!

Pig-form container, Borneo: Kayan or Kenyah peoples, 19th century; ironwood; Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Pig-form container, Borneo: Kayan or Kenyah peoples, 19th century; ironwood; Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Pigs also adorn this glass from our decorative arts collection.

Glass with decoration of pigs, n.d., Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Glass with decoration of pigs, n.d., Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Another work in our decorative arts collection is this porcelain plate by artist Acee Blue Eagle, which shows a figure in a headdress.

Acee Blue Eagle, Plate with "Bacon Rind" pattern decoration, c. 1955; porcelain and decal; Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund

Acee Blue Eagle, Plate with “Bacon Rind” pattern decoration, c. 1955; porcelain and decal; Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund

Like the central figure on Acee Blue Eagle’s plate, this Maya figure, riding a peccary, wears a headdress.

Lidded bowl with a man riding a peccary, Maya, 250–550 C.E.; ceramic; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association purchase

Lidded bowl with a man riding a peccary, Maya, 250–550 C.E.; ceramic; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association purchase

At a little over two inches long, this ridiculously cute little piggy tape measure is comparable to the size of the peccary.

Tape measure, 19th century; brass and silk; Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth Weaver

Tape measure, 19th century; brass and silk; Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Elizabeth Weaver

This print depicts the inside of an antique store, full of interesting odds and ends–just the sort of place you might find a collection of sewing accoutrements like the one in which our little piggy tape measure was donated.

Peggy Bacon, The Priceless Find, 1944; lithograph; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Peggy Bacon, The Priceless Find, 1944; lithograph; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Another print—also inscribed near the bottom—is a portrait is of Nicholas Bacon, English government official and father of philosopher Sir Francis Bacon.

Crispijn Van De Passe, Nicholas Bacon, 1620; line engraving; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

Crispijn Van De Passe, Nicholas Bacon, 1620; line engraving; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

Which brings us back to the painting by Francis Bacon (not to be confused with the aforementioned philosopher), Walking Man.

Francis Bacon, Walking Figure, 1959-1960; oil on canvas; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Lambert, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. David Garrison, © Estate of Francis Bacon / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London

Francis Bacon, Walking Figure, 1959-1960; oil on canvas; Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Lambert, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. David Garrison, © Estate of Francis Bacon / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London

Perhaps you might notice a broader theme running throughout our list? The connections really are endless! Which ones will you make on your next visit?

Andrea Severin Goins
Head of Interpretation

Recipe for Art: The DMA’s Delicious New Tour

With a new year beginning, we are delighted to announce a new school tour at the DMA! Starting this month, schools can book “Recipe for Art,” a tour developed for Kindergarten and First Grade visitors by our Manager of Early Learning Programs, Leah Hanson, and our Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs, Josh Rose.

One of the main goals of “Recipe for Art” is to help children make connections between art and their own personal experience. This is done by connecting a familiar idea (that of using a recipe to make a delicious treat) to the way that an artist makes a work of art. Instead of ingredients like flour and sugar, the ingredients for art are the elements of design: shape, line, color and texture.

On the tour, groups will visit four or five different works of art in the collection, in order to talk about the basic elements of design. Groups first explore what the terms mean before then looking closely at the work of art in front of them. This leads to discussion, after which the children engage in a variety of kinetic and multi-sensory activities. These activities were specially designed to address various learning styles and to focus on the attention span and needs of this particular age group.

One important characteristic of these young visitors is their need to move! The tour was specifically designed to give children opportunities for purposeful movement–movement that helps them connect what they see to the motion that they are asked to make. One example of this is an activity based on Jackson Pollock’s Cathedral. The children are each given “paint” (a piece of string) and they throw it onto a “canvas” (a piece of felt), in order to simulate the movement of Pollock’s action painting. This allows the children to burn off some of their energy, while also connecting them with the art!

The “Recipe for Art” tour was developed by members of the DMA staff, but it will be implemented by our wonderful docents, who lead most of our school tours. Yesterday, the docents gathered for a training dedicated to this new tour. Leah gave them an overview of the tour and its origins, before sharing tips and strategies on how to deal with this particular age group. After that, the docents were given an opportunity to look over the supplies for the wide variety of activities that they may use on the tour. I even took some of my fellow McDermott Interns into the galleries to try out some of the activities!

For most visitors of this age group, it will be their first visit to a museum. With this new and unique tour, we’re hoping to make their first experience not only a positive one, but one that they will remember. By teaching these curious and imaginative children the basic elements of design, they will then be equipped with all of the ingredients to make their own art!

We’ve already begun to schedule the “Recipe for Art” through the month of January. If you’re interested in booking a tour for your school or classroom, complete our tour request form online and our Audience Relations Coordinator Madeleine Fitzgerald will get you scheduled!

Liz Bola
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Measuring the Immeasurable

In January 2014, the Center for Creative Connections (C3) launched a series of activities which take place at a large table in our gallery space.  Each activity is related to a work of art in the C3 Gallery and offers resources to assist in visitors’ creative process.

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  •  The Portrait Drawing activity, which focuses on two portrait paintings by William Henry Huddle (Old Slave and Self Portrait), includes mirrors for self-portraiture and facial proportion handouts.
  • The Hybrid Drawing with Light Boxes activity, which focuses on The Minotaur by Marcel Dzama, includes four large light boxes and printouts of works of art from the Museum’s collection so that visitors can combine human and animal figures to draw a hybrid creature.
  • The Patterns with Felt Triangles activity, which focuses on Starry Crown by John Biggers, includes 9×12 inch black felt backgrounds and a colorful assortment of small felt triangles that visitors can use to create patterns similar to those represented in the painting.

After each of the three activities had a one month trial period, we felt certain that they were successful, but wanted to learn more about why and how these activities were successful.  As art educators, we know intrinsically that experiences with art make a difference in people’s lives.  Yet, when we are asked to prove this it can seem an unattainable task.  Proving the importance of art education is perhaps made even more daunting in an informal learning environment where visitors come for various reasons, but generally not to be quizzed about their experiences with art.  So, we sought advice from our evaluator to determine goals, indicators, and potential interview questions for each activity and immediately set to the task of measuring the immeasurable.  Since April, we have observed and interviewed participants at the gallery table each Saturday from 1:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.  During that two and a half hour block of time we have found the following averages:

  • Portrait Drawing– on average 23, adults and 18 children participated; visitors spent about 13.8 minutes drawing with times ranging from 1 – 30 minutes.
  • Hybrid Drawing – on average 27 adults and 36 children participated; visitors spent about 10 minutes drawing with a time range of 1 – 50 minutes.
  • Patterns– on average 11 adults and 9 children participated; visitors spent about 7 minutes creating patterns with a range of 1 – 33 minutes.

Though these averages tell us a lot about how much time people spend and how many people engage in our activities, the most interesting aspect of this evaluation has been hearing our visitors’ feedback and seeing the images they post of their work on social media.

Visitor Feedback:

“Well, it’s like… it’s fun.  Like drawing before was so serious and it had to be perfect, cause you were doing it for a grade.  But this is just for enjoyment.”

“I’m guessing this was made for children? It’s fun and different and I didn’t expect to see this here. Yeah, it’s like that spark of creativity, kind of… childlike.  I didn’t think I’d spend as much time or get into it like I did.”

“People think patterns have to be rigid, like red, yellow, blue and then repeat, but by playing with this you can be more creative.”

“This is more interactive than other galleries. [In] the other galleries you’re just looking, but here you get to do something.”

“I like to do the activity because it gets the kids interested in art, and if I do it, they’ll probably want to try it too.”

“It’s nice to make everyone focus.  I would have never gotten him [points to husband] to do this at home.”

Through this evaluation we have come to better understand our visitors’ habits and motivations. For example, we found that most visitors do not read instructions.  If the instructions are read it is only the main text at the top of the document that catches a visitor’s eye.  This could be because these activities tend to attract visitors who prefer some amount of active doing or making rather than passive looking.  Furthermore, visitors will spend more time participating in activities that provide seating and social interaction.  Regarding motivations, we found that visitors who participate in these activities are likely to have some underlying interest in the media or subject matter presented.

As we move forward and continue to develop activities for the gallery table we will take these lessons into consideration.   We will make our instructions more concise, we will offer activities that involve a social component, and we’ll branch out to include a variety of media so as to appeal to visitors who are interested in diverse artistic processes.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

 

 

Friday Photos: Capturing Culture

Art is often a reflection of a society’s culture; it can range from an artist’s response to a specific experience, to a cultural relic born out of a particular time and place.  The Dallas Museum of Art’s collection represents cultures from every continent over the last 5,000 years.  Help us explore the diversity within North Texas by sharing your photographs that capture culture.

Upload your photographs here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/dmaculture 

Click here for guidelines and more information.

Submitted photos will be on view in the DMA’s Center for Creative Connections starting in July.

Jessica Fuentes

C3 Gallery Coordinator

Art’s Inspiration

 

Image of Art Smith photo by Arthur Mones, 1979

Image of Art Smith photo by Arthur Mones, 1979

Last weekend, From Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith opened at the Dallas Museum of Art.  In connection with this exhibition, the Center for Creative Connections is pleased to have on view a “Baker” Bracelet by Art Smith, along with a collection of tools owned by the artist.  Because a different “Baker” Bracelet is also on view in the exhibition, we faced the challenge of providing information that would expand on and not simply duplicate the information included in the exhibition.  In the months prior to installing the bracelet, I  learned that “Baker” referred to Josephine Baker.  So, naturally, my first question (and the one that I thought visitors might have) was “Who is Josephine Baker?”

As it turns out, Josephine Baker led quite an amazing life.  Baker was an African-American dancer and singer, who rose to fame in France.  In 1926, her performance in the popular show La Folie du Jour cemented her celebrity status.  During World War II, she worked for the French Resistance both entertaining troops and smuggling hidden messages in her sheet music.  After the war she returned to the United States and was an advocate for the Civil Rights movement.  Her efforts were acknowledged by the NAACP, who named May 20th “Josephine Baker Day.”  Baker, loved for her singing, dancing, fashion and beauty, was greatly admired by artists and writers of the time such as Langston Hughes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Pablo Picasso.  However, what I found most intriguing was that she inspired several sculptures by Alexander Calder.  Calder is known to have been an influence on modernist jewelers like Art Smith, and so their mutual interest in Baker caught my attention.

 

What similarities can you notice in the lines, shapes, angles, and curves between the bracelet and the images of Josephine Baker?

Visit the Center for Creative Connections to see the “Baker” Bracelet and Art Smith’s tools and to learn more about Smith’s inspiration and process.  On view through December 7, 2014.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

Collection Connections: Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman, the groundbreaking artist’s retrospective that spans her career from the mid-1970s to the present, is currently on view at the DMA through June 9, 2013. Her photographs derive inspiration from a myriad of sources, including television, film, art history, high society, and cultural stereotypes. These themes, influences, and connections that run throughout her work can also be explored in many seemingly unrelated artworks in the DMA’s permanent collection.

Photography
Like the work of many of her contemporaries, Sherman’s photographs operate in opposition to her modernist predeecssors, like Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Edward Weston, and Ansel Adams, who elevated form over content. Sherman, on the other hand, is more interested in how photography and images shape and exist within contemporary society. In fact, instead of identifying as a photographer, she sees herself as an artist who uses photography.

  • Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #28, 1979, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Fredericka Hunter and Ian Glennie, Houston. (left)
  • Paul Strand, Abstraction, Porch Shadows Connecticut (1915), negative 1915, print 1976, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Joseph W. Gray, M.D. (right)

Female Contemporaries
Sherman cites several women artists, including Hannah Wilke, Lynda Benglis, Eleanor Antin, and Suzy Lake, as role models for bringing their own female bodies into their artistic practice. She also acknowledges the leading role that females, herself included, played in the formation of postmodernist work, observing: “In the later ’80s… what probably did increase the feeling of community was when more women began to get recognized for their work, most of them in photography: Sherrie [Levine], Laurie [Simmons], Sarah Charlesworth, Barbara Ess… There was a female solidarity.”

  • Sherrie Levine, After Man Ray (La Fortune): 6, 1990, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift. (left)
  • Lynda Benglis, Odalisque (Hey, Hey Frankenthaler), 1969, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund. (upper right)
  • Hannah Wilke, Pink Champagne, 1975, Collection of Marguerite Steed Hoffman. (lower right)

Portraits and Self-Portraits
Though Sherman serves as the model as well as the artist, director, and producer for all her photographs, she is adamant that none of her photographs are self-portraits. In fact, she feels rather detached from the characters she portrays: “It’s not like I’m method acting or anything. I don’t feel that I am that person… I don’t become her.” Along with the varied works below, Sherman tests the traditional definition of portraiture and self-portraiture.

Cindy Sherman - Untitled #89

  • Cindy Sherman, Untitled #89, 1981, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund.
  • Jackie Saccoccio, Portrait (Hermetic), 2012, Collection of Marguerite Steed Hoffman. (left)
  • Jackson Pollock, Portrait and a Dream, 1953, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated. (upper right)
  • Jim Dine, Self-Portrait Next to a Colored Window, 1964, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, Contemporary Arts Council Fund. (lower right)

Rococo Influences
Through her partnership with a Limoges porcelain house, Sherman produced a dinnerware and tea service set inspired by Madame de Pompadour. On the DMA’s soup tureen pictured below, Sherman appears dressed up as this famed and influential mistress of King Louis XV. The Museum’s Abduction of Europa was painted by Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre, the Rococo artist who was named First Painter to King Louis XV in 1770.

  • Cindy Sherman, “Madame de Pompadour (née Poisson)” soup tureen with platter, 1990, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund. (left)
  • Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre, The Abduction of Europa, 1750, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund.

Film
Sherman states: “Film has always been more influential to me than the art world.” In fact, her seminal body of work–the Untitled Film Stills produced from 1977 to 1980–visually recalls 1950s and 1960s Hollywood, film noir, B-movies, and works by directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Douglas Sirk. The two artists whose works are shown below found a similar inspiration in film.

  • Marlo Pascual, Untitled, 2009, Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund. (left)
  • Luc Tuymans, The Man from Wiels II, 2008, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAr Benefit Auction Fund. (right)

Alex Vargo
McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching


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