Posts Tagged 'Contemporary Art'

A Conversation with Rashid Johnson  

Pictured Left to Right: Artist Rashid Johnson; Dr. Anna Katherine Brodbeck, Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art; Dr. Agustín Arteaga, The Eugene McDermott Director

Rashid Johnson, this year’s TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art 2022 honoree and renowned multidisciplinary artist, gifted the DMA with his multimedia work, The New Black Yoga Installation. Featuring five men performing an enigmatic dance of ballet, yoga, tai chi and martial arts across a sun-soaked beach, the work explores the complexity of personal and cultural identity. Johnson’s ongoing meditations on black masculinity and mysticism are reflected through their choreographed dance movements. Rugs branded with crosshairs, a symbol that is etched into the sand in the video, are situated throughout the gallery, projecting the film’s combined sense of peace and foreboding into physical space.  

Below is an excerpt from a transcript of a conversation between Rashid Johnson and the DMA’s Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Dr. Anna Katherine Brodbeck, at The Warehouse in Dallas, Texas. This dialogue has been edited for length and clarity. 

Katherine: 

When I saw you yesterday at the Museum, you were saying it’s been probably eight or nine years since you’ve really interacted with the piece and seen it in person. I’m so happy to have this work on view and to discuss it with you for the first time because it’s a very layered and enigmatic work. Perhaps you could speak a little bit on how this work came about in your practice. 

Rashid: 

This film, The New Black Yoga, was born of a time when I was living with my wife, Sheree, in Berlin. And it was the first time I was living internationally. I was working on an exhibition and doing a residency. But, as anyone who’s familiar with my work knows about me, I’m an anxious person. And I was asking myself, how do I start to deal with this anxiety? My doctor said I should go do yoga. Since I was in Germany, all the yoga classes were in German. Apparently, that’s just how it works, right? [Laughs] I thought I would just follow what the other people did. 

And, apparently, that’s just not how a real yoga practice is formed [laughs]. And so, because of that my sense is to do something absurd and continue to follow a path. I found a male performer and made a film, and I called it Black Yoga. Now, this man knew nothing about yoga—I, too, knew nothing about yoga [laughs]—but he was interested in ballet. I had an 8mm camera and I said, “Let’s do it, let’s make up black yoga.” I just started giving him moves to do and we made this film called Black Yoga. And by expanding on that was born this film, which is executed using five characters called The New Black Yoga and shot on 16mm film. 

It’s this fun way to kind of revisit this idea of healing, or the creation of healing, using your own creative sensibility to invent a way to navigate complicated circumstances. And that’s how this film was born. That’s its origin story.  

Katherine: 

Thank you for that. I want to talk a little bit about the healing aspect of the piece. The installation that we have at the DMA has a series of branded rugs on the floor. Then you look at the film—it is a very serene film of beautiful movement on a beautiful beach at dusk—and there also appears to be crosshairs that are written into the sand. Then you notice that there are enigmatic runes that give a sense of mysticism but also of foreboding because it does appear that there are these crosshairs in the rugs. I wondered if you could talk a little bit about the kind of symbolism that you’re dealing with.  

Rashid: 

You know, throughout my practice I’ve built an iconography, or a series of symbols and signs, that reference either personal or collective experience—for example, the rugs through branding, but also on the beach, a kind of simple technique of drawing in the sand. And one that you mentioned, Katherine, is the crosshairs.  

I’m a child of the eighties. The day before yesterday, I went to see a play by an incredible playwright and screenwriter named Susan Laurie Parks—she happened to also write the script for a film that I made. But I was sitting behind Spike Lee. I love Spike Lee. I’m just a huge, huge fan of Spike Lee. 

I have to say that, early on, I was quite obsessed with his films. One of his early films is a film many of you have probably seen called Do the Right Thing. I was quite young when it came out. But, there’s a song in it by a band called Public Enemy, and the song is called Fight the Power. I fell in love with Public Enemy. I thought that they were so brilliant. It was this radical discourse but it was also urban music and it was philosophy. Chuck D, who was the lead singer for the band, was this activist and this really brilliant character. On the cover of their albums, they often had this kind of crosshair—a gun sight. I remember asking myself over the course of looking at that album, listening to the music, and seeing how they employed the symbol—who was that sight for? Was the gun being pointed at them? Were they in the crosshairs or were they projecting the crosshairs onto whoever they were battling against? I’ve borrowed this symbol a lot in my work through branding. 

Of course, Katherine, you mentioned there’s several rugs that lay on the floor. Well, my wife is Iranian and I always joke that my mother-in-law and I don’t have a ton in common. But she likes Persian rugs and I like Persian rugs. So I started using these things in my work—almost as a way of reflecting on this relationship that I was building with her, and these cultural signifiers and the possibility that cultural encampment, instincts, and signifiers can become global and employed in different ways and borrowed, sanctioned, and given agency in different languages. So I coated the floor in these Persian rugs and then I branded them with different symbols. I’m excited about how they become both legible and potentially mysterious, simultaneously.  

Focus On: Rashid Johnson 

The Dallas Museum of Art invites visitors to step into the artwork of renowned multidisciplinary artist Rashid Johnson in Focus On: Rashid Johnson, an installation showcasing Johnson’s multimedia work The New Black Yoga Installation. Gifted to the DMA by the artist in 2022, this installation combines a video projection and branded Persian rugs to create an experience that is, at once, intense and intimate. The film features five men performing an enigmatic dance of ballet, yoga, tai chi, and martial arts across a sun-soaked beach, exploring the complexity of personal and cultural identity. Their choreographed movements reflect Johnson’s ongoing meditations on Black masculinity and mysticism, as well as his investigations of the body in space. Rugs branded with crosshairs, a symbol that is etched into the sand in the video, are situated throughout the gallery, projecting the film’s combined sense of peace and foreboding into physical space. 

About Rashid Johnson 

Rashid Johnson’s practice encompasses a wide range of media, including sculpture, painting, drawing, filmmaking, and installation. Via a rich visual lexicon of coded symbolism and autobiographical materials, Johnson’s artwork conducts searing meditations on race and class, in addition to examining individual and shared cultural identities. The artist, who was born in Chicago in 1977, is perhaps best known for translating cultural experiences, most commonly that of Black Americans, through his unique visual language. Johnson was recognized as the 2022 honoree for his contributions to contemporary art at the 2022 TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Gala and Auction, a charity auction that benefits both the DMA and amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. 

Edited by Trey Burns, Multimedia Producer, and Ellee McMeans, Communications Manager  

Photos Trey Burns, Multimedia Producer

Tracy Hicks’s “Freedman’s Field”

Tracy Hicks was a beloved figure in the Dallas arts community when he passed away in 2014 at the age of 68. Having myself moved to the city only in January 2017, I never got a chance to meet him, but his reputation soon reached me as I attempted to immerse myself in the local arts scene. Hicks was a foundational figure in Dallas, where he had lived since he was a toddler, before ultimately moving with his wife, journalist Victoria Loe Hicks, to North Carolina.

In fall 2018, Greg Metz invited me to see a brilliant retrospective of Hicks’s work at UTD’s SP/N Gallery. After walking through several rooms that showcased Hicks’s investigations around the intersection of scientific and archival processes with art, we encountered a light-locked space. Upon turning the corner, Freedman’s Field, a collection of excavated artifacts artfully arranged on a table, lay in resplendent glory. I had known of the work because it was first exhibited at the DMA in 1994 as part of the Encounters series, which keenly paired his work with the YBA artist Damian Hirst.

Tracy Hicks, Freedman’s Field, 1990–94, wood table, pottery shards, broken bottles, old watch parts, fragments of porcelain dolls, coins, buttons, oxidized silverware, and rusted metal, Dallas Museum of Art, Charron and Peter Denker Contemporary Texas Art Fund, 2020.14

Seeing it for the first time in person, after being steeped in the artist’s world and regaled with stories of his life and practice through Professor Metz’s fabulous tour, was a revelatory experience. The intense love and care Hicks had shown for these objects, which were repositories of such an important and lesser-known history of my new hometown, was palpable. I instantly fell for it, and knew it belonged back at the DMA, where it could communicate these local histories to visitors in perpetuity.

Close-up of Freedman’s Field

After that visit, we sought to learn more about the history of Freedman’s Town and its eventual demolition, beautifully explored in scholarship collected in SP/N’s exhibition catalogue, and in a semi-permanent exhibit at Fair Park’s African American Museum. Meanwhile, our collections team got to work learning how to care for such an installation, meeting with those who had cared for it before—including friends Ron Siebler and Nancy Rebal, who had shown the work in a memorial exhibition Rebal organized for Hicks in Corsicana in 2015—and learning firsthand about the myriad of decisions Hicks made in creating the work. As you’ll see, Freedman’s Field is unlike most works you’ll find in an art collection. The typical rules of cataloging just don’t apply here. It is better conceived as an archaeological dig. And Erick Backer, Preparator; Katie Province, Registrar; and Fran Baas, Objects Conservator, bravely undertook the challenge to apply their best professional standards to its care.

Interim Chief Conservator Fran Baas carefully treating the artwork.

The word curator comes from the Latin curare, “to care,” and this work is all about care: the care Hicks showed for the city of Dallas, the care the many local artists we met with showed to Hicks, and our care in honoring those relationships that predated us. My hope is that this work’s testament to that loving care might encourage us to pay closer attention to the world around us so that we can hear the stories it yearns to tell us.

Dr. Anna Katherine Brodbeck is the Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the DMA.

Click here to dive deeper into this piece by watching an excerpt from Ron Siebler’s film Remembering Tracy Hicks.

Some Assembly Required

Have you ever wandered through the galleries at the DMA and thought to yourself, “Hmm, I wonder how they got this huge sculpture up those steps?” or “Wow! I bet it was really hard to hang that giant painting!” If you have, this post is for you! In one of the DMA’s newest installations, Women + Design: New Works, there are several pieces that required significant effort on the part of the DMA’s Collections team to install. Check out these behind-the-scenes photos and fun facts from the installation process, and visit the Museum to see these works in person—and for FREE—now through Sunday, February 17, 2019, in the Mary Noel and Bill Lamont Gallery.

Iris 3Objects Conservator Fran Baas adjusts the laser-cut polyester lace on Iris van Herpen’s Voltage Dress.

Najla 1A team of preparators works on lowering the two pieces of Najla El Zein’s Seduction onto the platform. Each piece of the sculpture weighs approximately 1,500 pounds and needs to be moved with a gantry crane. The lower stone was placed first, and then the upper stone had to be carefully lowered onto it.

Mobile 1Fran Baas, Lance Lander, and Mike Hill review the instructions for assembling Faye Toogood’s Tools for Life Mobile 2. Because the components of the mobile are heavy, the team had to know exactly what to do to minimize unnecessary handling.

Mobile 2Mike Hill and John Lendvay work to assemble Tools for Life Mobile 2 as it hangs from the ceiling.

DougDoug Velek takes measurements for the two pieces of jewelry by Katie Collins. Prior to installing the work, the preparators made the wedges and lifts used to display the jewelry in the exhibition. After confirming that the necklaces were centered on the wedge, preparators used pins to secure them in place.

SS and RSCurator Sarah Schleuning and preparator Russell Sublette discuss the placement of the three stools by Faye Toogood.

Katie Province is an Assistant Registrar for Collections and Exhibitions at the DMA.

Ten Questions with Three Artists

Throughout the summer, the Quadrant Galleries on Level 1 will feature two exhibitions drawn from the Contemporary art collection: Soft Focus and Body Ego. Four of the artists included in these installations call the DFW area home, and each Saturday in July at 3:00 p.m. one of the artists will give a free talk about the work she has on view. Last week Denton-based artist Annette Lawrence joined us to speak about her fascinating Free Paper series and how she uses drawing, collecting, and data to create objects that measure the passage of time.

This week, we’ll hear from photographer Debora Hunter, followed by artists Linda Ridgway and Frances Bagley later this month. Before they arrive, we had some burning questions for these artists about their lives and their work. Here’s what they had to say:

Debora Hunter

Hunter is a Dallas-based photographer and Professor Emerita of Art at Southern Methodist University. In 2016 she was the honoree of the Dallas Art Fair. Aside from the DMA’s collection, Hunter’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, High Museum of Art, Corcoran Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Yale University Art Museum, University of New Mexico Museum, Wesleyan University Art Museum, Rhode Island School of Design Art Museum, Creative Photography Laboratory of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Louisiana Art and Science Center, and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Debora Hunter, Floral Spine, 1975, photograph, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant, 1976.79, © Debora Hunter

Learn more about Hunter’s photograph Floral Spine in the online collection.

If you could take one work of art from the DMA home, what would it be?
What fun to sleep in the Gothic revival bedstead from Rosedown Plantation.

Bed, Crawford Riddell (maker), 1844, Brazilian rosewood, tulip poplar, and yellow pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of three anonymous donors, Friends of the Decorative Arts Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, and the Boshell Family Foundation., 2000.324

What was the first subject you loved to photograph?
The backs of people gazing out to sea.

If you could have coffee with a photographer from the past, who would it be?
Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879)—since she is English she would probably want tea.

What do you love most about teaching?
Retiring! (only joking). Actually, working with young people as they discover their interests and talents.

Any advice for young artists out there?
Listen carefully to your inner voice and then work really hard.

What is something you are looking forward to?
“Emerita,” a retrospective exhibition of forty years of my work at SMU’s Pollock Gallery opening September 7, 2018.

Film or digital?
Yes!

Last book you read?
Cake, a very fun cookbook of cake recipes with stories and illustrations by Maira Kalman.

If you hadn’t become an artist, what career would you have chosen?
Film editor or architect.

Where do you feel inspired around Dallas?
The weird Valley View Mall and the Santa Fe Trestle Trail, for different reasons.


Linda Ridgway

Ridgway is a Dallas-based printmaker and sculptor working primarily in bronze. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions around the country, most recently at Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas, as well as group exhibitions at the Grace Museum and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art this year. Aside from the DMA’s collection, Ridgway’s work is in the permanent collections of the El Paso Museum of Art, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Phillips Collection, Weisman Collection, and AMOA Arthouse.

Linda Ridgway, Harvest Line, 1995, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Nona and Richard Barrett and Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., 1996.190

Learn more about Ridgway’s sculpture Harvest Line in the online collection.

If you could take one work of art from the DMA home, what would it be?
If I could take only one piece, it would be Beginning of the World by Constantin Brancusi.

Constantin Brancusi, Beginning of the World, 1920, marble, nickel silver, and stone, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Clark, 1977.51.FA, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

What is your favorite bit of nature around Dallas?
My favorite bit of nature is White Rock Lake.

What is your favorite poem?
Uses of Sorrow by Mary Oliver is my favorite poem at the moment.

Any advice for young artists out there?
There is a lot of advice you can give to a young artist, but the most valuable lesson is hard work and to never give up.

What is something you are looking forward to?
Having a bigger studio space to create more work.

What was the last thing you looked up on Wikipedia?
I don’t use Wikipedia, but I do use my smartphone to look up things. Recently, I looked up images by John Singer Sargent, because of a book I am now reading.

How long have you been drawing?
I started drawing as a child, but at the age of 13 I made the decision to become an artist.

Do you listen to music while you are working?
I listen to the classical station.

If you hadn’t become an artist, what career would you have chosen?
A biologist.

What are some words that you live by?
Everything will be okay.


Frances Bagley

Bagley is a Dallas-based sculptor and installation artist. Among numerous public art projects, and both Texas and national exhibitions, her work is included in the permanent collections of American Airlines, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the El Paso Museum of Art, Pepsi-Co, UT Arlington, and Southwestern Bell. Bagley is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Moss Chumley Award in 2011, the 10th Kajima Sculpture Exhibition in Tokyo in 2008, and the Jurors Award for the Texas Biennial in 2007.

Frances Bagley, Tiny Dancer, 2008, mixed media, Dallas Museum of Art, Charron and Peter Denker Contemporary Texas Art Fund, 2009.23, © Frances Bagley

Learn more about Bagley’s sculpture Tiny Dancer in the online collection.

If you could take one work of art from the DMA home, what would it be?
Isa Genzken’s sculpture Door (Tür).

Isa Genzken, Door (Tür), 1988, concrete and steel, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Rachofsky Collection and purchase through the TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2006.46, © Isa Genzken

What was the last thing you looked up on Wikipedia?
Billy Bob Thornton’s background.

What are some words that you live by?
“Tell the Truth.”

Any advice for young artists out there?
Becoming an artist is not a career choice. You should only do it if you have to and won’t be happy with any other choice.

What is something you are looking forward to?
Going to Maine this summer for Barry Whistler’s birthday party.

Favorite place you have traveled?
Tunisia.

Last book you read?
Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art, edited by Jacquelynn Baas and Mary Jane Jacob.

If you hadn’t become an artist, what career would you have chosen?
See my answer to question #4. No other choice would have made me happy.

What is a daily ritual that you have?
Discussing the world with Tom Orr while having coffee every morning.

What material are you interested in working with next?
Oil paint.

What questions do you have for the artists? Drop by each Saturday to spend time with them in the galleries and learn about their creative process firsthand.

Jessie Carrillo is Manager of Adult Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art. 

Friday Photos: Sands of Time

Some old friends are back on view in our Barrel Vault galleries this month. Stop by the Museum to savor those last few days of summer: you might just enjoy a sandy view sans the salt and heat!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

Blast Off Art for All!

Throughout January, our preschool visitors went on an imaginary space journey through the contemporary galleries where they learned about outer space and the roles of astronauts. We pretended Martin Puryear’s Noblesse O. was our rocket ship as we blasted off to look for new planets in the Museum. Some of the planets we discovered were John Chamberlain’s Dancing Duke and Alejandro Puente’s UntitledThe kids were asked which planet they would live on, and what else they would find there. Lots of young explorers said Dancing Duke would be full of robots and skyscrapers, while Untitled would be very cold and icy!

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After our gallery adventure, the kids went to the art studio to make some outer space art to take home. For Arturo’s Art and Me classes, the young space explorers made galaxy paintings. The studio was split into two stations: the first was a splatter paint station to fill up their night sky canvas with colorful stars, and the second, a shaving creme station where they made planets for their galaxy.

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The young artists gently dipped, dabbed, and dripped onto their backgrounds.

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(Some not so gently…Our friend here doesn’t seem too upset about the paint on her face and hair bow though!)

Once their backgrounds were completed, it was on to the shaving creme station. Here, kids dripped vibrant liquid watercolor into trays of shaving creme, then swirled it together to create a beautiful planet pattern. Next, they pressed pre-cut circles into the shaving creme, then squeegeed off the excess creme to reveal a beautiful intergalactic swirl left below!

Next, the young artists glued their planets onto their backgrounds, and viola! A whole new out of this world galaxy painting. Their work speaks for itself, I think!

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This activity is super easy to do at home! If you don’t have liquid watercolor to add to the shaving creme, food coloring works great too! If you need some more instructions on the shaving creme prints, check out Jennifer’s great blog post on the topic, and if you are interested in attending Arturo’s Art and Me or any of the other great classes at the DMA, click here!

Grace Diepenbrock
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Sights, Sounds, and Smells

intro-pic

Recently, the DMA’s Center for Creative Connections team and our Manager of Access Programs, Emily Wiskera, put their heads together to develop a new Pop-Up Art Spot with sensory-based activities. On Saturdays in December, pop in to the Museum to see Passages in Modern Art: 1946-1996 for FREE in the Barrel Vault Gallery on Level 1 and enhance your art experience.

sensory-square

With these Sensory Squares, you can explore what works of art might feel like if we were allowed to touch them. Look at nearby works of art as you feel each square and consider which works you think relate to each texture.

scent-bottles

Check out a bag of scent bottles and a ring of art cards. Sample the scents and reflect on what memories or images come to mind when you smell them. Find each work of art on the cards provided and compare the scents to the artwork. Which scents do you connect with each work of art?

paper-folding

Interested in origami? Pick up a piece of paper and try your hand at figuring out the folds Dorothea Rockburne made to create the form in Locus Series #6.

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.

Friday Photos: Summer Lovin’

The Education team works very hard to make your summer vacation fun and exciting for families and kids of all ages. So it only makes sense that we play just as hard! Some of us had some big art-related vacations, exciting camping adventures, and we had a lot of fun working in between (with or without our pups!). Check out some of our summer highlights!

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

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

Friday Photos: Gridiron Gallery

Last Friday, the McDermott Interns and I enjoyed a visit to AT&T Stadium. Did you know that, in addition to being home to the Dallas Cowboys, the stadium boasts a world class contemporary art collection? So the next time you’re there cheering on America’s team, when you go for those nachos, don’t forget to look up!

Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator


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