Posts Tagged 'Contemporary Art'



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

Sculpted by Women

Over the past two weeks, the DMA’s Hoffman Galleries have been populated with sculptures that appear—for lack of a better word—unfinished. Amorphous mounds of pastel-washed, unfired clay occupy the sunlit central gallery. Wall-mounted vitrines house bits of Polystyrene and bark, which mingle with squiggles of neon and fragments of clay. In the back room, configurations of Cor-ten steel sheets lie in delicate balance, punctuated unexpectedly by soft, fluffy pompoms. To the naked eye, these works could be mistaken for preliminary models or sculptural prototypes rather than polished final products—and that is exactly what Rebecca Warren, the British artist responsible for these enigmatic sculptures, wants.

Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling installation images, March 2016

Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling installation, March 2016

On March 13, Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling opened to the public at the DMA. The artist’s first comprehensive museum show in the US, the exhibition surveys over ten years of her sculpture practice, which intentionally confounds categorization and challenges existing histories of art. In other words, Warren takes all that we expect of sculpture, and flips it on its head.

Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling continues the DMA’s commitment to supporting the work of innovative female sculptors, many of whom continue to be under-recognized within the history of art. Below are a few highlights of sculptures made by female artists from our contemporary art collection, all of which are currently on view.

Barbara Hepworth, Figure for Landscape, 1960, Bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Inc., 1983.154 © Alan Bowness, Estate of Barbara Hepworth

Barbara Hepworth, Figure for Landscape, 1960, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Inc., 1983.154, © Alan Bowness, Estate of Barbara Hepworth

In our Sculpture Garden, British artist Barbara Hepworth’s Figure for Landscape stands stoically along the west wall. An early pioneer of abstract sculpture, Hepworth modeled this biomorphic form and then cast it in bronze, leaving gaping openings in the work that distinguish positive and negative space within the body of the structure. While sculpture making had traditionally been conceived as the production of an object in space, Hepworth illuminated the possibility of sculpture making as a process of carving out space within an object.

(left to right) Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation, 1962-1964, Sewn stuffed fabric with paint on wooden chair frame, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.41 © Yayoi Kusama E-mail: contact@yayoi-kusama.jp; Yayoi Kusama, Untitled, 1976, Shoes, paint, and foam, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum, 2015.48.22.A-B

(left to right) Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation, 1962-64, sewn stuffed fabric with paint on wooden chair frame, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.41, © Yayoi Kusama; Yayoi Kusama, Untitled, 1976, shoes, paint, and foam, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Dorace M. Fichtenbaum, 2015.48.22.a-b

Two works by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama are on view in the new installation Passages in Modern Art: 1946-1996. Kusama is known for her uncanny ability to imbue everyday objects such as chairs, shoes, and vegetables with the psychological intensity of dreams and fantasy. To make Accumulation, Kusama coated a wooden chair frame with phallus-like fabric forms and subsequently painted every component of the work in a neutral beige color. Untitled comes from the same series, and similarly features shoes that have been covered in phallic foam cutouts.

Anne Truitt, Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, 1979, Acrylic on wood, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Shonny and Hal Joseph (St. Louis, Missouri) in honor of Cindy and Armond Schwartz, 2002.55 © Estate of Anne Truitt

Anne Truitt, Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, 1979, acrylic on wood, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Shonny and Hal Joseph (St. Louis, Missouri) in honor of Cindy and Armond Schwartz, 2002.55, © Estate of Anne Truitt

A major figure in American art since the 1960s, Anne Truitt is best known for her streamlined vocabulary of basic forms and colors, which typically coalesced into tall, thin wooden sculptures meticulously coated in several smooth layers of paint, such as Come Unto These Yellow Sands II, currently on display in the Barrel Vault. A nearly eight-foot pillar of deep, vivid blue, Truitt’s sculpture projects a three-dimensional block of color into the space of the viewer, merging the optical experience of her work with sensuous immediacy.

Nancy Grossman, Untitled (Head), 1968, Leather, wood, metal, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1969.8.A-B

Nancy Grossman, Untitled (Head), 1968, leather, wood, and metal, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1969.8.a-b

Installed adjacent to Truitt’s column of pure blue is Nancy Grossman’s Untitled (Head), a sculpted head carved from wood and overlaid with leather. Rendered blind and mute, this unsettling figure alludes to the role of the silent witness amid cruelty and disorder within contemporary society. In fact, Grossman began making these head sculptures in the 1960s partially in response to the violence and social upheaval caused by the Vietnam War.

Sculpture takes center stage this season at the DMA, so the next time you find yourself at the Museum, be sure to take a closer look at these works in Rebecca Warren: The Main Feeling and Passages in Modern Art: 1946-1996.

Nolan Jimbo is the McDermott Intern for Contemporary Art at the DMA.

The Answers She Gives

In honor of Employee Appreciation Day on Friday, March 4, we asked Writer-in-Residence Kendra Greene to share one of the stories she’s been collecting at the DMA. The following is from her conversation with Genet Mamuye, Visitor Services Representative:

Genet Mamuye and Kendra Greene in front of one of Genet's favorite spots, The Icebergs.

Genet Mamuye and Kendra Greene in one of Genet’s favorite spots, in front of The Icebergs.

On a slow day, Genet Mamuye talks to hundreds of people. There are little kids and people in their nineties and first-timers and non-English speakers. There are regulars who come almost every day and there are people who don’t know where to start. There are people who ask where to eat downtown and how to get their art on the walls and is there anything for sale? What should I see?

Genet started with the DMA 23 years ago, and spent her first nine years as a gallery attendant. In the early 2000s, she moved to the Visitor Services Desk, where you’ll find her now. There was a time when she only saw big crowds when there were big exhibitions, but now she sees more people than ever.

Visitors are always asking Genet what her favorite thing is at the Museum. That’s where they want to start. But the short answer is: She doesn’t have one. Sure, she walks the DMA two or three times a week to see if anything is new. She also keeps up with the cultural goings on in the area so she can answer the questions that have nothing to do with the Museum she represents. She believes the main thing is to ensure whoever walks in has a good experience. Which is to say, she wants to give an answer, but what she really wants is for visitors to connect with the things that matter to them. She knows people who swoon for contemporary work can’t be sent anywhere else. She finds it’s a safe bet that children and families will fall in love with Egypt on the third floor. If you announce you only have fifteen minutes for your visit and time’s a-ticking, you’ll be sent to the Reves Collection on Level 3. And when Genet asks you on your way out how it went, chances are you’ll thank her.

Once, years ago, a young man asked his father to go to the Museum. It was the young man’s birthday. The pair was from out of town. The young man adored Ellsworth Kelly, and only when they arrived did he realize there was an exhibition of Kelly’s work. What luck! The young man and his father asked Genet about it, and were crestfallen to realize the installation wasn’t quite done, the show not quite yet open. They had come so far, and they wouldn’t be back in time to see it.

It was at that moment that Mr. Kelly’s car pulled up. They could see it through the glass doors. Genet quietly noted the arrival to the young man and his father, and left it at that. Mr. Kelly was so gracious, so nice. He took that young man on a private tour of the not yet open show. The young man was overjoyed, and even now thinking about it, Genet brings her hand to her heart.

Working with the public, in Genet’s view, means you have to be open to learn. You have to be respectful and you have to be positive. Certainly, you can’t assume. There are people that wander past three times, obviously lost, and you have to find the way to approach them. Visitors come back on later visits and remember Genet. But, as she says, “It’s not just me. All my coworkers are really good. We have to be. We open our doors for everybody.”

A. Kendra Greene is The Center for Creative Connections Visiting Artist at the DMA.

Friday Photos: Touch But Don’t Look

Blind-folded touch-tour attendees experience Jurgen Bey's "Tree-Trunk Bench" (1999) in our Sculpture Garden.

Blind-folded touch-tour attendees experience Jurgen Bey’s “Tree-Trunk Bench” (1999) in our Sculpture Garden.

WARNING: Do not attempt a touch tour on your own–our trusty Gallery Attendants will stop you! However, on rare occasions (with a staff member present and the Conservation Department’s approval), you may be given permission to touch the art!

One such opportunity occurred this past Monday, June 15, when Amanda led a touch tour in our Sculpture Garden with painter John Bramblitt, who became blind in his late twenties. This tour was in tandem with the Arts & Letters Live program featuring Rebecca Alexander, author of Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found. Rebecca was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type III when she was 19 years old. This rare genetic disorder is causing her to slowly lose her vision and hearing.

Hearing both John and Rebecca’s inspiring stories, we thought it would be a great experience for a few of our visitors to learn what it is like to experience art with more than just their eyes. Amanda led a conversation focused on two different works of art and suggested techniques for exploring them with touch. We got to explore with our fingers Jurgen Bey’s Tree-Trunk Bench and Mark Handforth’s Dallas Snake.

Unfortunately, this is not something we can do all of the time. So don’t get any ideas!

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Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Community at LARGE

If you’ve visited the Center for Creative Connections (C3) within the last week, you may have noticed that the popular Art Spot is currently under construction. In addition to this redesign, we’re also installing a new work of art and related activity. Often when we plan these types of activities, we begin with the work of art as inspiration. This time, however, we started with the activity and found a work of art that fit.

Last summer during our July Late Night we hosted a drop-in program in the C3 Studio where visitors participated in a communal grid enlargement project. As visitors entered the studio they received a small image square and a larger blank card. Their task was to paint the image from their square onto their blank card and then display their painted card on a large grid in the back of the room. Over the course of the evening, the identity of the two paintings were revealed as visitors completed their cards and added them to the wall. The activity was such a success that we decided to recreate it in the C3 gallery this summer.

The question was, which work of art to choose? We had a few ideas that guided our decision. First, since this is an enlargement activity, we were looking for a relatively small work of art. Also, since the activity takes place in the gallery, visitors will be limited to using colored pencils, so we wanted a work of art that demonstrated that kind of mark-making. Originally we considered a drawing, but after consulting with our registrars, we found that lithographs or engravings might also be a good option. Finally, subject matter was of great importance; we wanted something bright and lively. All of these specifications led us directly to Progress Suite by Luis Alfonso Jimenez, Jr.

1978_38_3_o4

Progress Suite exemplifies all of these qualities: it’s a colorful dynamic lithograph created by a Texas-born artist, measuring 23.5 inches x 35 inches. It will be enlarged by visitors to 300% of its original size. This mock-up illustrates just how large the activity will be.

c3 Protoyping Wall Elevation

Throughout the summer, as more visitors participate, the drawing will grow and evolve. Stop by the Center for Creative Connections to contribute to our scaled-up reproduction of Progress Suite and watch how this “living” drawing, made by our community, changes over time.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager

Experiments on Public Space

The word public is defined as an adjective: it is used to attribute a quality to someone or something, usually modifying and describing a noun. But what happens when public becomes a verb–an action, a state, the main part of a sentence? Public suddenly stops being passive and becomes active–an occurrence, a happening, an event…

But what makes a museum public? What are its responsibilities? How do we build democratic space/vision? Is it possible or necessary? And if it’s true that we’re losing publicness, how do we reclaim it back?

These are some of the questions I hope to explore with my new work, Experiments on Public Space (EPS). EPS came about thanks to the opportunity to carry out an independent project as part of my McDermott Internship at the Dallas Museum of Art. My background in both research and artistic practice is focused in an interest to understand, explore and expand the ways audiences interact/participate with contemporary art. This project is an extension of that line of inquiry specifically looking at institutional contexts.

Experiments on Public Space / Dallas Museum of Art, February - May 2015

Experiments on Public Space / Dallas Museum of Art, February – May 2015

I’m fascinated by the language used in museums when referring to issues around publicness, because what do we actually mean when we refer ourselves as a “public museum”? What does it entail? How does a public museum feel or look? What do our visitors understand by “public”? Are they not the public themselves? And why probe publicness? Why now? Why here?

Coming from England, I was very curious about the differences between public cultural institutions here in America and those back in Europe. I think the dialogue is particularly of relevance to the DMA because of its historical founding as a public museum and it’s recently reestablished free general admission, something that is rare in this country. I’m also intrigued by the context of the Museum in a city as diverse as Dallas. Considering the city’s large latino population, I want to explore the standings of the institution in serving a wide range of communities.

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The project itself is built on a series of practice-based evaluation methods that take place in the Museum. The public will provide the data with their participation in performances, interventions, seminars and workshops, aiming to collaboratively measure the publicness of the environment in which the institution acts. With this approach I hope to implement active research into the life of the Museum, collecting both inside and outside voices as a way of opening up dialogue. In this sense, the project uses unconventional evaluation methodologies to promote opportunities for reflection, thought, participation and active discussion. The goal is that through these programs, we might collectively exemplify and animate publicness and what it means in the context of museums in the 21st century.

Alternative Signage

Members of the DMA/Perot Teen Council during a production session for “Alternative Signage”, one of the EPS programs happening during March Late Night.

Confused? Challenged? Excited? – This is a very brief introduction to a project that has almost taken a life of its own. Publicness is a complex issue that touches upon many different fields and it is easy for it to be overlooked or even forgotten. With EPS I hope to bring it back to the fore in an attempt to reclaim its importance. I believe there is a big difference between possessing a quality and being one, and it is crucial that we understand the difference. To claim ‘publicness’ requires more than a certain kind of perception or view; it demands responsibility and action.

Program scheduling will be published on the DMA website, under Center for Creative Connections –  Community Projects. I hope you’ll join me in this experiment!

Eliel Jones
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

State of the Arts: Contemporary Artists

We’re kicking off our fall season with our first State of the Arts program, our collaboration with Art&Seek and KERA. Join us Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. for a discussion with three DFW artists: Devon Nowlin, Arthur Peña, and Darryl Ratcliff.
soa

Uncrated was able to ask them a few questions beforehand:
1. What is the most appealing aspect of being a working artist in Dallas?
Devon Nowlin (artist; founding member, Homecoming Committee): As an artist who also works full-time, I have had good employment opportunities in my field and see some good job prospects for artists in both Dallas and Fort Worth. Along with exhibitions, teaching opportunities, and other work-work, one can construct a patchwork of professional activities for one’s self here.
Arthur Peña (artist; founder and Director, WARE:WOLF:HAUS and VICE PALACE): The two very prominent aspects I can think of are pragmatic ones. First, it is extremely affordable to be a working artist in Dallas. It’s not unheard of to have an apartment and a studio for under $600. I don’t know what other major cities can offer that and also boast world-class museums and an established art scene. Second, the accessibility to the Dallas art world is shockingly overlooked. If one wanted, they could meet and shake hands with other artists, gallery directors, collectors, and museum directors at one gathering. And they would be cordial and welcoming. Try that in NYC and see what happens!
Darryl Ratcliff (artist; Community Engagement Associate, National Center for Arts Research & Initiative on Arts+Urbanism): Affordability and opportunity. The access one has to cheap space is truly unique in Dallas, and the general cost of living is far cheaper than in other major cities. Also, there is significant upward mobility in the art scene. There is a willingness to experiment and embrace new ideas and artists.

2. What is something you are thankful for in your art community/peers/scene and how it/they have contributed to your practice?
DN: I am very thankful for the Education Department of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. I have benefited greatly from their programs both as a participant and audience member over the years, and as an artist-instructor in their programs. They give professional, and yet experimental and creative, teaching opportunities to artists in the area, and I have cherished my experiences there. So that is one of the many things in my community that I am very thankful for.
AP: Quick story: The recently retired WARE:WOLF:HAUS operated on limited funds for every show and especially the last fall season. Because of its location, security was needed on top of insurance for liability purposes. Not once did I pay out of pocket for any of that. WWH was able to operate and host shows strictly through donations from my fellow artists and supporters. People would toss whatever they had into the donation bucket, or specific people in the art community donated large funds to keep the door open and allow shows to happen. Considering that WWH was not a nonprofit art space and people were throwing down hard cash, I find this willingness to support the artists and work as a truly collaborative effort inspiring.
DR: It is cliché but I am very thankful for my fellow creatives in this city. My work is collaborative by nature, so I couldn’t have had any success without the constant support and cooperation of literally hundreds of creatives and lovers of creativity over the last five years.

3. How would you improve the Dallas art community/scene ?
DN: In Fort Worth, we are also in need of the facilities and funding that Darryl would like to bring to Dallas. What we don’t have that would really help elevate the local Forth Worth scene is more critical attention in both print and online publications. If artists here could get some press, I think it could help push the dialogue in Fort Worth in ways that I see happening in Dallas. I am encouraged by a level of interaction that is happening among artists between Dallas and Fort Worth, though it tends to be a one-way street with artists going from Fort Worth to Dallas. I’d like to see us mix things up a little more!
AP: Besides the obvious need for an influx of funds either through more grants or private donors, I’m not sure how one could improve the community other than more involvement from the community at large. There needs to be a cultural and psychic shift here in Dallas, and Texas as a whole, when it comes to the arts. Without a steady stream of interest starting at the city’s top level, the city at large will continue to view the arts as pure entrainment rather than as an agent for change and critical thought. We need more artists—not just those who make but those who have the discipline and vision to want to transform this city. I don’t think it’s about improving, rather it should be about energizing, invigorating, and giving everyone a swift kick in the a**.
DR: I would create at least 500 units of subsidized studio/living space for creatives in five geographically diverse parts of Dallas, award at least two million dollars per year in small grant funding to individual artists/projects/collectives, and create an international curator-in-residence program to help top curators become familiar with Dallas-based talent.

Be sure to join us tomorrow night to hear more from these artists.

Liz Menz is the Manager of Adult Programming at the DMA.


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