Posts Tagged 'Contemporary Art'



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.

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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.
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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.

Friday Photos: Vacation

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This large photograph by Nic Nicosia, titled Vacation, was installed in the Center for Creative Connections (C3) in early July. At first glance this appears to be a normal, everyday scene of a family picnic, but as you look closer it becomes apparent that there are some unusual aspects to this photograph. Is it a snapshot or is it staged? The children appear very natural, but the mother seems posed.  The ground looks like real dirt and leaves, but the tree and sky are a painted backdrop.  Then, between the branches you can see an airplane on fire and hurling to the ground. This is not your typical vacation.

As the summer comes to a close, the Dallas Museum of Art education staff has taken some time to reflect on our own unusual vacation experiences. We hope you enjoy our snapshots.

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Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

 

Friday Photos: Museum Forum For Teachers

Last week, I had tIMG_20140725_130701he pleasure of spending my time with teachers and colleagues as part of the annual Museum Forum for Teachers.  This week-long teacher workshop focusing on modern and contemporary art is a collaboration between multiple DFW museums, including The Warehouse, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Kimbell Art Museum, and the Dallas Museum of Art.

During the week, each location hosts a group of twenty-five instructors for one day of discussions and projects for CPE credits.   It was a fun, thought-provoking, and intense experience!  Everyone made two dimensional works of art using only cloth, plastic, paper, stitch witchery, and heated irons at the Warehouse.  Teachers toured an installation project in the Vickery Meadows neighborhood with the Nasher Artist-In-Residence, Rick Lowe.  At the DMA we explored artist-induced meaning through blurring images in the style of Gerhard Richter, and examined institution-created meaning by becoming curators.  In Fort Worth, we created grid-like Minimalist art at The Modern, and painted Japanese screens at the Kimbell.

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The results of one activity were quite interesting: during our day at the Modern we examined Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #50, in which the artist created a drawing and set of instructions for any installers to finish the work at a different location.  In this work of conceptual art, the instructions themselves are the work of art; the installation of it is simply an extension and realization of this idea.  (While visually very different from the Modern’s, LeWitt’s process here is similar to the one he used in the DMA’s Wall Drawing #398, installed in the barrel vault.)

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Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #398, 1983 (installed 1985), Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Collins and Mr. and Mrs. James L. Stephenson, Jr.

We were inspired to create our own work of conceptual paper drawing by creating a set of instructions resembling an “official” certificate designating the instructions as the work of art.  Then we handed our instructions to another participant who had to become the “installer” and draw our image based on the instructions.

IMG_20140731_085544~2For my instructions, I decided to play around with LeWitt’s geometric rigidness by applying it to a negation of bodily control and precise mark-making:

1. Hold a pencil.

2. Spin around thirty-nine times.

3. Try to draw thirty-nine straight parallel lines on a sheet of paper situated vertically (on a wall or easel).

4. After a thirty-nine second break, hold a pencil in your non-dominant hand.

5. Draw thirty-nine straight lines with your non-dominant hand that cross the first set of lines at a ninety-degree angle.

IMG_20140730_160528~2~2Susan, one of the workshop participants, did an amazing job interpreting these instructions.  This was the third of a set of drawings she did based on my instructions, all very different in appearance!  (Although she correctly pointed out that thirty-nine lines were perhaps too many.)

 

If you are interested in applying for next year’s Museum Forum for Teachers, sign up for our educator email newsletter, where we will post information next spring once it has been announced!

Artwork shown:

  • Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #398, 1983 (installed 1985), Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Collins and Mr. and Mrs. James L. Stephenson, Jr.

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

The Museum is History

This weekend, explore works from the Museum’s modern and contemporary collection in a new installation by the DMA’s new Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Gavin Delahunty. The Museum Is History: Modern and Contemporary Art from 1950-1990 installation, featuring work by Jackson Pollock, Atsuko Tanaka, John Chamberlain, and more, will be on view through November and it is included in the DMA’s free general admission.

 

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Love is in the air….or in Hoffman

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If you are a frequent guest at DMA Late Nights on the third Friday of every month, you may be familiar with interesting riddles like this one:

Love is in the air or bitterness abounds, whatever you may be feeling there is healing in sound! Join us for this melodic Creativity Challenge about love and hate!

MVI 0450 from A Batson on Vimeo.

These kinds of poems and rhymes are all part of a program called Creativity Challenge which occurs throughout the year and during Late Nights. Visitors sign up to participate as part of a team–equipped with a team name, like The Flaming Chinchillas–to compete in an on-the-spot challenge to create something unique based on a work of art.

MVI 0458 from A Batson on Vimeo.

Many times the challenges engage a variety of learning styles in order to have visitors view art in a new and different way. Occasionally visitors will dance, sing, write, act, build, etc. within the challenge. They work with others in a team that allows them to build on each other’s strengths, resulting in a dynamic show at the end of their challenge.

MVI 0457 from A Batson on Vimeo.

This past Friday evening, February 21, 2014, ten teams of challengers faced off to create a musical instrument and original composition about a work of art in the DMA’s contemporary collection.  The teams then had to create and perform in front of the sixty people who attended! The composition was to be a love song or a song of complete disgust to an assigned work of art. Coming off the heels of Valentine’s day–I thought this challenge would be appropriate! Check out some of these incredible interpretations!

MVI 0448 from A Batson on Vimeo.

Creativity Challenge in the Hoffman Gallery

Creativity Challenge in the Hoffman Gallery

Are you up to the challenge? Join me and the other teams next Late Night on March 21st, 2014, for a Creativity Challenge that will be sure to entice your taste buds!

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator

Get Immersed in Contemporary Art

Have you ever wondered how it would feel to create a painting over eight feet tall and almost seven feet wide? If so, stop by our newest Pop-up Art Spot in the Contemporary gallery and get immersed in Richard Diebenkorn‘s Ocean Park No. 29. Visitors of all ages are invited to assemble a life-size puzzle of this painting with large pieces of felt. Just be ready to get physical as you bend over, stretch, and reach as far as you can to put it together!

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This Pop-up Art Spot engages other senses, too: use your sense of touch (unusual in an art museum!) as you explore the texture of oil paint on small canvas samples or pair different scents with the colorful paintings around you.

Below is our upcoming schedule for the Pop-up Art Spot. We change locations from week to week, so be sure to visit us between February 11-16 to engage your senses!

    January 28-February 2: fourth floor landing, Modern American gallery
    February 4-9: third floor, Indonesian gallery
    February 11-16: first floor, Contemporary gallery

P.S. – This Pop-up Art Spot was created by our wonderful intern Tyler Rutledge, who was featured in a blog post last month.

Melissa Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager


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