Posts Tagged 'Contemporary'

Seldom Scene: Scaled Down

The new DMA exhibition Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s–Present explores themes and ideas that drive an artists’ creative process. With this concept in mind, the Contemporary Art Department thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share one way that curators tap into their own creative processes when developing a new exhibition – by using a scale model. Curators use scale models much like they would a doll house, to rationalize the gallery space in accordance with the placement of the art objects. Variations on Theme is installed in the gallery spaces known as the Barrel Vault and Quadrant Galleries, which are roughly 11,500 square feet. DMA carpenter Dennis Bishop constructed a wooden model of these galleries with a scale of 1:24 (one half-inch equals one foot). The objects in Variations on Theme are of various sizes and mediums and are complicated to install, so in order to visualize how certain works might look next to one another DMA exhibitions intern Jasmine Shevell created maquettes of each work that are proportional to the scale model of the exhibition space. Once each object is set into place, the design model is shared with our talented exhibitions team, registrar, and preparators, who bring the curator’s model to life!
Variations on Theme is on view at the Dallas Museum of Art until January 27, 2013.

Meg Smith is a Curatorial Administrative Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art. Photography is by Adam Gingrich, the Marketing Administrative Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Summer Exhibition: Luc Tuymans

The first U.S. retrospective of Luc Tuymans’ paintings is currently on display at the Dallas Museum of Art.  Approximately 80 paintings by the Belgian artist are on view in our Barrel Vault and Quadrant Galleries through September 5th.

Part of what I love about these paintings is Tuymans’ interest in history and culture.  I am also intrigued by the sense of mystery in his canvases.  An image may appear ordinary, but through reading the label you learn that it is actually beyond ordinary, sometimes bordering on the grotesque.  For example, the painting The Heritage VI looks like a portrait of a smiling average Joe, but he is actually far from average.  His name is Joseph Milteer, and he was a right-wing extremist and Klansman who played a role in conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination.      

Luc Tuymans, The Heritage VI, 1996

Tuymans is also very interested in World War II.  One of my favorite paintings is Schwarzheide, which shares its name with a concentration camp.  At his public Artist Talk on June 3rd, Tuymans talked at length about this painting.  He said that artists in concentration camps and work camps would often tear their paintings and drawings into strips so they could distribute them.  Although many people read the vertical lines on this canvas as the bars on a window, they are actually meant to remind us of how artists continued to produce images during the most difficult circumstances.   

Luc Tuymans, Schwarzheide, 1986

 There are several opportunities for teachers to learn more about Luc Tuymans throughout the summer:   

  • The annual Museum Forum for Teachers: Modern and Contemporary Art will be held from July 19-23.  Teachers will spend Wednesday, July 21st, immersed in the Tuymans exhibition, as well as viewing other contemporary works of art in the DMA’s collection.  The application deadline for Museum Forum has just been extended to July 1st
  • Gallery Talks relating to the exhibition have also been planned, including a series called Perspectives.  Jim Falk, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council, will moderate discussions with artists, historians, and scholars to investigate the artistic and cultural issues that inform Luc Tuymans’ work.  Visit our Web site for more information.
  • Experience the smARTphone tour for the Tuymans exhibition.  Bring your smart phone to the Museum to access new and interactive content.  A limited number of iPod Touches are also available for check out from the Visitor Services Desk.  You can also access the smARTphone tour online.

I hope you enjoy this exhibition as much as I do!

Shannon Karol
Coordinator of Museum Visits     

Luc Tuymans, The Heritage VI, 1996; oi on canvas; Courtesy David Zwirner, New York; © Luc Tuymans; photo: courtesy David Zwirner, New York
Luc Tuymans, Schwarzheide, 1986; oil on canvas; Private collection; © Luc Tuymans; photo: courtesy David Zwirner, New York

Hoffman Galleries Reinstalled

Charlie Wylie, the Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art, recently completed his reinstallation of the Hoffman galleries on the first floor of the museum. The installation addresses narrative in contemporary art, specifically the “continuing ability of art in whatever form to express narratives of what it can feel like to be alive in the present moment,” as the wall text states. The reinstallation features such artists as Peter Doig and Marlene Dumas, both notable for their recent inclusion at TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art, the annual charity auction held at The Rachofsky House benefiting amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) and the Dallas Museum of Art.

In addition to these painters and work by many other artists, the galleries currently contain installations by Tatsuo Miyajima and Erick Swenson, mixed media work by Vernon Fisher, and photographs by Matthew Barney and Gregory Crewdson. Both Barney and Crewdson also have work in All the World’s a Stage, another special exhibition on view at the DMA. Barney’s photographs (and other mixed media works) reference a series of five films of enormous scope called The Cremaster Cycle, quite specifically referencing narrative. Crewdson’s art, on the other hand, centers around the idea of open or false narratives but evokes similar feelings of theatricality. Crewdson himself says, “And what I’m very, very interested in is a moment that hovers between before and after, a moment that is unresolved, that remains a question…”

Untitled (House in the Road)

To achieve this suspended moment, clear in both Untitled (brief encounter) and Untitled (House in the Road), Crewdson literally constructs his scenes, utilizing stage crews and props to form the subject matter which he then photographs. Tension plays a large part in his artwork, both literally for the artist through his chaotic process of realizing these staged spectacles as well as for the viewer stepping into enormously detailed scenes with no frame of reference beyond the image itself.

If you’d like to get a closer look at Gregory Crewdson’s artwork, in addition to the other works on view at the DMA and The Rachofsky House, sign up for our two-part January Teacher Workshop on Contemporary Art!

Logan Acton
McDermott Intern in Teaching Programs


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