Posts Tagged 'Curatorial'

Making Ourselves at Home

Our homes have taken on new significance in these past few weeks. We are getting to know much more intimately our rooms, our furniture, and certainly our roommates. We might be noticing the dust more on the floors, or the cracks in the ceiling. We might be noting habits that perhaps were always there, but have come to the fore.

Is there a chair you prefer to sit in for comfort? A window you often find yourself daydreaming out of? Is there a favorite sweatshirt or blanket you reach for when you feel a draft?

Daniel Barsotti, Untitled (Window), 1977, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Polaroid Foundation grant, 1977.46, © Daniel Barsotti

There might be things we are lacking, things that had broken that we had been meaning to replace. We might be farther away from the homes in which we were raised, and the families inside, and it might feel harder to get to those places.

Romare Bearden, The Family, 1975, intaglio, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Michael L. Rosenberg, 1994.245.5, © Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, New York

Maybe that family heirloom is being revisited more often now. Hands grazing over the nooks and crannies in the wood. Smells from recipes handed down from generations might be flooding our kitchens, if we are lucky.

Bill Owens, We’re really happy. Our kids are healthy, we eat good food, and we have a really nice home., 1971, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund, 2005.103.2, © Bill Owens

Our homes are microcosms of ourselves. They are our habits embodied. They are visualizations of our personalities. They can make us feel safe, but they can also scare us. The storms in the middle of the night might cause strange sounds and shadows to appear. The house can take on a life of its own. But it’s ultimately a shelter, and a home is a privilege not everyone has.

Francisco Moreno, Chapel, 2016-18, pencil, vine charcoal pencil, and acrylic on an all-encompassing structure, Dallas Museum of Art, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, the Charron and Peter Denker Contemporary Texas Art Fund, Elisabeth Karpidas, Charles Dee Mitchell, Tammy Cotton Hartnett, Travis Vandergriff, Joyce Goss, Harper and Jim Kennington, and Karen and John Reoch, 2019.58. Photo by Wade Griffith, courtesy of the artist and Erin Cluley Gallery.

A house is also a boundary between ourselves and the world around us. We might see neighbors pass by our windows for the first time. We might peer into brand new rooms, far away, via technological devices, now that our schools and businesses are being conducted from home.

The exhibition For a Dreamer of Houses was organized before we as curators had any idea how much time we would all be spending in our own homes. Indeed, currently you can see the show via the comfort of your pajamas in 3-D on the web. But it was born from ideas circulated in philosophy, psychology, and sociology in the last hundred years. Hilde Nelson, Chloë Courtney, and I developed the concept for the show over the past year, inspired by recent acquisitions of immersive installations that brought to the fore just how wonderful the home is. Not just as a well-known and -loved domestic space, but as a place of fantasy.

Alex Da Corte, Rubber Pencil Devil, 2018, glass, aluminum, vinyl, velvet, neon, Plexiglas, folding chairs, monitors, high-res digital video, color, and sound, Dallas Museum of Art, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2019.59. Photo by Tom Little. Courtesy of the artist and Karma, New York.

We noticed that artists’ depictions of the home were reflecting our increasingly globalized world, re-creating a childhood house that could fit inside a suitcase. Or sociopolitical issues, like state-sponsored violence, imagining how furniture could reflect invented futures that were nurturing instead of traumatizing. Then, a global pandemic arose, and we were startled to realize how works in the show, chosen months ago, seemed to presage a strange new reality, with quarantining procedures, new emphasis on hygiene, and the fear of illness striking our loved ones.

Misty Keasler, Green Room (Quarenteen) Leagnul di Copii, Tigru Mures, Romania, 2004, C-print on Kodak Supra Endura, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Burt and Missy Finger, 2006.33. Courtesy Misty Keasler and The Public Trust Gallery.

But in spite of these fears, readers, we saw a resiliency in the worlds depicted by these artists. We still see a bright future, where we can take the lessons learned in the imaginative worlds of art, and apply them to a reality where we are all in this together, helping build a more equitable and safer future. And so we look to art, just like to the home, to visualize our shared humanity. And we have lots more time to look, and reflect on what we are seeing, at home.

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

Seldom Scene: Installing Form/Unformed

A look back at the installation of Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present, the first comprehensive overview of our modern and contemporary design collections, on view in the Tower Gallery. Work in the gallery began in October 2010 for the Decemeber 19, 2010 opening. Below are a few shots of the installation process.

DMA exhibition staff, including preparators John Lendvay and Lance Lander and exhibitions graphic designer Kevin Parmer, install the newly opened Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present in the Level 4 Tower Gallery.

Photography by Adam Gingrich, DMA Marketing Assistant.

 

 

A Foot in the Door

 

2009 - 2010 McDermott Intern Stacie Jackson leads a tour of "The Lens of Impressionism"

 

What do Madeleine Albright, Frank Lloyd Wright, Sylvia Plath, and Conan O’Brien have in common? They all started on their career paths as interns, just as many museum curators and educators do. Internships offer invaluable opportunities to try a potential profession on for size; for those who wish to explore a career in museum work, internships provide a great way to gain firsthand experience and insights.

 

Leticia Salinas, 2009 - 2010 McDermott Intern for Family Experiences, leads a family workshop in the galleries.

 

Over one hundred people have participated in the Dallas Museum of Art’s McDermott Internship program since its inception, including many current DMA staff members as well as colleagues working at other institutions in Dallas, throughout Texas, and across the country. Each year, eight interns work closely with the Museum’s curators and educators on a variety of projects, including doing research for upcoming installations or exhibitions; writing labels, catalogue entries, and other materials; and developing and facilitating programs for Museum visitors of all ages.

The program was founded in honor of Eugene McDermott, who had a passion for learning and the arts, and the interns have the remarkable opportunity to visit with Margaret McDermott to inaugurate their internship year. Our current interns recently had lunch with Mrs. McDermott, and she encouraged them to “work hard, learn a lot, and have fun” during their nine months at the DMA and in Dallas.

Shannon Karol worked with Dr. Roslyn A. Walker, Senior Curator of the Arts of Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific and The Margaret McDermott Curator of African Art, as a McDermott Curatorial Intern in 2005–2006, and she returned to the DMA as Coordinator of Museum Visits in 2007. I asked Shannon about her experience as a McDermott Intern, and she said:

The best part of being a McDermott Intern is that you are truly a member of the DMA staff.  Even though I was a Curatorial Intern, I was able to collaborate with staff members in the Collections and Education departments on projects and installations. I also love the sense of camaraderie that you feel as a McDermott Intern. My fellow interns from that year are still some of my closest friends!

 

Shannon leads a tour of "All the World's a Stage"

 

Logan Acton worked with the Teaching Programs staff last year as a McDermott Education Intern, and he accepted a permanent position as Assistant to the Director of Education this summer. Logan said, “As an intern, I was able to explore the Museum’s collections and share my growing knowledge of them, and particularly my passion for contemporary art, with students and other visitors.” You can read more from Shannon and Logan on the DMA Educator Blog.

 

Logan discusses contemporary art at a Teacher Workshop.

 

Eight new McDermott Interns began their nine-month tenure at the DMA in September, and they will all contribute to Uncrated in the months to come. We look forward to sharing their experiences and insights about life and work at the DMA. You can join the interns, along with other members of the DMA staff, to explore the Museum’s collections and exhibitions during weekly gallery talks on Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m.

 

Welcome to the 2010 - 2011 McDermott Interns!

 

Lisa Kays is the Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art


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