Posts Tagged 'Frederic Edwin Church'



Opening Up: A Staff Profile of Our Operations Manager

Uncrated tracked down Tara Eaden, the DMA’s Operations Manager, to talk about her job at the Museum.

Describe your job in fifty words or less.
As Operations Manager, my basic duties are to manage the Museum’s daily operations. These duties include, but are not limited to, coordinating with the operations supervisors to organize office moves, set up/break down special events, and to make sure that the museum remains pristine.

What might an average day entail?
There really is no average day for anyone in operations, however the basic portion of my day may consist of various meetings, scheduling for different activities/projects, problem solving and/or fulfilling certain needs of staff, visitors and vendors that fall within my jurisdiction.

How would you describe the best part of your job and its biggest challenges?
The best part of my job is the daily knowledge I gain through departmental and peer interactions, as well as meeting the most influential and unique people—colleagues and visitors. I am very fortunate to work with a team of people who make the most challenging days seem effortless. I am doubly fortunate to work in an environment who embraces and caters to all cultures from all demographics.

One of the biggest challenges I might face would be the overlapping of events on the same day. There have been some days where the operations crew is spread thin because of the need to take care of their daily housekeeping needs, as well as multiple events scheduled for the same day at either the same time, or overlapping times. This puts a strain on the crew, thus placing me in the position to be creative with scheduling and employee placement so that the needs are met for not only the client, but for the best interest of the employee.

Growing up, what type of career did you envision yourself in? Did you think you’d work in an art museum?
I always thought I would be a teacher growing up. Even though I do have the opportunity to teach now from time to time in other capacities, I always thought I’d be in a classroom filled with a group of tots eager to learn. I never thought I would work in an art museum. But now that I’m here, it has been one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever encountered.

What is your favorite work in the Museum’s collections?
While I have several favorite works in the museum, my favorite is by far the Untitled (big/small figure) by Tom Friedman. Works of art may say different things to different people, but this work speaks to me in a manner of symbolism. The big blue man (I’ll call him the blues) for me represents problems that we all face sometimes that seem so much bigger than we are. The small figure represents us. The big blue man is looking down on the small man as if he can defeat him or get the best of him. It is in that moment that we could either decide to allow our problems to give us the blues, or we can overtake them. Or simply stated, sometimes our problems seem bigger to us than they really are. My second favorite is The Icebergs by Frederic Edwin Church.

Is there a past exhibition that stands out in your mind as a favorite, or is there a particular upcoming show you’re looking forward to seeing?
While we have had a number of beautiful and intriguing exhibits, such as Dale Chihuly (1994), Animals in African Art: From the Familiar to the Marvelous (1997), Splendors of China’s Forbidden City: The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong (2004), Gordon Parks- Half Past Autumn (2005), my favorite by far is the Across Continents and Cultures: The Art of Henry Ossawa Tanner exhibition from 1995.

60 Minutes in the Dallas Museum of Art

As a child, my first museum visits were orchestrated by my parents. These all-day excursions began the moment the museum opened its doors and ended sometime after five o’clock, when a security guard shuffled us to the nearest exit. Before the day was through, we’d make it a point to see everyone’s favorite area of the museum, eventually charting its every offering.

Today trips like this are harder and harder to come by and actually, now that I work for the Dallas Museum of Art, one of the hardest parts of my job is finding the time to experience the artwork! For me, shorter more frequent trips to the Museum have helped me get to know the DMA one gallery or even one artwork at a time.

Thanks largely to the DMA’s great variety of lunchtime tours, after-hours programs, and lectures, you can broaden your knowledge of the collection nearly every week. These guided experiences are the perfect way to spend a short visit to the DMA, and hopefully they’ll encourage and equip you to do more focused exploring on your own!

With just sixty minutes to work with, you’d be surprised at the great multitude of experiences that await you. Here are some of my favorite works to get you started. They’re just a small sampling of the amazing works that will inspire you to take your time and get a closer look.

Gandharan culture, Hadda region, "Thinking Bodhisattva", 4th to 6th century A.D., Terracotta, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendover Fund, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation, Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, and General Acquisitions Fund

This Buddhist sculpture, located on Level 3, represents a bodhisattva, or someone who has achieved enlightenment but delays Nirvana to help others achieve transcendence. In fact, he’s not just any bodhisattva, but the one destined to become the historic Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

I enjoy this sculpture mostly because of its rich detail and lively gestures. When I stand before him, he seems to be not only reflecting upon his impending destiny but truly at the heels of it. At any moment he seems ready to step off his throne and into his next life as the Buddha.

Toraja, Sulawesi, Galumpang area, Indonesia, Shroud or ceremonial hanging (sekomandi), probably late 19th century, Cotton, Dallas Museum of Art, the Steven G. Alpert Collection of Indonesian Textiles, gift of the McDermott Foundation

Of all media, I am least familiar with and most intrigued by the textiles. You can get fairly close to these objects in the galleries, and attempting to deconstruct their striking complexities by doing so can be nothing short of mesmerizing.

This example, located on Level 3, was woven by the Toraja peoples of Indonesia and exquisitely combines bold arrangements in color, pattern, and texture to reveal in its central quadrant a series of geometric and interlocking human figures believed to represent generations of beloved ancestors.

Mvaï group, Fang peoples, Ntem region, Gabon, Africa, Reliquary guardian figure, 1800-1860, wood, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Predating Western notions of cubism by nearly half a century, this rare sculpture from the Fang peoples of sub-Saharan Africa is sure to stun you in your tracks. Composed of beautifully carved abstract and voluminous forms, the shining figure was probably modeled in the likeness of an ancestor and positioned protectively atop a reliquary box containing familial remains. Now I like to think of him as standing guard over the African galleries on Level 3 at the DMA, humbling our viewers and summoning their attention.

Roman, Battle sarcophagus, c. 190 A.D., marble, Dallas Museum of Art, Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund and gift of anonymous donor

This sarcophagus, located on Level 2, was probably made to commemorate the military victories of a Roman general whose corpse it was intended to house. Its battle scene is deeply carved in a complex relief that reveals warriors, horses, and captives, each densely intertwined and submerged in the real chaos of war.

Every time I visit this work, I’m fascinated by the great number of unique figures and gestures captured against its surface. Every few inches reveals a new layer of intense drama.

Frederic Edwin Church, The Icebergs, 1861, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Norma and Lamar Hunt

During my first visit to the DMA, The Icebergs, located on Level 4, was the first masterpiece to truly floor me. Based on sketches made during a monthlong boat trip in the North Atlantic, it is an enthralling triumph by Frederic Edwin Church.

Its exquisite palette and sharp glow entice any viewer. I have to visit the painting time and time again, simply because each time I do, I swear, it changes. No matter how hard I try, I can never fully recall its subtle warmth and reflection of light.

Zaha Hadid (British born Iraq, 1950), designer; Sawaya & Moroni (Italian, est. 1984), maker, Tea and coffee service, designed 1996, executed 2002, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift of in honor of Lela Rose and Catherine Rose

This puzzle-like tea and coffee service, located on Level 4, represents a first foray into silverware for renowned architect Zaha Hadid. When not in use, the lustrous components gather into a single architectural form that defies symmetry and cleverly disguises its function.

How cool is that?! I challenge you to stand in front of this service and try to piece it together in your head. It’s no easy feat, I assure you, but in the meantime you’ll definitely enjoy getting lost in its abundance of reflective surfaces and voids.

Auriel Garza is the Curatorial Administrative Assistant to Non-Western and Decorative Arts at the DMA.


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