Posts Tagged 'gallery talk'

Turning the Tables: Student Gallery Talks

Photo Mar 24, 2 14 56 PM

Our Booker T students took a break in the Sculpture Garden after all their hard work in the galleries! Read more about these fantastic students on Uncrated.

Dallas Museum of Art Uncrated

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It has often been said that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. With this in mind, a group of students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts recently gave gallery talks on a work of art in the DMA’s collection that they selected and researched themselves.

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For several years, DMA Education staff have partnered with teachers at Booker T. Washington to work with two classes of Senior Visual Arts students throughout the school year. Among the many activities and concepts we explored over several months was to incorporate the students’ speech credit requirement by culminating the year with each of them giving a brief talk in the galleries.

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All of the students presented interesting and fun introductions to their selected works of art! The range of works they selected was expansive—from grandiose neoclassical history paintings to intimate cloisonné Japanese vessels…

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Marty Grosz Does the DMA

Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas closed yesterday after three months on view. Earlier this month, George Grosz’s son musician Marty Grosz joined us for a special gallery talk with exhibition curator Dr. Heather MacDonald. Below are some images from his visit, and you can listen to the talk online. Even though the exhibition is closed, you can still take George Grosz home with you with our free e-catalogue.

Photography by Adam Gingrich, Marketing Administrative Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art

Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas

Even if you have never heard of the German Expressionist George Grosz, many of his paintings may be very familiar to you. The Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas exhibition highlights a range of Grosz’s work over a lifetime, with graphic works, paintings, and contextual photographs. Recently opened at the DMA, this special exhibition features twenty paintings Grosz created of our very own home: Dallas, Texas.

Born and raised in Germany, Grosz gained fame and notoriety in the 1920s with his satirical drawings of life in Berlin. His open and ever-increasing dissatisfaction with German government ultimately led to his move to America in 1933. As a child, he fantasized about America as a perfect place where everyone’s dreams could come true. He loved reading books about American life, especially the Wild West, and he dreamed of one day going to Texas to see it for himself. His childhood dream came true when he was commissioned to paint a series about Dallas. In 1952, Leon Harris, Jr., the young vice president of the department store A. Harris & Company, commissioned the series as a part of the celebrations for the store’s 65th anniversary.

At fifty-nine years old, Grosz arrived in Dallas to discover that it wasn’t quite as wild as he imagined. Dallas of the 1950s was a bustling, prosperous metropolis undergoing continuous change and growth. Primarily execeuted in watercolor, Grosz’s series illustrates the modernity of the new city, but also seems to capture the dreamlike quality of his imagination.

In celebration of Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas, the museum has created a variety of fun programs throughout the summer for all ages.

Hope to see you all there,

Hannah Burney
McDermott Intern for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Artworks shown:

Self Portrait, George Grosz, 1936, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of A. Harris and Company in memory of Leon A. Harris, Sr.

A Dallas Night, George Grosz, 1952, watercolor on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, anonymous gift in memory of Leon A. Harris

Cowboy in Town, George Grosz, 1952, watercolor, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of A. Harris and Company in memory of Leon A. Harris, Sr.

Cattle, George Grosz, 1952-1953, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of A. Harris and Company in memory of Leon A. Harris, Sr.

Flower of the Prairie, George Grosz, 1952, watercolor on paper, University Art Collection, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas Gift of Leon A. Harris, Jr.  UAC.1961.10

Playful Looking

What if the goal in looking at an artwork during a gallery experience wasn’t to learn everything about the object, or to arrive at “right ideas” about its meaning? 

Interpretive Play, one of my favorite models of gallery teaching, is based on this idea.  During an Interpretive Play experience, groups of visitors are guided by educators to look closely and make observations, “playing” with various possible interpretations and ideas about the artwork. Educators summarize, repeat, and connect visitor observations, weaving information into the conversation only as it is relevant to the group’s responses.  The goal of the experience is to provide an opportunity for visitors to look, think, and wonder together, coming to a shared and unique understanding of the artwork.

Two of our wonderful interns, Jackie Lincoln, McDermott Education Intern for Family Experiences, and Haley Berkman, McDermott Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art, led a gallery talk last Wednesday in the current Re-Seeing the Contemporary: Selected from the Collection based in Interpretive Play.   They had a large group of participants and facilitated some meaty, dynamic conversations.  Jackie, a frequent blogger on the We Art Family! The DMA Family blog has graciously agreed to share her insights about the gallery talk with us.

See Jackie’s comments below the slideshow of gallery photos and featured artworks.

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Haley and I are both planners by nature, so we spent a couple of weeks preparing for our gallery talk.  We tried to prepare for all scenarios, leaving nothing up to chance.

We started our discussion with the painting Portrait and a Dream by Jackson Pollock, thinking that visitors might feel more comfortable discussing a work by an artist who might be more familiar to them. It was about two minutes into this discussion that I realized that the content of the conversation was largely out of mine and Haley’s control, and that it was up to the visitors to determine the course of the talk. It was a frightening moment for me, acknowledging that something that we spent so much time preparing for was in the hands of other people, but then, I took a deep breath and started to listen to what visitors were saying about the works of art. Many of the participants made observations about the works that Haley and I had not noticed before or brought up ideas or associations that we would have come up with on our own. I found that by listening to others’ ideas, I was gaining greater insight into the works, and I hope that the participants felt the same way.

Leading a group through an interpretive play exercise was much harder than I thought it was going to be, but it was also very rewarding. It was challenging guiding people through a new kind of gallery experience—an experience where they are actively participating instead of passively receiving information. Creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their observations and then finding a way to connect those (sometimes conflicting) observations is not an easy task for the facilitator. It was also challenging deciding when was the appropriate time to step away from a work or move on to a new topic or idea. However, I feel like with practice that many of these issues could be ameliorated.

Overall, this act should enhance their experience with a work of art and will hopefully make it more meaningful to them.  It was interesting and inspiring to me that a single piece of artwork can mean so many different things to so many people, and I definitely plan on incorporating this technique into more of my classes in the future!

Jackie Lincoln
McDermott Intern for Family Experiences

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

The Art of Appropriation, a Wednesday Gallery Talk

Every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m., visitors can meet at the Visitor Services Desk for the Museum’s weekly Gallery Talk.   Gallery talks are 45-minute long intimate lectures and discussions that take place in the Museum galleries.  These talks are very different from a tour in that they typically focus on a narrow group of objects with a unifying theme within the Museum’s collections or special exhibitions.  They are often led by Museum curators, visiting scholars, and Museum staff.  Each year, every McDermott Intern leads a gallery talk as part of their internship experience. 

I was the first intern up to bat in leading a Gallery Talk titled The Art of Appropriation: “Exotic” Motifs in European Art.

Below are images of several of the objects I discussed during the talk.

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I decided to focus on appropriation art, a topic taken from my honors thesis as an undergraduate at SMU.  I’ve done extensive research on chinoiserie, an 18th-century European decorative arts movement inspired by Asian motifs, and this served as the starting point for my investigation of Asian-influenced objects in the DMA’s collections.  The talk emphasized four main topics in the discussion of these objects.

1. The definition and different types of appropriation art or art that crosses cultural boundaries.  For example, the colonial Mexican screen pictured in the slideshow appropriates styles, motifs, and subjects from Japan, China, the Netherlands, and ancient Rome.  See if you can determine which element can be attributed to which country!

2. Early (13th to 17th century) travel, trade, and other forms of contact between Europe and Asia.  Cosmopolitan objects, such as the Mexican screen, would not have been possible without cross-cultural exchange of information and goods between the two continents.  This exchange manifested in the early accounts of travelers like Marco Polo, the trade of goods and publication of scientific surveys through the various East India Companies, and missionary publications.

3. 17th- and 18th-century Chinese and Japanese exports and subsequent European “copies.”  Objects such as the Charger seen above represent early porcelain exports from China (made at the Jingdezhen imperial kiln) and the influence of European taste on their decorative elements.  Due to the relatively high cost of these imports, Europeans began making faience, and later porcelain, copies of Asian-produced objects.

4. The contradictory pairing of exoticism and ethnography in the 19th-century.  The 19th-century saw the emergence of the field of ethnography, fueled by the World’s Fairs and a growing body of “scientific” literature.  However, the notion of the East as a mysterious and exotic land persisted as seen in the painting above by Alfred Stevens that showcases the artist’s collection of Japanese screens, Chinese porcelain, and Kashmir textiles within the quintessentially French context of the salon.

Leading a gallery talk is a unique experience for an intern, and all in all it was very enriching, though a bit nerve-racking.  This topic was especially rich to share with museum visitors, as most everyone has experience with some type of appropriation!  It is a ubiquitous presence in our lives from advertisements that include famous works of art to the millions of souvenir stands selling Mona Lisa key chains or Mao Zedong t-shirts.  Post your example of appropriation to the comments section!

Upcoming Gallery Talks for the month of January include:

January 5th: Must be Willing to Travel: Early American Portraitists and the Transatlantic Exchange, led by Sara Woodbury (McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern for European and American Art)

January 12th: Form/Unformed: Design from 1960 to the Present, led by Kevin W. Tucker (The Margot B. Perot Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, DMA)

January 19th: Topping It Off: Portraits of Women in Fashionable Hats, led by Sarah Vitek (McDermott Education Intern for Adult Programming)

January 26th: European Art and the Rosenberg Collection, led by Heather MacDonald (The Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art, DMA)

Ashley Bruckbauer
McDermott Education Intern for Resources and Programs for Teachers

Spring Break at the Museum

We’re gearing up for a week of extraordinary programming at the Museum, so come spend a day (or the whole week!) with us.  Below are just a few of the many great experiences you can have at the Museum next week.

  • Take a new smARTphone tour
    Bring your own web-enabled device (such as an iPhone or Blackberry) to the Museum to access new and interactive content related to The Lens of Impressionism and The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection.  If you do not have your own device, a limited number of iPod Touches can be checked out free of charge at the Visitor Services Desks.
  • Spend an evening in Wonderland
    Learn to be a hatter in the Art Studio and watch three film adaptations of Alice in Wonderland at the Museum’s Alice in Wonderland-themed Late Night on March 19th.. 
  • Feed your appetite for knowledge
    Gallery Talks happen every Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. They are free 45-minute discussions led by various Museum speakers. Logan Acton, McDermott Education Intern for Teaching Programs, will be leading the discussion next Wednesday, March 17th, entitled Enlightening Connections: Science and Contemporary Art.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
    Explore the Museum’s collections and search for hats using a gallery scavenger hunt.
  • Discover local Young Masters
    View selected artwork created by Advanced Placement Studio Art students participating in the O’Donnell Foundation’s AP Arts Incentive Program™.  On view in the Concourse through April 18th.
  • Enjoy a light spring meal
    Head to the Museum’s Atrium Cafe and celebrate spring with tasty seasonal dishes like Quiche and Salad, Chicken Broccoli Crepe Provencal, and Turkey and Brie Crossiant.
  • Help your kids walk into and away with some art
    Use green screen technology to create your own vacation-themed postcards that will be available on the Museum’s Flickr website.  Tuesday, March 16–Friday, March 19th, 1:30-4:00 p.m in the Center for Creative Connections. 
  • Stop and enjoy the flowers
    The springtime wisteria blooms in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden near the Ross Avenue entrance are breathtakingly beautiful. After admiring their splendor, go find Water Lilies by Claude Monet in the European Painting and Sculpture galleries on Level Two.

Have a great break!

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Learning Partnerships with Schools and the Community


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