Posts Tagged 'Jerry Bywaters'

Who’s the Boss

Today is national Boss’s Day so we decided to look back on the legacy of one of the DMA’s former bosses, Jerry Bywaters.

Jerry Bywaters with his painting On the Ranch

Jerry Bywaters was the figurehead for the Dallas Nine, a group of artists from the 1930s who all focused on individual styles while working together to present unique aspects of the Texas landscape. Throughout his career, he was an art critic, professor, museum director, and, of course, a Texas artist. From 1943 to 1964, Bywaters served as Director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, which would merge with the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts to create the DMA in 1963. He believed museums should be responsible for inspiring and cultivating art within the community, something that is still very important to the DMA today.

Jerry Bywaters, Self-Portrait, 1935, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan E. Boeckman in honor of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, 1990.5

The DMA is fortunate to have a number of his works in our collection, including his paintings Share Cropper (1937) and On the Ranch (1941). Celebrate one of the DMA’s bosses with a visit to Level 4 to view Bywaters’, and his contemporaries’, work.

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

 

Tails of Wonder

Oh my pugness! The DMA staff has been going mutts over Dress Your Pet Up Day on January 14! We were so excited that we decided to start celebrating a little bit early this year. Our canine friends didn’t mind the inter-ruff-tion to their schedules, and our feline friends were glad there was to be no pro-cat-ination this time around—after all, they are purr-fessionals (whatevfur).

There is so much pet-tential with this round of dogglegangers that they just might head to Pawllywood after this blog post gets out! After all, the puparazzi eats this stuff up!

Sniff below for a fetching array of DMA pets re-creating works of art from the collection.

Thank you very mush for reading!

bearblog
DMA Staffer: 
Katie Cooke, Manager of Adult Programming
DMA Pet: Bear, Tuxedo Cat, age 6 months
Portrait Inspiration: Fox in the Snow, Gustave Courbet
I chose this piece for Bear to re-create because his tail is as fluffy as that of this beautiful fox in Courbet’s painting. Since it was 75 degrees when I took this photo, fake snow was used, and since he is a cat, Photoshop had to be used as well. Who knew cats don’t want to do what you tell them?

devils-dress-blog
DMA Staffer: Andrea Severin Goins, Head of Interpretation
DMA Pet: Artie, Maltese-Shihtzu , age 7 years, and Shelby, Golden Retriever, age 9 years
Portrait Inspiration: The Devil’s Dress, Michaël Borremans
Shelby chose this work because she is drawn to the ambiguous drama and theatricality of Borremans’ paintings. Despite her fear of most things, she is an avid theater-lover and an aspiring Broadway actress. She included her little sis in her photo shoot because she thinks Artie is the drama queen of the household.

dogs

DMA Staffer: Kimberly Daniell, Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy; and Amanda Blake, Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences and Interim Director of Education
DMA Pet: Chloe, age 11 years, and George Costanza, age 10 years, West Highland White Terriers
Portrait Inspiration:  Twins, Everett Spruce
Chloe and George are just like peas in a pod and are the dynamic duo of pet costumes. These two furry friends have partnered up for the past two years, and it was an obvious choice to have this seeing-double pair bring Spruce’s Twins to life. Chloe is still intimidated by George’s professionalism; he is the ultimate pro, even wearing a wig.

floydblog
DMA Staffer: Queta Moore Watson, Senior Editor
DMA Pet: Floyd, Orange and White Tabby, 1 year old
Portrait Inspiration: Portrait of Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour
In this distinguished portrait of artist Edouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour “represents Manet as a respectable bourgeois citizen, rather than a painter, . . . to defuse the idea that Manet was a social as well as artistic radical.” We like to think of Floyd as a dapper young cat (yes, he is actually wearing that hat on his head!); however, in reality, Floyd drinks from the faucet, chases his tail in the bathtub, and still hasn’t learned his name. #catgoals

share-cropperblog
DMA Staffer: Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services
DMA Pet: Parker, English Springer Spaniel, age 3 (he belongs to my parents; I borrowed him when I was home for Christmas in what has become a new holiday tradition)
Portrait Inspiration: Share CropperJerry Bywaters
My mom and I looked at several portraits before picking Share Cropper because Parker often has the same lost look on his face. My mom was the official costumer for the photo shoot—she made the hat out of my dad’s socks, cardboard, and Velcro, bought a child’s pair of overalls, and found some palm leaves in her neighbor’s yard to represent the corn stalks in our photo.

jetblog
DMA Staffer: Jordan Gomez, Marketing Manager
DMA Pet: Jet, Toy Poodle often referred to as “Poodle Jet,” age 5
Portrait Inspiration: Portrait of Mrs. Emery Reves, Graham Sutherland
Since Jet is a French Poodle, I felt like she needed to dress up as a portrait in the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection. I borrowed a puppy beret from another staff member and purchased the feather boa from a craft store and thought my lavender office chair would be the perfect setting for Poodle Jet to have her portrait made.

jupiterblog
DMA Staffer: Jessie Frazier, Manager of Adult Programming
DMA Pet:
Jenny, Basset Hound, age 6 and a half
Portrait Inspiration: 
The Abduction of Europa, Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre
Jenny shares a few traits with the Roman king of the gods—determination, a mischievous twinkle in her eye, and unwavering confidence in her supremacy. Also, like her less freckled COW-nterpart, she always gets what she wants . . . a peanut butter treat.

lylablog

DMA Staffer: Julie Henley, Communications and Marketing Coordinator
DMA Pet: Lyla Jane, Australian Shepherd, age 9 months
Portait Inspiration: Sea Nymphs, Hans Enri
Much like the sea, Lyla Jane only has two modes, calm and tranquil or unruly and intrusive. When I looked into these goddesses of the deep, two seemed to perfectly describe my little monster, AMPHITHOE, which means “she who moves swiftly around,” and AUTONOE, which means “with her own mind.” Ironic, since Lyla Jane hates water.

T43286, 9/24/07, 11:10 AM, 8C, 5232x7792 (496+208), 100%, Custom, 1/8 s, R42.0, G17.7, B32.2

DMA Staffer: Jessica Fuentes, Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections
DMA Pet: Nene, age 7 and a half, and Cleopatra and Frappuccino, age 4 weeks, Chihuahuas
Portait Inspiration: Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), John White Alexander
I chose this work of art because it has been a favorite of mine for a long time and we have the perfect green chair to use as a prop! Originally I thought of posing Nene in the role of Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt and my daughter in the role of the dog. Then, Nene unexpectedly gave birth to these two precious girls and I thought this would still be a great image for the three of them.

annblog

DMA Staffer: Anne Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art
DMA Pet: Miss Suzl, Maine Coon Cat, age 6 years
Portrait Inspiration: The Peaceable Kingdom, Edward Hicks
Suzl’s good with other animals so this work made sense!

Nicolas Party

DMA Staffer: Fran Baas
DMA Pet: Captain Charles and Annie, age 6 years
Portrait Inspiration: Nicolas Party, Two Men with Hats2016
I pass this marvelous Nicolas Party pastel daily in the concourse.  The bright colors, hats, snazzy collars and makeup make me happy. Obviously, this Photoshop mashup had to happen. My artist process was sitting on the floor with my lovely smart teenage niece and playing in Photoshop.  Life can be stressful, but smiling and laughing with my niece last night was priceless.

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA. 

Gustave Courbet, Fox in the Snow, 1860, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 1979.7.FA; Michaël Borremans, The Devil’s Dress, 2011, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund 2012.3, © Michaël Borremans; Everett Spruce, Twins, 1939–40, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dealey Prize, Eleventh Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1940, 1940.21 © V. Alice Spruce Meriwether; Henri Fantin-Latour, Portrait of Manet, 1867, pen and ink on wove paper, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.27; Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937 1937.1, © Estate of Jerry Bywaters, Dallas, Texas; Graham Sutherland, Portrait of Mrs. Emery Reves, 1978, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.72; Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre, The Abduction of Europa, 1750, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 1989.133.FA; Hans Erni, Sea Nymphs, n.d., color lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, 1961.16; John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901-02, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan, 2007.36; Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846-47, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund, 1973.5; Nicolas Party, Two Men with Hats, 2016, pastel on canvas, courtesy of the artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster, Ltd., Glasgow, © Nicolas Party

Brothers and Sisters

Today is Brothers and Sisters Day, a day to cherish your siblings per the holiday’s description. I don’t have any siblings to cherish, but I did find some in the archives.

Jerry-Dick-Bywaters_001

In this photo, sculptor William Zorach is demonstrating sculpting to a group of young students at the Museum School in 1945. His models—seated on the table on the left side of the image—are sister and brother Jerry and Dick Bywaters, the children of then Museum director Jerry Bywaters.

Another set of siblings in the archives are Nora (Howell) Wise and Frank Howell. In 1976, the Museum acquired a collection of pre-Columbian art from Nora and her husband, John Wise; papers from John and Nora came to the Museum after Nora’s death. The papers include this postcard from Nora’s brother Frank, a solider in WWI, telling her that he was coming home.

My dear sister, “All is well that ends well.” Though the end has not quite come yet, nevertheless we’re well on our way from war, etc, back to the dear old U.S. Will be at a sea-port in a few days. Best love to all, Frank

My dear sister,
“All is well that ends well.” Though the end has not quite come yet, nevertheless we’re well on our way from war, etc, back to the dear old U.S. Will be at a sea-port in a few days.
Best love to all, Frank

 

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Discovering Eliza

It was a truly exciting moment for me when I discovered that the DMA held a batik produced by “THE” Eliza van Zuylen. Owning one of van Zuylen’s exquisite hand-drawn cloths was a privilege that only very wealthy women in 19th-century colonial Indonesia enjoyed. With the average wage of a government employee being twenty guilders a month, and a van Zuylen sarong costing around thirteen guilders, these batiks were comparable to a Chanel bag or Louboutin shoes today. Adorned with European-style flower bouquets, hence buketan-style batik, the cloths were wrapped around the waist and combined with fashionable lace-trimmed blouses called kebayas.

Three Indo-European women wearing kebaya blouses with batik sarongs, Batavia (Jakarta), around 1880. Heringa, R./ Veldhuisen, H.C: Fabric of Enchantment. Batik from the North Coast of Java. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1996. pg. 48

Three Indo-European women wearing kebaya blouses with batik sarongs, Batavia (Jakarta), around 1880, from Heringa, R./Veldhuisen, H.C., Fabric of Enchantment: Batik from the North Coast of Java (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996), p. 48.

Mainly produced by women in their home and for their private use, Javanese batik underwent a process of commercialization in the late 19th century. In addition to Peranakan Chinese, several Indo-European women on the north coast of the island established batik workshops, often to supplement their husband’s income. Mostly middle class, these women, who were of European and Asian, Chinese, or Arab origin, were situated in between the local Javanese population and the Dutch colonial society. Their intermediary position allowed them to create batik for several societal groups, including the Indo-European, Peranakan Chinese, and upper-class Javanese.

Eliza van Zuylen. Heringa, R./ Veldhuisen, H.C: Fabric of Enchantment. Batik from the North Coast of Java. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1996. pg. 76

Eliza van Zuylen, from Heringa, R./Veldhuisen, H.C., Fabric of Enchantment: Batik from the North Coast of Java (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996), p. 76.

Eliza van Zuylen was one of these women; she was born in 1863 in Batavia (Jakarta) as the daughter of a Dutch soldier and an Indo-European woman. After her husband, Alphons van Zuylen, was appointed as government inspector in Pekalongan, she moved to this north coast city, which, since the 1850s, was an important batik production center. After helping in her sister Christina’s batik workshop, van Zuylen opened her own business in 1890. Starting off with just three Javanese batik makers, her workshop was very prosperous and expanded quickly, by 1918 becoming the largest Indo-European batik business in the whole of Java. Her workshop ended up being the only Indo-European batik business to survive the economic depression of the 1930s.

Peranakan Chinese batik entrepreneur Tee Boen Kee and his workshop in Batavia (Jakarta), around 1930. Heringa, R./ Veldhuisen, H.C: Fabric of Enchantment. Batik from the North Coast of Java. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1996. pg. 41

Peranakan Chinese batik entrepreneur Tee Boen Kee and his workshop in Batavia (Jakarta), around 1930, from Heringa, R./ Veldhuisen, H.C., Fabric of Enchantment: Batik from the North Coast of Java (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996), p. 41.

The batik designs, inspired by Dutch horticultural books, imported European flowers, and European fairytales, were created by Eliza van Zuylen herself and then drawn on the cloth with hot wax by her batik makers. Provided the wax drawing met van Zuylen’s expectations, she added her signature to the cloth and allowed it to be dyed. Together with a stamp from her workshop, this signature guaranteed the authenticity of the batik. Not only was the habit of signing batiks, which had been introduced by Indo-European batik entrepreneurs such as van Zuylen, meant to help protect patterns, but it also functioned as an advertisement.

Woman's Sarong, 1910, Java, Pekalongan, Indonesia, batik on commercial cotton, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters in memory of Paul and Viola van Katwijk

Woman’s sarong, 1910, Java, Pekalongan, Indonesia, batik on commercial cotton, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters in memory of Paul and Viola van Katwijk

The signature and stamp on the DMA batik by Eliza van Zuylen. Woman's Sarong (details), 1910, Java, Pekalongan, Indonesia, batik on commercial cotton, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Bywaters in memory of Paul and Viola van Katwijk

The signature and stamp on the DMA batik by Eliza van Zuylen

A gift from former Museum director Jerry Bywaters, this beautiful sarong entered the DMA’s collection in 1982. The signature “E v Zuylen” and the stamp stating “Batikkerij Mevr. E. van Zuylen, Pekalongan” prove that this batik was made in van Zuylen’s workshop. The beige and blue color combination, in this case probably achieved with indigo, is referred to as kelengan and was popular among both Indo-European and Peranakan Chinese women on the north coast. The body, or badan, of the cloth is decorated with three flowering twigs along with birds and butterflies. This motif is repeated on the head, or kepala, but on a contrasting dark background. The pattern fields and the edges of the cloth are decorated with floral lace borders. Such a batik would have been suitable for a young Indo-European bride on her wedding night, with the beige symbolizing her purity and the lovebirds referring to marriage.

Elisabeth Seyerl is the McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern for African and Asian Art at the DMA.

Museum Mustaches for Movember

It’s that time of year—the leaves are starting to change colors, the weather is getting cooler, and men everywhere are starting to grow mustaches.

We are getting close to the halfway point of the monthlong event of Movember, in which men give their razors a break to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer.

In honor of this great month, and because I am a woman and cannot grow a ‘stache, I’ve included images of my favorite mustachioed men currently on view at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Rafael Ximeno y Planes, The Silversmith Jose Maria Rodallega, c. 1795, oil on canvas, Lent by Felipe Siegel, Anna and Andres Siegel

Rafael Ximeno y Planes, The Silversmith Jose Maria Rodallega, c. 1795, oil on canvas, Lent by Felipe Siegel, Anna and Andres Siegel

Jose Maria Rodallega, one of Mexico’s most famous silversmiths, is sporting first-week-of-Movember stubble in the Spanish Colonial Gallery on Level 4.

Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937

Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937

Also on Level 4 is Jerry Bywaters’ Share Cropper, who is sporting a patchy week 2 mustache, but don’t tell him I said that.

Pablo Picasso, The Guitarist, 1965, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

Pablo Picasso, The Guitarist, 1965, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

Is there a mustache in Pablo Picasso’s The Guitarist? Check out this crazy cubist painting on Level 2 and decide for yourself.

Virabhadra, Karnataka or Kerala, India, 16th–17th century, stone, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Alvin and David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation in memory of Colonel Alvin M. Owsley, with the assistance of the Wendover Fund

Virabhadra, Karnataka or Kerala, India, 16th–17th century, stone, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Alvin and David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation in memory of Colonel Alvin M. Owsley, with the assistance of the Wendover Fund

The Hindu god Shiva is seen on Level 3 in a warlike form as Virabhadra. He has a perfectly groomed mustache fit for a god, and he gets bonus points for the super cool hat.

Charles Webster Hawthorne, The Fish and the Man, 1925, oil on canvas affixed to composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Charles Webster Hawthorne, The Fish and the Man, 1925, oil on canvas affixed to composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Check out this epic mustache found on Level 4! Maybe by the end of Movember, many men will have a mustache as amazing as this Cape Cod fisherman’s.

Frida Kahlo, Itzicuintli Dog with Me, c. 1938, oil on canvas, Lent by Private Collection

Frida Kahlo, Itzicuintli Dog with Me, c. 1938, oil on canvas, Lent by Private Collection

Oh, Frida. You are the only woman I know who can rock a mustache! You go girl!

You can learn more about Movember and how to donate to men’s health programs by visiting the Movember Foundation’s website.

Madeleine Fitzgerald is the McDermott Education Intern for adult programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Saturday is the 177th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. Celebrate Texas Independence Day this year by viewing newly installed works by Texas artists in the American Art Galleries on Level 4 or visiting the new exhibition Loren Mozley: Structural Integrity.

Otis Dozier, Cotton Boll, 1936, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Otis Dozier, Cotton Boll, 1936, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Alexandre Hogue, Drouth Stricken Area, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Alexandre Hogue, Drouth Stricken Area, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Florence E. McClung, Squaw Creek Valley, 1937, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Florence E. McClung

Florence E. McClung, Squaw Creek Valley, 1937, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Florence E. McClung

Charles T. Bowling, Mason County Landscape, 1938, egg tempera on composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Charles T. Bowling, Mason County Landscape, 1938, egg tempera on composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937

Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937

Merritt Mauzey, Neighbors, 1938, oil on masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Arthur Kramer and Fred Florence Purchase Prize, Ninth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1938 1938

Merritt Mauzey, Neighbors, 1938, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Arthur Kramer and Fred Florence Purchase Prize, Ninth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1938 1938

Kimberly Daniell is the Public Relations Manager at the Dallas Museum of Art and Elizabeth Donnelly is the Exhibitions Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Lights, Camera, Action!

From 1950 to 1952, the Museum, in partnership with the Junior League of Dallas, presented a thirty-minute weekly television program on WFAA called Is This Art? The show consisted of a panel talking about topics including discussions on specific artworks, collections, or types of objects; demonstrations of craft techniques; how to become an artist; and aesthetics. We found a few images in our archives from the show’s two-year run.

Dallas Morning News, News Staff Photo, October 10, 1950

This image is probably from the first episode of the series, which aired on September 24, 1950. The show included an introduction to the series and a demonstration of plastic arts, emphasizing the upcoming State Fair exhibits with objects from the Contemporary Design and Pre-Columbian exhibitions. Pictured from left to right are Mrs. Betty Marcus, Museum League President; Jerry Bywaters, Museum Director; Stewart Leonard, Assistant to the Director of the City Museum of St. Louis; and Mrs. John Rosenfield, moderator.

The image above likely depicts an episode from December 8, 1951, featuring a demonstration of silver objects in various stages of construction by John Szymack, a silver craftsman with the Craft Guild of Dallas. Seen here from left to right are Mrs. Howard Chilton, chairman of the Junior League’s television committee; Mrs. Bruce Steere, Craft Guild member; Alvin Jett, permanent panel chairman; and John Szymack (seated).

Hillary Bober is the Digital Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

We’ve Looked at Clouds

If you’ve come into the Center for Creative Connections (C3) within the past month you may have noticed a few changes in our space. Aside from new artworks in our Encountering Space exhibition, we have transformed one area into a Prototyping Station. What does that mean exactly? Well, in this space we use reproductions of works of art to engage our visitors in conversations. These conversations allow us to better understand visitors’ perspectives and inform our thinking in the development of exhibitions. For the past month, we have focused on three works of art from our collection.

We often have so much background information about a work of art that it is difficult to decide how much of it visitors need to know. There is a delicate balance between providing information and allowing visitors to learn through their own observations. While we did these tests, we only provided a minimal amount of information besides the image.

Our dialogues have included both face-to-face conversations and written responses to questions we’ve posed. We have documented these responses and decided to make word clouds to show you what we have received so far. Word clouds, or tag clouds, are a way of visualizing data. You enter text into a computer program, and it generates a visual representation of which words are repeated most often. The words that are used most often appear larger. Take a look at the following word clouds we generated based on visitors’ responses to the following:

“The title of this work of art is The Minotaur. Tell us what you know about the Minotaur.”

“We are looking for descriptive words for this work of art. List what comes to mind when you look at this picture.”

Marcel Dzama, “The Minotaur,” 2008, plaster, gauze, rope, fabric, chair, bucket, and paintbrushes, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.43.2.a-e, (c) Marcel Dzama

Jerry Bywaters, “Share Cropper,” 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937.1

Visitors noticed many things, ranging from objects to emotions.Why is this process important? We want to gather input from visitors. Putting this testing area in the middle of the gallery allows visitors to see the process we use to develop interpretive components for a work of art. It also gives Museum-goers a chance to contribute information and a perspective that may be different from the staff’s, which is an important component of the C3 mission.

The next time you are at the Museum, stop by the C3 and share your responses in our new prototyping area.

Jessica Nelson is the C3 Gallery Coordinator at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Teaching with Modern American Art

Last week, Amy W. blogged about a training session on Colonial American art that she and Jenny led for our docents.  Melissa and I recently led a follow-up session for the docents on teaching with Modern American art.  

Arts of the Americas and Colonial to Modern American Art are two of the most popular topics for docent-guided visits at the DMA.  Melissa and I deliberately selected artworks from the first half of the 20th century that docents don’t typically use on their tours.  It was our hope that by learning more about these paintings and artists, docents will have even more flexibility in selecting stops for their tours.

I started off training by looking at two American artists who were influenced by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian: Leon Polk Smith and Ilya Bolotowsky

  • We discussed what “Boogie Woogie” means and how boogie woogie music might sound.  I even played a short clip of boogie woogie music for the docents and had them dancing in the galleries!
  • Leon Polk Smith’s painting Homage to Victory Boogie Woogie #1 is a direct reference to Mondrian’s final painting (Victory Boogie Woogie). There is an Homage to Victory Boogie Woogie #2, which is in the collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
  • Ilya Bolotowsky knew Piet Mondrian.  They were both members of American Abstract Artists, which was founded in New York City in 1936.  In fact, Bolotowsky was one of the founding members of the group.

Melissa invited the docents to complete a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting two still life paintings: Survival of the Fittest by Fred Darge and On the Ranch by Jerry Bywaters.

  • This is an easy exercise to do in the Museum or in your classroom.  Encourage your students to look closely at images of these paintings and make notes about what they see in a Venn Diagram.  This resulted in a great conversation with our docents, and we think the same thing can happen in your classroom.
  • There are many similarities in the lives of Fred Darge and Jerry Bywaters as well.  Both artists lived and worked in Dallas most of their lives.  They also both took sketching trips to West Texas, where they were inspired by the vast landscape.
  • Jerry Bywaters was actually the director of the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts when Fred Darge’s Survival of the Fittest came into the collection in 1944.

We hope you’ll visit the Museum this spring to see these paintings in person.

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching


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