Posts Tagged 'Leon Polk Smith'

Fashion on Flora Street

One of the many things I’ve enjoyed since joining the DMA Intern Class of 2016 is working with Booker T. Washington seniors to develop their own projects for community engagement at the DMA. A few times a week, the students walk down the street to visit the Museum. We’ve been discussing different learning styles and how to appeal to all the diverse learners that visit museums. While assisting students with their projects is my main focus during their visits to the DMA, I cannot help but also pay special attention to their fashion choices. From week to week, each student’s individual style has inspired me.

So for today’s post, I wanted to highlight some pieces in the DMA’s collection that feature elements of these students’ style. Maybe they will inspire you too!

From the stage to the runway, septum rings have moved beyond counterculture to mainstream fashion.
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Find these nose rings at the DMA on Level 4 in the Ancient American galleries.

Carefully taut buns, messy half-up top knots, and lots of little Bantu knots—this unisex hair trend can be styled in so many different ways. Like it or knot, buns are here to stay.

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For top knot inspiration, look to Bodhisattva in the South Asian gallery and Monju (Manjusri) in the Japanese gallery, both on Level 3.

One-piece swimsuits and leotards have been back for a few years now. But with some of the Booker T. girls, I’ve noticed them as daily wear with skirts and sweaters or even cut-off shorts and a flannel shirt wrapped around the waist.

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This Bather in a one-piece carries off the look with some attitude. She’s a music video waiting to happen. Catch her on Level 4 in the American galleries.

Men’s patterned shirts mirror many of the patterns in our permanent collection. Some of the young men at Booker T. have been seen sporting stripes and floral prints on their button downs. The DMA is home to many intricate textiles as well as paintings that feature patterns that may inspire your own style.

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You can see these three men in patterned shirts in the folding backgammon board in the Level 3 South Asian galleries; the shirt for the figure of a saint is found on the Level 4 outside the Ancient American galleries; and Leon Polk Smith’s asymmetrical work Homage to Victory Boogie Woogie #1 is in the American galleries on Level 4. The paisley pattern is a detail of Alfred Stevens’ The Visit, found on Level 2 in the European galleries.

Stop by the DMA soon for your next style inspiration.

Whitney Sirois is the McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching at the DMA.

Images: Group of nose and ear ornaments, Columbia, Sinú, c. A.D. 500-1550, gold, Dallas Museum of Art, The Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison 1976.W.451-454, 456-458,460; Nose ornaments, Columbia, Sinú, c. A.D. 1000-1550, gold, Dallas Museum of Art, The Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, and Mr. and Mrs. John D. Murchison 1976.W.468, 810, 605; Maitreya, India, Kushan period, 2nd–3rd century, schist, Intended bequest of David T. Owsley; Monju (Manjusri), Japan, Nanbokucho, 1336-1392, ink, color, and gold on silk, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1970.8; Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Bather with Cigarette, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase Fund, Deaccession Funds/City of Dallas (by exchange) in honor of Dr. Steven A. Nash, 1988.22; Folding backgammon board, India, Mughal period, 19th century, wood, ivory, cord, and inlay, Intended bequest of David T. Owsley; Shirt for the figure of a saint, Guatemala, Kaqchikel Maya, c. 1910-1930, cotton and silk, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift, 2008.194; Leon Polk Smith, Homage to Victory Boogie Woogie #1, 1946, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA League Purchase Fund, 2000.391; Alfred Stevens, The Visit, before 1869, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation, 1997.112

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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