Posts Tagged 'Mark Bradford'

Marvelous Melissa

It's hard to resist the urge to push the balloons away.

Today we are bidding farewell to our dear friend Melissa Gonzales, who’s been at the DMA for almost 15 years. Her passion for education, her sincerity, and her confident nature are qualities that have helped make our Education Department stronger, and we’ll miss her wisdom, sparkle, positivity, extreme organization, drive, and creativity!

We know she has a lot of memories here, so we wanted to let her share just a few:

  • I’m most proud of….the relationships I’ve developed through my work with students, artists, colleagues, and community partners. These relationships grew out of projects that took a lot of time and work and were some of my most fulfilling professional experiences. Many of these professional relationships have grown into lasting personal friendships.
  • I’ll never forget…meeting Mark Bradford!  I’m a huge admirer of his work and I *might* have a teeny crush on him. While in town for the installation of his 2011 eponymous exhibition, Bradford participated in State of the Arts, a conversation with South Dallas Cultural Center Manager (and community partner and friend) Vicki Meek, moderated by Jeff Whittington. To my complete surprise, near the end of the conversation, Vicki paid me a generous compliment about a project I led with students at the South Dallas Cultural Center inspired by Bradford’s work. The next day, I was able to shake Bradford’s hand while shyly introducing myself as the person that Vicki had mentioned the night before. Bradford smiled kindly and said, “I know who you are.”

Mark Bradford with DMA Educators

  • Favorite gallery/art-making activity: We developed a Go van Gogh classroom outreach program called Creative Connections: Lights, Camera, Action! in conjunction with All the World’s a Stage: Celebrating Performance in the Visual Arts, an exhibition that commemorated the opening of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. In the spirit of making interdisciplinary connections, students divided into groups to write stories, compose original music and dance movements, create imaginative characters, and act out original skits inspired by works of art. I warned teachers beforehand that the classroom would become noisy once the students got to work brainstorming, inventing, and rehearsing. I absolutely loved the creative energy that you could hear and feel during that program, which culminated in clever and earnest student performances.
  • What’s something about your time at the DMA no one knows…I visited the Phil Collins: the world won’t listen exhibition almost every day that it was open. The three-part video installation showed everyday people from Colombia, Turkey, and Indonesia singing songs by The Smiths.  I am an enormous Smiths fan and I loved watching other fans pour out their hearts as they sang.  I watched the entire cycle of videos (about 45 minutes) on the last day and had to make myself leave.
  • I’ll most miss…my colleagues at the DMA: talented, smart, and fun people who work hard and are passionate about what they do.

Melissa, we’re all going to miss you, too!

Amy Copeland
Manager of Go van Gogh and Community Teaching Programs

Friday Photos: Tatum Elementary and Mark Bradford

This past Wednesday, I visited fourth- and fifth-grade students in Tatum Elementary’s Afterschool Program.  We spent time thinking about our neighborhoods and making collages using assorted papers, twine, and glue.  We finished by looking at works of art by Mark Bradford and talking about the large-scale paintings that he created using similar materials, which often relate to his neighborhood in Los Angeles.

But, the program did not end there.  Last night, Tatum Elementary Afterschool students of all ages came to the Museum with their parents to see the Mark Bradford exhibition.  They also spent time adding to the collages they began the previous day, or making new collages.  Children and parents created their own work, or in many instances, collaborated on collages.  Check out their great work below:

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Urban Armor: Urban Art

Urban Armor is a program for tweens and teens focusing on building identity through discussion and artmaking. This month, we’re offering a graffiti workshop inspired by the Mark Bradford  exhibition.  We’ll look at several works in this incredible show, and talk about the relationship between place and identity on both a personal and communal level.

Mark Bradford, A Truly Rich Man Is One Whose Children Run into His Arms Even When His Hands Are Empty, 2008, Collection of Marguerite Steed Hoffman

What has me excited about this workshop is the opportunity to discuss with participants the idea that not only are we influenced by our environment, we in turn leave our mark on the spaces we inhabit through our presence and actions. For teens, I think this desire to make someplace your own is particularly strong—from their rooms at home, lockers at school, to their personal space (how they dress, for example). This connection between place and identity is fundamental not only to Mark Bradford’s work but to street art as well, which is something we’ll explore during the workshop. Teens will also  have the chance to talk about their own reactions to Bradford’s work in terms of his materials and his use of layers.

Participants will then have the opportunity to make a work of graffiti art using a wide variety of materials that focus on their individual creative strengths.  Some may feel more comfortable with  drawing, others with collage, etc. Regardless of the medium they choose, we’ll emphasize the notion of self-expression through the use of layers. They’ll learn how to make their own stencils and how these can be used to create patterns through repetition in their artwork as well as a way of personalizing their own stuff at home after the workshop.

My sample, Training Wheels/Bull Market, shows layering and stencil processes

Urban Art will be offered Friday, October 21 from 9:30-11:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 29 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  The October 29 workshop is currently full, and registration is encouraged for the October 21 workshop (drop-ins will be welcome but space is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis).  All supplies will be provided, and the program is free with paid admission to the Museum.

JC Bigornia
Coordinator of Family Experiences

Friday Photos: Artist Encounters

We love Mark Bradford!

Teaching Programs and Partnerships staff with Mark Bradford.  An exhibition spanning ten years of his career opens at the DMA on October 16th.

A Monumental Install

Detail, the massive ark currently grounded in the Barrel Vault, recreates part of Mark Bradford’s earlier work Mithra which was installed in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. Detail consists of a steel and wood core to which is attached plywood panels to form the outer hull. The only part of the original Mithra that is used for this new piece is the outer plywood hull; the inner structure is new and was designed and fabricated for Bradford’s retrospective.

Because of the size and complexity of Detail, it was decided early in the planning stages of our exhibit that I would travel to Chicago to observe the piece being installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Being able to watch and participate in the assembly of Detail at the MCA answered most of the questions we had about its construction. Well before we began our installation, we had a very firm idea of how the piece would go together and how long it would take to build.


The first two days of installation were spent bolting together the inner steel core, which comprises thirteen steel uprights, sixteen corrugated steel panels, and almost forty horizontal and diagonal braces. Due to the size and weight of the individual components, and the fact that the steel panels were an extremely tight fit to the uprights, this was the most difficult part of the installation. The prep staff made judicious use of rubber mallets to “persuade” the steel panels to fit. When completed, this inner core replicates the look of the steel shipping containers used in the original MithraDetail is designed so that the viewer can get a slight glimpse of this inner structure through small gaps between the plywood panels that form the hull.

Once we were finished assembling the steel core, the installation went fairly quickly. The next step was to attach eleven large wooden “ribs”—each in two sections, a top and a bottom—that bolted on to flanges on the steel uprights. At this point what had been a huge steel box began to take on the shape of a giant boat. Next a series of horizontal wooden braces were screwed between the ribs. These horizontal braces, along with the wooden ribs, served as attachment points for the outer plywood “skin” that forms the hull of Detail. The final step was screwing the plywood panels to the ribs and horizontal braces, which completed the hull. The fit of the panels was not really precise; at this stage, we relied on our own aesthetic judgment, plus images from the installation in Chicago, to determine the exact placement and alignment of each panel in relation to the others around it.

We completed Detail in five days, right on schedule. Mark Bradford’s monumental boat and the Barrel Vault space seem to be made for each other, and Detail will certainly be as memorable a viewing experience as it was to install.

Mike Hill is a Preparator at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Educator Resources: Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford opens this Sunday, October 16 at the Dallas Museum of Art and you do not want to miss this exhibition.  Bradford’s abstract, large-scale, mixed-media paintings look beautiful and comfortable in the expansive contemporary art galleries at the DMA.  As you plan your own visit or a visit for your students, there is great information about Bradford, his work, and his process available on several websites.  Spend some time with the following resources to learn more about Bradford and to gather ideas for dialogue and studio projects with your students.

Potable Water, 2005, Billboard paper, photomechanical reproductions, acrylic gel medium, and additional mixed media, 130 x 196 inches, Collection of Hunter Gray, Photo: Bruce M. White

1.  Pinocchio is On Fire
This is the official website for the exhibition Mark Bradford, organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio.  When you visit the site, you have four ways to dive into Bradford’s work. Select “the studio” and view a unique presentation of two videos featuring Bradford talking about his process.   “The art” guides us through a look at several works in the exhibition.  Finally, you can choose “the artist” to learn more about Bradford’s biography, or select “process & materials” to learn more about what media he uses and how he creates.

2.  Art21
This popular PBS documentary about art in the 21st century features Mark Bradford and eighty-five additional contemporary artists presently working in the United States.  Each season of Art21, which is now in its fifth season, explores several thematic episodes that bring together multiple artists for consideration within the specified theme.  Bradford is featured in the “Paradox” episode, season four, which looks at how contemporary artists address contradiction, ambiguity, and truth.  For Bradford and each of the artists featured on the website, visitors can access videos, slideshows, interactive resources, and educational materials.

Mark Bradford in his studio, fall 2009, Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

3. Open Studio
Mark Bradford conceived of Open Studio as part of the Getty Artists Program.  Designed for K-12 teachers, the resource is a collection of art-making ideas developed by Bradford and ten international artists that he engaged in the project.  Open Studio art lessons reflect the contemporary world that we live in and the ways in which young people move through this world (often faster than the rest of us as Bradford suggests).  The website also includes biographies and several color images for each artist.

4. Exhibition smARTphone tour
If you are coming to the exhibition or wish to reconnect with the artworks after visiting the exhibition, don’t forget that you can pull out your smartphone (iPhones, Androids, Blackberrys, etc.) and listen to Mark Bradford talk about several works in the exhibition.  This tour has been available at many of the exhibition venues.  If you do not have a smartphone, just type “www.dallasmuseumofart.mobi” into your internet browser to view the resources on your computer.  Select “Mark Bradford,” then select the artwork of your choice to listen.

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Seldom Scene: Shipyard

Mark Bradford opens on October 16 but the installation began a few weeks ago. Below are images of the Barrel Vault installation of Detail, a monumental section of the ark Mithra, which the artist built for Prospect 1, the 2008 New Orleans Biennale, one of the first international art events devised to bring visitors back to that city following Hurricane Katrina.

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