Posts Tagged 'mural'

Hopi Histories, Possible Futures

Today marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which recognizes the cultural contributions and importance of indigenous groups in the United States. In recognition of the holiday, we’re spotlighting the complex yet ultimately hopeful mural Hopi Visions: Journey of the Human Spirit, on view for free until December 2. The mural reflects the long collaboration between Hopi artists Michael Kabotie and Delbridge Honanie, who created the work in 2001 for the Museum of Northern Arizona. The exhibition also highlights a number of ancestral and modern works in the DMA’s permanent collection that connect to themes and material culture depicted in the murals.

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Michael Kabotie and Delbridge Honanie, Journey of the Human Spirit–The Emergence (Panel A), 2001, courtesy of the Museum of Northern Arizona, photograph by Gene Balzer

This six-paneled mural weaves a story of Hopi society from its emergence to the beginning of the 21st century. The large painting creates an immediate sense of warmth and light through its luminous colors and the combination of simplified geometric forms with soft, painterly textures. However, the harmony of the composition is at odds with some of its content: Panel B depicts the violence of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, when Pueblo groups fought back against the Spanish colonists who had settled in the Southwest.

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Michael Kabotie and Delbridge Honanie, Journey of the Human SpiritPueblo Revolt: The Rebellion of 1680 (Panel B)

As the mural’s journey moves through time, it also alludes to the destructive extraction of uranium and coal from Hopi lands,as well as present-day problems such as alcoholism, illness, food deserts, drug use, and suicide.

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Michael Kabotie and Delbridge Honanie, Journey of the Human SpiritRational Side: The Dysfunction (Panel E)

The coexistence of both destruction and regeneration in the mural reflects the Hopi principles that ground the artists’ work. Kobatie and Honanie explain that for Hopi, cycles of destruction and rebirth reflect an effort to find balance. For example, as the mural shows, although the Pueblo Revolt brought great violence, it ultimately forced the Spanish to retreat. Because of this violence, there was a regeneration of Hopi culture, which early Spanish settlers had severely repressed. The central panel powerfully symbolizes this through an image of the Squash Maiden, a new baby growing from an ear of corn, and the combination of ancestral images along the mural’s lower register with contemporary Hopi baskets, jewelry, and ceramics in the upper portion of the image.

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Michael Kabotie and Delbridge Honanie, Journey of the Human SpiritMiddle Place: The Rebirth (Panel C)

The notion of contradiction as a place from which to grow and to find balance also informs Honanie and Kabotie’s understanding of their mission as Hopi artists. Their artistic practice was communal and rooted in Hopi culture, but it was also a reflection of individual goals and journeys. Kabotie and Honanie attempted to create a new visual language that incorporated Hopi imagery but also drew from Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, and US mass culture.

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Michael Kabotie and Delbridge Honanie, Journey of the Human SpiritHope: Confusion and Hope (Panel F)

By placing a computer at the top of a Teotihuacan-style talud-tablero (slope and panel) pyramid, the artists look to contemporary technology and its potential for interconnectivity as a way to share wisdom from many cultures and traditions and create a balanced future, but they also root this technology and wisdom firmly in a collective indigenous history of the Americas.

Chloë Courtney is a Digital Collections Content Coordinator at the DMA.

Holding Up a Mirror to Texas Icons

If you’ve visited the DMA lately, you likely noticed the large red mural created by Minerva Cuevas in our Concourse. For those unfamiliar with Cuevas’s art, she is known for her conceptual multi-media installations, and the way her images, language, found objects, and sculpture work together to create political critiques. Some of her projects reformat the visual language of advertisements, using it to harness advertising’s power to affect cultural narratives. For example, see Cuevas’s morbid reimagining of the Del Monte logo. What makes her work so interesting and accessible is the way it explores the relationships among socioeconomic systems, indigenous identity, and the environment with a sense of dark humor. Sometimes, as we see in Fine Lands, her work is downright playful.

Fine Lands, on view at the DMA through September 2, transforms the Museum’s central Concourse into a dystopian Texas landscape, rendered in a powerful comic-book style. Familiar silhouettes of oil wells become menacing, insectlike forms, while crude oil spewing from a derrick morphs into a cloud of bats filling the sky.

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Alongside cacti and desert scrub, a tortoise’s shell is reimagined as a backpack, a reference to the northward journeys of migrants. A tough, muscled armadillo and wide-eyed prairie dogs wear bulletproof vests. It’s easy to imagine these critters as comic book characters with individual personalities.

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Meanwhile, enormous ants represent industrial and agricultural labor. Echoes of the Texas State Fair’s midway evoke the quintessential cultural icons of Dallas. Framing the mural at one end of the Concourse are the words “LAND LIBERTY LIFE,” a message that is equally evocative of the American dream and of indigenous struggles for autonomy and food sovereignty.

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Fine Lands Press Preview, May 11, 2018

This imagery and its layers of associations allow us to imagine unfolding narratives, or to insert our own memories of the Texas landscape. Although the mural clearly references hot-button issues such as pollution, migrant labor, and the power of the fossil fuel industry, there is no single overarching message. Rather, Cuevas holds a mirror up to Texas culture, reflecting it back to us with the added insights that creative metaphor brings. For example, she treats oil in several ways: as a natural resource, as an element of our economy (for better or worse), and as a visually fascinating substance that oozes and seeps across the landscape. More than a simple warning about the dangers of oil as a pollutant, this imagery evokes the role of fossil fuels as the bedrock of Texas industry and an important component of our deep-rooted sense of independence.

Through its examination and reframing of common cultural stereotypes surrounding our state, Fine Lands offers a new way of seeing and understanding subjects such as immigration, the politics surrounding natural resources, and ideas about Texan identity. The presence of bright white crosshairs distributed throughout the mural lends an undertone of menace. The sight of these crosshairs hovering on the wall just ahead implies an immediate threat, lurking right behind us. How we understand that implied threat, and the extent to which we participate in Cuevas’s reflection on the Texas landscape, is up to each of us.

Chloë Courtney is a Digital Collections Content Coordinator at the DMA.

Edward Steichen and His Seven Rare Mural Paintings: A History of “In Exaltation of Flowers”

Seven murals painted by Edward Steichen are undergoing conservation treatment this summer in the DMA’s Cindy and Howard Rachofsky Quadrant Gallery. After treatment is completed, the rare and exquisite murals will be on view September 5, 2017, through May 28, 2018, as part of the exhibition Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers (1910-1914), overseen by the Pauline Gill Sullivan Associate Curator of American Art at the DMA, Sue Canterbury.

Coleus – The Florence Meyer Poppy being unrolled from a travel tube

Edward Steichen, born Eduard Jean Steichen in 1879, was an American artist who was both a painter and photographer during his lifetime. Most of his paintings and photographs were produced for the American art market while he was living in the United States or France. He stayed in Paris for about a year in 1901 and then returned to Paris a second time in 1906; it was then that he joined the New Society of American Artists. One of his friends in Paris was an American student at the Sorbonne named Agnes Ernst, and she later played a large role in Steichen’s commission for In Exaltation of Flowers. In 1908, Steichen moved from Paris to his villa, L’Oiseu Bleu, in Voulangis, France. There, he cultivated a garden and built a small studio with a skylight.

In 1910 Agnes Ernst married Eugene Meyer and the couple traveled to L’Oiseu Bleu during their honeymoon. The three friends likely discussed the commission for In Exaltation of Flowers during that visit. This commission would include seven 10-foot-tall murals designed for a foyer in the Meyers’ new townhouse at 71st Street and Park Avenue, which the Meyers acquired in 1911. The commission was $15,000 and these artworks became Steichen’s most ambitious undertaking.

As Steichen worked on the Meyers’ commission from 1910 to 1914, many of their American friends visited Voulangis, including Arthur Carles, Mercedes de Cordoba, Katharine Rhoades , Marion Beckett, and Isadora Duncan. Some of these visitors identified with specific floral personifications, which became incorporated into Steichen’s tempera and gold leaf compositions. The In Exaltation of Flowers series consists of the following seven panels:

    1. Gloxinia – Delphinium: a kneeling woman (likely Isadora Duncan) with Gloxinia, Delphinium, and Caladium flowers
    2. Clivia – Fuchsia – Hilium – Henryi: one woman sitting (possibly Isadora Duncan or Marion Beckett) and another woman standing (likely Katharine Rhoades) with Clivia, Fuchsia, and Henry Lily flowers
    3. Coleus – The Florence Meyer Poppy: Florence Meyer (first child of Eugene and Agnes Meyer) with a butterfly and poppies
    4. Petunia – Begonia – The Freer Bronze: a Zhou Dynasty bronze (symbolizing Charles Lang Freer, a collector of Asian art and benefactor of the Freer Gallery in Washington, DC) with Petunia and Begonia flowers
    5. Rose – Geranium: Katharine Rhoades with a fruit-bearing tree, roses, and geraniums
    6. Petunia – Caladium – Budleya: two standing women (Marion Beckett and an unidentified woman in the background), with Petunia, Iris, Caladium, and Budleya (other spelling variants include Buddleia and Buddleja) flowers
    7. Golden Banded Lily – Violets: a standing woman (likely Agnes Meyer) with Golden Banded Lily and Violet (also identified as Begonia rex) flowers

Coleus – The Florence Meyer Poppy in the DMA’s Cindy and Howard Rachofsky Quadrant Gallery

Even before receiving the Meyers’ commission, Steichen had been painting and photographing women and flowers; however, his depiction of the subject matter and use of gold leaf in In Exaltation of Flowers alludes to influences from French couture designer Paul Poiret and Art Nouveau painters Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, Pierre Bonnard, and Maurice Denis.

All seven murals in In Exaltation of Flowers were completed by 1914. Even though they had originally been commissioned for the townhouse on 71st Street and Park Avenue, the paintings were never displayed in that building. Due to financial hardship, the Meyers had to sell their townhouse earlier in 1914, and Steichen’s intended sequence for the murals remains unknown today. The order listed above is based on a 1915 checklist from their presentation at the Knoedler Galleries in New York. Two of the murals were later displayed at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1921 and 1996, and at least one mural was displayed at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in 1988. The DMA’s presentation this fall of the murals, which are part of a private collection, will mark the first time the seven panels have been exhibited together since their debut at the Knoedler Galleries 102 years ago.

Rose – Geranium in the DMA’s Cindy and Howard Rachofsky Quadrant Gallery

References
Murphy, Jessica. Portraiture and Feminine Identity in the Stieglitz Circle: Agnes Ernst Meyer, Katharine Rhoades, and Marion Beckett. Dissertation. University of Delaware, 2009.
Goley, Mary Anne and Barbara Ann Boese Wolanin. From Tonalism to Modernism: The Paintings of Eduard J. Steichen, October 4–December 9, 1988.  Washington, DC: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1988.
Haskell, Barbara. Edward Steichen. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2000.
Pusey, Merlo J.  Eugene Meyer.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974.

Keara Teeter is a Conservation Intern at the DMA.

 

Friday Photos: Mural Mania

In celebration of Nicolas Party’s installation along the Museum’s concourse, our September Home-school and Family Workshops focused on the world of murals. After walking through the “magical underwater forest” as one participant called it, families had an interactive lesson about different forms of public art, including murals, installations, and graffiti. They were challenged with a matching game of pairing local Dallas murals to their locations, followed by a riveting game of Jeo-Party, a spin on the classic game show featuring questions about the artist.

After taking another closer look at Pathway, we came back to the studio to create our own larger than life masterpieces. Using vibrant chalk pastels on large sheets of butcher paper, the young artists had a blast creating their murals!

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Our next Family Workshop is on Saturday, October 8 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. You can register and find out more information here!

Grace Diepenbrock
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

Party in the DMA

Nicolas Party Pathway_artist Nicolas Party_August 2016_Courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art

On August 1, Nicolas Party hopped off the plane at DFW and ever since it has been a Party in the DMA. It only took the Swiss artist two weeks to transform the Museum’s Concourse into an enchantingly surreal landscape. Unconfined to a static sketch, each day the former graffiti artist added richly hued flora that simultaneously recalls forest floors and ocean depths. Visitors were entranced as he worked to bring his imaginative vision of a sanctuary for the people of Dallas to life. Check out the progression of the site-specific mural below.

And tomorrow, let the long weekend begin. Come experience the wonder of Nicolas Party: Pathway on Thursday evening and throw your hands up because we’ll be playing your song when DJ Wild in the Streets takes over the DMA patio. You’ll be nodding your head like yeah as we start the weekend early with 20% off crepes from Socca, fresh retro pop, funk, soul, and great company. See you there!

 

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

 

 

 

 

Friday Photos: Clarion Alley

 

Earlier this week, I enjoyed a vacation with my family to San Francisco. After the requisite stops at the Golden Gate and the Painted Ladies, we headed for some shopping in the Mission District where we stumbled upon Clarion Alley. This tiny alleyway has been filled with an ever-changing array of street art since the early 90s. Check out some of the images we snapped on this colorful street.

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Sarah Coffey
Education Coordinator

Public Art in Dallas

I have always been drawn to public works of art. Not only is public art accessible to all, but it also adds color, encourages discussion and reflection, and creates a unique voice for a city.

Being new to Dallas, I have enjoyed exploring the city and discovering its public art along the way. Not only do we have several examples here in the Dallas Arts District, there will also be a plethora of new works to view beginning this weekend! It would be impossible to include every example in a single blog post, but here are a few of my favorites so far:

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Leni Schwendinger, SpectraScape, 2009

Created by Leni Schwendinger in 2009, SpectraScape is an interactive work of art located in Main Street Garden. Spectrascape is composed of bands of light that respond to human activity and movement. The artwork welcomes visitors into the park and encourages play and curiosity.

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Deep Ellum Art Park

The Deep Ellum Art Park is filled with outdoor murals and sculptures that were created by dozens of local artists, including Frank Campagna, Tyson Summers, and Dan Colcer. The vibrant works of art add life to the gray, concrete pillars that make up Highway 75.

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Marta Pan, Floating Sculpture, 1973, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Collection.

Found in the reflecting pool outside of City Hall, Floating Sculpture is composed of two bright red spheres that spin and glide along the surface of the water. Created by sculptor Marta Pan in 1973, Floating Sculpture was originally displayed in New York’s Central Park before finding its home here in Dallas.

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Shepard Fairey, 331 Singleton Blvd, 2012

In 2012, muralist Shepard Fairey was invited by the Dallas Contemporary to create several murals in the West Dallas area. I love the bold design of Fairey’s murals and admire his vision of creating works of art that convey messages of peace and harmony.

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Miguel Covarrubias, Genesis, the Gift of Life, 1954, City of Dallas, Gift of Peter and Waldo Stewart and the Stewart Company, 1992

One of my favorite works of public art in Dallas is right here at the DMA! Every time I drive past the museum’s entrance, Genesis, the Gift of Life immediately catches my eye. The mosaic mural was created by artist Miguel Covarrubias and although it was originally commissioned for the city’s Stewart Building, it moved to its current location in 1990s.

Do you have a favorite work of public art here in Dallas? Go on your own art adventure and see what new works of public art you can find!

Amy Elms
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement


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