Posts Tagged 'program'



Texas Late Night

Howdy, y’all! This past Friday, the DMA showed folks a rootin’ tootin’ good time at our Late Night celebration of the Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas exhibition. With a theme as big as Texas, you can bet that there was lots to do here at the Museum. With live folk bands playing in the Atrium Cafe and in the galleries, visitors could hear old-time, toe-tapping, traditional Texas music almost anywhere they went. Adult crowds could be seen gathering for tours of the exhibition and  surrounding the watercolor demonstrations led by artist Scott Winterrowd. Lectures, talks, and films throughout the night also kept the adults scurrying from one program to the next. Families had a rip-roaring time in the Center for Creative Connections studio constructing their own Dallas building to contribute to a three-dimensional city skyline. Also in C3, kids created Texas-inspired bandanas and participated in Yoga for Kids. To get a peek at all the festivities, check out the slide show below.
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One of my favorite moments from the night was bumping into a family I had taught during a Go van Gogh Summer Library Program. When I stumbled upon them, they were in C3 doing yoga and discussing what kind of building they would create in the studio. They excitedly told me all about going into the Flower of the Prairie: George Grosz in Dallas exhibition to see all of the works of art we had talked about during the Impressions of Dallas library program. “They know everything!” the kid’s impressed dad exclaimed. It is always a joy to see familiar faces in the Museum. To learn a little more about the Go van Gogh Library Program, check out Amy’s blog post from last week. Every participant receives a free family pass, which you could use at the next Late Night on August 17.

What was your favorite moment from the Late Night?

Hannah Burney
Go van Gogh Programs Assistant

A Look Back at the 2011-2012 School Year

School is out for the summer! It’s amazing how quickly this busy year flew by. We’d like to take a moment to celebrate some of the accomplishments of this year, and look ahead to some of the highlights for next year.

Museum Visits

  • During the course of the year, we provided docent-guided tours to approximately 37,352 people.
  • The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibition brought in the most docent-guided and self-guided groups with a whopping 11,455 visitors.
  • This fall, we anticipate a large number of group tours for The Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico exhibition.  We begin taking requests for the 2012-2013 school year on August 1st, so don’t forget to sign up!

Loryn Leonard
Coordinator of Museum Visits

Go van Gogh Classroom Visits

Thank you docents, Go van Gogh volunteers, students, and teachers, for a wonderful year!

Hannah Burney
Go van Gogh Programs Assistant

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

The Quality Instinct

Join us Wednesday, May 2 at 7:30pm for an Arts & Letters Live Special Event, Seeing Art Through a Museum Director’s Eye: Dr. Maxwell Anderson in Conversation with Krys Boyd.

The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a Museum Director's Eye by Maxwell L. Anderson

The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a Museum Director’s Eye was published less than a month after Maxwell L. Anderson began as The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art.  In an interview, he said “The book is really an introduction to a ground floor of understanding about artistic intention and artistic result, and I hope people will take something away from it in feeling more comfortable with objects that, even today, great professors of artistic and art historical theory may be a little out of touch with.”

Maxwell describes his family’s travels when he was a child as “great exposure to new ways of seeing the world”.  These experiences clearly made an indelible impression on him, as he states “I used, in the course of a career as an art historian, and a museum curator and director, to go back and refresh my eye about what I learned as a child and how it would influence the way I see today as an adult.”

Rather than our standard interview format, I decided instead to ask our new Director five quick questions:

  • Are there any books you’ve read multiple times?  Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger.  The Way We Live Now, by Anthony Trollope.
  • Do you have a “can’t miss” TV show?  The Big C is one Jacqueline and I don’t miss.  That, and Shark Tank.
  • What is your favorite quote? “I’d rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right.” – Albert Einstein
  • If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be? Montesquieu – he was so funny and casual and arch.
  • Coming from Indianapolis, how are you preparing for the Dallas summer?  I’m looking forward to it.  It will be cooler than growing up in New York in the summer; there, I would walk out on the hot street, get in a cab and stick to the vinyl seat, and go to a walk-up apartment without air conditioning.

Don’t miss what will surely be an interesting conversation between Maxwell Anderson and Krys Boyd.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

Friday Photos: Young Philanthropists

Earlier this spring, we were delighted to learn the DMA was selected to receive a donation through Episcopal School of Dallas’s philanthropy program.  Thanks to a generous gift made to The Dallas Foundation by Mr. and Mrs. J. Puckett, the Giving Beyond Ourselves program was formed with the goal of helping students to develop a philosophy of financial giving that would complement their experiences of volunteering their time for community service.  In the Giving Beyond Ourselves program, the junior class participates in advisory groups who research and select non-profit organizations they wish to support financially.  The DMA is honored to be one of this year’s recipients, along with Children’s Medical Center, Genesis Women’s Shelter, Operation KindnessMi Escuelita Preschool, American Red Cross, and Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.

The advisory group who selected the DMA came to the Museum for a two-hour visit, which included a staff-led walkthrough of various galleries and exhibitions and a special behind-the-scenes tour of our art storage space.  The students asked thoughtful questions about the DMA’s mission, annual budget, educational programs, and accessibility to diverse audiences.

We extend a BIG thank you to ESD students Blake Archer, Michael Collins, Amanda Eggers, Asia Hawkins, Wilson Miller, Reed Seidel, Sarah Spellings, Catharine Turner, and Tristan Whitcher; their advisor Mrs. Barbara Sampson; and Community Service Director Christi Morrow for selecting the DMA!

Director of Collections Management Gabriela Truly (on the right) talks to the group about one of the DMA's art storage spaces.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Teaching in the Community

An Evening with David Sedaris

If you’ve ever read any of the eight books by David Sedaris, you probably already consider him a close and personal friend. Through his witty short stories, he seamlessly weaves back and forth between autobiography and absurdist fiction, having the reader laughing and gasping at each turn of the page. He effortlessly wraps you up in his world, introducing you to his quirky family, and keeping you on the inside of every joke. So, it came as no surprise that he was just as enthralling and humorous in person as he is in his books.

This was David Sedaris’ fourth year coming to Dallas with Arts & Letters Live, and yet the 2,500 seat SMU Auditorium was still completely sold out. After several readings and a question and answer session, many hurried to get their place in line to meet David. I say meet, because David Sedaris does not just sign books, he has a conversation with each person who approaches his table as if welcoming them into his home. Despite this taking hours, going very late into the night, Sedaris maintains his energy and enthusiasm for each and every fan.  He uses his comedic flare to start unusual conversations with each visitor, and then references the encounter in the book he signs for them. With a drawing or clever comment, Sedaris turns a brief interaction into a special inside joke between the fan and him.

In my case, I was so excited to see him that I ran out the door without either of my two favorite books that I wanted him to sign. Fortunately with a simple explanation, he was more than happy to sign the program for me instead, writing, “Oh Hannah you forget everything”. So, just like many of the fans in line, I got to walk away with my very own personal story of David Sedaris.

Don’t miss out on the rest of this Arts & Letters Live season!

If you have any stories from an Arts & Letters Live event, please don’t hesitate to share in the comments below.

Hannah Burney
McDermott Intern for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

Intern Project: Artworks for Me & My World

Last month, Jessica and I introduced you to Me & My World, a program specifically designed for first grade students. There are two versions of the program, one created for tours in the museum and another developed for classroom visits. Although Jessica and I will be doing a lot of collaborating, she will be primarily focusing on the docent-led tour, while I will be working on the Go van Gogh classroom experience.
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Our first step in the Me & My World revision process was to select new works of art for each program. Go van Gogh is a sixty-minute program that is broken up into two equal parts of looking at works of art and then making works of art. With half an hour to look closely and discuss the art, there is just enough time to have quality experiences with four artworks. With thousands to choose from within the collection, picking just four is no easy task. When teaching in the classroom, we bring reproductions of artworks to be projected onto a screen; as a result, visibility can become an issue. For example, paintings that are really dark usually won’t project well, and sculptures with a lot of detail or incising can be washed out and difficult to see. Besides keeping all of these basic logistical challenges in mind, it was also really important to find works specifically ideal for engaging first-graders.

We started by seeking the advice of volunteers, docents, and education staff for their insights from past experiences. This resulted in a lot of great ideas, almost too many! To further narrow down our selections, we developed two main criteria to focus on: themes and teaching opportunities. In an effort to make the programs well-rounded with a variety of diverse topics, we categorized the artworks by themes, such as family or sports. These themes are meant to be easy for first-graders to relate to, so they can develop personal connections with the works. Then, by using the DISD curriculum for first grade, we created a general list of possible teaching opportunities that could be addressed through looking at art. Finally, we chose works that clearly matched some of those teaching goals and also fit into one of the themes.

With the thoughtful suggestions of our department, volunteers, and docents, as well as the criteria Jessica and I created, I was able to narrow down my search to seven final works of art to begin testing for Go van Gogh. I provided two examples below.

Apple Harvest, Camille Pissarro, 1888, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Theme: Family/Teamwork

Teaching Moments

  • Look at brushstrokes/dots of paint
  • Count the people
  • Name the colors
  • Discuss the weather/seasons

Personal Connections

  • Teamwork – helping family or working with other students at school
  • Fruit/food
  • Outdoor activities

Wild Cattle of South Texas: Ancestors of the Longhorns, Tom Lea, 1945-1946, oil on canvas covered masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Life Magazine

Theme: Natural World/Texas

Teaching Moments

  • Discuss and count longhorns – native to Texas
  • Look at landscape – cactus, stream, plush green trees and grass
  • Talk about weather/seasons

Personal Connections

  • Texas
  • Animals
  • Outdoors

In preparation for testing these artworks with first-graders, I will need to develop guidelines for conversation and activities that incorporate various learning styles. If you have had any memorable experiences with activities or conversation starters related to these themes, please share them in the comments section below!

Hannah Burney
McDermott Education Intern for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

To Corset or Not to Corset

With The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk set to open this weekend, fashion is definitely in the air at the DMA. One of the major influences you’ll find in the exhibition and in Gaultier’s work overall is the corset.  From Marie Antoinette to Madonna, for better or worse, corsets have continued to remain a big part of the female fashion arsenal. However, there is one lady in the DMA’s collection who seems to disagree with me: Sarah Sherburne Langdon.

Sarah Sherburne Langdon, John Singleton Copley, 1767. Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

In this portrait, painted in 1767, Sarah wears a loose-fitting gown without the requisite corset beneath. At that time in London, a new style was becoming all the rage partly because, just a few years before, the letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu were first published. Lady Montagu wrote to friends in England during her travels to Turkey after her husband had been appointed ambassador in 1716. In her letters, Lady Montagu described the odd oriental customs of the Turks, including their different styles of clothing. Upon her death, copies of the letters were widely circulated in England and the Colonies, and a craze for all things Turkish ensued.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Letters Of the Right Honourable Lady M-y W-y M-e: Written, during her Travels in Europe, Asia and Africa, To Persons of Distinction, Men of Letters, &c. in different Parts of Europe. Berlin: Sold by August Mylius, 1781. UCLA Charles E. Young Library Department of Special Collections.

So what makes Sarah’s gown Turkish, you ask? The gold embroidery trim and long, white, billowing sleeves evoked the look. But of course, her lack of corset is key. Turkish women could not imagine wearing a corset and were quite confounded by the contraption, as Lady Montagu describes. During her first visit to a local bath, the women kept encouraging her to remove her clothes. In one letter she writes, “I was at last forced to open my shirt and show them my [corset] stays, which satisfied them very well—for they believed I was so locked up in that machine, that it was not in my own power to open it, which contrivance they attributed to my husband.”

Emil Larsson, Body corset worn by Madonna, Blond Ambition World Tour, 1990. Dazed & Confused, April 2008. c. Emil Larsson

In the centuries since Lady Montagu’s letters and Sarah Sherburne Langdon’s portrait, corsets have been similarly vilified as a symbol of female oppression and embraced as a symbol of sexual empowerment. If you’d like to hear more of the corset’s story, join us on Thursday for the exhibition lecture Jean Paul Gaultier: Iconoclasm and Influence. Dr. Caroline Weber will trace the influence of the corset and other elements in Gaultier’s designs. If only Mrs. Langdon could be here to see where fashion has taken us now.

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

I spy with my little eye…children at the museum!

On any given day, there are always programs being offered for our younger museum visitors. During the week, you can often spot them in lively school groups engaging in interactive docent tours. And don’t be surprised if their enthusiasm can be heard from the hallways as they participate in exciting art activities in the Center for Creative Connections. Our programs also go beyond the museum and into the community, bringing art to the classroom with Go van Gogh. These are just a few examples of the many ways the folks here at the DMA are facilitating fun learning experiences that encourage participation and self-expression. But don’t take it from me! Our young participants really say it best. Below are some of their candid comments from the 2011 – 2012 school year.

Docent Tours

  • “These paintings look weird to me,” a puzzled 4th-grade girl commented while walking through the Impressionist gallery.
  • “Wouldn’t you like to drink out of these amazing cups?” a docent asked about a group of gold Peruvian mugs. “Uh, if I cleaned them first,” replied a 4th-grade boy.
  • A 4th-grade boy noticed a Peruvian Mask with copper covered eye holes and mused, “I wonder how many times the guy wearing that ran into the wall?”
  • “Even if you are a leader, you still need help,” reasoned a 4th-grade boy when asked to interpret the proverb expressed by an African sculpture.
  • After an hour long tour, these 4th-graders still wanted more, as expressed by this excited girl who asked, “What else are we going to see? Are we going to see the really really really big artworks now?!” Referring to the Mark Bradford work they had passed by on the way in.

Center for Creative Connections

  • “They always make us paint with crazy things!” said a young girl in reaction to painting with kitchen tools in an Arturo’s Art & Me class.
  • “I thought it was going to be a person, but it turned out to be a ballerina,” explained an eight-year-old girl about her finished artwork.
  • A nine-year-old girl titled her art piece Man Gives Flowers and reflected that, while she made it, she thought of “romantic love.”

Go van Gogh Classroom Programs

  • “Hi, I am from the Dallas Museum of Art!” announced the volunteer. “Really?! Yessss. I LOVE art!!” exclaimed an enthusiastic 2nd-grade girl.
  • “Make the minutes last! Make the next two minutes an hour!” declared a 5th-grade boy after being told that only five minutes remained.
  • “Wow,” a 4th-grade boy said of the hat he was making, “mine is turning out reeeeally neat.”
  • “I have no idea what I am doing. I just went wild on it,” laughed a 4th-grade boy about his art project.

If you have any memorable museum moments with kids, please share them in the comments section!

Hannah Burney

McDermott Education Intern for Teaching Programs and Partnerships

The Art of Astronomy

Nicolaus Copernicus was a cleric, a physician, a mathematician—a real renaissance man. Literally. But the true passion that drove him was astronomy. Throughout his life, he took every opportunity to observe the sky and the stars, making meticulous calculations of their positions at a time before the telescope had even been invented. With this detailed data, Copernicus formulated a new theory placing the sun at the center of the universe—an idea that helped to ignite the Scientific Revolution.

Like Copernicus, the Maya were astronomically-minded. Without the benefit of telescopes and other modern advances, they built monumental structures at sites like Chichén Itzá in perfect alignment with the sun during important days of equinox and solstice. Their calendars were also based on the movements of the sun and moon. Their myths and rituals share this cosmological focus, which permeated their entire culture. Even their artworks reflect their celestial mindset.

Eccentric flint depicting a crocodile canoe with passengers, Mexico or Guatemala, southern Maya lowlands, Maya, c. A.D. 600-900, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Mrs. Alex Spence.

This flint, shaped like a crocodile canoe carrying its passengers in profile, captures a scene from the Maya creation story. The Maya believed the soul of the First Father was paddled in just such a canoe to the underworld, after which he was reborn as the Maize God, the ancestor of all humans. Contemporary archaeologists have dated this event to August 13, 3114 B.C., based on the Maya calendar. This event was reflected in the heavens each year on August 13, when the Milky Way could be seen floating across the sky from east to west until midnight, when it shifted downward, north to south, plunging into the underworld.

Lidded tetrapod bowl with paddler and peccaries, Mexico or Guatemala, southern Maya lowlands, Maya, c. A.D. 250-550, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund.

Atop this lidded bowl sits the Maya sun god, Kinich Ahau, also in a canoe. As he paddles through the underworld each night, his path takes him through the constellations, one of which is represented by the pig-like mammals incised into the bowl’s legs.

Next Monday, October 24, Arts & Letters Live will welcome author Dava Sobel, whose new book A More Perfect Heaven recounts the revolutionary life and work of Nicolaus Copernicus. Had he been around to observe the skies of ancient America with the Maya, I think they might have found some common ground.

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives


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