Posts Tagged 'reading'

Hop on Pop!

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All kinds of good things are POPping up here at the DMA with the opening of the new exhibition International Pop. The Barrel Vault is filled with bright colors, oversized paintings, familiar faces, and works of art that will make you smile. Why not hop on Pop at home too? I’ve rounded up some of my favorite children’s books to introduce our youngest visitors to the art and artists who POP!

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Toddlers

Two beautiful and fun concept books perfect for the toddler crew are Pop Warhol’s Top by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo and Counting with Wayne Thiebaud by Susan Goldman Rubin. Pop Warhol’s Top mixes together the best of touch & feel books with works by famous Pop artists. Tots can pretend to pull the lettuce off a Claes Oldenburg soft sculpture, touch the eyelashes on one of Andy Warhol’s famous Marilyn Monroe pieces, or tap the beat for an exuberant Keith Haring painting. Rubin’s Counting with Wayne Thiebaud will have little ones asking for “more, please!” as they use Thibeaud’s luscious dessert paintings to count from one to ten.

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Preschool

Pre-readers will POP till they drop as they work their way through the alphabet in Rachel Isadora’s ABC POP! Isadora takes inspiration from Pop artists to depict everyday objects in a Pop art sensibility. A is for airplane and Z is for zoom, and everything in between is illustrated with comic strip word bubbles, close-ups, boldly drawn lines, and lots of dots. Uncle Andy’s Cats by James Warhola introduces emerging readers to Andy Warhol through the eyes of his nephew James and tells the true story of the 20+ kittens Warhol had running through his New York townhouse, all with the name of Sam! Children will love trying to find all the kittens on each page, and also see glimpses of some of Warhol’s most famous works tucked away in the illustrations.

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Elementary

Susan Goldman Rubin highlights some of the most famous American Pop artists–Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Wayne Thiebaud–in three beautifully illustrated biographies for young readers. Wham!: The Art & Life of Roy Lichtenstein introduces readers to Roy as a boy who loved to draw and invent machines who grew up to be an artist that found inspiration in comic books. Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter traces Andy’s journey from a commercial artist to a world-wide sensation who made his name by painting one of his favorite meals as a child–soup! Delicious: The Art & Life of Wayne Thiebaud weaves together the artist’s memories from childhood and mouth-watering reproductions of Thiebaud’s dessert paintings to create a balanced view of the artist’s varied career. All three volumes give readers a peek “behind the canvas” to gain a better understanding of these men as real people.

After you’ve made your way through these POPular books, we hope you’ll POP in and see the International Pop exhibit for yourself!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

Summer Reading

Whether you’ll be on a beach or in the air-conditioned comfort of your home, get some inspiration from works in the DMA’s collection and dive into a good book this spring and summer. In addition, don’t miss the upcoming DMA Arts & Letters Live authors appearing at the Museum through July.

(left) Miguel Cabrera, Saint Gertrude (Santa Gertrudis), 1763, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Laura and Daniel D. Boeckman in honor of Dr. William Rudolph; (right) The Sisterhood book jacket, source: Amazon.com

(left) Miguel Cabrera, Saint Gertrude (Santa Gertrudis), 1763, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Laura and Daniel D. Boeckman in honor of Dr. William Rudolph; (right) The Sisterhood book jacket, source: Amazon.com

Saint Gertrude the Great (1256–1301 or 1302) was a German Benedictine nun and a prolific mystic writer. The artist, Miguel Cabrera, is considered one of the greatest 18th-century Mexican painters. Saint Gertrude is sure to enjoy The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan. In this beautifully written novel, a woman’s journey to finish her thesis shifts as she uncovers biblical and art historical secrets that stretch back to the Spanish Inquisition.

 

(left) Mary Cassatt, The Reading Lesson, c. 1901, oil on canvas, Lent by the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation; (right) The Book With No Pictures jacket cover, source: EmertainmentMonthly.com

(left) Mary Cassatt, The Reading Lesson, c. 1901, oil on canvas, lent by the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation; (right) The Book with No Pictures book jacket, source: EmntertainmentMonthly.com

Mary Cassatt’s The Reading Lesson looks like a peaceful reading scene between a woman and a young child. Perhaps they need a little more excitement, and Arts & Letters Live alum B. J. Novak has just the book for that! The Book with No Pictures encourages the reader to read every word, even if it’s silly or loud!

 

(left) Vessel (itinate), early 20th century, Cham or Mwona peoples, ower Gongola River Valley, Nigeria, Africa, terracotta, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation; (right) Half of a Yellow Sun book jacket , source: Mr. Kew blog

(left) Vessel (itinate), Nigeria, Lower Gongola River Valley, Cham or Mwona peoples, early 20th century, terracotta, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation; (right) Half of a Yellow Sun book jacket , source: Mr. Kew blog

This vessel from the early 20th century, featuring a stylized female figure, was traditionally used in divination and healing rituals among the diverse peoples in the Lower Gongola River Valley in northeast Nigeria. This figure, were she to come alive, might be interested in reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun, which narrates the story of five individuals whose lives were dramatically altered by the Nigerian Civil War (1967-70).

 

(left) Pablo Picasso, Bust, 1907-1908, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Joshua L. Logan, Loula D. Lasker, Ruth and Nathan Cummings Art Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Marcus, Sarah Dorsey Hudson, Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, Henry Jacobus and an anonymous donor, by exchange © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; (right) Middlesex book jacket, source: Amazon.com

(left) Pablo Picasso, Bust, 1907-08, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Joshua L. Logan, Loula D. Lasker, Ruth and Nathan Cummings Art Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Marcus, Sarah Dorsey Hudson, Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, Henry Jacobus, and an anonymous donor, by exchange © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; (right) Middlesex book jacket, source: Amazon.com

Picasso’s Bust, with its ambiguous gender and powerfully defined lines, would be enthralled by Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex. This bestselling novel, featuring an intersex main character, explores the theme of identity and the many forms that it can take.

 

(left) Fernand Léger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris; (right) Mrs Dalloway book jacket, Source: penguin.com.au

(left) Fernand Léger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris; (right) Mrs Dalloway book jacket, Source: penguin.com.au

Fernand Léger’s The Divers shows many different views of a body as it moves and dances throughout space. What better way to explore Léger’s modernist art theories than to enjoy Virginia Woolf’s modernist writing? Set during a single June day in London, a memorable event ties multiple characters together in this mid-20th-century masterpiece.

 

(left) François Auguste Biard, Seasickness on an English Corvette (Le mal de mer, au bal, abord d'une corvette Anglaise), 1857, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J.E.R. Chilton; (right) Paris: The Novel book jacket, Source: Amazon.com

(left) François Auguste Biard, Seasickness on an English Corvette, 1857, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J. E. R. Chilton; (right) Paris: The Novel book jacket, Source: Amazon.com

Seasickness on an English Corvette depicts travelers, bound for France, crossing the English Channel. The woman in the middle is clearly entranced by her book, which might be Paris, written by Edward Rutherfurd. This epic narrative of the City of Lights introduces a cast of characters whose fates have been intertwined since the Middle Ages.

Madeleine Fitzgerald is the Audience Relations Coordinator, Education, and Taylor Jeromos is the McDermott Education Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

Summer Reading Fun at the DMA

If you have or know any school-aged children, you know that the countdown to the end of school has begun! Dreams of afternoons at the pool, summer vacations to see grandparents, and lots of watermelon and ice cream are dancing through children’s heads. For me, one of the best parts of summer was the summer reading club at the library. I loved to read anyway, but getting rewards for reading? What a brilliant idea! (I just wish there was a summer reading club for grown-ups.) If reading by the pool isn’t your thing, why not bring a book to the DMA? Families are always welcome to read together in the galleries—on a bench or even on the floor.

To give you a jump start on your summer reading list, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite books along with suggestions for the perfect reading spot in the museum.

Clad in her swimsuit, cap and flippers, little Flora seems to be bursting with the need to move. Her muse? A pink flamingo who does not appreciate the little girl’s adoration! The two dance across the pages in this wordless book in a graceful ballet that reminds us that imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery and perhaps a way to begin unlikely friendships. Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle is the perfect book for your little dancer, and would be a great choice to tote along to the DMA when the Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cezanne exhibition opens at the end of June. Several of the museum’s pieces by Degas will be on display, including these lovely dancers.

The push and pull of waves on the beach is irresistible at any age. In Wave by Suzy Lee, a little girl timidly approaches the edge of the water, then slowly gets wetter and wetter as she becomes more sure of herself. The wave takes on its own personality as it interacts with its little companion, and in a splash of watercolor resembling a Pollock painting, the two become the best of friends. Several views of the ocean are on display in the American galleries on Level 4. Perhaps the waves in Alfred Thompson Bricher’s Time and Tide can become your friends too!

Have you ever wondered where imaginary friends live before they join your family? In Dan Santat’s charming book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, we discover the answer to this mystery. A little marshmallow-like creature patiently waits on an island far away for a child to imagine him into the world. But when no one chooses him, he bravely ventures forth on an adventure to find his person himself. Across the vast ocean, through crowded city streets, and finally perched high in a tree’s branches, our hero discovers a perfect friend waiting for him and learns that she has been thinking of him all along. Santat turns the idea of an imaginary friend on its head, and his color-saturated illustrations will make you wish you could have Beekle as your own unimaginary friend. Bring Beekle along for a visit to the Reves collection on Level 3 and search for Maurice de Vlaminck’s Bougival. The vibrant colors of this painting remind me of Beekle’s birthplace, and I can imagine him and his new friend tramping through these woods!

Beep, beep! Look out—fun is on the way! If your child loves everything that goes, Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems by J. Patrick Lewis & Douglas Florian should be tops on your list. Douglas Florian has written some of my favorite poetry collections for children, and for this high speed volume, he’s teamed up with U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis. As soon as you open up to the first page, you know you are in for a wild ride. The table of contents looks like a bunch of blueprints, and the list of vehicles is sure to get some giggles. From “The Dragonwagon” to the “Eel-ectric Car,” these crazy car poems will ride their way right into your imagination. The rhythm and flow of the language is just right for kids, and Jeremy Holmes’ illustrations are so involved, you’ll get lost in the pictures. Tow this book straight to the Hoffman galleries later this month and find John Chamberlain’s Dancing Duke. Chamberlain uses car parts and materials found in junkyards to create his fantastical sculptures.

If you can’t get enough of stories in the galleries, join us for story time this summer! Each Tuesday in June and July at 1:00 p.m. Education staff will lead story time, DMA-style. We’ll read stories, look at art in the galleries, and do hands-on activities. Story time is free and open to all ages.

Artworks shown:

  • Edgar Degas, Ballet Dancers on the Stage, 1883, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin B. Bartholow
  • Alfred Thompson Bricher, Time and Tide, c. 1873, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Mayer
  • Maurice de Vlaminck, Bougival, c. 1905, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
  • John Chamberlain, Dancing Duke, 1974, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. and Mrs. Harold J. Joseph in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Max Walen

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning

Counting Down to the Caldecott

For children’s book lovers, January is the month when we wait in anticipation to hear who will win the Caldecott Award. We’ve spent the year oohing and ahhing over gorgeous illustrations, delighting in quirky characters and being filled with wonder as yet another story reaches The End. Several of this year’s contenders are books that I think would feel right at home here at the DMA, both because of the quality of their illustrations and the power of their stories.

In Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown, Mr. Tiger is quite the respectable, gentlemanly tiger. His top hat and bow tie are endearingly dapper, and his manners are every mother’s dream. But that is all about to change when Mr. Tiger has a wild idea. Brown’s watercolor and gouache illustrations perfectly capture Mr. Tiger’s journey from the orderly, precise city to his walk on the wild side in the jungle. When I read the book, I immediately thought of Henri Rousseau’s vivid jungle scenes and the sneaky tiger on a Japanese scroll here at the DMA. Can you imagine this tiger in a suit and tie?

The Tiny King has a huge army, a massive castle, and all the things a person could wish for. But he is very, very lonely. When he meets a big princess, and asks her to be his Queen, his life gets noisier, more crowded, and definitely more happy—bigger in every way! Taro Miura creates bold, colorful illustrations that remind you how simple shapes and a lot of imagination add up to memorable visual images. Pair this book with a close look at some of the Abstract Expressionist paintings on view at the DMA, and you can have your own shape-filled adventure. To see more of Miura’s amazing illustrations, visit Carter Higgins’ blog Design of the Picture Book (one of my favorites).

What can you do with a piece of chalk? Create an entire world! Reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon, Journey’s heroine uses red chalk to draw a door to another world. She creates a hot air balloon, a magic carpet, and a bicycle to help her get around, and the illustrations beg you to look closer and closer as she explores this new place. When she loses her chalk, it seems like all is lost, until she gets some help from a surprising place. Aaron Becker’s watercolors make you feel like you’ve jumped into a painting, and reminded me of Claude-Joseph Vernet’s A Mountain Landscape with Approaching Storm. With an interrupted picnic in the foreground and a shiny castle in the background, you wish you could just walk around this mountain landscape and experience the frantic activity as the storm draws closer. Journey would work well as a classroom warm-up to practice close-looking, storytelling, and searching for contextual clues before a visit to see the Vernet at the museum. (To see a video demonstrating how the illustrations for Journey were created, visit the author’s website).

Duncan’s crayons have gone on strike and instead of an afternoon spent coloring, he faces a pile of complaint letters. Yellow and orange are arguing over what color the sun really is, blue is worn out from coloring water, white is feeling neglected, and the beige crayon worries that he is only ever a stand-in for the brown crayon. Duncan’s colorful solution for soothing everyone’s frazzled nerves shows some stellar out-of-the-(crayon)-box thinking. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt is just as entertaining for kids as it is for adults, and makes you wonder what your crayons would say if they could talk. Oliver Jeffers’ whimsical illustrations bring the crayons to life and offer the perfect way to start a conversation about the surprising ways artists use color in their work. You can meet artist Oliver Jeffers here at the DMA on February 9th as part of the Arts & Letters Live BooksmART series. Learn more about the program and reserve your free tickets here.

Do you have a favorite picture book that you hope will walk away with the Caldecott next week?

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

New on the Bookshelves

This week’s rainy weather is the “perfect storm” to send me to my sofa snuggled up with a stack of good books. I’m a self-proclaimed bookworm, and have blogged before {here and here} about how learning to read is similar to learning to look at art. Both involve making meaning through understanding context as well as visual cues, and the desire to communicate ideas. For many young children, picture books are their first introduction to art and illustration, and thus one of my favorite teaching tools. Here is my latest round-up of books to tuck in your bag on your next visit to the Museum. Or, simply enjoy them at home!

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Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Green is exactly what the title proclaims it to be—a beautiful, engaging concept book about the color green. Each two-page spread features a different type of green with a clever cut-out that reveals a peek into the next page. There’s “lime green,” “forest green,” “jungle green,” and “glow green,” to name a few. I used this book with preschoolers to talk about how there’s not just one green, but many, and the illustrations and simple text offered a concrete way for the kids to think of how to describe different shades of a single color by connecting to real-world objects.

  • Gallery connection: Read Green in the American painting and sculpture galleries on Level 4 and go on a scavenger hunt to see how many different types of green you can discover in the art.

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Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale

For every young block-loving builder out there, this book is a dream come true! Illustrations of busy children building structures out of blocks, constructing houses out of playing cards, and finagling a fort out of blankets and pillows are paired with photographs of actual buildings that closely resemble the children’s creations. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum, Tokyo’s Yoyogi National Stadium, and Frank Gehry’s Bilbao Guggenheim are just a few of the architectural marvels highlighted. Concrete poems for each structure mimic the shapes of the buildings and show-off the beauty language can create.

  • Gallery connection: Bring Dreaming Up and a sketch pad along for a visit to the Formed/Unformed exhibit. Read the book, look at the wonderful variety of chairs on display, and then draw your own design for a new chair!

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Mice by Rose Fyleman, illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Two sneaky mice are out in the night getting into all kinds of things! But these “mice are nice,” and their adventures nibbling on treats, climbing into things, and even making art are sure to delight. Ehlert’s signature collage illustration style is built around the use of several simple shapes—triangles, circles, and rectangles and begs to be imitated by young artists.

  • Gallery connection: Use Mice as your artistic inspiration and make your own collage characters at the art-making space in the Center for Creative Connections. We provide the paper, tape, and pencils—you provide the imagination!

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Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close

What if you could sit down one afternoon with artist Chuck Close and just ask him anything you wanted to? That scenario actually happened for a group of fifth graders in Brooklyn. Armed with questions like “What made you start to draw?” and “Why are your paintings so big?,” these children helped start the conversation that became the basis for this autobiography. A flip-book feature allows readers to mix and match foreheads, eyes/nose, and chins from several of Close’s own self-portraits and offers an up-close look at the small squares that compose each work of art—squares of paint, fingerprints, and leftover bits of paper.

  • Gallery connection: The DMA’s piece by Chuck Close isn’t currently on view, but you can discover another artist’s fingerprints hiding in the art by exploring the installations by Karla Black. Or, spend some time in our European galleries sketching the faces you find in the portraits on display.

Happy reading!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs


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