Posts Tagged 'resources'

Communication Across the Ages

This week, the Center for Creative Connections installed an array of communication devices dating from 1909 to 1972. These objects demonstrate the dramatic change communication has undergone over the past century: devices have decreased in size to become more portable, while our ability to communicate with each other has become more immediate. 

 

Before texts and tweets, messages were sent and received by post or telegraph. Imagine sitting at a desk in the early 1900s and using these beautifully designed, handcrafted tools. Perhaps you are opening an envelope or dipping your pen in an inkwell to compose a letter to a dear friend. “Snail mail” would have been the only way to correspond with your out-of-town friends and family. According to the U.S. Postal Service, from 1926 to 2001, the number of items mailed steadily increased from 15 million to 103 million. However, this number had decreased to 62 billion by 2015. Today, instead of waiting days to send and receive a letter, we can simply send a quick text or email that arrives in mere seconds.

 

One of the first cameras to be marketed to women, the Kodak Petite was produced from 1929-1933. It was sold in a handful of colors and its small lightweight design made it easily portable. Today, anyone with a smartphone has access to camera at all times. It’s interesting to note that when the Kodak Petite is closed, it is roughly the size of a modern day smartphone.

 

Until the birth of radio and television in the 1920s, information, news, and entertainment were dispersed to the masses through printed materials like newspapers. This 1930’s Bluebird is a small personal radio, similar in color and design to the larger Nocturne radio in the Museum’s collection. Though this elegant radio may have been outside the budget of most living through The Great Depression, the medium itself remained an important aspect of everyday life in the early 20th century. The way we listen to music has certainly changed today. Instead of waiting for our favorite song to come on the radio, we have access to podcasts and programs like Spotify, which make listening to shows and songs possible practically anytime.

 

The Ericofon was the 1950s version of an all-in-one device. This one-piece phone combined the once separate dialing component with the listening/speaking component. At the time, it’s thirteen ounce weight was a huge improvement on the typical five or six pound telephone.

 

Reminiscent of an astronaut’s helmet, the JVC Videosphere’s spherical design came on the heels of the first moon landing–doubly significant because the landing was televised. The Videosphere was one of the first televisions meant to function as “a second set” for a household. Its small size also indicates that it was designed for use by an individual rather than a group.

Perhaps what is most striking about all of these devices is that each of these modes of communication is readily available today in one small, handheld device. Stop by the Center for Creative Connections to see these works of art in person and consider how communication has changed in your lifetime. 

 

Artworks shown:

  • Gustav Stickley, Desk set, c. 1909, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Beth Cathers and Robert Kaplan
  • Walter Dorwin Teague, “Kodak petite” camera, designed c. 1927, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley
  • Walter Dorwin Teague, Bluebird radio (Model 566), designed c. 1934, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Sonny Burt, Dallas
  • “Ericofon” pattern telephone, Telefonaktiebolaget L M Ericsson, designed 1949–1954, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund
  • “JVC Videosphere” television, Victor Company of Japan, designed 1972, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund

Jessica Fuentes
Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections

Cross-Cultural Connections

Hi, I’m Taylor Strander, a senior from McKinney Boyd High School and a DMA Teen Advisory Council member. As the school year draws to a close and graduation looms near, I thought it was a perfect time to reflect on my busy year at the DMA! I have spent a great part of my school year exploring the DMA collection and collaborating with staff on a project for my ISM class.

What is ISM? ISM stands for Interdisciplinary Study and Mentorship – a program specifically designed for high school students who have an idea of the career they want to explore beyond high school. The goal of the class is to develop interpersonal and networking skills in the hopes of obtaining a mentor that can offer their expertise in the creation of a final product. As someone interested in studying art history in college, I immediately sought to find a mentor who worked in a museum and was immersed in art every day. I distinctly remember growing quite fond of the DMA after my first visit with my elementary school class, and since then I have seized every opportunity to learn more about the Museum by participating in the Teen Docent Program and serving as a Community Engagement Volunteer.

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Due to my prior experience, I thought it would be most fitting to select a mentor from the place that catalyzed my passion for art. So I began my weekly commute to the DMA to meet and brainstorm with my mentors, Jessica Thompson and Whitney Sirois, on my final project for the class. Working with them has offered me a deeper understanding of the field of museum education and has strengthened my desire to pursue a career in a museum one day. My final project turned out to be something greater than I ever could have imagined and best of all, it is something that can be implemented in the Museum today.

So, what did I create? In order to gain a better grasp on the role of a museum educator, I designed my very own Bite-Sized Tour and Art-to-Go Family Tote Bag complete with four different activities.

During my first meeting with Jessica and Whitney, I was inspired by the DMA’s exhibition Spirit and Matter: Masterpieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, which features a variety of Islamic works from the internationally renowned Keir Collection. It was important to me to reference this collection for my project because Islamic art seems to be misunderstood and its influence on global cultures is often forgotten. After some heavy research, I used my newfound knowledge of Islamic art to create a Bite-Sized Tour entitled “Cross-Cultural Connections.” This guide highlights Islamic works and directly compares them to other objects in the DMA’s permanent collection in an effort to encourage visitors to notice similar qualities or influences across cultures.

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The second component of my final project is an Art-to-Go Family Tote Bag, which is meant to reinforce visitors’ understanding of Islamic art through different activities that highlight specific artistic elements. Family Tote Bags are great because they offer fun, on-the-go activities for a variety of different age groups and learning styles. For the tote bag, I came up with four separate activities – write, make, draw, and talk.

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The writing activity asks visitors to reference Islamic calligraphy to create their own epic poem. The make activity allows visitors to make their own astrolabe, a navigational tool that revolutionized Islamic culture. The drawing activity invites people to design their own geometric patterns inspired by Islamic textiles and ceramics. Finally, the talk activity encourages visitors to discuss Islamic art influences within the Museum’s permanent collection. Islam’s holy month of Ramadan has just begun, so take a moment to explore the many connections you can make to this world religion and its artistic traditions on your next visit to the Museum.

A special thank you to my mentors, Jessica and Whitney, for giving a young person like me an invaluable experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Your words of wisdom and constant support will not be soon forgotten. And finally, thank you to the DMA for transforming before my eyes into a place that I know all too well, a place that feels like home.

Taylor Strander
Teen Advisory Council Member

Mi Museo Es Tu Museo

Learning English as a second language while living in a Spanish-speaking home didn’t come without its challenges—it took me years before I realized “better late than ever” wasn’t a phrase, and I could write an entire dictionary of hybrid words my siblings and I used by mistake (e.g. “moona,” or moon + luna). In spite of the occasional linguistic faux pas, having the opportunity to communicate in both languages has been incredibly rewarding in my personal life and my experience as an educator.

While I didn’t grow up in Texas, my experience growing up bilingual is pretty common throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. More than a third of the population in Texas speaks a language other than English at home, and DFW contains the 6th largest Spanish-speaking population in the United States. Current research demonstrates that both English-learners and native English-speakers benefit from educational settings that foster bilingual literacy. With all of this in mind, how does the DMA factor the demographics of its audience and the scholarship on bilingual education to engage Spanish-speaking visitors?

Since the Center for Creative Connections (C3) first began implementing bilingual signage on table prompts and wall text, the DMA has introduced a number of additional resources for visitors who want to engage with art by reading, writing, or listening in Spanish. Through a collaboration with Make Art with Purpose, C3 produced the Translating Culture and Translating Culture II gallery guides based on community voices. The 2015 exhibition Inca: Conquests of the Andes/Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes featured English and Spanish text on its labels and wall didactics, as well as an interactive art scavenger hunt available in both languages. Visitors can also find extended labels in English and Spanish related to two works by Frida Kahlo currently on view in Level 4.

Here are some more bilingual resources we’ve introduced during the past year:

First Tuesday Spanish Family Tours

On the first Tuesday of the month from September through May, visitors ages 0-5 and their grown-ups are invited to join Museum staff for interactive tours throughout the galleries in both English and Spanish. This past year, I had the pleasure of leading families on Spanish tours inspired by nature, sculptures, robots, pop art, and more. Additionally, the signs and schedules for First Tuesday this past year were printed in both English and Spanish.

Create an exvoto / Crea un exvoto Activities

The inspiration behind this table activity in the Interactive Gallery came from the exvotos on view in C3, which contain Spanish text describing everyday miracles and expressions of gratitude. When Community Engagement staff designed an off-site version of this activity at the 2016 AVANCE Latino Street Fest, we included bilingual exvoto instructions and templates giving visitors the option to write in English or in Spanish.

Young Learners Gallery

Part of the recent redesign for this interactive learning space includes bilingual wall text and activity prompts for children ages 5-8 and their families. Visitors can explore lines and line-making using English and Spanish text, and the various hands-on activities in the space were designed for a number of different learning styles.

Spanish Family Guides (COMING SOON!)

Visitors can pick up Arturo Family Gallery Guides for a fun way to explore the galleries at their own pace. Each one contains activities and questions (and maybe a few puns) for kids and their grown-ups to make meaningful connections with pieces throughout the DMA. Keep an eye out for Spanish language family guides coming soon!

Museums around the country are engaging linguistically diverse audiences in innovative ways, including video guidesco-taught bilingual gallery lessons, and workshops for adult immigrants. What other ways have you seen museums welcome visitors with diverse language backgrounds?

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

 

Art’s Inspiration

 

Image of Art Smith photo by Arthur Mones, 1979

Image of Art Smith photo by Arthur Mones, 1979

Last weekend, From Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith opened at the Dallas Museum of Art.  In connection with this exhibition, the Center for Creative Connections is pleased to have on view a “Baker” Bracelet by Art Smith, along with a collection of tools owned by the artist.  Because a different “Baker” Bracelet is also on view in the exhibition, we faced the challenge of providing information that would expand on and not simply duplicate the information included in the exhibition.  In the months prior to installing the bracelet, I  learned that “Baker” referred to Josephine Baker.  So, naturally, my first question (and the one that I thought visitors might have) was “Who is Josephine Baker?”

As it turns out, Josephine Baker led quite an amazing life.  Baker was an African-American dancer and singer, who rose to fame in France.  In 1926, her performance in the popular show La Folie du Jour cemented her celebrity status.  During World War II, she worked for the French Resistance both entertaining troops and smuggling hidden messages in her sheet music.  After the war she returned to the United States and was an advocate for the Civil Rights movement.  Her efforts were acknowledged by the NAACP, who named May 20th “Josephine Baker Day.”  Baker, loved for her singing, dancing, fashion and beauty, was greatly admired by artists and writers of the time such as Langston Hughes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Pablo Picasso.  However, what I found most intriguing was that she inspired several sculptures by Alexander Calder.  Calder is known to have been an influence on modernist jewelers like Art Smith, and so their mutual interest in Baker caught my attention.

 

What similarities can you notice in the lines, shapes, angles, and curves between the bracelet and the images of Josephine Baker?

Visit the Center for Creative Connections to see the “Baker” Bracelet and Art Smith’s tools and to learn more about Smith’s inspiration and process.  On view through December 7, 2014.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Coordinator

Friday Photos: Old Haunts, New Friends

Museums often seem to inspire very personal and strong emotional bonds, and it is not uncommon to hear people talk of specific works in a collection or favorite locations within a building as akin to “friends and family.”  As a former DMA Education employee who has recently returned to the Museum, I have enjoyed spending the last several weeks rediscovering some of my favorite spaces and works of art here.  Of course, along the way, I have stumbled across some new works of art and changes at the DMA that I am becoming newly acquainted with!   I thought I would share this –admittedly quirky and idiosyncratic– tour of “old haunts and new friends.”

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I have always loved the tree that grows in the middle of our upper office area, particularly when viewed from one of the hallways radiating from it.   Also, the tucked-away chairs at the corner windows on the fourth floor are my favorite place to sit and read a few pages of a book during a break, followed only by the view of Fleischner Courtyard from the Mayer Library (Did you know we have a fantastic library the public is welcome to use for research?)

 

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Another favorite object is one of Winston Churchill’s paint sets, tucked away with a wonderful assortment of his letters, telegrams, small works on paper, and assorted memorabilia in the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection.

 

Magritte_Our Daily Bread-Le Pain Quotidien_1942 IMG_20140613_145712

As a lover and student of Surrealism, I was delighted to see two works on view that I had not previously viewed in person: René Magritte’s Our Daily Bread (Le Pain Quotidien), 1942, and Dorothea Tanning’s Jeux d’Enfants, 1942.  The deep-set frame of  the Tanning is particularly lovely, I think!

 

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Nearest the Ross entrance in the Founder’s Room are a set of window panels designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, originally from the Francis W. Little House in Deephaven, Minnesota.  It was interesting viewing the geometrically-designed “grilles” in the window against one of the orange-and-white striped hanging cloth panels in Daniel Buren’s Sanction of the Museum from 1973.

Finally, there is a little tucked away kitchenette in the Museum’s office area where I was always fascinated by a framed Dallas Morning News front page from 1984 announcing the donation of the Reves Collection, and I was pleased to discover it was still there.  I love how this is an historical artifact of the worldly context during which this important collection was added to the Museum, a preserved moment in time akin to the recreation of the Reves’ villa here.

 

Johan Christian Dahl_Frederiksborg Castle by Moonlight_1817 IMG_20140613_102630

Two newer features of the Museum that I am quickly becoming quite fond of are the recently acquired painting by Norwegian Romantic painter Johan Christian DahlFrederiksborg Castle by Moonlight, and the Conservation Studio across from the Founder’s Room.  Not only is the Conservation Studio fascinating to glimpse into, but the works on display outside it offer insightful peeks into little-seen aspects of objects like gallery labels and abandoned paintings hidden by frames.  (And, if you look carefully at my reflection in the window, it appears the female figure in the painting is tapping me on the shoulder.)

What are some of your favorite works of art and tucked away places here at the Dallas Museum of Art?  Please leave your examples in the comments!

 

Artworks shown (in order of appearance):

  • René Magritte, Our Daily Bread (Le Pain Quotidien), 1942, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of Nancy B. Hamon in honor of Margaret McDermott.
  • Dorothea Tanning’s Jeux d’Enfants, 1942, Lent by Private Collection.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright, Window panels from the Francis W. Little House, “Northome” in Deephaven, Minnesota, 1912-14, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Greenlee, Jr.
  • Johan Christian Dahl, Frederiksborg Castle, 1817, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund.

 

Josh Rose
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Educator Resources: Islamic Culture

Quran Bifolio, Tunisia, Qayrawan, late 9th – early 10th century , vellum, ink, gold, silver, and blue dye, Furusiyya Art Foundation, Vaduz, Photo © Noel Adams

Quran Bifolio, Tunisia, Qayrawan, late 9th – early 10th century , vellum, ink, gold, silver, and blue dye, Furusiyya Art Foundation, Vaduz, Photo © Noel Adams

We are thrilled to present Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World at the DMA through June 29. The exhibition explores light in Islamic culture–in the physical and metaphysical sense–through both secular and sacred works, produced in places from Spain to Asia, dating from the 7th century to the 21st. The Islamic world is vast, and the diversity of cultures embraced by Islam is rich. To assist you in teaching about Islamic culture, we’ve pulled together some useful online resources:

9th-10th century, Iraq, luster-painted, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., Brooklyn, USA

Bowl with bird, 9th-10th century, Iraq, luster-painted, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., Brooklyn, USA

Andrea Severin Goins
Interpretation Specialist

Make Your Own Festive Holiday Ornaments!

Winter has always been my favorite season—it brings back cozy memories of home and the holidays. Growing up in Ohio, I loved how decorated homes would transform our neighborhood into a bright, festive place. Set against a background of snow, it was like a living Norman Rockwell painting.

To help rekindle that holiday spirit, here is a simple and fun way for you and your family to create ornaments together out of recycled materials from around your home!

Materials:
• Paper (patterned or construction paper, old drawings, book pages, posters, etc.)
• Scissors
• Hole puncher
• Ribbon, string, or yarn
• Stapler and staples
• Rotary trimmer or paper cutter (optional)

Instructions:
1. Using your rotary trimmer, cut the paper into strips; they can be any size you like as long as all the strips are the same (for reference, I used 1”x8” strips). If you don’t have a rotary trimmer cut the strips by hand using your scissors.

Materials

2. Stack an odd number of strips on top of each other—I find that seven to nine work best.
3. Find the top of the middle strip and stagger the rest of the strips stacked on top of and underneath it to create a pyramid shape. Staple the stack together to secure it.

Stacking

Stapling

4. Repeat the process at the other end of the ornament. The strips of paper will fan out, leaving you with a spire-like shape.

Bottom

Finished

5. To hang your ornament, punch a hole at one end and string a ribbon through it.

Punching Holes

Try using different colors combinations when you stack your strips of paper. Also, increasing or decreasing the distance that you stagger the strips will change the shape of your ornament. Experiment with different supplies to further embellish your ornaments such as glitter, paper edgers, or shape punches!

Group shot

Hanging

Have fun creating and have a happy holiday season!

JC Bigornia
C3 Program Coordinator


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