Posts Tagged 'University of North Texas'

We’ve Come a Long Way!

Since 1977 the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has promoted an annual International Museum Day, on or around May 18, to highlight how “museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” Beginning in 1992, ICOM has created a theme for the annual event. The theme for 2018 is Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics.

With this theme in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at one of the DMA’s earliest attempts at hyperconnectivity, our forays onto the Internet.

In 1993 the DMA was one of the first museums to go online with a gopher site, a text-based site of menus and documents, and a listing on Compuserve, the first major online services provider. The Museum also acquired two email addresses for staff to use, monitored by library staff members.

DMA website, circa 1994-1998, Homepage

DMA website, circa 1994-98

In January 1994 the DMA launched its first website. The DMA was one of the first five museums to go online with “click and view” access for visitors, presenting 200 images of collection objects. This site was hosted on University of North Texas (UNT) web servers. The DMA site was named one of the 1001 best Internet sites by PC Computing magazine in December 1995.

DMA website, circa 1998-2003, Homepage

DMA website, circa 1998-2003

By 1996, the Museum was outgrowing its UNT site and created an Internet Committee to evaluate the website and brainstorm content and ideas for what the site could be. This work resulted in the launch of a new website on DMA servers with a DMA domain name, DallasMuseumofArt.org, in the summer of 1998.

DMA website, circa 2003-08, homepage

DMA website, circa 2003-08

Since this time, the DMA website has continued to evolve in design and with new technological capabilities. The website underwent major redesigns in 2003, 2008-09, 2013 and, most recently, summer 2017 with the new enhanced Collections Online. All of these redesigns had the goal of providing more content and general information for the Museum’s multiple audiences in an easier-to-use package. DMA.org will continue to evolve with these same goals for future users.

DMA website, circa 2008-13, homepage

DMA website, circa 2008-13

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Interpreting Batiks

We are looking forward to Waxed: Batiks from Java, which will highlight the DMA’s fabulous collection of Javanese batik textiles later this fall. These works will continue the thread (pun absolutely intended!) of displaying textiles on Level 3; previously, Add to, Take Away: Artistry and Innovation in African Textiles explored textiles across Africa.

Batik is a technique of textile decoration that involves applying wax to a fabric by hand with a canting (wax pen) or a stamp. The fabric is then dyed, but the wax resists dying and creates pattern and decoration in the negative. Although the earliest and most simple batiks involved applying only dots of wax, the process has evolved to yield incredibly detailed and complex designs.

Batik tools, like these wax pens, will also be on display in Waxed.  

Batik tools, like these wax pens, will also be on display in Waxed.

Making a batik requires serious creativity, skill, and time. It took several months to complete a design like this cloud motif. If you look closely, you will notice that each cloud form includes six concentric outlines that shift in tone from a deep blue (the innermost line) to white (the outermost line). In order to achieve the variations in color, the cloth had to be dyed and waxed six separate times.

Wraparound skirt, (kain panjang) [pointed-ends cloud motif (megamenlang), Indonesia: Java, c. 1910, Cotton, commercial dye (?), Textile Purchase Fund, 1991.58

Wraparound skirt (kain panjang) [pointed-ends cloud motif (megamenlang)], Indonesia, Java, c. 1910, cotton and commercial dye (?), Dallas Museum of Art, Textile Purchase Fund, 1991.58

The job of “interpreting” textiles—or presenting them to the public in a way that facilitates understanding, piques interest, invokes appreciation, or inspires curiosity (among other things)—is a unique one. Because textiles are everywhere in our day-to-day lives, from mattresses, to clothes, to carpet and upholstery, it becomes necessary to very clearly convey what makes certain textiles so special. For our Inca exhibition last year, we collaborated with University of North Texas professor Lesli Robertson and the students in her class “Topics in Fiber: Community, Culture, and Art.” They created samples of textiles that reflected the very specific weaving techniques of textiles in the exhibition. We discussed the project in this blog post. These samples were such a success in the exhibition that we wanted to collaborate with our UNT colleagues once again for Waxed.

This time, we will work not only with Lesli and two of her recently graduated students but also with Amie Adelman, UNT professor of fibers, and one of her fall classes. The students will collaborate with DMA staff to design and develop an educational display that presents the steps required to produce complex batik designs. Together, we will further explore batik production in 19th- and 20th-century Java, including specific techniques, tools, colorants, and even wax “recipes.” The students will also have opportunities to visit the Museum’s textile storage and view some of the batiks up close, before they are installed in the galleries. By the fall, the students will produce eight to ten batik samples, each illustrating a different step in the process. By breaking down each individual step, our goal is for visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the extensive time, creativity, and planning involved in producing batik. Visitors will be able to learn from looking at these samples, and also from feeling them and touching the wax applied to the fabric.

Sketch of preliminary ideas for educational display

Sketch of preliminary ideas for educational display

We look forward to working with our friends and colleagues at UNT this summer, and we cannot wait to see what they come up with! Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes pics of this exciting collaboration!

Andrea Severin Goins is the Head of Interpretation at the DMA.

Weaving in the Andes

For thousands of years, artists in the Andean region of South America have been weaving beautiful and complex textiles—an extremely labor intensive process as well as an important form of artistic expression. Beyond serving as protection from the arduous cold of the highlands and the intense sun of the Andean coast, textiles played important roles in ritual, political, and social life and functioned as a marker of social identity for both the living and the dead. Because it took so much time and effort to produce a textile, wearing a highly decorative tunic, for example, conveyed the wearer’s social prestige. Today, we are surrounded by textiles—from the upholstery of our living room sofas to our clothes and bed sheets. But most of today’s textiles were created in mass and for the masses.

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One of the goals of Inca: Conquests of the Andes—on view until November 15, 2015—is to emphasize that each of the textiles in the exhibition was laboriously and thoughtfully created by hand. So, we designed a space within its galleries to illustrate the step-by-step process of making a textile, from the shearing of a camelid for natural hair or the picking of raw cotton, to the many specific ways that fibers can be woven together to produce a textile.

We were thrilled to collaborate on this project with University of North Texas professor Lesli Robertson and the awesome students in her class Topics in Fiber: Community, Culture, and Art. To kick it off, the class visited the DMA’s textile storage and examined fragments representing a variety of weaving techniques for inspiration. Then, they returned to campus and got busy creating enlarged samples of the weaving techniques, using extra strong and thick cording and string so that visitors can touch and feel the nuanced differences between the various techniques. The students experimented with natural dyes like indigo and cochineal (a parasitic insect) to produce bright colors, mirroring the Andean artists in the exhibition. They also produced a backstrap loom—a small, portable loom popular in the Andes that is attached around the weaver’s back and anchored to a tree or other high post. Be sure to check out the students’ photodocumentation of their project on Instagram. They tagged all of their photos and video with #IncaConquestUNT.

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Better yet, visit the Inca exhibition and explore the sample wall to learn about the intricate weaving processes used by the artists represented in the exhibition. When you enter, grab a Weaving Techniques guide from the holder. The colorful round icons on labels indicate the predominant weaving technique used for that artwork. Look for differences in the techniques in the artwork galleries, but try to feel the difference in the Weaving in the Andes space.

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Andrea Severin Goins is the Interpretation Manager at the DMA.

 

 

 

 

Like a Rolling Stone

The 28th season of Jazz Under the Stars will kick off tomorrow and we are all very excited about this year’s lineup. A full schedule and brief details on each of the groups can be found on our concerts page. I recently had the chance to chat with Tim Ries, saxophone player and featured artist for the June 9 Jazz Under the Stars concert. I was excited to get to ask him a few questions about his background as an artist, his time with the Rolling Stones, and The Rolling Stones Project. Watch a video of Tim performing his arrangement of Satisfaction from The Rolling Stones Project.

Q: What made you first get into jazz, and music in general?

My dad played the trumpet and had a band, although it was not his full-time job. I grew up in Detroit, so he also took me to all the concerts that toured through the area. I got to see all the famous big bands when they were on tour, like Woody Herman Band, Maynard Ferguson, Count Basie, and the Ellington Band. Then of course my dad also had all the jazz greats playing at home too, like Louis Armstrong.

My sisters were all into the Beatles and Rolling Stones so I heard that a lot growing up too, which is great since now I play with the Stones.

Q: So, what was your “career path” as an artist?

When all the Motown bands left the Detroit area for California in the early to mid 70s, many of the “sidemen” stayed in the area. I had the chance to play with these guys from a very young age. That was really great. Then I went to the University of North Texas for my undergrad and got my masters from the University of Michigan. And I am actually working on my DMA at the Manhattan School of Music right now. From 1983 to 86 I was in the Maynard Ferguson band, so I guess that would be considered my first “touring gig.”

After that, I moved to New York, where I have lived since. I play a lot in the city and travel all around to play with many people and many different types of music. I have had the chance to work with lots of great musicians, including Donald Bird, Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson.

Q: When did you start working with the Rolling Stones and how did you get this gig?

I started touring with the Rolling Stones in 1999. I had worked with their trombone player, Mike Davis, before and the saxophone spot opened up so he called me. They needed someone who could play saxophone as well as keyboard and organ and I could do it. So it really was a matter of who you know, being in the right place at the right time, and being a versatile and well-rounded musician.

Q: What is your favorite concert, or road experience?

Well, two things come to mind…

Many years ago I was booked on a recording session with Elvin Jones, who is my favorite jazz drummer of all time. I was very excited to be part of this session. Then on the same evening of the Jones session, I was booked to play a Stevie Wonder concert. Stevie is my favorite singer. Talk about an exciting day!

The second one was a Stones gig in Rio, on the Copa Cabana Beach, where we played for 1.5 to 2 million people. The concert promoter could not give an exact count because of the huge size of the crowd! They had to build a bridge over the road to the stage–over all the people–simply so the band could get to the stage to play the show. The “awesome factor” of that many people is almost indescribable.

Q: What inspired “The Rolling Stones Project” and the follow-up album, “Stone World”?

I had been wanting to do a “jazz album” of current popular music for awhile. I wanted to do something totally new and not just new arrangements of the same old standards from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Having been with the Stones for several years by then, I thought, “why not do this project with their tunes as ‘modern day’ standards?” Charlie Watts got into the project first and was going to be the guest drummer on a couple of tracks. Then Keith Richards got in on a few tracks, and by the time the first album was finished, we had over twenty-five guest artists on it. The second album ended up with seventy-five guests, including all the original Stones members again, as well as an overall all-star lineup.

Q: What new projects are on the horizon for you?

I will have two new CDs coming out this year. The first one that will be released was actually recorded in between the time of The Rolling Stones Project and Stone World. The second is a live CD recorded more recently in a New York club called Smalls. It features John Patitucci, Chris Potter, Billy Drummond, and Kalman Olah.

I also have many recordings and video footage of additional Stones songs done in big band arrangements that I would like to release sometime in the near future as well.

Mostly, in my own projects, I don’t want to be classified as only a jazz artist. I want to do projects where I have a chance to make great music with all the great musicians that I have had the honor to work and play with over the years.

Don’t miss your chance to see Tim Ries and The Rolling Stones Project featuring Bernard Fowler on Thursday, June 9!

Denise Helbing is Manager of Partner Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Community Connection: Using Art to Get at Life

As museum professionals, we attend conferences regularly to share the exciting work we are doing at the DMA and to learn from our national and international colleages.  I attended the annual National Art Education Assocation Convention for the first time in 2004, and I had the pleasure of participating in a session led by Dr. Terry Barrett.  Since then, I scan each year’s schedule to make sure I don’t miss an opportunity to learn from Dr. Barrett.  Last year, I was delighted to hear that he had joined the Art Education faculty at the University of North Texas.  I recently had a chance to talk with Dr. Barrett before UNT adjourned for Spring Break. 

Dr. Terry Barrett

What sparked your interest in art education?

I’ve been in the field a long time and I got into it by default.  When I graduated from college, I was eligible for the Vietnam War draft.  I was opposed to the war, and one way to avoid the draft was to teach.  I began teaching in an inner-city, all-black high school in St. Louis; I was there the year Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot.  I fell in love with the kids and decided I liked teaching.  I’ve been teaching ever since.

How would you describe your theory to a person with no experience in art education?

My mission is to help people appreciate art and to appreciate life through art, because I think art gives us different ways of thinking about the world.

Did you ever have a great idea that didn’t work?  What did you learn from that experience?

No, I don’t think I ever had a great idea that didn’t work.  Thinking of “great ideas” is intimidating in itself.  Other people come to me with great ideas – I have said yes to many offers throughout my career, and that’s led me to different directions that have been very interesting.

For example, one big change in my career occurred when a former student asked if I would be an art critic in education for the Ohio Arts Council and I said, “Yeah, why not?”  Being an art critic in the schools enlivened me;  my research, my teaching and my community service came together like a circle – a productive circle.

I was a cancer patient about 5 years ago.   I went through chemotherapy and private counseling and during that time I figured out I wasn’t afraid to die, but I was afraid of becoming old and inactive.  My counselor told me I have to get over that fear and suggested I go to an assisted living community and work with the elderly.  I said “Why not?”.  I also started doing contemporary art interpretation with people with cancer, and we started seeing how those images related to our lives. They really enjoyed the process and produced some beautiful writings.  That’s when I started thinking about life issues more than art issues and using art to get at life.

I had enough years at Ohio State to retire, but there was an opening at University of North Texas and I thought “Why not?”.  I wasn’t ready to retire; I wanted to stay active and keep working, writing, and teaching.

I love your artist statement about choices you’ve made related to making art, your creative process, and the materials you choose.  Can you tell me more about how you came to these decisions – was it a learning experience of trial and error, or did you approach artmaking this way from the beginning?

When I was young, I made art instinctively and intuitively. As I got older and was writing more, I didn’t have time to make art and do it well, so I stopped.  I realized I missed it, and that’s when I began painting.  Sandy Skoglund told me I needed something to fit my lifestyle.  As an example, she told me about a friend who frequently traveled on an airplane and made small collages because they didn’t require a lot of space or materials.  The small paintings I make really satisfy me.  They’re fun to make and I don’t exhibit them; I just do them for my own enjoyment.

It seems like much of your life and work has been in the Midwest, specifically Ohio.  What is your impression/experience of living and working in north Texas?

I miss the trees, but I like the sunshine a lot. The people here are friendlier than they are in the Midwest. There’s a degree of politeness that I like; the Midwest has a reputation for being a friendly place, but people here smile and make eye contact and open doors more than I’m used to.  I love wide open skies, and I love living in horse country.  I wish some rich ranch owner would give me a little plot of land to live on a horse farm, where I would build a small green house with a small ecological footprint.

Dr. Barrett will lead part of an upcoming Teacher Workshop titled  Exploring Photography: The Lens of Impressionism, along with photographer and educator Frank LopezVisit the website to learn more and register.

Melissa Nelson
Manager of Learning Partnerships with the Community

It's a Whole New Media World

It is Saturday now.   I’m one day late with the weekly Friday Photos post.  But check out these cool photos from the Late Night last night.  New media art was presented in the Tech Lab by students from the University of North Texas School of Visual Art.  New Media mixes the materials and concepts of technology and art, emphasizing the experience of the viewer who plays an active role in the artwork.  Thanks to Lindsay Hooker for help capturing these images!

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Learning Partnerships with Schools and the Community

Late Night visitors enjoyed Christina Day's interactive self-portrait. Animated images of the artist projected on a lycra screen change when visitors touch the screen.

In the Mood is a work by Eric Flye. Heat sensors, LED lights, and a computer program calculate your temperature and your mood.

Arash Sabha played with ideas about time and infinity in his work, Revisited, which uses mirrors, motion sensors, and a video camera.

DMA Tech Lab 101

BloggingSeminar_02_2009_037 III invite you to make your way soon to the Tech Lab in the Center for Creative Connections at the Dallas Museum of Art for a new experience with art and technology.  On most days laptops await you and your students in an open lab setting.  You can research one of the many artworks and artists viewed in the Museum galleries.

Workshops and special programs for all ages enliven the Tech Lab space on Thursday nights, Late Nights, and weekends.  This past Saturday, the  Booker T.  Washington DSC01561High  School video club met with  local painter and filmmaker,  Trayc  Claybrook.  The task  at  hand?  Make a one-  minute movie using the  theme “chairs”.  Inspired by  the design and film work  of Charles and Ray Eames,  the students ventured into  the galleries for filming and  initiated the editing process in the Lab.  Other workshop topics for families, kids, teens, and adults include stop-motion animation, podcasting, graphic design with Photoshop Elements, mini-documentary, and photography.  Workshops include time in the galleries connecting with works of art and time in the Tech Lab working creatively with technology tools to produce original work.  Check the Web site for workshop listings — a new calendar will be posted soon!

Drop by the Lab on the second Thursday of every month and every Late Night for hands-on Open Lab sessions with Technology experts.  Coming up at the November Late Night: University of North Texas art students present interactive art you can touch!

Nicole Stutzman
Director of Learning Partnerships with Schools and the Community


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