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.
C3 Gallery Coordinator
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.”
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?)
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.
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!
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.
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 Dahl, Frederiksborg 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.
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs
Teens, adults, hipsters, parents, and those strolling the halls of the DMA were treated to a wonderful evening of spoken word, music, and light last Thursday, when Denton-based collective Spiderweb Salon hosted a poetry showcase with fifteen readers and musicians. The artists included participants from the Center for Creative Connection’s adult programs and Urban Armor teen programs mixed with well-known poets and musicians from the Denton area who are currently part of the Spiderweb Salon.
Inspired by the DMA’s exhibition Nur: Light in Art and Science in the Islamic World, Spiderweb Salon called the event A Bright Evening and the musicians and writers used light as the basis of their compositions. The showcase was hosted by poet and Spiderweb Salon co-founder Courtney Marie. Below are some highlights from the evening:
Listen to one of the musical performances:
We were pleased to feature the following poets and musicians performing at A Bright Evening:
Ann Marie Newman
Program Coordinator for the Center for Creative Connections
Last week, I wrote a blog post for our Uncrated Blog about a community project we are currently hosting in C3. Any and all visitors who enter C3 are invited to contribute to a growing collection of words that relate in some way to the concept of light, inspired by our current exhibition Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World. Check out the post and see the work of art that inspired this project, as well as a time-lapse video of our tree slowly but steadily budding leaves with our visitors’ ideas.
Many visitors stop to read the words that others have left behind, regardless of whether they add one of their own. Below is a just a sampling of the thousands of visitor contributions that have been added over the past two months. The size of the words is directly proportionate to how many times they appear on the tree.
Visit Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World through Sunday, June 29, 2014. Visit C3 afterward and add your own idea related to the concept of light!
C3 Gallery Manager
School is almost out and the temperature is rising–summer is here at the DMA! As we gear up for exciting summer programs at the Museum, we’re happy to welcome five new members to our team: our 2014 summer interns! Summer interns are an integral part of Summer Art Camps, making sure campers, teachers and parents alike are having the best educational experience possible.
Say hello to our interns! These amazing portraits were created during our orientation meeting.
Ashley Ham just completed her first year of graduate school in the Art Education program at The University of Texas at Austin. Originally from Abilene, she received a BFA in Two Dimensional Design from Abilene Christian University. And if she could be any animal she would be a bear, because she’s on a bit of a honey kick right now!
Laila Jiwani is a rising senior at Texas A&M University, with a focus in International Studies and French. Quite the world traveler, she spent four months studying language, culture and society at Université Moulay Ismaïl in Meknes, Morocco. Laila’s animal of choice would be a bird, because then she wouldn’t have to pay for those flights abroad!
Miyoko Pettinger just completed her first year at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA, where she is pursuing a degree in Psychology with an concentration in art therapy. An avid musician, she plays the piano and cello and has been a part of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra for 11 years! If Miyoko could be an animal she would be a sloth, because it looks like a pretty comfortable life!
Denise Sandoval, the youngest member of the intern cohort, is a soon-to-be graduate of the Irma L. Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School in Dallas. Her plan is to study Elementary Education when she enters Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX in the fall. Perhaps her experience working at the Dallas Zoo influenced her choice of animal to-be: she chose a giraffe because they seem to be one of the nicer species.
Wilhelmina Watts, the second Southwestern University member of the intern group, will begin her second year of study this fall. She is pursuing a double degree in Art History and English, with a minor in Chinese. She’ll put her studio art and collage experience to use this summer during art camp. And her animal to-be of choice? A Goat. Why? Because it’s adorable!
When you visit the DMA this summer–we hope to see you often!–you’ll recognize these new faces around the Museum and the Center for Creative Connections. Say hello and welcome them to the DMA family!
I am excited to introduce you to our newest teammate and colleague, Josh Rose. Josh started four weeks ago as our new Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs and we are thrilled to have him on board. Josh will oversee the DMA docent program, teen docents, school partnerships with Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, and a wide variety of programs for teachers. Josh will also be responsible for the Museum Forum for Teachers and will manage gallery tours for K-12 students, higher-ed, and adult audiences.
If you are a longtime attendee of Late Nights, gallery talks, or our lecture series, you may recognize Josh from his time here at the DMA six years ago managing adult programs. During his time away from the DMA, Josh has been immersed in teaching, serving as an adjunct instructor at multiple institutions, including the University of North Texas, Eastfield College and Brookhaven College, where he taught a range of courses from Art Appreciation to advanced art history classes on comics and Surrealism. Prior to working in public programs at the DMA, Josh interned at the Nasher Sculpture Center in education and conservation, and then worked there as a staff member in the Education Department. Josh has an MA in art history from the University of North Texas. His thesis was titled: When Reality was Surreal: Lee Miller’s world War II War Correspondence for Vogue. Josh also has a BFA in Studio Art from Texas State University in San Marcos.
Here are four fun facts about Josh:
- I drew a comic strip in college and graduate school featured in a nationally-distributed anthology published by Andrews McMeel.
- I once answered an open casting call for the role of Robin in Batman Forever.
- As a conservation intern, my first task was power-sanding an Alexander Calder sculpture.
- I’ve worked hard turning my daughter into a rabid Doctor Who fan, and she in turn has turned me into a rabid My Little Pony fan.
We are excited for Josh’s fresh perspective that he brings and delighted to have him as our FAST (Family, Access, Schools, and Teachers) friend!
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences
At the beginning of 2014, a small group of DMA Educators formed an informal photo club. Some of us have been photographers for over a decade and others are newer to the field, but we all share a passion for capturing moments with an artistic eye.
Being part of the group helps to keep us each motivated, whether perfecting techniques or experimenting with new subject matter. Check out some of our photographs exploring specific themes below.
Objects in Motion
Did you know that May is National Photography Month? Don’t worry, there’s still time to get out and participate. Grab your camera (or camera phone) and get clicking!
C3 Gallery Coordinator
Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences
Manager of Early Learning
Melissa Nelson Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager