Here at the DMA, we owe a lot to our wonderful volunteers. They give of their time and talent to help lead student visits, access programs, and adult group visits. Oftentimes, they’re the public face of the Museum, welcoming our visitors and helping them make meaningful connections with the works of art. The DMA simply would not be as special as it is without them!
One of my favorite paintings is Watch by Gerald Murphy. That was a magic time in Paris when painters, writers, and musicians worked together and inspired each other. The Murphys were a fascinating couple and his hard edge, hyper realistic paintings of everyday objects influenced later artists. He painted briefly, and out of about a dozen works, we own two, given to us by Murphy himself. There are letters from him about the gift in our archives. -Diane Roberts
I have a long standing love affair with Rufino Tamayo’s El Hombre. I use it 4-5 times a month, maybe more often than that. I wrote a paper in graduate school on its acquisition by and significance to the DMA. I use it interactively on my tours to teach three ways of looking at art: eyes, mind, and heart. – Kelly Breazeale
My new favorite work of art is the Daruma scroll by the Zen priest Hakuin Ekaku, because I love the simplicity and the meaning behind this form of art. The idea that it expresses the “true or formless self” appeals to me and some of my personal beliefs. Before I came to the Museum, I didn’t like or respect the work of Jackson Pollock, but after our session about him and his work, I gained a small glimpse of what he and his work are about. Then after hearing the lecture from Devon last week about the Zen Buddhist art, it began to make sense to me. I think that the Daruma scroll with its cartoon like appearance would appeal to children. I also think it would be fun for them to try their hand at drawing a picture in the style of the scroll. – Penny Hardy
Be sure to check out some of our docent’s favorite works, and many more, at the Dallas Museum of Art. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs
For the last few months here at the DMA, we’ve been proclaiming “Pollock for all!” From toddlers to teens, and grade schoolers to grannies, the exuberant and lyrical works of “Action Jackson” have inspired thoughtful discussions, messy art, and even a dance performance! As a museum educator, one of the things I love most about Pollock’s work is his approach to putting paint on a canvas by splattering, flinging, dripping, and dropping (a process we often refer to as action art). When you have a bunch of squirmy three year-olds, Pollock makes all kind of sense! But Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots goes beyond Pollock’s all-over paintings and explores a body of work known as the black pourings, in which Pollock’s trademark action is tightly controlled, sweeping and swooping over the canvas to create figures that almost seem to be hiding amidst black lines, puddles, and splatters.
The exhibition has inspired all kinds of Pollock-ing in the studio, proving that no matter how old or young you are, Pollock is for all ages! Read on for some Pollock-inspired ideas you can try at home.
Our Art Babies class wiggled and giggled our way through the Pollock exhibition, then enjoyed sensory play inspired by the artist’s work. Pollock’s all-over paintings often remind me of a tangle of lines, with one line twisting and turning over another, so I created a sensory bin of “Pollock lines” for the little ones to explore. One little guy couldn’t get enough of throwing fistfuls of “noodles” into the air as high as he could. Recreate this at home with a large bin of either plastic cording or cooked spaghetti noodles (follow this helpful DIY recipe). But remember, since babies tend to put everything in their mouths, this activity does require grown-up supervision!
Toddlers and Preschoolers
If you are feeling brave, suit up your children in their messiest clothes, cover the floor with a drop cloth (or paint outside), and let them go to town, dribbling and splattering paint onto paper. If that idea has convinced you that Pollock is not for you, here are some less messy alternatives.
Marble painting is a fun way to get a feel for the energy and action Pollock might have used, while containing the mess. Place a piece of paper and a marble in a large box or box top, squeeze puddles of paint onto the paper, then have your child tip and shake the box back and forth to roll the marble through the paint. In no time at all, you’ll have a Pollock-ing, rollicking masterpiece.
Or if you want to avoid paint all together, substitute markers, yarn, and contact paper for the messy stuff. Have your child throw, dribble or drop pieces of yarn onto a piece of paper to create some Pollock-like lines. Cover the entire piece of paper with clear contact paper to seal the yarn in place. Then use colored markers (permanent works best on the contact paper) to create puddles of color. Pollock’s Convergence served as our inspiration for this project, and the children loved the layered effect.
Elementary & Middle School
The Pollock exhibition at the DMA features an entire gallery of paintings Pollock created on paper rather than canvas. We tried a similar approach using Japanese paper, droppers, and liquid watercolor. Layer two or three sheets of paper together, then gently move the dropper around the paper, squeezing watercolor as you go. Watch as different colors swirl and puddle together, then separate the individual pieces of paper to discover what images have soaked through.
At a recent Late Night event, we used scribble bots to create a modern take on Pollock’s work. All you need is a plastic cup, a toy motor, a battery, and a brush to make your own painting robot! The motor sends the robot skittering across the paper, and the paintbrush “captures” the movement in visual form. Download step-by-step instructions here: Scribble Bot Instructions.
This final project is as mess-free as you can get! And it provides the most amazing results. Since November, we’ve been privileged to be a part of the Dance for Parkinson’s Disease program. We’ve hosted a wonderful group of individuals who have regularly visited the Museum galleries, and, under the direction of Misty Owens, choreographed a dance performance inspired by Jackson Pollock. As part of the choreography process, the group created light graffiti using laser pointers, flash lights, and a DSLR camera. It’s like painting in the air! This tutorial gives some great tips on creating your own light graffiti. To see Pollock in dance form, join us for the Dance for PD performance in the Center for Creative Connections on Friday, February 19 at 2:00 p.m.
So are you convinced? Ready to join our “Pollock for the People” crusade? We’d love to see what Pollock inspires you to do. Share your Pollock creations on social media with #DallasSpotsPollock and tag us @DallasMuseumArt.
Manager of Early Learning Programs
This year’s McDermott Interns have already made quite the impact on us here at the DMA: from leading myriad programs for every type of visitor, to contributing to varied exhibitions, to researching our global collection–the list goes on and on. We simply couldn’t accomplish it all without their enthusiasm, skill, and gumption!
With four more months and much still left to accomplish, we certainly aren’t ready to say goodbye to our current bunch just yet. But as 2016 is already well underway, it’s time once again to open up our online application for this fall’s 2016-2017 McDermott Internship!
Be sure to peruse this year’s flyer for complete details and descriptions before plunging in to the application. Then check out all the fun our interns have had thus far and imagine yourself in their shoes this fall!
Here are a few of my favorite shadowy works of art from our collection, followed by a selection of activities and books, so that you can explore shadows at home or in the classroom!
Shadow Art Activities:
- Forest Animal Shadow Puppets via Skip to My Lou
- Simple Shadow Puppet Theater via Inner Child Fun
- Classic Hand Shadow Puppets via Carrots are Orange
- Negative Art via Tippy Toe Crafts
Books for Exploring Shadows and Groundhogs:
- Whose Shadow Is This? by Claire Berge and Derrick Alderman
- Moonbear’s Shadow by Frank Asch
- Groundhog Day! by Gail Gibbons
- Go to Sleep, Groundhog! by Judy Cox
See you soon, early spring!
McDermott Graduate Intern for Family and Access Teaching
How well do you know the DMA collection? Celebrate National Puzzle Day by putting your memory to the test and guessing which works of art these puzzle pieces come from. Read the rhyming clues if you want some extra help, then check your answer by clicking the link under each set of puzzle pieces. No cheating!
Find this painting and much more
hanging on the 2nd floor.
It’s not a painting – here’s a hint:
These are pieces from a print.
Filled with colors bright and bold,
This work’s thousands of years old.
Sometimes you just need to sit,
Maybe rest your legs a bit.
If you’re looking for more hands-on puzzle action at the DMA, stop by the Pop-Up Art Spot on the 4th floor in March to recreate a life-size version of Ocean Park No. 29 by Richard Diebenkorn. Happy puzzling!
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement
Through the C3 Visiting Artist Program, the Center for Creative Connections invites local and national artists from a variety of disciplines to participate in the development and facilitation of educational programs and spaces offered at the DMA. Most recently, we invited conceptual artist, educator, and co-founder of Preservation LINK, David Herman, to lead the January Late Night Art Bytes program and create content for the #DMAdigitalspot, the video display wall in our gallery. David is currently a Ph.D. student in Visual Culture Studies at the University of North Texas, and I sat down with him to talk about his work.
Tell us about yourself.
That’s always an interesting question to be asked. I am a fairly mild mannered individual who appreciates the idea of careful consideration. When I reflect on my work, my friendships, and the things I’m most fond of they all seem to ascribe to this notion in one way or another. Life is most interesting when I’m able to engage with the surface of things to gain insight on their complexities. Most of the time this requires a sort of “pulling back” so that the richness and value of things can begin to show themselves.
For the January Late Night, you hosted Late Night Art Bytes, which highlights how artists use art and technology. You led a drop-in experience where visitors responded to prompts about the state of the world today and the future through collaborative collage. Technology came into play through your documentation of the night. You photographed the collages as they evolved over the course of three hours and those images were displayed on the #DMAdigitalspot monitors. What was the inspiration for this program?
A large part of the inspiration, from the very beginning, was the idea of “shared thinking.” Collaborative work is an interest of mine. Ideas are always enriched when there is divergence and an openness to let things evolve into themselves. I really wanted to use aspects of collage and mixed media that involved visual culture, images from our contemporary mass-mediated lives such as magazines, to have a conversation about the world we live in.
How does this visual conversation fit within the bigger picture of your work?
Well, I like to think about how people “see” the world. How people use visual content to interpret and understand context. We live in such a visually stimulated society where most of the information we experience–as creators or consumers–comes in bits and pieces of imagery. Images are embedded throughout our lives as a sort of “hyper” extension of what is real and what is possible. The Late Night Art Bytes conversation really provided me with an opportunity to experience how people respond and share their views of the world through the visual culture “art-i-facts” they created. It was their attentiveness to all the various images and materials that confronted them that I found most useful to how I think about my own work.
My current work is all about “looking” and “being with” images. I am interested in how individuals contend with all the images they have to manage at every juncture of life. It is certainly an interest in visual literacy, however it goes well outside of just literacy. It really is about our attentiveness to the images around us and what images are seen and which ones go unnoticed. Today images seem to have a life of their own in very unique ways.
Often, contemporary images are sensationalized as a method of gaining our attention. Selfies have to be staged, colors have to be super vibrant, and images have to “appear” when we demand them. I’m not opposed to the hyper-ness of our contemporary mode of apprehending images (or images apprehending us), however I do believe that this kind of “being” with images leaves us with less opportunities to experience the natural world. In other words, seeing and being with “everyday” images become a part of a background noise that we become inattentive to. They become a part of an obscured view – and with that we lose a little bit of humanity.
What do you think visitors got out of the experience? What did you gain/learn from hosting this program?
The Late Night experience was exciting. I didn’t have many expectations, really. A part of the night was about seeing how visitors accepted the space, the materials available to them, and the project at hand. There was a wide swath of diversity that entered the space. I really loved the way that the visitors took their time in the space. The Tech Lab became a relaxing space for the visitors to listen to music, enjoy each others company, and create art. There were several visitors that returned to the space towards the end of the night to see how the visual conversation had progressed. I believe that this was significant as it spoke to the level of engagement and curiosity about what and how others had addressed the prompts: The world today and the future world. For me, the pleasure was seeing how the visitors committed the time and attention to add their voice to the conversation.
Tell us about your plan for the #DMAdigitalspot.
The wall monitor is a digital installation that will be comprised of photographs, manipulated digital images, and videos. It is a visual exploration of interpretative narrative. I am most interested in creating an opportunity for all visitors to the Center for Creative Connections to experience different ways of looking and being with visual language.
Stop by the Center for Creative Connections in February to see how David Herman transforms the #DMAdigitalspot.
C3 Gallery Manager
My internship is made up of many programs, tasks, and joys, but one of its main focuses is our Go Van Gogh program, which helps the Museum take art lessons into schools all over our community. Every week I drive the van to schools in Dallas to help teach students about artworks in the DMA’s permanent collection, and when we’re done we do an art project inspired by the lesson.
This week, after many weeks of begging and bargaining, I let Arturo drive the van to Lake Highlands Elementary School to observe our Stories in Art program! He asked to fly, but the supplies were a little too heavy for his wings, so I figured his pilot’s license would do on the Dallas highways. Here is a documented look at Arturo’s van day!
To learn more about Go Van Gogh or to schedule a visit to your classroom, check out our website!
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching