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Analog to Digital: Interstate Abstraction

One of the great things about working on digitization projects is that you finally get to see so many works that you’d only heard of before. I’ve seen files and database records for nearly every work in the Amon Carter’s collection, but generally only see the images themselves once they are digitized. So until recently, I knew the following three works by title only. Expecting to see a straightforward cityscape, what a happy surprise to see how they actually look.

The following three works – shown here courtesy of our IMLS digitization grant - are by photographer Diane Hopkins-Hughs, who spent several years in Texas and taught at SMU in Dallas. For any readers outside the DFW area, I-30 is the interstate highway that links Fort Worth and Dallas with points to the east and serves as the main connection between the two cities.

[Note that all three works, and many more by this artist, are now available in our online collection search!]

Diane Hopkins-Hughs, I-30 #2, 1969-1970
Diane Hopkins-Hughs, I-30 #2, gelatin silver print, 1969-70, © Diane Hopkins-Hughs

Diane Hopkins-Hughs, Interstate 30, 1971
Diane Hopkins-Hughs, Interstate 30, gelatin silver print, 1971, © Diane Hopkins-Hughs

Diane Hopkins-Hughs, Interstate 30 #7, 1972
Diane Hopkins-Hughs, Interstate 30 #7, gelatin silver print, 1972, © Diane Hopkins-Hughs

Making an Exhibition Picture Perfect

The museum’s Installation Preparation Services (IPS) team, which includes Greg Bahr (Lead Preparator), Steve Price (Preparator), and Les Hofheinz (Carpenter/Asst. Preparator) care for, handle, prepare, and install all of the artwork on display at the Amon Carter. They were essential in the execution of our current special exhibition The Allure of Paper: Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection, playing multiple roles throughout the planning and installation process. Jim Belknap (Installation Manager) determined the budgetary needs for all materials needed for the exhibition, including paint, mats, and frames, and organized the work schedule for all IPS activities.

Works on paper are vulnerable to physical damage; they can be torn, folded, and smudged. IPS ensured that each drawing and watercolor was securely hinged with Japanese paper or mounted using archival photo corners to a mat support before they were matted and framed for display. (Learn more about matting and framing works of art on paper here.)

Months before the exhibition, I met with IPS to select mats and frames for each artwork. Greg and Steve provided invaluable input regarding the appropriate mat colors and sizing for all of the art objects. They also sized and cut all of the mats for virtually every artwork on display, while Les built most of the frames you’ll see in the exhibition.

Steve Price frames a watercolor for the exhibition.
Steve Price frames a watercolor for the exhibition.

Les Hofheinz cleans the glass of a newly framed object.
Les Hofheinz cleans the glass of a newly framed object.

Greg Bahr installs a watercolor in the special exhibition gallery.
Greg Bahr installs a watercolor in the special exhibition gallery.

As curators, we often comment that we have one of the most talented and gifted IPS teams we have ever worked with. Thanks to their tremendous efforts, The Allure of Paper was executed beautifully.

The Allure of Paper: Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection is now open! Drop by the museum anytime we're open to see these works firsthand.

Post written by Shirley Reece-Hughes, assistant curator of paintings and sculpture

Update your feeds!

Just a little note to let everyone out there who subscribes to our blogs' RSS feed know that our URL changed when our new website went live last week. If you access our blogs through your browser, email, Google Reader, or any other RSS feed aggregator, you will need to update your settings or resubscribe to this page: http://www.cartermuseum.org/interact.

And if you don't already subscribe to our RSS feed, you should! Just click on the little orange icon at the bottom right side of our Interact, Calendar, and Exhibitions pages to stay completely up-to-date on everything happening here at the Amon Carter. If you have any questions about subscribing to our RSS feed or using the new website, please post them in the comments.

Making Preparations for The Allure of Paper

It's less than two weeks until the opening of the special exhibition The Allure of Paper: Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection, and the museum is busy with preparations! In this installment of our blog series, discover some of what goes on behind-the-scenes as the exhibition moves through the design process.

Exhibition Designer Trang Nguyen plays a critical role in the presentation of every exhibition displayed at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

Exhibition designer working at computer
Exhibition Designer Trang Nguyen hard at work in her office.

Trang’s initial step in planning for any exhibition is to establish an identity for the exhibition's design. As she describes, “I’m a translator because I take the exhibition content that the curator has created and translate it into a visual vocabulary in the galleries.”

In preparing for The Allure of Paper, Trang used the catalogue that accompanies this exhibition as a guideline. She then designed the exhibition's text panels and object labels and worked with me (the curator) to determine the wall colors for the exhibition. Because The Allure of Paper spans almost two hundred years of American art, Trang wanted colors reminiscent of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and chose paint colors from Benjamin Moore’s Historical Color Palette.

Museum staff preparing a gallery
Installation and Preparation Services staff members Les Hofheinz and Greg Bahr carefully prepare a gallery.

Reviewing the checklist for the exhibition---which is a list of all of the artworks to be included---Trang next provides a space assessment to determine how the works of art will fit within the special exhibition galleries. Trang laid out the works of art for this exhibition with me and determined that three walls needed to be added to the galleries.

Exhibition designer printing object labels
Trang printing out object labels for the galleries.

Trang is also responsible for producing all of the object labels, text panels, and any other visual text or images that accompany the exhibition. Trang’s work will undoubtedly ensure an optimal viewing experience for visitors who plan to attend The Allure of Paper exhibition, and we can't wait for you to see it!

Post written by Shirley Reece-Hughes, assistant curator of paintings and sculpture

New Website Coming Soon

Our website is under construction, so there won’t be any blog posts for the next few weeks. We’re busy making it more accessible and user-friendly for visitors. It will showcase our new graphic identity and name, along with a fresh design.

New Design Screen Shot

Please check back soon to see our redesigned website, and save the date for 50 Fest on August 13, a free celebration of our 50th Anniversary with art, bands, food, and fun!

Director and Curator to Discuss Exhibition on Thursday Night with Visitors

Take advantage of the unique opportunity to hear directly from Director Andrew Walker and Curator of Paintings and Sculpture Rebecca Lawton. Both will be in the special exhibition galleries on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. to answer your questions about the paintings on view in The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision.

If you can’t make it out on Thursday, you can still take part in the conversation while on the go. Both speakers will be fielding questions sent in via our Twitter (@the_carter) and posted on our facebook page.

Consummation

Thomas Cole (1801–1848), The Course of Empire: The Consummation of Empire, 1836, oil on canvas, New-York Historical Society, gift of The New-York Gallery of the Fine Arts, 1858.3

We hope you’ll have a chance to see the exhibition before it closes on Sunday. These spectacular paintings, which include Thomas Cole’s monumental series The Course of Empire, may never return to Fort Worth again!

Programs for All Ages

One of the fringe benefits of working in this museum is getting to participate in our public programs. Personal favorites are at opposite ends of the visitor spectrum.

The second Thursday of each month means it’s time for Sharing the Past, a program designed for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. The hour flies by with visitors sharing stories, insights, and memories elicited by the works of art. Songs have been sung, poetry has been recited, jokes have been told, so who knows what will happen next? If you are interested in more information on this program contact education@cartermuseum.org or call 817.989.5030.

Sharing the Past visitors from Bethesda Gardens at the Amon Carter.jpg

Bethesda Gardens residents attend the Sharing the Past program at the Amon Carter.

Summer is almost here so get ready for Storytime! This popular program returns with new books, new activities, and more cookies! Grab the kids and make the Amon Carter the place-to-be on Wednesday mornings in June and July.

Storytime at the Amon Carter.

Storytime at the Amon Carter.

Program Update: We had an age range of 100 years between Sharing the Past and Storytime attendees! There really is something for everyone at the Amon Carter.

Countdown to The Allure of Paper

The upcoming special exhibition The Allure of Paper: Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection was organized in celebration of our 50th anniversary. The museum has been acquiring drawings and watercolors since its inception. Yet these one-of-a-kind works of art have never been displayed together on such an extensive scale. Because all of these works are on paper---which fades every time it is exposed to light---many of them have not been exhibited for over ten years!

Jane Myers, the museum’s former Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, discusses seventy-three of these treasured artworks in the catalogue that will accompany the exhibition. Beginning July 9, closer to ninety artworks will be on view in the galleries allowing visitors a chance to see the depth and breadth of our collection.

These watercolors and drawings date from the late eighteenth century to the latter part of the twentieth century and include landscapes, still lifes, portraits, scenes of everyday life, and even avant-garde abstractions. Featured artists include Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, Ben Shahn, and Joseph Stella, among many others. With such a diversity of artists, subjects, and styles represented, there is literally something for everyone in this exhibition. Check out some of the featured artworks below and then keep checking the blog as we give you an inside look at this exhibition in posts through October.

John Rubens Smith, Portrait of Frances Isabella Moore (Mrs. John Heffernan), 1814, Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite on paper

John Rubens Smith (1775--1849)
Portrait of Frances Isabella Moore (Mrs. John Heffernan), 1814
Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite on paper
2002.34

William Constable, The Great Falls of the Mohawk, ca. 1825-30, Watercolor over graphite on paper

William Constable (1783--1861)
The Great Falls of the Mohawk, ca. 1825--30
Watercolor over graphite on paper
Gift of Mr. J. A. Curran
1974.63

John La Farge, Still Life of Petunias in a Glass Vase, 1884, pastel on paper.

John La Farge (1835--1910)
Still Life of Petunias in a Glass Vase, 1884
Pastel on paper
Acquisition in memory of Bartlett H. Hayes, Jr., Trustee, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1968--1976
1988.20

Joseph Stella, Untitled, ca. 1914-1918, transparent and opaque watercolor and graphite on watercolor paper.

Joseph Stella (1877--1946)
Untitled, ca. 1914--18
Transparent and opaque watercolor and graphite on watercolor paper
2005.22

Post written by Shirley Reece-Hughes, assistant curator of paintings and sculpture

Museums - The Healthy Choice

A recent study by Koenraad Cuypers of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology reveals that visiting a museum can be good for your health.

Scientists agree that leisure activities, including cultural events, reduce stress. Cuypers' study focused on two different ways of participating in a cultural activity: the “creative” culture where the person actually participates in the activity; and the “receptive” culture where the person simply views the event. Creative culture includes singing in a choir or dancing or creating art. Receptive culture includes watching a ballet or seeing a play - or visiting a museum.

I was very surprised to learn that men thought they benefited more from receptive cultural activities than women did. Cuypers added that the more activities the respondent participated in, the better their perceived health. So the next time you ask the guy in your life to come to the Amon Carter and he rolls his eyes, just tell him it’s good for him.

Woody Allen — Metropolitan Museum of Art, gelatin silver print, 1963. ©Ruth Orkin

Ruth Orkin (1921-1985)
Woody Allen — Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1963
Gelatin silver print
©Ruth Orkin

We Remember

We honor the memory of all those who died in service to our country.

Thomas W. Smillie (1843-1917), W. L. Snow [Profile in Navy uniform], albumen silver print, 1904.

Thomas W. Smillie (1843-1917)
W. L. Snow [Profile in Navy uniform], 1904
Albumen silver print
P1967.2119