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All I Want for X-Mas

December 23, 2010

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I recently asked colleagues which artwork from the DMA they would most like to take home and why they like it so much.  Below are their responses.

Melissa Nelson:
If I could take home any work of art from the Museum, I would choose Phil Collins’ the world won’t listen.  This is a three-part video installation showing ordinary people from Colombia, Indonesia, and Turkey singing their favorite songs from The Smiths’ album of the same title.  As an art-lover, it’s amazing to see the global devotion to a British band that spans three non-English speaking countries, expressed through genuinely heartfelt and uninhibited singing and dancing, shown simultaneously on large screens in a pitch-black room.  As an avid Smiths fan, it’s impossible for me to view this work of art without wanting to perform the songs myself.

Amy Wolf:
I would like to take home Aria After the Ballet, by Edgar Degas. I wrote about Degas monotypes in my graduate studies, so having this in the collection is wonderful! I like the cool build-up of pastel colors on the figures contrasting against the flat stage backdrop.

Ashley Bruckbauer:
Farm Near Duivendrecht, in the Evening, Piet Mondrian, c. 1916 (Reprise of a compositional Series from 1905-1908).  I absolutely love the juxtaposition of positive and negative space in this work and the overall painterly style.  It appears at once realistic and abstract, with blocks of warm oranges sharply contrasted by neighboring blocks of cool blues and purples.  Also, I love seeing this example of Mondrian, which is so different from the body of work for which he is most famous.  I wouldn’t mind if it appeared in my Christmas stocking this year!

Shannon Karol:
I have had such a hard time deciding which artwork I want to take home with me!  As of right now, my choice is Carousel Club by Wayne Gonzales (currently in Big New Field).  I love the ruby red background and the Kennedy connection.  Plus it will fit in my apartment much easier than Robert Rauschenberg’s Skyway (my 2nd choice).

Karen Colbert:
That Gentleman, Andrew Wyeth, 1960; I love this artwork because it exudes serenity. I am always wanting to get a glimpse of the man’s face in the artwork, and although it’s not seen by the viewer, I think the colors, the composition, and subject matter give you snapshot of the type of gentleman he was.

Nicole Stutzman:
Choosing just one work of art is so HARD!  But, I would love to share one of my favorite works from Indonesia.

Wall panel with figure of a slain shaman, Indonesia, Taileleu Village, c. 1900. Wood, paint, shell inlay, and cloth.

Why is it one of my favorites? 
1)      I love the way the maker emphasized the hands of the carved figure.  They seem a little too large and slightly out of proportion, and the texture of the hands seems really rough.  You can see gouging marks around the fingers from the tools used by the maker to create such a deep relief.  I love the physical qualities of the size and texture of the figure’s hands.

2)      I also love the stories behind this object.  The panel was carved following a headhunting ritual, which was part of festivities surrounding the creation of a new clan house, or uma.  It served as a memorial to the headhunting victim and was placed in the front room of the uma.  Seen by visitors who entered the house, the panel proved the courage and abilities of the house’s owners.  The culture that created this lived on the Mentawai Islands, and they believed that everything around them had a soul – the people, the trees, the houses they inhabited, and more.  I think this is a wonderfully powerful perspective to have about the world around you.  Part of the beliefs surrounding the creation of the panel focus on the Mentawaian people’s efforts to maintain harmony between all of the spirits and souls in the world.  Through this panel they honored the spirit of the slain victim and the materials used to make the panel, as well as the new house and its soul.

Jenny Marvel:
The “Dimension” tea and coffee set; I would love to have this coffee and tea service to have as a conversation piece while entertaining guests during the holidays! 

Amy Copeland:
My answer to this question changes all the time, but right now I would most like to take home one of the sketchbooks we have from artist Otis Dozier.  Drawings are my favorite media, and I love the bright colors, pale washes, and gestural lines Dozier uses to capture the places he traveled.  I’ve seen single pages of his sketchbooks on view before, but they’ve been enclosed in vitrines, so I would welcome the opportunity to turn the pages!

I hope the next time you visit the DMA, you’ll find a favorite artwork.

From all of us here at the DMA, warm wishes for a merry and bright holiday.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 23, 2010 8:24 pm

    Indonesia OK

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