To listen to the interview with Dallas Museum of Art deputy director Bonnie Pitman, click here:
The Dallas Museum of Art has free admission and extended hours Saturday and Sunday. The museum is open 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 on Sunday. In addition, admission to the J.M.W. Turner Exhibition will have a special price of $9. A schedule of special events related to the opening of C3 can be found here.
This weekend, the Dallas Museum of Art is opening a $27 million learning center. The inaugural exhibition in the new Center for Creative Connections explores the materials that artists have used, from chocolate and soap to stone and paint. And it provides close-up interactions with eight pieces from the DMA’s collection. Bonnie Pitman, deputy director of the DMA, explains why The Wave, an oil painting by Gustave Courbet, is put under a magnifying glass.
Pitman: “When you get up to that Courbet Wave and look through the magnifying glass — that’s something I wish everybody could do in the galleries, but we can’t allow that. So to skooch up and to move that magnifying glass up and down and to explore with your own eyes the way the paint has been applied by an artist like Courbet — is phenomenal. And adults can do that or children can do that.”
The DMA’s new center replaces the Gateway Gallery, its children’s area on the first floor across from the Horchow Auditorium. Although the new center features areas for younger children, it is clearly designed for adults as well — with a computer lab and a studio for group projects or classes. Visitors are encouraged to respond to the many interactive displays, from blogging about them to marking them with Post-It notes.
Pitman: “What we’re trying to do is get you to slow down and look more closely, and then go the next step and think of something to do with that.”
The Center is actually the most visible part of the museum’s drive to become more interactive, more information-rich. The DMA is already entirely wireless, so visitors can take laptops or other handheld devices with internet access and use them to look up information about the works they’re viewing — the DMA has laptops on hand so classes, for instance, can use them that way. Eventually, says Pitman, the plan is for the DMA to set up its own “arts network” website with access to audio clips of lectures given there, video interview and profiles of artists.
To mark the opening of the Center for Creative Connections, admission is free at the DMA this weekend, and hours have been extended.