Dallas weather is unpredictable! We have snow flurries one day, sunshine the next, and today the wind is so cold that we have to put on a sweater under our windbreaker. With dips in temperature, it often makes it difficult to get outside (especially in Dallas if the roads get even a fraction of ice). The unexpected cold weather may result in stir-crazy kids and parents with cabin fever.
Just because you may not feel like bundling up every time you want to go outside to play, doesn’t mean that you can’t find fun indoor places for you and your kids to stretch, wiggle, and twist. What about the Museum? There are ways to experience art through movement – and I don’t mean by just moving your eyes!
One of my favorite paintings at the Museum, Cathedral by Jackson Pollock, is a great work of art to help us think about movement. Pollock use his entire body to create this painting. He placed the canvas on the floor and moved around and over it, pouring and dripping paint onto the work. Some have related Pollock’s process of painting to a performance, almost as if he danced with his painting as he created it. Find Cathedral in the Barrel Vault and think about the artist stepping around the canvas as he dribbled paint straight from the can onto it. How would you move to fling paint onto a blank canvas? Focus on one color in the painting. Follow that color with your eyes and study the line as it twists, spirals, and swirls around the canvas – can you move your body like the line?
Move to the second level and look for a work of art that shows movement created by weather. Mountain Landscape with Approaching Storm by Claude-Joseph Vernet depicts motion in nature as clouds descend and a storm looms overhead. Imagine the strong winds in this scene – how would they sound? Find evidence of the winds; notice the trees and the clothing of the people. Pretend to be the wind; how would you move? Do the people look like they are in a hurry to get out of the stormy weather? Think of some words to describe how the people are moving. Find the dog and the donkey in this painting; are their movements different from one another?
Walk up to the third level to find Vishnu as Varaha, a sculpture from India. This work shows the Hindu god, Vishnu, in the form of Varaha, a boar. In this work of art we see Varaha rescuing the earth goddess, Prithvi, who had been captured in the depths of the ocean by a serpent demon. When he heard Prithvi’s cry for help, Vishnu took the form of Varaha and plunged into the ocean to rescue her. This sculpture shows Varaha as he soars through the water with Prithvi on his shoulder. If you were a hero about to emerge triumphantly from the water, how would you move? Take the pose of Vishnu as Varaha. Now find Prithvi; how is she sitting? Can you sit like her? Imagine that you are about to dive deep into the sea; how would you move your body?
Travel to the Center for Creative Connections on level one of the Museum. Search for Three Men Walking by Alberto Giacometti. The artist said that he sculpted people as they actually looked to him; if you look closely, you can see the texture that the artist’s fingers left on the figures when he sculpted them in wax, before they were cast in bronze. How are these men moving – fast or slow? Position your body so that you match the pose of one of the men. Will you move your body stiffly like a robot or smoothly like snake? Stand on the ‘X’ that is one the floor next to the sculpture. Now have a family member stand opposite you and ask them to slowly walk away from you. When they are far enough away that they appear to be the same size as the figures in the work of art, ask them to stop. This is how far away they would have been if Giacometti had been sculpting their portrait!
There is only so much you and your family can do inside when it is too chilly to play outside, so make a trip to the DMA to experience movement in art!
Posted by: Amanda