Dallas Museum of Art Presents Its First Exhibition Accompanied Entirely by a Sound Installation

Unique Sound Installation Is Expansion of Museum’s Long Collaboration with The University of Texas at Dallas

The Dallas Museum of Art, in collaboration with The University of Texas at Dallas’ Arts and Technology (ATEC) program, will premiere its first exhibition to be entirely accompanied by a multilayer sound installation. Opening on April 25, 2010, and on view through August 22, Coastlines: Images of Land and Sea investigates through 66 works of art in the Museum’s collections—paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints, and photographs—how visual artists of the modern period (1850–present) have represented coastal landscapes.

Created by graduate students and faculty in the Arts and Technology program at The University of Texas at Dallas, along with sound design students from the Université du Sud Toulon-Var in Toulon, France, the Coastlines sound design project will be a unique response to the works of art on view and their groupings within the exhibition and has been conceived to support the immersive qualities—intellectual, psychological, and sensorial—of the exhibition itself.

This soundscape includes three synchronized layers. A global soundscape audible throughout the exhibition contains musical elements shaped by the natural sounds and rhythms of waves. Regional soundscapes respond to the thematic sections of the exhibition and serve as varied counterpoints to the global layer. Finally, local soundscapes represent sonic interpretations of twelve selected works of art, varying according to the visual content and context of the work, as well as the composer’s interpretation.

These local soundscapes will be projected from hyperdirectional speakers that allow them to be heard only from discrete locations, directly before the works of art to which they respond. These works include paintings by Alfred Thompson Bricher and Jean Metzinger, photographs by Paul Greenberg and Catherine Opie, and works on paper by Willem DeKooning and Vija Celmins, among others. These sites are designated in the galleries by circles of carpet on the floor.

“The DMA and UT Dallas have a long-standing history of collaborating on various projects focusing on the sonic interpretation of the Museum’s collections, with Coastlines being the most ambitious of these projects,” said Nicole Stutzman, Director of Teaching Programs and Partnerships. “The desired result is to increase the viewer’s relationship and response to the work of art, allowing him or her to experience the DMA’s collections in new ways, and perhaps to spend more time enjoying them.”

“Creating musical interpretations for paintings opens the experience of viewing to subjectivity,” says Frank Dufour, assistant professor of sound design in the Arts and Technology (ATEC) program at UT Dallas. “The soundscapes contribute to the immersion of the viewers in an imaginary space, a multisensory environment. The design of this project, together with the technology used, transforms the perambulation through the galleries into a truly interactive and subjective experience.”

Visitors can learn more about the process of developing this unique sound installation—including the international dialogue between students in Dallas and Toulon, France—via a web-based exchange, on computer terminals located within the exhibition. They can also discover other sonic interpretations by UT Dallas’ ATEC students of works of art at the DMA via the Museum’s smARTphone tour of the collections or at DallasMuseumofArt.mobi.

About the Dallas Museum of Art
Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. At the heart of the Museum and its programs are its encyclopedic collections, which encompass more than 24,000 works and span 7,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Established in 1903, the Museum today welcomes more than 600,000 visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary readings and dramatic and dance presentations.

The Dallas Museum of Art is supported in part by the generosity of Museum members and donors and by the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas/Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

About The University of Texas at Dallas
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 15,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The University offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UT Dallas, visit utdallas.edu.