Recently in Exhibit Category

54a4d1ea8199abc52c1debfb_580x880.jpgNew York — In celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth, the Morgan Library & Museum exhibits the work of the beloved American poet. In a notebook in 1859, Whitman wrote, “Comrades! I am the bard of Democracy,” and over his 73 years (1819-1892) he made good on that claim. As he bore witness to the rise of New York City, the Civil War and other major transformations in American life, Whitman tried to reconcile the famous contradictions of this country through his inclusivity and his prolific body of work. The author of one of the most celebrated texts of American literature—Leaves of Grass (1855)—came from humble origins in Long Island and Brooklyn but eventually earned a global audience that has never stopped growing. Walt Whitman: Bard of Democracy traces the development of his writing and influence, from his early days producing local journalism and sensational fiction to his later years writing the visionary poems that would revitalize American letters. 

Drawing on the Morgan’s own holdings as well as exceptional loans from the Library of Congress, the exhibition shows the landmarks of his literary career, including “O Captain! My Captain!” and the famous letter written to Whitman by Ralph Waldo Emerson commending Leaves of Grass. A notebook containing Whitman’s early experiments with free verse and the origins of the seminal poem “Song of Myself” will be on display, as well as the copy of Leaves of Grass that Whitman presented to the artist who engraved his emblematic portrait in the first edition. Also on view are documents by famous writers influenced by Whitman, such as Oscar Wilde, Hart Crane, Federico García Lorca, Langston Hughes, and Allen Ginsberg. 

Whitman’s broad-minded positions on social issues of his day made him a symbol for progressive political and civil rights movements in modern times. The uninhibited sensuality of his poetry and his pioneering contributions to gay literature have been an inspiration to the LGBTQ community as well.

Early in his writing career, Whitman wrote temperance novels and stories of walking around the city, exploring its nooks and crannies. The exhibition presents some of these fugitive publications from New York’s literary underground.

Whitman saw himself foremost as a New Yorker: he claimed that many of his poems “arose out of my life in Brooklyn and New York from 1838 to 1853, absorbing a million people, for fifteen years, with an intimacy, an eagerness, and an abandon, probably never equaled.” In the early 1850s, Whitman began writing free verse poetry and self-published Leaves of Grass in 1855. The book celebrated the first person in a way that no poetry ever had before. A portion of the exhibition examines all of the circumstances of this act of self-invention.

The show also explores his attention to the great drama of his time, the Civil War, and Whitman’s emotional bond with Abraham Lincoln. After the war, Whitman’s writing attracted a greater number of friends and visitors, including a number of gay readers and writers who saw him as a liberator and a model for their own path-breaking work. Whitman’s relationship with former Confederate soldier and streetcar conductor PeterDoyle will be another focus of the exhibition, featuring the famous photograph of the two of them together.

Even after Whitman reached the end of the road in 1892, he continued to inspire others. A final section in Walt Whitman: Bard of Democracy is devoted to his enduring global influence in the twentieth century and beyond.

In addition, the show has a strong visual element, incorporating photographs by Matthew Brady and others, significant nineteenth-century paintings, prints, and engravings, among them a depiction of a Civil War battle by Winslow Homer, paintings and drawings by Joseph Stella, Rockwell Kent, and David Hockney, twentieth and twenty-first-century artists’ books, and ephemera. 

“Walt Whitman’s poetry occupies a special place in American literature,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library and Museum. “He was a New Yorker in that he not only captured the spirit of his bustling, complex, and contradictory city, but he also carved out a career path for himself through his ambition and surprisingly proactive self-promotion. We are excited to offer more insight into his inspirations, his world, and the evolution of his dynamic voice.”

“It was a joy to work with the Morgan on this comprehensive exhibit, and to see New York City all over again, through his eyes,”said Ted Widmer, guest curator and Distinguished Lecturer at the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York. “It never stops moving and neither did he.” Widmer is also author of Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City and many other works of history. The exhibition opens June 7 and runs through September 15.

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 9.10.14 AM.pngNew York — For Passover, Les Enluminures presents a series of events that center on a remarkable medieval manuscript: a Haggadah with seventy-five watercolor paintings created in the circle of the famous artist Giovannino de Grassi (d. 1398) in Milan in the late fourteenth century. Telling the story of the flight of the Jews from Egypt based on the biblical book of Exodus, the Haggadah was - and still is - used during the Seder, the ritual meal of the first night of Passover. Its text has been richly illustrated by many artists in different countries for over seven hundred years. 

With its seventy-five illustrations, occupying the margins of almost every page, this manuscript expresses the elegant language of the Gothic International style in Lombardy. Directly related to the workshop of the renowned master builder, sculptor, and illuminator Giovannino de Grassi, who flourished under the patronage of the noble Visconti family in Milan, the present volume was probably commissioned by a wealthy Jewish individual. The presumed date of origin of the Lombard Haggadah corresponds with a period known for its wave of immigration into Lombardy of northern European Jews, who were especially welcomed by Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti. 

Last on public exhibit in the Paris World's Fair in 1900, when it belonged to a French family, the Lombard Haggadah was then sold in 1927 in London to the noted collector of Hebrew manuscripts Zalman Schocken. Little known, the manuscript has remained in private hands ever since. It survives as the earliest stand-alone Italian Haggadah. Of the greatest rarity, it is one of three illustrated medieval Haggadot still privately owned. It is for sale. 

Sharon Liberman Mintz, Curator of Jewish Art, The Jewish Theological Seminary, states "I have worked with Hebrew illuminated manu- scripts all of my professional life, and this one stands out for its fresh, charming, and sometimes unique paintings as well as its historical importance." 

Founded by Dr. Sandra Hindman more than twenty-five years ago and with locations in Paris, Chicago, and New York, Les Enluminures has forged long-standing relationships with major museums and prestigious private collections throughout the world. It exhibits at TEFAF Maas- tricht, TEFAF New York, Masterpiece, and Frieze Masters. The gallery is well-known for the level of its scholarship evident in its numerous publications but also for the diversity, high quality, and provenance of the works it offers for sale. 

"I am honored to be involved in a project of such magnitude prompted by this rare and stunning work of art," says Sandra Hindman. "Hebrew manuscript illumination is a field that has always held great interest and attraction for me. I confess to being thoroughly enchanted by the present manuscript." 

EXHIBITION 

For the first time in more than one hundred years, the manuscript will be on view for a limited period only in the New York gallery of Les Enluminures.  

Thursday April 12, 2019 to Sunday April 21, 2019 10 am to 5 pm (Easter Sunday included) 

PUBLICATION

Authors are: Milvia Bollati, Catholic University of Milan; Marc Michael Epstein, Vassar College; Flora Cassen, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and Laura Light, Independent Scholar, Boston, Massachusetts. Introduction by Christopher de Hamel, Preface by Sharon Mintz. 

A full prospectus of the publication is available on request . 

LECTURES AND CONFERENCE 

The Haggadah in the Middle Ages and Beyond: A Celebration for Passover
Jewish Studies, Medieval Studies, and the Department of Art History and Music of Fordham University and Les Enluminures co-sponsor a series of events for Passover. 

LECTURE 

Wednesday April 10, 6 pm 

FordhamUniversity, McNally Amphitheater (140 West 62nd Street)
Adam Cohen, University of Toronto, "Social and Sacred in the Medieval Haggadah" 

CONFERENCE 

Sunday April 14, 10 am to 5 pm (followed by a Reception) 

Fordham University, McNally Amphitheater (140 West 62nd Street)
Morning and Afternoon Sessions on "Patronage and Collection" (morning) and "Making Hebrew Manuscripts" (afternoon) . Speakers include Evelyn Cohen, Marc Michael Epstein, Barbara Wolff, and many others. 

Full program available on request. 

Image: The Lombard Haggadah, Milan, c. 1390-1400, Circle of Giovannino de Grassi (Master of the Paris Tacuinum?), f.25v, Man holding a large bunch of maror [bitter herbs), illustrating the text "This maror." 

Kalman-_xl_2018_51_17_o2-1.jpgAtlanta — This summer, the High Museum of Art will premiere “The Pursuit of Everything: Maira Kalman’s Books for Children,” a colorful exhibition exploring the extensive catalog of Kalman’s imaginative stories and illustrations, which have delighted readers of all ages for more than 30 years. 

Perhaps best known for her quirky New Yorker magazine covers and brilliant pictorial essays, Kalman (American, born 1949) has published more than a dozen books for adults and 18 acclaimed children’s books, beginning with the game-changing picture book “Stay Up Late” (1985), which gave visual form to the famous Talking Heads song from the album “Little Creatures.” Since then her works have followed the comic adventures of beloved characters, including a poet dog named Max Stravinsky and Pete the dog, and have addressed important historical people and events with books including “Looking at Lincoln” (2012) and the 9/11inspired “Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey” (2002).

Debuting at the High on June 22 and running through Sept. 15, 2019, “The Pursuit of Everything” will provide an immersive panorama of Kalman’s picture-book career spanning three decades. The more than 100 works on view will include original drawings and paintings from award-winning books including “Smartypants” (2003), about gluttonous canine Pete’s classroom antics, and “Next Stop Grand Central” (2001) as well as newer publications, among them “Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote” (2018), authored by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and the illustrated cookbook “Cake” (2018), written in collaboration with the food writer Barbara Scott-Goodman.

Kalman’s stories weave a curious web of familiarity and imagination with illustrations that celebrate the visual splendor of everyday subjects through a lens that is all her own. Her books ignite curiosity and invite young readers to engage deeply with the world around them. Known for her surreal imagery, Kalman expertly combines sophisticated and hilarious text with beautifully rendered pictures, readily acknowledging the interplay between her writing and painting practice. Her stories have deeply personal roots featuring characters, settings and story lines drawn from the artist’s life and whimsical imagination. Kalman’s images reveal a profound curiosity about shared history and the human experience through themes of adventure, exploration, friendship, dreams and the search for meaning. 

Kalman paints with gouache on paper, favoring flat, highly saturated planes of color and an idiosyncratic use of space that imbue her works with surprises that will delight and excite the young and the young at heart. The exhibition will offer the opportunity for a different and satisfyingly intimate experience of Kalman’s art. 

Kalman says of her wide-ranging work, “The best children’s books are as appealing to adults as they are to children. There have to be different levels of humor, different levels of reference, which allow a dialogue between adults and children. If you live with children, the kinds of conversations you have during the day range from the surreal to the mundane to the insane to the pedantic. And that language can be duplicated in writing because the world is all of those things.”

“The Pursuit of Everything” marks the High’s fourth collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, which organized the show and will present it in Amherst, Mass., from October 13, 2019, through January 19, 2020.

“We are thrilled to partner again with the High to bring children’s picture book art to Atlanta,” said Ellen Keiter, chief curator at The Carle. “Kalman is an astute chronicler of our time as well as someone who makes history accessible. Museum visitors will revel in her lively imagery and witty observations, which vacillate between the comic and the profound.”  

“Both captivating and moving, Kalman’s work challenges all of us to rediscover the childlike curiosity that lives deep down inside,” said Virginia Shearer, the High’s Eleanor McDonald Storza director of education. “We are delighted to welcome families back to the High for another exhibition that highlights the work of an acclaimed author and illustrator, and we’re honored to continue our multiyear collaboration with our colleagues at The Eric Carle Museum, who are such wonderful partners.”

In addition to original works from her books, also on view will be Kalman’s illustrated correspondence with her two-year-old granddaughter Olive, fascinating personal notebooks, a colossal reproduction from New York’s Grand Central Terminal, manuscripts, dummy books and other ephemera, including Kalman’s collection of crazy-named candy bars arranged as haikus. The galleries will also feature sketches and images of Kalman’s pictorial essays and covers for The New Yorker.  

To bring the audience closer to her artistic process, Kalman repainted the opening scene from her Mikado-themed book “Sayonara, Mrs. Kackleman” (1989) expressly for the exhibition, and she will also create an installation of photographs and objects that inspire her, similar to the one in her studio.

“It is such a wonderful thing to meet a gifted illustrator or a talented writer, and Maira happens to  be both,” said Jane Bayard Curley, the exhibition curator. “She is just like her work: funny, smart, and an undisputed champion for the universal appeal of the picture book. Her highly personal and somewhat eccentric worldview appeals to anyone who wants to be verbally and visually amused and challenged.” 

Key works featured in the exhibition will include:

• Four hilariously surreal paintings from Kalman’s first picture book, “Stay Up Late,” a collaboration with David Byrne pairing Kalman’s paintings with the lyrics to the popular Talking Heads song 

• An early self-portrait of the artist at age 7 sitting in a tree in Henry Hudson Park, from “Chicken Soup, Boots”

• A series of lovingly rendered portraits illustrating the adventures of Kalman’s beloved dog Pete

• Preliminary sketches and finished paintings from Kalman’s popular book series featuring her alter ego, Max the poet dog

• Delicate yet powerfully moving portraits of Sojourner Truth and Inez Milholland from “Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote,” Kalman’s recent collaboration with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Alliance Theatre at The Woodruff Arts Center, of which the High is also an arts partner, will present the world premiere play “Max Makes a Million,” from June 20 to July 21, 2019. Poetry, dance, jazz, visual art and dreams coalesce in this theatrical adaptation combining Kalman’s most notable books, adapted and directed by Liz Diamond.

This collaboration is the fourth in a series presented by the High and the Alliance Theatre in partnership with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. The Kalman project follows the successful exhibition and theatre productions based on the work of children’s book authors and artists Ashley Bryan (2017), Eric Carle (2016) and Mo Willems (2015). The presentations are made possible through a grant to The Woodruff Arts Center from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation to expand programming and increase access for family audiences.

“The Pursuit of Everything” will be presented on the lobby and second levels of the High’s Anne Cox Chambers Wing. 

Talbot_RooflineLacock_sharpened_PR 2.jpgNew York - Photography on paper was born in 1839 in England at Lacock Abbey. A new exhibition of photographs juxtaposes the work of its inventor William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) with the contemporary work of Hiroshi Sugimoto, Abelardo Morell, and Mike Robinson. Lacock Abbey: Birthplace of Photography on Paper will be on view at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs from March 2 through May 10, 2019. The exhibition, which pays tribute to Talbot’s beloved ancestral home in Wiltshire, features architectural exteriors and interiors, still lifes, portraits, and tree studies by Talbot, complemented by interpretations from three contemporary artists, who have been inspired by his pioneering photographs.

Among the highlights of the exhibition is one of the earliest examples of Talbot’s calotype negative process, Stable roofline, northeast courtyard, Lacock Abbey, a salt print from September 1840, made the year after he announced his invention to the world. This apparently unique print has never before been exhibited. (This is confirmed by The William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné, which was just released by the Bodleian Libraries.) Set in Lacock’s northeast courtyard, this spectral image of shows Talbot’s innate compositional talent emphasizing the geometric proportions of his home. 

Talbot demonstrated that photography could serve as a bridge between the ancient and modern worlds with his Bust of Patroclus, 1842. The plaster bust of Patroclus, defender of Achilles, was one of Talbot’s most frequently used subjects. Unlike a person, a plaster cast remains steady during the long exposures and experiments with lighting. This boldly sculpted, highly reflective head modulated light and shadow in an infinite number of ways from a wide variety of angles. Talbot’s brush strokes around the border of this exceptional salt print identify this as an early print coated by hand. Later prints appeared in Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature, the first commercially-published photographically-illustrated book (1844-1846). The print on view was made from the same calotype negative as was later used in The Pencil. Art historians are indebted to Talbot, because his invention allowed scholars to study objects in photographic reproduction.

Also on display is Lace, a fine early 1840s salt print. The negative for this print was made without a camera by placing an intricate piece of lace on a sheet of photographically-sensitized paper, capturing its shadow, and producing the boldly graphic image. When Talbot held Lace in front of a group of people they believed it to be an actual piece of lace and were astounded to learn that it was a photographic representation instead. Physically flat, highly detailed, and possessing myriad distinctive anomalies such as torn threads, Lace was an ideal exemplar of Talbot’s method of demonstrating photography’s ability to record a level of detail comparable to that found in still lifes by the most accomplished Dutch painters. 

Talbot’s home and his interpretations of it have inspired several living artists. Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, b. 1948) renews our sense of the wonder and mystery that accompanied the dawn of photography and pays homage to Talbot in An Oriel Window at Lacock Abbey, probably Summer 1835, a toned gelatin silver print from 2010.  Sugimoto photographed one of Talbot’s earliest photogenic drawing negatives, inverted the image during the production process, and greatly enlarged it, obtaining a positive print of a negative the inventor had never printed.  He then toned the image in colors corresponding to the colors of Talbot’s own prints.  Sugimoto’s creative intervention is a reflection on the medium, implicitly narrating its beginnings while gesturing toward his vision of its future. 

Abelardo Morell (American, b. 1948, Cuba) made his first picture using camera obscura techniques in his darkened living room in 1991. The exhibition includes a print of Camera Obscura: Courtyard Building, Lacock Abbey, England, from 2003, made by the artist partly in homage to Talbot and partly to suggest the ongoing spirit his invention continues to instill in the curiosity and practice of present day artists.

Ironically, the most recent pictures in the show are daguerreotypes made in 2018 by Mike Robinson (Canadian, b. 1961).  He boldly brings his mastery of the French inventor Daguerre’s process to the home of the British inventor of photography on paper. 

A reception for the exhibition is being held on Saturday, March 2nd in conjunction with the first ADAA Upper East Side Gallery Walk.

Image: William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800-1877); Stable roofline, northeast courtyard, Lacock Abbey, September 1840; Salt print from a calotype negative, 8.0 x 8.2 cm

d85ac479-596f-4459-aa6d-3ba960b0a23e.pngTo celebrate the 145th anniversary of Ernest Shackleton's birth, Jonkers Rare Books are pleased to stage a selling exhibition featuring some of the rarest books about his life and expeditions, as well as items referring to other famous expeditions from the history of Polar exploration. Shackleton was recently voted by the British public as the greatest explorer of the 20th Century in the BBC Icons series.

Jonkers are exhibiting a remarkable collection of books, manuscripts and artwork at their showroom, 27 Hart Street, Henley on Thames, on his birthday, Friday, February 15, 2019, and publishing an accompanying catalogue with full descriptions of the expeditions and the rare items offered. The exhibition will move to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, March 7-10. All listed items are for sale.

Some books are remarkable for what they have to say about the polar regions, others were actually produced by Shackleton's men in the Antarctic.

Shackleton highlights from the exhibition include:

20 - Aurora Australis The First Book Printed And Bound In Antarctica. A remarkable feat of publishing, book design and determination in the conditions most ill-fitting on the planet for book production.

Three of the expedition's crew were trained in book production by the printers Joseph Causton and Sons in advance of the expedition, who also donated the expedition a print press. But little could prepare them for the problems they would face. A candle had to be kept under the ink to prevent it from freezing, and only a page or two could be produced per day throughout the winter. The finished product, a book of incredible beauty and a testament to the perseverance of the Antarctic explorers who produced it, is the holy grail of Antarctic books. This copy is one of only a few signed by Shackleton, and it is priced at £150,000.

21 - Shackleton's Antarctic Menu. How Shackleton's Men Celebrated Midwinter. The other item printed on Shackleton's printing press in the Antarctic is this very rare menu, which was set around the table for the expedition's Midwinter Feast of 1908. The feast was, according to Shackleton himself, "a release, and an occasion for a wild spree." This tongue in cheek menu captures the high-spirits of the occasion. It proposes a starter of Turtle Soup, followed by Penguin Patties and Seal Cutlets. The pièce de résistance was Roast Reindeer and Black Currant Jelly with a garnish of Potatoes and Green Peas. Dessert was a selection of Plum Pudding, Ealing Cake and Mince Pies. Champagne and whisky are prescribed throughout, followed by Coffee, Cigars and Cigarettes. A 'drunk' typesetter then proposed yet "MORE WHISHKY!!!!!?" before "Sledges at 12-30". There was likely little more than a dozen copies of this menu originally printed, and only a handful of those are known to survive today. This copy is the one brought back from the Antarctic by expedition's cook, William Roberts.

No. 22 - An Original Employment Contract For Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition. This collection also features an original employment contract for the Nimrod expedition between Ernest Shackleton and the expedition's cook William Roberts. Unruly cooks had caused problems on previous Antarctic expeditions but Roberts was sound choice, who had experience both on land and sea and had most recently been the pastry chef at the Naval & Military Club. His work seems to have been appreciated. A visitor to the Cape Royd's kitchen years later commented "Shackleton's men must have fed like turkey cocks for all the delicacies here". Original contracts of this kind for Antarctic expeditions are extremely rare. We are aware of no other surviving copies of contracts for Shackleton's Nimrod expedition. It is priced at £6,500.

Image: No. 20 - Aurora Australis. The first book printed in Antarctica. 

Astonomical almanac cat 16-b-ti01101246 copy.jpgThousands of years before books were contained within a hand-held technological tablet or phone, there were cuneiform tablets no bigger than the size of a quarter. On view from March 5 through May 19, 2019 in the second floor gallery of the Grolier Club are 275 rare diminutive texts and bindings from around the world that have been created over the span of 4,500 years.  Size matters:  these tiny tomes range in size from a maximum of four inches to less than one millimeter. Drawn from the collection of Patricia J. Pistner, the exhibition represents the history of the book in miniature form.

A Matter of Size: Miniature Bindings & Texts from the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner includes cuneiform tablets and other antiquities, medieval manuscripts and early printed materials, books and bindings by women, imprints of Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln, as well as contemporary design bindings and artists’ books.

The exhibition is selected and organized by Pistner, along with Jan Storm van Leeuwen, former keeper of rare bindings at the Royal Library in The Hague and winner of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography for his important study, Dutch Decorated Binding in the 18th Century.  

A collector of miniature books for over thirty years, Pistner’s love for very small tomes began at the age of seven when she began “publishing” tiny books for her first doll’s house.  As an adult, her passion was reignited after being inspired to fill the small library shelves of the miniature French townhouse she had commissioned. 

“The plan to fill that library with real, readable, printed miniature books led to assembling the most aesthetically compelling, representative samples of the history of the book in the smallest formats,” says Pistner. “My hope is that fellow bibliophiles find tomes here that spark their interest and lead to an increased interest in and respect for the format.” 

Highlights include: 

  • Cuneiform Tablets and other examples of ancient texts dating from 2500 BCE. 
  • Hyakumantō-daraniNara, Japan: c. 764-770 CE. Among the oldest block printed texts, housed in its original wooden pagoda. 
  • Almanac, written in the style of Nuremberg writing masters, Diocese of Bamberg, c. 1450. Illustrated manuscript on vellum, with seven colorful astronomical and astrological circular diagrams, one with a multi-colored patterned centerpiece, with a pinhole for a volvelle. 
  • Septem Psalmi poenitentiales, cum alijs multis devotissimo orationibus. Ac Kalendario Gregoriano. Venetiis: Nicolaus Misserinus, 1593. Measuring a mere 2.4” tall, this binding has rock crystal covers painted in reverse in the verre églomisé depicting St. Francis receiving the stigmata and the Adoration of the Magi. 
  • Enchiridion p[re]clare ecclesie Sarum …. [Book of Hours, Use of Salisbury]. Paris: Widow Thielman Kerver, 1528. Printed by Yolande Bonhomme, the only female printer in Paris and daughter of the famous printer and bookseller, Pasquier Bonhomme. This elaborate mosaic binding by Lortic was done in the 19th century for Charles-Louis de Bourbon (bookplate). The book is in Latin but the captions are in English.
  • Bird’s Egg Nécessaire for Sewing Kit, with Étrennes a l'innocence [including an almanac], Paris: 1820. A very rare type of object, which was not made for any practical purpose, but is a thing of beauty and was probably given by a young man to his beloved.
  • Bibliothèque portative du voyageur, 33 vols. 1801- 1804. Napoleonic era traveling library housed in a book-shaped case contains a collection of works written by the most famous French writers.
  • The Proclamation of Emancipation. 1862. The first separate printing in book form of the Emancipation Proclamation that the Union Army distributed in the South.

Lunchtime Exhibition Tours

March 6 and April 24, 1:00 - 2:00 PM; 

May 18, 3:00 - 4:00 PM. 

Curator Patricia J. Pistner will lead guided tours of the exhibition. 

Open to the public free of charge. No reservations required.

Currently on View in the Exhibition Hall:

Alphabet Magic: A Centennial Exhibition of the Work of Hermann & Gudrun Zapf

Upcoming in the Exhibition Hall:

Poet of the Body: New York's Walt Whitman: May 15 - July 27, 2019

VISITING THE GROLIER CLUB
47 East 60 Street, New York, NY 10022

212-838-6690 
www.grolierclub.org

Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm
Admission: Exhibitions are open to the public free of charge

Image: Almanac, written in the style of Nuremberg writing masters, Diocese of Bamberg, c. 1450. Illustrated manuscript on vellum, with seven colorful astronomical and astrological circular diagrams, one with a multi-colored patterned centerpiece, with a pinhole for a volvelle. 77 x 52 mm, 3 x 2.” Collection of Patricia J. Pistner

 

TaleofGenji_MetApp_1536x1024_082818.jpgA major international loan exhibition focusing on the artistic tradition inspired by Japan's most celebrated work of literature will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning March 5, 2019. Bringing together more than 120 works of art from 32 public and private collections in Japan and the United States—including National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, most of which have never left Japan—The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated will explore the tale's continuing influence on Japanese art since it was written around the year 1000 by the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu (ca. 978-ca. 1014). Often referred to as the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji has captivated readers for centuries through its sophisticated narrative style, humor and wit, and unforgettable characters, beginning with the "radiant prince" Genji, whose life and loves are the focus of the story.

"The Tale of Genji has inspired generations of artists over centuries, and ours is the first exhibition to explore this phenomenon in such a comprehensive way," said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. "The magnificent works of art in the show will also offer a view into the development of Japanese art, a testament to the prevalence and impact of the renowned story."

The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Japan Foundation, with the cooperation of the Tokyo National Museum and Ishiyamadera Temple. 

It is made possible by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Fund, 2015; the Estate of Brooke Astor; the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; and Ann M. Spruill and Daniel H. Cantwell. 

The exhibition will present the most extensive introduction to the visual world of Genji ever shown outside Japan. It will feature nearly one thousand years of Genji-related art—an astonishing range of works including paintings, calligraphy, silk robes, lacquerware, a palanquin for a shogun's bride, and popular art such as ukiyo-e prints and contemporary manga—and provide viewers with a window into the alluring world of the Heian imperial court (794-1185) that was created by the legendary authoress.

Exhibition Overview

Comprising 54 chapters, The Tale of Genji describes the life of the prince, from the amorous escapades of his youth to his death, as well as the lives of his descendants, introducing along the way some of the most iconic female characters in the history of Japanese literature. Organized thematically in eight sections, the exhibition will pay special attention to the Buddhist reception of the tale, while also giving prominence to Genji's female readership and important works by female artists. 

Among the works on view, highlights will include two of Japan's National Treasures. The first, on loan from Seikado Bunko Art Museum, is a pair of screens by the Rinpa master Tawaraya Sotatsu (ca. 1570-ca. 1640)—Channel Markers and The Barrier Gate—depicting two chance encounters between Genji and a former lover. The second is the breathtaking Heian-period Lotus Sutra with Each Character on a Lotus, from the Museum Yamato Bunkakan. These works will be on view for six weeks and then rotated with other masterpieces over the course of the exhibition. A number of works recognized as Important Cultural Properties will be on view throughout the exhibition, including beautifully preserved album leaves by Tosa Mitsuyoshi (1539-1613), from the Kuboso Memorial Museum of Arts, Izumi, which will be shown together with rare Tosa School album paintings from the Harvard Art Museums and The Met's own collection.

The exhibition will also include a section featuring important works of art from Ishiyamadera Temple whose hall contains a "Genji Room" that commemorates the legend that Murasaki started writing the novel within the temple precincts. The final section of the exhibition will feature a series of original manga drawings by Yamato Waki that were inspired by The Tale of Genji. She translated Genji into the comic book idiom, making Murasaki's tale accessible to a whole new generation of readers.

Education Programs, Catalogue, and Credit

A site-specific opera entitled Murasaki's Moon—commissioned by MetLiveArts, On Site Opera, and American Lyric Theater in conjunction with the exhibition—will be presented in The Met's Astor Court on May 17, 18, and 19.

This exhibition will be the opening highlight of Japan 2019, a series of events organized by The Japan Foundation to introduce Japanese arts and culture in the United States throughout 2019.

The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

The catalogue is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Florence and Herbert Irving Fund; the Charles A. Greenfield Fund; the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation; the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Fund, 2015; the Parnassus Foundation; and Richard and Geneva Hofheimer Memorial Fund.

The exhibition is curated by John T. Carpenter, Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese Art in the Department of Asian Art at The Met; and guest curator Melissa McCormick, Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at Harvard University; with Monika Bincsik, Diane and Arthur Abbey Assistant Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts at The Met; and Kyoko Kinoshita, Professor of Japanese Art History at Tama Art University.

The exhibition will be featured on The Met's website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #MetGenji.

Image: Tosa Mitsuoki (1617-1691). Portrait-Icon of Murasaki Shikibu (detail). Edo Period (1615-1868), 17th century. Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk; 35 5/8 x 20 3/4 in. (90.5 x 52.7 cm). Ishiyamadera Temple, Shiga Prefecture, Courtesy of Ishiyamadera Temple, photo by Kanai Morio

rejlander23_low.jpgLos Angeles - Oscar G. Rejlander (British, born Sweden, 1813-1875) was one of the 19th century’s greatest innovators in the medium of photography, counting Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll and Julia Margaret Cameron among his devotees. Nevertheless, the extent of Rejlander’s work and career has often been overlooked. Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer, on view March 12-June 9, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, Los Angeles, is the first exhibition to explore the prolific career of the artist who became known as “the father of art photography,” and whose bold experimentation with photographic techniques early in the medium’s development and keen understanding of human emotion were ahead of their time.

The exhibition features 150 photographs that demonstrate Rejlander’s remarkable range, from landscapes and portraits to allegories and witty commentaries on contemporary society, alongside a selection of his early paintings, drawings, and prints.

“Rejlander tells us in his writings that ‘It is the mind of the artist, and not the nature of his materials, which makes his production a work of art,’” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “While technologies have dramatically changed, some of the fundamental issues that Rejlander grappled with in his photographs still resonate with photographic practice today. His photographs, though made a century and a half ago, are both meticulously of their time and timeless, foreshadowing many later achievements of the medium through to the digital age.”

Oscar G. Rejlander was born in Sweden and moved to England in 1839, working first as a painter before turning to photography in 1852. He made a living as a portrait photographer while experimenting with photographic techniques, most notably combination printing, in which parts of multiple negatives were exposed separately and then printed to form a single picture. Rejlander moved to London in 1862, where his business continued to grow and where his wife, Mary Bull, worked alongside him in his photography studios.

Portraits and Images of Everyday Life

Portraiture, particularly of members of the higher ranks of London society, was Rejlander’s main professional activity and supported his livelihood. Art critics and clients alike admired his skill with lighting as well as the natural and seemingly spontaneous expressions he was able to capture. Rejlander photographed some of the most important figures of the day, including the English scientist Charles Darwin, known for his theory of evolution, and poets Alfred Lord Tennyson and Henry Taylor. He also guided the first photographic efforts of the writer and mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (known as Lewis Carroll), the creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

From the beginning of his career as a photographer, Rejlander was keenly interested in depicting the activities of ordinary people, particularly the middle and lower classes of society. It was through his staged domestic images that he illustrated familial relationships with tenderness and humor, often using models and props to re-create in his studio the scenes he had witnessed in the streets, from young boys who swept up dirt and debris in exchange for tips, to street vendors such as “flower girls” who offered bouquets for sale to passersby. Like a modern street photographer, Rejlander chose his compositions and subjects based on what he saw and heard, realizing the final images in the studio.

In 1863 Rejlander constructed a unique iron, wood, and glass “tunnel studio,” where the sitter, positioned in the open, light-filled part of the studio, would look into the darker part of the room where the camera and operator were situated, nearly invisible. The pupils of the sitters’ eyes expanded, allowing for “more depth and expression,” as a writer observed in Photographic News. In addition to this technique, Rejlander often exploited his own unique ability to enact exaggerated emotions to assist his subjects. Charles Darwin illustrated many of Rejlander’s expressive photographs in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, published in 1872.

Combination Printing and Two Ways of Life

Rejlander holds an important place in the history of photography primarily because of the groundbreaking way he applied the technique of combination printing. On view in the exhibition is the most ambitious example of the artist’s pioneering experimentation, the epic photograph, or Hope in Repentance (1857). It attracted immediate attention upon its exhibition both for its large size and the ambition of its production, which included the combination printing of over 30 separate wet collodion on glass negatives, a process that took more than three days.

The work represents an intricate allegory of two opposing philosophies of life: Vice and Virtue. In the center of the picture, a wise man guides a younger man to the right, toward a life of virtue—work, study, and religion. To the left, a second young man is tempted by the call of desire, gambling, idleness, and vice. Prince Albert may have worked with Rejlander on the overall conception of the picture, and he and Queen Victoria purchased three versions for their art collection.

Despite this support from the Royal Family, Two Ways of Life divided the photographic community, with professional photographers considering it a technical tour de force, and amateurs seeing it as not only artificial in production but also immoral in its subject. However, it remains one of finest examples of combination printing to come from this period.

Art and Photography

Today, the debate about photography’s status as an art may be obsolete, but the arts community in 19th-century Britain was passionately divided over Rejlander’s chosen medium. Rejlander strongly advocated the view that photography was an independent art, while he was also convinced that a photograph could help artists by providing an effective substitute for working from live models. He was possibly the first to provide artists with visual references for their work in photographs, creating figure studies in a range of poses and costumes, including close-ups of hands, feet, drapery, and even fleeting facial expressions. Although many painters were reluctant to disclose their reliance on photography, several collected Rejlander’s photographs, including George Frederic Watts (English, 1817-1904) and Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836-1904).

Paintings also strongly influenced Rejlander’s choice of subjects, leading him not only to imitate the styles of artists but also to re-create the figures found in their compositions. He frequently photographed actors or models posing as a “Madonna,” a “Devotee,” a “Disciple,” or specific Christian figures such as John the Baptist. He may have intended these studies, as well as others showing figures in classical robes, for artists to consult as well.

 “What we hope comes through in the exhibition is Rejlander’s humanity and humor, as well as his humble nature, particularly evident in the fact that he often sent his work to exhibitions under the name ‘amateur,’” says Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the Getty Museum. “His explanation: ‘When I compare what I have done with what I think I ought to do, and some day hope I shall do, I think of myself as only an amateur, after all—that is to say, a beginner.’”

Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer, is on view March 12-June 9, 2019 at J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Lori Pauli, curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Canada, and Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Image: Untitled Album of Forty Photographs by Rejlander, about 1865. Object credit: Sir Nicholas Mander

mappingspace18_low.jpgLos Angeles - Photography’s dynamic relationship to the landscape can be traced to the origins of the medium, when the camera offered a revolutionary method for recording the world. The 19th century witnessed a range of approaches, from land surveys that systematically documented the topography of unsettled regions, to artistic depictions of nature’s majesty that rivaled landscape painting. Beginning in the 1960s, many artists sought novel approaches to representing their surroundings by incorporating personal, critical, and symbolic references to their work. Mapping Space: Recent Acquisitions in Focus, on view February 26-July 14, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, features a selection of recently acquired works by artists whose photographic views have been informed by new ways of thinking about a familiar subject.

On view at the Getty for the first time are works by five artists: Robert Kinmont (American, born 1937), Wang Jinsong (Chinese, born 1963), Richard Long (English, born 1945), Mark Ruwedel (American/Canadian, born 1954), and Uta Barth (German, born 1958). These artists draw from a variety of influences, ranging from photography’s documentary tradition to Conceptual Art, a movement that first gained significance during the 1960s for its prioritization of ideas over the production of objects. Operating against conventional notions of landscape photography, each of these artists has developed his or her own approach to site-specific spaces.

“The In Focus gallery in the Center for Photographs provides us an opportunity to highlight the Museum’s collection in telling ways, frequently with thematic overviews of the history of the medium, or, as in this case, by emphasizing recently acquired works that indicate an area of collecting interest,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Spanning almost half a century, from the late 1960s to 2012, the works in this presentation build on the Museum’s important holdings of landscape photography while revealing the importance of site-specificity and a personal response to our environment.” 

Robert Kinmont’s photographs of the landscape emphasize the mundane over the majestic. His series of gelatin silver prints My Favorite Dirt Roads (1969) features empty and unpaved roads that lead to Bishop, California, where the artist grew up. These images show open, unpaved roads and views of the horizon that, with their occasional stippling of powerlines, indicate the presence of communities. In documenting the vastness of this remote landscape, Kinmont communicates a personal connection to a place that most people would overlook.

Destruction, symbolism, and power are encapsulated in Wang Jinsong’s series One Hundred Signs of the Demolition (1998). Depicting brick walls painted with the Chinese character “chai,” which translates to “tear down,” these photographs document buildings slated for demolition in order to make way for new construction. The artist’s decision to focus on a written notice that signals demolition instead of the act, or the aftermath, serves as a quiet critique of a carefully coordinated government practice of the 1990s that discarded vestiges of the past to accommodate rapid growth in cities such as Beijing. The massive scale of these prints, their extreme frontal view, and the elimination of all architectural surrounds heighten the immediacy of this programmatic urban transformation.

Richard Long’s iconic work A Line Made by Walking (1967) depicts a field outside of London in which the grass has been flattened in a straight line by the artist’s footsteps. Performed in the landscape, this modest intervention underscored the potential for an ordinary act to become a work of art that is a meditation on the relationship between the artist and the landscape. This photograph reflects not only the artist’s interest in nature but represents his role in the Land Art movement that emerged in the late 1960s and operated on the notion of direct engagement with the environment.

Mark Ruwedel’s We All Loved Ruscha (15 Apts.) (2011-2012) is deeply informed by the legacy of Conceptual Art. In returning to the urban and suburban locations of the apartment buildings originally captured by the artist Ed Ruscha (American b. 1937) almost 50 years earlier and published in the 1965 book Some Los Angeles Apartments—photographs from this publication are well represented in the Getty’s collection—Ruwedel pays homage to a project that is widely associated with defining the tone of West Coast Conceptual photography. Displaying the same deadpan approach that became a hallmark of Ruscha’s style, these photographs are also documents of the changes these buildings have undergone. 

Photography’s perceived ability to faithfully describe the environment has long been a central concern for Uta Barth. Made between 1981 and 1982, the nine untitled gelatin silver prints in this exhibition present some of her earliest investigations of the medium’s limitations in conveying the spatial dimensions of a specific area. After photographing her immediate surroundings, Barth marked the surface of each print with black and red grease pencils to delineate various compositional elements. The inclusion of numbers, brackets, and occasional curvilinear forms suggests a desire to create a rational order. These markings also guide the viewer’s eyes to consider areas of each print that are not the obvious subject, thereby creating additional layers of meaning.

“Conceptual Art has been a major source of inspiration and influence for many contemporary photographers,” says Arpad Kovacs, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of the exhibition. “The Department of Photographs has made the collecting of Conceptual photography a priority over the last decade and this show provides an opportunity to display some of the works acquired.”

Mapping Space: Recent Acquisitions in Focus is on view February 26-July 14, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Arpad Kovacs, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Image: © Mark Ruwedel Object Credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Purchased in part with funds provided by Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser

theprintedworld-promo-1000x563.jpgThe Printed World: Masterpieces of Seventeenth-Century European Printmaking opens February 3 and remains on view through March 24, 2019, at the Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond Museums. The seventeenth century, often called the age of the Baroque, was a period that saw important changes to European society and culture. The settlement of the Americas and continuing exploration of the planet, motivated by religion and commerce, are symbolic of the ambitious spirit of the time, which confronted newness in many realms. In particular, the scientific revolution, with the invention of the telescope and the microscope, furthered new ways of seeing the world empirically. This is also an important era of consolidation: in politics, rulers such as Louis XIV of France and Philip IV of Spain dominated; the religious climate included the Counter-Reformation seeking to overcome Protestant beliefs that had arisen in the sixteenth century; and large-scale wars were carried out by sacred and secular armies.

These historical changes had a deep impact on the art of the time, perhaps nowhere more extensively than in the medium of prints, which were quickly distributed and had broad and engaged audiences. Etching became the dominant form of expression, with great artists such as Rembrandt exploiting the aesthetic capabilities of the medium. In seventeenth-century prints, subjects from biblical and classical literature reached a new refinement, while landscape achieved a new prominence. The exhibition examines these developing genres and how they were depicted by the printmakers of the Baroque period.

Selected from the Frank Raysor Collection and the Harnett Print Study Center Collection, the exhibition features works by more than thirty artists, such as Jacques Callot (French, 1592-1635), Stefano della Bella (Italian, 1610-1664), Hendrick Goudt (Dutch, 1583-1648), Wenceslaus Hollar (Bohemian, 1607-1677), Claude Lorrain (French, 1604-1682), Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669), and Jacob van Ruisdael (Dutch, 1628-1682). 

The exhibition is a collaboration of the University of Richmond Museums with Frank Raysor and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. It includes selections from the Harnett Print Study Center Collection, University Museums, and promised gifts to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts from the Frank Raysor Collection. Presented as a companion to Hollar’s Encyclopedic Eye: Prints from the Frank Raysor Collection (on view February 2 to May 5 at the VMFA), the exhibition was curated by Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art, VMFA; Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums; and Morgan Mitchell, ’20, art history major, the 2018 Harnett Summer Research Fellow, and Curatorial Assistant, University Museums. The exhibition and related programs are made possible in part with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund.

Programming

Sunday, February 3, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., Curators’ Talk and Reception, Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center for the Arts: “Deciphering Prints of the Seventeenth Century." Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums, and Morgan Mitchell, ’20, art history major, 2018 Harnett Summer Research Fellow, and 2019 Curatorial Assistant, University Museums. Reception and viewing of the exhibition follow talk. Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center for the Arts.

Monday, February 4, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Gallery Walk-Through with the Curators, Harnett Museum of Art, Modlin Center for the Arts. Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums, and Morgan Mitchell, ’20, art history major, 2018 Harnett Summer Research Fellow, and 2019 Curatorial Assistant, University Museums.

Image: Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (Italian, 1609-1664), Noah and the Animals Entering the Ark, circa 1650, etching on laid paper, 8 x 15 3/4 inches, Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study center, University of Richmond Museum, Gift of the Richmond Public Library Board of Trustees, by transfer, H2008.01.070

01-palm-tree-near-the-church-of-saints-theodore-athens.jpgOpening January 30, 2019 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Monumental Journey: The Daguerreotypes of Girault de Prangey will present masterpieces of early 19th-century photography by one of its unsung pioneers. A trailblazer of the newly invented daguerreotype process, Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey (1804-1892) traveled throughout the Eastern Mediterranean from 1842 to 1845, producing more than one thousand daguerreotypes—the largest known extant group from this period and the earliest surviving photographs of Greece, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Jerusalem, and among the first depicting Italy. Featuring approximately 120 of his daguerreotypes, supplemented by examples of his graphic work—watercolors, paintings, and his lithographically illustrated publications—the exhibition will be the first in the United States devoted to Girault, and the first to focus on his Mediterranean journey. Many of the sites depicted have been permanently altered by urban planning, climate change, or conflict.

The exhibition is made possible by the Arête Foundation/Betsy and Ed Cohen.

Additional support is provided by Jennifer S. and Philip F. Maritz and the Alfred Stieglitz Society.

It is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

Daguerreotypists in the early 1840s faced enormous technical challenges, especially in the desert, so daguerreotypes from these years are exceedingly rare. No other photographer of the period embarked on such a long excursion and successfully made a quantity of plates anywhere near Girault’s production of more than a thousand daguerreotypes. The resulting photographic campaign remains an unparalleled feat in its appearance, scope, scale, and ambition. Using an oversize, custom-made camera, he exposed more than one image on a single plate to create at least six different formats, including unexpected horizontal panoramas and narrow vertical compositions.

The fact that a collection of this size survived at all is extraordinary and attests to the achievement of an unheralded innovator working with unprecedented technology. The survival of this monumental and exemplary collection is also a result of Girault’s meticulous archival process—precocious at the time, even if today it seems commonplace. The artist stored his daguerreotypes in custom-built wood boxes; in addition, he carefully sorted, labeled, and dated the images so that he could retrieve them for future use, occasionally recording when he utilized them, for example, as the basis for a painting or published print. He also had them inventoried several times during his lifetime. In essence, he created the world’s oldest photographic archive.

“The exhibition reveals Girault as the originator of a thoroughly modern conception of photography, by which visual memories can be stored, retrieved, reassembled, and displayed,” stated Stephen C. Pinson, Curator, Department of Photographs. “At the same time, it is perhaps more important than ever to recognize that Girault was himself the product of a complex network of political, social, and historical forces that had far-reaching impact on the West’s relationship with the world he photographed.”

The exhibition presents a unique opportunity to experience these rarely seen works, as Girault never exhibited his daguerreotypes and died without direct heirs in 1892. In 1920, a distant relative, Charles de Simony, purchased Girault’s estate outside Langres, France, and discovered the photographs—labeled and carefully stored in their original wood boxes—in a storeroom of his  dilapidated villa. A handful of intrepid collectors and curators were henceforth aware of the collection, but its dramatic content and scope remained little-known to the world until 2003, when the first of several auctions of material drawn from the original archive was held.

Monumental Journey: The Daguerreotypes of Girault de Prangey is curated by Stephen C. Pinson, Curator in the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The catalogue is made possible by the Diane W. and James E. Burke Fund.

The exhibition is featured on The Met website, as well as on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter via the hashtag #MonumentalJourney.

Image: Girault de Prangey (French, 1804-1892), Palm Tree near the Church of Saints Theodore, Athens (89. Athènes. 1842. Palmier près S Théodore.), 1842. 9 3/8 × 7 3/8 in. (23.9 × 18.7 cm). Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris (EG7-750)

2. Jennifer Rose Wolken, Into the Fire (front) copy.jpgMinnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) presents Chronicled in Clay: Ceramics and the Art of the Story, an exhibition that brings together ceramics and contemporary book arts. Chronicled in Clay is presented in conjunction with Claytopia, the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts’ (NCECA) 53rd Annual Conference, which explores “the human imagination as a vehicle of restless yearning for a more livable, just, and meaningful world.” 

Chronicled in Clay: Ceramics and the Art of the Story examines how contemporary artists express narratives in clay through text, imagery, multiples, and sequence. The jurors, Tetsuya Yamada (artist and faculty at the University of Minnesota), Monica Edwards Larson (MCBA Board member and artist / proprietress of Sister Black Press), and Torey Erin (MCBA Exhibitions and Artist Programs Manager), have composed an exhibition that provokes new perspectives and challenges traditional ideas of narrative and linear storytelling through clay form, including notebook tablets, book vessels, a wall installation of wave-like ceramic pages, and more.  

Participating artists include:

Eileen Cohen, Minneapolis, MN

Corie J. Cole, Colorado Springs, CO

Paula McCartney, Minneapolis, MN

Stefana McClure, Newburgh, NY

Teri Power, Amery, WI

Derek Prescott, Columbia Heights, MN

Nicole Roberts Hoiland, Saint Paul, MN

Jennifer Rose Wolken, Springfield, MO

Molly Streiff, Missoula, MT

The exhibition will be on view and open to the public February 8th, 2019 through April 28th, 2019 in MCBA’s Main Gallery, with an opening reception on Friday, March 28th, 6-9pm.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is a visual arts nonprofit organization that supports creative expression through traditional and contemporary book arts, including papermaking, bookbinding, and letterpress printing. MCBA’s philosophy and artistic vision challenges its artist community to think beyond the traditional notion of “book.” Today, books can be bound and unbound, fabricated into sculptures, interpreted as metaphor, experienced as installation or performance, and interacted with virtually. What unites this varied work is a focus on the interdisciplinary expression of narrative. To learn more, visit our website at https://www.mnbookarts.org

Image: Into the Fire by Jennifer Rose Wolken

Are_These_Men_Collaborators_72dpi.jpgAustin, TX — More than 35 years ago, prominent artists Robert Frank, Dave Heath, Robert Heinecken and John Wood agreed to participate in a project exploring creativity in photography. Led by art historians Susan E. Cohen and William S. Johnson, the three-year collaborative project examined the artists’ creative process. Until now, no comprehensive record of those efforts has been accessible.

The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin has acquired the Susan E. Cohen and William S. Johnson Creativity Project archive. 

Conceived in the early 1980s by Cohen and Johnson, the project included the participation of photographers Frank, Heath, Heinecken and Wood. Years later, Cohen and Johnson reflected that the artists “agreed to collaborate with each other and with us to make an exhibition that presented not only their finished work, but also the decisions and actions they made during the creative process.”

Starting in January 1983, the historians conducted interviews with each of the artists, facilitated meetings among them and observed them in the studio.

Cohen and Johnson worked with each artist to select work for the touring exhibition “Four Photographers: Robert Frank, David Heath, Robert Heinecken, John Wood,” organized at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York. Artist Joan Lyons, director of the Visual Studies Workshop Press, designed an illustrated catalog to include a 16-page signature created by each participating artist and essays by Cohen and Johnson.

The planned exhibition and catalog were never completed, and the project came to a halt when a corporate sponsor redirected additional funding. Cohen and Johnson’s catalog essays were published in “Horses, Sea Lions, and Other Creatures: Robert Frank, Dave Heath, Robert Heinecken, and John Wood” (Joshua Press, 1986), a privately printed book. An edition of 15 copies was produced for participants and supporters. 

The archive includes more than 50 hours of audio and video interviews and conversations, research notes and essay drafts, letters and postcards, layouts and revisions and photographs of meetings and studio sessions. Among the materials are the artist’s maquettes that Frank, Heath and Wood designed for their signatures in the “Four Photographers” catalog. Also included is a copy of Heinecken’s artist’s book “1984: A Case Study in Determining an Appropriate Newswoman (A CBS Docudrama in Words and Pictures),” printed from his maquette for the project in 1985.

The archive is an important “time capsule,” said Jessica S. McDonald, the Ransom Center’s Nancy Inman and Marlene Nathan Meyerson Curator of Photography. “It represents a remarkable coming together of people and ideas at a pivotal moment in photography’s history.”

Rare monographs and artist’s books such as first editions of Frank’s “Les Américains” (Delpire, 1958) and Heath’s “A Dialogue With Solitude” (Community Press, 1965) are included, as well as Heinecken’s “MANSMAG: Homage to Werkman and Cavalcade” (published by the artist, 1969) and Wood’s “Lap Dissolve—Joan Lyons” (published by the artist, 1973).

Throughout the project and after, the artists wrote letters and inscribed photographs to Cohen and Johnson. Photographs in the archive include Frank’s “U.S. 90, en route to Del Rio, Texas,” 1955, inscribed to Cohen and Johnson and their children; a triptych by Heath, with a printed poem titled “For Susie (and Bill),” 1984; a 20- by 24-inch photogram by Heinecken titled “Iconographic Art Lunches #3,” [1983], made as Johnson observed in the studio; and Wood’s “Eagle Pelt,” 1985, the photograph that became the first image in Wood’s maquette for his signature in the planned exhibition catalog. 

The archive also contains Cohen and Johnson’s research materials on each artist, including periodicals, exhibition catalogs, tear sheets, exhibition notices, press releases and other ephemeral publications, many now scarce.

The archive is an especially fitting addition to the Ransom Center’s internationally renowned photography collection, which traces the advancement of photography as a creative art from the earliest days of the medium.

Once processed and cataloged, the materials will be available for research.

Image: Joan Lyons (American, b. 1937), Are these men collaborators?, 1983. Photolithograph from pinhole negative, 57.3 x 44.4 cm. Susan E. Cohen and William S. Johnson Creativity Project Archive, Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin © Joan Lyons

 

xl_2018_43_1.jpgAmherst, MA—The graphic novel is arguably the single most exciting new development in illustrated literature for children and teens in a generation. As pioneers of a rapidly-evolving art form, graphic novelists explore the vast middle ground between the picture book and text-only narrative. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art debuts its first exhibition on the topic, Out of the Box: The Graphic Novel Comes of Age, on February 10. It will remain on view through May 26, 2019. Curated by children's book historian Leonard S. Marcus, the exhibition examines the graphic novel genre through a close look at ten poignant coming-of-age stories by Vera Brosgol, Catia Chien, Geoffrey Hayes, Hope Larson, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Matt Phelan, David Small, Raina Telgemeier, Sara Varon, and Gene Luen Yang.  

"The coming-of-age story has long been fertile ground for the literature of preteens and teens," says Marcus. "It was only natural then that the graphic novel for young readers would often concern itself with a theme already so firmly embedded in young people's lives." The ten graphic novels featured in Out of the Box explore the often confusing and painful journey from childhood to adulthood. "Novel" is somewhat of a misnomer as graphic novels frequently address real-life events. Two haunting examples are Jarrett J. Krosoczka's Hey Kiddo (2018) and David Small's Stitches: A Memoir (2009). Krosoczka lays bare his adolescence with an incarcerated mother, an absent father, and two strong-willed grandparents. In stark monochrome, Small gives an unsparing account of a dysfunctional family and a devastating cancer diagnosis. Raina Telgemeier's Smile (2010) and Vera Brosgol's Be Prepared (2018) are also autobiographical stories from the artists' childhoods, told with empathy and humor for younger audiences. Telgemeier reaches deep into the emotional well of her own coming-of-age years to tell a tale of physical transformation, social distress, and self-discovery, while Brosgol recalls a pivotal summer spent at a sleep-away camp for Russian-American children. In all four books, the young protagonists' proclivity for art provides safe refuge from chaotic familial and social situations.

Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese (2006) follows Jin Wang, the only Chinese American student in his middle school, as he grapples with his identity and heritage. Yang caricatures--in order to disarm--hateful stereotypes in this ingeniously layered story. Hope Larson's 2012 adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's classic science fiction novel A Wrinkle in Time gives potent visual form to Meg Murry and her quest to find her father and save her brother. In Bluffton: My Summer with Buster (2017), Matt Phelan presents a wistful account from the early life of silent film star Buster Keaton. In contrast to most artists in the exhibition, Phelan rejects digital imagery in favor of traditional watercolor applied with a painterly lyricism. Sara Varon's New Shoes (2018) is a heartwarming graphic novel for young readers. Set in Guyana, New Shoes is an idiosyncratic animal fable about friendship, devotion to craft, and the courage it takes to venture into wild, unknown terrain alone for the first time.

The Carle is proud to present two never-before-seen stories in the exhibition. Lovo and the Firewolf was to be Geoffrey Hayes's long anticipated breakout book: his headlong leap into long-form comics and darker imaginative territory. At his untimely death in 2018, he had completed a pencil version and had inked, colored, and lettered the first chapter. The opening sequence on view represents the first public showing of the work that is sure to be judged as Hayes's masterpiece. Catia Chien created the vibrant, mixed-media art for Animals expressly for Out of the Box. It represents the first chapter of a work in progress, a graphic novel with text by her husband, the poet Michael Belcher, titled This Tenderness in the Attending. The story concerns a young person's deepening awareness of death and its role in the natural order.

Out of the Box is an exhibition The Carle has long contemplated. "As stewards of a museum dedicated to picture books," says executive director Alexandra Kennedy, "The Carle's staff has cheered on the creation of comics for young readers and pre-readers. When Leonard S. Marcus, a trustee at The Carle, began researching his book Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box (2016), we knew we had the right curator." 

In addition to curating the exhibition, Marcus also wrote the catalog essay, in which he succinctly traces the history of the graphic novel and its rise in popular culture. Marcus states, "The graphic novel-comic is a hardy hybrid, a global phenomenon, and an art for our time. It is a narrative format whose roots reach back centuries and span continents, a teller of tales that have generated huge fan bases and at times spirals of controversy."    

Out of the Box features a reading area with more than 100 graphic novels for guests to peruse. A timeline traces the evolution of graphic novels with examples of groundbreaking books, comics, zines, and manga. A gallery activity titled The Story Board invites guests to create a short graphic novel or contribute drawings to a community-generated tale. 

Marcus notes that graphic novel artists have pushed the boundaries of the form over the last 25 years: "Beyond the accolades, the value of the books can be measured in many ways and can hardly be overstated. The genre's cross-generational appeal has shown that as readers we do not (as was long supposed) outgrow the need--or love--for stories told in words and pictures." 

Out of the Box: The Graphic Novel Comes of Age is made possible with generous support from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Scholastic, Inc.

Image: Geoffrey Hayes, Illustration for Lovo and the Firewolf (unfinished). © 2017 Geoffrey Hayes. Used by permission of Edite Kroll Literary Agency Inc.

Bube_ Travel Ban.JPGNew York- The Center for Book Arts is proud to present the latest exhibition, Politics of Place, curated by Alexander Campos and Monica Oppen. The exhibition will be held from January 18 through March 30, 2019. 

From the mechanisms of colonialism, to intractable wars, displacement has become a catalyst to a contemporary discourse surrounding belonging, homeland and nationhood. Politics of Place highlights artist books, mainly from Australia and North America, both new world territories that share parallel histories, to explore the longstanding issues centered in indigeneity, enslavement, conflict-caused immigration. These issues reflect the undercurrent of political motives and decisions often decentering and ignoring the voices of those displaced. 

Artists and Authors include: Sue Anderson, Julie Barratt, Aileen Bassis, Neda, Parastoo and Maryam Bahrami, Doug Beube, Tia Blassingame, Bonney Djuric, Jas Duke, Noga Freiberg, Colette Fu, Anne Gilman, Parra Girls, Adam Golfer, Lyall Harris, Gwen Harrison, Claudia, Heinermann, Michal Iwanowski, Murtaza Ali Jafari, Ann Kalmbach, Tatana Kellner, Peter Rutledge Koch, Taller Lenateros, Jason Lujan, Peter Lyssiotis, Clyde McGill, Vivienne Mehes, Gideon Mendel, Mohammed , Tammy Nguyen, Iviva Olenick, Lefteris Olympios, Fakhruddin Rajai, Madina and Yalda Sayer, Indre, Michael Serpytyte, Patricia Silva, Anne Twigg, Juana Valdes, Judy Watson, Philip Zimmermann, Debra Magpie Earling, Lily Hibberd Dominique Malaquais, Paul Mason and Sonya Winterber.

Meet the artists and curators at the opening reception on January 18th at 6:30pm, and the Roundtable discussions on January 25 and February 28, 2019 at 6:30pm.

The Center for Book Arts promotes active explorations of both contemporary and traditional artistic practices related to the book as an art object. The Center seeks to facilitate communication between the book arts community and the larger spheres of contemporary visual and literary arts, while being a model organization locally, nationally, and internationally within the field. We achieve this through exhibitions, classes, public programming, literary presentations, opportunities for artists and writers, publications, and collecting. Founded in 1974, it was the first not-for-profit organization of its kind in the nation.

Support for the Center for Book Arts’ Visual Arts Programs is provided, in part, by the New York State Council for the Arts, with the support of Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs of the city of New York in partnership with the City Council, and by the National Endowment for the Arts. The 2019 History of Art series is co-sponsored by the New York Chapter of the American Printing History Association.

Roni_Peter.jpgNew York — No artist is an island. Harnessing wide-ranging interests to create striking works unconfined by limitations, Joseph Cornell's life and art are the inspiration behind Introspective Collective. Aspects of Cornell’s output—visual and lyrical poetics, collage, assemblage, found objects, and dance—provide a framework to show how the individual and the community interconnect to create art that can be reflective while also contributing to discussions about societal concerns.

Drawing on Cornell’s life and art as the framework, this exhibition seeks to explore the crosscurrents where the individual artist intersects with the wider community. The captivating artwork on display is well worth a visit to the gallery. A wall of shadow boxes addressing climate change hangs opposite an installation concerning Hurricane Maria. Scrolling images of ballerinas in unexpected places are projected alongside a collage of broadsides on loan from The Center for Book Arts.

Visit The Clemente through January 20th to catch this show!

Participating artists: Damali Abrams, Golnar Adili, Aravind Enrique Adyanthaya , Jose Ambriz, Tomie Arai, Milcah Bassel, Elizabeth Louise Castaldo, Ana Paula Cordeiro, Aurora De Armendi, Roni Gross and Peter Schell, Barbara Henry, Wennie Huang, James Kelly, KS Lack, Norah Maki, Colin McMullan DBA Emcee C.M., Master of None, Luis Pons, paul singleton iii, and Daphne Stergides 

Panel Discussion: Altruism and art-making: inherent contradictions - January 19th, 2019 at 2:30PM with Amanda Deutch, paul singleton iii and Aurora De Armendi, moderated by Drake Tyler

Project website https://introspectivecollective.home.blog/

Image: Undertow Roni Gross and Peter Schell

3f7db8c354cf83d542b33caa_1220x946.jpgNew York — The Morgan Library & Museum presents an exhibition of photographs from one of the most comprehensive repositories of photography on the continent, the collection at the National Gallery of Canada. The first in a series of three major photography shows at the Morgan in 2019, The Extended Moments: Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada is organized into a sequence of pairings that underline the persistence, over time and across space, of trends and tensions central to photography. The moment in each photograph in the sequence is “extended” by images neighboring it on either side, even as the exhibition as a whole presents the age of photography, from its beginning in 1839 to now, as a single “extended moment.” 

Included in the show are 68 works representing photography's role in art, journalism, science, exploration, activism, warfare, the chronicling of family and community histories, and many other subjects. Spanning a period of 180 years, the exhibition also features works by notable artists such as Edward Burtynsky, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lynne Cohen, John Herschel, Richard Learoyd, Lisette Model, Zanele Muholi, Edward Steichen, and Josef Sudek.

Canada’s was the first national gallery to actively start collecting photography. In 1967 the Gallery began building a collection that chronicles the medium from its prehistory to the present, including major contributors to the field. The gallery’s holdings are distinguished by coverage of the complex history of photographic processes and by deep historical strengths, including the daguerreotype and early French and British photography. More recently, the Gallery has expanded the collecting mandate for photographs to take a more inclusive look at photography as a cultural phenomenon. 

“Photographs have influenced the human imagination in myriad, complex ways from the very beginning of the medium’s history,” said Colin B. Bailey, Director of the Morgan. “Images are made daily and document our national and global histories. Photography is also a deeply personal art that asks questions about how the world works. This is an incredible opportunity for the Morgan to familiarize visitors in the U.S. with one of the most distinguished photography collections on the continent.”

“The Morgan is at once the newest kid on the block. The Department of Photography here is only six years old—and a place where photography gets seen in long historical perspective among the arts of communication,” said Joel Smith, curator of the Morgan exhibition. “It is an honor to host the venerable collection of the National Gallery of Canada here; it also feels like a case of natural synergy.” 

Image: Zanele Muholi, ZaVa, Amsterdam, 2014. National Gallery of Canada. Courtesy of the artist, Yancey Richardson, New York, and Stevenson Cape Town / Johannesburg.

 

raw pcard front.jpgRaw is a new exhibition presented by Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA). The exhibition is on view from December 14th - February 3rd in the Open Book Cowles Literary Commons. The opening reception for raw will take place on Thursday, January 10 from 6-8pm. Both the exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public.

Raw features work by eleven MCBA Artist Cooperative members: Wendy Fernstrum, Georgia A. Greeley, Marvel Grégoire, Karen Kinoshita, Monica Edwards Larson, Raven Miller, Charles Nove, Paul Nylander, Bridget O’Malley, CB Sherlock, and Emily Umentum. Exploring the intersection of ideas, objects, and emotions, artistic methods represented include handmade lace paper, photogravure prints, monotype, intaglio, chapbooks, experimental books, and broadsides.

MCBA’s Artist Cooperative is a community of artists dedicated to book arts. Co-op membership is open to artists with demonstrated interest in papermaking, bookbinding, letterpress printing, screen printing, or related arts. Membership offers 24/7 access to a wide range of equipment in MCBA’s studios, exhibition opportunities, class tuition discounts, peer support, and more.

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing, and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through book arts workshops and programming for adults, youth, families, K-12 students, and teachers. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit www.mnbookarts.org.

Image: Laima by Emily Umentum

5639a46bda86eabb9e15e422_884x1100 copy.jpgNew York — This winter, the Morgan Library & Museum offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see a remarkable collection of materials related to one of the world’s most beloved authors, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973). Tolkien’s adventurous tales ignited a fervid spark in generations of readers. From the children’s classic The Hobbit to the epic The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s stories of hobbits and elves, dwarves and wizards have introduced millions to the rich history of Middle-earth. Opening January 25, Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth—a new exhibition at the Morgan organized in collaboration with the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford—celebrates the man and his creation. 

This exhibition provides the largest collection of Tolkien material ever assembled in the United States. First presented at the Bodleian Libraries in 2018, the 117 objects on view include family photographs and memorabilia, Tolkien’s original illustrations, maps, draft manuscripts, artefacts, and designs related to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. The exhibition guides visitors through Tolkien’s development as a writer and artist, from his childhood and student days, through his career as a scholar of medieval languages and literature, to his family life as a husband and father. It presents a unique opportunity to understand the intensely visual imagination, the dedicated scholarship, and the aspects of daily life that shaped Tolkien’s most treasured works. 

Notable objects in the exhibition include draft manuscripts of The Hobbit and the original manuscripts of The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, displayed alongside striking watercolors, dust jacket designs, and drawings. Other highlights are the photographs and letters from Tolkien’s childhood and student days. Drawn from the collections of the Tolkien Archive at the Bodleian Libraries (Oxford), Marquette University Libraries (Milwaukee), the Morgan, and private lenders, the objects on display introduce visitors to Tolkien’s creative process from his early abstract paintings in The Book of Ishness and the letters written and illustrated for his children to his epic fantasy novels.

The exhibition also offers a rare look at Tolkien’s artistic output, which was wide-ranging and experimental, naturalistic and abstract. In his landscapes of Middle-earth and intricate designs, visitors can catch a glimpse of Tolkien world-building and working out his ideas on paper. 

Since the publication of his novels, Tolkien has amassed a variety of admirers including poet W.H. Auden and singer Joni Mitchell,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the museum. “This exhibition helps us see what was so extraordinary and universally appealing about his gifts as a storyteller and his ability to combine the scholarly with the artistic. The show presents an intimate look at Tolkien’s world through his handwritten and drawn works. We are grateful to the Bodleian Libraries, The Tolkien Estate and The Tolkien Trust for this landmark collaboration.”

“It is exciting to see so much material in Tolkien’s own hand,” said John McQuillen, Associate Curator of the Printed Books and Bindings Department. “It’s as if we are looking over his shoulder while he composes and illustrates his vision of Middle-earth. We get to glimpse moments in the creation of the narrative, such as when he changes the wizard’s name to Gandalf or suddenly comes up with the idea of the One Ring. It is almost voyeuristic: we have the opportunity to see the creative process that brought us the books with which we are so familiar.”

Image: J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973), Dust jacket design for The Hobbit, April 1937, pencil, black ink, watercolor, goache. Bodleian Libraries, MS. Tolkien Drawings 32. © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937. ® TOLKIEN is a registered trademark of The Tolkien Estate Limited. 

artfulwords1(1) copy 2.jpgLos Angeles - The written word was a major art form in the premodern world. Calligraphers filled the pages of manuscripts with scrolling vines and delicate pen flourishes, and illuminators depicted captivating narratives with large letterforms. These decorative embellishments reveal the monetary, cultural, and spiritual value placed on handmade books at the time. Offering an exploration of decorated letters, Artful Words: Calligraphy in Illuminated Manuscripts, provides insight to the artistic trends that shaped calligraphic practice from England to Central Europe and beyond for nearly one thousand years.

Three types of decorated letters were employed in the handwritten book arts of the Middle Ages: ornamented letters, formed by abstract foliate motifs; inhabited letters, in which strokes of the letter are made up of animal, human, or hybrid forms; and historiated initials, in which the letter includes figures or other content related to the text.

The alphabetic adornments in this exhibition appear in manuscripts that range from a Bible and a Qur’an to books of prayer, law, and history. The calligraphers who made them combined script and ornament to embellish pages, while illuminators developed original and complex strategies for fitting miniature stories into individual letters. Several of the manuscripts feature signatures by the scribes, calligraphers, or artists.

“We consume words in a variety of ways—in handwritten, printed, and digital media—decoding messages that are communicated not just by the combination of phrases but also by their design and styling,” said Bryan C. Keene, associate curator of manuscripts. “Among the highlights in the exhibition is a grouping of manuscripts penned by the famous scribe David Aubert for Duchess Margaret of York, as well as a Qur’an paired with an Italian ceramic vase with imitation Arabic script.”

Artful Words: Calligraphy in Illuminated Manuscripts will be on view December 18, 2018, through April 7, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The exhibition is curated by Keene and Katherine Sedovic, former graduate intern in the Manuscripts Department. Related programming will include gallery talks, lectures, and more. Additional information can be found at getty.edu/360.

Image: Butterfly, Marine Mollusk, and Pear, 1561 - 1562; illumination added 1591 - 1596, Joris Hoefnagel (Flemish / Hungarian, 1542 - 1600) and Georg Bocskay (Hungarian, died 1575). Watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment. Leaf: 16.6 × 12.4 cm (6 9/16 × 4 7/8 in.). 86.MV.527.118. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 20, fol. 118

7673632dd7c16ca4ecb40184_560x502.jpgNew York — The 2019 winter season at the Morgan Library & Museum continues to celebrate visual artists and writers whose experimental methods and innovative creative processes have transformed our understanding of drawing, illustration, writing, and photography. Over the course of January and February, the Morgan will open a series of varied exhibitions, ranging from a look at the creative enterprise of J.R.R. Tolkien, to a focused examination of unconventional practices in contemporary drawing, to the first display in the United States of the storied photography collection of the National Gallery of Canada, to a survey of celebrated early Italian Drawings from our collection.

By Any Means: Contemporary Drawings from the Morgan

January 18, 2019 through May 12, 2019

Contemporary approaches to drawing are often experimental and expansive. By absorbing and building upon the legacy of avant-garde experimentation in the first half of the twentieth century, artists from the 1950s to the present have pushed beyond the boundaries of traditional draftsmanship through their use of chance, unconventional materials, and new technologies. Emboldened by the accessibility, scale, and relative affordability of paper, and informed by the developments of Cubist, Futurist, Dada, and Surrealist predecessors, these artists have pursued drawing by any means--whether by pouring, pressing, rolling, rubbing, folding, pasting, printing, plotting, or pushing. By Any Means brings together about twenty innovative works from the Morgan’s collection, including many recent acquisitions, by artists such as John Cage, Sol LeWitt, Vera Molnar, Robert Rauschenberg, Betye Saar, Gavin Turk, and Jack Whitten.

By Any Means: Contemporary Drawings from the Morgan is made possible with the support of Louisa Stude Sarofim and Nancy Schwartz.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth 

January 25 through May 12, 2019

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” With these words the Oxford professor J.R.R. Tolkien ignited a fervid spark in generations of readers. From the children’s classic The Hobbit to the epic The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s adventurous tales of hobbits and elves, dwarves and wizards have introduced millions to the rich history of Middle-earth. Going beyond literature, Tolkien’s Middle-earth is a world complete with its own languages and histories. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth celebrates the man and his creation. The exhibition will be the most extensive public display of original Tolkien material for several generations. Drawn from the collections of the Tolkien Archive at the Bodleian Library (Oxford), Marquette University Libraries (Milwaukee), the Morgan, and private lenders, the exhibition will include family photographs and memorabilia, Tolkien’s original  illustrations, maps, draft manuscripts, and designs related to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth is organized by the Morgan Library & Museum in collaboration with the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, and with the support of The Tolkien Estate, The Tolkien Trust, and members of the Tolkien family.

The exhibition is made possible through the generosity of Fay and Geoffrey Elliott.

®TOLKIEN is a registered trademark of the Tolkien Estate Limited.

Invention and Design: Early Italian Drawings at the Morgan 

February 15 through May 19, 2019

The Morgan’s impressive collection of Italian Drawings documents the development of Renaissance drawing practice from its beginnings in the fourteenth century and over the following two centuries. From the influence of medieval manuscript and painting workshops to the new practice of sketching, artists gradually moved away from imitation of standard models and to the invention of novel ways of thinking on the page and representing traditional subjects. As artists came to be recognized more as intellectuals than as craftsmen, a new class of collectors and connoisseurs created a market for autonomous drawings of classical subjects and other compositions. Portrait drawing emerged as an independent genre during this period, while artists invented new ways approaches to landscape drawing. Invention and Design explores these developments and celebrates more than a century of innovation in drawing. This exhibition will be the first to focus on this material, featuring works by artists such as Mantegna, Filippo Lippi, Filippino Lippi, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Fra Bartolomeo, and Andrea del Sarto.

Invention and Design: Early Italian Drawings from the Morganis made possible with generous support from the Scholz Family Charitable Trust, the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust, the Alex Gordon Fund for Exhibitions, and the Andrew W. Mellon Research and Publications Fund.

The Extended Moment: Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada 

February 15 through May 26, 2019

Through a selection of around seventy works, The Extended Moment reveals the historical, technological, and aesthetic richness of the photography holdings of the National Gallery of Canada, a major collection little known in this country. In the exhibition’s presentation at the Morgan, works of far-flung origins appear side-by-side in a sequence that highlights recurring trends and tensions in the history of the medium. Surprising parallels and hidden histories link images drawn from the worlds of art, fashion, journalism, propaganda, scientific research, social activism, and beyond. Thus on one hand, the “moment” in each photograph is “extended” into collaboration with its immediate neighbors; on the other, two centuries of history emerge as an “extended moment” in which the unifying element is photography in its many manifestations. Artists include Edward Burtynsky, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lynne Cohen, John Herschel, Richard Learoyd, Lisette Model, Edward Steichen, and Josef Sudek.

The Extended Moment: Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada is made possible through the generosity of the Thompson Family Foundation, Inc. 

Organized by the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada in collaboration with the Morgan Library & Museum, New York.

Image: Giovanni Agostino da Lodi (active ca. 1467 - ca. 1524), Head of a Youth Facing Left, 15th century, red chalk on paper. The Morgan Library & Museum, 1973.35:2

spectacularmysteries9(1) copy.jpgLos Angeles - During the Italian Renaissance—the period from about 1475 to 1600 that is often seen as the foundation of later European art—drawing became increasingly vital to the artistic process just as it grew dramatically more sophisticated in technique and conception. Today, Italian Renaissance drawings are considered some of the most spectacular products of the western tradition. Yet, they often remain shrouded in mystery, their purpose, subjects, and even their makers unknown.

Featuring drawings from the Getty Museum’s collection and rarely seen works from private collections, Spectacular Mysteries: Renaissance Drawings Revealed, on view December 11, 2018—April 28, 2019, at the J. Paul Getty Museum, highlights the detective work involved in investigating the mysteries behind master drawings.

“The Getty’s collection of Italian drawings counts among the greatest in this country, and this exhibition will surprise many visitors with how much we still have to learn about these rare works of art,” explains Getty Museum Director Timothy Potts. “This display, which includes some of our best Italian drawings, provides many insights into the methods curators use to investigate the purpose and meaning of these superlative works of art, and some of the revelations they have disclosed.”

The practice of drawing flourished in Italy during the Renaissance, due to a surge in patronage for paintings, sculpture, and architecture, which went hand in hand with the rise of artists’ studios and a rigorous production process for these works. Many of the drawings produced at the time tell stories of their creation and the purposes they served, yet sometimes even the most seemingly simple question—who drew it?—is a mystery. Given the ease and informality with which a sketch can be made, its purpose and other information about it must be discovered from the only surviving evidence: the drawing itself. 

Clues about the artist can be uncovered by comparing a drawing with the stylistic characteristics of other sheets. In 1995, for example, a Sotheby’s expert looked at Study of a Mourning Woman (about 1500-05), and immediately recognized the distinctive penwork and handling of the drapery of Michelangelo. Subsequent study confirmed this attribution. The Getty acquired the drawing in 2017.

Inscriptions can sometimes also be a useful clue to the artist, but should be treated with caution since they often reflect the over-optimistic attribution of a past owner. One work in the exhibition - Exodus (about 1540) - features many inscriptions. It took some time and much research to decipher which inscriptions belonged to past owners and which was that of the artist. Eventually, the drawing was attributed to Maturino da Firenze.

Mysteries about the sitter, subject, and purpose can sometimes be revealed by linking a drawing to a painting, sculpture, or print. The purpose of Two Male Standing Figures (about 1556) was unknown until 2001 when the work was auctioned and identified as the work of Girolamo Muziano. At that time, it was determined to be a study for figures in an altarpiece the artist painted for the cathedral in Orvieto.

“As I try to learn more and more about these captivating works, I sometimes feel like a detective,” says Julian Brooks, senior curator of drawings and curator of the exhibition. “In the end, this exhibition is the story of what we know, what we don’t know, what we might know, and what we can’t know about these extraordinary works of art and their world.”

Spectacular Mysteries: Renaissance Drawings Revealed will be on view December 11, 2017 -April 28. 2019, at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Julian Brooks, senior curator in the Department of Drawings.

Image: The Head of a Young Man, about 1539 - 1540, Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola) (Italian, 1503 - 1540). Pen and brown ink. 16 × 10.5 cm (6 5/16 × 4 1/8 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Philadelphia—For its second survey of photography, the Barnes Foundation is presenting nearly 250 early photographs—most of which have never been exhibited before—created by British and French photographers between the 1840s and 1880s. Curated by Thom Collins, executive director and president of the Barnes, From Today, Painting Is Dead: Early Photography in Britain and France is drawn from the private collection of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg and spans the invention of the daguerreotype to photography on paper and beyond. The show is on view in the Barnes’s Roberts Gallery from February 24 through May 12, 2019.

From Today, Painting Is Dead: Early Photography in Britain and France is sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal.

Following the production of the first photographs in the 1830s, and before the advent of Kodak’s point-and-shoot camera in 1888 and the industrialization of photography, artists experimented with photography, creating innovative processes and uniquely compelling representational tropes.

“When the influential French painter Paul Delaroche saw a photograph for the first time, he proclaimed, ‘From today, painting is dead!’ This sentiment captures the anxiety with which photography was greeted by artists, though it would be nearly 50 years before technology evolved enough to approximate the work Delaroche and his fellow painters were already doing,” says Collins. “This exhibition explores the very fertile period in the early history of photography, when the medium’s pioneers were grappling with the complex inheritance of official, state-sponsored visual culture.”

For the better part of the 19th century—before rebellious groups like the impressionists challenged the status quo—powerful fine arts academies in Paris and London governed the official style for painting and even guided what subjects artists should depict. Some themes were considered more important than others, based on their cultural significance and the skill required to render them. Moralizing historical subjects were generally the most valued; next came portraiture, then genre (or scenes of daily life), then landscape, and finally still life.

Photography developed amid this stringent artistic climate. Between 1840 and 1870, photographers of all stripes—both amateurs and an emergent class of professionals, makers of vernacular pictures and those aspiring to create fine art—experimented with the new medium, not only its mechanics and chemistry, but also its representational potentials. In doing so, they inevitably absorbed—and transformed—the well-established tropes of the dominant academic painting tradition.

From Today, Painting Is Dead: Early Photography in Britain and France features over 60 photographers, including such masters as William Henry Fox Talbot—the scientist and inventor credited with developing the first photographic prints on paper; Félix Nadar, the great portraitist of Paris high society; Roger Fenton, the English painter turned celebrated photographer who achieved widespread recognition for his photographs of the Crimean War in 1855; Gustave Le Gray, the leader of 1850s French art photography; and Julia Margaret Cameron, whose literary and biblical-themed figure studies and captivating portraits were unprecedented in her time.

Exhibition highlights include:

  • Original calotypes from 1840 to 1845 by William Henry Fox Talbot, including still lifes, portraits, landscapes, and street scenes from both England and France.
  • The earliest war photographs, taken of the Crimean War by Roger Fenton, including his iconic Valley of the Shadow of Death as well as the 11-plate panorama of Sebastopol.
  • An 1844 daguerreotype of Jerusalem—one of the first of the city—by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey.
  • A full-plate daguerreotype of the Fontaine des Innocents in Paris by Baron Jean-Baptiste-Louis Gros from 1850.
  • Some of the earliest existing travel photographs of the Middle East, Southern Europe, Africa, India, Burma, Ecuador, Mexico, and New Zealand.
  • Portraits by Félix Nadar, Napoleonic Paris’s great portraitist and larger-than-life personality, with subjects ranging from literary legends—including an oversize 1885 deathbed portrait of Victor Hugo—to the first official Japanese delegation to France (1864). Also included are Nadar’s 1860s photographs of the Paris catacombs and sewers, which represent one of the first uses of artificial lighting in photography.
  • Pre-Raphaelite allegorical portraiture by Julia Margaret Cameron.
  • French physiologist Étienne-Jules Marey’s 1880s motion studies of athletes, which prefigure the development of motion pictures, much like Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies in the US.
  • Seascapes, landscapes, photographs of military maneuvers, and other works by Gustave Le Gray, the leader of the 1850s French movement of fine art photography. 

EXHIBITION ORGANIZATION:
All works are from the collection of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg. This exhibition was organized by the Barnes Foundation in association with art2art Circulating Exhibitions. The presentation at the Barnes Foundation is curated by Thom Collins, executive director and president of the Barnes.

This exhibition was produced as part of a new educational venture between the Barnes and the University of Pennsylvania led by Thom Collins and professor Aaron Levy, with curatorial contributions from students in the 2018 Spiegel-Wilks Curatorial Seminar “Ars Moriendi: Life and Death in Early Photography.”

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 8.23.12 AM.pngNorth Adams, MA—The Artist Book Foundation (TABF) celebrates an exhibition of the innovative works of Stephen M. Schaub at TABF’s Louis and Susan Meisel Gallery in Building 13 on the campus of MASS MoCA. The show runs from November 9, 2018 to February 1, 2019. 

In Stephen Schaub’s monumental artwork, rather than experiencing a literal place or a linear story, viewers encounter something akin to the fragmentation of a memory or the illogic of a dream. The images may be evocative, lyrical, and—at times—haunting. Schaub says for many of these Recent Works, he was “inspired by the light and the energy of this iconic, sweeping space,” shown in the 14-ft. print, Grand Central Terminal; he says he “was particularly struck by what happens when you stand still amidst so much movement and just watch... it felt to me as if slices of time were appearing and disappearing all around. This is one of the themes that fascinates me and informs so much of my work: how our perception of space and of time creates the stories we tell ourselves, which may only be loosely related to reality.” 

In the creation of the negative, overlapping frames and multiple-exposures are used to evoke an almost cinematic sense of time and motion. Images are printed using handmade surfaces such as Amate paper from Mexico, and Kinwashi paper from Japan. Schaub is interested in the way these historic materials may merge with content and vice versa, surface and imagery blending into one, each informing the other. Because each artwork is created in this fashion, these places exist nowhere so much as they do within the mind of the viewer. 

Schaub lives and works in Vermont and his unique prints have been exhibited in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. His work is in the Polaroid Collection as well as other major private and corporate collections. 

Venue: Louis and Susan Meisel Gallery at The Artist Book Foundation 

Exhibition: 9 November, 2018-1 February, 2019 

p.jpegBasel, Switzerland—In the last exhibition of this year, Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books will present extremely rare examples of religious book art, most of which are more than 500 years old. Elaborately illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, miniatures, and early printed books will be on display at the Dr. Jörn Günther Antiquariat in Basel from the 3rd to the 14th of December 2018. The magnificent artworks portray scenes from the Christmas story bringing the medieval and Renaissance interpretations of Christmas to life.

The Christmas selection features beautiful Books of Hours, including a lavishly illustrated manuscript that was presumably made for a member of the Venetian Zane family. The twenty-one delightful miniatures are attributed to the Masters of the so-called Gold Scrolls group. Albeit small in size, this elaborate manuscript is full of finely illuminated and elegant texts, manifesting individuality.

Another highlight of the exhibition is an unusual and beautiful Book of Hours that was made for or commissioned by Louis XII, King of France (1462-1515). Like his famous father, Charles of Orléans, Louis was a great bibliophile who preferred manuscripts to printed volumes in his exquisite Blois library. The manuscript appears to have been originally conceived by a regional artist, who also carried out a great deal of the illumination. This master was assisted by an elaborate artist from the Parisian workshop of Jean Pichore, who executed some outstanding and famous manuscripts for Louis XII and was one of the king’s favourite artists. Compellingly, the two artists not only divided the illustrations to be painted, but actually worked together in many of the same miniatures. 

Another unusual manuscript in the Christmas line-up is a rare English Book of Hours, the Beauchamp-Corbet Hours. It was made in London in 1328 and was likely a wedding present for Beatrice Beauchamp (and widow Corbet, d. 1347). Nearly every page is decorated with a multitude of whimsical miniatures and bas-de-page scenes. Some miniatures in this volume show rare and most unusual iconography, for instance a historiated initial that depicts a funeral service attended exclusively by animals, an unusual topic for the Office of the Dead. A recent owner of this fanciful manuscript was the renowned German children’s book writer Cornelia Funke. The Beauchamp-Corbet Hours reportedly served her as inspiration for her popular novel, Ghost Knight.

A beautiful Nativity scene on display at the Christmas exhibition comes from the Dupont Book of Hours, a fine Book of Hours made in the workshop of the Master of the Échevinage of Rouen. This manuscript, with bright, large margins, is an excellent example of the high quality of illumination from the city of Rouen. The unidentified name Dupont, with its monogram mark, gave this small, intimate, and personal prayer book its name. Interestingly, however, one miniature shows the anonymous patroness kneeling before the Virgin and Child. Miniatures and borders are richly detailed: textiles are patterned and gilt, architecture is articulated, and interiors may include arcades or a gothic sculptured throne. The narrative content is similarly expanded into scenes in the margins, in roundels containing ancillary characters or events.

Image: Book of Hours for Louis XII, use of Rennes. Manuscript on vellum, illuminated in the workshop of Jean Pichore. France, Paris, c. 1500-1515. 198 x 132 mm. 143 leaves, with 15 full-page compositions and 15 small miniatures. 

 

OWLSSMALL.jpgAmherst, Massachusetts—Owls, some of the most widely depicted creatures in children's literature, swoop into The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art from December 8, 2018 to April 21, 2019 for the exhibition Illustrated Owls: A Who's Hoo from the Museum's Vault. Nocturnal birds of prey, owls have figured in world cultures throughout history, from Greek mythology to Harry Potter's Hedwig. Their large, forward-facing eyes give the appearance of intelligence, inspiring artists and writers to portray owls as symbols of wisdom.

Illustrated Owls features the noble birds as represented by 22 artists whose work is on long-term loan or in The Carle's permanent collection. Interpretations range from the realistic to the charming. 

Highlights include Garth Williams's 1955 Children's Book Week poster, Maurice Sendak's lithograph from A Kiss for Little Bear (1971), José Aruego and Ariane Dewey's watercolors from Owliver (1974), and numerous E. H. Shepard illustrations of Owl, Pooh, Tigger, and other friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. 

The exhibition includes three Eric Carle artworks in different media. On display is the screech owl from Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?, created in Carle's signature tissue paper collage, an abstract metal owl sculpture, and an early linoleum print of a great horned owl. Gallery activities invite guests to create owl drawings to take home or add to our parliament (a parliament is a group of owls--a term first used by C. S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia). Owl-themed picture books, ambient owl sounds, and fun fact family labels complete the installation. 

"I was delighted to discover so many artistic representations of owls," says Ellen Keiter, the Museum's chief curator. "The exhibition highlights the variety of artists, stories, and techniques represented in our world-class Picture Book art collection." 

Illustrated Owls includes prints, collages, pen and ink drawings, and watercolors. The featured artists are José Aruego and Ariane Dewey, Howard Berelson, Walter Harrison Cady, Eric Carle, Antonio Frasconi, Michael Hague, Ezra Jack Keats, Dorothy Lathrop, Arnold Lobel, Petra Mathers, J. P. Miller, Barry Moser, Marian Parry, Jerry Pinkney, Maurice Sendak, E. H. Shepard, Susanne Suba, Simms Taback, Matthew Van Fleet, Leonard Weisgard, and Garth Williams. 

Image: Arnold Lobel, Illustration for The Random House Book of Mother Goose (Random House). Gift of Adrianne and Adam Lobel. © 1986 Arnold Lobel.

_B3V1468.jpegNew York—On December 14, 2018, The Grolier Club will unveil its reconstructed state-of-the-art Exhibition Hall, capping a total renovation of the public spaces in the century-old building. To mark the occasion, The Grolier Club is mounting the celebratory exhibition French Book Arts: Manuscripts, Books, Bindings, Prints, and Documents, 12th-21st Century. On view through February 2, 2019, the approximately 90 works are drawn entirely from The Grolier Club’s own rich and extensive collections.      

This inaugural exhibition is a wide-ranging survey of the book arts of France, covering a thousand years of artistic achievements, from Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts to artists’ books and designer bookbindings of the current generation. Notwithstanding the many hundreds of public exhibitions that have been displayed at The Grolier Club in its 135 years, it has never before offered such a broad and deep survey of the artistic and typographic monuments of France.

The Grolier Club has maintained a strong Francophile tradition since its founding in 1884, beginning with its name. The Grolier Club was named for Jean Grolier, the Renaissance collector who was renowned for his patronage of scholars and printers, for the magnificent bindings he commissioned, and for a generous habit of sharing his library with friends.  

The works on display are as diverse as one would expect from a millennium of French artistry:  The authors range from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to Voltaire, Anatole France, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Jacques Brel. The artists, from anonymous scribes to the miniaturists Boyvin and the Master of the Claremont Hours; to Abraham Bosse, Felix Bracquemond, and Henri Matisse.  Bookbinders, from the late Middle Ages to the precocious Odette Lamiral, the dramatic Paul Bonet, the fabulous Santiago Brugalla, the imaginative Florent Rousseau. Bibliophiles, from our patron saint, Jean Grolier, of course, to Jacques-Auguste de Thou, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Count Hoym, Madame de Pompadour, Marie-Antoinette, and latter-day French collectors and Americans inspired by France, include some of the Grolier Club’s own Founders.

Among the highlights are manuscript and printed illuminated Books of Hours, including a Mannerist stunner from the 1540s; early printed books by Robert Estienne and Aldus Manutius; extraordinary bindings from seven centuries; a letter from Jefferson to his Parisian bookseller; portrait prints of the great and the good; Matisse’s major livre d’artiste of the Occupation years, Pasiphaé; and commemorative medals and documents. The Grolier’s patron saint, Jean Grolier, the “Prince of Bibliophiles,” is honored with six of his books, four in their distinctive Grolier bindings, and three documents, including his royal appointment as Treasurer of France when he was 20 years of age.  

Many of the books have special provenances but perhaps the strangest is an 18th century manuscript that has an unusual 20th century provenance. The book contains an inventory of Madame de Pompadour’s library. 

It was liberated by the French Second Armored Division, and officially stamped by the Deuxième Division Blindée, on May 4, 1945. Found by French soldiers of the “Day-Day-Bay” in the Berghof, Adolf Hitler’s Berchtesgaden retreat, its presence is unaccounted for and was possibly given to Hitler by Göring.

The reopening of the newly designed Exhibition Hall and inaugural exhibition continue The Grolier Club’s long-standing dedication to offering free access to exhibitions and programs that celebrate the art and history of the book.

Curated by H. George Fletcher, the exhibition honors the memory of Mary K. Young, a devoted member of The Grolier Club, who championed Franco-American cultural ties as a director of the Florence Gould Foundation.

CATALOGUE: A fully-illustrated companion volume by Mr. Fletcher is available from The Grolier Club and from Oak Knoll Books.

ABOUT THE CURATOR:

The exhibition and its accompanying book have been organized and written by H. George Fletcher, a long-serving member of The Grolier Club, elected to membership in 1973. He was the Astor Curator of Printed Books and Bindings at The Morgan Library & Museum and the inaugural Brooke Russell Astor Director for Special Collections at The New York Public Library. He has been involved with scores of exhibitions in the United States and France, many of them on French bookish themes, and France honored him in 2013 as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.  This is his third exhibition at the Grolier in recent years. With French colleagues, he organized “Printing for Kingdom, Empire, and Republic: Treasures from the Archives of the Imprimerie Nationale” (2011-2012) and, with G. Scott Clemons, “Aldus Manutius: A Legend More Lasting than Bronze” (2015).

Free Lunchtime Exhibition Tours: December 14 and 19, and February 1, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, and January 25, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm. The Curator will lead free public tours of the exhibition. No reservations necessary.

Currently on view in the Second Floor Gallery:

  • A.J.A. Symons: A Bibliomane, His Books and His Clubs from the collection of Simon Hewett. November 8, 2018 - January 5, 2019.

Followed by:        

  • Two American Poets: Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams from the collection of Alan Klein. January 16 - February 23, 2019.
  • A Matter of Size: Miniature Bindings & Texts from the collection of Patricia J. Pistner. March 5 - May 19, 2019.

Looking forward in the newly designed Exhibition Hall:

  • Alphabet Magic: Gudrun & Hermann Zapf and the World They Designed. February 20 - April 27, 2019
  • Poet of the Body: New York's Walt Whitman. May 15 - July 27, 2019

   

Image: Binding by the Cupid’s Bow Binder. Bound in Paris, ca. 1550-1555. Nicolae Primi Pont (ificis). Maximi Epistolae. Rome: Francesco Priscianese, 1542. Courtesy of the Grolier Club.

Depicting_Venice_1 Bordon.jpgBoston—The Boston Athenæum announced today a pair of complementary pop-up exhibitions open to the public on its first floor: Stampato a Venezia/Printed in Venice and Ecco Venezia/Behold Venice. Both will remain on view through February 16, 2019.

Stampato a Venezia/Printed in Venice celebrates Venetian printers’ artistry and craftsmanship as the powerful republic rapidly built its dominance in an emerging book trade. The technology of printing on a press using moveable metal type arrived in Venice in 1469, less than two decades after Johann Gutenberg started printing his first Bible in Germany. The items on display at the Athenæum, printed in the prosperous maritime center between 1471-1551, are drawn from the library’s special collections and offer visitors a rare opportunity to see historic and beautiful printed objects. On display are master printers’ editions of works by Aristotle,  Dante Alighieri, Marco Polo, Saint Catherine of Siena, Sebastiano Serlio, and Baldassarre Castiglione, among others, as well as 16th-century depictions of the city and exemplars of typographic and design innovations.

Ecco Venezia/Behold Venice! brings together rare and finely printed items that express visitors’ fascination with the legendary city: lyrical travel narratives, grand architecture, romantic scenery, and, of course, gondolas and canals. Highlights include writings by Joseph Brodsky and Jan Morris (along with a corrected typescript revealing Morris’ working methods) as well as depictions of Venice from a first-edition John Ruskin (1851) alongside evocative modern-day illustrations. The Athenæum takes pride in offering curatorial experiences to young professionals; this show was curated by Rare Books and Manuscripts Research Assistant Adriene Galindo with the advice of John Buchtel, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections.

“For our first Athenæum exhibitions, Adriene and I chose rare holdings from and about Venice,” said Buchtel. “They tell compelling stories about technology and art, manifest their makers’ love of beauty and learning, and open a portal to an extraordinary time and place. They also evoke the grand passions and adventures of avid Boston book collectors from the 1840s to the present.”

ABOUT THE BOSTON ATHENÆUM

The Boston Athenæum, a leading membership library and cultural center, first opened its doors in 1807 as a reading room, with readers including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Amy Lowell. Today, the Athenæum remains a vibrant hybrid institution that serves members and other curious minds. Encompassing an expansive circulating library, rich collections of paintings and rare materials for research and enjoyment, quiet spaces for reading and reflection, and serving as a forum for lively discourse, the Athenæum is a distinct cultural treasure in the heart of Boston.

Public Hours

Tuesdays 12noon-8pm

Wednesdays through Saturdays 10am-4pm

General Admission

Adults (ages 13 and up) $10

Students and Military $8

EBT Card to Culture $2

Children (ages 12 and under) Free

Boston Athenæum Members Free

Image: Benedetto Bordon (1450-1530), Isolario. Venice: Nicolò d’Aristotile, detto Zoppino, 1534. Gift of Charles Butler Brooks in memory of his father Francis Augustus Brooks, 1920. Call Number: $XB .B64 .1534. Photo credit: Boston Athenaeum

New York — The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will host a public display from October 23 through November 10 of its newly-acquired, never-before-seen manuscripts, notes, and unpublished chapter from The Autobiography of Malcolm X. 

The limited-time display will be open to the public for viewing at the Schomburg Center near the main entrance, and will feature selections of Malcolm X’s autobiographical writing with editor Alex Haley including:

  • The partial, yet-extensive manuscript of The Autobiography, illustrating the influential text as a work-in-progress, with back-and-forth written dialogue between Malcolm X and Haley on everything from diction to timing and tone
     
  • Written fragments showing Malcolm X’s reworking of key passages from the final pages of his autobiography
     
  • The never-before-seen “lost” unpublished chapter from The Autobiography of Malcolm X, titled “The Negro,” which was removed from the manuscript during the editing process and unpublished and unavailable until now

New manuscript pages will be displayed and turned weekly through November 10.  After November 13, researchers will be able to access the manuscripts by appointment at the Schomburg Center with a New York Public Library card.

On July 27, the Schomburg Center announced acquisition of the Malcolm X Manuscripts, previously held by a private collector, who acquired them at a sale of Alex Haley’s estate in 1992. The acquisition is a critical addition to over 16 linear feet of Malcolm X manuscript material, available at the Schomburg Center, including a diary, letters, speeches, journals, and photographs.

“These materials are extremely significant, as they can provide researchers with extensive new insights into the writing process and thoughts of one of the most important and influential figures and books of the 20th Century,” said Schomburg Center Director Kevin Young on the acquisition. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a monumental work; to actually see how that book took shape through Malcolm X’s handwritten corrections and notes is very powerful. Additionally, the omitted chapter, believed to be removed after Malcolm X’s death, places the work in a new context, and provide an understanding as to why it was excluded from the book in the first place. The possibilities for new revelations are nearly endless, and we are so proud that the Schomburg Center can bring this material to light for the first time.”

Media requests for interviews and coverage of the display and the Malcolm X manuscripts can be made to ayofemikirby@nypl.org.

 

Austin, TX — A detailed look at the history of the Arts and Crafts movement is the focus of a new exhibition at The University of Texas at Austin.

Displayed at the Harry Ransom Center from Feb. 9 through July 14, 2019, “The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and America” examines how the ideas of Arts and Crafts reformers, influential to this day, transformed the homes and lives of ordinary people in the 19th and 20th centuries.

With more than 250 books, drawings, furniture pieces, decorative arts objects, photographs and advertising ephemera, the exhibition appeals to anyone with an interest in architecture and design, including professionals, enthusiasts and those interested in the antecedents of lifestyle branding and today’s maker movement.

It is organized into three main sections. “The Birth of the Arts and Crafts Idea” considers the founding ideals of designers and theorists in Britain, “The Arts and Crafts in America” shows how the principles of the movement crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and “The Postwar Legacy” explores the persistence of the American Arts and Crafts movement beyond World War II. This narrative highlights the contributions of Alice and Elbert Hubbard and The Roycrofters, William Morris and The Kelmscott Press, John Ruskin, Gustav Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright, bungalow culture and a burgeoning do-it-yourself craft movement.

Visitors will learn how the movement’s theorists and makers spread their ideas through books, retail showrooms and world's fairs. Concerned with the daily realities of the Industrial Age, they used design to envision and promote a new and improved way of living.

The movement was transformed as its tenets of simple design, honest use of materials and social value of handmade goods were widely adopted and commodified by large companies. The exhibition explores how these objects, originally handmade and costly, came to be manufactured and sold to the everyday consumer.

Christopher Long, professor of history and theory in UT’s School of Architecture, and Monica Penick, associate professor in the Department of Design in the School of Design and Creative Technologies, curated the exhibition.

“The exhibition's distinction is its emphasis on the Arts and Crafts' transformation from a movement that made handcrafted objects for the well-to-do to a popular phenomenon of mass- manufactured, inexpensive pieces sold through retail outlets like Sears, Roebuck & Co.," Penick said. "The Arts and Crafts idea persisted long after it is usually said to have expired, well into the 1950s and 1960s. The Ransom Center, with its wide-ranging collections of both British and American art, architecture and design, is ideally suited to tell this story.”

Items from the Center's collections include hand-drawn designs and sketches by Ruskin and Morris, books and marketing materials of the Kelmscott and Roycroft presses, stained glass designs by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones and plates from Wright's Wasmuth portfolio. These are complemented by photographs, furniture and decorative arts objects from the university's Alexander Architectural Archives; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and private collections.

“Viewers will see many objects that are seldom shown, including unique documents and rare sales catalogs and brochures,” Long said.

The exhibition “The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and America” is accompanied by a catalog of the same title. Published by Yale University Press in association with the Ransom Center and edited by Penick and Long, it features essays such as “The Kelmscott Press and the Modern Popular Book,” “The Arts and Crafts Knock-Off and U.S. Intellectual Property Law” and “The Sears Modern Home.”

Visitors can view the free exhibition on Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m. Free docent-led tours are offered daily at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

 

Benn.pngMiami - HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate and a premier Miami cultural institution, presents A Peculiar Paradise: Florida Photographs by Nathan Benn. The photography exhibition will open November 9, 2018, and run through April 14, 2019, and feature nearly 100 photographs taken at the dawn of the 1980s across the State of Florida, as well as artifacts, from photographer Nathan Benn. In conjunction with the exhibition, powerHouse Books will release a 200-page volume of Benn’s Florida photographs in November 2018. HistoryMiami Museum will host a cocktail reception on November 8, 2018 from 6-8 p.m. to celebrate the opening of this new exhibition and release Benn’s new book. 

"These Florida pictures are the finest and most personal work from my twenty-year career as a National Geographic photographer,” said Nathan Benn. “They reveal the duality of a place that is vibrantly dynamic while at the same time an imagined paradise.”  A Peculiar Paradise exhibits many never-before-seen photos and artifacts related to Benn’s Florida work for National Geographic.  Benn shot most of these photographs in 1981, a time when Miami became famous for its narcotics-related crime wave and influx of newcomers from the Caribbean. His pictures explore, among other topics, Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, extreme affluence, nightlife, immigration, work cultures, tourist attractions, remarkable Floridians, Dundee’s 5th Street Gym, and the narcotics war. Benn shows a state that is vibrant and marvelously unconventional during a time of over-the-top prosperity for some Floridians while others just tried to survive. The photographs, often exploring political and social issues, take full advantage of Kodachrome films distinctive color palette. 

"For those who live in Florida, this exhibition is certainly a walk down memory lane and offers an unusual look into what shaped Florida into the eclectic makeup we enjoy today," said Jorge Zamanillo, Executive Director of HistoryMiami Museum. "If you are not from Florida, you are sure to be fascinated by the stories of our past that have molded this peculiar paradise that we call home. Through these carefully curated images, you will be intrigued by the issues that were tackled here 37 years ago and those that remain hot button issues today."

A former Director of Magnum Photos, Benn was born and raised in Miami, graduated from the University of Miami, and currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico and New York City. 

Daily admission to HistoryMiami Museum to see A Peculiar Paradise: Florida Photographs by Nathan Benn is $10 for adults, $8 for students (with valid ID), $5 for children 6-12, and free for HistoryMiami members and children under 6. Exhibition hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. HistoryMiami Museum is located at 101 West Flagler Street in downtown Miami. Parking is available at the Cultural Center Parking Garage located at 50 NW 2nd Avenue.

Benn will be present at the opening of A Peculiar Paradise on November 8, 2018, and will be available for press interviews and book signing upon request. For more information, high-res images, or to schedule an interview with Nathan Benn, please contact Cynthia Demos at cynthia@thedanaagency.com or 305-758-1110.

Images courtesy of Nathan Benn

 

Froissart_Lyon Flood.jpgParis - Iconic images by the earliest masters of photography—as well as contemporary artists who are reinterpreting the processes and subjects of the pioneers—will be exhibited by Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs at Paris Photo at the Grand Palais from 8-11 November 2018. 

Spanning facets of the history of photography from 1839 to 2009, Masters of Photography: 19th Century and Now, will feature the work of William Henry Fox Talbot, Julia Margaret Cameron, Louis-Antoine Froissart, Gustave Le Gray, Hugo van Werden, and contemporary artists Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Adam Fuss, among others. 

Louis-Antoine Froissart (1815-1860) was the official photographer for the city of Lyon, photographing scenes and events of municipal interest. In May 1856, Lyon was inundated by one of the worst floods in French history. Froissart recorded the devastation with eloquent exactitude and poetic beauty. His eerily serene landscape of the postdiluvian city, Lyon Flood, records the disaster without depicting the human suffering left in its wake. This fine, rare salt print was presented by the photographer as a gift to the Mayor of Lyon at the time of the flood and remained in the Mayor’s family. Froissart’s photographs of the catastrophe precede the more widely known photographs by Edouard Baldus who was sent to Lyon by the French government in June of 1856.

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) sought to record, through the faces of her family and friends, the qualities of innocence, wisdom, piety, or passion ascribed to great biblical, historical, and legendary figures. In Greek mythology, Circe is a goddess of magic, the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and Perse, an Oceanid nymph. Renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs, Circe is exiled to the solitary island of Aeaea by her father for killing her husband. Once there she lures sailors to the island, including the crew of Odysseus, transforming them into swine. For Circe, Cameron used a long exposure and shallow depth of field to give a slight sense of animation that merges the angelic looking Kate Keown with her mythic character, seemingly bringing her into the viewer's presence in the fine 1865 albumen print.

Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) trained as a painter in the studio of Paul Delaroche and exhibited in the Paris Salon. Le Gray’s unique vision is reflected in his seascapes, the work for which he is most celebrated. A striking ocean view in Normandy, Effet de soleil dans les nuages-Océan (Effect of the sun in the clouds over the Ocean), 1856-57, is one in a series of poetic and meditative seascapes that brought Le Gray international acclaim for their technical and artistic achievement. The albumen print demonstrates his mastery of the medium with a tour de force combination of clouds, sea, and sun and is on display alongside two enigmatic seascapes, from 1994 and 1997, by Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, b. 1948).

In addition to his seascapes, Sugimoto’s Lightning Fields 119, part of his 2009 series will be on view. These dynamic camera-less photographs depict electrical charges, influenced in part by Fox Talbot’s research into static electricity. The images were made using a Van de Graaff 400,000 volt generator. The “lightning field” is formed by the resulting spark. If the charge is powerful enough it creates the capillary effect of electric light dramatically captured in this gelatin silver print from a photogram.

German industrialist and armaments manufacturer Alfred Krupp hired Hugo van Werden (1836-1911) as a trainee in his firm’s engineering workshop in 1854. Three years later, he was working as a draughtsman in the technical office. Early in 1861, van Werden was sent to Hanover to learn photography. Upon his return to Essen, he set up the Krupp works’ photography studio. As Alfred Krupp’s first full-time photographer and distant relation, van Werden’s family connection facilitated his access to the private grounds as he documented all aspects of Krupp’s operation, including the business plant, new technical developments and trials of materials. Van Werden’s 1877 albumen print Krupp firing range at Bredelar. Armor shooting trial is the first in a series of six photographs on view showing the progressive effects of cannon fire on the target’s armor plate. Van Werden’s strikingly proto-modernist photographs unite Krupp’s pioneering conception of photography’s role in advertising and entrepreneurship with his own artistic vision of the medium to show the complex interrelationships of steel—or more broadly, industry—and society.

Masters of Photography: 19th Century and Now will be on view at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs at Paris Photo, Stand C17, at the Grand Palais, Paris, from 8-11 November 2018. The telephone number at the stand is +1 917-273-4609.

Image: Louis-Antoine Froissart (French, 1815-1860), Lyon Flood, 1856. Salt print from a collodion negative, 22.6 x 32.0 cm

 

 

The Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition, MCBA/Jerome Book Arts Fellowships Series XIV. On view from November 3, 2018 - January 27, 2019 in MCBA’s Main Gallery, this exhibition features exciting new work from this year’s MCBA/Jerome Book Arts Fellowship recipients: printmaker and book artist Cathy Ryan; artist Ioana Stoian; paper maker and social practice artist Peng Wu; and installation artist Jammo Xu. The opening reception for MCBA/Jerome Book Arts Fellowships Series XIV will take place on Friday, November 9 from 6-8pm. Both the exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

With generous funding from the Jerome Foundation and technical guidance from MCBA, the Fellowship recipients developed their independent projects throughout the previous year. Since 1985 the Jerome Foundation has helped emerging artists push the boundaries of contemporary book arts by supporting the creation of new book works. Under the previous thirteen series of fellowships and six series of mentorships, Minnesota artists of diverse disciplines—including printers, papermakers, binders, painters, sculptors, poets, photographers, choreographers, filmmakers and others—have created projects ranging from exquisitely crafted fine press volumes to documented performances to one-of-a-kind installations that “break the bindings” and redefine conventional notions of book form and content.

Cathy Ryan is a book artist and printmaker based in Minneapolis, MN. For the Fellowship, she produced Connections, a mixed media printed book installed as an abstract landscape, drawing on themes of nature, perspective, and connection. She holds a bachelor’s degree in art from San Francisco State University, and a post baccalaureate certificate in Print, Paper, Book from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her work is included in the 2012 Quarry publication 1000 Artist Books, and, in 2014, she was an artist-in-residence at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, MN. She is a past recipient of the MCBA/Jerome Book Arts Fellowship in 2011-2012.

Ioana Stoian is a self-taught, British-born artist with a passion for paper. For her Fellowship project, she has created The A-Z of Motherhood, an edition of hand bound books containing 28 pages of custom-dyed handmade paper, juxtaposing specific words and colors to create an energetic harmony. Since 2006 Ioana has been experimenting with two of her main interests—paper folding and papermaking. Her works focus on the harmony between color, structure, and form. Ioana is the author of Origami for All and The Origami Garden, and she participated in the MCBA/Jerome Book Arts Mentorship program in 2014-2015.

Peng Wu and Jammo Xu’s installation, "Arriving Ashore", advocates for global awareness of the refugee crisis. The artists have been in close collaboration with UNITED for Intercultural Action—a European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees, which has worked in the past 15 years to document the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. The artists use handmade paper and other sculptural materials to create an installation to commemorate the refugees who lost their lives in the forceful migration. Peng Wu is a sculptor and papermaker working in social practice and public art. Originally from China, he has been based in Minneapolis since 2011. Peng is a collaborating artist with the One World Many Papers project and has had two Northern Spark projects. He received his MFA in visual studies from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He also has an MFA in product design and a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric physics. Minneapolis-based Jammo Xu is a visual storyteller who works with installation and public art. Also a native of China, Jammo received her MFA in visual studies from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She also has a bachelor’s degree in animation.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through book arts workshops and programming for adults, youth, families, K-12 students and teachers. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit www.mnbookarts.org.

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 8.25.09 AM.pngKansas City, Missouri-Ralston Crawford, who celebrated the modern American industrial landscape in a precisionist style and captured the vitality of New Orleans jazz culture, is the subject of a photography exhibition opening at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City Oct. 26 through April 7, 2019. Structured Vision: The Photographs of Ralston Crawford, showcases the museum’s deep holdings of his work.

“Ralston Crawford’s photographs have a profound energy,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “Throughout his career he juxtaposed creation and destruction, form and chaos. His body of work is wonderfully varied and reflects how complicated and rich one artistic sensibility can be.”

George Ralston Crawford (1906-1978) was born in Canada but grew up in Buffalo, New York, where his interest in docks, shipyards, bridges, and grain elevators blossomed. He was a sailor as a young adult and began studying art in the late 1920s, painting characteristically American subjects such as highways, bridges, and machines. His work was precise and geometric, emphasizing bold, simple forms.

“Ralston Crawford is an important artist in the Nelson-Atkins collection because he applied a painter’s eye to the challenge of making interesting photographs,” said Keith F. Davis, Senior Curator, Photography. “There is enormous variety in his work, from industrial subjects to street life and cemeteries of New Orleans. Some of his pictures are about pure geometry; others celebrate the improvisational vitality of everyday life. Ultimately, all of Crawford’s work is about the interrelationship of structure and change.”

Crawford worked actively from the 1930s through the 1970s. He absorbed and expressed the basic energies of the mid-twentieth century, from the era’s industrial might to the destructive power of war and the atomic bomb. He celebrated the most basic of forces: creation, decay, time, and change. He traveled extensively throughout his life to paint, produce lithographs, take photographs, and teach. In addition to key gifts from the Hall Family Foundation, the artist’s son, Neelon Crawford, was instrumental in increasing the Nelson-Atkins’s holdings of his father’s photographs.

The exhibition is accompanied by a new book, The Photographs of Ralston Crawford, written by Davis, providing a fresh, comprehensive look at Crawford’s photographs from 1938 through the mid-1970s, including both well-known works and previously unpublished images. This volume, published by Yale University Press, is distributed for the Hall Family Foundation in association with the Nelson-Atkins.

This exhibition is supported by the Hall Family Foundation.

Image: Ralston Crawford, American (1906-1978). Dancer and Meyer Kennedy at the Caravan Club, New Orleans, 1953. Gelatin silver print, 9 1/2 × 7 9/16 inches. Gift of Neelon Crawford, 2015.49.123.

sallymann31_low.jpgLos Angeles - For more than 40 years, Sally Mann (b. 1951) has made experimental, intimate, and hauntingly beautiful photographs that explore themes of memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and nature's indifference to human endeavor. Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings, on view November 16, 2018-February 10, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, is the first major survey of this celebrated artist to travel internationally, and the first to investigate how Mann's relationship with her native land, the American South—a place rich in literary and artistic traditions but troubled by history—has shaped her work. The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. The Getty is the only West Coast venue for this international tour, which brings together 110 photographs, many exhibited for the first time.

Mann’s work—photographs of people, places, and things—is united by its focus on the American South. Drawing from her deep love of her homeland and her knowledge of its historically fraught heritage, Mann asks powerful, provocative questions—about history, identity, race, and religion—that reverberate across geographic and national boundaries.

“Sally Mann’s distinctive approach to photographing the South has earned her a special place in the history of a genre that includes many of the greatest names in American photography,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Her complex, evocative landscapes and intimate images of her family are reminiscent of classic work from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but she manages always to give her photographs an individual pictorial and emotive quality that makes them intangibly of our time. The work has a power - all the more impactful for its quiet and ethereal mood - that I am sure will leave visitors deeply moved.”

The exhibition is organized into five sections—Family, The Land, Last Measure, Abide with Me, and What Remains. It opens with works from the 1980s, when Mann began to photograph her three children at the family's remote summer cabin on the Maury River near Lexington, Virginia. Taken with an 8 x 10 inch view camera, the family pictures refute sentimental stereotypes of childhood, instead offering unsettling visions of its complexity. Rooted in the experience of a particular natural environment—Arcadian woodlands, rocky cliffs, and languid rivers—these works convey the inextricable link between the family and the landscape, and the sanctuary and freedom that it provided them.

The second section of the exhibition - The Land - continues with photographs of the fields and ruined estates Mann encountered as she traveled across Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi in the 1990s. Hoping to capture what she called the "radical light of the American South," Mann made pictures in Virginia that glow with a tremulous radiance, while those made in Georgia and Mississippi often appear bleaker. In these photographs, Mann also experimented with antique lenses and the 19th-century collodion wet-plate process for making negatives. Mann used similar techniques for her photographs of Civil War battlefields in the exhibition's third section, Last Measure. Cultivating the flaws she could achieve with this method for making negatives—streaks, scratches, spots and pits—she created metaphors for the South as the site of memory. These brooding and elusive pictures depict the land as history's graveyard, silently absorbing the blood and bones of the many thousands who perished in battles in Antietam, Chancellorsville, Cold Harbor, Fredericksburg, and Manassas.

The fourth section, Abide with Me, merges four series of photographs to explore how race and history shaped the landscape of Virginia as well as Mann's own childhood and adolescence. Expanding her understanding of the land as not only a vessel for memory but also a site of struggle and survival, Mann made a series of starkly beautiful tintypes between 2008 and 2012 in the Great Dismal Swamp—home to many fugitive slaves in the years before the Civil War—and along nearby rivers in southeastern Virginia. Mann's use of the tintype process— a collodion negative on a sheet of darkened metal that yields a rich, liquid-like surface with deep blacks - mirrors these bracken swamp and rivers. In these murky pictures, she conveyed the region’s entwined histories of sanctuary and oppression.

Mann also photographed numerous 19th-century African American churches near her home in Lexington. Founded in the decades immediately after the Civil War, when African Americans in Virginia could worship without the presence of a white minister for the first time, these humble but richly resonant churches seem alive with the spirit that inspired their creation and the memories of those who prayed there.

Also included in Abide with Me are photographs of Virginia "Gee-Gee" Carter, the African American woman who worked for Mann’s parents. A defining and beloved presence in Mann's life, Carter taught Mann the profoundly complicated and charged nature of race relations in the South. The final component of this section is a group of pictures of African American men rendered as large prints (50 x 40 inches) made from collodion negatives. Representing Mann's desire to reach across "the seemingly untraversable chasm of race in the American South," the series was inspired in part by the work of the choreographer Bill T. Jones. Lamenting the racism that has subjected African Americans to stereotyping, exploitation, and violence, Jones noted that “the body is the thing that . . . connects us, the body is bought and sold, and the body is definitely the thing that will divide us.” Mann sought to make photographs that address this paradox.

The final section of the exhibition, What Remains, explores themes of time and transformation through photographs of Mann and her family. Her enduring fascination with decay and the body's vulnerability to the ravages of time is evident in a series of spectral portraits of her children's faces and intimate photographs detailing the changing body of her husband Larry, who suffers from muscular dystrophy. The exhibition closes with several riveting self-portraits Mann made in the wake of a serious riding accident. Here, her links to southern literature and her preoccupation with deterioration are evident: the pitted, scratched, ravaged, and cloudy surfaces of the photographs function as analogues for the body's decay. The impression of the series as a whole is of an artist confronting her own mortality with composure and conviction.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, presenting an in-depth exploration of the evolution of Mann's art, and two short films that illuminate the artist’s experimental and inquisitive approach to making images.

“Because the legacy of the South so profoundly continues to influence life throughout the United States, we are pleased to have the chance to bring this exhibition to Southern California. The artist’s meditative and meticulously crafted photographs encourage us to look more carefully at the places in which we live and the people in our lives,” says Mazie Harris, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Her pictures encourage us to attend to the ways in which our sense of family, place, and history inform our perspective on the world.”

Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings is curated by Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head of the department of photographs, National Gallery of Art, and Sarah Kennel, The Byrne Family Curator of Photography, Peabody Essex Museum.

Generously supported at the J. Paul Getty Museum by Gagosian.

Exhibition Tour

·         National Gallery of Art, Washington, March 4-May 28, 2018

·         Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, June 30-September 23, 2018

·         The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, November 16, 2018-February 10, 2019

·         Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, March 3-May 27, 2019

·         Jeu de Paume, Paris, June 17 -September 22, 2019

·         High Museum of Art, Atlanta, October 19, 2019 -January 12, 2020

Image: The Turn, 2005. Sally Mann (American, born 1951). Gelatin silver print. 94.9 × 117.2 cm (37 3/8 × 46 1/8 in.). Private collection. Image © Sally Mann

 

Jacket image.jpegNew York--This fall, the Grolier Club presents an exhibition of the books, printed ephemera, and toys relating to military life and wartime experience that were published or produced for children and teens during two consecutive but dramatically different periods: first, the era from the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914; and second, the 51 months of fighting that comprised “the war to end all wars.”  The exhibition is on view in the second-floor gallery through October 27, 2018.

During the years leading up to the war, there was an arms buildup among the nations who were anxious to protect their borders from predatory neighbors or to defend their colonies against attacks from within or without. As a consequence, these countries felt compelled to prepare their youth for a future armed conflict, utilizing whatever literary and leisure-time means were at hand.

Curated by collector Richard Cheek, “The Books and Toys that Prepared Children for War” will demonstrate how these publications and products were used to persuade boys to admire and wish to become soldiers and sailors, and to accept war as an inevitable form of human behavior that offered them a swift path to manhood requiring acts of exceptional bravery, selfless service, and patriotic devotion.

To encourage boys to follow this path by first “playing soldier,” traditional forms of literature were used. ABCs and picture books familiarized young readers with the types, ranks, and routines of the men in the armed forces, and, less often, of the women in the medical corps. Story collections and novels highlighted daring wartime adventures, scientific studies revealed the “wonder” of military inventions, and history books and ballads emphasized the great battles that had solidified each nation. Fairy tales created heroes or heroines who could withstand or triumph over evil forces, and anthropomorphic tales sent animals out to trick or frighten the enemy.

Toys were also part of this recruiting campaign because uniform sets, faux guns and swords, and rocking horses helped boys to act out their military fantasies, while toy soldiers and board games provided them with the vicarious thrill of leading a regiment to victory or of capturing the enemy’s stronghold with the right move.

Once the Great War broke out on August 4, 1914, and rapidly expanded, old forms of literature had to be adapted and new genres developed to help children and teens adjust to the new realities of a relentless worldwide conflict. These publications will comprise the second part of the exhibition, along with the toys that reinforced wartime play. From satirical attacks against the enemy in picture books and stories of atrocities in propaganda pamphlets to reassuring accounts of young heroes and guides for home front involvement in the war effort, “the books issued for ‘the duration’ are among the most creatively and movingly illustrated titles in the entire spectrum of military publications for children,” comments Cheek.

All of the items to be displayed in the exhibit were produced by the four nations that would become the main protagonists on the Western Front: Britain, France (and its ally Belgium), Germany (and its ally Austria), and the United States. Because of distinct national differences in the design, text, and illustration of the publications, the show and the catalogue will be divided into four sections according to country.

CATALOGUE:

Accompanying the exhibition is an illustrated catalogue, available at the Grolier Club or online through Oak Knoll Books, www.oakknoll.com. 

FREE LUNCHTIME EXHIBITION TOURS:

Curator Richard Cheek will lead public tours of the exhibition from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on the following dates, no reservations required: 

Thursday, September 13; Wednesday, September 19; Thursday, October 4; Friday, October 26. 

Image: Marie Flatscher and Ludwig Morgenstern. Heil und Sieg! Munich: J.F. Schreiber, c. 1916. Collection of Richard Cheek

 

pano-2.jpgTo coincide with start of a new school year, Panopticon Gallery presents Bibliophile, a studious exhibition for lovers of photography and the printed page. This show features works by Thomas Allen, Carolyn Hampton, Sean Kernan, Aline Smithson, Mark Douglas, Fawn Potash, and Thomas Marr. These photographers turn their cameras toward their libraries, bringing unique perspectives and photographic processes to the book as subject.

Included among the contemporary images of books are Thomas Marr’s historic photographs of Boston’s buildings that house them. In his photographs of the Boston Athenæum at the turn of the last century, Marr shows us the stacks and reading rooms of one of the country’s oldest private libraries. These images are exhibited next to anonymous photographs of the Boston Public Library’s long-forgotten basement bindery in the 1920s and views of the library’s famous exterior from Copley Square.

Personal libraries are seen in Aline Smithson’s retro bookshelf arrangements and Fawn Potash’s carefully stacked piles of stolen library books. Thomas Allen uses mid-century books and pulp fiction paperbacks to transform still life into theatrical tableaus. The figures literally leap off of the pages to enact the dramatic scenes. In Carolyn Hampton’s photograph “The Lonely Bookkeeper,” a flurry of pages swirl magically around an archivist’s desk. Interested in the material qualities of paper and ink, Mark Douglas creates beautifully delicate abstract lith photographs of the rippled pages of water-damaged books. Whether you love books historic or contemporary, or admire them for their form or function, this exhibition contains something for every bibliophile’s library walls.

Bibliophile is on view from September 4 through October 28, 2018, with an opening reception on Thursday, September 6, from 6 to 8pm. The gallery is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Gallery staff is available Monday through Saturday, 10am to 6pm. For additional information, please visit our website www.panopticongallery.com, or contact Gallery Director Kat Kiernan by email at info@panopticongallery.com or by phone at 617.396.7803.

Image: Thomas Marr, Boston Athenaeum Stacks, c. 1901, archival pigment print, 7.75x9.75 inches.

 

RayCharles.jpgAmherst, MA --An exhibition depicting African American life, history, and culture by some of the most notable picture-book artists in the field is coming to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Featuring more than 30 illustrators, Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards opens October 21, 2018 and remains on view through January 27, 2019. The touring exhibition helps kick off a national celebration of the Coretta Scott King Awards in 2019, celebrating 50 years as a champion of books about the African American experience. The awards commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honor his wife, Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace. 

The Illustrator Award, which is given each year by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee of the American Library Association (ALA), is one of the most prestigious citations in children's literature. It recognizes outstanding African American artists of children's books who demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. 

Our Voice is the largest and most comprehensive presentation of Coretta Scott King illustrator winners and honorees ever assembled since the award was established in 1974. The exhibition, organized by the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in Abilene, Texas, presents art from 100 of the 108 winning books. Honoring the struggles and triumphs of African Americans, the exhibition features historic events and figures including Josephine Baker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman. The art is as varied as the stories themselves, including collage, oils, watercolors, photography, quilts, and ceramics.

Artist George Ford, the first award recipient, said it was "totally unexpected" when he won for his painted acrylic illustrations in Ray Charles (1973). "Although the award was a recognition of artistic excellence, I was most proud of the fact that it was a reward specifically intended as a source of inspiration and encouragement to African American children." 

The scale and variety of artwork is remarkable. One of Faith Ringgold's vibrant painted quilts from Tar Beach, winner of the 1992 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, is on view. Tar Beach, Ringgold's first children's book, was also awarded a Caldecott Honor Medal. Baba Wagué Diakité illustrated his 1998 Coretta Scott King Honor book, The Hunterman and the Crocodile, on ceramic tiles painted with West African motifs. In his four winning books, artist Floyd Cooper used a technique he calls "oil erasure," in which he paints oil on illustration board and then erases the paint to make his pictures. A beautiful example is on view from Cooper's 2009 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award-winning book, The Blacker the Berry: Poems

Javaka Steptoe won the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Steptoe used bits of New York City--discarded wood he found in the dumpsters of Brooklyn brownstones and on the streets of Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side--to create his richly textured assemblages. "For me," says Steptoe, "'collage is a means of survival. It is how Black folks survived four hundred years of oppression, taking the scraps of life and transforming them into art forms. I want my audience, no matter what their background, to be able to enter into my world and make connections with comparable experiences in their own lives." One of the few photographs in the exhibition is a black-and-white portrait by South African photographer Peter Magubane from his book Black Child. Winner of 1983 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, Black Child was banned in the artist's home country by the Apartheid government. Magubane recalls, "I wanted the world to see what is going on in South Africa. The only way to show the world was through pictures."  

Several artists are multiple-time winners and have numerous artworks on view. Illustrator and author Jerry Pinkney, winner of ten Coretta Scott King awards, has a pencil drawing from his 1981 Honor book Count Your Fingers African Style and a watercolor from his recent 2017 Honor citation for In Plain Sight. "I am a storyteller at heart," says Pinkney. "Each project begins with the question, 'is this story worth telling? Is it surprising and challenging?' My intent and hope is to lead the viewer into a world that only exists because of that picture. Many of these speak to my culture, while other works are based on my experience of being Black in America."  

Ashley Bryan, the recipient of nine Coretta Scott King awards, is represented by, among others, a cut paper collage from Beautiful Blackbird (2003) and a tempera painting from Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life (2016). At 95 years old, Bryan is renowned for his extraordinary range and depth as an artist, writer, storyteller, and scholar. He received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Bryan Collier, another nine-time winner, won the 2001 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for Uptown, his first authored book and one that took him seven years to get published. Collier is also represented by an enormous collage from his 2011 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award book Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave

Kadir Nelson, a seven-time Coretta Scott King recipient, painted powerful imagery for We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, his 2009 Coretta Scott King honor book about the unsung heroes who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and meager wages to play ball. Also on display are oil paintings from Nelson's other historical picture books including Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (2007 Honor), I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. (2013 Honor) and Nelson Mandela (2014 Honor). 

"The Coretta Scott King Book Awards has enlarged the prominence of children's literature about the Black experience and heightened the work of our winning African American authors and illustrators," says Dr. Claudette S. McLinn, Chair, Coretta King Book Awards Committee, 2017-2019. "On behalf of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee of the American Library Association's Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT), it is with great pleasure to partner with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in presenting this extraordinary exhibition, Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards." 

Additional features in the exhibition are iPads where guests can listen to audio clips of many artists speaking about their work. "We are pleased to highlight these award-winning illustrations and the books that feature them," says chief curator Ellen Keiter. "Hearing the artists' voices adds another layer of interest in the exhibition. Guests not only see the richly narrative art, they can hear the stories behind it too." Also in the gallery, visitors can enjoy custom-designed reading nooks that provide comfortable spaces to peruse the over 100 books represented in the exhibition. In hopes that visitors will leave inspired to think more about the exhibition and its themes, small cards with quotations by Coretta Scott King will be free for guests to take home.

Illustrators participating in this exhibition include:

Benny Andrews, Colin Bootman, Ashley Bryan, R. Gregory Christie, Bryan Collier, Floyd Cooper, Pat Cummings, Nancy Devard, Baba Diakité, Leo & Diane Dillon, Shane Evans, Tom Feelings, George Ford, Jan Spivey Gilchrist,  Ekua Holmes, Gordon C. James, E. B. Lewis, Peter Magubane , Christopher Myers, Kadir Nelson, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, James Ransome, Synthia St. James, Joe Sam, Charles R. Smith, Daniel Minter, Frank Morrison, Sean Qualls, Faith Ringgold, Christian Robinson, Reynolds Ruffins, Javaka Steptoe, John Steptoe, Michele Wood, and Kathleen Atkins Wilson.

Image: George Ford, Illustration for Ray Charles by Sharon Bell Mathis (Lee & Low Books). Courtesy of NCCIL. © 1973 George Ford.

 

vromans_700.jpgSan Marino, CA—Documenting one of the most creative and influential periods in Southern California architecture, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens this fall presents “Architects of a Golden Age: Highlights from The Huntington’s Southern California Architecture Collection.” The exhibition will be on view in the West Hall of the Library from Oct. 6, 2018 to Jan. 21, 2019.

About 20 carefully selected original drawings and plans depicting elegant, powerful, whimsical, and iconic buildings will tease out the story of a place and time (1920 to 1940) that was ripe for architectural innovation—with rapid growth and the arrival of new talent from other parts of the U.S. “Architects of a Golden Age” highlights renderings that helped bring into existence some of the most extraordinary buildings in the greater Los Angeles area, including Downtown L.A.’s Union Station, Mayan Theater, Stock Exchange building, and Chinatown structures, as well as seminal examples of the California Bungalow. 

The Huntington’s focus on collecting architectural documentation coincided with the inception of Los Angeles’s preservation movement, which sprang into action around 1978. “For curators at The Huntington, that was the time to actively seek out and salvage as much of the architectural record as possible, as dozens of significant buildings fell to the wrecking ball and the downtown skyline was forever changed,” said Erin Chase, assistant curator of architecture and photography at The Huntington. “This show is an opportunity to showcase our collection, which has become invaluable in the study of the history of the region’s built environment.”

There was a dire need to rescue the records of local architects in the late 1970s, as archives were being destroyed and buildings demolished to make way for redevelopment. The Huntington, with an existing strong foundation of rare architecture book holdings and Californiana, joined in the cause and committed to collecting these records with a concentration on projects in most jeopardy of being lost: those created in Southern California between 1920 and 1940. In the last 40 years, the collection has grown to a trove of thousands of plans, renderings, photographs, and project records that cover not only work created between World Wars I and II, but also before and after that period—representing the evolution of architects’ work over time.

Highlights of “Architects of a Golden Age” include a charcoal presentation rendering of the façade of L.A.’s Union Station, designed by Edward Warren Hoak, that illustrates his blend of Spanish, Mission Revival, Southwest, and Art Deco styles; and, from the massive collection of the Morgan, Walls & Clements firm’s papers, a highly detailed drawing of the Mayan Theater on Hill Street. The incredibly detailed sketch maps out the ornate 1927 building’s façade, with its stylized pre-Columbian reliefs by Mexican sculptor Francisco Cornejo (1892-1963).

Another highlight is a look at the imposing 12-story granite Stock Exchange building by Samuel Lunden (along with John and Donald Parkinson), which is captured in two striking gouache renderings by artist Roger Hayward—one of the towering exterior, and the other of the vast trading floor, designed by Julian Ellsworth Garnsey with ancient Near East and Native American influences. Completed in 1931, which happened to be at the start of the Great Depression, the grand edifice was designed to impart a sense of financial stability. It was declared a Los Angeles Cultural Monument in 1979 and remains preserved, presently serving as a popular nightclub. “Though Lunden’s is not a household name, The Huntington is privileged to have his papers,” said Chase. “He left his mark across Los Angeles, not only with the Stock Exchange building but also with USC’s Doheny Library and the 1928 wing of the Biltmore Hotel.”

Other important collections featured in the exhibition include the papers of Wallace Neff, one of the most sought-after residential architects from the 1920s through the 1960s. Neff practiced chiefly in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, creating both residential and commercial buildings in a mostly Spanish and Mediterranean vernacular style that is still widely emulated in the region. The exhibition includes an elevation drawing for Neff’s 1923 Libbey Stables, which was designed for Edward Drummond Libbey, the original owner of the Ojai Valley Inn, along with renderings for an Airform house, Neff’s solution to the mass-housing shortage during and after World War II.

Another group of records in the collection are those of Roger S. Hong, a Los Angeles architect who, along with his father You Chung Hong, was involved in efforts to develop a new Chinatown in the 1930s when the original was relocated to make way for Union Station. Y.C. Hong hired Erle Webster and Adrian Wilson to design several of the buildings that form the core of Chinatown as it is known today. Two of their renderings in colored pencil, as well as a neon light study, will be on view.

Visitors familiar with the California Bungalow will enjoy the Foss Building and Design Collection works in the exhibition that document the company’s residential structures in the Pasadena area in the first half of the 20th century. The firm was one of the most prominent bungalow-style builders in the region, and the exhibition features three original ink drawings of archetypical homes in the Bungalow Heaven neighborhood. “The Foss drawings illustrate all the practical and aesthetic traits we tend to associate with Craftsman architecture in Pasadena,” said Chase. “These early designs took full advantage of Southern California’s weather at various times of the day. There’s a welcoming covered front porch, a screened porch for comfortable indoor/outdoor living, and even a sleeping porch for hot summer nights.”

The recently acquired archive of landscape architects Florence Yoch and Lucile Council is represented in the exhibition by two plans, including one for movie director George Cukor’s 1936 garden at his West Hollywood home. Yoch and Council, who were active from the 1920s to the early 1970s, were well versed in botany, horticulture, and design, and they traveled the world to source ideas. They worked on a range of projects, from the Vroman’s Bookstore courtyard in Pasadena to huge estates, and survived the Great Depression by designing sets for “Gone with the Wind,” among other films.

Demonstrating a precursor to the golden age of architecture in Southern California, the earliest work on view will likely stop visitors in their tracks: a remarkable six-foot long gouache rendering of Arthur Lett’s Holmby Park residence, made in 1908. Letts, founder of the Broadway department store in Los Angeles, purchased 60 acres in what is now known as Los Feliz, where he built a Tudor mansion and hired William Adolph Peschelt to landscape it with an unrivaled selection of carefully sourced trees, succulents, and other plants. The botanical specimens eventually were dispersed and sold to nurseries and private collectors, including Henry E. Huntington, founder of The Huntington.

As a sort of epilogue to the exhibition, visitors can feast their eyes on a large rendering of a luxurious living room of the post-World War II era. Designed by architect A. Quincy Jones and interior designer William Haines in 1952, the Sidney and Frances Brody residence (in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles) brings the exhibition narrative to the edge of the next aesthetic that was influenced by the Southern California lifestyle—mid-century modern. “William Haines’s simply gorgeous interior for the Brody living room is the pinnacle of what can be achieved with California innovation as it enters the modernist period,” said Chase. “It beautifully brings the pre-war history of architecture in the region to an uplifting sendoff.”

Image: Katherine Bashford (1885-1953), 17th Century Spanish Garden, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, 1921, Florence Yoch, Landscape Architect, Ink and wash on vellum, 12 1/8 x 12 inches. © Courtesy of James J. and Nancy Yoch, 2018. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

3024ae8d9cff167f256cd5b8_1220x922.jpgNew York — A classic of world literature, a masterpiece of horror, and a forerunner of science fiction, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is the subject of a new exhibition at the Morgan. Organized in collaboration with the New York Public Library, It’s Alive! Frankenstein at 200 traces the origins and impact of the novel whose monster has become both a meme and a metaphor for forbidden science, unintended consequences, and ghastly combinations of the human and the inhuman. Portions of the original manuscript will be on display along with historic scientific instruments and iconic artwork such as Henry Fuseli’s Nightmare and the definitive portrait of Mary Shelley. The story’s astonishingly versatile role in art and culture over the course of two hundred years helps explain why the monster permeates the popular imagination to this day. 

Co-curated by John Bidwell, the Astor Curator and Department Head of the Morgan’s Printed Books and Bindings Department, and Elizabeth Denlinger, Curator of the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle at The New York Public Library, this exhibition presents a diverse array of books, manuscripts, posters, prints, and paintings illustrating the long cultural tradition that shaped and was shaped by Mary Shelley’s myth. A large number of these works come from both the Morgan and the New York Public Library’s collections.

Only eighteen years old when she embarked on the novel, Shelley invented the archetype of the mad scientist who dares to flout the laws of nature. She created an iconic monster who spoke out against injustice and begged for sympathy while performing acts of shocking violence.The monster’s fame can be attributed to the novel’s theatrical and film adaptations. Comic books, film posters, publicity stills, and movie memorabilia reveal a different side to the story of Frankenstein, as reinterpreted in spinoffs, sequels, mashups, and parodies.

“The Morgan is in an excellent position to tell the rich story of Mary Shelley’s life and of Frankenstein’s evolution in popular culture,” said director of the museum, Colin B. Bailey. “Pierpont Morgan was fascinated by the creative process, and one of the artifacts he acquired was a first edition Frankenstein annotated by the author. The collection of works by the Shelleys, both at the Morgan and the New York Public Library, has only grown since then. We are very pleased to collaborate with the NYPL in presenting the full version of this extraordinary tale and how it lives on in the most resilient and timely of ways.”

A copiously illustrated companion volume, It’s Alive! A Visual History of Frankenstein, provides a vivid account of the artistic and literary legacy of the novel along with detailed descriptions of the highlights in the exhibition, while a new online curriculum offers high school teachers resources for the classroom.

The Exhibition

The exhibition occupies two galleries: one documenting the life of Mary Shelley and the composition of her book, the other showing how the story evolved in the theater, cinema, and popular culture. 

The Influence of the Gothic Style and Enlightenment Science

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus sprang from both a passion for Gothic style that pervaded British culture long before the author’s birth in 1797 and the influence of the discoveries of European Enlightenment science. Audiences loved the supernatural in all its formulations—ghosts, graveyards, mysterious strangers, secret warnings, lost wills, hidden pictures, and more. While novels were the primary vehicle for the Gothic, it was also popular with artists of paintings and prints, which were sometimes satirical —the Gothic was parodied as soon as it was taken seriously. The exhibition opens with the greatest horror painting of the eighteenth century, The Nightmare, painted in 1781by the Swiss immigrant artist Henry Fuseli. Mary Shelley knew about this iconic image and may have used it in writing the climactic scene in Frankenstein.

Shelleywas also influenced by the scientific endeavors of the time. She had been born into an age of scientific and technological discovery in Britain, when institutions like the Royal Society began fostering exploration and experimentation. Across Britain spread a thriving circuit of lectures and science demonstrations for the public. A few of these experiments have become part of the Frankenstein legend. While writing the novel, Shelley had been reading Humphry Davy’s Elements of Chemical Philosophy, and she knew about anatomical dissections, contemporary debates about the origins of life, and electrical experiments on corpses. She lends this fascination to Victor Frankenstein, who makes a monster from corpses in his “workshop of filthy creation.”

Mary Shelley’s Life and Conception of Frankenstein 

Mary Shelley grew up in a radical and intellectual milieu, the daughter of writers famous in their own time, the feminist theorist Mary Wollstonecraft and the novelist and philosopher William Godwin. After her mother died in childbirth, her father married Mary Jane Clairmont, who had children of her own, and the teenaged Mary Godwin escaped a tense family atmosphere by making long visit to friends in Scotland. When she returned in 1814, she met the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, already married and a father. They soon fell in love and eloped to Europe, the most decisive act of all their lives.

It was on a trip to Lake Geneva in 1816 accompanied by P.B. Shelley, Lord Byron, and her step-sister Claire Clairmont that Mary Godwin found the inspiration to write Frankenstein. During their stay, the party entertained themselves by reading aloud from a volume of Gothic tales. Byron suggested a contest to write ghost stories, and Shelley joined in energetically, looking for something “to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.” After days of frustrated effort, the idea came to her one night after hearing P.B. Shelley and Lord Byron discuss the origins of life and the possibility of animating a corpse by galvanic action. “I saw -with shut eyes, but acute mental vision -I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together.” She returned to England with the beginnings of a novel

By 1817, she had finished a draft titled Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. The book appeared in three volumes on January 1, 1818, after P. B. Shelley offered revisions and found a publisher. Luckily for posterity, most of the Frankenstein manuscript has survived, making it possible to see the author’s original ideas, her second thoughts, and her husband’s suggestions. Portions of the manuscript containing key passages in the novel will be on display at the Morgan.

Mary Shelley’s personal life was punctuated by tragedy in ways strangely similar to incidents in the novel. After settling in Italy in the spring of 1818 with her husband, their children William and Clara, step-sister Claire and her daughter Allegra, the family experienced constant sorrow as first William and Clara, and then Allegra died. Their grief was only partly assuaged by the birth of another child, Percy Florence. Through their mourning and marital difficulties, Mary Shelley and her husband maintained a strenuous routine of writing and study and friendships in the English and Italian communities. In July 1822, Shelley suffered a final devastating loss: P. B. Shelley sailed with his friend Edward Williams and their cabin boy to meet their friend Leigh Hunt’s family in Leghorn; on their return their boat met a sudden squall and they drowned. 

Frankenstein on Stage and on Screen 

When Mary Shelley returned to England in August 1823, one of the few bright spots was Richard Brinsley Peake’s melodrama Presumption! or, the Fate of Frankenstein: a theatrical hit, the play had made her famous. The actor Thomas Potter Cooke’s performance was the key factor: over six feet tall, clad in a gray-blue leotard, his exposed skin painted the same color, with a toga on top, he moved with lyrical athleticism and made the creature both frightening and pathetic. Mary Shelley saw one of Cooke’s performances and enjoyed it greatly. Other adaptations followed: at least fifteen dramas based on the novel were produced between 1823 and 1826. 

A large portion of the exhibition is dedicated to the movies, which have played an essential role in popularizing the story and shaping our pop culture image of the monster. The earliest film of Frankenstein was made by the Edison Studios in 1910, but it is James Whale’s 1931 version that has taken such a prominent place in the popular psyche that it is now better known than the novel. The 1931 Frankenstein and 1935 Bride of Frankenstein gave us a radically reimagined version of the narrative, particularly the creation scene and Boris Karloff’s performance as the monster. James Whale and his special effects technicians introduced the high-voltage lab equipment and set the scene amidst the thunder and lightning now obligatory in horror movies. The creature’s violence was induced by his being tortured with fire. Karloff later said, “Over the years thousands of children wrote, expressing compassion for the great, weird creature who was so abused by its sadistic keeper that it could only respond to violence with violence. Those children saw beyond the make-up and really understood.” The 1935 sequel, with Elsa Lanchester playing both Mary Shelley and the creature’s bride, has also aged well. Both films create sympathy for the creature through his encounters with stupid and sadistic people, and both Karloff and Elsa Lanchester portray their characters with dignity and depth of emotion.

From the creation of the monster, to the creature’s killing of a small child, to violence committed against women, adaptations of Frankenstein again and again have returned to some of the most disturbing but recurring scenes of human experience. Mary Shelley’s unique contribution to culture is the creation of the monster. Her genius was to imagine a way to make life out of death; James Whale’s genius was to imagine a way to depict it in moving images and sound.

Whale’s Frankenstein films sparked a mass of cinematic energy. Other directors drew from it for years after with imitations and derivative films, a few just as frightening, some quite funny, none as haunting. The Morgan has borrowed a series of B-movie posters from a private collector and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to show some of the more faithful, comic, lurid, and execrable treatments of this theme

Makeup artists, perhaps, have come closer than anyone to bringing Victor Frankenstein’s story to life. Jack Pierce’s makeup gave the creature a new face in the 1931 film. Some highlights in the section include the sketches and photographs of this iconic appearance along with a gruesome torso model of Robert De Niro in Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein, provided by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin.

The Creature’s Afterlife: Comic Books and Prints

The comic book as a separate slim magazine first appeared in 1933 as a promotional insert in newspapers, and Frankenstein has been part of this medium’s history from nearly the beginning. The exhibition includes some of the most interesting examples of the story, some aimed at children and some at adults. 

Surprisingly few illustrators have taken on the novel’s challenge, but we present four of the best: Lynd Ward (remembered first of all as a wood engraver), Bernie Wrightson (a renowned comic book artist), Barry Moser (a celebrated book illustrator), and Pierre-Alain Bertola (a polymath Swiss artist who worked on a theatrical version of Frankenstein). All of them are working after, and against James Whale. All pay exquisite attention to Mary Shelley’s text and its ethical implications. 

The exhibition closes with Barry Moser’s illustration of the Frankenstein family tomb, leaving us solidly in the tradition of Gothic art with which the show begins. Mary Shelley’s creature is a Gothic nightmare, but one who takes responsibility for himself. Even as his blood boils at the injustices committed against him, he is also “torn by the bitterest remorse.” Seeking quiet in death, he leaps onto his raft and is soon lost to human eyes. As mysterious and volatile in death as in life, Frankenstein’s monster leaves us with more questions than answers—perhaps the decisive reason why artists have been drawn to him for the past two hundred years.

Publication

It’s Alive! A Visual History of Frankenstein delves into the artistic and literary legacy of the novel and provides detailed descriptions of the highlights in the exhibition. It introduces readers to portrayals of the creature--from his early days dancing across a stage, to Boris Karloff's lurching pathos, to the wide variety of modern-day comic book versions--and of Victor Frankenstein, from brainy college kid to bad scientist, and grounds them in historical context. In addition, it provides full introductions to Mary Shelley's life before and after the novel and to the pioneering scientific work of her day. A full chapter displays the Gothic paintings and graphic art that inspired Shelley's work. The contextual chapters will make it useful to the student and the general reader.

Author: Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger

Publisher: The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; D Giles Limited, London. 

333 pages. 

Image: Image: Barry Moser, No Father Had Watched My Infant Days, illustration in Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein, West Hatfield, Mass.: Pennyroyal Press, 1983. The Morgan Library & Museum, PML 127245.6. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2017. © Pennyroyal Press.

Stefano Rogino.jpgNew York— An exhibition of Italian postwar photography will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from September 12 through November 10, 2018. Through the lens of neorealism, The New Beginning for Italian Photography: 1945-1965 explores how photographers documented daily realities during the two decades after World War II. The exhibition at Howard Greenberg is in conjunction with NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy, 1932-1960, which opens in September in two exhibitions at New York University. Also in September, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is featuring a selection of postwar images from their permanent collection. In addition, a new book, NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy 1932-1960 (Prestel) by Enrica Viganò, with a foreword by Martin Scorsese will be published in September. An opening reception at Howard Greenberg Gallery will be held on Wednesday, September 12, from 6-8 p.m. 

Associated with cinematic and literary depictions of postwar conditions, photography’s embrace of neorealism illuminated the here and now of a country emerging from ruins, alive with vitality and hope. With print media outlets on the rise, photographers and their reportage played an integral role in picturing the postwar period when 1945, later termed “year zero,” was time for a new beginning. In graphic compositions that master line and shape, the images on view capture fleeting moments that become the seeds of longer imagined narratives. Humanist in nature, the beautifully printed images in the exhibition convey a concern with finding unusual stories in quotidian scenes. 

Among the photographers in the exhibition are Carlo Bavagnoli, who photographed in working-class neighborhoods in Rome, and later contributed to Life magazine; Mario de Biasi, who began taking pictures in 1944 with a camera found in the rubble of Nuremberg; Sante Vittorio Malli, who dedicated himself to portraits and landscapes, and established the photo group, Il Naviglio, in 1956; Franco Pinna, who took his first photographs in Rome in 1944, during the  arrival of the Allied troops; and Stefano Robino, an artist and designer known for his cultured and elegant style.

Independent curator and journalist Enrica Viganò has spent over a decade researching the phenomenon of Italian neorealism in photography and identifying important works and artists of the period. As she writes in an essay in the new book NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy 1932-1960, “This period of the country’s rebirth was characterized by an attempt at collective identification, a venture in which photography could play an essential role. The vision of the photographers dealt with genuine people, real landscapes, collective stories that vibrated with skin and soul.”

Image:  Stefano Robino, Paolo e Fernando Gavi, 1958 © Archivio Stefano Robino, courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 8.31.33 AM.pngKansas City, MO- Napoleon: Power and Splendor marks the first examination of the majesty and the artistic, political and ideological significance of Napoleon’s imperial court, from Napoleon’s coronation in 1804 to his final exile in 1815. The exhibition opens at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City Oct. 26 and aims to capture the spirit that prevailed in the French imperial court and to recreate the sumptuous ambiance of Napoleon’s reign.

A selection of more than 200 works, most of which have never before been exhibited in North America before this tour, will reveal the power and splendor of the Imperial Household and its role in fashioning a monarchic identity for the new emperor, his family and loyal entourage. The exhibition is organized and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) with the participation of the Nelson-Atkins, the Musée national du château de Fontainebleau, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. It was curated by Sylvain Cordier, Curator of Early Decorative Arts at MMFA.

“I find it extraordinary that 200 years after his demise, the geopolitics of our world bear so much of Napoleon’s legacy,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “He emerged from the French Revolution and fought to impose his order on the rest of the word until his bitter end. The fact that his story resonates and fascinates today reflects his talent in harnessing the arts and the power of images.”

The Imperial Household was a key institution during Napoleon’s reign. It included 3,500 members in its retinue who were responsible for managing the daily lives of the imperial family and the day-to-day existence of former general Bonaparte, who became Emperor Napoleon in 1804. They also helped craft Napoleon’s image as Emperor and modern hero.

Napoleon’s household relied on complex everyday functions in which the Emperor himself played an integral part. The exhibition installation will follow the six departments that made up the Imperial Household including the grand equerry, grand master of the hunt, grand chaplain, grand marshal of the palace, grand master of ceremonies, and the grand chamberlain.

Interpretive elements throughout will unpack for visitors the socio-historical significance of the household’s functions. Innovative scenography re-creates the splendor of palace life. The integration of immersive projection technologies will further enhance the spectacle and provide salient historical, cultural, and personal context that is immersive and engaging.

“The rich collection of objects that form this exhibition highlights the degree to which Napoleon harnessed the arts not only to strengthen his image, but also to bolster the French economy,” said Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, the Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator of European Arts. “More than anything, this exhibition provides a portal into the exquisite breadth and level of skill of the artists and artisans in Napoleon’s employ.”

Napoleon: Power and Splendor brings together nearly 200 works of art. They are featured thanks to more than 40 distinguished lenders, including such institutions as the Louvre, the Château de Fontainebleau, the Mobilier national de France, the Musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et de Bois-Préau, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Napoleon: Power and Splendor offers a unique opportunity to discover paintings, sculptures, furniture, silver and porcelain, tapestries, silk hangings, and court dress illustrating the opulence characteristic of the Empire in service of Napoleon’s spectacle of power.

The exhibition closes at the Nelson-Atkins March 10, 2019. It can be seen at Musée national du Château de Fontainebleau in France from April 13-July 15, 2019.

Image: Andrea Appiani, Italian (17541817). Portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul, in the Uniform of a General in the Army of Italy, 1801. Oil on canvas, 39 x 31 4/5 inches. Montreal, private collection. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest.

20180829094534.jpgMontreal - The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is presenting, for the first time, remarkable Books of Hours conserved in seven Quebec collections. The result of extensive research, the exhibition Resplendent Illuminations is a unique opportunity to admire some fifty works primarily from illuminated manuscripts - in this priceless legacy of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Europe. 

Books of Hours were works of private devotion that first appeared in the thirteenth century. They were the most popular prayer books made for the laity and were used as primers for learning to read. Often given as wedding gifts, they were “bestsellers” until the sixteenth century. Over time, they evolved in a variety of ways both textually and iconographically, adapting to the regional differences in devotions, languages and artistic styles of European Christianity.

The 59 artefacts presented here for the first time belong to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, McGill University, the arts library of the Université du Québec à Montréal, the Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice, the Archives of the Jesuits in Canada, to Concordia University and the Musée de l’Amérique francophone in Quebec City. 

Three curators present new findings

“My hope is that the public can appreciate the singular beauty of these artefacts, which come from across medieval and Renaissance Europe and enrich our collective heritage. Perhaps they will be spurred to delve deeper into the past by leafing through the new Catalogue raisonné des livres d’Heures conservés au Québec,” said Brenda Dunn-Lardeau, associate professor, department of literary studies, UQAM, who edited the scholarly work. 

“One of the remarkable aspects of this exhibition is that we have assembled entirely from publicly accessible collections in Quebec such a breathtaking range of Books of Hours, some independent leaves but most of them still bound, with exquisitely beautiful illuminations.  These works bring vividly to life both the evolving internal religious experiences and their outward expressions over the course of four centuries. Our evocative installation is intended to permit the visitor to appreciate each work intimately,” added Hilliard T. Goldfarb, Senior Curator - Collections, and Curator of Old Masters, MMFA.

“The most surprising discovery in this exhibition is how many Books of Hours have been in Quebec for more than two hundred years. Unlike most collections of Books of Hours in North America, which have been assembled in the late 19th and 20th centuries, here there are books that are truly part of Quebec's religious and cultural heritage. The other remarkable feature of this exhibition is the successful identification of artists and schools that link these manuscripts to others held around the world,” concluded Richard Virr, chief curator (retired), Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University. 

Priceless treasures from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance

The works on display show the exquisite elegance of some Gothic and Renaissance illuminations from France, the Southern Netherlands, Italy and Southern Germany, as well as other contemporaneous expressions of popular piety. These small images, carved into wood or hastily painted, were probably produced for clients of more modest means and feature decorations similar to decorative folk art. Seven books come from the early days of printing, an innovation that made it possible to reach a much wider readership than did manuscripts. These books illustrate the development of woodcuts and metal cuts that gradually replaced the art of illumination.

Little-known contribution by women

Contrary to popular belief, women were more than just pious readers of Books of Hours. As the works in the exhibition eloquently demonstrate, women contributed their expertise at various stages of production. Thus, in the Rhodes Hours, the patron is painted kneeling right in the middle of the Annunciation, combining the sacred and the profane. The Heures de Nostre Dame of Pierre Gringore, published in 1525, were dedicated to Renée de Bourbon, Duchess of Lorraine, who commissioned the French translation. Lastly, a pocket-sized manuscript Book of Hours, was illuminated around 1500 to 1510 by Cornelia van Wulfscherchke, a Carmelite nun in Bruges.

An outstanding heritage conserved in Quebec

In comparison with other collections of early books in North America, what is special about the Books of Hours held in Quebec is the fact that they were first and foremost devotional works of New France. This is evidenced in the Jesuit Relations as of 1653 and in requests made by the Hospitalières (nursing sisters in Quebec) between 1664 and 1668 to their benefactors in France. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these devotional books found a new vocation, becoming collectible artefacts. Whether complete or fragmentary, Books of Hours came into Quebec by way of inheritances or purchases in Europe.

Over time, a number of Books of Hours entered public institutions following private donations and also thanks to purchasing policies that encouraged public education. Thus, in the 1920s and 1930s Gerhard R. Lomer, one of McGill University’s earliest librarians, launched an original project, creating a small Museum of Books inside the university library open to the general public. In his purchasing trips, especially to London, Lomer was helped by F. Cleveland Morgan, the great patron who also acquired works for the Art Association, later to become the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The detached folios in Quebec collections are among the most representative specimens of the early history of both manuscripts and printed books down through the centuries.

Credits and curatorial 

The exhibition is organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration avec Université du Québec à Montréal and McGill University. Its curators are Brenda Dunn-Lardeau, associate professor, department of literary studies, UQAM, Hilliard T. Goldfarb, Senior Curator - Collections and Curator of Old masters, MMFA, and Richard Virr, chief curator (retired), Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University.

Publication

The exhibition is accompanied by the Catalogue raisonné des livres d’Heures conservés au Québec, published by Presses de l’Université du Québec and edited by Brenda Dunn-Lardeau. The Books of Hours, manuscripts for the most part, are remarkable for their textual and iconographic diversity. The catalogue presents this priceless European heritage from 1225 to 1583 and conserved in North America. Special attention was paid to their complex history and to identifying the artists who created them, since these miniatures elevate Books of Hours to the ranks of unique, high-quality works of art. 

Available at the Museum Boutique and Bookstore. In French.

Softcover $48, ISBN: 978-2-7605-4975-3; hardcover, $55, ISBN: 978-2-7605-4978-4.

Activities in connection with the exhibition 

September 27, 2 to 5 p.m.

Workshop-masterclass: 

Le nombre d’or et la recherche des harmoniques du sens caché du texte with Jean-Luc Leguay

Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, Studio 11, 2075 Bishop St.

 One of the last master illuminators, Jean-Luc Leguay spent 10 years under the tutelage of an Italian Franciscan. For this workshop, participants will need to bring a set square, compass, paper and pencil to apply the teachings, which are based on the study of geometry, and prepare a parchment for illumination. Space is limited. 

September 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Symposium: Discovering Books of Hours held in Quebec Collections

Maxwell Cummings Auditorium, 1379-A Sherbrooke Street West

The aim of this symposium is to present diverse facets of Books of Hours - pigments, decorated manuscripts and prints, original bindings and unique elements of particular works (e.g. sheet music inserts) - to gain an appreciation of the production and aesthetics underlying Books of Hours from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century in Europe. The experts at the symposium, organized by the MMFA, in collaboration with the Groupe multidisciplinaire de Montréal sur les livres anciens (XVe-XVIIIe siècles), include Geneviève Bazinet (University of Ottawa), Sarah Cameron-Pesant (Université de Montréal), Brenda Dunn-Lardeau (UQAM), Madeleine Jeay (McMaster University), Helena Kogen (Université du Québec à Montréal), Sylvie Poirier (Université de Sherbrooke), Geneviève Samson (Library and Archives Canada and Richard Virr (McGill University).

Information and reservations: mbam.qc.ca/calendrier

Acknowledgements 

The Museum acknowledges the vital contribution of Air Canada to the presentation of this exhibition and extends its thanks to Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the Conseil des arts de Montréal for their ongoing support. Research for the preparation of the exhibition was made possible with financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Images (from left to right): Workshop of the Master of the Échevinage of Rouen, The Annunciation to the Shepherds, Hours of Pellegrin de Remicourt and Madeleine Symier, about 1470-1475, Rouen. Université du Québec à Montréal, arts library, special collections, Montreal School of Fine Arts Bequest, 1969. Photo Gilles Saint-Pierre. | Simon Bening (1483-1561), Saint Sebald of Nuremberg, about 1515-1525, Flanders, Southern Netherlands, manuscript leaf from a Book of Hours, a prayer book or a breviary. MMFA, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest. | A late follower of Robert Boyvin, The Adoration of the Magi, about 1500 (1495-1505), Rouen, leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours in Latin for the use of Rouen. McGill University Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, Catherine Rhodes Tudor-Hart Bequest, 1972. Photo Gregory Houston.

AllthatGlitters.jpgLos Angeles—Courtiers feasting at elaborately set tables, knights in gleaming armor, a richly clad monarch presiding over elegant festivities—these are the images often associated with the medieval and Renaissance courts of Europe. For rulers and members of the nobility at the center of these privileged spaces, the visual arts—illuminated manuscripts, paintings, drawings, enamels, and textiles—were central aspects of their political and cultural identities. All that Glitters: Life at the Renaissance Court, on view from August 28 to December 2, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, focuses on court culture during the transition between “late medieval” and “Renaissance” (or “early modern”) Europe.

“During this critical period, the court was often a place of leisure, entertainment, and display, where members of the aristocracy engaged in tournaments, hunting, feasting, and games such as chess,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “The settings for these pursuits were designed to impress—sumptuous and spectacular displays of art and pageantry that reaffirmed their status and prestige. The manuscripts that recorded such courtly pastimes were themselves valued as luxury goods and much sought after by the nobility.”

The objects featured in All that Glitters include a selection of luxury textiles and clothing, a drawing, a hand-colored print, and glass that complement the wide variety of lavishly illuminated manuscripts that found an enthusiastic audience in the palaces and châteaux of late medieval and Renaissance Europe.

In aristocratic households all over continental Europe, even expressions of religious faith took a luxurious material form. Court artists produced small illuminated prayer books that could be worn as fashionable accessories, decorated with elegant fabrics, precious metals, and glittering jewels that adorned the residences of Europe’s elite.

The adherence to chivalric code and the way it governed both belief and behavior at the Renaissance courts was established in the Middle Ages but emerged with renewed vigor during the late medieval period. A number of dazzling and complex objects including manuscripts and stained glass explore the display of heraldry at court, where rank and systems of social hierarchy were incredibly important. Objects produced for kings, queens, and courtiers enshrined ideals of chivalry, especially in the form of jousting that continued to guide official conduct into the sixteenth century.

“The incredible material luxury of the objects in the exhibition shows how ostentatious life at court could be, but when you dig a little deeper, the same objects can also be evidence of how courtiers were expected to behave and how they built their social hierarchies and identities,” says Larisa Grollemond, assistant curator of manuscripts and curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition concludes with a display of illuminated manuscript leaves from the court of King Louis XIV at Versailles, where the splendor of European court life reached its apex in the seventeenth-century. The display of heraldry, personal emblems, fine textiles, and luxury books continued to affirm social standing and good taste. Ultimately, the very trappings of magnificence that once cemented the king’s authority would also be what helped spark a revolution.

Related programming includes a performance of music from the period by the group Cappella Pratensis and An American Court: A Conversation with Former White House Curator William Allman, a discussion that will reveal the history of the White House collection and how various presidents have used art to help define their administrations and deliver cultural messages. Additional information can be found at getty.edu/360.

Image: A Tournament Contest, Augsburg (probably), Germany (Place created), about 1560-1570. Tempera colors and gold and silver paint on paper bound between original pasteboard covered with original brown calf. Leaf: 43 × 28.9 cm (16 15/16 × 11 3/8 in.). Ms. Ludwig XV 14, fol. 27v

16 Kajioka.pngThe Center for Book Arts is pleased to announce its Fall Exhibitions. The Main Exhibition, titled Inside/ Out: Self, Family, Memory, Loss, Displacement, Catastrophe, is organized by Carole Naggar, poet, artist, curator, educator, and photography historian. 

Self-published photobooks first made their appearance in Europe right after World War II. At that time photographers mainly published in magazines, and the form of the photobook was still somewhat exotic, used infrequently by photographers. Today, self-published photobooks are also well represented in collections such as the New York MoMA’s library, The Indie Photo Library at the Beinecke (Yale), which inspired the creation of other independent photobook archives, like The Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive, as well as private collections.

This exhibition features thirty-four self-published photobooks, varying in sizes and aspect, usually printed in small editions. Their form varies from the classic, traditionally printed book to the zine, the folio, the leporello book, the panoramic shape, the I-phone… Also including selected photographs, Inside/Out shows a range of media from gelatin prints to C-prints, collotype, inkjet and Xerox.

The photographers and artists in this exhibition see the self-published photobook as a place of independence, a place where they can experiment freely with form, but, more importantly, as a testing ground for reflection, self-examination, meditation and ideas that the main market does little to accommodate. The quick turnaround from concept to creation also allows them to react to national and international news, making the books not only an aesthetic endeavor but also a political one.

The chosen books illustrate very personal subjects such as family, memory, loss and identity as well as larger topics such as immigration, displacement and exile and catastrophic events such as World War II, the AIDS epidemic, September 11 and Fukushima. A few are historical and most contemporary. They originate from twenty countries: Argentina, Azerbadjian, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Great Britain, Mexico, The Netherlands,The Philippines, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States and Vietnam.

It had been predicted that the rise of the Internet would mean the end of the book on paper. However, it had an opposite effect, creating “digital fatigue” because ephemeral images are everywhere. Readers still crave a hands-on experience and the concrete sensations associated with reading and looking.

While some deplore the rise of self-publishing because it tramples the gates and gatekeepers who once decided what should be published, the trend gave artists new freedom. Self-published photobooks provide the experience of looking at work the way the artist envisioned it. Most self-published photobooks are issued in limited editions, hand-numbered or signed, which makes them works of arts themselves. They become places for debating ideas, articulating insights and experience, and testing out new forms. And many are objects of beauty.

Artists include: Olivia Arthur, Barbara Bash, Doug Beube, Julia Borissova, Machiel Botman, Chien Chi Chang, Cristina De Middel, Giovanni del Brenna, Michel Delsol, Eamonn Doyle, Carolyn Drake, Tina Enghoff, Veronica Fieiras, Claire Fouquet and Patty Smith, Lee Friedlander, Ralph Gibson, Hiroshi Hamaya, Simone Hoang, Ilkin Huseynov, Fumiko Imano, Miho Kajioka, Kent Klich, Anouk Kruithof, Susan Meiselas, Editha Mesina, Kazuma Obara, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Sophie Ristelhueber, Alec Soth, Jordan Sullivan, Peter Van Agtmael, Todd Walker, Mo Yi, and Ksenia Yurkova

Roundtable Discussion: Friday, October 19, 2018, 6:30 pm

The roundtable will include Barbara Bash, Michel Delsol, Editha Mesina and Patty Smith. and will be moderated by Carole Naggar.

For inquiries please contact the Center at eahern@centerforbookarts.org.

When: October 5 - December 15, 2018

Where: 28 W 27th St., 3rd Floor, NY, NY

Subway: N/R to 28th St, or F to 23rd St

Exhibition URL: https://centerforbookarts.org/events/category/exhibitions/upcoming-exhibitions/

Gallery Hours: M-F, 11a-6p; Sat, 10a-5p

Admission: Free

ALSO ON VIEW: FALL 2018 FEATURED ARTIST PROJECTS

 In addition to Inside/Out, The Center presents Cultivating Book and Land by Sally Alatolo and Celestial Bodies by Monica Ong, both organized by Alexander Campos, Executive Director & Curator for The Center for Book Arts. All three shows are on view through December 15.

Cultivating Book and Land by Master Faculty Fellow Sally Alatolo is a project that originated in the rehabilitation of an orchard and woodlands in rural SW Michigan. Alatolo is eager to bridge her interests in language and its dissemination with the discourses of rural economies.

Monica Ong is a visual artist and poet whose hybrid image-poems juxtapose diagram and diary, bearing witness to silenced histories of the body. Her Featured Artist Project is presented as a series of art installations. The poems are as much visual journeys as they are lyrical haunts of medicine and memory.                                                               

Visit our website for up-to-date details on all events and programs:  www.centerforbookarts.org

Image: Miho Kajioka, And Where Did the Peacocks Go?, 2018, Courtesy of the Artist

l2017146_119v_low.jpgLos Angeles - The J. Paul Getty Museum recently announced the acquisition of the Rothschild Pentateuch, a manuscript of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Torah. Its acquisition, coupled with works already in the Museum’s manuscripts collection, allows the Getty to represent the medieval art of illumination in sacred texts from the three Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Art of Three Faiths: A Torah, a Bible, and a Qur’an, on view August 7, 2018 through February 3, 2019, showcases three spectacular examples of each of these three: a Christian Bible and a Qur’an will be shown alongside the newly acquired Torah.  

“This landmark acquisition fulfills one of the Museum’s longstanding goals of adding to our collection a Hebrew manuscript that can stand comparison in quality and importance to our finest illuminated manuscripts of other languages and faiths,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “It has taken 35 years, but the Rothschild Pentateuch fills this gap more brilliantly than we could ever have imagined. An amazingly rare and beautiful object, richly illuminated with all manner of real and imaginary animals, it also broadens greatly the narratives we are able to tell about life, culture and religion in the Middle Ages. The acquisition will be a highlight of an upcoming exhibition that brings together - for the first time at the Getty - the sacred texts of the three Abrahamic religions, something that I am sure will deepen the experience of these works for many of our visitors, and be a rich subject of study for scholars.”

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam trace their belief in the singular God to a common patriarch, the figure of Abraham. The practitioners of all three religions have been called “people of the book” for their shared belief in the importance of the divine word, rendered in medieval manuscripts in glowing gold and luminous colors on parchment. 

The Torah is the central sacred text of Judaism. In the strictest sense, the word refers to the Pentateuch, which contains the books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Illuminated copies of the Hebrew Bible in codex form, rather than Torah scrolls, began to appear in the mid-thirteenth century. In northern Europe, these manuscripts served the needs of members of the Ashkenazi Jewish community who had settled in the area along the Rhine River. Lavishly illustrated Hebrew manuscripts are exceedingly rare, since Jewish artisans were forbidden by law to join painting guilds. Hebrew manuscripts were often written by itinerant Jewish scribes and illuminated by local, sometimes Christian, artists. Illumination of the Hebrew Bible centers on the calligraphic forms of the letters, such as initials, word panels, or decorative frames around blocks of text.

“The three objects on display are exceptionally beautiful artworks that we hope will spark meaningful dialogue among various audiences,” said Elizabeth Morrison, senior curator of Manuscripts at the Getty Museum. “Museums offer more than simply an aesthetic experience. Through exhibitions such as this one, they foster a deeper understanding of history that helps us to reflect on our own shared experiences.”

Among the earliest bound and illuminated codices from the Mediterranean world are copies of the Christian Bible written in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Ge’ez, Armenian, and other languages. The first part of the Christian Bible consists of texts from the Hebrew Bible, referred to since the second century by Christian writers as the Old Testament. Medieval Christians understood it not only as a historical document but also as a body of prophecy that specifically foretold the coming of Christ. The New Testament comprises accounts of Christ’s life, the Gospels, letters to churches or individuals from his disciples, such as apostles Peter and Paul, and a text about the end of time known as Apocalypse or Revelation. Illuminated Bibles—handwritten and printed alike—are among the most enduring forms of Christian book art produced during the Middle Ages.

The words that the angel Jibril (Gabriel) recited to the prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah, about 560-632, formed the sacred text of the Qur’an. The opening line, “In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful,” a central tenet of Islam that expresses submission to the will of Allah, is repeated in almost every surah or chapter. Muslims transmitted scripture through oral tradition for the first few centuries, and later recorded it through beautiful and ornate calligraphy. Artists incorporated Quranic verses into books, textiles, coins, ceramics, and architecture, demonstrating reverence for the written word. Throughout the Middle Ages, the Islamic word spanned a vast territory, from the Iberian Peninsula to northern and coastal Africa, across the Mediterranean basin, and as far as Central and Eastern Asia.

Art of Three Faiths: A Torah, a Bible, and a Qur’an is curated by Kristen Collins, Bryan Keene, and Elizabeth Morrison, of the department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The exhibition will be on view August 7, 2018 through February 3, 2019. 

Image: Decorated Text Page (Book of Exodus) from the Rothschild Pentateuch, France and/or Germany, 1296. Leaf: 10 7/8 x 8 1/4 in. (27.5 x 21 cm). Ms. 116 (2018.43), fol. 119v

 

North Adams, Massachusetts—The Artist Book Foundation (TABF) will celebrate the Hyperrealist sculptor Carole Feuerman at TABF’s Louis and Susan Meisel Gallery in Building 13 on the campus of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). 

The exhibition: Swimmers: Recent Works by Carole Feuerman, runs from June 15 through September 29, 2018. Featured are five of Feuerman’s sculptures, both monumental and smaller works in bronze, resin, and marble, and 10 prints of diamond dust and mixed media. The exhibition features several exclusive works created specifically for The Artist Book Foundation. 

On Thursday July 26, there will be a reception and book signing with the artist from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. 

Feuerman’s hyperrealistic human-figure sculptures express a refreshing perspective on the mundane but intensely personal activities of modern life. Her powers of observation and versatility find unique expression through various materials that include marble, bronze, and painted resins, while she incorporates both ancient and contemporary methods in the creation of her works. These sculptures offer the viewer a gorgeous and shimmering glimpse at transitory, contemplative moments in time, often captured in a veil of clear resin that replicates tumbling water droplets. 

Feuerman has had solo museum retrospectives at the The Palazzo Strozzi Foundation in Florence, Italy; the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Museum of Art, El Paso, TX; the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL., and Art-St-Urban, St. Urban, Switzerland and the Teatro Romano e Museo Civico in Fiesole, the Venice Biennale, the Musei di Rimini, and Huan Tai Hu Museum in the Jiangsu Province among others. Her work was featured at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC; The State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, Grounds for Sculpture, Trenton, NJ. She also had a solo show in Hong Kong, in the Olympic Fine Arts exhibition at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, Palazzo Grazie in the Piazza della Repubblica in Florence. In China, she has exhibited in Hong Kong, the National Museum of China, Beijing. She has exhibited in Korea at the Clayarch Gimhae Museum, Daejeon Museum, and Suwon Museum. In Germany, she has exhibited at the Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, the Contemporary Art Museum in Aachen, and in Kassel during Documenta 14 (2017). In Spain, she exhibited at Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao and the Academia de Bellas Artes de Madrid. In Mexico, she has exhibited at Marco Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, and Denmark at the Arken Museum of Modern Art. 

Carole Feuerman’s selected collectors include the Emperor of Japan, President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Norman Brahman, the Caldic Collection, Mark Parker, Nike, Ariela Wertheimer, Robert Hurst, and Malcolm Forbes. 

The Artist Book Foundation, a 501c3 organization, believes that artist books, like the artwork that inspires them, serve as a vital source of knowledge and cultural insight for current and future generations. For more information, visit our website at artistbkfoundation.org

 

When: July 11 - September 22, 2018

Where: 28 W. 27th St., 3rd Floor, NY, NY

Gallery Hours: M-F, 11a-6p; Sat, 10a-5p

Admission: Free

Organized by Elisabeth Lortic, independent curator and co-founder of Les Trois Ourses (Paris)

BASIC-SPACE-fanny-millard-04OPT.jpgThis exhibition brings to the forefront ideas and concepts articulated by the early 20th century Futurist-informed artist Bruno Munari. It is a thoughtful and dynamic exploration of play, invention, movement, and color. It brings together a body of artworks which are child friendly, and, more importantly vehicles to engage children in creative learning processes. Like children, artists explore alternate materials, and take them to the limit of their possibilities.

Artists include: Ianna Andreadis, Marion Bataille, Mauro Bellei, John Cage & Lois Long, Remy Charlip, Ivan & Jane Chermayeff, Paul Cox, Louise-Marie Cumont, Sophie Curtil, Milos Cvach, Sylvia de Swaan, Sonia Delaunay, Olafur Eliasson, Marco Ferreri, Barbara Henry, Keith Godard, Wennie Huang, Coline Irwin, Katsumi Komagata, Kumi Korf, Warja Lavater, El Lissitzky, Richard Long, Iela & Enzo Mari, Piet Marée, Barbara Mauriello, Scott McCarney, Fanette Mellier, Fanny Millard, Bruno Munari, Thomas Ockerse, Eugenia & Vladimir Radunsky, Kurt Schwitters/Kate Steinitz/Theo Van Doesburg, Alma Siedhoff-Buscher, Claire Van Vliet, and Laurence Weiner 

Opening: Wednesday, July 11th, 6:00 pm

Roundtable Discussion: Wednesday, July 18th, 6:30 pm

Roundtable Discussion: Tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, September 19th, 6:30 pm

ALSO ON VIEW: SUMMER 2018 ARTIST MEMBERS EXHIBITION

In addition to Look, Look, Look, The Center presents this summer’s Artist Members Exhibition Opulence: Not Everything that Glitters is Gold on view through September 20, organized by Alexander Campos, Executive Director & Curator, The Center for Book Arts.

Opulence is the Center’s 2018 Artist Members Exhibition, featuring artist members as well as invited artists, focusing on artworks that look behind the velvet curtain, in particular at our current economic, social, political, ecological, and cultural issues/concerns. Oxymoron, contradiction, and irony are key to these playful works that have multiple layers of meaning and interpretations. 

Artists Include: Lynne Avadenka, Doug Beube, Rosemarie Chiarlone, Béatrice Coron, Kaleta Doolin, Bonnie C. Epstein, Eileen Ferara, Anne Gilman, Iris Grimm, Lyall Harris & Patricia Silva, Aaron Krach, Carole Kunstadt, Marlene MacCallum, China Marks, Norma Marquez, Peter O’Brien, Lisa Occhipinti, Iviva Olenick, Rocco Scary, Richard Reitz Smith, Gail Smuda, Mary Ting, Sally Totsi, Harvey Tulcensky, and Karen Viola

Roundtable Discussion, Wednesday, July 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Roundtable Discussion, Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 6:30 pm 

Visit our website for up-to-date details on all events and programs:  www.centerforbookarts.org

Image: Fanny Millard, Basic Space, 2015, Courtesy of the Artist

Tripe_301257-113_GreatBell.jpgNew York - Woodland Views, an exhibition of work by photography’s early masters, is on view at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs through July 27, 2018. The exhibition presents primarily 19th century landscapes beginning in 1844 by William Henry Fox Talbot, John Dillwyn Llewelyn, Benjamin Brecknell Turner, Henri Le Secq, Roger Fenton, Gustave Le Gray, Joseph, vicomte Vigier, and Captain Linnaeus Tripe, among others. 

Guided by Sir Walter Scott’s prose, William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877), the inventor of photography on paper, travelled to Scotland in October 1844 to photograph scenes from the life of Scott. Four converging triangles of alternating tones in Loch Katrine, a surprisingly modern 1844 salt print from a calotype negative, evokes a mood appropriate to Scott’s influential 1810 poem “Lady of the Lake.”

Pheasant and Ferns, an 1850s albumen print from a glass negative by the Welshman John Dillwyn Llewelyn (1810-1882), is a carefully observed tableau of a stuffed pheasant in a densely embroidered setting of ferns and ground cover and is a fine example of Llewelyn’s high regard for the medium.

Benjamin Brecknell Turner (1815-1894) first took up photography in 1849. Like many of the early practitioners he was a “gentleman amateur” for whom photography was a passion, not a profession. In the early 1850s he photographed picturesque, quintessentially English scenes: ruined abbeys and castles, thatched barns and half-timbered houses, crumbling cottages, ancient oak trees and woodland paths, such as the albumen print from a waxed calotype negative, In Loseley Park, from 1852-1854. Turner’s poetic images reveal the beauty of vernacular subjects and the moral worth of tradition, nature, and rural life.

Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) trained as a painter in the studio of Paul Delaroche and exhibited in the Paris Salon. By the late 1840s Le Gray had become an innovator of photographic processes, developing the waxed paper negative around 1848. Saturating the paper with beeswax and light-sensitive chemicals made the image sharper than that resulting from the calotype process devised by Fox Talbot in the 1830s and 1840s. The waxed paper of Le Gray’s process could be prepared in advance and developed days after exposure allowing photographers to minimize the quantity of equipment in the field. Le Gray influenced a generation of 19th century photographers including J. B. Greene, vicomte Vigier, Henri Le Secq, and Roger Fenton.

Le Gray’s own exceptional vision is reflected in his landscapes and seascapes. His poetic photographs taken in the forest of Fontainebleau are masterpieces of light and shadow. The exhibition includes Le Hêtre, Fontainebleau, an albumen or coated salt print from a waxed paper negative, dating from the early 1850s. 

A student of Le Gray, Joseph, vicomte Vigier (1821-1894) produced a series of work from paper negatives in the Pyrenees in the summer of 1853. Bagnères de Luchon. Chemin trace par l’avalanche dans la forêt de Saint-Just, a fine salt print, evokes the sublime by depicting a mountain slope devastated by an avalanche. Vigier’s ambitious views of the Pyrenees earned unanimous praise from his contemporaries as proof of the universal and timeless language of photography.

Rangoon. The Great Bell at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, Burma an albumenized salt print from a waxed paper negative of 1855 by Captain Linnaeus Tripe (1822-1902), features a majestic tamarind tree towering over a pagoda which it nearly obscures, the Great Bell just visible beneath the tamarind’s overspread branches and leaves. Tripe was the official photographer attached to a British diplomatic mission to Burma in 1855, instructed to gather information regarding the country and its people. Tripe’s architectural and topographical views are of great documentary importance as they are among the earliest surviving photographs of Burma.

Attributed to the Circle of the sculptor Charles Simart, two 1850s salt prints from enlarged collodion negatives, Branch of apples and Apple blossoms, are charged with the same energy as quick pencil sketches in an artist’s sketchbook. Made by an unidentified photographer with barely a nod to conventional practice, these prints are filled with a great sense of purpose. The apple tree details were photographed from life and feature the sharp resolution associated with prints made from collodion negatives. Appearing at first glance to be enlargements from smaller negatives these contact prints from enlarged copy negatives, make the familiar strange.

Image: Image caption: Captain Linnaeus Tripe, Rangoon. The Great Bell at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, Burma, 1855. Albumenized salt print from a waxed paper negative, 27.2 x 35.0 cm

Stefan_Gunnesch_The_Uncanny_4.jpgFreud on the Couch: Psyche in the Book, a new exhibition featuring book works inspired by the psychoanalytical concepts of Sigmund Freud, will travel to Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) from July 20-September 30, 2018. Freud on the Couch features works by nearly 30 international artists that either directly or indirectly draw from Freudian concepts, theories, and themes. This provocative exhibition asks viewers to find parallels between the ways that visual art and psychoanalysis act as frameworks for the collective unconscious. MCBA will host an opening reception on Thursday, July 26 from 6-8 pm in the Open Book Cowles Literary Commons.

Artists featured in the exhibition include Thorsten Baensch, Sarah Bryant, Crystal Cawley, Ken Campbell, Maureen Cummins, Anne Deguelle, Gerhild Ebel, Stefan Gunnesch, Karen Hanmer, Anna Helm, Susan Johanknecht, M. M. Lum, Jule Claudia Mahn, Patrizia Meinert, Simon + Christine Morris, Didier Mutel, Susanne Nickel, Yasutomo Ota, Waltraud Palme, Veronika Schäpers, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Herbert Stattler, Marian St. Laurent, Ines von Ketelhodt, Carola Willbrand, and Sam Winston. Through various forms of book art, they explore Freudian concepts such as the dream state, consciousness, memory, multiple personalities, fixation, and ego/id, combined with analytic techniques such as hypnosis and free association.

Freud on the Couch was organized by Susanne Padberg of Vienna’s Galerie Druck & Buch, which is located next door to the famous Berggasse 19, the house where Freud founded psychoanalysis. The traveling exhibition comes to Minnesota Center for Book Arts from the Center for Book Arts in New York, where it made its U.S. debut. Following its showing at MCBA, the exhibition will continue on to the San Francisco Center for the Book.

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing, and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through book arts workshops and programming for adults, youth, families, K-12 students, and teachers. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit www.mnbookarts.org.

ImageThe Uncanny by Stefan Gunnesch

fahrner_r665043_94_b18918_003_2000x2000_low.jpgLos Angeles -  For most of us, books are a central part of daily life, but for artists they are also an essential medium for contemporary art - both as a tradition to be challenged and a form for experimentation—as much as sculpture, painting, and other classic forms of artmaking.  On view at the Getty Research Institute from June 26 through October 28, 2018, Artists and Their Books / Books and Their Artists presents more than 40 of the liveliest and most unexpected examples of artists’ books from the GRI’s Special Collections.

“Books are at the heart of the Getty Research Institute’s collections, from fifteenth and sixteenth-century illustrated editions to the avant-garde experiments of the early 20th century to our large and varied collection of more than 6,000 books made by artists from the 1950s to today,” said Andrew Perchuk, acting director of the Getty Research Institute. “These striking works often make their way into the GRI’s collections through our relationships with contemporary artists or they come as part of artists’ archives, which we collect in depth. Artists’ books resonate with the GRI’s interest in exploring creative processes and are a fundamental and often understudied element of art history. I am certain our visitors will find these extraordinary examples evocative and compelling.”

Artists' books occupy a creative space between traditional books and contemporary works of art, often questioning what a book can be. This highly visual and experiential exhibition focuses on artists' books that can be unpacked, unfolded, or read in alternative ways. Some are made to be shown on the wall or displayed as sculptures or installations. The exhibition highlights the myriad incarnations and innovative roles for books in contemporary culture.

“When artists make or design books, they delve into the possibilities of this distinctive cultural object in ways that expand our notions of what a book can be,” said Marcia Reed, chief curator of the Getty Research Institute and one of the curators of the exhibition. “The book holds a special status in contemporary art practice, and we look forward to sharing examples from this critical collecting area of the GRI with wider audiences. Because the GRI’s collections of artists’ books are not well known, for several years we have been working on a publication that shares selected works from postwar and contemporary collection of artists’ books. This exhibition and the related catalogue is born of that research. Together this stunningly designed volume and the exhibition of selected artists’ books—slightly different from the book—show the breadth of our collection of artists’ books as well as illustrating how books designed and made by artists extend the boundaries of the GRI’s rare book collections.”

Some of the artists in the exhibition, such as Tauba Auerbach and Dieter Roth specialize in making art in the form of books, or have established small presses, like Sam Francis’ Lapis Press in Santa Monica and Venice and Felicia Rice’s Moving Parts Press in Santa Cruz. Many others who are primarily known as sculptors, painters, or performance artists have also experimented in artists’ books, including Ellsworth Kelly, Anselm Kiefer, Barbara T. Smith and Wei Tan. 

“Many of the works in this exhibition might not look like a book at all, but they all play with the idea of what a book is and how to engage with it,” said Glenn Phillips, exhibition co-curator and head of modern and contemporary art collections the GRI. “It is interesting to note that while many artists have devoted their practices to making books, there are so many more artists working in other media who have made books at some point in their careers. Although they may be challenging to display and even collect, books seem to have the same appeal to artists as they do to other readers - the objects themselves can be just as compelling as the content within.

The books, multiples, and unique objects included in the exhibition take different shapes, some made with surprising materials, while being made to be looked at or interacted with in different ways. For example, The Philosopher’s Stone, 1992, a unique book-object by Barbara Fahrner and Daniel E. Kelm, is a geometric paper egg that holds nuggets of wisdom to be revealed as corners are turned down and intricately drawn panels filled with handwritten text are unfurled. Once fully taken apart, it is no easy feat to put the angular ‘pages’ of this book-inspired paper sculpture back together.

One of the more recent works in the exhibition is DOC/UNDOC (2017) by Felicia Rice and Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Riffing on earlier boxes assembled by Marcel Duchamp, this is a high-tech aluminum case that holds an altar, a cabinet of curiosities, and a Mexican wrestling mask.  Opening the case triggers lights and music, the sound art created for the piece by Zachary Watkins. Installation of this work will include a multimedia component giving visitors the opportunity to experience these interactive elements.

One of the earliest pieces in the exhibition stands out for its confrontational style - and smell. Dieter Roth’s work Poetrie, 1967, is a book made of 21 clear vinyl envelopes for pages, on which the texts of poems are printed. The envelopes contain urine, now desiccated and yellow green, retaining its distinctive odor, which may be getting stronger over time. The artist produced this book in an edition of 30; fifty years after their publication the see-through pages have wrinkled and changed color but still make a strong impression.

This summer sees the release of the Getty publication Artists and Their Books / Books and Their Artists, which inspired the exhibition. Edited by Marcia Reed and Glenn Phillips, this volume includes over one hundred important examples selected from the Getty Research Institute’s Special Collections. 

The publication also presents precursors to the artist’s book, such as Joris Hoefnagel’s sixteenth-century calligraphy masterpiece; early illustrated scientific works; and avant-garde publications. Mid twentieth-century works in the publication reveal the impact of Pop Art, Fluxus, Conceptualism, feminist art, and postmodernism on artists’ books. The selection of books by an international range of artists who have chosen to work with texts and images on paper provokes new inquiry into the long-term fertile relationship of art and books in contemporary culture. 

A full list of artists included in the exhibition Artists and Their Books / Books and Their Artists is below. The public can find more information about the exhibition, including a schedule of tours and public programs at www.getty.edu/research/exhibitions_events/exhibitions/artists_books/index.html.

The artists included in Artists and Their Book / Books and Their Artists are:

Anne Auerbach

Tauba Auerbach

Raffaele de Bernardi

Sandow Birk

Andrea Bowers

Chris Burden

Jan Činčera

Johanna Drucker

Dave Eggers

Felipe Ehrenberg

Olafur Eliasson

Timothy C. Ely

Barbara Fahrner

Guillermo Gómez-Peña

Jennifer A. González

Katharina Grosse

Robert Heinecken

Leandro Katz

Ellsworth Kelly

Daniel E. Kelm

Monika Kulicka

Sol Lewitt

Russell Maret

Didier Mutel

Katherine Ng

Clemente Padín

Felicia Rice

Dieter Roth

Ed Ruscha

Christopher Russell

Barbara T. Smith

Keith A. Smith

Buzz Spector

Beth Thielen

Gustavo Vazquez

Cecilia Vicuña

Ines von Ketelhodt

Zachary James Watkins

William Wegman

Wei Tian

Image: Barbara Fahrner (German, b. 1940) and Daniel E. Kelm (American, b. 1951). The Philosopher’s Stone, 1992. Museum board, paper, stainless steel wires, tubing, colored ink, pencil, watercolor. Unique. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute, 94-B18918. © Barbara Fahrner and Daniel E. Kelm

 

 

edruscha_pool2_72dpi.jpgAustin, TX — The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin presents the exhibition “Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance” from Aug. 11, 2018, through Jan. 6, 2019. One of today’s most influential artists, Ruscha (b. 1937) is renowned for his category-defying synthesis of words and images, and for his deadpan renderings of the roadside landscapes, commercial signs and vernacular architecture of Los Angeles and the American West. Featuring more than 150 objects, this exhibition presents Ruscha’s celebrated books, photographs, drawings and prints alongside unpublished archival production materials, layout sketches and studio notebooks, providing visitors an unprecedented look into Ruscha’s creative process.

At the core of “Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance” are Ruscha’s groundbreaking artist’s books, first appearing with the publication of “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” (1963) and quickly following with books such as “Various Small Fires and Milk” (1964), “Thirtyfour Parking Lots in Los Angeles” (1967), and “Nine Swimming Pools and a Broken Glass” (1968). The exhibition gathers the 16 books Ruscha produced between 1963 and 1978, including scarce copies of “Business Cards” (1968), “Babycakes with Weights” (1970), “Dutch Details” (1971) and “Hard Light” (1978). In a special presentation of Ruscha’s elaborate 1966 publication “Every Building on the Sunset Strip, the accordion-fold book is displayed completely extended in a viewing case more than 20 feet long.

The exhibition draws extensively from archival materials to examine eight of Ruscha’s books in depth. Opening with a group of vintage snapshots of gasoline stations taken by Ruscha in 1962, the exhibition features notes and sketches, handwritten lists of ideas for potential book titles, preliminary printing and binding specifications, paste-up layout materials and business records tracing the growth of Ruscha’s spirited, independent publishing enterprise. A section of the exhibition featuring Ruscha’s 1971 book “A Few Palm Trees” tracks the development of that project over four years, starting with a page of notes testing the title “Seventeen Hollywood Palm Trees and Their Locations” in 1968.

“Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance” is the first major exhibition drawn from the Edward Ruscha Papers and Art Collection, a body of archival materials—selected by the artist and acquired by the Ransom Center in 2013—that pertain especially to his artist’s books. “These materials open up entirely new paths to understanding the conception, design and production of Ed Ruscha’s books,” says Jessica S. McDonald, the Nancy Inman and Marlene Nathan Meyerson Curator of Photography and curator of the exhibition. “A single page of jotted notes can reveal the initial flow and immediate refinement of ideas for several of these projects coming together at once.”

In addition to examining the process leading up to Ruscha’s landmark publications, the exhibition explores the ways in which the motifs introduced in those books—motifs such as the gasoline station, the apartment building, the palm tree and the swimming pool—have inspired later works in other media. Early examples include sketches and screenprints based on Ruscha’s photograph “Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas” (1962), as well as rare drawings after his photographs for “Some Los Angeles Apartments” (1965). Evident throughout the exhibition is Ruscha’s persistent engagement with the artifacts of American popular culture, the iconography of the road and the manufactured romance of Hollywood.

“Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance” also explores the ways in which Ruscha has returned to the photographs initially made to populate the pages of his early books to produce new print portfolios. Some, such as “Gasoline Stations 1962” (1989), bring well-known photographs into new viewing contexts, while others offer surprising new images. The exhibition presents “Vacant Lots” (2003), a portfolio of four “outtakes” originally photographed for the book “Real Estate Opportunities” (1970); and “Three Palm Trees” (2009), a portfolio of three photographs printed without the masking that eliminated the sidewalks and buildings surrounding each of the palm trees pictured in the book “A Few Palm Trees” (1971).

Principally drawn from the Ransom Center’s Edward Ruscha Papers and Art Collection, “Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance” includes additional loans from the artist’s collection, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Gagosian Gallery and private collections. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Ransom Center will host Ed Ruscha in conversation with curator Jessica S. McDonald on Thursday, Sept. 6 in Jessen Auditorium at UT Austin. This event and the exhibition are free and open to the public.

“Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance” will be on view in the Ransom Center Galleries on Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m. Daily free docent-led tours are offered at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Image: Ed Ruscha (American, b. 1937), Pool #2, from the portfolio Pools, 1968; printed 1997. Chromogenic color print, 40.4 x 40.7 cm (image). Edward Ruscha Papers and Art Collection, 2013.16.2 © Ed Ruscha. Courtesy Harry Ransom Center.

McCloskeyArt_0143.jpgCincinnati, OH — The Cincinnati Art Museum is proud to celebrate Hamilton, Ohio’s own Robert McCloskey (1914-2003) with the special exhibition Make Way for Ducklings: The Art of Robert McCloskey, on view July 20-September 9, 2018. The exhibition delves into the life and legacy of the writer and illustrator of numerous classic children’s books that have captivated readers of all ages for generations. The recipient of two Caldecott Medals and three Caldecott Honors, McCloskey was a major force in twentieth century children’s literature.

Organized by The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, Make Way for Ducklings consists of over 100 original artworks, ephemera and rare preliminary book materials. While emphasis centers on the classic picture book Make Way for Ducklings (1941), the exhibition considers McCloskey’s entire body of work.

Cincinnati Art Museum Director of Learning & Interpretation Emily Holtrop is curator of the exhibition. “In line with the museum’s mission and strategic plan, the Cincinnati Art Museum is thrilled to welcome a collection of artworks that engage and delight visitors of all ages and generations,” says Holtrop. “McCloskey’s illustrations do more than visually captivate readers—they capture the essence of life’s simple pleasures, reminding viewers to enjoy the little things and savor each day.”

Robert McCloskey was born in Hamilton, Ohio, in 1914. He spent his childhood years in Hamilton and later attended Vesper George Art School in Boston in the early 1930s. McCloskey’s initial artistic attempts were unsuccessful; it wasn’t until he received encouragement from The Viking Press children’s book editor May Masse that his career began to take off. Three years after their initial meeting, McCloskey shared an early draft of his first book, Lentil, with Masse and was met with approval. McCloskey knew he had found his calling.

McCloskey’s books Lentil (1940), Homer Price (1943), and Centerburg Tales (1951) recall the artist’s boyhood in Hamilton, Ohio. In Blueberries for Sal (1948), One Morning in Maine (1952) and Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man (1963), the artist tells family-based stories set in his adopted state of Maine.

Also on view will be McCloskey’s illustrations for books by other authors, including Journey Cake, Ho! (1953) and Henry Reed, Inc. (1958). The exhibition culminates with a selection of independent work—watercolors and paintings—that connect McCloskey to such prominent twentieth-century American painters as Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Hopper.

The exhibition includes a family-friendly drawing activity and related programs will be held at the museum throughout the summer. They include: Connect: A program for adults with developmental disabilities and their caregivers on July 28, Gallery Experience: Robert McCloskey with Emily Holtrop on July 29, Moving Images: Robert McCloskey’s Homer Price Stories on August 2, Artist Workshop: Animal Illustrations on August 18, and Family First Saturday: Make Way for Ducklings on September 1. To learn more, please visit www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/mccloskey

Make Way for Ducklings will be on view in the Schiff Gallery and Balcony, Galleries 234 and 235. Admission is free. 

Image: Robert McCloskey (1914-2003), United States ‘“Look out!” squawked Mrs. Mallard, all of a dither. “You’ll get run over!”’, 1941, Make Way for Ducklings [The Viking Press 1941], graphite on tracing paper, Courtesy of The May Massee Collection, Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives, Emporia State University

HomerWithGulfStream copy.jpgBrunswick, Maine — This summer the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) will present Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting, the first exhibition to look at the role of photography in Homer’s artistic practice. On view June 23 through October 28, 2018, Winslow Homer and the Camera brings together over 130 objects by the artist across all mediums, ranging from master paintings to oil studies, drawings, prints, and photographs created in the United States and during his travels to Europe and the Caribbean. This comprehensive survey was inspired by the BCMA’s 2013 acquisition of a camera once owned by Homer and presents new research drawn in part from the museum’s extensive collection of works by the artist.   

Curated by co-director Frank H. Goodyear III and Bowdoin art history professor Dana E. Byrd, the exhibition will present a full picture of the artist’s working methods and will include noteworthy archival objects, such as three wooden mannequins, his palette and watercolor brushes, his walking stick and fishing net, and two of the three cameras he owned in his lifetime. Homer acquired his first cameras during a two-year sojourn abroad in England, a trip he took in his mid-forties seeking a new direction in his art. Upon his return in 1882, scholars noted a demonstrable change in his style of painting and choice of subjects. Taking this shift and the artist’s penchant for experimentation across mediums as a point of departure, Winslow Homer and the Camera questions how new visual technology impacted the artist’s production and engagement with subjects and unveils how photography became increasingly a part of Homer’s visual investigation and broader creative practice.  

“We are thrilled to present Winslow Homer and the Camera this June,” said Frank Goodyear, co-director and organizer of the exhibition, “Since the generous gift of Homer’s camera, my colleague Dana Byrd and I have been engaged in understanding how Homer’s interest in photography influenced his own artistic identity. This exhibition allows us to consider how Homer’s experimentation with photography solidifies the artist as a proto-modern figure, anticipating many of the trends and concerns of American and European artists who followed.”  

“The opportunity to examine Homer, a well-loved and well researched figure of American art, anew, has been so rewarding,” says Dana E. Byrd, “Utilizing the museum’s extensive collection of the artist’s work, Frank and I have uncovered a new facet of Homer, and we hope this pioneering framework will lead to continued revelations of how the iconic painter engaged with the modern world.” 

While Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting draws principally from the BCMA’s Winslow Homer Collection, the exhibition will also feature works on loan from twenty-five institutions and collectors from across the United States. Following its presentation at the BCMA, the exhibition will travel to the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Museum Director Thomas Padon noted, “Homer defined the look of America in the second half of the 19th century and is central to key artists in our collection, which gives the exhibition particular resonance here at Brandywine.”

An illustrated catalogue of the same title authored by Byrd and Goodyear and published by Yale University Press will accompany the exhibition. The catalogue will serve as a significant contribution to the study of Winslow Homer and the cross-disciplinary study of painters and photography in American art.  

The Museum is also pleased to announce a series of exhibition related public programs throughout the summer and fall, featuring an array of perspectives on Homer, from art historians to fly fishermen. Highlights include: 

·      A keynote program led by exhibition co-curators Frank H. Goodyear III and Dana E. Byrd, providing an orientation to the exhibition’s themes in conjunction with the exhibition’s opening;

·      Gallery talks by art historians Susan Danly and Linda Docherty

·      Music performances by faculty from the Bowdoin International Music Festival inspired by the exhibition

The exhibition was made possible in part by Bank of America.  This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

ImageWinslow Homer with “The Gulf Stream” in his Studio, ca. 1900, gelatin silver print, by an unidentified photographer. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine.

 

Collins.pngNew York - The Center for Book Arts will feature Bethany Collins as a part of the Feature Artist Project series through a series of seven works. The medium of book arts serves as the vessel for Collins exploration of evolving ideals held by the American People as well as observation of the isolation of manipulated language.

As a part of the Feature Artist Project, Collins has gathered 100 verses of Rev. Samuel E. Smith’s My Country ‘Tis of Thee, all of which were written over a two century period. Each lyric erases a previous and highlights a newfound cause passionately held by the American People. Alongside America: A Hymnal are works from her Contronym series, altered dictionaries and encyclopedias, each refusing in its own way a singularity of meaning. With seven total works in the exhibition, Collins showcases herself as a bold addition to the Featured Artist Project Series.

Bethany Collins is a multidisciplinary artist whose conceptually driven work is fueled by a critical exploration of how race and language interact. Her works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationwide. Collins has been recognized as an Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the MacDowell Colony, the Bemis Center and the Hyde Park Art Center among others. In 2015, she was awarded the Hudgens Prize.

Occasional Verse will be on display at The Center for Book Arts in New York until June 30, 2018 and an artist talk and reception will be held June 8, 6:30 pm.

Freud.pngNew York—The Center for Book Arts along with Susanne Padberg will feature a collection of works based around concepts and theories of psychoanalysis developed by Sigmund Freud through the medium of contemporary  book art. Curated by Padberg, her beliefs that the many psychoanalytic techniques Freud developed are aspects in the analytic process as well as potent inspirations for artistic throughout each of the works within the exhibition.

In a group exhibition, Freud on the Couch - Psyche in the Book, organized by Susanne Padberg, 30 artists’ works have been chosen to exhibit some of the psychoanalytic concepts by Freud through direct or indirect reference. With source material ranging from much of his cultural work, like the ego, memory, the unconscious and so on, each work proves to be another example of Freud’s many concepts and techniques being held important to the analytic process that serves as inspiration to the forces shaping artistic work. Padberg believes “We are surrounded by the issues Freud named and analyzed, and we are also moved by them.”

Artists Include: Thorsten Baensch, Sarah Bryant, Ken Campbell, Crystal Cawley, Maureen Cummins, Anne Deguelle, Gerhild Ebel, Stefan Gunnesch, Karen Hanmer, Anna Helm, Susan Johanknecht, Kurt Johannessen, Janosch Kaden, Burgi Kühnemann, M. M. Lum, Jule Claudia Mahn, Patrizia Meinert, Simon & Christine Morris, Didier Mutel, Susanne Nickel, Yasutomo Ota, Waltraud Palme, Marian St. Laurent, Veronika Schäpers, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Herbert Stattler, Ines von Ketelhodt, Carola Willbrand & Mark Met, and Sam Winston.

Since 1994 Susanne Padberg has been proprietor of Galerie Druck & Buch, Vienna, which specializes in international contemporary book art. As curator she has organized numerous exhibitions, and conferences at galleries, museums, libraries, and art spaces in Frankfurt, Vienna, Seoul, Berlin, and Aix-en-Provence. 

Freud on the Couch - Psyche in the Book will be on display at The Center for Book Arts in New York until June 30, 2018

moore-mask_500.jpgSan Marino, CA— An exhibition focused on the surprising diversity of styles and subject matter found in the graphic art made by Henry Moore (1898-1986), the most prominent British sculptor of the 20th-century, will go on view at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens on June 16. “Spirit and Essence, Line and Form: The Graphic Work of Henry Moore” celebrates the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation’s gift to The Huntington of 337 of Moore’s works on paper with a display of 28 prints selected to highlight the range of intricate, often delicate works that explore the same universal themes found in Moore’s sculpture: the roots of creation, the body, life, and death. The exhibition runs through Oct. 1, 2018.

“One of the most exciting things about the Berman Collection is the great variety of work it represents,” said Melinda McCurdy, associate curator of British art and curator of the exhibition. “This exhibition gives visitors a chance to see how Moore’s exploration of the interrelationship of shape and mass we know from his sculptural work is put to work on paper—with subjects ranging from massive rocks at Stonehenge to the angles and depths of an elephant skull, then on to the complexity of a mother-child relationship. The Berman gift really allows us to represent one of the most influential British modernists in the broadest possible way.”

Famous for his monumental biomorphic sculptures, which are enjoyed by millions in museums and public spaces worldwide, Moore is less well known for his work as a graphic artist who produced drawings as well as prints—more than 700 over his career. Moore used prints to explore universal themes, but also to express topics that were deeply personal, reacting to the political and social climate of his time and to his own preoccupations.

The exhibition is organized along thematic lines. 

Stonehenge
Moore experienced Stonehenge for the first time in 1921, at age 23. He took the train from London and arrived at a nearby hotel late in the evening. Impatient to see the prehistoric monument, he visited the site alone by moonlight and never forgot the impression it made on him. Decades later, when discussing his 1973 series of 18 lithographs, he recalled the moment. “Moonlight, as you know, enlarges everything,” he said, “and the mysterious depths and distances made [Stonehenge] seem enormous.”

“Many of Moore’s Stonehenge lithographs reinforce this sense of enormity,” said McCurdy. “A number of his prints offer close-up, partial views of the monoliths, as if it were impossible for him to capture them completely. This enhances their sublimity, creating a sense of vastness that provokes feelings of vulnerability, or of agelessness that reminds us of our own impermanence.”

Elephant Skull
Juxtaposing the study of Stonehenge’s enormity with one that focuses on the minute details of an individual object, the next section in the installation explores Moore’s interest in a single elephant skull. Naturalist Sir Julian Huxley gave Moore the object in the late 1960s. It became the subject of the artist’s near obsession with its angles, depths, and forms. Moore’s studies of the object developed into the Elephant Skull album, a portfolio of 45 etchings produced between 1969 and 1970. The prints explore the skull from a distance and extremely close up. Moore’s captions for the etchings indicate that he regarded the skull as an adaptable metaphor, one that recalled his own sculptural work, architectural elements, or features of the landscape.

Also part of this section of the exhibition is a later lithograph that reveals Moore’s continuing fascination with the elephant. “Unlike in his more abstract work, in this image it seems as though he revels in the living animal’s distinctive appearance, rendering the texture of its wrinkled skin in almost photographic detail,” said McCurdy.

While these two sections concentrate on particular portfolios of work, two other sections present individual prints with a broad range of themes.

Balancing Classical and Romantic sensibilities
Moore wrote, “When it’s all classic, it’s too obvious and cold and deadly perfect; when it’s all romantic, it’s too loose, uncontrolled, wildly chaotic, and shapeless.” He described his art as a balance of the Classical—rational, symmetrical, static, and geometric—and the Romantic—emotional, asymmetric, dynamic, and organic—and he responded to works of art that he believed exhibited these characteristics. Mesoamerican sculpture, for example, had what he felt was a “largeness of scale and a grim, sublime, austerity,” qualities that appear in his lithograph Mexican Mask (1974). He also admired the work of 18th-century Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, whose series of engraved Imaginary Prisons, showing strange labyrinthine subterranean vaults, inspired the setting for Reclining Figure Piranesi Background II (1979). Even when depicting architectural elements, Moore imbues the geometric structures with a sense of mystery by skewing their angles or enhancing their shadows.

An Artist’s Obsessions

While a number of works in the exhibition may seem uncharacteristic of Moore’s well-known style, several objects on view are more readily recognizable. For example, the softly rounded bodies in Five Reclining Figures (1979) are reminiscent of his large-scale bronze pieces, but in graphic form, utilizing two dimensions to explore the relationship between mass and volume at play in the artist’s sculptural work. “And they make you wonder, are these primordial icons, suggesting fertility, creation, or life itself?” said McCurdy. “Or do they represent the anxieties of the modern world, evoking such themes as sexuality, repression, and isolation?”

Another of Moore’s most repeated subjects, the mother and child, reveals the complexity of that relationship. One lithograph of a mother and child in “Spirit and Essence” recalls the sober image of a Renaissance Madonna and Child, while another shows a sculpture-like figure reaching tenderly for her baby. 

“Moore was quite aware of his tendency for ‘obsession,’ and that attribute is part of what makes his graphic work so fascinating,” said McCurdy. “In print after print we are able to see the deep exploration of single subjects that occupied Moore over the course of his career and across media.” 

Support for this exhibition is provided by Heather and Paul Haaga and the Susan and Stephen Chandler Exhibition Endowment.

Image: Henry Moore, Mexican Mask, 1974, lithograph, 26 x 19 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation. © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017 / henry-moore.org

 

Hours_Spitz_MasterofPetrarchsTriumphs_Tours_c1490-1500_f8r_JohnPatmos copy.jpgComplementing Art Basel 2018, Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books will open its doors for a public exhibition. An exceptional selection of manuscripts, miniatures, and early printed books will be on display at the Dr. Jörn Günther Antiquariat in the heart of Basel from the 11th to the 15th of June, 2018. Under the motto “Medieval/Modern”, this year’s exhibition enters artworks from the past into a dialogue with those of the present, exploring medieval and Renaissance art as an important point of reference for contemporary artists. With a special focus on the theme “Black & White vs. Bursts of Colour”, the artworks on view represent the artistic power in the juxtaposition of vibrant colour choices and a more muted, mysterious grisaille palette that has inspired artists for centuries. 

Artists have always been drawn to a world in black and white - ranging from medieval grisaille paintings to Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings up to contemporary works by Gerhard Richter. Representing the muted, elegant palette, Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books will present an exceptionally fine Book of Hours whose miniatures show the exquisite refinement of a great artist. This sophisticated prayer book is attributed to the Master of Petrarch’s Triumphs, a distinctive artist whose earlier work is localized in Tours. The varied gradients of grey combined with small touches of few other pigments emanate a degree of translucency and purity. The manuscript includes 38 small miniatures with gold and red frames, as well as 4 full-page miniatures surrounded by borders of gilt scrolls containing the repeated motto “Parce Michi Domine”, meaning “Spare me, O Lord”, which may possibly indicate a yet unidentified patron’s device. While rooted in spiritual aspiration, this opulent manuscript nonetheless provides the owner with a luxury object that expresses his or her social status.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books will present a vividly coloured Book of Hours, illuminated by the Masters of the Grandes Heures de Rohan, whose expressive colour choices offer a brilliant precursor to exquisitely colourful works by Vincent van Gogh, expressionist painters like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, or Jean-Michel Basquiat. The Rohan Masters’ striking and dramatic style shows clamorous colours, distorted perspectives, and impulsive gestures used for emotional effect. Characteristic motifs include long limbs, golden clouds drifting across vividly coloured skies, and fascinatingly layered patterns. The miniatures in this Book of Hours, including the fine figures of St. John Baptist, the Archangel Michael, or the Burial scene, anticipate the impressive, monumental compositions of the Grandes Heures de Rohan, created about fifteen years after this Book of Hours. 

Image: Book of Hours, use of Rome. Manuscript on vellum, illuminated by the Master of Petrarch’s Triumphs. France, Tours, c. 1490-1500. Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG.

 

Morgan-taming-the-tarrasque copy.jpgNew York — From dragons, unicorns, and other fabled beasts to inventive hybrid creations, artists in the Middle Ages filled the world around them with marvels of imagination. Their creations reflected a society and culture at once captivated and repelled by the idea of the monstrous. Drawing on the Morgan Library & Museum's superb medieval collection as well as loans from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders—on view beginning June 8—examines the complex social role of monsters in medieval Europe. It brings together approximately seventy works spanning the ninth to sixteenth centuries, and ranging from illuminated manuscripts and tapestry to metalwork and ivory. 

The show explores three key themes: “Terrors” demonstrates how monsters enhanced the aura of those in power, whether rulers, knights, or saints. “Aliens” reveals how marginalized groups in European societies—such as Jews, Muslims, women, the poor, and the disabled—were further alienated by being depicted as monstrous. The final section on “wonders” considers the strange beauties and frightful anomalies such as dragons, unicorns, or giants that populated the medieval world.

“In the medieval world the idea of the monstrous permeated every level of society,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum, “from rulers, and the nobility and the clergy, to agrarian and urban dwellers alike. Artists of the Middle Ages captured this phenomenon in images of beings at once familiar and foreign to today’s viewer. We are grateful to our guest curators Asa Simon Mittman and Sherry Lindquist for helping us bring this engrossing subject to the public.” 

The EXHIBITION

I. Terrors

Throughout the Middle Ages, rulers capitalized on the mystique of monsters to enhance their own aura of power. In medieval art, they often depicted themselves—or figures with whom they could identify—as righteous heroes demonstrating their worthiness by slaying the most frightful creatures imaginable. By embellishing all manner of luxury objects with monstrous imagery, the nobility and clergy could also reinforce and dramatize their own authority. Such fear some motifs were often thought to have not only a symbolic potency but also actual power in warding off evil. 

Because of their ability both to terrify and to inspire awe, monsters could even be used to evoke the divine. From headless saints to three-headed trinities, these “sacred terrors” vividly bring to life the power of monsters to bridge the gap between the natural and the supernatural. Ultimately, the monsters in this section offer us a glimpse into how people in the Middle Ages perceived relationships of power, whether earthly or divine. 

II. Aliens

In the modern world, the term alien is most strongly associated with extraterrestrials. In the Middle Ages, however, aliens were very much inhabitants of our world. Deriving from the Latin word for “foreign” or “exotic,” an alien was simply a person or thing from somewhere else. For medieval men and women, the various peoples thought to live on the other side of the world were just as unreachable, and therefore unknowable, as Martians would be to us. At times, these aliens were the subject of titillating speculation; other times they were sources of fear or objects of derision. 

As in other eras, monstrous imagery could be used to stigmatize those perceived to deviate from the norm. This held true not only for “strangers” to medieval Christian societies—most notably, Jews and Muslims—but also for those who were marginalized within their own communities. Women, the poor, the mentally ill or physically impaired could all be made monstrous by medieval artists. Such representations helped define the difference between those who were accepted and those who were cast aside. Confronting these at times difficult images reminds us of the ability of the visual arts to shape our perceptions of others.

III. Wonders

For medieval viewers, monsters could also inspire a sense of wonder and marvel as a transformative response to strange, surprising, or mysterious phenomena. During the Middle Ages, wonders were only as significant as their authenticity, which could be confirmed either by eye-witness accounts or by the authority of venerable authors. The difficulty of disentangling truth from fiction became a common theme, giving rise to entire genres of text that claimed to catalogue the various phenomena of the world: from herbals and bestiaries to travel accounts. 

Capable of shifting expectations and perceptions, monsters inspired viewers to reconsider their place in the world. These fantastical creatures were often so unpredictable and prevalent in the cultural imagination that it is often hard to judge whether they reinforce or disrupt the norms of the time. This exhibition invites visitors to consider what medieval monsters can teach us about the cultures that created them.

Publication

The accompanying catalogue, Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders, features full-page reproductions of 61 works in the exhibition, a Director’s Foreword by Colin B. Bailey, a preface by China Miéville, and essays by Sherry C. M. Lindquist and Asa Simon Mittman.

Author: Sherry C. M. Lindquist, Asa Simon Mittman

Publisher: The Morgan Library & Museum, in association with D Giles Limited.

175 pages.

Image: The Taming the Tarasque, from Hours of Henry VIII, France, Tours, ca. 1500. The Morgan Library & Museum, MS H.8, fol. 191v, detail. Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2013.

Getty India.jpgLos Angeles - Thousands of miles, harsh terrains, and diverse waterways separate India and Europe, and yet people and materials in these vast regions moved with great frequency during the medieval period. The pages of illuminated manuscripts reveal a dynamically interconnected world filled with real and imagined ideas about life on this earth and in spiritual states beyond.

Drawn primarily from the Getty’s permanent collection, with important loans from local institutions and private collections, Pathways to Paradise: Medieval India and Europe on view now through August 5 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, explores the ways decorated books and portable luxury objects reflected their owners’ knowledge of and ideas about the greater world, as well as their spiritual quests for sacred groves, providential gems, and guides to enlightenment.

“This exhibition expands on themes we explored at the Getty in last year’s exhibition Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts and currently in Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India: that the people of early modern Europe were not isolated, but interacted dynamically with other cultures,” explains Timothy Pott, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “With particular focus on how artists in India and Europe conceptualized the idea of paradise, the exhibition explores the diverse religious traditions of these widely separated culture spheres, how each produced wondrous manuscripts and other works of art evoking otherworldly celestial domains.”

The word “paradise” often describes an idyllic place of unmatched beauty, but it can also refer to a mindset of harmony and bliss. Several world religions share these conceptions of paradise—including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam—but the path to reaching such a place or achieving this state of mind varied greatly. Whether a physical environment; a metaphysical realm, like heaven; or a state of transcendence, paradise was a potential reality for people of the premodern era, many of whom journeyed from their homelands to destinations across Asia, Africa, and Europe in pursuit of precious materials and sites believed to have great spiritual significance.

"Peoples in Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent have long-interacted with peoples in Europe and Africa, and these relationships are recorded and visualized in hand-written and decorated book arts,” says Bryan C. Keene, assistant curator of manuscripts and curator of the exhibition. “During the long medieval period—from about 500-1500—actual contact increased between geographically distant regions, as seen through the exchange of materials and ideas in this exhibition.”

Book arts were vehicles for the transmission of philosophy, religion, cosmology, and the study of the natural world, and when displayed alongside coins, gems, and other portable objects, they present a picture of a premodern world that was dynamically interconnected and culturally aware.

Coins are among the most portable luxury objects. Necessary for commerce and trade, they also communicate messages of power and faith. Portraits of rulers often adorn one side while divinities or symbols of paradise sometimes decorate the other. At times, coins were beaten into thin sheets and applied as metallic leaf to adorn the pages of books.

Precious goods such as jewelry, amulets, and reliquaries could be carried over great distances. Other objects, including crowns, oil lamps, and votive statues were used to serve local audiences at court, in temples, or in shrines and each of these had the potential to connect owners with metaphysical worlds. Raw materials—such as stones, gems, bronze, and silver—were also highly prized. Many cultures and religions ascribe magical or healing properties to gems and metals, associations often based on ideas about the divine and the afterlife.

Manuscripts often communicated complex beliefs about otherworldly domains or beings, inviting readers to connect with spiritual realms or to envision the afterlife—states of paradise or infernal damnation beyond the earth. Several of the books and pages presented in this exhibition concern theological beliefs about angels and the spiritual cosmos.

Pathways to Paradise: Medieval India & Europe is curated by Bryan C. Keene, assistant curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The exhibition will be on view at the Getty Center from now through August 5, 2018. Through June 24, 2018, the exhibition Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India presents a stunning array of drawings and paintings that reveal how art and ideas traveled across time and oceans. Related programming includes India and the World: A History in Nine Stories, in which Naman Ahuja, curator of Indian art at Jawaharla Nehru University, discusses his recent exhibition India and the World, a presentation of extraordinary masterpieces that situates Indian history in a global context. Additional information can be found at getty.edu/360.

Image: The Angel of Paradise with a Sword, about 1475. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig XIII 5, v1, fol. 54v

 

image005.pngLos Angeles—From Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, to Edvard Munch’s The Scream, to Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, the human face has been a crucial, if often enigmatic, element of portraiture. Featuring 45 works drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, In Focus: Expressions, on view May 22 to October 7, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, addresses the enduring fascination with the human face and the range of countenances that photographers have captured from the birth of the medium to the present day.

The exhibition begins with the most universal and ubiquitous expression: the smile. Although today it is taken for granted that we should smile when posing for the camera, smiling was not the standard photographic expression until the 1880s with the availability of faster film and hand-held cameras. Smiling subjects began to appear more frequently as the advertising industry also reinforced the image of happy customers to an ever-widening audience who would purchase the products of a growing industrial economy. The smile became “the face of the brand,” gracing magazines, billboards, and today, digital and social platforms.

As is evident in the exhibition, the smile comes in all variations—the genuine, the smirk, the polite, the ironic—expressing a full spectrum of emotions that include benevolence, sarcasm, joy, malice, and sometimes even an intersection of two or more of these. In Milton Rogovin’s (American, 1909-2011) Storefront Churches, Buffalo (1958-1961), the expression of the preacher does not immediately register as a smile because the camera has captured a moment where his features—the opened mouth, exposed teeth, and raised face—could represent a number of activities: he could be in the middle of a song, preaching, or immersed in prayer. His corporeal gestures convey the message of his spirit, imbuing the black-and-white photograph with emotional color. Like the other works included in this exhibition, this image posits the notion that facial expressions can elicit a myriad of sentiments and denote a range of inner emotions that transcend the capacity of words.

In Focus: Expressions also probes the role of the camera in capturing un-posed moments and expressions that would otherwise go unnoticed. In Alec Soth’s (American, born 1969) Mary, Milwaukee, WI (2014), a fleeting expression of laughter is materialized in such a way—head leaning back, mouth open—that could perhaps be misconstrued as a scream. The photograph provides a frank moment, one that confronts the viewer with its candidness and calls to mind today’s proliferation and brevity of memes, a contemporary, Internet-sustained visual phenomena in which images are deliberately parodied and altered at the same rate as they are spread.

Perhaps equally radical as the introduction of candid photography is the problematic association of photography with facial expression and its adoption of physiognomy, a concept that was introduced in the 19th century. Physiognomy, the study of the link between the face and human psyche, resulted in the belief that different types of people could be classified by their visage. The exhibition includes some of the earliest uses of photography to record facial expression, as in Duchenne de Boulogne’s (French, 1806-1875) Figure 44: The Muscle of Sadness (negative, 1850s). This also resonates in the 20th-century photographs by Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) of Allie Mae Burroughs, Hale County Alabama (negative 1936) in that the subject’s expression could be deemed as suggestive of the current state of her mind. In this frame (in others she is viewed as smiling) she stares intently at the camera slightly biting her lip, perhaps alluding to uncertainty of what is to come for her and her family.

The subject of facial expression is also resonant with current developments in facial recognition technology. Nancy Burson (American, born 1948) created works such as Androgyny (6 Men + 6 Women) (1982), in which portraits of six men and six women were morphed together to convey the work’s title. Experimental and illustrative of the medium’s technological advancement, Burson’s photograph is pertinent to several features of today’s social media platforms, including the example in which a phone’s front camera scans a user’s face and facial filters are applied upon detection. Today, mobile phones and social media applications even support portrait mode options, offering an apprehension of the human face and highlighting its countenances with exceptional quality. 

In addition to photography’s engagement with human expression, In Focus: Expressions examines the literal and figurative concept of the mask. Contrary to a candid photograph, the mask is the face we choose to present to the world. Weegee’s (Arthur Fellig’s) (American, born Austria, 1899-1968) Emmett Kelly, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (about 1950) demonstrates this concept, projecting the character of a sad clown in place of his real identity as Emmett Kelly.

The mask also suggests guises, obscurity, and the freedom to pick and create a separate identity. W. Canfield Ave., Detroit (1982) by Nicholas Nixon (American, born 1947) demonstrates this redirection. Aware that he is being photographed, the subject seizes the opportunity to create a hardened expression that conveys him as distant, challenging, and fortified, highlighted by the opposing sentiments of the men who flank him. In return, the audience could be led to believe that this devised pose is a façade behind which a concealed and genuine identity exists. 

In Focus: Expressions is on view from May 22 to October 7, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. This exhibition is curated by Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Image: L to R: Storefront Churches, Buffalo, 1958 - 1961, Milton Rogovin (American, 1909 - 2011). Gelatin silver print. Image: 11 × 10.5 cm (4 5/16 × 4 1/8 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Gift of Dr. John V. and Laura M. Knaus. © Milton Rogovin; Mary, Milwaukee, WI, 2014, Alec Soth (American, born 1969). Inkjet print. Image: 40.1 × 53.5 cm (15 13/16 × 21 1/16 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Gift of Richard Lovett. © Alec Soth/Magnum Photos; W. Canfield Ave., Detroit, 1982, Nicholas Nixon (American, born 1947). Gelatin silver print. Image (irregular): 19.7 × 24.6 cm (7 3/4 × 9 11/16 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. © Nicholas Nixon

 

DeniseCarbone_01 copy.jpgFormation: A Juried Exhibition of the Guild of Book Workers, featuring 51 works from 46 Guild members, is set to begin its U.S. tour at Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) this June. The jury-selected artists were asked to consider how the act of formation, defined by Merriam-Webster as “an act of giving form or shape to something,” informs their artistic process. The resulting exhibition both honors the Guild’s legacy and celebrates contemporary forms of book art. Works presented in the exhibition include artist’s books, fine bindings, fine press printing, calligraphy, and sculptural books. Formation will run from June 15-October 21 in MCBA’s main gallery, with an opening reception on June 22 from 6-8 pm.

A printed exhibition catalog will accompany Formation, which doubles as the Guild’s triennial members’ exhibition. The catalog, published as a special edition of the Guild of Book Workers’ Journal, includes color photographs and descriptions of each piece, information about the artists, remarks from Guild president Bexx Caswell, and more. Formation’s jury is comprised of book artists and Guild members Coleen Curry, Graham Patten, and Sarah Smith. It was curated by Jackie Scott, who also serves as the Guild’s Exhibitions Chair.

Formation’s tour at MCBA coincides with the Guild of Book Workers’ Standards of Excellence Seminar, which will take place in Minneapolis in October 2018. Following the seminar’s conclusion, the exhibition will then embark on a nationwide tour. Among other institutions, it will stop at the Robert C. Williams Papermaking Museum in Atlanta, GA; UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library; the North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA, and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. A complete schedule is available online at guildofbookworkers.org.

The Guild of Book Workers was founded in 1906 with the hopes of fostering a community of book artists and craftspeople. Some of its founding members include Edith Diehl, W.A. Dwiggins, and Frederic W. Goudy. Today, the Guild has over 900 members, ranging from amateur to professional book artists, conservators, printers, papermakers, librarians, and collectors. It continues to work toward its initial goal of preserving and sustaining the craft of bookmaking through sponsoring exhibitions, organizing educational opportunities, and cultivating a roster of talented artists and craftspeople to carry on the tradition.

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing, and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through book arts workshops and programming for adults, youth, families, K-12 students, and teachers. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit mnbookarts.org.

ImageIn-Between by Denise Carbone (Stratford, NJ). This book is the formation of a variety of ground plant and insect liquors soaked for weeks and their reaction to one another. Lard coats the pages, and images are created with needle piercings and some ink stone rubbing. The pages are Tableau wet strength paper. This unique binding is an accordion fold of handmade paper; the chemise is of Iowa paper.  Photographer: Tim Gurczak

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 9.07.24 AM.pngNew York — Handwriting works magic: it transports us back to defining moments in history, creativity, and everyday life and connects us intimately with the people who marked the page. For nearly half a century, Brazilian author and publisher Pedro Corrêa do Lago has been assembling one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind, acquiring thousands of handwritten letters, manuscripts, and musical compositions as well as inscribed photographs, drawings, and documents.

Opening on June 1, The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection features 140 items from his important holdings, few of which have ever been publicly exhibited. Among the items on view will be letters by Lucrezia Borgia, Vincent van Gogh, and Emily Dickinson; annotated sketches by Michelangelo, Jean Cocteau, and Charlie Chaplin; and manuscripts by Giacomo Puccini, Jorge Luis Borges, and Marcel Proust. The show runs through September 16.

From an 1153 document signed by four medieval popes to a 2006 thumbprint signature of physicist Stephen Hawking, the items on view convey the power of handwriting to connect us with writers, artists, composers, political figures, performers, scientists, philosophers, rebels, and others whose actions and creations have made them legends. 

“In this digital age there is a remarkable pleasure in engaging with works that were penned by hand,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “Pedro Corrêa do Lago shares the passion of the Morgan’s founder, John Pierpont Morgan, for collecting letters and manuscripts that bear the handwriting of some of the most influential figures in Western history and culture. The Morgan is grateful for his generosity in sharing some of the finest pieces fromhis extraordinary collection.”

"From the time I was very young, I have derived enormous pleasure from collecting autographs, which serve as tangible links that defy the passage of time," said Mr. Corrêa do Lago. "I am thrilled to be able to share some of the manuscripts and letters that have brought me such joy—and to do so within the library formed by one of the greatest of American autograph collectors."

THE EXHIBITION

Introduction

The exhibition’s title is drawn from a letter of the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, one of the notable autograph collectors of the twentieth century, who once begged Rainer Maria Rilke for a precious gift: the manuscript of one of Rilke’s own poems. “I realize it is a lot to ask,” Zweig told his friend, “for I know the magic of handwriting well, and I know that the gift of a manuscript is also the gift of a secret—a secret that unveils itself only for love.”

Pedro Corrêa do Lago is an autograph collector very much in the tradition of John Pierpont Morgan and Stefan Zweig. The son of a Brazilian diplomat, he started collecting at the age of twelve, when he began sending letters to prominent people to solicit their autographs. Over time, his ambitions grew. Rather than focusing on a single figure, era, or subject, he made the unusual decision to seek significant examples in six broad areas of human endeavor—art, history, literature, science, music, and entertainment—spanning several centuries. This is the first major exhibition drawn from his collection.

Every item in the exhibition bears the handwriting of its illustrious author or subject. Many are personal letters sent to friends, collaborators, or associates, touching on everything from private matters to events of international consequence. Some are manuscripts of works in progress, providing hints of the authors’ creative process. Others are photographs or sketches inscribed to friends or admirers, often with messages that convey important personal or professional ties.

Art

The items on view span more than four centuries and include examples of the handwriting of some of the leading artists in modern Western history, including Benvenuto Cellini, Peter Paul Rubens, J. M. W. Turner, Auguste Rodin, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, and Frida Kahlo. The earliest work on view in this section is a small, hitherto unpublished block drawing with notes by Michelangelo, dated ca. 1518, ordering marble for his first major architectural commission, the facade of San Lorenzo in Florence. More than four hundred years later, in 1949, Henri Matisse wrote a note to his friend Albert Skira, the Swiss art publisher, filling more than half the page with a crayon sketch, thus turning a personal letter into an intimate work of art.

One of the most revealing items is an 1889 letter from Paul Gauguin (which has never been published in its entirety) about one of the most tragic personal moments in the history of art: the severe breakdown his friend van Gogh suffered in December 1888, during which he famously mutilated his left ear. “I was supposed to spend a year in the south working with a painter friend,” Gauguin writes. “Unfortunately that friend went stark raving mad and for a month I had to endure all sorts of fears of a fatal and tragic accident...” Like the Gauguin letter, many items illuminate important artistic relationships—for example, those of Edgar Degas and Berthe Morisot, Pablo Picasso and Sergei Diaghilev, and Frank Lloyd Wright and Lewis Mumford. Together these letters and documents provide strikingly personal insights into artists’ lives, creations, and personal and professional connections. 

History

From the accession of England’s Elizabeth I in 1558 to the rise of Fidel Castro in Cuba in 1959, the items on view also highlight key historical moments and memorable figures such as Mary, Queen of Scots,Simón Bolívar, Benjamin Franklin, Sun Yat-sen, and Leon Trotsky. Signed and inscribed photographs capture some of history’s famous faces, including Sitting Bull, Abraham Lincoln, Rasputin, and Emiliano Zapata.

Early letters document the personal and political relationships of Western Europe’s monarchs and scions. In 1502, Lucrezia Borgia, the legendary Renaissance noblewoman, writes a letter to her new brother-in-law during her lavish wedding procession from Rome to Ferrara. A few decades later, Henry VIII communicates with Francis I, King of France, about negotiations for peace with Emperor Charles V. In 1788, Marie Antoinette sends a graceful letter to congratulate her sister and brother-in-law on the birth of their latest child; within a year her life would be upended with the storming of the Bastille and the dawn of the French Revolution.

Twentieth-century historical letters bring to life moments and relationships of great poignancy and drama. In 1917, the Dutch-born dancer known as Mata Hari writes a desperate plea from prison after being arrested on charges of espionage. In 1947—less than a year before he was murdered—Gandhi declares that he must remain focused on prayer and reconciliation even though “The odds are so great that the fire may quench me, instead of my quenching it.” At the age of eighty, his handwriting shaky after a recent stroke, Winston Churchill sends a letter to Pamela, Lady Lytton, his first great love, saying, “I am getting older now the trappings of power & responsibility have fallen away, and I totter along in the shades of retirement.”

The most recent historical document on view is a typewritten page of a draft of Alex Haley’s powerful interview with Malcolm X, published in a 1963 issue of Playboy. Malcolm X compares the United States to South Africa, saying “The only difference is over there they preach and practice apartheid. America preaches freedom and practices slavery. America preaches integration and practices segregation.” His bold signature at the bottom of the page indicates his approval of the interview transcript.

Literature

Whether through manuscripts, letters, or handwritten notes and other ephemera, this section features such celebrated authors as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Lewis Carroll, Machado de Assis, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A highlight is an important handwritten draft of the opening paragraph of one of literature’s greatest masterpieces: Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu). With significant differences from the text that was ultimately published in 1913, it reveals key decisions Proust made as he was revising what went on to become one of the most enduring works of the modern era.

The exhibition also displays the only surviving manuscript of a twentieth-century cult classic—“The Library of Babel” (La Biblioteca de Babel), a story by the Argentinean author Jorge Luis Borges—and a forty-page manuscript of a play by Lope de Vega, the great Spanish dramatist of the so-called Golden Century, written in 1619 but unpublished until 1985, when it surfaced in a Brazilian private collection.

Extraordinary personal communications in the show include one of only two known surviving letters from Oscar Wilde, author of The Picture of Dorian Gray, to Bram Stoker, author of Dracula; an extravagantly complimentary letter from Gustave Flaubert to Victor Hugo, his “dear master”; and a charming letter from twelve-year-old Ernest Hemingway asking his father if they might go see the Chicago Cubs play that weekend (“it will be a dandy game”). In 1871, Emily Dickinson writes to a friend in her unusual rhythmic script: “To be remembered is next to being loved, and to be loved is Heaven, and is this quite Earth? I have never found it so.” Her letter is a reminder that handwritten letters provide a powerful means of remembrance of those living and dead.

Science and Philosophy

Three of history’s most brilliant physicists—Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking—stand side by side in this section: Newton (who famously claimed to have conceived his universal law of gravitation while watching an apple drop) draws and annotates his own family tree; Einstein works out mathematical equations as he seeks a “theory of everything”; and Hawking signs a copy of his bestselling 1993 book A Brief History of Time by marking it with his thumbprint—now the symbol of the foundation that bears his name and supports people living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Other items that suggest scientists are always in dialogue with one another include, for instance, an 1845 letter in which the computer science pioneer Ada Lovelace comments on two of the scientific blockbusters of her age decade: Alexander von Humboldt’s Cosmos and the anonymously published Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. In 1871, Charles Darwin, writing to a colleague with whom he had significant scientific disagreements about his Theory of Evolution, says, “I always console myself with thinking that I have done my best.” 

From a 1516 letter of Niccolò Machiavelli to a 1951 letter from Ludwig Wittgenstein (likely the last one he wrote before his death at the age of sixty-two), the exhibition features examples of the handwriting of key figures in Western philosophy, including Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith, and Karl Marx. An intriguing item from the French Enlightenment is a handwritten page from Louise Dupin’s unfinished treatise on the history of women from classical to modern times. She addresses an enduring sexual double standard: how can society reconcile its expectations that men seduce multiple women (and take pride in their conquest) and that women resist all but a single lover? The sheet is written in the hand of her research assistant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who had yet to write his own celebrated works.

Music and Performing Arts

Representing a remarkable variety of major figures in the history of music and entertainment, the items on view range from examples of the handwriting of Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig von Beethoven to a signed sketch of dancer Vaslav Nijinsky by Jean Cocteau. In a spirited letter from twenty-two-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to his father, Leopold (signed warmly “I kiss your hands a thousand times and hug my sister with all my heart”), the young composer ventures to make his own decisions regarding his musical career rather than following his father’s strict instructions.

An extremely messy draft page for The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanciulla del West) reveals the energy with which Giacomo Puccini composed, and a manuscript of “No More Blues” (Chega de saudade) by the Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim is a delightful record of the song that launched the bossa nova sound during the 1950s.

Finally, inscribed photographs of some of the greatest of twentieth-century entertainers—Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, the Marx Brothers, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and the Beatles—are reminders of our pervasive desire to capture and retain a physical trace of the people whose work we value. Their handwriting and signatures serve as echoes of their presence.

Publication

The accompanying catalogue, The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection, published by TASCHEN, is authored by Christine Nelson, the Morgan’s Drue Heinz Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts. It includes more than 150 illustrations of the items in the exhibition and contains a foreword by Colin B. Bailey, preface by the artist Vik Muniz, and essays by Christine Nelson, Declan Kiely, and Pedro Corrêa do Lago.

Public Programs

DISCUSSION

Handwriting Is Not Dead: A Conversation with Collector Pedro Corrêa do Lago Pedro Corrêa do Lago has built one of the world’s most compelling collections of letters and manuscripts. What draws him—and us—to a personal letter from Emily Dickinson, a psychoanalysis bill penned by Freud, or an inscrutable note from Rasputin? Corrêa do Lago joins Christine Nelson, the Morgan’s Drue Heinz Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts, for a lively discussion about the lure of handwriting and the joy of collecting.

Thursday, May 31, 6:30 pm*

Tickets: $15; free for members and students with a valid ID. 

* The exhibition The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection will be open at 5:30 pm for program attendees.

GALLERY TALKS 

The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection

Christine Nelson, Drue Heinz Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

Friday, June 8, 6 pm

Friday, July 6, 1 pm

Tickets: All gallery talks and tours are free with museum admission; no tickets or reservations necessary. Please note that tours are subject to cancellation or change without notice.

a-view-endeavour-watering-place-alexander-buchan copy.jpgMarking 250 years since James Cook’s ship Endeavour set sail from Plymouth, James Cook: The Voyages (27 April to 28 August 2018) explores Cook’s three world-changing voyages through stunning artworks, original maps and handwritten journals.

From iconic depictions of people and landscapes by expedition artists Sydney Parkinson, John Webber and William Hodges to an evocative collection of drawings by Polynesian high priest and navigator Tupaia, which are going on display together for the first time, James Cook: The Voyages will take visitors on a journey of discovery, from the Pacific Ocean to the Antarctic.

The exhibition will chart Cook’s three voyages, from the Endeavour setting sail from Plymouth in 1768 to the Resolution and Discovery returning to Britain in 1780 after Cook’s death in Hawaii. It will explore different perspectives on the voyages, from those on board the ships to those who saw them arrive on their shores, and will consider their legacy and relevance today.

Exhibition highlights include:

  • Paintings depicting Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia by the Polynesian high priest and navigator Tupaia, which are going on display as a group for the first time
  • The first chart of New Zealand by James Cook
  • The first artworks depicting the Antarctic by William Hodges on loan from the State Library of New South Wales, which will be reunited with James Cook’s handwritten journal entry describing the first crossing of the Antarctic Circle, for the first time in 100 years
  • Specimens from the first voyage, including the mouth parts of a squid, on loan from the Royal College of Surgeons
  • Expedition artist John Webber’s watercolour landscapes, including the first European illustrations of Hawai’i
  • Jewellery and musical instruments, including a necklace from Tierra del Fuego, ceremonial rattle from Nootka Sound (Vancouver Island) and bamboo flute from Tahiti, on loan from Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge 
  • Natural history drawings, including the first European depiction of a kangaroo by Sydney Parkinson on loan from the Natural History Museum

The British Library holds pre-eminent collections from the voyages, including many original maps, artwork and journals produced on board ship, which will be displayed alongside films exploring contemporary views on Cook’s legacy in Australia, New Zealand and other places visited by the expeditions. Contemporary perspectives on the voyages, including people from the Pacific communities Cook visited, will also be explored through the Library’s accompanying web space (www.bl.uk/the-voyages-of-captain-james-cook) and public events programme.  

William Frame, co-curator of James Cook: The Voyages at the British Library, said:

‘The British Library holds many iconic artworks, charts and handwritten journals from James Cook’s voyages and the exhibition displays the most famous of these together, alongside key loans, for the first time in a generation. Through the exhibition and accompanying public programme visitors will be able to consider different perspectives on the voyages and to reflect on their meaning today.’ 

Laura Walker, co-curator of James Cook: The Voyages at the British Library, said:

‘In the exhibition, visitors will be able to follow the course of each voyage through eyewitness accounts, hand-drawn charts and stunning artwork created on board ship. Alongside these sources, recently commissioned films allow visitors to consider contemporary perspectives on the voyages and to examine their legacy, much of which remains highly contested today.’

The accompanying web space, which will be added to throughout the exhibition run, hosts a range of newly digitised collection items, audio-visual content and articles by academics, artists, journalists and community historians who present their views and responses to the Library’s exhibition and collections.

The British Library will also be hosting a series of photographs by Crystal Te Moananui-Squares, which present a contemporary encounter with Pacific communities in the United Kingdom as a creative response to the exhibition. The free display, entitled Tūhuratanga - Voyages of Discovery, will be located in the Library’s Second Floor Gallery from 6 July to 23 September 2018.

There will be a full programme of events, including talks, discussions and film screenings, inspired by the exhibition. April to June events can be found on the British Library’s What’s On pages, with a full programme of events available on request. Highlights include:

James Cook: The Voyages is supported by PONANT Yacht Cruises & Expeditions and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Image: 'A View of the Endeavour’s Watering Place in the Bay of Good Success’ by Alexander Buchan, 1769 (c) British Library Board.

 

Amherst, MA — Together, Leo and Diane Dillon created illustrations of extraordinary beauty and cultural resonance, illuminating global stories of diverse subjects--from the Caldecott Medal-winning picture book Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears to the paperback covers of classic children's literature. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is pleased to present A Marriage of Artistry: Leo and Diane Dillon, on view from May 26, 2018 through November 25, 2018 in the Central Gallery.

Born 11 days apart on opposite sides of the country, Leo Dillon (1933-2012) and Diane Sorber (b. 1933) met as students at the Parsons School of Design in New York, where they became instant rivals and steadfast partners in life and art. They worked in concert for 50 years, demonstrating remarkable versatility and a mastery of media. No single style defines their art; they skillfully adopted different modes of expression to best illustrate each narrative. 

The Dillons are the only artists ever to win the Caldecott Medal in back-to-back years, and the exhibition features original art from those two distinguished books: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (1976) and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions (1977). They produced art together in their Brooklyn brownstone, collaborating on every piece until Leo's passing in 2012. In a 2015 interview, Diane said, "We came to the concept of the 'third artist,' which was the combination of the two of us doing something that neither one of us could do separately. We would look at a piece after we finished it, and it'd be impossible for us to figure out who did what." The family collaboration extended to their son Lee, who sculpted several customized frames for his parents work, including the 50th edition cover art for C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In the exhibition, a drawing activity emphasizes the art of collaboration by inviting visitors to work together on a shared picture.

Twenty-three titles are represented in A Marriage of Artistry: Leo and Diane Dillon, three of which Leo and Diane authored. Diane's first solo effort, I Can Be Anything! Don't Tell Me I Can't (2018), is also featured. The Dillon's extraordinary amalgamation of imagery illustrates African, Japanese, Inuit, and West Indian folklore, mythologies, and Biblical stories. Many of their books address African and African-American history. They dedicated themselves to portraying children of color so young readers could see themselves reflected in stories. As Leo noted in a 2002 interview, "We're an interracial couple, and we decided early in our career that we wanted to represent all races and show people that were rarely seen in children's books at the time." They illustrated the words of dozens of authors, including notable Newbery Medalist Virginia Hamilton, and fastidiously researched the cultures they portrayed.

"There is an astonishing range of emotions and artistic styles presented in the exhibition," says Ellen Keiter, the Museum's chief curator. "Some stories, like Jazz on a Saturday Night (2007), provide a joyful dance through history while others, such as The People Could Fly (2004) and Never Forgotten (2011), depict the haunting horrors of slavery." The Dillon's used acrylic, oil, watercolor, collage, pastel, gold leaf, and other media to create their imagery. Whatever the format or varied subject matter, their illustration is proof of their ability to master visual storytelling.

Gallery Talk:

A Marriage of Artistry: Leo and Diane Dillon

Thursday, May 31, 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Join Chief Curator Ellen Keiter for a guided gallery talk. A book signing with Diane Dillon and a light reception in the Great Hall will follow.  Free with Museum Admission, reservations suggested; call 413-559-6336.

About The Carle:

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. A leading advocate in its field, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture-book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

Eric Carle and his wife, the late Barbara Carle, co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 43,000-square foot facility has served more than 750,000 visitors, including 50,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and Master's degree programs in children's literature with Simmons College. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call (413) 559-6300 or visit the Museum's website at www.carlemuseum.org.

america-4-1920x1000-hero.jpgLos Angeles — The Annenberg Space for Photography, a cultural destination dedicated to exhibiting both digital and print photography, announced its next exhibition - Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from America's Library

The exhibition, running from April 21 through September 9, 2018, is a collection of nearly 500 images - discovered within a collection of more than 14 million pictures - permanently housed in the world's largest library at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Put together by the distinguished photography curator Anne Wilkes Tucker, the exhibition features the image entitled "Not an Ostrich" and a large selection of rare and handpicked works from the vaults of the library, many never widely available to the public. Each picture documents a special moment in America's culture and history. Tucker, named "America's Best Curator" by TIME, was granted special access to the photographic archives at the Library of Congress.

The images selected for Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from America's Library span three centuries of photography (1800s, 1900s, 2000s), simultaneously telling America's story through evocative imagery, while revealing the evolution of photography itself - from daguerreotypes, the first publicly available photographic process, to contemporary digital images. The exhibition's name, Not an Ostrich, refers to an actual image included in the collection - a photo of actress Isla Bevan holding a "Floradora Goose" at the 41st Annual Poultry Show at Madison Square Garden - and hints at the unexpected and unusual artifacts collected at the Library of Congress over its 218-year history, some of which will be on display inside the Annenberg Space for Photography.

Other pictures among the hundreds on display: The Wright brothers' first flight, the earliest known portrait of Harriet Tubman, Harry Houdini bound in chains for a magic trick, action scenes from Vietnam War protests, Ku Klux Klan demonstrations, and an image of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. 

Not an Ostrich marks the first time an exhibition of this scale, featuring a selection of photographs from the Library of Congress, has been displayed on the West Coast, and represents a fraction of the Library's full collection as a way for visitors to rediscover one of America's most important cultural institutions. The full exhibition will include over 440 photographs from 1839 to the present, by 148 photographers - displayed both physically and digitally - including the works of Sharon Farmer, Donna Ferrato, Carol M. Highsmith, Danny Lyon, Camilo José Vergara, and Will Wilson, who will also be featured in the exhibit's original documentary produced by the Annenberg Foundation in partnership with Arclight Productions.

"The exhibit Anne Tucker has put together is one that truly reflects America in images. Each photograph exposes us to just a fraction of the millions of American stories held in the Library of Congress, from the iconic to the absurd," said Annenberg Foundation Chairman of the Board, President and CEO Wallis Annenberg. "Though cameras and technology have changed over the years, this exhibition shows us that nothing captures a moment, a time, or a story like a photograph."

"What a pleasure and an honor it was to work with the Library of Congress selecting these photographs. Glamour, worship, invention, bravery, humor, cruelty and love - this collection of photographs preserves all examples of our humanity as well as chronicling America's history in extraordinary photographs. The Library is an inexhaustible trove available for anyone to explore," said Anne Wilkes Tucker, Curator Emerita of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 

"The Library of Congress not only collects and preserves America's cultural heritage but also works to make those comprehensive collections accessible to as many people as possible. I am so thrilled about this opportunity to present the Library's rich photography collection at the Annenberg Space for Photography," said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. "I hope photography and history enthusiasts around Los Angeles and beyond who visit this unprecedented exhibition will have their curiosity piqued about all that is available to them at their national library."

Not an Ostrich will remain on display from April 21 through September 9, 2018. Visitors can access the exhibition with free admission Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 AM to 6 PM, at the Annenberg Space for Photography (2000 Avenue of the Stars Los Angeles, CA 90067). For more information about Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from America's Library visit: https://www.annenbergphotospace.org/exhibits/not-an-ostrich

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 8.27.05 AM.pngNew York—Renowned for his portraiture and depictions of rural landscapes, the eighteenth-century British artist Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) is best known as a painter. However, he was also a draftsman of rare ability who extended the traditional boundaries of drawing technique, inspiring an entire generation of British artists such as John Constable (1776-1837) and J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851). 

Beginning May 11, the Morgan Library & Museum presents an exhibition solely focused on Gainsborough’s works on paper, bringing together twenty-two outstanding examples in graphite, chalk, oil paint, and other media. Included in the show, which runs through August 19, are preparatory studies, finished works, and exercises made for the artist’s own enjoyment.

“As with many artists, Thomas Gainsborough used the medium of drawing to experiment and explore,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “Famous in his day for his paintings of members of the British aristocracy and gentry, he eagerly turned to drawing as a respite from his portrait work. It allowed him the freedom to pursue his passion for rendering nature and scenes of country life utilizing new stylistic effects in color, line, and material. The Morgan is pleased to present its first exhibition on this important aspect of Gainsborough’s art.”

THE EXHIBITION

The Career of a Portrait Painter

Thomas Gainsborough trained in London, where he displayed an innate talent for drawing and painting. The artist’s earliest figure drawing, A Boy with a Book and a Spade (1748), served as a study for the signboard of a village school. Minor commissions such as this were a primary source of income for a novice painter like Gainsborough as he tried to establish his career. 

In Bath, where he moved in 1759, Gainsborough emerged as the era’s most fashionable and successful portraitist. There he became fascinated with the effects of light on fabric, often using black chalk to explore different tonal solutions. His renderings of sitters’ expressions and the rich texture of their clothing led to his reputation as the Anthony van Dyck of his time.

Gainsborough would later create figure studies with models in different poses, using inventive techniques intended to capture the viewers’ eye in an instant. In Lady Walking in a Garden (ca. 1785, see page 1), the woman’s translucent silk dress is a technical tour de force: the artist superimposed fine veils of white and yellow chalk, applied both wet and dry, imitating the feathery brushstrokes that characterize his paintings.

Despite his commercial success as a figure painter, later in life Gainsborough wanted to escape from what had become for him the routine of portraiture and business life. “I am sick of Portraits” he complained in a letter to a friend, “and I wish very much to. . . walk off to some sweet village where I can . . . enjoy the fag End of Life in quietness and ease.” 

A Passion for Creating Landscapes 

Gainsborough would come to devote much of his time to creating landscapes of his own invention on paper. Laying out stones, branches, leaves, and soil of various colors on his worktable, he assembled and drew landscapes in his studio.

In his quest for original effects, the artist often looked to rugged terrain, contrasts of light and shade, and the nuances of shadow resulting from the changing seasons. He explored the rolling topography of natural settings and gothic, shadowy atmospheres in his early years. They offered him almost limitless compositional possibilities as he simultaneously conducted his technical experiments: for instance, he immersed his paper in milk and varnished it to give his landscape drawings a transparent tint. 

In the mid-1770s, Gainsborough increasingly experimented with drawing by mixing different media and applying varnish to surfaces to produce landscapes that mimicked the visual effects of oil paintings. In the following decade, he would go on to produce variations of similar compositions drawn mainly in black and white chalk: serpentine, asymmetrical landscapes with moving skies, windswept trees, solitary animals, and scenes of agrarian life.

Gainsborough also embraced printmaking. By combining different etching techniques, he produced prints in imitation of his drawings, replicating on the surface of the copper plate the same variety of textural and tonal effects that characterize his chalk drawings. He turned to aquatint to evoke the transparency of the sky and water, as seen in Wooded Landscape with Cows beside a Pool (1755-1780), a rare print from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Toward the end of his career, he began favoring concepts rather than depicting a realistic view. In Figures in a Wooded Landscape, (1785-88), trees, animals and rocks lose their shape, and parts of the landscape veer toward pure abstraction.

Gainsborough’s experiments subverted the academic conventions of drawing—by combining techniques and materials, he called into question the distinction between drawing and painting. His technical achievements became a paradigm for British art for the whole of the eighteenth century, and his later works in particular influenced the near abstract compositions of the next generation of British artists. Always in fierce pursuit of the “new” in drawing, Gainsborough lamented on his deathbed that he was “to leave life just as he was beginning to do something with his art.” 

Publication

The accompanying catalogue, Thomas Gainsborough: Experiments in Drawing, features full-page reproductions of seventeen works in the exhibition, a foreword by director Colin B. Bailey, and essays by Moore Curatorial Fellow Marco Simone Bolzoni and conservator Reba F. Snyder. 

Author: Marco Simone Bolzoni; Publisher: Paul Holberton Publishing; 84 pages 

 

Hyde-Print_Beowulf copy.jpgGlens Falls, NY—Rockwell Kent was a polarizing figure: An acclaimed artist and printmaker, a household name as traveler and author, his private mores scandalized family and friends, his social activism his political adversaries. His politics garnered him a certain degree of notoriety, while his art earned him critical acclaim. On Sunday, April 8, The Hyde Collection will open two exhibitions of the artist's works in three mediums.

Rockwell Kent: Prints from the Ralf C. Nemec Collection includes fifty-two prints and a selection of ceramics by Kent; A Life and Art of His Own: Paintings from North Country Collections features thirty-seven paintings drawn from Plattsburgh State University's Art Museum and private collectors throughout the North Country

"Kent was a Renaissance man in a century of specialists," said Caroline Welsh, director emerita of Adirondack Experience. The Adirondack art expert is guest curator of A Life and Art of His Own. "Over his lifetime, he created in almost every medium."

Kent (1882 - 1971) traveled extensively to Greenland, Tierra del Fuego, Newfoundland, Alaska, and other remote locations, transporting viewers to the rugged extremes of wilderness. His distinctive style emerged in the early 1900s and seemed inspired by the grand landscapes of the cold, bleak climes he found among the faraway mountains to which he traveled.

Many of his works were centered on the inherent good of man and nature, and the relationship between them. "Americans were simultaneously in awe of nature's power and confident of their ability to harness it to build a better future," said Jonathan Canning, director of curatorial affairs and programming at The Hyde Collection.

Kent's Modernism appealed to a large following, allowing him a successful career in major metropolitan areas despite living in rural Au Sable Forks (Clinton and Essex counties) for forty-three years. Drawn by what he deemed "humanist wilderness," he moved to the Adirondacks in 1928, building Asgaard Farm with views of Whiteface Mountain and the surrounding High Peaks. 

Among those to whom Kent's work speaks is collector Ralf C. Nemec of Deer Park, Long Island. Nemec owns the largest collection of Kent prints in the world. "The catalogue raisonne has approximately 155 prints and I'm about nine shy of that," he said.

Organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, California, the exhibition at The Hyde will be the most extensive drawn from Nemec's still-growing collection. 

Kent was an author, illustrator, painter, printmaker, and ceramicist. He studied architecture at Columbia University, painted under William Merritt Chase at Shinnecock Hills School, and studied painting with Robert Henri at the New York School of Art with classmates that included George Bellows and Edward Hopper (both of whom are represented in The Hyde's permanent collection).

Kent's painting, woodcuts, and prints fascinated viewers with portrayals of some of the earth's remotest places. Later in his career, he illustrated books, including such classic literature as Moby Dick and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

Kent's political views, however, put him at odds with many in his adopted home of the Adirondacks during the McCarthy era. "He was a great patriot and very vocal about his strong belief in social rights," Canning said. "That led to Kent being labeled a socialist, making him a controversial figure."

His career survived, though, and he had great success commercially from his home in Au Sable Forks. A Life and Art of His Own includes several paintings that are rarely exhibited, some of which are drawn from collectors in the Adirondacks. 

"There is such optimism and confidence in Rockwell Kent's imagery of man and nature," Canning said. "The clarity of his Modernist vision, evident in Mr. Nemec's superlative collection, will resonate with contemporary North Country residents."

Image: Rockwell Kent (American, 1882-1971), Beowulf: Hand Holding Sword, 1931, lithograph, 7 9/32 x 7 3/16 in., Collection of Ralf C. Nemec. By Permission of Plattsburgh State Art Museum, State University of New York.

The New York Public Library will join the City University of New York Graduate Center and the Morgan Library & Museum to present a series of simultaneous exhibitions, titled Shared Sacred Sites. The displays at each institution will highlight historic material representing holy places and holy figures of mutual significance to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The series has been curated by Karen Barkey, the Haas Distinguished Chair of Religious Diversity and Professor of Sociology at University of California, Berkeley, Dionigi Albera, Director of Research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, and Manoël Pénicaud Anthropologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research. 

Opening March 27 in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building’s Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery, the Library’s exhibition examines the history and association between the three Abrahamic faiths through important religious texts held at the 42nd Street Library. The prominent subjects of Jerusalem, Abraham, Moses, Mary, Elijah—who is identified with St. George and Khidr—and others are portrayed by 50 items that communicate religious experiences from different perspectives.

The exhibition will feature manuscripts, books, drawings, photographs, including a hand-colored foldout panorama of 15th-century Jerusalem in what is  considered the first illustrated travel guide, an exquisite Renaissance Book of Hours with images of Mary, a series of prints by Tiepolo, two illuminated manuscript editions of the Islamic Stories of the Prophets, and 19th-century archaeological photographs by Francis Frith and Félix Bonfils.

At the CUNY Graduate Center’s Amie and Tony James Gallery, Shared Sacred Sites focuses on the contemporary practices of Jews, Christians or Muslims who choose to worship in the same holy places with documentaries, photography, ethnographic material and contemporary art. Visitors to the exhibition will discover contemporary situations in several locations, like the cities of Bethlehem, Ephesus, Haifa, Hebron, and Istanbul, the Mount Carmel, the island of Djerba.

The Morgan Library & Museum will exhibit the renowned Morgan Picture Bible. The 13th-century illustrated Old Testament was originally designed in France without text. But, as the book was circulated across civilizations, explanatory captions in Latin, Persian and Judeo-Persian were added by members of the three Abrahamic faiths, creating a manuscript that is not only beautiful but a testament to exchanges between cultures. The multilingual commentary on shared Biblical stories reveals how they were popularized as they became part of the Christian Bible and the Qur’an.

Throughout the world, our discourse on civility and inclusion has been shattered by divisive rhetoric. The Shared Sacred Sites Project puts forward a powerful story of tolerance and cross-faith, cross-cultural co-existence. The project strives to be a critical exhibition on cross cultural coexistence where we explore the possibility of sharing sacred sites between Jews, Christians and Muslims. This project aims to bring an alternative narrative to this contemporary public discourse of estrangement, separation and religious hatred of the other.

In celebration of the Shared Sacred Sites project, the Library will host a conversation with Cheik Khaled Bentounès, Rabbi Rolando Matalon and Minister and Theologian Cláudio Carvalhaes, moderated by Anisa Mehdi, acclaimed journalist and filmmaker and director of the Abraham’s Path Initiative. The three faith leaders will discuss the relationship between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, exploring notions of mutual tolerance and how each religion can promote “living together in peace.”

Before New York, different versions of Shared Sacred Sites were presented at the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (Mucem) in Marseille (2015), at the Bardo Museum in Tunis (2016), and in Thessaloniki (2017), Paris (2017), and Marrakesh (2018). These exhibits share a common core, yet they also are new as interpretations of the local context and the treasures of the institutions involved.

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 8.22.17 AM.pngKansas City, MO-The Big Picture: A Transformative Gift from the Hall Family Foundation opens April 28 at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. The exhibition coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Hall Family Foundation and features nearly 100 newly acquired photographs purchased with a special $10 million grant given to the Nelson-Atkins by the Foundation. More than 800 photographs were purchased with the gift from 2015-2017.

“This exhibition is the first opportunity for our visitors to discover the great works we acquired over the past three years, thanks to the incredible gift from the Hall Family Foundation,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO & Director of the Nelson-Atkins. “With this gift, the Nelson-Atkins has significantly enhanced its stature as one of the greatest repositories of the history of photography. Scholars will be able to study the depth of our collection, and art lovers will enjoy this collection for many years to come.”

The acquisition process and the selection of works in The Big Picture were a collaborative effort by the photography department’s Keith F. Davis, senior curator; April M. Watson, curator; and Jane L. Aspinwall, associate curator. Davis has overseen the Hallmark Photographic Collection for nearly 40 years. He arrived in Kansas City after interning at the George Eastman House in 1979 to begin a six-month stint as cataloguer of the collection; he never left.

“This gift has allowed us to take a nationally-renowned collection and bring it up a full notch,” said Davis. “We built up our holding of 19th and 20th century American and European work, and made major strides with international contemporary pieces. We were  really able to acquire great things across the board.”

The Hall Family Foundation has supported a great variety of programs and initiatives that effect positive change in the greater Kansas City community. The Foundation’s president, William A. Hall, said, “The Foundation began in 1943, and has made significant contributions to the Kansas City area for 75 years. Donald J. Hall has been consistent in his support of excellence over the years, and the photography collection at the Nelson-Atkins is excellent.”

The special $10 million gift allowed the curators to build on the collection’s existing strengths—primarily its broad holding of American daguerreotypes and paper photographs—and to enhance its representation of 19th-and 20th-century European and contemporary international works. These new acquisitions span the entire history of the medium, from an 1826 print by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, the inventor of photography, to a 2016 work by legendary musician and artist Patti Smith. Many of history’s most famous names are represented, including Nadar, Gustave Le Gray, Edward Steichen, Jaromir Funke, Claude Cahun, Alfred Eisenstadt, Dorothea Lange, W. Eugene Smith, Robert Frank, and Diane Arbus. Also represented are leading contemporary artists such as Cindy Sherman, Paul Graham, Ellsworth Kelly, Carrie Mae Weems, Dayanita Singh, Ilit Azoulay, Thomas Struth, Candida Hofer, and Thomas Demand. This three-year initiative has resulted in the addition of more than 800 objects, made over a span of 190 years, by artists from more than a dozen countries.

In December 2005, Hallmark transferred its entire photographic collection of 6,500 works to the Nelson-Atkins. The museum’s photographic holdings immediately expanded from 1,000 to 7,500 works and now numbers about 15,000. Since 2006, the Hall Family Foundation has provided vital support for this department.

The Big Picture, April 28-Oct. 7, 2018, highlights about 100 of the most significant of these acquisitions and will be presented in all 3,000 sq. ft. of the museum’s dedicated photography galleries. The exhibition will be accompanied by a small publication authored by Davis on the history of photography at the museum, at Hallmark, and in the Kansas City community.

Image: Albert Sands Southworth (1811-1894) and Josiah Johnson Hawes (1808-1901). Portrait of a young girl, ca. 1850. Daguerreotype, 8 1/2 × 6 1/2 inches. Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 56.2017.2.

Amherst, MA -- In 1970, Eric Carle published The Tiny Seed, which chronicles the life cycle of a plant across the four seasons. It was the first of many stories he would illustrate about the wonders of nature at all times of year. The Art of Eric Carle: Seasons celebrates five decades of Carle's seasonal imagery, from hibernating bears in winter and hatching chicks in spring to colorful flowers in summer and apple trees ripe for picking in fall. The exhibition, on view April 3 through August 26, 2018, features Carle's iconic collage art from 15 picture books as well as several never-before seen watercolors. It also includes a special display, Eric Loves Bobbie, of personal artwork Carle dedicated to his late wife throughout their 42-year marriage. 

The Art of Eric Carle: Seasons features original art from Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother Too?, Draw Me a Star, Little Cloud, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, Animals, Animals, and I See a Song, among other titles. Carle's work for other authors, such as Norma B. Green's The Hole in the Dyke, Arnold Sundgaard's The Lamb and the Butterfly, and Alice McLerran's The Mountain that Loved a Bird are also on display. Linoleum prints, which Carle created in 1965 for the cookbook Red-Flannel Hash and Shoo-Fly Pie, are showcased. Also included are several never-before-seen watercolors and unpublished drawings and collages, all providing glimpses into Carle's working method and personal interests.  

There are several activities for guests to enjoy in the gallery. A custom-designed "book garden"--which grows both felted vegetables and real books!--encourages visitors to harvest a story. There are flip-and-find character surprises among the exhibition graphics (including the Very Hungry Caterpillar!). In keeping with the theme of seasons, guests can manipulate felted tree forms to mirror the season they love most. 

Love is a central theme in the mini-exhibition Eric Loves Bobbie. Carle often presented Bobbie with gifts of art to celebrate their anniversary or to mark other special occasions. He shares some of these pieces, including a Christmas portrait of their dog Tock and a sweet Valentine of a cat licking its paw. 

Chief curator Ellen Keiter says the idea for The Art of Eric Carle: Seasons developed while planning for Bobbie's Meadow, a two-year project that will debut in June and honor the Museum's late co-founder. The new outdoor space, in which visitors can experience every season of the year, inspired Keiter to think about the cycles of nature, growth, and renewal--all themes present in the exhibition. "Once I landed on the subject, it was fun to research Eric's artwork of the various animals, plants, and activities associated with the different seasons," says Keiter. "I was particularly excited to discover early floral watercolor paintings and a garden plan Eric sketched for his former home in nearby Hawley." Keiter adds, "I'm eagerly anticipating springtime and the exciting new exhibitions and programs it will bring."

Bobbie's Meadow: A Celebration and Dedication

June 23, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Join Eric Carle and Museum staff for a ribbon-cutting and grand opening of Bobbie's Meadow, a new outdoor space in the Museum's orchard. Visit www.carlemuseum.org for more information. 

Wenner scroll (cropped) copy.jpgThe Manuscripts Meet the World: Handwriting from Around the World is the culmination of a months-long partnership between Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML). This exhibition—which complements HMML’s ongoing lecture series at MCBA exploring the history of the book—showcases manuscript samples from HMML’s extensive collections. The manuscripts in the exhibition hail from around the globe and throughout history, but their purpose is the same: to highlight the universality of handwriting as an inextricable part of human life and creativity. The manuscripts on display will include codices, scrolls, and other book styles from European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and African cultures.

The exhibition runs from March 22 to July 8 in Open Book’s Cowles Literary Commons located at MCBA. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Open Book’s regular hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 am to 8 pm, and Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm.

Founded in 1965 as the Monastic Microfilm Library, HMML initially focused on preserving works from Benedictine monastic libraries in Austria in reaction to Cold War-era tensions. After decades of successful work throughout Europe, it eventually broadened its cultural focus. Because of HMML’s early preservation work with Christian manuscripts, scholars around the world have access to manuscripts that document Western Europe’s history and culture from the early modern period. In 2003, HMML broadened its focus and began digitizing Islamic manuscript collections and secular documents with themes ranging from science and medicine to music. The Manuscripts Meet the World exemplifies this inclusivity and recognizes HMML and MCBA’s shared appreciation of the written word.

Located at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, HMML is a non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, digitally photograph, catalog and archive endangered manuscripts belonging to threatened communities around the world. Having formed partnerships with over 540 libraries and archives, HMML has photographically preserved over 250,000 manuscripts from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India.

HMML is currently preserving manuscript collections in many global sites, including Croatia, India, Lebanon, Iraq, Jerusalem, Egypt, Mali, Malta, Montenegro, Ukraine and Yemen. These resources are available online through the vHMML, (Virtual HMML), HMML’s online resource for manuscript research.  

HMML is also the home of The Saint John’s Bible, a handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University commissioned in 1998. Other rare manuscripts and books in HMML’s collections include early prints of the Bible and Qur’an, liturgical texts, book art, and medieval manuscript fragments. Local, national, and international news outlets including the Minneapolis Star Tribune, CBS’ 60 Minutes, and BBC World News Service have recognized HMML’s work to preserve and make accessible the world’s manuscript collections.

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing, and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit www.mnbookarts.org.

Neff_125 copy.jpgThe Bibliophile as Bookbinder:  The Angling Bindings of S.A. Neff, Jr., a new exhibit exploring one man’s passion for the natural world and the world of books, will open with a reception on Friday, February 23 from 6-9pm at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.  The show will continue for two months, and a comprehensive retrospective catalogue and forty-seven minute documentary will accompany the exhibition.

Over five decades ago, Mr. Neff began a serious pursuit of trout fishing and collecting books on the art of angling.  His travels took him to some of the most picturesque and challenging trout rivers in this country and abroad.  His collection of angling books grew into a proper library of three thousand volumes—the oldest dating from 1554—with a focus on fly-fishing for trout and salmon.

In the early 1980s, Mr. Neff transitioned from a career in graphic design to fine bookbinding.  An autodidact by nature, he began his training with occasional workshops and seminars sponsored by the Guild of Book Workers.  Since 1986, his work has been exhibited in at home and abroad.  

Neff is cognizant of the traditional structures in bookbinding that have evolved over numerous centuries.  He has chosen to embrace rather than negate these traditions.  However, he prefers to stretch the boundaries whenever possible.  For over two decades he has focused his binding efforts exclusively on work for his angling library.  Neff has created sets of bindings with multiple volumes contained in drop-back boxes.  Usually working with goatskin, the design on the box serves as an introduction to its contents.  Even single volumes are housed in a decorative box.  The works range from bindings with intricate pictorial panels of Japanese dyed paper to decorative leather bindings with multiple onlays and elaborate gold tooling. In bridging centuries of binding design, Neff has often focused on modern interpretations of 17th and 18th century panel designs.  His collection of angling bindings is unique in its genre, and will remain intact in perpetuity.

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing, and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through book arts workshops and programming for adults, youth, families, K-12 students, and teachers. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit www.mnbookarts.org.

1517421670148.jpgWashington, DC—For more than 40 years, Sally Mann (b. 1951) has made experimental, elegiac, and hauntingly beautiful photographs that explore the overarching themes of existence: memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and nature's magisterial indifference to human endeavor. What unites this broad body of work—figure studies, landscapes, and architectural views—is that it is all bred of a place, the American South. Using her deep love of her homeland and her knowledge of its historically fraught heritage, Mann asks powerful, provocative questions—about history, identity, race, and religion—that reverberate across geographic and national boundaries.

Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings, the first major survey of this celebrated artist to travel internationally, investigates how Mann's relationship with her native land—a place rich in literary and artistic traditions but troubled by history—has shaped her work. The exhibition brings together 115 photographs, many exhibited for the first time. On view in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, from March 4 through May 28, 2018, the exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, presenting an in-depth exploration of the evolution of Mann's art, and a short film highlighting her technical process.

"In her compelling photographs, Mann uses the personal to allude to the universal, considering intimate questions of family, memory, and death while also evoking larger concerns about the influence of the South's past on its present," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington. "With the acquisition of works from the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 2014, the National Gallery is now one of the largest repositories of Mann's photographs. We are grateful for the opportunity to work closely with the artist in presenting a wide selection of the work she has created over four decades."

Exhibition Support

The exhibition is supported by a generous grant from the Trellis Fund. Additional support is provided by Sally Engelhard Pingree and The Charles Engelhard Foundation.

Exhibition Organization and Curators

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts.

The exhibition is curated by Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head of the department of photographs, National Gallery of Art, and Sarah Kennel, The Byrne Family Curator of Photography, Peabody Essex Museum.

Exhibition Tour

*National Gallery of Art, Washington, March 4-May 28, 2018 *Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, June 30-September 23, 2018
*The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, November 20, 2018-February 10, 2019
*Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, March 3-May 27, 2019
*Jeu de Paume, Paris, June 17 -September 22, 2019
*High Museum of Art, Atlanta, October 19, 2019 -January 12, 2020

Exhibition Highlights

The seeds for Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings were planted in 2014, when National Gallery of Art curators undertook a review of photographs from the Corcoran Gallery of Art after its collections were placed under the stewardship of the National Gallery. Among the Corcor­an's works were 25 photographs by Sally Mann, made from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s. With the addition of these works, plus several more acquired through purchase, the National Gallery became one of the largest public repositories of Mann's photographs in the country. The curators' interest in mounting an exhibition of Mann's art deepened when they realized that despite her immense talent and prominence, the full range of Mann's work had not yet received sufficient and widespread scholarly and critical atten­tion.

Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings is organized into five sections—Family, The Land, Last Measure, Abide with Me, and What Remains. The exhibition opens with works from the 1980s, when Mann began to photograph her three children at the family's remote summer cabin on the Maury River near Lexington, Virginia. Taken with an 8 x 10 inch view camera, the family picturesrefute the stereotypes of childhood, offering instead unsettling visions of its complexity. Rooted in the experience of a particular natural environment—the arcadian woodlands, rocky cliffs, and languid rivers—these works convey the inextricable link between the family and their land, and the sanctuary and freedom that it provided them.

The exhibition continues in The Land with photographs of the swamplands, fields, and ruined estates Mann encountered as she traveled across Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi in the 1990s. Hoping to capture what she called the "radical light of the American South," Mann made pictures in Virginia that glow with a tremulous light, while those made in Georgia and Mississippi are more blasted and bleak. In these photographs, Mann was also experimenting with antique lenses and the 19th-century collodion wet plate process and printing in a much larger size (30 x 38 and 40 x 50 inches). The resulting photographic effects, including light flares, vignetting, blurs, streaks and scratches, serve as metaphors for the South as a site of memory, defeat, ruin, and rebirth. Mann then used these same techniques for her photographs of Civil War battlefields in the exhibition's third section, Last Measure. These brooding and elusive pictures evoke the land as history's graveyard, silently absorbing the blood and bones of the many thousands who perished in battles such as Antietam, Appomattox, Chancellorsville, Cold Harbor, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Spotsylvania, and the Wilderness.

The fourth section, Abide with Me, merges four series of photographs to explore how race and history shaped the landscape of Virginia as well as Mann's own childhood and adolescence. Expanding her understanding of the land as not only a vessel for memory but also a story of struggle and survival, Mann made a series of starkly beautiful tintypes between 2006 and 2015 in the Great Dismal Swamp—home to many fugitive slaves in the years before the Civil War—and along nearby rivers in southeastern Virginia where Nat Turner led a rebellion of enslaved people on August 21, 1831. Here, Mann's use of the tintype process—essentially a collodion negative on a sheet of darkened tin—yields a rich, liquid-like surface with deep blacks that mirror the bracken swamp and rivers. Merging her techniques with metaphoric possibilities, she conveyed the region's dual history as the site of slavery and death but also freedom and sanctuary. Mann also photographed numerous 19th-century African American churches near her home in Lexington. Founded in the decades immediately after the Civil War when African Americans in Virginia could worship without the presence of a white minister for the first time, these humble but richly evocative churches seem alive with the spirit that inspired their creation and the memories of those who prayed there.

Also included in Abide with Me are photographs of Virginia "Gee-Gee" Carter, the African American woman who worked for Mann's family for 50 years. A defining and beloved presence in Mann's life, Carter was also the person who taught Mann the profoundly complicated and charged nature of race relations in the South. The final component of this section is a group of pictures of African American men rendered in large prints (50 x 40 inches) made from collodion negatives. Representing Mann's desire to reach across "the seemingly untraversable chasm of race in the American South," these beautiful but provocative photographs examine an "abstract gesture heated up in the crucible of our association," as Bill T. Jones, who in part inspired the series, once said.

The final section of the exhibition, What Remains, explores themes of time, transformation, and death through photographs of Mann and her family. Her enduring fascination with decay and the body's vulnerability to the ravages of time is evident in a series of spectral portraits of her children's faces and intimate photographs detailing the changing body of her husband Larry, who suffers from muscular dystrophy. The exhibition closes with several riveting self-portraits Mann made in the wake of a grave riding accident. Here, her links to southern literature and her preoccupation with decay are in full evidence: the pitted, scratched, ravaged, and cloudy surfaces of the ambrotypes function as analogues for the body's corrosion and death. The impression of the series as a whole is of an artist confronting her own mortality with composure and conviction.

Sally Mann

Born in 1951 in Lexington, Virginia, Sally Mann continues to live and work in Rockbridge County. Mann developed her first roll of film in 1969 and began to work as a professional photographer in 1972. She attended Bennington College, Vermont, and graduated in 1974 with a BA in literature from Hollins College, Roanoke, Virginia where she earned an MA in creative writing the following year. She has exhibited widely and published her photographs in the books Second Sight: The Photographs of Sally Mann (1983), Sweet Silent Thought: Platinum Prints by Sally Mann (1987), At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women (1988), Immediate Family (1992), Still Time (1994), Mother Land: Recent Landscapes of Georgia and Virginia (1997), What Remains (2003), Deep South (2005), Sally Mann: Photographs and Poetry (2005), Proud Flesh (2009), Sally Mann: The Flesh and the Spirit (2010), and Remembered Light: Cy Twombly in Lexington (2016). Mann's best selling memoir, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs (2015), was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has received numerous honors as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2011 Mann delivered the prestigious William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University.

Catalog and Related Programs

Published by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, in association with Abrams, this richly illustrated monograph constitutes an in-depth exploration of the evolution of Mann's art through its five sections: Family, The Land, Last Measure, Abide with Me, and What Remains. Plate sections are enriched by the inclusion of quotations by Mann herself and by her most beloved authors. Essays by curators Sarah Greenough and Sarah Kennel analyze Mann's photographic development in concert with her literary interests and Mann's family photographs, respectively. In their valuable contributions, Hilton Als, New Yorker staff writer and recipient of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism; Malcolm Daniel, Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Drew Gilpin Faust, president and Lincoln Professor of History, Harvard University, explore literary and photographic responses to racism in the South; Mann's debt to 19th-century photographers and techniques; and the landscape as repository of cultural and personal memory. Featuring 230 color illustrations, the 332-page catalog is available in hardcover at shop.nga.gov, or by calling (800) 697-9350 or (202) 842-6002; faxing (202) 789-3047; or emailing mailorder@nga.gov.

Lecture
Introduction to the Exhibition
March 4 at 2:00 p.m.
East Building Auditorium
Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head of the department of photographs, National Gallery of Art

Public Symposium
Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings
April 14 at 10:30 a.m.
East Building Auditorium
Illustrated lectures by noted scholars
Made possible by the James D. and Kathryn K. Steele Fund for Photography.

Documentary Film
An eight-minute documentary demonstrating Mann's artistic process is screened in the exhibition.

Image: Sally Mann, Oak Hill Baptist 01:01, 2008-2016, gelatin silver print, collection of the artist, image © Sally Mann

 

PaddingtonCC.jpgAmherst, MA—Sixty years ago, the story of a bear from Darkest Peru found a place in children's literary history when William Collins published A Bear Called Paddington. This coming April, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is proud to be the first American museum to feature the beloved bear in Paddington Comes to America. This exhibition is on view from April 14th through October 7th and is generously supported by HarperCollins Children's Books and YOTTOY Productions. 

On Christmas Eve in 1956, Michael Bond spotted a lonely bear in a London shop. He took it home as a present for his wife and they named it Paddington, after the nearby railway station. Michael, then working as a BBC cameraman, began writing a story about the bear. Bond recalled, "After ten days I found that I had a book on my hands. It wasn't written specifically for children, but I think I put into it the kind of things I liked reading about when I was young." A Bear Called Paddington was first published in 1958. 

Bond continued writing and 15 Paddington novels, numerous picture books, and many compilations and gift editions have been published since. Today, more than 35 million Paddington books have been sold worldwide and they have been translated into 40 different languages, including Latin. For the last 37 years of his life, Bond lived in London, not far from Paddington Station where it all began. He continued to write until shortly before his death in June 2017 at age 91.

Paddington Comes to America brings together copies of notes from one of Bond's notebooks, his typewriter, first edition books, memorabilia, and 70 original illustrations by six artists, including a black-and-white line drawing by Peggy Fortnum, the first artist to create a visual image of Paddington. Eager for Paddington to be convincing, Fortnum visited the London Zoo to sketch and photograph bears. She described her challenges: "The line has to be expressive. I do lots of drawings. Humorous drawing is more difficult than any other kind of drawing." Fortnum's charming illustrations, matching the warmth of Bond's story, made the idea of a talking bear from Peru seem perfectly reasonable. Bond said of Fortnum: "She thought very highly of Paddington, as I did of her. It was a happy combination."

In the seventies and eighties, several illustrators worked on various Paddington projects. In 1972, Bond wrote the first in a series of books for younger readers. These picture books required a more detailed illustrative style than the novels and Fred Banbery was hired as the artist. Banbery illustrated six Paddington picture books. Museum visitors can view his watercolors from Paddington at the Seaside in the exhibition.  

In 1975, illustrator and animator Ivor Wood designed the puppet for the original Paddington television series. Wood also developed a drawn cartoon strip of Paddington that the London Evening News published in the late 1970s. Wood's drawings appeared on a number of products that were licensed around the same time, including a successful stationery line. His six illustrations on view show his penchant for bright colors and bold outlines.   

In the 1980s David McKee, who was already well known for writing and illustrating his own books, including King Rollo, Elmer, and Mr. Benn, was hired as the new artist for Paddington. Seven of McKee's paintings from Paddington at the Zoo are showcased in the exhibition. Barry Macey, who was an in-house artist with Paddington & Co., Ltd., created the artwork for much of the older products and some of the prints. His illustrations from Paddington in the Hot Seat, Paddington Passes Through, and Paddington Takes a Cut are on display. 

Paddington Comes to America also features the work of New England artist R. W. Alley. In 1997 Alley was commissioned to illustrate a new series of Paddington picture books by HarperCollins for an American audience. His version of Paddington worked so well that, two decades later, Alley continues to illustrate the Paddington books. He worked closely with Bond to develop the visual look of each story. Alley notes the author's openness to change: Bond insisted the first book be re-illustrated to reflect a major renovation at Paddington Station. And although Paddington never ages, he is always relevant for the time. Alley's art from more than 20 Paddington picture books is on exhibit, along with some of his preliminary sketches and dummy books. 

Paddington's status as a cultural icon does not go unnoticed in the exhibition. On view are copies of stills from the 1970s stop-motion television series as well as images from the two recent blockbuster Paddington movies. A display of limited-edition plush bears includes a Gabrielle bear. Gabrielle was the first company to create a Paddington bear and was responsible for giving Paddington his Wellington boots, to help him stand up. 

Surely one of the highlights for guests to Paddington Comes to America is a recreated double-decker bus. Guests are invited to board the "hop on/hop off" bus, which also doubles as a reading area. Young visitors will receive special Paddington London Bus Passes and will be encouraged to learn more about the famous sites in London featured around the gallery, having their passes stamped at each location.  

Programming:  

Members Reception: Paddington Comes to America

Saturday, April 21, 2018, 5:00 pm Reception; 6:15 pm Paddington Bear at 60, with Paddington Bear Illustrator R. W. Alley. Members RSVP by April 16 to Jenny Darling Stasinos at membership@carlemuseum.org.

Gallery Talk with R. W. Alley and Ellen Keiter

Sunday, April 22, 2018, 1:00pm. Free with Museum Admission. 

Join Artist R. W. Alley and Chief Curator Ellen Keiter for a gallery talk in the special exhibition Paddington Comes to America, which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the iconic Paddington Bear.

Special Storytime: R. W. Alley**

Sunday, April 22, 2018, 2:00 pm. Free with Museum admission. 

R. W. Alley has illustrated over one hundred books for children and, for the past twenty years, has illustrated Michael Bond's Paddington books in all their formats. Join us for a special story time and drawing demonstration with Alley as he reads one of the charming Paddington picture books. 

**Book signing to follow program. Can't make it to the event? You may reserve signed books online or contact The Carle Bookshop at shop@carlemuseum.org.

About The Carle

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. A leading advocate in its field, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture-book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

Eric Carle and his wife, the late Barbara Carle, co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 43,000-square foot facility has served more than 750,000 visitors, including 50,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and Master's degree programs in children's literature with Simmons College. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call (413) 559-6300 or visit the Museum's website at www.carlemuseum.org.

Image: R. W. Alley, Illustration for A Bear Called Paddington, HarperCollins, 2007. Courtesy of the artist. © R. W. Alley 2018.

1510845370992.jpgWashington, DC—One of the most innovative Italian books of the early baroque period, the Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Vernia, published in 1612, illustrates the experiences of Saint Francis and the buildings of the Franciscan community at La Verna. Drawing from the Gallery's rich holdings of works with Franciscan imagery, Heavenly Earth: Images of Saint Francis at La Verna contextualizes this publication alongside some 30 traditional representations from the late 15th through the mid-18th century. Heavenly Earth will be on view on the ground floor of the West Building from February 25 through July 8, 2018.

"We are very fortunate to have two copies of the first edition of the Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Vernia," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "This exhibition offers a special opportunity to share outstanding prints depicting Franciscan themes from the permanent collection as well as from the Kirk Edward Long Collection."

In September 1224, in the wilderness of La Verna, a mountain in the Casentino Valley in Tuscany, Francis of Assisi began a 40-day fast and contemplation of Christ's Passion, during which he prayed to share in Christ's suffering. The legendary answer was a fiery, six-winged seraph enfolding the figure of a man on a cross. When the seraph departed, Francis's body was imprinted with the crucifixion wounds of Christ, which the friar bore for the remaining two years of his life. Francis's mystical union and unprecedented stigmatization on La Verna was a critical event in Western spirituality and proved to be the effective birth of modern monasticism. La Verna is an active monastery today and is the second most holy site for the Franciscan Order, after Assisi.

Exhibition Organization and Support

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Exhibition Highlights

On view in the exhibition will be two first-edition copies of the Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Vernia, acquired by the Gallery in 2012 and 2013. In 1608, Brother Lino Moroni invited the head of the Florentine Accademia del Disegno and gifted draftsman and painter Jacopo Ligozzi to illustrate not just Francis's experiences on the mountain but also the area's topography and the buildings of the Franciscan community established there. The resulting work, the Descrizione del Sacro Monte della Vernia (1612), combined meticulous observation and unique vantage points in a set of 22 illustrations, which were then engraved by Raffaello Schiaminossi and Domenico Falcini. Five of the engravings include overslips—paper tabs showing the contemporary topography that, when lifted, reveal an earlier view of the landscape.

Other highlights in the exhibition include early works such as the refined miniature leaf Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata (1470s) by Cosmè Tura as well as anonymous woodcuts, which demonstrate the variety of early artistic interpretations of the stigmatization. Later prints after paintings by Federico Barocci and Peter Paul Rubens incorporate specific visual details of the event based on accounts published in I Fioretti di San Francesco and its appended Considerazione, translated into Italian in 1477. Although the majority of works feature Saint Francis receiving the stigmata at La Verna, the exhibition also includes a range of Franciscan iconographic themes popular in the Counter-Reformation, such as the saint's rapt prayers in the wilderness, his devotion to the Madonna and child, and the Pardon of Assisi.

Exhibition Curator

The exhibition is curated by Ginger Hammer, assistant curator, department of old master prints, National Gallery of Art.

Image: Cosmè Tura, Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata, 1470s miniature on vellum National Gallery of Art, Washington, Rosenwald Collection

 

ca-sycamore_500.jpgSan Marino, CA — One of the planet's most important and beautiful resources—its trees—will be spotlighted in a traveling exhibition of contemporary botanical artworks, on view May 19-Aug. 27, 2018, at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. "Out of the Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens" is organized by The New York Botanical Garden and the American Society of Botanical Artists. It is their third triennial exhibition. 

"Out of the Woods" highlights the role public gardens and arboreta play in engaging visitors with trees and their ecological and utilitarian roles. It also underscores the conservation, research, and scholarship being undertaken by these public institutions. 

The juried show includes 43 artworks, selected from a field of more than 200 submissions, each one depicting a tree cultivated in a public collection in locations spanning five continents. Specimens from small county arboreta are displayed alongside those from some of the world's most renowned botanical gardens, including The Huntington (as well as its nearby neighbor, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia).

Working in watercolor, oil, graphite, colored pencil, and ink, these international artists have depicted everything from seedpods to bark to an entire forest floor. 

"By bringing these subjects to life through their work, this extraordinary group of botanical artists creates new pathways for communicating the beauty and value of plants to contemporary life," said James Folsom, the Telleen/Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens at The Huntington. "I can't think of a more critical time than now to be hosting this show and talking about this topic."

While historically botanical illustration served the scientific purpose of helping to identify and categorize plants, today it plays a significant role in educating the public about the importance of conservation. It's an increasingly urgent subject: worldwide, trees are being destroyed by deforestation, development, and the effects of climate change. The urgency resonates locally, as well: trees throughout Southern California—including many on the grounds of The Huntington—are being lost in alarming numbers to invasive pests and diseases. Botanical gardens and arboreta are at the forefront of the fight to save them. (To cite just one example: The Huntington's staff is working closely with other experts to collect data on a tiny but destructive beetle, the polyphagous shot hole borer, and collaborating on ways to address that threat.)

The planet's own well-being relies heavily on its trees: they help clean the air and moderate temperatures, provide habitat and food for animals, absorb storm water and prevent erosion, and contribute to the health of the environment in countless other ways.

"With our growing understanding of global climate issues, trees' importance to our very survival is becoming clearer," said Carol Woodin, director of exhibitions for the American Society of Botanical Artists. "Trees breathe life into us both literally and figuratively. Botanical artists are responding to this, with many in this exhibition professing a particular connection with their subjects."

A number of the trees depicted in "Out of the Woods" are familiar species that viewers will recognize from their own neighborhoods and home gardens, such as the California Sycamore (Platanus racemosa), by artist Deborah Friedman, who created her detailed study of the tree's leaves, flowers, seed balls, and bark from a specimen at The Huntington. Others are more exotic, such as the Screw-Pine (Pandanus utilis), by artist Margaret Best, captured in the Bermuda Arboretum in Devonshire, Bermuda; or the Soursop Tree (Annona muricata) by Wendy Hollender, from the McBryde Garden, National Tropical Botanical Garden in Koloa, Hawaii. Even the bonsai form is represented: the show's Gold Medal winner is a stunning oil painting of a Black Pine Half-Cascade-Style Bonsai (Pinus nigra), by artist Asuka Hishiki, from a tree in the collection of the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum in Saitama, Japan.

"Out of the Woods" opened at the New York Botanical Garden (Nov 18, 2017-April 22, 2018) and will travel to three other venues around the country following its stop at The Huntington: Foundry Art Centre, St. Charles, Missouri (Oct. 5-Dec. 28, 2018); Tucson Botanical Garden, Tucson, Arizona (Jan. 25-April 13, 2019); and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, Minnesota (May 9-Aug. 13, 2019). 

The exhibition will be on view during regular public hours in the Flora-Legium gallery in The Huntington's Brody Botanical Center.

Exhibition Catalog: "Out of the Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens" is accompanied by a full-color catalog published by the New York Botanical Garden. 60 pages; paperback. $12. Available in the Huntington Store. thehuntingtonstore.org.

Related program: Drop-in family activities centered around botanical art will be offered in the Brody Botanical Center every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. throughout the run of the exhibition. The activities will be facilitated by members of the Botanical Artists' Guild of Southern California (BAGSC), a chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists. An adjunct exhibition, "Amazing Trees," featuring works by BAGSC members, will be on view in an adjacent space in the Botanical Center.

Image: Deborah Friedman, California Sycamore (2016), Platanus racemosa, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California. Watercolor and ink on paper, 24 x 19 inches. © Deborah Friedman. Courtesy of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the New York Botanical Garden.

 

Codex_CX-078-1294_Banner.jpgThe Codex and Crafts in Late Antiquity, a Bard Graduate Center Focus Project on view from February 23 through July 8, 2018, examines the structural, technical, and decorative features of the major types of codices—the wooden tablet codex, the single-gathering codex, and the multigathering codex. Exhibited alongside surviving artifacts, documentary, and iconographic evidence, handmade replicas are used to explore the craft processes that were applied in the making of these early books. The exhibition presents the codex not as an invention but rather as an innovation that depended on techniques already widely used in the creation of everyday items such as socks and shoes, and reveals that the codex was a fascinating, yet practical, development. 

Background 

The codex, which appears to be a result of Roman ingenuity, is one of the most important innovations in the history of civilization. Throughout Greco-Roman antiquity, the standard format for an extended written text had been the papyrus roll. Literary evidence suggests that the Romans, following the structural and functional principles of the tablet codex, turned from wooden tablets to papyrus and parchment leaves—already used for informal notebooks—and produced the codex, or the book in the format we know it today. 

The transition from roll to codex took place gradually between the second and fifth centuries AD under conditions long debated. Based on surviving evidence it seems that in the early centuries the new book format was not often used for Latin and Greek literary texts, for which the roll continued to be used. Rather, it was apparently the whole-hearted Christian adoption of the codex that is often credited with establishing it as the standard format of the book, as monks and scholars helped spread the religion from the Middle East to the rest of the Mediterranean and beyond. Ultimately, evidence points to a close relation between the craft technologies employed in making the multigathering codex and those used in common objects—woven textiles, baskets, mats, socks, shoes, and sandals. 

The Exhibition 

The Codex and Crafts in Late Antiquity provides a concise history of the first steps of the codex book format from a technical and technological point of view. Specifically it focuses on the different techniques used to turn leaves of papyrus or parchment into a functional book that could be safely used and preserved. 

The first section looks at the precursors—the wooden tablets and single-gathering notebook-style codices— that informed the multigathering codex. Along with replicas or facsimiles of these two basic types of codices, two spectacular antiquities will be on view: an original set of wooden tablets from the Brooklyn Museum con- taining school exercises and a “kylix” or drinking vessel with red-figure decoration illustrating the portability of such tablets. The larger gallery revolves around the five main processes used to make a bound, multigathering codex: the sewing of the gatherings, the attachment of the boards to the book block, the sewing of endbands at the head and tail edges of the spine, the covering of the book with often highly decorative leather, and the addition of fastening straps. All of these processes can be directly related to specific crafts that were in active production during antiquity, as will be demonstrated in the exhibition. 

The sewing used to bind gatherings was adapted from a technique known as cross-knit looping, which was used extensively in late antiquity, notably for socks. The sewing of the boards to the book block is based on such basic stitches as the blanket stitch, ubiquitous in fabrics since prehistoric times. The sewing of the endbands— the tiny strips of fabric visible at either end of the spine—can be directly related to the different techniques used for finishing the edges of textiles and mats and for strengthening as well as decorating them. The cut, stitched, stamped, and gilded decoration on leather covers exactly matches shoe-making techniques while the patterns used correspond to those found on other artifacts, such as mosaics and textiles. Finally, the different fastening straps used with these books are identical to those used in sandals and belts. 

To illustrate these relationships, a limited number of original artifacts will be displayed—book covers, shoes, sandals, wooden tablets, and tunic fragments—as well as replicas of ancient artifacts. A particular highlight will be the intricately stitched and gilded covers of a ninth-tenth-century AD Gospels purchased for J. Pierpont Morgan in 1911, which, although well known to scholars, have been rarely put on public view. Along with the Morgan Library and Museum, lenders include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and other major institutions. A handful of makers, including the exhibition’s curator, provided the mod- ern replicas and facsimiles on view. A digital interactive featuring the curator’s hand-drawn diagrams and a short film showing his working methods will both serve to further explicate these early bookbinding processes and emphasize the work of skilled hands in creating—and rediscovering—these crafts from late antiquity. 

The Codex and Crafts in Late Antiquity is curated by Georgios Boudalis, Head of the Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory, Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki, Greece; Research Fellow, Bard Graduate Center, February-May, 2015: and Visiting Professor, Bard Graduate Center, September-December, 2016. The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated book, which will be available in the Gallery and the Store. 

About Bard Graduate Center Focus Projects 

Focus Projects are part of an innovative program organized and led by faculty members or postdoctoral fellows through seminars and workshops that culminate in small-scale, academically rigorous exhibitions and publications. Students, assisted by the Center’s professional staff of curators, designers, and media specialists, are closely involved from genesis through execution and contribute to each project’s form and content. The Focus Project promotes experimentation in display, interpretation, and the use of digital media, reflecting the Center’s commitment to exhibitions as integral to scholarly activity. 

About Bard Graduate Center Gallery 

The Gallery organizes pioneering exhibitions on deco- rative arts, design history, and material culture with leading scholars, curators, and institutions worldwide. We provide opportunities for faculty and students to gain experience in exhibition making. Our projects and publications break down traditional barriers between academic and curatorial forms of inquiry. 

Gallery Programs 

Lectures, gallery talks, and conversations are offered in conjunction with the exhibition. For more information, please call 212.501.3011 or e-mail public.programs@bgc.bard.edu. 

Exhibition Tours 

Group exhibition tours are offered Tuesday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and Thursday until 7 p.m. Reservations are required for all groups. To schedule a tour, please call 212.501.3013 or e-mail tours@bgc.bard.edu. 

Bard Graduate Center Gallery is located in New York City at 18 West 86th Street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Friday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Suggested admission is $7 general, $5 seniors and students. 

For information about Bard Graduate Center and upcoming exhibitions, please visit bgc.bard.edu/gallery

Image credit: Modern facsimile of 5th-century PD Glazier codex (Morgan MS 5.67). Wood, leather, bone, parchment. Made by Ursula Mitra. Photograph: Bruce White.

Fasciculus 1500.jpgNew York - The New York Academy of Medicine Library has launched a new digital exhibit, “Facendo Il Libro: The Making of Fasciculus Medicinae, an Early Printed Anatomy.” The Library, one of the world’s most significant historical libraries in medicine and public health, holds five editions printed between the years of 1495 and 1522 of the Fasciculus Medicinae, which contains the earliest realistic anatomical images in print, and the earliest scenes of dissection anywhere. The digital exhibit explores full scans of these richly illustrated editions, examining each work on its own - and also in context of each other, and looking at the printing techniques that were used to create them.

“The Academy's dedication to public access to our Library's collections continues with the launch of a digitized exhibit of this seminal work. Today, scholars and users worldwide can easily access an important resource in the history of medicine and public health,” said Academy President Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS.

The book was first printed in Venice in 1491 by the brothers Gregori at their famous printing house. It was extremely popular, and went through 14 editions by the year 1522.  Originally collected in manuscript form, the text comprises a number of medical treatises on uroscopy, phlebotomy, anatomy, surgery, and gynecology. The book’s woodcut illustrations include skilled renderings of medieval prototypes including a Zodiac Man, bloodletting man, and an urinoscopic consultation. 

“This exhibit tells an important story about an influential medical text, and its evolution during the earliest years of printing in Northern Italy. Exploring the book's astonishing woodcuts, the earliest realistic anatomical illustrations in print, enhances our understanding of how sixteenth-century individuals related to and understood their bodies in times of sickness and health,” said Academy Library Curator Anne Garner. 

“Facendo Il Libro” is an addition to the Academy’s digitization initiatives led Dr. Robin Naughton, Head of Digital. Also included in the exhibit are curated essays on each edition, noting important technical, textual, and artistic changes in each, and on the culture of Venetian print. The essays were contributed by guest scholars Taylor McCall, PhD, and Natalie Lussey Seale, PhD.

This online exhibit was made possible by generous support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. 

Image: Fasciculus medicine : similitudo complexionum & elementorum. Venice, [Mar. 28 1500.]

cut4_low.jpgLos Angeles — For most people, a photograph is fairly straightforward - an image on a piece of paper with four straight edges and four corners. But for some photographers, paper is not merely the end result of developing a photograph - it is a material that can be activated in a number of ways. Cut! Paper Play in Contemporary Photography, on view February 27-May 27, 2018, at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, looks at the work of six contemporary artists who expand the role of paper in photography. Many of the works in the exhibition have been borrowed from Los Angeles-based collectors, institutions, or galleries, while others are from the Getty Museum’s permanent collection.

“Within the Getty’s very extensive collection of photographs from the birth of the medium to the present day, are a number of works that blur the line between photography and other mediums,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Cutting and otherwise manipulating the printed photograph, artists from the first half of the twentieth century on have created works in which the cutting, shaping and combining of images take the medium in radically new directions. Exhibitions like this provide a context and historical perspective on the experimentations of many contemporary photographers today.”

The exhibition includes an exploration of photographers’ long-standing interest in the way paper can convey something beyond its physical presence. Spanning the years 1926 to 1967, works by artists like Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002), Alexander Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956), and Ei-Q (born Sugita Hideo, Japanese, 1911-1960) feature cut-paper abstractions and figures modeled from paper that have been photographed. For example, Rodchenko’s photograph Giraffe (1926-27) is a playful arrangement of figures modeled from paper that he created to illustrate a book of children’s poems called Samozveri (Auto-animals). The curiosity of these artists set the stage for more daring contemporary experimentation.

The contemporary works on view focus on two themes, the first of which features artists who create paper models with images gleaned from current events, the internet, or books and magazines for the express purpose of photographing them. Daniel Gordon (American, born 1980) culls images from the internet, then cuts, tears, pastes, and assembles the printouts into three-dimensional sculptures, as in Clementines (2011), in which printouts are arranged to resemble and reference deeply saturated still-lifes by Picasso, Matisse, or Cezanne. By printing digital images, assembling them to resemble a sculptural object, photographing that object with a large format camera, then digitally enhancing it, Gordon walks the line between analog and digital photography.

Matt Lipps (American, born 1975) inserts existing images into new contexts that extend their potential meaning. The works on view appropriate photographs reproduced in publications associated with both high and low culture to comment on how images both reflect and shape our knowledge and experience. After selecting his images, Lipps arranges them into layered collages or models, using light and shadow to transform the images into a cultural tableau that he then photographs. His photographs are printed at a scale much larger than the original reproductions.

Thomas Demand (German, born 1964) is known for his large-scale photographs of meticulously constructed, life-size re-creations of architectural spaces and natural environments, including Landscape from 2013. During his year as an artist in residence at the Getty Research Institute (2011-12), Demand departed from this practice and began photographing architectural models, most notably those of John Lautner. A triptych based on the model for Lautner’s design for an office building in Century City, California, will be on view.

The exhibition also includes examples of photographs that are cut, incised, layered, or folded to introduce tactile, three-dimensional elements into what is usually thought of as a two-dimensional art form. Soo Kim (American, born South Korea, 1965) employs the techniques of cutting and layering to create areas of absence or disruption that imbue her images with dimensionality, as well as with the passage of time. Travel to distant locations has resulted in discrete bodies of work that reveal Kim’s deep interest in architectural structures. Works made in Reykjavik, Taipei, and Panama City will be on view.

Christopher Russell’s (America, born 1974) work confronts photomechanical reproduction with imperfect work by his own hand. Often using cheap lenses, he creates enigmatic photographs that are intentionally out of focus or shot directly into the sun. Using razor blades, Xacto knives and other implements, he disrupts the surface by scratching, scraping, or gouging to reveal the white core of the paper. Some pieces, like Explosion #31 (2014), show a series of controlled marks that result in intricate patterns resembling wallpaper, while Budget Decadence (2008) displays the violence Russell inflicts on the paper with a meat cleaver.

Starting with simple materials and rules, Christiane Feser (German, born 1977) creates “photo objects” that operate in a middle ground between photography and sculpture. After cutting, folding, and layering paper into abstract compositions, Feser carefully lights each construction, often using flash, photographs it with a high-resolution digital camera, and makes a print on paper similar to that used in the construction. In Partition 31 (2015), Feser uses folded pieces of paper that appear as a series of multi-sized cubes, but are actually a sophisticated visual puzzle that requires careful viewing from multiple angles.

“The works in this exhibition demonstrate a variety of approaches used by artists to transform paper into objects with greater sculptural presence,” says Virginia Heckert, curator of the exhibition and head of the Department of Photographs at the Getty Museum. “Photography may be the starting point, with camera-made images altered by acts of cutting and modeling to introduce layered narratives and the passage of time, or it may put the finishing touch on a collage or construction that has been carefully conceived based on existing images. This toggling back and forth between two and three dimensions and between existing and constructed images reminds us of the magical transformation that occurs in every photograph.”

Cut! Paper Play in Contemporary Photography is on view February 27-May 27, 2018, at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Virginia Heckert, head of the Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs. On view concurrently in the Center for Photographs will be the exhibition Paper Promises: Early American Photography.

Image: Daniel Gordon (American, born 1980), Clementines, 2011, Chromogenic print, Copyright: © Daniel Gordon, Object Credit: Alison Bryan Crowell, Repro Credit: Courtesy Daniel Gordon and M+B Gallery, Los Angeles. 

Wolf-FIU.jpgMiami Beach, FL — For summer 2018, The Wolfsonian-Florida International University is tapping into today’s fascination with Russian propaganda through two coinciding shows focused on early 20th-century Soviet graphic design. Constructing Revolution: Soviet Propaganda Posters from Between the World Wars (April 13-August 12), organized by the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Maine, and the complementary library installation Red and Black: Revolution in Soviet Propaganda Graphics (April 5-August 5) will shed light on ties between cultural life and revolutionary ideology in the decades following the 1917 Russian Revolution. Both shows explore how designers were inspired by the utopian ideals of the revolution to develop new techniques of graphic persuasion on behalf of Russia’s Communist dictatorship.

“With Constructing Revolution, the stars truly aligned,” said Tim Rodgers, Wolfsonian director. “We recognized in Bowdoin’s exhibition a rare opportunity to do what The Wolfsonian does best—present some of the finest examples of modern propaganda, reexamine objects from our own collection, and offer fresh insight into a topic currently front and center on the worldwide stage.”

Bringing more than 50 Soviet-era posters from the private collection of Svetlana and Eric Silverman together with rarely seen works held by The Wolfsonian, Constructing Revolution showcases a number of key figures in the Soviet artistic avant-garde, among them Vladimir Mayakovsky, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and Gustav Klutsis. The exhibition charts the formative decades of the USSR and provides a glimpse into this turbulent period of Russian history, when posters were employed to provide a new visual language converting Communist aspirations into readily accessible, urgent, public art. The resulting images reflect a remarkable degree of artistic experimentation, even as their content was strictly guided by the priorities of the Soviet state.

Highlights include:

  • Dmitrii Moor’s Death to World Imperialism (1919), which depicts a monstrous green dragon representing the dangers faced by the young Soviet state during the Civil War that broke out immediately following the 1917 Russian Revolution;
  • A 1920 poster of a worker holding a banner for the May Day celebration, a design first produced in stencil for dissemination to local artists;
  • Grigorii Shegal’s Down with Kitchen Slavery (1929), illustrating the Soviet state’s promise to liberate women from domestic tasks so that they could participate as workers and citizens on an equal basis to men;
  • Working Men and Women-Everyone to the Election of Soviets (1930) by Gustav Klutsis,  pioneer of the photomontage technique, which combines photographic images, text, and graphic elements into a single cohesive message; and
  • A 1930 photomontage poster by Valentina Kulagina commemorating women’s industrial labor for International Working Women’s Day.

“These works speak to the paradox of the Soviet Union during its early decades, when utopianism went hand-in-hand with manipulation,” said Jon Mogul, Wolfsonian associate director of curatorial & education. “There is an undeniable sense of excitement, optimism, and experimentation in these images, though they also convey the sanitized and one-sided version of reality that contributed to the consolidation of a brutally repressive dictatorship.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, the focused installation Red and Black will feature roughly 20 rare books, periodicals, postcards, and portfolio plates from The Wolfsonian-FIU Library that reveal the contribution of Constructivism to Soviet graphic design. A key movement in the early 20th century, Constructivism applied abstraction and the machine aesthetic to the practical design of everything from architecture to household objects—all in service of the Communist vision of building a new, classless society.

The Wolfsonian has been recognized internationally for the attention it has given to political propaganda, a subject prevalent in both its mission and its collection of modern-age material, 1850-1950. Throughout the museum’s 22-year history, dozens of exhibitions and countless programs have investigated how objects and images were shaped into tools of political persuasion in countries across the globe.

Constructing Revolution: Soviet Propaganda Posters from Between the World Wars (Apr 13-Aug 12, 2018), organized by the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, reveals how the Soviet state wielded graphic design to inspire and manipulate the public

Red and Black: Revolution in Soviet Propaganda Graphics (Apr 5-Aug 5, 2018), examines avant-garde art in books, periodicals, postcards, and portfolio plates from The Wolfsonian-FIU Library

vaudeville_ut_news_graphic_1.pngAustin, Texas — The Harry Ransom Center draws on its extensive performing arts holdings to tell the story of one of American theater’s most popular forms of entertainment in the exhibition “Vaudeville!”

The exhibition runs from Jan. 29 to July 15, 2018.

About 200 items selected from the thousands of photographs, playbills, business records, letters, books and other archival materials from the Ransom Center’s collections explore how this uniquely American form of entertainment helped shape the nation’s identity for more than 100 years. Its enduring legacy is seen in contemporary American popular culture in videos, film, television and comedy.

Vaudeville began in the early 1800s as a cleaned-up and family-friendly version of variety shows. Performances included comic sketches, animal tricks, magic, blackface minstrelsy, acrobatics, celebrity appearances and early film. Its impact still reverberates in modern culture and entertainment.

The exhibition tells how, with the advent of the railroad, thousands of performers toured a vast network of theaters, bringing mass entertainment to America’s small towns. The vaudeville theater circuit reflected the country’s complex race and class dynamics and gave rise to new labor movements at the turn of the 20th century.

“Vaudeville was a snapshot of America in the moment it was happening,” says Eric Colleary, Cline Curator of Theatre and Performing Arts at the Ransom Center and organizer of the exhibition. “It captured some of the best and worst of society, and the jokes, songs and formulas developed by vaudevillians over a century ago can still be found in television, film and performance today.”

The exhibition is arranged in six sections and begins in the early days of American theater, exploring pantomime, puppetry, circus museums, minstrelsy and morality. The finale explains how, by the mid-20th century, vaudeville was transformed and found new relevance in musical theater, radio, film, television — and later, even the internet.

In between, sections explore the structure and content of a performance, the life of an entertainer, and popular vaudeville performers. Featured are Harry Houdini, Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor, Bert Williams, George M. Cohan, Burns & Allen, Tony Pastor, the Nicholas Brothers, Barbette and others.

Among the earliest items in the exhibition is a 1783 letter from the citizens of Pennsylvania fighting against the building of a new theater, and letters from President Thomas Jefferson to the painter and early museum advocate Charles Willson Peale.

"Vaudeville!" will be on view in the Ransom Center Galleries on Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Daily docent-led tours are offered at noon, Thursdays at 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Members of the 1937 American League All-Star team, Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg gather on the field for the fifth annual All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. Gehrig hit a two-run homer off National League ace Dizzy Dean as the American League went on to win, 8-3.

A major exhibition opening in June at the Library of Congress will celebrate baseball as community, including the people, from amateur players to professionals, baseball diamonds from city lots to rural fields, and places across the globe from Mexico to Japan that have embraced the game. “Baseball Americana” will explore baseball’s gritty roots, its changing traditions and the game today. It is a story the nation’s library can uniquely tell, showcasing items that cannot be found anywhere else.

Featured artifacts will include the first handwritten and printed references to baseball in America; early rules of the game; historical baseball images, including a lithograph of prisoners of war playing baseball in captivity during the Civil War and photographs from baseball throughout the decades; familiar players from some of the great collections of early baseball cards; Branch Rickey’s scouting reports; beloved baseball movies and early flickering footage from the late 1800s; broadcasts of iconic baseball moments and rare interviews and clips of Hall of Fame players, including Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and others.

The exhibition is made possible by the Library of Congress Third Century Fund, the James Madison Council and Democracy Fund.

Original content developed in collaboration with ESPN will support the Library’s world-class collections. Statistical comparisons, game trends, video presentations and intriguing stories will explore the art and science of baseball, bridging the game’s storied past and exciting present.

Additional artifacts and video footage, borrowed from Major League Baseball, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, and private collectors, have been selected to expand upon storylines developed from the Library’s baseball materials.

“Baseball has been part of our community from children playing in local ballparks to professional athletes playing in the country’s biggest stadiums - and the Library’s unique collection shows how the game and American society evolved together,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “My childhood dream was to play shortstop before I found my calling at the Library. We’re excited to offer visitors an immersive experience, exploring baseball in the past and now. I know I am.”

The yearlong exhibition “Baseball Americana” will open in late June, just before Washington’s Nationals Park hosts Major League Baseball’s 89th All-Star Game. The exhibition will tell the story of the game’s origins, its contemporary character, how the game has stayed true to its traditions and areas where it has diverged. It will also feature ongoing conversations and connections between baseball’s rugged past and its refined present, along with showing how baseball has long forged a sense of community.

The exhibition will be organized into five sections:

  • “Origins and Early Days” will feature the development of baseball from its early forms, when Massachusetts Town Ball and the New York Game battled for supremacy, to the game we know today.
  • “Who’s Playing?” will encompass the variety of participants and the diverse array of ball clubs that ruled the sandlot, barnstormed the country or occupied magnificent stadiums. An integral piece of this story will be that of the players who have fought for the right to play as equals regardless of their race, ethnicity or gender.
  • “At the Ballpark” will examine traditions and changes in the architecture and accoutrements of baseball, fan interaction, music and media coverage.
  • “The Promise of Baseball” will explore the many ways that the sport gave poor players a path out of poverty and new immigrants access and the ability to help shape American culture, as well as the economics and business of baseball and how the game has been used for diplomacy beyond U.S. borders.
  • “The Art and Science of Baseball” considers the constant and changing views of mastering the game, building a team, getting an edge, tracking statistics and the art of winning.

“Baseball Americana” will be on view in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibition will be free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Library of Congress will develop a series of special programs including family activities, gallery talks, film screenings, panel discussions, educational materials and teacher workshops, docent-led tours and more.

Two books published in association with the Library of Congress will be released to coincide with the exhibition. In May, Harper Perennial will release an updated edition of “Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress,” which includes hundreds of historical images and numerous milestones of the national pastime. In October, Smithsonian Books will release “Game Faces: Early Baseball Cards from the Library of Congress,” which showcases rare and colorful baseball cards from the Library’s Benjamin K. Edwards Collection.

 

"Facing the Camera" Opens January 24

Enrie_DetailShroudofTurin 2.jpgNew York - Facing the Camera will be on view at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs from January 24 through March 16, 2018. The exhibition presents nineteenth-century portraits by Duchenne de Boulogne, Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, J. B. Greene, Hill & Adamson, Nadar, and Vallou de Villeneuve, among others. Contemporary work by Adam Fuss and Vera Lutter is also included. Both are inspired by the early photographers and their work resonates with that of their forerunners.

Portraiture is the most expressive application of the photographic art form. Since the dawn of photography artists have sought ways to capture the human likeness. Once achieved, photography has since challenged the ascendancy of the painted portrait. 

The exhibition includes three rare 1862 albumen prints from glass negatives made circa 1856 by pioneering neurologist and physiologist Duchenne de Boulogne (1806-1875), the first scientist to explain that facial expressions were connected to human emotions through discrete muscle actions. The results of Duchenne’s experiments and collaboration with photographer Adrien Tournachon, illustrated in Mécanisme de la physionomie humaine, occupy a distinct place at the intersection of art and science.

John Beasley Greene’s (1832-1856) Venus de Milo on rooftop in Paris, a waxed paper negative from 1852-1853, will also be on view. It was made during Greene’s formative period as a student of Gustave Le Gray in Paris. Greene, perhaps in the company of Le Gray, carried his statuette of Venus to the roof in order to sharpen his skills in lighting and composition.

A young girl, Xie Kitchin, fixes the viewer with her direct stare in an 1873 albumen print by Lewis Carroll, best known as the author of Alice in Wonderland. Carroll once declared that the key to obtaining excellence in a photograph was simply to “take a lens and put Xie before it.” On display is the only known untrimmed print from the negative.

Facing the Camera includes a 1931 gelatin silver print of Detail of the Shroud of Turin by Giuseppe Enrie (1886-1961). Great advances in technology since earlier photographs of the Shroud enabled Enrie to photograph it close-up and life size. This print shows a richness of detail unsurpassed by later photographs. 

Vera Lutter (b. 1960) has worked with the camera obscura for many years.  Having mastered its use she exposes her photographic paper over varying lengths of time. Rather than a print of the positive image, Lutter consistently preserves the negative as her final work. On display is Lutter’s unique, Marble Torso of Eros, Metropolitan Museum, 5 November 2012, which highlights the expressive, sculpted human form.

For more than three decades, Adam Fuss (b. 1961) has created a body of work distinctive for its contemporary reinterpretation of photography’s earliest techniques. His pinhole photographs and cameraless photograms, executed with technical rigor, are often concerned with temporality, memory, regeneration, and death. Untitled silhouette, 1997, a toned silver print from a photogram, is a strikingly bold self-portrait.

Facing the Camera will be exhibited from January 24 through March 16, 2018 at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs in New York City.

Image: Giuseppe Enrie (Italian, 1886-1961), Detail of the Shroud of Turin, 1931, Gelatin silver print, 29.5 x 23.4 cm

trouvelot_comet_600.jpgSan Marino, CA - A rare set of exquisite lithographs, depicting the pastel drawings of planets, comets, eclipses and other celestial wonders by artist/astronomer Étienne Léopold Trouvelot (1827-1895), takes center stage in late April when The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical mounts the new exhibition “Radiant Beauty: E.L. Trouvelot’s Astronomical Drawings” in the Library’s West Hall. The exhibition is on view April 28-July 30.

The set of 15 chromolithographs was the crowning achievement of Trouvelot’s career, said curator Krystle Satrum, assistant curator of the Jay T. Last Collection at The Huntington. “He was both an extraordinarily talented artist and a scientist, producing more than 7,000 astronomical illustrations and some 50 scientific articles during his working life.”

In vivid color and meticulous detail, the works depict a range of astronomical phenomena. “The high quality of both the artwork and the scientific observation demonstrates his uncanny capacity to combine art and science in such a way as to make substantial contributions to both fields,” Satrum said. 

Trouvelot’s artistic talent and eye landed him a position at the Harvard College Observatory, where he produced highly detailed drawings of his observations, many of which were published in the Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College. In 1875, he was invited to the U.S. Naval Observatory to use their 26-inch refracting telescope, at the time, the world’s largest. He then went public, exhibiting several astronomical pastels at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. With the success of that exhibit, Trouvelot sought to publish a portfolio of his best drawings. He teamed up with New York publishers Charles Scribner’s Sons, selecting 15 drawings to be made into chromolithographs, which were finally published in 1882.

It is estimated that some 300 portfolios were published, but only a handful of complete sets still exist. Initially the portfolios were sold to astronomy libraries and observatories as reference tools that astronomers could use to compare with their own observations. However, as early 20th century advances in photographic technology allowed for more accurate and detailed depictions of the stars, planets, and phenomena, these prints were discarded or sold to collectors. The Huntington’s set was acquired by Jay T. Last as part of his collection of graphic arts and social history, then donated to The Huntington. 

Trouvelot’s legacy is not without controversy, said Satrum. Born in Aisne, France, he fled to the United States in 1855 with his wife and two children following Napoleon’s coup three years earlier, settling in Medford, Massachusetts. While supporting his family as an artist, he spent much of his free time studying insects, working to see if better silk-producing caterpillars could thrive in the United States. During a trip back to France in the late 1860s, he collected live specimens of the gypsy moth, bringing them home to Medford. “Unfortunately, after hatching, some of them escaped his backyard, infesting the nearby woods, then quickly spread throughout New England and Canada, destroying millions of hardwood trees,” she said. Though large-scale efforts to eradicate it were underway by 1890, they proved unsuccessful; the gypsy moth continues to be a scourge of U.S. and Canadian forests today, causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage annually. “This episode also seems to have soured Trouvelot’s passion for entomology, for by 1870, he had turned to astronomy,” Satrum said.

The West Hall is adjacent to the astronomy section of “Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World” The Huntington’s permanent exhibition on the history of science, featuring rare books and manuscripts by the likes of Ptolemy, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, among others.

Image: E. L. Trouvelot (1827-1895), The Great Comet of 1881, 1881, color lithograph, 32 3/4 × 25 3/4 in. Jay T. Last Collection, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

outcasts5_20171218190231992_low.jpgLos Angeles, CA - Medieval manuscripts preserve stories of faith, romance, and knowledge, but their luxurious illuminations can sometimes reveal hidden prejudices as well. Outcasts: Prejudice & Persecution in the Medieval World, on view January 30—April 8, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, presents individual case studies that examine the way art, like language, was used to articulate a rhetoric of exclusion. Whether for reasons of race, class, gender, religious identity or sexual difference, medieval society was far more diverse than is commonly understood, but diversity did not necessarily ensure tolerance. Drawn from the Getty’s permanent collection of illuminated manuscripts, this exhibition explores the obstacles faced by those who were perceived as “others.” For today’s viewer, the vivid images and pervasive subtexts in illuminated manuscripts can serve as stark reminders of the power of rhetoric and the danger of prejudice.

“With their focus on religious subjects and tales of chivalry, it’s easy to forget that the pages of illuminated manuscripts frequently depicted social biases,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Frequently, these works were a reflection of social norms and reinforced prejudices that were prevalent in society. In some cases these references may be subtle, in other cases not. In either case it is important to understand these works of art as also being social and historical documents that illuminate both the medieval past and the biases and prejudices that we still grapple with today.”

The exhibition begins with an illumination of the Crucifixion in the Getty’s Stammheim Missal, a masterpiece of Romanesque painting. The image is usually understood as a celebration of Christian belief, in which the sacrifice of Christ paved the way for the salvation of humanity, but this exhibition highlights the institutionalized anti-Semitism underlying Christian rhetoric about the old law and the new. Ecclesia, the personification of the Christian Church, is seen at Christ’s right, while the Jewish Synagoga appears on his left. Synagoga points at Christ, glaring, while holding a banderole (representing Old Testament law) that proclaims “cursed be he who hangs on the tree.” Below, two personifications echo and amplify the antithetical positions of these figures. In a roundel below Ecclesia, the fair-skinned Life gazes calmly across the composition at Death, who resembles contemporary (twelfth-century) caricatures of Jews with hooked noses and swarthy complexions.

“As repositories of history and memory, museums reveal much about our shared past, but all too often the stories told from luxury art objects focus on the elite,” explains Kristen Collins, curator of manuscripts and co-curator of the exhibition. “Typically created for the privileged classes, manuscripts can nevertheless provide glimpses of the marginalized and powerless and reflect their tenuous places in society.”

Some medieval writers and artists altered historical content to align with the prevailing morals of the day. Among Alexander the Great’s lovers was the young man Hephaiston and the eunuch Bagoas, but in one medieval manuscript Bagoas was recast as a beautiful woman called Bagoe in order (as the text says) to “avoid a bad example.” Even as a woman, however, Bagoe is still transgressive. In a fifteenth-century Flemish illumination, Bagoe wears luxurious flowing garments like those of the spear-carrying Amazon women in the background, who were renowned for their military prowess and heightened sexual drive. The literary and artistic interpretation of Bagoas/ Bagoe reveals the predominant prejudice against same-sex attraction and, by aligning her with the Amazons, the pervasive wariness toward powerful women.

Cis-gender women and Muslims often fared no better in the medieval world. The Merovingian queen Brunhilde, a powerful heroic figure who led armies and ruled over kingdoms, fell victim to the misogyny of later medieval authors who cast her as the archetypal “nasty woman.” In Giovanni Boccaccio’s story of The Death of Brunhilde, Queen of France (1413-15) he described Brunhilde as ruthless and vengeful, characterizations that were also applied to Saracens, a pejorative medieval term for Muslims. This parallel may explain the turbaned figures in the margins of this manuscript. In medieval art, the “Saracen” became a catch-all category of people to be feared.

Color conveyed a range of meanings in medieval art. Blackness not only signified race and ethnicity, but also symbolized the absence of light, and thus, God. Demons were often rendered in shades of black or dark browns and grays. In Initial Q: David Before Saul (after 1205), color appears to have been used in both ways. In a jealous rage, King Saul draws a sword on the young David. King Saul’s melancholic temperament is conveyed not only through his actions but also by the dark-skinned demon who resembles caricatured representations of Africans, Jews, and Muslims found elsewhere in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, a period of extreme intolerance and violence.

According to Bryan C. Keene, assistant curator of manuscripts and co-curator of the exhibition, “This exhibition strives to make connections between the Middle Ages and the contemporary world, specifically in the way rhetoric is used to construct society’s ‘out groups.’ Attitudes toward Jews and Muslims, the poor, those perceived as sexual or gender deviants, and the foreign peoples beyond European borders can be discerned through caricature and polemical imagery, as well as through marks of erasure and censorship.”

In an attempt to respond to possible concerns from audiences, the exhibition curators also reached out through the Getty blog and Tumblr, inviting members of the public to comment on the exhibition text as it was being drafted. That ongoing conversation can be found on the Getty Iris.

Outcasts: Prejudice & Persecution in the Medieval World is curated by Kristen Collins, curator in the Manuscripts Department and Bryan C. Keene, assistant curator in the Manuscripts Department. The exhibition is on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from January 30 -April 8, 2018. Related programming includes “Sexuality, Sanctity, and Censorship: A Conversation with Artist Ron Athey,” a discussion about sexuality, gender identity, and censorship in relation to the exhibition and, “Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the Middle Ages and Today” a panel discussion featuring Sara Lipton, Hussein Fancy, and Jihad Turk.

Image: The Crucifixion, probably 1170s. Tempera colors, gold leaf, silver leaf, and ink on parchment. Leaf: 28.2 × 18.9 cm (11 1/8 × 7 7/16 in.). Credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 64, fol. 86

capricorn-detail-from-liturgical-calendar.jpgNew York, NY — Before the appearance of the clock in the West around the year 1300, medieval ideas about time were simultaneously simple and complex. Time was both finite for routine daily activities and unending for the afterlife; the day was divided into a fixed set of hours, whereas the year was made up of two overlapping systems of annual holy feasts. Perhaps unexpectedly, many of these concepts continue to influence the way we understand time, seasons, and holidays into the twenty-first century. 

Drawing upon the Morgan’s rich collection of illuminated manuscripts, Now and Forever: The Art of Medieval Time explores how people in the Middle Ages told time, conceptualized
history, and conceived of the afterlife. It brings together more than fifty-five calendars, Bibles, chronicles, histories, and a sixty-foot genealogical scroll. They include depictions of monthly labors, the marking of holy days and periods, and fantastical illustrations of the hereafter. The exhibition opens January 26 and continues through April 29. 

“Artists of the medieval period could render the most common of daily activities with transcendent beauty, while also creating a strange, often frightening, afterlife,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “Their work mirrored the era’s intricate mix of temporal, spiritual, and ancient methods for recording the passage of time. The elaborate prayer books, calendars, and other items in the exhibition provide a rich visual history of a world at once familiar and foreign, from the seasonal work of farmers that would not look unusual in today’s almanacs, to apocalyptic visions of eternity that make Hollywood’s futuristic films appear tame.” 

The Exhibition 

The show is divided into five sections focusing on the medieval calendar, liturgical time, historical time, the hereafter (“time after time”), and the San Zeno Astrolabe. 

I. The Medieval Calendar 

Medieval calendars told time in two ways: through the ancient Roman calendar that Julius Caesar had reformed in 45 B.C. and by the feast (usually a saint’s day) celebrated on the day. They appear odd to modern eyes because they lack our sequential numbering; all medieval calendars were perpetual. But they also contained much useful data. Golden Numbers tracking the year’s new moons and Dominical Letters (A through G) tracking Sundays were both used to determine the date of Easter. Calendars also noted each month’s unlucky days and added astronomical information such as the beginning of the summer’s Dog Days. 

In the Calendar of Ravenna, each month was gorgeously illustrated by its zodiacal sign—the constellation with its composite stars. Not simply aesthetically pleasing, this calendar also tracked the positions of the sun and the moon. 

In addition to the signs of the zodiac, calendars often depicted the labors of each month—for instance, August was dedicated to reaping wheat. By the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, this sole secular element within prayer books was given more focus. In fact, illuminator Simon Bening painted the labors on the folios of the Da Costa Hours as large full-page illustrations. 

II. Liturgical Time 

During this period, Europeans used the canonical hours to tell daily time. The medieval day was marked by eight hours, which the Church sanctified with prayer. The day began in the middle of the night (matins and lauds) and proceeded through the course of the day (beginning at sunrise with prime). The day ended in the evening (compline). The prayers became synonymous with the particular times they were recited. Books of Hours enabled laypeople to imitate the clergy and pray throughout the course of the day. A jewel-like Book of Hours illuminated by French Renaissance artist Jean Fouquet will be open to the Visitation, a scene marking the nighttime hour of lauds

Two overlapping systems were used to structure the year: the temporale and the sanctorale. The temporale consisted largely of feasts celebrating events from the life of Christ. Some feasts had fixed dates, like Christmas; others were movable, like Easter. Feasts of the sanctorale were generally saints’ days, commemorating the days upon which the saints died and entered heaven. 

Remnants of medieval timekeeping survive today. The medieval vigil, the commencement of an important feast on the evening before, has become today’s eve, such as Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve. In The Berthold Sacramentary, a miniature marks Palm Sunday, when the inhabitants of Jerusalem laid cloaks and palms in Christ’s path as he entered the city. Distributing blessed palms on Palm Sunday is a medieval practice that continues to this day. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day all come from the medieval way of keeping time as well. 

III. Historical Time 

In the Middle Ages, the Bible was both the word of God and the early history of man. It was believed that the Hebrew Bible (the Christians’ Old Testament) chronicled actual ancient events, even if they had occurred long ago. The New Testament related the life and death of Christ and mentioned at times historic figures with known dates. In the sixth century, a new system of dating events was devised: years were described as A.D. or Anno Domini (In the Year of Our Lord), based on the presumed birthdate of Christ. 

According to medieval tradition, ancient Troy marked the start of European civil history. When the city fell, the defeated but heroic Trojans sailed off and founded such major European cities as Rome, Paris, and London. The medieval belief that Troy itself was founded by descendants of Noah provided a seamless link between the people and events chronicled in the Bible and the Trojans, the forebears for all of Europe. 

An anonymous compiler covered the six thousand years of history that began with Adam and Eve and concluded with fifteenth-century France as the world’s superpower in a sixty-foot scroll, the centerpiece of the exhibition. With sixty-six miniatures, it is the most fully illustrated copy of this universal chronicle known to exist. Outlining the history of the world from Creation to the reign of King Louis XI of France, it depicts five lines of descent: 1) the popes; 2) the Holy Roman Emperors; and 3) the kings of France, England, and the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. 

IV. Time after Time 

Obsessed with the “Four Last Things” (death, judgment, heaven, and hell), people in the Middle Ages believed that time on earth was but a fleeting moment compared to the endlessness of the hereafter. Of those lucky enough to merit heaven, only martyrs or the truly holy might get there immediately after death. The rest detoured through purgatory, a place of temporary punishment, which could mean, however, thousands of years. 

Punishment in hell was imagined to be painful and fiery. In The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, the entrance of hell was depicted as a gaping lion’s mouth opening its batlike lips tipped with talons. Through it, demons cast damned souls. Meanwhile, burning towers heat cauldrons into which mutilated bodies are pitched. 

The Apocalypse dominated the imagination of what the end
of time held in store for humanity. Illustrators of medieval
manuscripts portrayed the Beast of the Apocalypse as having seven heads with ten horns and the body of a leopard with bear’s feet, which would make war on the faithful on earth. A False Prophet would order the people of the earth to worship this beast--and also cause great wonders, such as drawing fire from heaven. 

V. San Zeno Astrolabe 

For hundreds of years, an astrolabe hung in the Benedictine abbey of San Zeno in Verona. This extraordinary movable calendar is the only object of its type to survive from the Middle Ages—and is the only loan to the show. For every day of the year, the astrolabe’s three dials were rotated by hand to give a wide-ranging set of information: the date in Arabic numerals, the date according to the ancient Roman calendar, the feast to be celebrated, the zodiacal constellation, the hours of darkness and light, and the age of the moon. In doing so, it helped monks organize their devotional lives. 

Publication 

Now and Forever is accompanied by the book, The Medieval Calendar: Locating Time in the Middle Ages, which examines vigils, octaves, Egyptian Days, and other fascinating mysteries of medieval calendars. It is lushly illustrated with over sixty color plates. 

Author: Roger Weick 

Publisher: The Morgan Library & Museum and Scala Arts Publishers, 2017, 98 pages.

Image: Liturgical calendar for Ravenna, Italy, Milan (?), 1386, illustrated by a follower of Giovannino de’ Grassi, The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.355, fol. 8v (detail), purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909. Photography by Graham Haber, 2017. 

 

Train Getty.JPGLos Angeles - The early history of paper photography in the United States is a formative but rarely studied aspect of the medium’s evolution. While Americans were at first slow to adopt Europe’s negative-positive photographic practices, the country’s territorial expansion and Civil War increased demand for images that were easy to reproduce and distribute. The exhibition Paper Promises: Early American Photography, on view February 27 - May 27, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, features rare 19th-century paper negatives and paper photographs from this important era of American experimentation, including portraits of some of the country’s most notable political and cultural figures, as well as searing images from the Civil War. 

            “In the mid-nineteenth century, photographs did much more than merely document the development of the nation; increasingly they became central to debates about the U.S. and its place in the world,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “The photographs on view in this exhibition offer a rare insight into the forces and movements that shaped the country’s character at a formative stage of its development.”

Photographic Pioneers

            Today, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat create a thirst for casual selfies, views of our surroundings, and documentation of the most mundane aspects of daily life. Yet reproducible photography was not initially popular in the United States. In the earliest years of the medium Europeans quickly adopted techniques that enabled multiple photographs to be printed from negatives, but Americans initially preferred singular formats intended for intimate viewing, such as those produced directly on metal or glass.

            A few intrepid American photographers experimented with negative-positive techniques in the 1850s. The earliest photographs they produced used papers sensitized with silver salts that resulted in matte images well suited to register a range of textures. Paper Promises showcases dozens of rarely exhibited salted paper prints.

            To secure the widest possible market for photographs that could be printed in multiple, entrepreneurial photographers made salted paper prints for a variety of purposes: scientific investigation, celebrity portraiture, tourism, historic preservation, corporate and self-promotion, and firsthand documentation of newsworthy events. Their ambition to develop a technique suited to the quickened pace of modern life is apparent in a salted paper print made around 1860 by an unknown photographer, in which a group of men and women gather excitedly aboard the front of a train. The railroad was a potent symbol of progress, and it was anticipated that photography, like locomotives, might connect Americans to places and people far away.

            In the 1850s, however, alarmist reports that photographic negatives were being used to counterfeit currency caused widespread anxiety. At the time, banks printed their own money and thousands of different paper bills were in circulation. Around forty percent of the bills that passed through American hands were counterfeit, so banknotes began to be thought of as little more than flimsy “paper promises.” The exhibition features photographic counterfeits from the era, revealing a previously unstudied aspect of initial American resistance to photographic reproducibility. Though “paper promises” was originally a derisive phrase, the promise of paper photography soon swept the nation.

            Also included in the exhibition are examples of other pioneering photographic techniques, including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, albumen silver prints, a panotype, and an ivorytype.

Portraiture

            As the use of negatives to produce photographs in multiple sizes and shapes began to catch on, photography studios rushed to secure famous sitters in the hope of gaining wide distribution for popular images. The exhibition demonstrates how celebrities of the era grew savvy about circulating carefully crafted images of themselves. For example, an 1860 portrait of abolitionist Frederick Douglass by an unknown photographer emphasizes the gravitas of the fiery orator and prolific writer. Douglass sat for portraits throughout his life, countering racialized stereotypes by circulating dignified images of himself.

            Family photographs also became increasingly cherished as the medium gained in popularity. At a time when life expectancy was short and child mortality common, photographic portraits were thought of as especially precious souvenirs. The exhibition features several intimate portraits of families and children, some of which were carefully hand-tinted to further strengthen the sense of personal connection.

            Universities capitalized on the ability to produce images in multiple and compiled volumes of students and staff into what is today the familiar yearbook format. An example from about 1852 by John Adams Whipple (American, 1822-1891) was commissioned by Harvard - a proto-Facebook more than 150 years before Mark Zuckerberg’s start.

The West and the War

            As disputes over state and federal sovereignty as well as American Indian rights intensified, photographers sought how best to portray the people and places most frequently in the news. Photographs of several treaty negotiations will be on view, such as images of the first Japanese delegation to the United States, and an 1858 portrait by Alexander Gardner (American, born Scotland, 1821-1882) of a delegation of Upper Sioux who traveled to Washington, D.C., for treaty talks.  While most of the delegates pictured wore contemporary clothing, Gardner kept costumes on hand to outfit visitors in “traditional” attire, in keeping with East Coast ideas about Native dress. Photographs of American Indian sitters proliferated as their autonomy became a highly contested matter of public debate.

            In the territorial struggles of the 1860s, families torn apart by the Civil War sought personal mementos that could be easily shared and saved, and paper photographs served that purpose well. Soldiers had their portraits made upon enlistment, and civilians clamored for images of the battlefield. Images of slaves and of Abraham Lincoln were increasingly wielded as tools for political change, and the exhibition will spotlight several examples. Freedom’s Banner. Charley, A Slave Boy from New Orleans (1864) by Charles Paxson (American, died 1880) is one of many small-scale images carefully composed and widely circulated to encourage empathy with the plight of enslaved families. The photographs were sold to support education for freed slaves and to sustain support of the abolitionist cause. 

            “As we struggle to adapt to today’s digital revolution, with its capacity for unchecked manipulation and proliferation of images, it’s valuable to look to an earlier era in which ideas about photography and its role in society were similarly exerting profound effects,” says Mazie Harris, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of the exhibition. “Because early paper photographs became an integral part of everyday life, not many survive. So this is a unique opportunity to see rare images from a tumultuous period of American history.” 

            Paper Promises: Early American Photography is on view February 27, 2018 - May 27, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Mazie Harris, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. A book of the same name and authored by Dr. Harris, with contributions from scholars of American history and photography, will be released by Getty Publications in February 2018.

Image: Locomotive on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, near Oakland, Maryland, about 1860. Salted paper print. Image: 16.2 × 16 cm (6 3/8 × 6 5/16 in.). Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1991 (1991.1151). Image: www.metmuseum.org

 

131-DISCH.jpegThe Grolier Club looks back to the future in an exhibition of science fiction and the fantastic from the collection of author and antiquarian bookseller Henry Wessells.  

A Conversation larger than the Universe represents the Grolier’s first-ever presentation of speculative fiction, in a highly personal selection of 70 books (many signed or inscribed by their authors), magazines, manuscripts, letters, and works of art, dating from the mid-eighteenth century to the present, on view in the second floor gallery from January 25 to March 10, 2018.  From Gothic romances to classic fantasies to cyberpunk and frightening dystopian fiction, the works map out a universe of hopes, dreams - and nightmares. 

The exhibition A Conversation larger than the Universe traces the origins of science fiction to the eighteenth-century Gothic, with Thomas Leland’s Longsword (1762).  Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) grew from this Gothic tradition but she accomplished something new with her tale of the creation of a fully autonomous and intelligent artificial human being: the first science fiction story.  On view is a copy of the first American printing of Frankenstein from 1833.  Mary Shelley also wrote the first secular apocalypse, The Last Man (1826), in which a terrible plague destroys all humanity.  Other landmark works from the nineteenth century on view include After London (1885) by Richard Jefferies and The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) by H.G. Wells, a tale of animals transformed into human beings which eminent American author Gene Wolfe has called “the ultimate science fiction novel.”              

The heyday of pulp fiction in the 1930s is evoked by book and magazine appearances of Doc Savage.  Also on view is Katharine Burdekin’s frightening novel, Swastika Night, published by Victor Gollancz in the summer of 1937, imagining a world seven hundred years after a Nazi victory, where women are reduced to the status of breeding animals and history and literature have been exterminated.

In the 1960s, science fiction was at the center of the counterculture.  In San Francisco, Chester Anderson used $300 from his advance for a novel, The Butterfly Kid, to become printer to the Diggers and the summer of love.  The New Wave brought literary innovation to science fiction and included American and British authors such as J. G. Ballard, Thomas M. Disch, and Samuel R. Delany.  Disch and Ballard were contributors to the satirical ’zine Ronald Reagan The Magazine of Poetry, published in London in 1968.

William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer sent shock waves through science fiction.  Gibson invented the word cyberspace on his portable typewriter in the early 1980s, yet the author did not go online until 1996.  His first response to the experience is on view in the exhibition.

The Grolier Club has always fostered and documented the book arts, and this show includes examples of  fantastic literature in books from celebrated fine presses: William Morris and his Kelmscott Press provide the archetype of the map in fantasy literature, with The Sundering Flood (1897); and the beautiful Doves Press Hamlet (1909) is a ghost story that points to the resonance of Shakespeare in science fiction as in all forms of literary activity.

The exhibition also charts how women authors have been at the heart of science fiction and the fantastic since the earliest stages, with works by Mary Shelley and Katharine Burdekin, as well as Sara Coleridge, author of the first fairy-tale novel, Phantasmion (1837), Ursula K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, and Alice Sheldon, who wrote brilliant stories under the pseudonym James Tiptree, Jr., in the 1960s and 1970s.  Closer to the present are works by Karen Joy Fowler, Wendy Walker, Eileen Gunn, Kelly Link, Greer Gilman, and Susanna Clarke.

Other topics include the influence of the First World War on science fiction and the fantastic, Imaginary Voyages, Dystopia, Literary Innovation, Humor, Rock ’n’ Roll, Bibliography and Scholarship in the field, and what’s happening in science fiction and the fantastic right now.

Notable authors whose works are also on view include Richard F. Burton, translator of the Arabian Nights; Lord Dunsany; H. P. Lovecraft’s first book, The Shunned House (1928); Philip K. Dick; Brian Aldiss;  James Blish; Jean Rhys; John Crowley; Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Peter Straub; and pioneering scholars E. F. Bleiler and John Clute.  The exhibition concludes with Christopher Brown‘s Tropic of Kansas, a gripping novel of political change in a dystopian alternate America (published July 2017).

An illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition, A Conversation larger than the Universe. Readings in Science Fiction and the Fantastic 1762-2017, with a descriptive checklist of the materials on view, published by The Grolier Club, will be available in January 2018. 

PLEASE NOTE—RENOVATION UPDATE

The current exhibition in the first floor gallery is Radiant with Color & Art: McLoughlin Brothers and the Business of Picture Books, 1858-1920, on view through February 4, 2018. 

It is the final presentation in the Grolier Club’s main floor exhibition hall while the space undergoes a complete renovation - the first in thirty years.

However, a full schedule of exhibitions will continue in the second floor gallery during the renovation process.  Following A Conversation larger than the Universe is the Spring exhibition Westward the Course of Empire, opening March 21, 2018.

The first floor exhibition hall will close at the beginning of February 2018 for approximately nine months.  The scope of the renovation will include the latest innovations and conservation specifications for display cases, lighting, ventilation, and sound systems.  The project will enhance the auditorium function of the exhibition hall for educational events and greatly expand storage for the rare book collection on the upper balcony.  Designed by Ann Beha Architects of Boston, the newly renovated exhibition hall is scheduled to reopen in December 2018.  

VISITING THE GROLIER CLUB

47 East 60th Street  

New York, NY 10022  

212-838-6690 

www.grolierclub.org  

Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm

Admission: Exhibitions are open to the public free of charge

250x400_Tolkien-Father-Christmas.pngOxford, England - Handwritten illustrated letters from Father Christmas written by the author JRR Tolkien to his four children give a touching insight into Tolkien’s personal family life.  The illustrated letters are to go on show at a major new exhibition opening at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries in 2018. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth will explore the full breadth of Tolkien’s unique literary imagination from his creation of Middle-earth, the imagined world where The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and his other works are set, to his life and work as an artist, poet, medievalist and scholar of languages.

When Tolkien’s three-year old son, John, asked who Father Christmas was, and where he lived, Tolkien wrote a reply from Father Christmas, starting a tradition that would continue for the next twenty-three years. Every Christmas Eve, from 1920 to 1943 when his youngest child Priscilla was fourteen, Tolkien would sit in his study and write a letter to his children from Father Christmas, accompanying them with beautiful illustrations.

Catherine McIlwaine, Tolkien Archivist at the Bodleian Libraries and curator of the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition said:

‘The Father Christmas letters are some of my favourite items in the exhibition. The letters were delivered by the postman, who’d been persuaded by Tolkien to deliver them with the rest of the post, or arrived on the hearth with specially made stamps from the North Pole, marked with the cost of postage ‘2 kisses’. They contained news from the North Pole where Father Christmas lived with his ‘helper’ the North Polar Bear, who often got into trouble and caused twice as much work for Father Christmas. As the Tolkien children grew older, the letters from Father Christmas grew longer and the tales became darker and more thrilling.’

In an exciting letter from 1932 goblins make an appearance, living in the caves underneath the North Pole and stealing the childrens’ presents from Father Christmas’ cellars. Some of the Father Christmas letters were written when Tolkien was engaged in writing one of his most famous works, ‘The Hobbit’. The goblins and wargs in that story began to spill over into Father Christmas’s letters. Elves, called Red Gnomes, also appear, coming to Father Christmas’s aid in his battles with the goblins.

The Father Christmas letters will be on display alongside the largest array of original Tolkien materials from the UK and the USA to go on show since the 1950s. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth will feature manuscripts, artwork, maps, letters and artefacts from the Bodleian’s extensive Tolkien Archive, the Tolkien Collection at Marquette University in the USA and from private collections.

The exhibition will examine the scholarly, literary, creative and domestic worlds that influenced Tolkien as an author and artist, delighting both Tolkien fans as well as scholars, families and visitors of all ages. Tolkien may be best known today as the author of The Lord of the Rings but during his lifetime he was chiefly known as a scholar of Old and Middle English and a philologist intimately concerned with the creation of language. He was also a devoted husband and father of four children for whom he created stories for pleasure. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated book, Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth to be published by Bodleian Library Publishing on 25 May 2018.

The complete collection of Tolkien’s Father Christmas letters have been published by Harper Collins, Letters from Father Christmas. The book and Christmas cards featuring Tolkien’s Father Christmas illustrations are available from the Bodleian Libraries shops: https://www.bodleianshop.co.uk

Image: First drawing from Father Christmas, 1920. When Tolkien’s three-year old son, John, asked who Father Christmas was and where he lived, Tolkien wrote a reply from Father Christmas, starting a tradition that would continue for the next twenty-three years. Every Christmas Eve Tolkien would sit in his study and write a letter to his children from Father Christmas, accompanying them with beautiful drawings. © The Tolkien Estate Ltd 1976

Vice & Virtue Exhibition 1.jpg copy.jpgNew Orleans, LA — In honor of New Orleans’ tricentennial, M.S. Rau Antiques is pleased to present Vice & Virtue: An Exhibition of Sex, Saints & Sin. The new show, which will explore the universal and timeless struggle between virtue and vice, is free and open to the public beginning April 7 to June 9, 2018 and promises to delight, shock, and tempt the visitor.  There will be a private preview kick-off party at the century-old landmark business on Friday, April 6, 2018.

To celebrate the city’s 300th years, curator Rebecca Rau has put together a unique exhibit that exemplifies the rich history, diversity, cultural traditions and resilience of the city.  Vice & Virtue will feature fine art and rare objects from across history, from torture masks to Brueghel masterpieces.

The new exhibit, which features over 50 pieces of art, antiques, art and historical items valued at over $15 million, will give a nod to New Orleans’ Catholic heritage and its infamous culture of celebration, indulgence and excess and include depictions of the pious and pure, alongside voyeurs, seductresses, and misbehaving cardinals.

“Since the beginning New Orleans has been filled with piety and decadence; it is a city that thrives on extremes,” explained Rau, a fourth-generation antiques dealer.  “It is this dichotomy of differences that make this city all that it is, from the magnificent churches to the rowdiness of Mardi Gras, it is a place that both inspires and amazes.”

ABOUT WILLIAM RAU AND M.S. RAU ANTIQUES

Considered one of the world’s foremost experts on 18th- and 19th-century antiques and fine art, William Rau is President, CEO and third-generation owner of M.S. Rau Antiques of New Orleans, Louisiana. Over 105 years old, M.S. Rau Antiques is one of the largest premier fine arts and antique galleries in the world. William Rau’s extensive knowledge of the international art market has not only allowed him to help clients cultivate museum quality collections, but it has also afforded him the opportunity to amass the remarkable and important works in this comprehensive exhibition. 

Chicago—From January 27-May 28, 2018, the Art Institute of Chicago will present a collection of manuscript illuminations spanning four hundred years of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance from countries across Western Europe. These exquisite illuminations, although often tiny in scale, present a fascinating microcosm of medieval Europe, offering visitors a direct look into daily life and art from the period. Long-time Chicagoan Sandra Hindman, a noted medieval manuscript scholar and the founder of Les Enluminures, assembled this remarkable and broad-ranging collection throughout her career and has generously given approximately one third of the exhibited miniatures to the Art Institute. This special exhibition celebrates Hindman’s recent gift while also documenting her own journey in the field of medieval books.

Following on the heels of the Art Institute’s newly renovated and reimagined Deering Family Galleries of Medieval and Renaissance Art, Arms, and Armor earlier this year, this gift exemplifies a renewed commitment to the ongoing study and presentation of Medieval and Renaissance art in the museum. Exhibition co-curator Victoria Sancho Lobis, Prince Trust Curator of Prints & Drawings, notes the significance of these additions to the Art Institute’s permanent collection: “Sandra Hindman's gifts of manuscript illuminations make a dramatic impact on our holdings in this field, and we are especially delighted that all of the works from Sandra's collection will remain on long-term loan for consultation in the study room of the Department of Prints and Drawings.”

Exhibition co-curator Martha Wolff, Eleanor Wood Prince Curator of European Painting and Sculpture Before 1750, states, “The wonderful miniatures in this collection offer visitors an exciting range of materials through which they can explore art and life from the austere and elegant spirituality of the Romanesque period to a new engagement with the natural world in the early Renaissance.” Exhibited in and among the Art Institute’s permanent collection to contextualize with paintings and sculptures of the period, the illuminations on display demonstrate a diverse range of subject matter and use, offering a variety of ways for visitors to experience and appreciate these exceptional medieval works. 

The Medieval Word at Our Fingertips: Manuscript Illuminations from the Collection of Sandra Hindman. January 27, 2018-May 28, 2018.  

 

Schembart f.43v copy.jpgNew York—Les Enluminures announces the exhibition, “Talking at the Court, on the Street, in the Bedroom: Vernacular Manuscripts of the Middle Ages.” February 23rd to March 16th, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm. Opening and Reception: Thursday, February 22nd, 6 pm to 8 pm. 

The thirty-six manuscripts included in this exhibition provide viewers unique access to the authentic, spontaneous vision of people in medieval France, Italy, Germany, the Low Countries, and Britain. As award-winning author Christopher de Hamel writes in the introduction, “There is one way in which manuscripts are different from all other works of art: they can talk … Shared language is the basis of all communication, and manuscripts can actually speak to us.”

Of course, Latin was the language of those who aspired to literacy, and it was the language of the Church. Most people today think of the Middle Ages as a time when cloistered monks wrote and read only in now-obscure languages. But, what many do not realize is that by the thirteenth and fourteenth century (and certainly well before Columbus discovered America in 1492), numerous books became available in the everyday languages spoken “at the court, on the street, and in the bedroom.” This exhibition focuses on just such manuscripts, and we find that they were written for all sorts of people at diverse levels of society, not only the privileged aristocracy, but doctors, artisans, townspeople, women, the clergy, and the lay devout. 

For example, giving advice to widows, a translator puts Saint Jerome’s famous letters into French in a unique copy probably for a high-born woman. She is pictured in the book. Toiling in the Italian metal industry in towns, metalworkers can follow instructions on minting gold and silver coins in their own language. The manuscript is on paper in simple, yet readable script. Fancifully dressed carnival revelers cavort through the streets of medieval Nuremberg throwing fireworks amidst floats and even an occasional elephant. The German text celebrates the sponsoring families of the event. The Founder and President of Les Enluminures (and medievalist), Sandra Hindman reminisces “I have worked on vernacular manuscripts all my life and they are closest to my heart. Like the experience of reading a good book today, vernacular manuscripts offer an adventure into an unknown world that brings to life people, places, and events of long ago.” 

Come join us in experiencing the Middle Ages through our manuscripts. 

LES ENLUMINURES 

23 East 73rd  Street, 7th foor Penthouse 

New York, New York 10021 

Tel. 212 717 7273 

Catalogue: “Shared Language: Vernacular Manuscripts of the Middle Ages” by Laura Light, introduction Christopher de Hamel. Available for purchase as of February 15: $35. 

Image: Carnival reveler, holding a firework, with an elephant in the margin. Schembart (“hiding beard”) Carnival Book. In German, illuminated manuscript on paper. Germany (Nuremberg), c. 1540-1550. 64 pen and ink with watercolor drawings, 22 additional pen and ink drawings. 

 

aedf.JPGIn collaboration with Gerald W. Cloud Rare Books, San Francisco, Maggs Bros Ltd is delighted to present an exhibition of work by the acclaimed contemporary book artist, Didier Mutel. The show features his most recent work, The First Atlas of the United States of Acid, from which the show takes its name, as well as earlier and rare book designs from Mutel’s 40-year plus career as an engraver, book artist, and printer.  

The First Atlas of the United States of Acid, 2017, was created in the historic tradition of lavish large format atlases. For centuries, etching and the aqua fortis (strong water - that is, acid) technique were used for the production of maps and atlases, rendering the geographical features and national boundaries that form our understanding of the world with elegantly drawn lines. Mutel’s eponymous etching studio was founded in 1793 as the Atelier Rémond; France’s oldest etching studio in continuous operation, over its notable history it printed the monumental engravings for La Description de l’Égypte (1809-29), among other such publications.

Mutel’s contemporary reimagining, The First Atlas of the United States of Acid represents the geographical borders of each U.S. State, along with each state’s Congressional members. However, correct in their proportional distribution, the members of the legislature have been reassigned by Mutel to artists, musicians, writers and philosophers from the Renaissance to now. In the plate Alabamacid, for example, the House of Representatives consists of Raphaël, Carl Andre, Merce Cunningham, Marcel Proust, François Villon, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Frederic Chopin and Edward Steichen. Meanwhile, cartoon superheroes run the Senate; in this instance, Kilowog (DC Comics).

In the technical tradition of etched atlases, and referencing the history of his own studio, the states in The Atlas are rendered in correct shape, size, and scale, but by the artist’s imagination the work is not a map based in reality as were its historic forebears, but rather a utopian version of a country characterised by hopeful reality and humorous fiction. It has taken close to three years to achieve the first copies of this ambitious work, which was printed on the historical presses of the Atelier Didier Mutel.

Also on show will be R217A (2016), a book by Mutel that reproduces the text of the United Nations Resolution 217A - the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man - made on 10 December 1948 and ratified by the UN General Assembly in Paris by 58 member states. Mutel’s book work, printed in white on white paper, reminds us that these rights can be at times nearly invisible. The work is both an elegant metaphor and a tour de force of craftsmanship and printing.

Didier has said of his work: ‘I am deeply involved with the history, the tools and the techniques of etching and engraving. But my commitment is to feed new and contemporary ways to engrave, and not to engage in a contemplative nostalgia. The artist book is for me a great research geography, which allows all manner of exploration.

‘The rediscovery of its great sensual, sharp and endless attraction, goes farther than just the domain of the artist book, it deals with the way we produce, the time required to achieve exceptional results, and the objects we want to live with—the book for instance not as the memory of an old artifact but as a powerful and living dynamic contemporary field of creation.’

On Saturday 25 November, Didier Mutel will be at Maggs’ Bedford Square premises to discuss his historic engraving atelier (founded in Paris, 1793) and the current challenges for book artists and engravers. The artist will also discuss the development of his practice as a book artist from his early work up through his most recent books.

Tickets are free but booking essential, available via Eventbrite:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/in-conversation-with-didier-mutel-contemporary-engraving-and-book-arts-tickets-39666266872

Image: Didier Mutel, The First Atlas of the United States of Acid. Plate 8, Alabamacid. Atelier Didier Mutel: Orchamps, France, 2017

LOBEL.jpgAmherst, MA--The Caldecott Medal, an annual award bestowed upon "the most distinguished American picture book for children," is one of the most prestigious prizes in children's literature. Next month, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the distinguished award in the exhibition Eighty Years of Caldecott Books, on view December 12, 2017 through May 13, 2018.

First conferred in 1938, the Caldecott Medal is named in honor of nineteenth-century British illustrator Randolph Caldecott, acknowledged as the father of the modern picture book for his lively drawing style and sense of humor. Each year the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)--a division of the American Library Association--selects the fifteen members that form the Caldecott committee. This group reads, critiques, and discusses hundreds of picture books before voting on a winner.

Eighty Years of Caldecott Books presents a chronological look at the winning titles from 1938 to the present. It also represents The Carle's first book-focused exhibition. "While we always have books available for visitors to read in our galleries, the books in this exhibition are the art objects themselves. As first editions, they are valuable historical artifacts," says Ellen Keiter, the Museum's chief curator. Keiter organized the exhibition with Barbara Elleman, former editor-in-chief of Book Links, published by the American Library Association and, Distinguished Scholar of Children's Literature at Marquette University. While these rare books cannot be handled, guests will be able to read copies available in the Museum's Reading Library.

The exhibition will change on February 12, 2018 when the ALSC announces the winner of the 2018 Caldecott Medal and a new book is added to the display. In the interim, guests can cast their votes in the gallery for the book they believe should win the coveted honor. Online visitors to the Museum's website can vote too. 

"Eighty Years of Caldecott Books is a celebration of artistic achievement," says Keiter. "We have included original illustrations from several winning titles, many drawn from The Carle's permanent collection." On view are three artworks by Marcia Brown, one from each of her three Caldecott Medal books: Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper (1955), Once a Mouse (1962) and Shadow (1983). [Brown won an unprecedented three Caldecott Medals, a feat matched only by David Wiesner.] The other artists and artworks on display are: Ed Emberley, Drummer Hoff (1968), Uri Shulevitz, The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship (1969), Arnold Lobel, Fables (1981), Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express (1986), David Macaulay, Black and White (1991), Emily Arnold McCully, Mirette on the High Wire (1993), Paul O. Zelinsky, Rapunzel (1998), Simms Taback, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (2000), Mordicai Gerstein, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (2004), and Javaka Steptoe, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (2017). 

PROGRAMMING:

The Best of the Best in 2017 

December 16, 11:00am 

Free with Museum Admission 

In anticipation of the 2018 American Library Association Book & Media Awards, including the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, join Susan Bloom and Cathryn M. Mercier from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College as they share their favorite books of the past year.

Meet Javaka Steptoe 

December 16, 1:00pm 

Free with Museum Admission

Artist and author Javaka Steptoe won the 2017 Caldecott Medal for his book, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Hear Steptoe discuss his research and art for Radiant Child, and what his year has been like following a Caldecott win.

Book signing to follow program. Can't make it to the event? You may reserve signed books online or contact The Carle Bookshop at shop@carlemuseum.org.

Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing

with children's book historian, author, and critic Leonard S. Marcus              

April 7, 2018, 1:00pm 

Free with Museum Admission

This illustrated talk introduces the sly, fun-loving Victorian whose kinetic drawing style and keen feeling for life culminated in the invention of an art form the world has come to embrace: the children's picture book. Celebrate this true original as the American Library Association marks the 80th anniversary of the coveted prize named for him: the Randolph Caldecott Medal.

The 8th Annual Barbara Elleman Research Library (BERL) Lecture 

Celebrating the Caldecott: The stories behind some of the great Caldecott Medal and Honor Books with editor, author, and scholar Anita Silvey

Saturday, April 28, 2:00 pm 

Free with Museum Admission

The Barbara Elleman Research Library (BERL) Lecture is an annual event featuring the country's preeminent scholars, book collectors, researchers, editors, authors, and illustrators in the field of children's literature.

About The Carle

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. A leading advocate in its field, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture-book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

Eric Carle and his wife, the late Barbara Carle, co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 43,000-square foot facility has served more than 750,000 visitors, including 50,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and Master's degree programs in children's literature with Simmons College. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call (413) 559-6300 or visit the Museum's website at

www.carlemuseum.org

Image: Arnold Lobel, Illustration for Fables [Harper & Row, 1980]. Gift of Adrianne and Adam Lobel (The Estate of Arnold Lobel). © 1980 Arnold Lobel.

Oxford, England—The origins of early English graphic design are explored in a new exhibition opening at the Bodleian Libraries’ Weston Library. Designing English: Graphics on the Medieval Page, open from 1 December 2017, brings together a stunning selection of manuscripts and other objects to uncover the craft and artistry of Anglo-Saxon and medieval scribes, painters and engravers.

Designing English looks at the skills and innovations of these very early specialists who worked to preserve, clarify, adorn, authorize and interpret writing in English. For almost a thousand years most texts had been written in Latin, the common European language. Beyond the traditions established for Latin, books in English were often improvisatory, even homespun, but they were just as inventive and creative. In an age when each book was made uniquely by hand, each book was an opportunity for redesigning. The introduction of the English text posed questions: How did scribes choose to arrange the words and images on the page in each manuscript? How did they preserve, clarify and illustrate writing in English? What visual guides were given to early readers of English in how to understand or use their books?

The exhibition explores all elements of design, from the materials used, such as the size and shape of animal skins used to create parchment, to the design of texts for different uses, such as for performing songs, plays or music. Medical texts and practical manuals feature alongside ornate religious texts, including rare examples of unfinished illustrations that reveal the practical processes of making pages and artefacts. The use of English is traced from illicit additions made to Latin texts, to its more general, every day use, and spread to more ephemeral formats.

The exhibition features incredible early manuscripts held in the Bodleian collections, one of the largest medieval collections in the UK, alongside loan items from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and the British Museum.

Highlights of Designing English include:

-          The Macregol Gospels, one of the treasures of the Bodleian Libraries, dating from Ireland in around 800 CE, with English translations added to the original Latin text.

-          English translations of hymns composed by Caedmon (657-680), an illiterate cowherd who lived at Whitby Abbey and is the first named English poet.

The Alfred Jewel, an ornate enamel and gold jewel on loan from the Ashmolean Museum that contains the inscription ‘Alfred ordered me to be made’. The jewel is widely believed to have been commissioned by King Alfred the Great (849-899 BCE), who championed the use of English.

-          Gravestones and other medieval objects engraved with English text, including an Anglo-Saxon sword and a gold ring found at Godstow Abbey, Oxford.

-          Medical texts such as revolving ‘volvelle’ diagrams, magical charms and colourful drawings and diagrams for doctors. 

-          Some of the earliest known works in the English language, including Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and early drama and songs

-          Examples of intricate texts with colour coded instructions on how to read them, such as an English translation of the Bible which may have belonged to Henry VI.

Designing English is curated by Daniel Wakelin, Jeremy Griffiths Professor of Medieval English Palaeography at the University of Oxford, one of the few posts in the world dedicated to the study of medieval English manuscripts.

Professor Wakelin said: ‘Medieval writers had to be graphic designers every time they wrote or carved their words. Tracing the earliest uses of English, from illicit annotations on Latin texts, to more everyday jottings in ephemeral formats, this exhibition celebrates the imagination and skill of these early writers. Their craft and inventiveness resonates today when digital media allow users to experiment with design through word processing, social media and customized products.”

Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian said: ‘The Bodleian Libraries holds one of the most important collections of medieval manuscripts in the world, and this exhibition celebrates all aspects of the ingenuity and craftsmanship that went into some of the most beautiful, and everyday items that still survive today. The exhibition provides an intriguing and surprising history of English literature in one room.”

To show the likeness of these medieval documents to modern craft, Designing English will, until 11 March 2018, be exhibited alongside Redesigning the Medieval Book: a display of contemporary book arts inspired by the exhibition. The exhibited contemporary artworks include calligraphy, prints, embroidery, pop-up books, videos, games and jewellery.

The exhibition will be opened by award-winning designer Jay Osgerby, who with Edward Barber, designed the new Bodleian Chair. The exhibition runs until 22 April 2018 and is accompanied by two new titles from Bodleian Library Publishing. A beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue, Designing English: Early Literature on the Page, written by exhibition curator Daniel Wakelin is available in hardback for £30. A second title, Revolting Remedies from the Middle Ages, brings together weird and wonderful medical tips for everyday use in medieval England, some of which are displayed in the exhibition. Both titles are available to preorder from www.bodleianshop.co.uk.

An exciting programme of talks and events, including family-friendly activities, will be held over the course of the Designing English exhibition, starting with a special opening weekend celebration at the Bodleian’s Weston Library on 2 December. For more information visit www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/whatson.

The Weston Library is one of the newest cultural destinations in Oxford and has welcomed more than 2 million visitors since opening to the public in March 2015. The Library has also won numerous architectural awards and was shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016.

 

loveday-artwork_600.jpgSan Marino, CA— An exhibition opening next week at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens will present a fresh, vibrant group of new works by seven artists responding to research they conducted in The Huntington’s vast collections over the past year. The exhibition “Collection/s: WCCW/five at The Huntington,” on view in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art from Nov. 18, 2017, through Feb. 12, 2018, is part of an initiative called “/five.” The installation features paintings, sculpture, textiles, video, and writings by artists Olivia Chumacero, Sarita Dougherty, Jheanelle Garriques, Zya S. Levy, Kiki Loveday (née kerrie welsh), Soyoung Shin, and Juliana Wisdom, who were selected in collaboration with the Los Angeles-based Women’s Center for Creative Work (WCCW). Objects in the exhibition include an archive of Sappho-inspired love letters on handmade paper, plaster castings of cacti, a video created in uncultivated areas of the Huntington’s grounds, and porcelain vessels and a tapestry inspired by 18th-century French masterworks.

The /five initiative is a contemporary art collaboration between The Huntington and five different organizations over five years that invites artists to respond to a range of themes drawn from The Huntington’s deep and diverse library, art, and botanical collections. The initiative is led by Catherine Hess, The Huntington’s chief curator of European art and interim director of its art collections and Jenny Watts, The Huntington’s curator of photography and visual culture. In /five’s first year (2016), The Huntington collaborated with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laborary (JPL) to present the sound sculpture “Orbit Pavilion,” which referenced The Huntington’s history of aerospace, astronomy, and Earth science collections.

For the second year of the initiative, The Huntington chose WCCW, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that cultivates feminist creative communities and practices, to explore the theme of collecting and collections.

“Henry Huntington was a collector at heart,” said Watts. “He began with books and moved on to land, plants, and, with the guidance of his wife Arabella, British and European art. The Huntingtons—who excluded women from the professional staff—surely never anticipated the myriad challenging, provocative, and insightful ways in which these 21st-century artists would interpret the collections, living and not.”

Additional information and photographs about the /five initiative, WCCW, and the artists and their works is available at huntington.org/five.

Image: Kiki Loveday (née kerrie welsh) (b. 1987), detail of object from What You Love, 2017. Installation of collected letters, objects, and ephemera by various contributors.

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 9.30.14 AM.pngThe Grolier Club is heralding the Winter holiday with the exhibition Radiant with Color & Art: McLoughlin Brothers and the Business of Picture Books, 1858-1920. More than 200 vibrantly colored children’s illustrated picture books, drawings, watercolors, and ephemera are on view from December 6, 2017 to February 3, 2018.  

The exhibition focuses on the accomplishments and technological innovations of McLoughlin Brothers, the influential late 19th century children’s book publishing firm. Rising from the gritty printing district of lower Manhattan, the McLoughlin Brothers embraced cutting edge technologies like chromolithography, creative branding techniques, and competitive business tactics.  

Based upon the impressive collections of the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), a national research library and learned society located in Worcester, MA, the exhibition documents the variety of juvenile imprints created by the McLoughlin Brothers, and surveys the broad influence and appeal of this under-studied publisher of illustrated children’s literature.

Drawn from the impressive archive of McLoughlin Brothers artwork and picture books held at the AAS, the exhibition delves into the early history of American juvenile literature publishing during the period from 1858 to 1920, using the production and merchandising practices of McLoughlin Brothers to explore the serious business of entertainment for children.

Radiant with Color & Art is co-curated by Laura Wasowicz, AAS curator of children’s literature and Lauren Hewes, AAS Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts. The exhibition is funded in part with support from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Founded by John McLoughlin, Jr. (1827-1905) and Edmund McLoughlin (1833/4-1889) the firm was one of the first to concentrate exclusively in works for children producing illustrated books as well as printed paper dolls, toy soldiers, games, and valentines. They created 1,000 titles in about 150 series between 1860 and 1890.  

The McLoughlin Brothers reached both low and middle-class customers by diversifying their stock and offering various price points for their products ranging from one penny to a dollar per book. Through strategic partnerships and collaborations they expanded their distribution nationwide. They also repurposed their imprints to cross promote and sell other items such as clothing and food and worked with D. Appleton and Company to create Spanish language imprints that were sold throughout Latin America. 

The publishing house was also an innovator in printing technology,  exploiting a new process of printing from relief etched zinc plates called chromotypography, and later mastering the intricacies of  lithographic printing in color. By 1905, they were credited with having one of the largest lithographic printing establishments in the country with a Brooklyn-based factory stretching over five acres.  The firm printed books on all subjects, drawing from both European and American sources to produce everything from fairy tales and nursery rhymes, to books on popular culture and holiday-themed titles. On exhibit is an 1889 book,  A.B.C of Objects for Home and School. Kindergarten First Book, that emphasized the importance of literacy by featuring a mother reading with a child on the cover.  It was a wordless book and was distributed to schools around the world. 

Noteworthy in the books are depictions of humor, race and social mores that provide a unique view into the cultural norms of the times in which they were created. Additionally, the McLoughlin Brothers were well known for their  portrayals of Cinderella and—appropriately for the holidays—Santa Claus.

The publishers hired cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1869 to create a picture book version of the poem The Night Before Christmas.  Recognizing the poem’s potential, the firm periodically issued updated versions featuring modern toys and style of dress and created branded products to accompany the books. On display is the original watercolor for the cover design of an 1888 edition of The Night Before Christmas,  part of the firm’s art archive used for consultation during the design and republishing process. 

Cinderella was a mainstay of the McLoughlinn Brothers.  With its simple design and appealing hand-colored illustrations, the ca. 1858 Cinderella, one of the first titles issued by the publishers after they formed their partnership, looked like countless other picture books for children issued in the 1840s and 1850s. Over forty years later, the firm was still publishing the fairytale, but Cinderella was given a new look as seen in the ca. 1912 watercolor design by New York artist Sarah Noble Ives.    

The McLoughlin Brothers had harnessed the talents of popular 19th century American illustrators, including Thomas Nast, Sarah Noble Ives, Justin H. Howard, Ida Waugh, and Richard André to herald the dawn of the fin de siècle “picture book beautiful.” 

FREE LUNCHTIME EXHIBITION TOURS:

Public tours of the exhibition will be offered by the co-curators 

Friday, January 5, noon-1 pm (Laura Wasowicz, curator of children’s literature, AAS) 

Monday, January 29, 1 pm-2 pm (Lauren Hewes, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, AAS)

CATALOG: 

A fully-illustrated 144-page color catalog of Radiant with Color & Art: McLoughlin Brothers and the Business of Picture Books, 1858-1920, published by the American Antiquarian Society, will be available at the Grolier Club.

About the Grolier Club

Founded in 1884, the Grolier Club is America’s oldest and largest society of bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the graphic arts. Named after Jean Grolier the Renaissance collector renowned for sharing his collection with his friends, the club maintains a 100,000 volume library, publishes books and presents public exhibitions, lectures and symposia to foster an appreciation of art, history, printing and production of books and works on paper.  

About the American Antiquarian Society 

The nation’s first national historical organization, the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) is both a learned society and a major independent research library devoted to pre-twentieth century American imprints.  The Society was the recipient of the 2013 National Humanities Medal, the first independent research library to be so honored.  The Society sponsors a broad range of programs - visiting research fellowships, research, education, publications, lectures, and concerts - for constituencies ranging from school children and their teachers through undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, creative and performing artists and writers, and the general public.  

VISITING THE GROLIER CLUB

47 East 60th Street  

New York, NY 10022  

212-838-6690 

www.grolierclub.org  

Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm

Admission: Exhibitions are open to the public free of charge 

cadogan.pngShapero Modern in conjunction with Sladmore Contemporary is delighted to present Still Reading, an exhibition of paintings by Nancy Cadogan and sculptures by Martin Jennings. Cadogan’s oil paintings of books are shown alongside bronze maquettes and busts from Jennings's statues of literary figures. 

Cadogan’s paintings engage with ideas of time and a private dialogue with literature. The genesis for the series originates from 2011, when she made her first book paintings for the London Antiquarian Book Fair. They capture the immense potential and excitement of reading and the possibilities of language within their diminutive scale. In one sense, the works are typical of the still life genre and record a sense of time passing. In another, they reflect on the concept of stillness more widely, as a rare condition within our hyper-networked contemporary reality, and instead celebrate quiet reflection. 

As Cadogan has stated, ‘The book - the actual physical paper bound object full of words - is a treasure in this modern era. A book contains an entire universe you can only bring to life in your imagination, if you agree to give it time. It is a tribute to privacy, an honouring of the interior life.’ 

Image: Nancy Cadogan, When the Lights Go Down, 2017

drawn-dancers_486x518.pngOriginal works by women cartoonists and illustrators are featured in a new exhibition opening at the Library of Congress on Nov. 18. Spanning the late 1800s to the present, “Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists” brings to light remarkable but little-known contributions made by North American women to these art forms.

In fields traditionally dominated by men, many women have long earned their livelihoods creating art intended for reproduction and wide dissemination in newspapers, periodicals and books. Women pursuing careers in the early days of the visual arts, as in nearly every other profession, encountered limitations in training, permitted subject matter and adequate work environments. A host of challenges and longstanding social restrictions in a traditionally male-controlled system impeded many from advancing in their chosen fields.

The selected works drawn from the Library’s extensive collections highlight the gradual broadening in both the private and public spheres of women’s roles and interests, addressing such themes as evolving ideals of feminine beauty, new opportunities emerging for women in society, changes in gender relations and issues of human welfare. “Drawn to Purpose” demonstrates that women, once constrained by social conditions and convention, have gained immense new opportunities for self-expression and discovery to share with growing, appreciative audiences.

The exhibition will feature nearly 70 works by 43 artists in two rotations during its run from Nov. 18, 2017, through Oct. 20, 2018, in the Graphic Arts Galleries of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibition will be free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are not needed.

The exhibition is made possible by the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon. An online version will be available to audiences nationwide at loc.gov on Nov. 18.

“Drawn to Purpose” is organized into seven sections: Themes and Genres; Golden Age Illustrators; Early Comics; New Voices, New Narratives; Editorial Illustrators; Magazine Covers and Cartoons; and Political Cartoonists.

Among the artists and works featured are Grace Drayton’s wide-eyed, red-cheeked Campbell Kids, who debuted in 1909; Lynn Johnston’s comic strip “For Better or For Worse”; Persian Gulf War editorial illustrations by Sue Coe and Frances Jetter; “Mixed Marriage” by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast; and work by best-selling graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier.

The Library will release a companion book, “Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists” by curator Martha H. Kennedy, in the spring of 2018. Featuring more than 240 eye-catching illustrations from Library collections, “Drawn to Purpose” provides additional insights into the personal and professional experiences of more than 80 artists. Their individual stories—shaped by their access to art training, the impact of family on their careers and experiences of gender bias in the marketplace—serve as vivid reminders of the human dimensions of social change during a period in which the roles and interests of women spread from the private to the public sphere. The hardcover volume is published in association with University of Mississippi Press and will be available for $50 in the Library of Congress shop, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557 or loc.gov/shop/ and bookstores nationwide.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.

Image: Detail, "Dancing Couples No. 1," Anne Harriet Fish (1890-1964). Cover for Vanity Fair, March 1920.

 

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