The National Comedy Center is proud to announce the acquisition of the archive of ground-breaking comedian Shelley Berman, who passed away in September 2017 at the age of 92. The donation was formally announced during a tribute attended by Larry David, Dr. Demento, Cheryl Hines, Laraine Newman, Howard Storm, David Steinberg, Fred Willard, and Alan Zweibel, hosted by Lewis Black and presented by the National Comedy Center on Tuesday, January 30th at the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, California.

The Berman archive is the latest acquisition for the National Comedy Center, the first non-profit cultural institution and national-scale visitor experience dedicated to the art of comedy, which already houses a number of archival pieces including the 25,000-piece George Carlin collection, donated in 2017. 

In production now in Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, New York, the National Comedy Center fulfills Ball’s vision to establish a center that celebrates comedy in all of its forms, educating and engaging visitors with the story of the art form and its artists. The National Comedy Center is slated to host its ribbon cutting August 1-4, 2018 during its annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.

“No longer the step child to the arts, comedy and those who make us laugh are about to have their own place in the world. When I found myself surrounded by all of Shelley's writings, I wondered what to do with all of it. Do I give it to some museum where they let it gather dust before they throw it away? Along came the National Comedy Center, driven by people who have the vision to know that this material and the material of other comedians has a value. They are dedicated to preserving all for their archives and for future generations who may want to know about those who gave us the gift of laughter. I feel confident that all of Shelley's fine work will be in good hands,” said Sarah Berman, Shelley’s wife of more than 70 years. 

The archive was carefully collected and stored in Berman’s home office for seven decades, and spans from the 1940s to the 2010s. It includes hundreds of photographs, contracts, scripts, calendars, scrapbooks, correspondences and rare footage and audio chronicling his wide-ranging career in stand-up, improv, television, film, theater, and comedy writing. 

Included in the gift are Berman’s consecutive Gold Records for his two landmark 1959 albums Inside Shelley Berman and Outside Shelley Berman, the first of which was the comedy album first to win a Grammy. Also included is the trademark stool on which he performed his classic routines during live engagements across the country.

Berman’s unique brand of anxiety-ridden observational humor helped to redefine stand-up comedy in the late 1950s and ‘60s. He continued to be a favorite with audiences in his later years for his Emmy-nominated portrayal of Larry David’s father, Nat, on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. 

“Berman had changed the face of stand-up comedy. What I feel helped inform me as a comic, was the precision in his language. You had someone who was this terrific actor doing comedy, and that’s rare,” said event host Lewis Black.

Fred Willard echoed Black’s sentiment. “Shelley Berman came along with that whole new wave of comedy. It forever changed the way we look at stand-up comedy.”

Kelly Carlin further added, “My father looked up to Shelley Berman. He appreciated Shelley’s use of words and his gift for story-telling.  And I can tell you, my dad would be thrilled to know that Shelley’s papers will be sitting next to his in Jamestown.”

Executive Director of the National Comedy Center, Journey Gunderson, concluded the event by saying, “Shelley Berman was there at the very beginning of what we call modern day stand-up comedy. We are so honored that Sarah has chosen the National Comedy Center as the institution to house Shelley’s archive, and has trusted us to preserve and celebrate his legacy.”

 

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. 

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress welcomes the Kentucky Center for the Book as its newest affiliated center. The Kentucky Center is based at Kentucky Humanities in Lexington.

“We are thrilled to become Kentucky’s Center for the Book,” said Kentucky Humanities Executive Director Bill Goodman. “Kentucky Humanities is deeply committed to promoting literacy in Kentucky through PRIME TIME Family Reading Time, the Kentucky Book Fair and our upcoming Kentucky Reads initiative. We look forward to continuing to share the love of reading and writing and promoting community discussions about great literature and its relevance to our lives with citizens of the Commonwealth.”

Before it joined the Center for the Book network, Kentucky Humanities already had many successful programs to its credit, among them, PRIME TIME Family Reading Time, an intergenerational family literacy program that has so far reached more than 40,000 Kentuckians through 204 programs in 81 counties; and Kentucky Humanities magazine, first published in 1994. In 2016, Kentucky Humanities became the manager of the Kentucky Book Fair, the state’s premier literary event since 1981.

“We are pleased to welcome the new Kentucky Center for the Book as the newest affiliate to help promote reading with the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The Kentucky Center already has demonstrated a commitment to the mission of promoting books, reading and literacy with its many programs.”

Congress created the Library’s Center for the Book in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading. It has become a national force for reading and literacy promotion with affiliates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The affiliates will meet in the spring to exchange ideas. For more information, visit read.gov.

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.

Kentucky Humanities is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Kentucky Humanities is supported by the National Endowment and by private contributions. For information about Kentucky Humanities’ programs and services, visit kyhumanities.org.

 

New York — LiveAuctioneers, the world’s leading online marketplace for auctions of collectibles, antiques and fine art, today announced its participation in the Codex Consortium, which supports the Codex Protocol, a decentralized title registry for the $2 trillion arts & collectibles (A&C) asset class that brings provenance onto the blockchain. LiveAuctioneers has committed to adopting Codex Protocol, its native token, and its first product, Biddable, the day the protocol is launched. In the short term, Biddable will make bidding easier for LiveAuctioneers’ audience of 12 million users, enable bidding with cryptocurrency, and bring an influx of cryptowealth to auction houses. Over the long term, Codex will create a larger and more trusted art and collectibles market that will benefit LiveAuctioneers’ auction-house partners.

As part of the Codex Consortium, LiveAuctioneers will be working closely with the Codex team and integrating the protocol into its online marketplace. Codex’s first application, Biddable, will make it possible to register for auctions instantly by leaving a cryptocurrency deposit and to pay for won items in cryptocurrency. Today, auction houses lose substantial revenue to bidders who renege on items they win. Because of this, many auction houses require extensive financial disclosures from potential bidders just to participate. With Biddable, anyone can bid easily without invasive financial disclosures.

“We are thrilled to be one of the first members of the Codex Consortium and to bring Biddable to our users. At LiveAuctioneers we pride ourselves in being the first to help auction-house partners grow sales with innovative technology solutions,” said Phil Michaelson, president of LiveAuctioneers. “While we have been recognized in the industry for our customer service, there are major frictions in the bidding experience. Registering for auctions can be hard, especially for foreign bidders and those with anonymous wealth. Meanwhile, some auction houses lose up to ten percent of their revenue to non-performing bidders, and the auction industry likely rejects over one million bidder registrations per year. LiveAuctioneers has continuously invested in providing our auction-house partners with services and technology solutions to address this problem, and Biddable is the most impressive we’ve seen. Biddable can securely and anonymously increase trust among buyers, seller and consignors, so we, our bidders, and our auction-house partners eagerly await its launch.”

With the growing amount of cryptowealth around the world, wealthy cryptoholders are seeking uncorrelated and discrete ways to store value. With Codex and Biddable, cryptoinvestors will be able to invest in assets with low correlation to other cryptocurrencies. Michaelson continued, “Auction houses look forward to welcoming the new generation of cryptowealthy as they invest in art and collectibles. With Biddable, cryptoholders will be able to use cryptocurrency to bid on and buy tens of millions of unique items worth several billion dollars in tens of thousands of auctions from thousands of auction houses. Exceptional items ranging from Corvettes to Warhols, from antique cameras to Patek Philippe watches and Viking jewelry, are available at LiveAuctioneers. As with Codex, they’ll be able to prove provenance with a title, which will preserve the value of their items without disclosing their identity. We could not be more excited about joining the Codex consortium, and our clients feel similarly.”

CEO of Codex, Mark Lurie, said, “LiveAuctioneers has always been committed to investing in and developing innovative technologies for the arts and collectibles space. They have an established international presence that brings millions of bidders and billions of dollars of collectibles to the marketplace. In contrast, the auction items available for purchase with cryptocurrency anywhere else in the world fill less than a single room. LiveAuctioneers is well positioned to understand where the market can be improved, what motivates participants, and what the major hurdles are when it comes to growing arts and collectibles as a financial asset class. Codex was created by industry players for industry players, and we aim to create a larger, better, and fairer market for collectors, intermediaries and artists alike.”

By hosting thousands of auctions in real time via the Internet, LiveAuctioneers allows unprecedented access to live sales. Codex and Biddable will extend that mission to make the auction process easier, more trustworthy and more accessible. As the Codex title registry grows, the arts and collectibles industry will be able to buy, sell, securitize, insure, and lend against the asset class more easily.

About LiveAuctioneers.com:

Founded in 2002, LiveAuctioneers.com digitally connects an audience of millions with the live-bidding action at nearly 5,000 premier auction houses and galleries in 59 countries, providing a highly curated and trusted marketplace of unique items. Privately owned and headquartered in New York City, LiveAuctioneers is the world’s preferred online source for fine and decorative art, antiques, jewelry and vintage collectibles.

About Codex:

Codex is the leading decentralized title registry for the $2 trillion arts & collectibles (“A&C”) ecosystem, which includes art, fine wine, collectible cars, antiques, decorative art, coins, watches, jewelry and more. Powered by the BidDex native token, the Codex Protocol is open source, allowing third-party players in the A&C ecosystem to build applications and utilize the title system. Codex’s landmark application, Biddable, is a title-escrow system built on the Codex Protocol, which solves long-standing challenges in auctions: non-performing bidders, lack of privacy, and bidder access. The codes Protocol and BidDex will be adopted as the only cryptocurrency by the Codex Consortium, a group of major stakeholders in the A&C space who facilitate over $6 billion in sales to millions of bidders across tens of thousands of auctions from 5,000 auction houses in more than 50 countries. To learn more about the Codex Protocol and Biddable, please visit www.codexprotocol.com.

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

wells fargo.jpgPBA Galleries continued their strong start in 2018 with their January 25th Americana - Travel & Exploration - World History - Cartography sale. The auction offered five hundred lots of rare and significant items of historical, cultural, and visual interest, including books, manuscripts, photographs, and ephemera, with a particularly strong gathering of cartographic material. Ranging from the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, with much on California history, to the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, and the bayous of the Old South, the Americana section offered original material capturing the dynamic growth and culture of the New World over the centuries. Next, they traveled to the far reaches of the globe, the mysteries of the occident and orient were unveiled. Finally, the charting of the world over five centuries included maps of the East Indies, Asia, Europe, and the lands of the western hemisphere, with many scarce maps of the towns and cities of California.

The highlight of the sale was an 1875 Wells Fargo Reward Poster for “Alkali Jim” which sold for $10,200. The poster advertised a reward of $100 for the capture of “Wm Harrington, alias Wm. Waverly, alias Chas. Johnson, alias Jas. W. Clark, alias Alkali Jim” and was issued following his escape from San Quentin Prison on July 17th, 1875. Alkali Jim, along with his partners Charles Cooper and William Miner, had been convicted in 1872 for the 1871 armed robbery of a Wells, Fargo & Co. stage coach near San Andreas, California. Bidding was vigorous with phone bidders competing against those online for the single letterpress sheet.

A rare copper-engraved chart of the Straits of Singapore from 1711 led the cartography section of the sale selling for $6,600. This rare and important hand-colored map is oriented with north to the right. Its prime significance when issued was its depiction of the routes through the labyrinth of islands in the straits to Borneo and Java. Singapore and other settlements in the straights grew as a means to control the area which was secured by Britain in 1824. The imprint on this chart reads "By Iohn Thornton Hydrographer at the Sign of England Scotland and Ireland in the Minories London."

The high point of the Travel & Exploration section of the sale was a collection of approximately 92 glass lantern slides and other related photographs, postcards and a diary selling for $6.000. The glass slides, most hand-colored, provide a fascinating photographic record of a mission by the Lutheran Pastor George Bayard Young to Armenia and Turkey in 1919 to offer aid following the Armenian genocide. The disturbing images of piles of bones and poignant pictures of orphans were taken for presentations to raise relief funds in the U.S.

Books also did well in the sale.  The Manuscript Edition of The Writings of John Muir drew spirited bidding and saw the hammer fall at $5,100. Edited by William Frederic Badè and illustrated with numerous photogravure and halftone plates, the set is bound in the special deluxe half black morocco with leather edges ruled in gilt, spines lettered in gilt and with beautiful gilt-stamped floral vignettes, raised bands and matching endpapers. A manuscript leaf by Muir from Chapter 4 of The Mountains of California is mounted to front preliminary flyleaf of Volume 1 and Volumes 1-8 also contain an original gelatin silver photograph.

PBA Galleries holds sales of fine, rare and collectible books every two weeks.  For more information regarding upcoming sales, consignments, or auction results, please contact PBA Galleries at (415) 989-2665 or pba@pbagalleries.com.

 

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.

Dallas, TX - From Dorthea Lange to Annie Leibovitz, Heritage Auctions' inaugural Online Photographs Auction of 2018 brings iconic artwork from more than 80 artists across 170 lots to collectors Feb. 28, 2018 on HA.com. The diverse offerings span intriguing contemporary signed prints to 19th century orotone images by Edward Sheriff Curtis.

Ruth Bernhard’s 1952 Classic Torso (est. $6,000-8,000) is a 9-3/4-by-7-1/2-inch gelatin silver from a series of by the photographer of nude and semi-nude women - the subject for which Bernhard is perhaps best known.

Horst P. Horst’s 1989 Tulips (est. $4,000-6,000) is a gelatin silver image measuring 16-1/4 by 14-1/8 inches with the photographer’s blindstamp in margin recto; it is signed, titled, dated and inscribed in pencil on verso by Horst, considered one of the most significant photographers of the 20th century known for his elegant, glamorous images.

Elliott Erwitt’s 1974 New York City (est. $3,500-4,500) is a gelatin silver image measuring 11-5/8 by 17-1/2 inches and is signed, titled and dated in pencil on verso. One of the top photographers of his generation, Erwitt began shooting in the 1940s and developed a reputation for humanizing celebrity portraits and his humorous subjects.

William A. Garnett’s 1975 Sand Dune #1, Palm Desert, California (est. $3,500-4,500) is a gelatin silver image measuring 7 by 9 inches, and is signed in pencil in margin recto by Garnett, and titled and dated in pencil with the artist’s stamp on verso. Garnett, who is perhaps known best for his landscape and aerial photography, earned three Guggenheim fellowships for his landscape photographs.

Ilse Bing’s 1931 Self-Portrait with Leica, Paris (est. $2,000-3,000) offers a unique perspective of Bing, with simultaneous views of her pointed directly into the lens of her camera and also a profile of her as she shoots. The German-born avant-garde and commercial photographer moved to Paris in 1930 and started using an advanced Leica camera, earning her the title “Queen of the Leica.”

Heritage's recent development of online-only photography auctions offers lots ranging in estimate between $100 and $10,000. The sales are part of a strategic plan to grow the firm's photography department by streamlining access to classic and contemporary artworks for new collectors. These quarterly auctions also have proven effective in assisting established collectors’ efforts to expand their interests and assets.

Bidding is facilitated at HA.com or through the firm's newly-released, free mobile app for Android and iOS users.

17-33 Adoration of the Magi copy.jpgLes Enluminures is celebrating its 25th year exhibiting at TEFAF Maastricht

For this prestigious event, the leading specialists in manuscripts and jewelry from the Middle Ages, Les Enluminures will inaugurate at TEFAF Maastricht the selling-exhibition “The thing of mine I have loved the best”: Meaningful Jewels. Forty-six exceptional pieces of European jewelry - pendants, reliquaries, amulets, and talismans - dating from the eighth century to the eighteenth century, will be presented in a specially commissioned, one-time-only display, which will be revealed at TEFAF. 

One of the many remarkable objects assembled by Founder and President of Les Enluminures Dr Sandra Hindman, over a period of fifteen years, is a Spanish “magic belt”. The oldest of the very few surviving examples, it includes elements from the tenth to the seventeenth centuries: Islamic textile, Arab coins, rosary beads, a rock crystal skull, a jet amulet, and a type of horse chestnut make up the belt, which would have been worn by a child to protect him or her from evil spirits.

A lavishly illustrated book by two senior scholars, Cynthia Hahn and Beatriz Chadour-Sampson, accompanies the exhibition.

Alongside this, Les Enluminures will present an array of important acquisitions. Notable highlights include two exceptional miniatures from the crucible of sixteenth century illumination, art, and design in Renaissance Paris. These two full-page miniatures come from a richly illuminated Breviary assigned to the Bellemare Group - possibly the late work of Noël Bellemare himself. 

Also on display will be the Hours of Philippote de Nanterre, a monumental illuminated manuscript with 27 miniatures by the Master of Raoul d’Ailly, a rare Amiens painter directly influenced by Flemish Primitives, and a collaborator.

Image: Bellemare Group (plausibly Noël Bellemare, active Antwerp and Paris, 1512-1546), Adoration of the Magi, France, probably Paris, c. 1540-45

 

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