One of my favorite things about the holiday season is making handmade cards. The process begins as early as summer, when I select the perfect papers and start devising that year’s theme. This tradition has now grown into such a production that almost every surface in my home is covered with envelope liners, labels, stamps, and eyelets for the first few weeks of December.
I am not alone in my handmade card fascination. The Smithsonian’s Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture’s current exhibition Season’s Greetings: Holiday Cards from the Archives of American Art showcases a variety of artists’ greetings. If you can’t make the trip to D.C. before the exhibition closes on January 10, you can enjoy thirty-four examples online, including works by artists in the Carter’s collection such as Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, and Werner Dreves.
Haven’t had time to send your own holiday cards this year? The Smithsonian’s site allows you to send a free e-Card of one of the artist’s handmade treasures.
During our November Family Funday, families came from all over the metroplex to participate in multiple activities surrounding the theme Way Out West. Favorite activities included making charm bags and corn husk dolls, and striking silly poses for Shadow Silhouettes, a photography activity.
Children and families also explored the galleries in search of specific works of art and American Indian Storytelling. A fun day was had by all.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Night Visions, our next Family Funday, on Sunday, January 10th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. where you can explore nocturnal works of art, listen to stories and poetry, and make your own evening inspired masterpieces. Family Fundays are free and great for the entire family.
The Carter encourages you to visit our Web site before you visit to learn about our collection as well as exhibits and programming that we hope will be of interest to you.
Our home page is the gateway to all the Carter has to offer. Want to know about what is hanging on the walls? How about going on a tour? Perhaps you want to get your kids ready to come to the museum for a visit? There’s also a way to see some of the art that is not on display at this time.
Starting December 12, 2009, the Carter will display a new acquisition. Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian exhibits this comprehensive collection for the first time. Visit the Library of Congress American Memory page for a great look at this collection online and then come see the real thing in the gallery.
Edward S. Curtis, Yellow Owl, Mandan, Photogravure on vellum, 1908.
One of my favorite artists in the Carter’s collection is innovative printmaker and sculptor Louise Nevelson (1899–1988). Whenever I see one of her imaginative sculptures, it always seems to command attention no matter its size or the other works in the same gallery. Get to know this great American artist a little better and be on the lookout for her work at the Carter and other art museums you visit”¦
Black, white, and gold are the signature colors of Nevelson’s sculptures–colors that transform her found object assemblages from a mixture of items like bedposts and chair seats to masterful displays of pure aesthetic form. She was born in Kiev in 1899 and immigrated to Rockland, Maine, in 1905. She eventually made her way to New York City, where she not only filled her days with creating artworks, but also became a student of modern dance, combining the two in the Carter’s sculpture [Untitled] (ca. 1935), which represents a kneeling dancer engaged in dynamic movement. “Modern dance certainly makes you aware of movement,” Nevelson recalled, “and that moving from the center of the being is where we generate and create our own energy . . . I became aware of every fiber, and it freed me.” Her exploration of motion continued in the Carter’s [Untitled] (ca. 1947), which is designed for each abstract piece to rotate on a central axis (although you must only imagine the movement rather than engage in a hands-on lesson!).
Nevelson is best known for her wall reliefs of all sizes using found objects like the Carter’s Lunar Landscape (1959–60).
She would roam the streets around her New York studio, searching for the perfect items to combine in monochromatic sculptures–recycling long before the term became fashionable! Lunar Landscape, Sky Cathedral, Silent Music IX, America Dawn–her titles reflect her idea that viewers should consider each work’s beauty of form and line instead of trying to determine the identities of the included objects. To me, Nevelson’s works hold appeal because of her creativity and ability to transform a myriad of scavenged objects into a beautiful unified whole. The next time you’re at the Carter head into the galleries and let her sculptures inspire you.
Educators are always welcome at the Carter, but Thursday night will provide a unique oppotunity. It's the annual Evening for Educators in the Cultural District. All of the museums will be free of charge to educators, and their respective education staff will be available to talk about programs and resources available for teachers and students for the coming school year. Bring your teacher friends and spend an evening with us!
Summer is coming to an end, the heat will end soon, and fall is almost here. That might not mean that the leaves will dramatically change color here in north Texas, but it sure means that football season is here! Here's to a great season for all the athletes and their fans.
Helen M. Post (1907--1979)
Phoenix Indian School, Beginning at Football, ca. 1936--1941
Gelatin silver print
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, Gift of Peter Modley
©Amon Carter Museum
A recent fire destroyed a significant collection of African-American art owned by Peggy Cooper Cafritz. Her loss is our loss too and brings new significance to the Harmon and Harriet Kelley collection now on view at the Carter. This exhibition will close on August 23rd, so be sure to come in and see examples of great American art.
Many thanks to Jim Hargrove and readers of the Star-Telegram for choosing our "front porch" as one of the most inspiring places to stand in Fort Worth. I've always thought that one of the fringe benefits of my job was walking out of the front door on Thursday evening (we're open until 8 p.m.) and viewing the lights of downtown. Come see some beautiful landscapes inside then step out for a wonderful look at an inspirational view.
Louise Nevelson (1899-1998)
Lunar Landscape Wall, 1959-1960
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, Purchase with funds from the Ruth Carter Stevenson Acquisitions Endowment
After Louise Nevelson
Storytime Kids Community Art Project, 2009
Cardboard, chenille strips, foam shapes, glue
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
Our youngest patrons recently worked on a community art project using found objects and assembling them in a style evoking a sculpture in our permanent collection by Louise Nevelson. They constructed sculptures inside of small boxes, then placed their small box inside a larger assemblage of black boxes. How lucky we are to have such talented artists at our Storytime programs!
Only two more Storytime at the Carter programs to go for the summer! Bring your pre-schoolers and keep cool while making art and hearing some of your favorite stories.
Storytime at the Carter is made possible by the Junior League of Fort Worth and Target.