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Photo of the Week: Glaciers & Global Warming

Our Photo of the Week is drawn from the Carter’s collection of over 100 works by 19th century photographer Carleton Watkins. This albumen silver print, Commencement of the Whitney Glacier, Summit of Mt. Shasta, is currently on loan to the Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, California, for their exhibition The Art of Mount Shasta.

Carleton Watkins, Commencement of the Whitney Glacier, Summit of Mt. Shasta, 1870, albument silver print
Carleton Watkins (1829-1916), Commencement of the Whitney Glacier, Summit of Mt. Shasta, 1870, albumen silver print ca. 1876

The Whitney Glacier is one of seven glaciers found on Mount Shasta, which is located in northern California near the Oregon border. While 90% of the world’s glacier’s are shrinking, the Whitney Glacier is of special interest today because it is one of very few glaciers in the world actually growing as a result of global warming. Apparently warming of the Pacific Ocean has caused increased snowfall in northern California, accounting for 30% growth of the Whitney Glacier in the past 50 years.

Commencement of the Whitney Glacier, Summit of Mt. Shasta is on view at Turtle Bay Exploration Park through May 3, 2010.

Another sighting!

I saw the city bus decorated with the Carter's painting, Wrapped Oranges again this morning on my way to work. I snapped a quick shot of it with my phone as it came through the Camp Bowie/Montgomery intersection right by the museum:

Amon Carter Museum bus

What a Great Year!

We had many friends–old and new–visit our museum in 2009. Almost 20,000 students had a conversation about great American art in our galleries; about 6,500 visitors stopped by for a docent-led tour of our permanent collection or a visiting exhibition; and over 2,500 visitors enjoyed our five Family Fundays.

We welcomed many a virtual visitor too! Our distance learning program reached over 15,000 students. We now have over 700 Facebook fans, and 2,700 folks follow the museum on Twitter. Our Web site gets hundreds of thousands of hits each year.

All in all, we were busy, and now we’re working on making next year even better. Join us here in Fort Worth or online as the Carter Gets Modern in 2010.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889–1953), Milking the Cow, 1922, lithograph

Yasuo Kuniyoshi (1889–1953), Milking the Cow, 1922, lithograph

Happy New Year!

A Nose? A Platypus? A Sack of Flour?

Last year the education department introduced over 19,000 students to the Carter’s permanent collection through our school tours program. The Gallery Teachers use an inquiry-based style of teaching which often includes asking students for their initial observations when discussing a specific work of art. One of our favorite paintings to use with student groups is by Georgia O’Keeffe.

We’ve found that the easiest and best way to approach this work of art with students is simply by asking them “What do you think this is?” or “What are you looking at?” We have compiled a list of the most interesting, most creative, and funniest responses below.
A nose
A platypus
An elephant
Sacks of flour
A shoebox
A couch
A bunch of pillows
Brown grocery bags
Couch cushion forts
An easel
The back of a picture frame
A sand castle
George Washington’s teeth
Secret doors
A fort
A recliner
Peach Jell-O
A pulpit
A trashcan with a garbage bag coming out of it
Marshmallows

Now, it’s your turn”¦what do you see when you look at this painting?

Georgia O’Keeffe, Ranchos Church, New Mexico, 1930/31, oil on canvas, ©Amon Carter Museum.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Ranchos Church, New Mexico, 1930/31, oil on canvas, ©Amon Carter Museum.

Photo of the Week: Stock Show

If you've driven anywhere near the Cultural District lately, you've probably noticed that midway rides and legions of horse trailers have once again descended upon Fort Worth for the Stock Show, which opens this Friday. This week I'm sharing a few historical Stock Show photographs from the Carter's Erwin E. Smith archive. These images date back to the mid-1920s, when the Stock Show was still held in the stockyards and the world's first indoor rodeo was held in the arena now known as Cowtown Coliseum (the event was moved to the west side of town in the 1940s).

Erwin E. Smith, A group of rodeo officials standing in front of the General Offices of the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas, gelatin silver print
Erwin E. Smith, A group of rodeo officials standing in front of the General Offices of the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas, 1925-1940, gelatin dry plate negative, Erwin E. Smith Collection of the Library of Congress on Deposit at the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

Erwin E. Smith, Rodeo grand entry, Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas, glass plate negative, ca. 1925-1926
Erwin E. Smith, [Rodeo grand entry, Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas], glass plate negative, ca. 1925-1926, Bequest of Mary Alice Pettis

Erwin E. Smith, Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas, glass plate negative, ca. 1925-1926
Erwin E. Smith, Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas, glass plate negative, ca. 1925-1926, Bequest of Mary Alice Pettis

Erwin E. Smith, Riding a tough one, [Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas], gelatin dry plate negative, ca. 1925-1926
Erwin E. Smith, Riding a tough one, [Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas] , gelatin dry plate negative, ca. 1925-1926, Erwin E. Smith Collection of the Library of Congress on Deposit at the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

Erwin E. Smith, A rodeo performer throwing a loop over a horse and rider as they race by him, [Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas] , gelatin dry plate negative, ca. 1925-1926
Erwin E. Smith, A rodeo performer throwing a loop over a horse and rider as they race by him, [Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show Rodeo, Fort Worth, Texas] , gelatin dry plate negative. ca. 1925-1926, Erwin E. Smith Collection of the Library of Congress on Deposit at the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

The Feel of Steel

Yesterday the library received a new exquisite publication, The Feel of Steel. Published in a small print run of 150 copies, this limited edition book focuses on the history of steel-engraved banknotes in the United States. Engraving is a form of intaglio printing whereby a design is carved into a metal plate. The carved lines are forced full of ink, then the plate is pressed onto a sheet of paper under high pressure, and the inked designed is transferred to the sheet. The "feel of steel" in the title refers to the tactile quality of the ink as it rests on the printed sheet. Our current paper currency still exhibits this quality.

The book notes the difference between letterpress, or relief, printing and intaglio:

The creation of high-quality intaglio work is a far more demanding discipline than letterpress printing ... The training of picture engravers was a long process. Intaglio was a much slower and more costly process, but it produced magnificent images that could be achieved in no other way.

Banknote engraving employed some of the most accomplished artists in the country, and the author considers the art the "pinnacle of printing and the graphic arts" in America. While providing a detailed history of banknote printing, including technical discussion, it also includes some fine examples of engraved prints. Many of these original prints were printed from original banknote plates. The attached prospectus provides an overview of the book.

The museum has many examples of engravings in its collections, both in the fine prints and library book collections. Make plans to view this book and other books with engraved illustrations by visiting the library during public hours.

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Join Us for More Family Fun

This Sunday, January 10, from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., is our next Family Funday. The folks from the Noble Planetarium will turn our library into the night sky and art-making activities, poetry, and storytelling will lead you to our galleries. Get bundled up and be ready to check out winter landscapes and night-time adventures at the Carter!

Photo of the Week: Under Construction

Over the past several months, you may have noticed that the Carter's building and grounds undergoing maintenance in preparation for the museum's 50th anniversary next year. All the activity going on around the building inspired this week's post, which draws from the Carter's collection of construction photographs by Charles Rivers (1904-1993).

Born in Greece, Rivers was a construction worker, union organizer, political activist, and photographer, who also worked on the construction of both the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building 1929-1930. Rivers led an incredibly full and varied life, and a full bio is available from NYU, which holds his personal archive.
Charles Rivers, Shadow of the Chrysler over the Graybar Building while a Load of Steel is Being Relayed from Derrick to Derrick to Reach the Floor where It is to Be Erected into Place, gelatin silver print, 1929
Charles Rivers, Shadow of the Chrysler over the Graybar Building while a Load of Steel is Being Relayed from Derrick to Derrick to Reach the Floor where It is to Be Erected into Place, gelatin silver print, 1929, Gift of the artist, © Charles Rivers

Charles Rivers, Repairing the Derrick on the Chrysler Building, gelatin silver print, 1929
Charles Rivers, Repairing the Derrick on the Chrysler Building, gelatin silver print, 1929, Gift of the artist, © Charles Rivers

Charles Rivers, The Bolter Up – Empire State Building [Self-portrait], gelatin silver print, 1930
Charles Rivers, The Bolter Up – Empire State Building [Self-portrait], gelatin silver print, 1930, Gift of the artist, © Charles Rivers

Library New Books!

Each month the library posts a report listing all the books we have cataloged in the previous month. These reports constitute mainly new items entering the library's collection. The report for December 2009 went out today, and you can access it here.

Photo of the Week: New Year's Eve

Snow twice in one week?! Where ARE we? Since it looks like we north Texans might ring in a slushy 2010, our photos this week are examples of two snowy New Year's Eves in other parts of the world.

Eliot Porter, View from Monastery Nunatak, Dry Valleys, Antarctica, December 31, 1975, dye transfer print
Eliot Porter (1901-1990), View from Monastery Nunatak, Dry Valleys, Antarctica, December 31, 1975, dye transfer print, Bequest of the artist, ©1990 Amon Carter Museum

Brent Phelps, View West Toward Original Fort Mandan Site from Highway 200, North Dakota, December 31, 2000 [47° 14' 37
Brent W. Phelps (b. 1946), View West Toward Original Fort Mandan Site from Highway 200, North Dakota, December 31, 2000 [47° 14' 37" N -- 101° 11' 34" W], 2000, dye coupler print, © 2000 Brent W. Phelps