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Happy Holidays Artist-Style

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.

Family Fun Guaranteed

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.

Making corn husk dollsFamily fun in the galleries

Shadow SilhouetteShadow Silhouette

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.

Photo of the Week: Edward S. Curtis

As you might have heard, the Carter acquired a rare, complete set of Edward Curtis's The North American Indian, a 20-volume publication documenting American Indian life. Starting tomorrow, a selection of photogravures from the set will be on view in the Carter's photography galleries.

Only a few Carter staff have had the opportunity to see all 723 of the Curtis photogravures, and I was lucky to be one of them. I catalog all new art acquisitions at the museum, so I have seen each one of these photographs and, of course, have a few favorites. The quality of the whole set is pretty amazing, but these images really stood out to me because they are so different from the Carter's other collections documenting the lives of Native Americans.

Edward S. Curtis, Waiting in the Forest - Cheyenne, 1911
Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), Waiting in the Forest - Cheyenne, photogravure, 1911, Purchase with the assistance of an anonymous donor

Edward S. Curtis, Watching the Dancers, 1922
Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), Watching the Dancers, photogravure, 1922, Purchase with the assistance of an anonymous donor

Edward S. Curtis, Kotsuis and Hohhuq - Nakoaktok, 1915
Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), Kotsuis and Hohhuq - Nakoaktok, photogravure, 1915, Purchase with the assistance of an anonymous donor

Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian is on view through May 16, 2010.

Carter Painting in Top 10 Exhibition!

The Whitney Museum's exhibition, Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction was named one of Time Magazine's top ten art exhibitions of the year! And even better, the show includes one of the Carter's paintings by O'Keeffe, Series I-- No. I, which is the painting reproduced on the left side of the Whitney's exhibition page.

Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction is on view at the Whitney until January 17, after which it travels to the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.

Right Place at the Right Time

Today at lunch I finally had my first sighting of "the T" bus with the Carter's painting Wrapped Oranges emblazoned on the side. It looked great heading east on 7th toward downtown!

Carter Paintings on the Met's Blog

Head over to the Met's American Stories blog to read an interesting post about the National Parks, the American wilderness, and the exhibition American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915. The exhibition includes two of the Carter's paintings, which you can see on the American Stories blog here.

Know Before You Go

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.

Photograph by Edward Curtis
Edward S. Curtis, Yellow Owl, Mandan, Photogravure on vellum, 1908.

Photo of the Week: First Snow

This installment of Photo of the Week is inspired by this morning's unexpected snowfall - our first (and only?) one of the year. The following images represent two very different interpretations of rather similar subject matter.

Marion Post Wolcott, Main Street, Brattleboro, Vt. During Blizzard
Marion Post Wolcott, Main Street, Brattleboro, Vt. During Blizzard, gelatin silver print, 1940, Gift of Dr. John Wolcott, Los Alamos, New Mexico

Todd Hido, Untitled #2431
Todd Hido, Untitled #2431, dye coupler print, 1999, ©1999 Todd Hido, Purchase with anonymous donation to the Stieglitz Circle of the Amon Carter Museum

Getting to Know: Louise Nevelson

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.

Photo of the Week: Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving from Photo of the Week!

And also a reminder that you only have 5 days to see the Carter's photography exhibition, Circle of Friends: Portraits of Artists, which closes this Sunday.

Laura Gilpin, Laura and Turkey, ca. 1913-1915, autochrome
Laura Gilpin, [Laura and turkey], ca. 1913-1915, autochrome, © 1979 Amon Carter Museum