Blogs

Stay Up to Date!

Sign up for Enews

Follow

Join us on any of one of these social networking sites.

Helen Levitt (1918-2009)

More sad news - Helen Levitt is the second American photographer we've lost this month (NYT obit). Levitt was known and respected for street photographs that show a great sense of humor - and a great sense of timing.

Though none are currently on view, the Carter has six photographs by Helen Levitt in the permanent collection. Here are some of my favorites:


Helen Levitt, Walker Evans, ca. 1938-1939, ©1975 Helen Levitt


Helen Levitt, New York, ca. 1942, ©1965 Helen Levitt
[This is the Halloween photo described in the NYT obituary]


Helen Levitt, New York, ca. 1942, ©1965 Helen Levitt

Edited to add: NPR, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, and ArtsJournal are also remembering Levitt.

Carter Photos @ MOMA

Five photographs from the Carter's collection will be on view starting Sunday at the Museum of Modern Art in the exhibition, Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the American West. Our office recieved an advance copy of the exhibition catalogue, and it looks like a really interesting selection of images (nevermind what the NYT says). Check it out if you're going to be in New York between now and June 8, and keep an eye out for our photos:


Edward S. Curtis, Cañon de Chelly, 1904


W.R. Humphries, Bisbee, 1904


Timothy O'Sullivan, Savage Mine, Curtis Shaft, Virginia City, Nevada, 1868


Wells Moses Sawyer, Chief Joseph and Nephew, 1897


Charles D. Kirkland, Wyoming Cow-boy, ca. 1877-1895

Harlem Renaissance in OKC

Alert registrar Melissa noticed "our" Prodigal Son over on the Art Blog By Bob's post about the Harlem Renaissance exhibition at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. This survey of African American art features over 100 works from 20 lenders, including God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, an illustrated book from the Carter's library. The book is open to The Prodigal Son image for the duration of the exhibition. Check it out if you're in OKC!

Pirkle Jones (1914-2009)

We heard earlier this week that California photographer Pirkle Jones had died at age 95 (obits here and here). Jones is probably best known for being Ansel Adams's assistant and photographing the Black Panthers in the 1960s.

The Carter has 14 photographs by Pirkle Jones in the photography collection, and one of them - Sunset District and Pacific Ocean, San Francisco - is on view now in the exhibition High Modernism: Alfred Stieglitz and His Legacy through July 19.

Podcast: Charles Russell's Illustrated Letters

This Week in the Arts has posted a new podcast - an interview with Brian Dippie, the author of the Carter's newest publication, The 100 Best Illustrated Letters of Charles M. Russell (among many, many others). Check it out.

In Their Own Words

We recently received some imaginative stories from sixth-grade students at the McAnally Intermediate School in Aledo. They were written in part during their virtual visit to the Carter via videoconferencing last fall. Here are the inspirational artworks and excerpts from the students' essays:

“I was having a difficult time focusing. The only thing my mind can ponder over is the thought of the place I’d rather be. I guess every 12 year old boy is like that”¦

This place gives me such peace that my heart is already slowing down from the long run to this place. The bluebonnet’s color is so vivid that they seem purple yet they are blue”¦.

In the near distance I can see my favorite old twisted tree”¦I hear the birds chirping and squeaking, the whisper of the wind in my ear, and the rustle of the leaves.”

Brad H.

“It starts to get dark and the temperatures are dropping. I start walking toward my tee-pee before it got too cold, and as I started walking a small snow flurry picked up. It was as cold as the arctic, so I hurried over the small, crowded, warm fire and looked back toward the blanket covered giants. Then I listened for the whisper of wind going through the branches and the harmonic sound of the timber wolves howling.”

Cory S.

“The twinkle of the sun is like a rapid flash of a flashlight. The”¦soft breeze blew through the trees and it was like the leaves were jumping off of the branches as they flew through the air like little feathers drifting to the ground.”

Kyle T.

“Friendship [the horse] was still slurping the water not aware of the storm. The sun was being overtaken by the gigantic clouds. Beyond the pond it was beginning to darken. The wind was even faster now. More wind means more dirt, more dirt means harsher storms. You couldn’t take a breath of air without coughing once or twice.”

Jadden R.

Come See the "Real" Arts & Architecture

Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in design and architecture from the mid twentieth century. One of the most influential periodicals of the period, Arts & Architecture, is enjoying new exposure as a reprint published last fall by Taschen. This reprint reproduces all the issues from the first ten years of the magazine, 1945-1954. The publisher plans to offer another edition that reprints the final issues through 1967 this fall. This monumental project has received a healthy amount of press coverage and is noted in the recent issues of Wallpaper (Feb. 2009) and Modernism (Winter 2008/2009). You may have also heard about the Birth of the Cool exhibition appearing now at the Blanton Art Museum in Austin which focuses on art, music, and design from the mid twentieth century in California. Arts & Architecture figures prominently in the exhibition and accompanying catalog.

The Carter library is the proud home of the original edition of the magazine and offers very nearly the entire run from 1948 through its final July/August issue in 1967 --- all issues as they originally appeared. Anyone interested in art and design from the period --- not to mention other related political and cultural topics --- would delight in flipping through our holdings. You're guaranteed to make some discoveries. The March 1961 issue shown in the cover scan below appeared the same year that the museum opened. The second scan of the title page of the final issue in 1967 shows that the prescient theme of the issue is water, a topic very much on our minds in 2009.

To Pay or Not to Pay

Museum admission fees have been something of a hot topic on Tyler Green’s blog today (here, here, and here). So it seems like a good time to remind everyone out there that the Carter is a free and fabulous place to be.

We've Been Tagged! 25 Random Things About the Carter

Assistant Registrar Lacey alerted me this afternoon that we'd been TAGGED! Not in the traditional spray-paint sense, but in the Facebook sense. The IMA blog challenged us - and 24 others - to post 25 random things about their institution.

<

ol>

  • 1. The Carter opened January 24, 1961 and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2011.
  • 2. Amon G. Carter’s ~ 400 works by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell form the core of our collection, which has expanded to around 300,000 objects.
  • 3. We display on average 500-600 works from the permanent collection at any one time – less than 1%.
  • 4. 162,460 objects in our permanent collection have been cataloged and entered in our collection information system. Over 18,000 objects have been digitized.
  • 5. The first artwork accessioned into the collection was Frederic Remington’s sculpture, The Rattlesnake. The first photograph entered the collection later in 1961 - an image of Charles M. Russell’s hand (holding a cigarette) by Dorothea Lange.
  • 6. Our most recent accession was a pair of prints by Jacob Lawrence.
  • 7. The ghost of the museum’s first director, Mitch Wilder, is rumored to haunt the museum basement.
  • 8. Our Philip Johnson building was completed in 1960 and underwent expansions in 1964, 1977, and 2001. The 2001 expansion increased the museum’s size by nearly 50,000 square feet.
  • 9. The exterior of our original building is Texas shellstone, and the first level of the interior is Texas granite. The teak walls you see in the members lounge were repurposed from the former library walls in the 2001 building expansion.
  • 10. We currently have over 50 artworks out on loan to other museums, including the Charles M. Russell Museum, National Cowgirl Museum, Stark Museum of Art, Eiteljorg Museum, Des Moines Art Center, Joslyn Museum, and MOMA.
  • 11. Our first photography exhibition was Adam Clark Vroman: Photographer of the Southwest in 1962.
  • 12. Our first video installation was Mary Lucier: The Plains of Sweet Regret in 2008.
  • 13. We have 75 full-time staff.
  • 14. Our smallest work is a daguerreotype portrait cased in a pocket watch – it’s a whopping 1 ¼ inches tall.
  • 15. Our largest work is a dye coupler print by Laura McPhee, Understory Flareups, Fourth of July Creek, Valley Road Wild Fire, Custer County, Idaho, 2005, which measures 72 x 96 inches. That’s over 1400 times bigger than the daguerreotype portrait!
  • 16. The oldest work in our collection is a woodcut of a beaver from 1487. The newest works in our collection are from 2008.
  • 17. We store certain photographs and negatives at subfreezing temperatures, so we wear giant, hooded, safety-orange parkas just to move them around (which we try to do as little as possible).
  • 18. Photographer Rynda Lemke is the longest-serving Carter employee – she just celebrated her 30th anniversary at the museum. The father of the Carter’s facilities manager, Alfred Walker, was on the original 1961 building crew.
  • 19. A lithograph by my great-great-uncle, Merritt Mauzey, is currently installed in our works on paper galleries.
  • 20. Two works in the Carter’s collection were installed in President Kennedy’s hotel room during his fateful 1963 trip to Dallas: Charles Russell’s Lost in a Snowstorm and Thomas Eakins’s Swimming. Russell’s Smoke of a .45 was installed in LBJ’s suite. Several paintings from the collection were loaned to decorate the White House in the 1960s and 1970s: The Silk Robe, Colter’s Race for Life, La Vérendryes Discovers the Rocky Mountains, A Mandan Village, and Radisson on the Lakes by Charles Russell, and The Cowboy by Frederic Remington.
  • 21. There are five other museums within a two-block radius of our building: the Kimbell, the Modern, the Cowgirl, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.
  • 22. The Carter is a museum of American art, but we have three large Henry Moore sculptures on our plaza. Henry Moore was English.
  • 23. Works from the Carter have collectively been reproduced in over 3300 books & articles and have been included in 1350 exhibitions. Over 300 of those exhibitions have been at the Carter itself.
  • 24. Our website gets about 20,000 visits per month and 100,000 page views.
  • 25. Admission to the Carter is totally free.
  • In the Loupe

    A new photograph of Abraham Lincoln may have been discovered in the collection of Ulysses S. Grant's great-great-grandson and you can see it on NPR's website. But get out your magnifying glasses or put on your specs, because you'll definitely need them. Not only is the possible image of Lincoln grainy, the shot was taken from all the way across the White House lawn. It could be any tall guy in a coat, or a large shrub for that matter.

    It's shocking to learn, compared to the modern leaders, how few photographs of the man that is arguably our most famous president were ever taken in the first place: less than 100. In fact, of the several Lincoln-related works in the Carter's enormous photography collection, only 2 show the man himself!


    Alexander Gardner (1821-1882), President Lincoln on Battle-Field of Antietam, 1862, Albumen silver print, P1983.30.23


    Alexander Gardner (1821-1882), Abraham Lincoln, 1861, Albumen silver print, P1992.1