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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.

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  • 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

    Two Views on View


    Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986)
    Ranchos Church, New Mexico, 1930–31
    Oil on canvas
    Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
    1971.16

    The above painting is currently on view in the Carter’s permanent collection.


    Liliane De Cock (b. 1939)
    Rear of Church, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, 1972
    Gelatin silver print
    Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
    P1974.23.8
    (© 1972 Liliane De Cock)

    This photograph is on view until June 28 in the new exhibition High Modernism: Alfred Stieglitz and His Legacy.

    A quick search through the Carter’s collection database produced an impressive list of other artist’s depictions of Ranchos de Taos Church in Taos, New Mexico. This discovery led me to ask myself what is it about this particular place that has inspired so many artists to try and capture it on canvas, paper, or film? What other man-made wonders in America have inspired such artistic reverence?

    Art Wonders

    One of the things I love most about my job is getting to see students of all ages connect to works of art in ways that I never imagined.

    Take a moment to read a few of the wonderful poems that were created by first and second-grade students from Palo Pinto Elementary School during their recent visit to the museum.


    Frederic S. Remington (1861–1909)
    A Dash for the Timber, 1889
    Oil on canvas
    Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
    1961.381

    Motion Poems based on Dash

    Hear the wind, hear the cries
    Thunder stomping! Hear the guns
    Stop and watch this scene
    Think of being there
    What would it feel like?

    Run Run very fast!
    Run away to the woods and away from the Indians.
    Jump! Run! Gallop away.
    I hear gun shots and screaming
    Ya! Ya!
    Save me!
    Dust in my eyes! Help me!

    An Acrostic Poem Inspired by Barbara Crane’s Photographs
    Lightning
    Icy white
    Glue
    High up
    Tree branches

    Then read about a public art project that was inspired by the Travis Elementary School art students’ visit to the Carter last fall.

    New Parents Tour in the News

    After a three-month hiatus, the Carter’s New Parents Tour returned last Friday. Link here to see what Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Mercedes Mayer had to say about her experience, and then make plans to attend the next tour on March 27.

    His Story/Our Story

    John Quincy Adams Ward (1830–1910)
    The Freedman, 1863
    Bronze
    2000.15

    Join us in celebrating the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday by attending this evening’s special Gallery Talk Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation. During the discussion, Dr. Steven Woodworth, professor of history, Texas Christian University, and Rebecca Lawton, curator of paintings and sculpture, Amon Carter Museum, will talk about the Emancipation Proclamation and how it relates to the museum’s landmark sculpture The Freedman (1863) by John Quincy Adams Ward.

    This program was made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    Interview with Artist Barbara Crane

    Carter Painting on SNL!

    An eagle-eyed curator just alerted me that a reproduction of the Carter's painting Thunder Storm on Narragansett Bay guest starred in last weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live! See for yourself - the picture shows up around the 31-second mark and makes several more appearances throughout the sketch.

    For reference, here is the image in its entirety:

    Thanks to Jane for the tip!