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
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, CaÃ±on 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
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!
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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