Blogs

Knowns & Unknowns in Arts Administration

Some thoughtful questions in What kind of a cultural leader will Obama be? over at The Art Newspaper.

Robert Frank in The Guardian

Interesting post about the 50th anniversary of photographer Robert Frank's book, The Americans, over at The Guardian's fabulous Art and Design blog. His photograph Funeral--St. Helena, South Carolina, one of 25 works by Frank in the Carter's collection, is on view through June 2009 in our photography galleries.

Connect the Thoughts

If you stay tuned to yesterday’s inaugural events long enough, you might have seen this painting during the inaugural luncheon. At first glance, the painting reminded me of the Carter’s painting Sunrise, Yosemite Valley by Albert Bierstadt.

You might be interested to know that Bierstadt visited Yosemite Valley in 1863, the year that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and that the EP will be the subject of a special Gallery Talk in late February.

Teaching with Technology

Did you know that members of the Carter’s Education staff travel to places like Canada, New York, and Ohio several times each week? Through the magic of videoconferencing we connect students, educators, and other audiences all across the world to the Carter’s collection of American art.

This afternoon teachers across Texas will participate in our educator videoconference Virtual Museum to discover new strategies for integrating technology and the arts into their classrooms. With resources such as teaching guides, bookmarking sites, blogs, and podcasts there are more ways than ever to inspire student learning using technology.

Which technologies are museums using (or should be using) that you most enjoy? Educators, how are you using technology in the classroom to teach students about the arts? Post your comments below and share your ideas with the world...through technology!

THIS SATURDAY

See the classic New Deal film The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936) by Pare Lorentz, and prior to the screening enjoy an introductory discussion by Assistant Curator of Photographs Jessica May. May will talk about the historical significance of Lorentz’s work and its relationship to Mary Lucier’s video installation The Plains of Sweet Regret(2004), currently on view at the Carter. Mary Lucier is a pioneering figure in the history of video art, and her works were among the first to be acquired by institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Accommodations have been made for program attendees to park in the designated UNT Health Science Center lot if the museum’s main lot is full.

Take pART

I recevied this information from a colleague in the field and thought it was worth passing along.

A document on arts policy was submitted to President-Elect Obama’s team by a number of arts organizations, including the American Association of Museums. This document has been posted on http://change.gov/ -- the Obama/Biden transition website - you can get to it by doing the following:

  1. Go to http://change.gov/
  2. Click on "Your Seat at the Table" (on the right, near the bottom)
  3. Search for "arts" in the search box
  4. Click on "Performing Arts Alliance - Arts Policy in the New Administration"
  5. Open the PDF/Provide Comments

or just click: http://change.gov/open_government/entry/performing_arts_alliance/

The Obama-Biden team put this document up for comments. If you have any opinions, you can leave them on the document's main page.

Parking Lot Moment

Driving in to work today I heard a story on NPR that kept me in my car long after I arrived at my destination. The story talks about the murals that are on view at the Justice Department headquarters. It was an incredible reminder of the power that art can have in educating, inspiring, and uniting the country.

The artwork above is in the Carter’s collection, but not currently on view. It is by John Steuart Curry, one of the artists featured in the story. The image is of John Brown who is one of the more controversial figures in our nation’s history.

Interview with Mary Lucier

Beyond the Galleries

There are many discoveries to be found at the Carter beyond what is displayed in the galleries. Often the art works are only the tip of a much larger collection of material, much of it textual and documentary. It is this assortment of letters, diaries, books, clippings, and sketches that make research and analysis of art beyond its immediate visual appeal possible. These items illuminate the artist's intent, the work's context in time and place, variations, and changes, without which much of an artwork's tale is lost.

The recent Carter publication, Chimneys and Towers: Charles Demuth's Late Paintings of Lancaster, is a fine example of the art research that is possible with supporting documents. Betsy Fahlman and Claire Barry approach Demuth's work from differing angles but both are able to elaborate upon their discussions of context and content because of their use and study of his archives.

Take a moment during your next visit to the Carter to use our Library and Archives and see what you can discover.

The Museum, the Books, the History

There is a shelf in the Amon Carter Museum library. Upon this shelf rests the history of the museum in book form. Over 180 books representing almost fifty years of museum publishing history are now conveniently located for perusal. From the first exhibition catalog published in 1961 featuring Remington and Russell to the newest book from 2008 entitled The 100 Best Illustrated Letters of Charles M. Russell, the complete history of the museum lies before my very eyes.

But who am I, and why am I blogging for the library? Well, I’m a volunteer. It’s been my job for the past few months to bring this project together, and who knew it would be such a massive undertaking?

Under the guidance of library director Sam Duncan, I began to comb through the large bibliography of Amon Carter publications in order to determine which books the reading room lacked. The quest of locating staff willing to give up their copies in order for the library to have a comprehensive book set then began in earnest. (It was exciting to see the collection grow, slowly filling the space of four large shelves.)

Sam also wanted to make this special book collection more visible. So, he and archivist John Frembling moved the books to a more accessible shelf. Now the books are prominently displayed and shelved in order by publication year. It’s interesting to compare the subject matter as well as the number of books published per decade. I also enjoy comparing the graphic design of the early books to the more recent volumes.

I continue to work in Access on a bibliographic database that will eventually be available on the museum website. The data entry has been one of the more time consuming aspects of the project, as I systematically record the details of each book. I look forward to the day when my work will be accessible by museum staff and the public alike.

I hope you’ll come in and visit the library and explore the Amon Carter publication collection. Feel free to look through the books and make your own conclusions about museum exhibitions through the past five decades or make discoveries of your own. Maybe you’ll see someone, typing away on a laptop with big stacks of books piled around them. That will be me, Dana Harper, volunteer.