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Archive for the 'American' Category

Manhattan Light Sculpture Plays with the Concept of Pixels

Electrical engineer and light sculptor Jim Campbell creates outdoor installations that quietly play with ideas of technological advancement and images. One work, called Scattered Light was recently installed in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park and comprises 1,600 lightbulbs fitted with LED bulbs. From afar, each bulb creates a kind of pixel, appearing flat as the shadows of people walking around the sculpture move through the light.

As the artist states in a videotaped interview:

“I see the work as an homage to the lightbulb, in a way… I like the light bulb shape. So I’m saying goodbye to it.”

For more information, please see the artist’s website.

Via Deep Focus.

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Humanities Day 2010

Join your colleagues on Saturday, October 23rd for a day of discussions, lectures, tours, screenings, and exhibitions in celebration of the 32nd annual Humanities Day at the University of Chicago. All programs are free and open to the public. The Department of Art History’s Katherine Taylor will be giving her lecture Robie House, 100 Years New during session three at Breasted Hall, at 3:30pm on Saturday. See the online program for full schedule details and additional information, and go here to register.

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New Pre-Columbian Collection in ARTstor

ARTstor has partnered with the Visual Resources Collections at Skidmore College’s Lucy Scribner Library to digitize approximately 850 images of Pre-Columbian objects and sites from the Southwest United States, Central America, South America, Europe, and Egypt. These images were selected from a collection of over 8,000 slides created by alumna Moreen O’Brien Maser (Class of 1926). From 1938-1970, Maser traveled with her husband, Herman, to various archaeological sites and modern cities in the American Southwest, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Greece, Italy, and Egypt. Of particular note are the Mesoamerican images, which provide documentary evidence for sites that have been more fully excavated and/or damaged due to environmental and human degradation since being photographed by the Masers more than 50 years ago.

To browse the Moreen O’Brien Maser Memorial Collection, click here.

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The Polaroid Collection Sold, in Part

On June 21st and 22nd, more than one thousand works from The Polaroid Collection were sold. Via Photo District News:

The court-ordered auction of portions of The Polaroid Collection, which took place Monday and Tuesday at Sotheby’s, raised nearly $12.5 million for the company formerly known as Polaroid Corp. The funds raised in the sale will be used to settle debts with the bankrupt company’s creditors.

…PBE Corp. became a victim of a $3.7 billion Ponzi scheme by Minnesota businessman Tom Petters, whose Petters Group Worldwide bought it in 2005. Petters was convicted last year of fraud and money laundering, a sentence he is appealing while serving a 50-year prison term.

In the auction’s first session Monday evening, a buyer paid $722,500 for Ansel Adams’ “Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park,” which outstripped the previous record sale of $609,000 for an Adams photograph.

High profile artists including Chuck Close reached last-minute agreements with PBE Corporation (formerly Polaroid Corp.) to have their works (including the one above) removed from the sale. Some artists claimed that the auction violated the original terms of their donation agreements.

The Netherlands-based company The Impossible Project is close to a deal to purchase a portion of the collection which has been housed at the Musée de l’Elysée in Switzerland since 1990. The Impossible Project previously made news for saving one of the last Polaroid instant film production plants.

Hear more about the history of The Polaroid Collection on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

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Early Silent Films Return to America for Preservation

Early silent films recently discovered in the New Zealand Film Archive are returning to the United States for preservation under the guidance of the National Film Preservation Foundation. About seventy-five films were chosen because of their historical significance, including John Ford’s Upstream and a Clara Bow period drama. Shipment and preservation of the films has been difficult and time-consuming; most are printed on highly-flammable nitrate film and are already in advanced stages of deterioration. Preserved films will eventually be made public as streaming videos on the foundation’s website. For more information, see this article from the New York Times.

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Public Domain Images: Dorothea Lange

Happy Birthday, Dorothea Lange! Farm Security Administration photographer Dorothea Lange was born on May 26, 1895. Because she worked for the government, some of her images are in the public domain including those available from the National Archives.

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Shirin Neshat Featured on NPR’s All Things Considered

Neshat uses various visual mediums to create artwork that, at its core, represents the resilient and rebellious spirit of women.

Iranian-American visual artist Shirin Neshat was featured on yesterday’s National Public Radio broadcast of All Things Considered. Neshat’s new film, Zanan-e bedun-e mardan (Women Without Men) is now in theaters across the United States, and the artist’s eponymous new book was also recently released with a foreword by Marina Abramovic.

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National Archives Joins Flickr Commons

The National Archives and Records Administration is now a member of Flickr Commons, a website for cultural institutions to share their photograph collections with the public. The National Archives joins the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress and many other archives, libraries and museums in sharing their collections with Flickr. Visit NARA’s photostream by clicking here.

To mark the opening of its photostream in the Commons on February 4, 2010, the National Archives has posted a new photo set containing more than two hundred photographs of the American West by renowned American photographer Ansel Adams.

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Historical Images of New York

New York Heritage

NewYorkHeritage.org is a research portal for students, educators, historians, genealogists, and others who are interested in learning more about the people, places and institutions of historical New York State. The site provides immediate free access to more than 160 distinct digital collections that reflect New York State’s long history. These collections represent a broad range of historical, scholarly, and cultural materials held in libraries, museums, and archives throughout the state. Collection items include photographs, letters, diaries, directories, maps, newspapers, books, and more.

A list of participating institutions may be found here; for more information about the project, click here.

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Vintage Television Commercials on iTunes U

AdViews

More than 1,500 historic American television commercials from the Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in the Duke University Special Collections Library are now available on iTunes U. This collection is called AdViews. Videos are free to download, and can be viewed at the computer or on video-capable iPods.

Most of the 1,500 currently available videos date from the 1950s and 1960s. A keyword search for “coffee” brings up eight albums, including a Yuban Coffee ablum with more than seventy commercials.

The total collection comprises 12,000 commercials and librarians at Duke hope to finish digitization by the end of 2009. Click here for more information.

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