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Art History

Salvador Dali Answers ‘Yes’ to Almost Every Single Question on the 1950s Game Show ‘What’s My Line?’

July 13, 2017

Christopher Jobson

This clip of artist Salvador Dalí appearing on the game show “What’s My Line?” in 1957 is both charming and quite funny. A group of blindfolded panelists ask round after round of yes-or-no questions to help reveal the identity of the special guest. Due to the breadth of Dali’s work, and perhaps a bit of mischievousness, the surrealist painter finds himself answering “yes” to nearly every single question, much to everyone’s total confusion. With millions of views on YouTube this has probably crossed your path, but if you haven’t seen it, it really is a fun bit of TV. (via Mental Floss)

 

 



Art History

Text SFMOMA Your Favorite Emoji and Receive an Artwork From Their Vast Collection

July 11, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's newest tech tool allows any smartphone user to gain access to the artworks hidden behind their archive doors, a collection so large that it would stretch 121.3 miles if you placed each artwork end-to-end. With only 5% of this collection on view, the museum decided to create Send Me SFMOMA, a texting service that delivers an artwork to your phone based on a sent emoji or phrase. For example, the first emoji I decided to text was a goat, for which they return Takuma Nakahira's 2008 Untitled image of—you guessed it, a goat.

To participate, text the number 572-51 the words “send me” followed by either a keyword (such as a color, emotion, or type of art) or an emoji. A quick response will bring your phone an image of an artwork from SFMOMA’s vast collection, in addition to a caption containing the artist, artwork title, and year. Within the first four days of the program over 3,000 artworks were generated, a larger number than the amount of works currently on view.

The system isn’t perfect, more of my inquiries came back with an error message than an artwork, however the intrigue of seeing a piece that has been tucked away from the public is quite addicting. I especially loved seeing what some of my most used emojis resulted in, such as the single eye which brought Tomoko Sawada's Early Days (1996) to my inbox. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 



Art History

A Replica of the Parthenon in Germany Constructed from 100,000 Banned Books

July 5, 2017

Christopher Jobson

The Parthenon of Books, 2017.
 Steel, books, and plastic sheeting.
 19.5 × 29.5 × 65.5 m. Commissioned by documenta 14, with support from the Ministry of Media and Culture of Argentina.

South American conceptual artist Marta Minujín has just installed a towering new architectural installation in Germany called The Parthenon of Books, a scaffold replica of the famous Greek temple clad in 100,000 copies of banned books. The piece is currently on view in Kassel, Germany as part of a 100-day art exhibition called Documenta 14.

Minujín worked with students from Kassel University to identify 170 titles that have been historically banned worldwide by various institutions, and then sought help from the public to obtain donated copies. The books were then wrapped in a protective plastic coating to shield them from the elements while allowing visitors to easily identify each title.

An earlier version of The Parthenon of Books was first installed in 1983, referencing an event in Minujín’s native Argentina where books where confiscated and locked up as part of a military junta. This new iteration rests on a site where Nazis burned books by Jewish and Marxist writers in 1933 as part of a broad campaign of censorship.

The Parthenon of Books will be on view through mid-September and you can see more photos at the Instagram hashtag #parthenonofbooks. (thnx, Alice!)

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Art History

Portraits of Women Painted on the Handles of Old Paint Brushes by Rebecca Szeto

June 23, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Misako Shirasu. 7″h x 3″w x .75″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2017.

Drawing inspiration from across centuries, mediums, and cultures, artist Rebecca Szeto (previously) identifies both anonymous and historically significant women to depict atop the carved handles of old used paint brushes. From the first woman to graduate with a degree in architecture from MIT to a Chibok schoolgirl kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014, or an anonymous face lifted from a 17th century Baroque painting, each portrait presents the face of a woman who has come in and out of focus throughout history.

“I am interested in things that fall between the cracks of place and language,” says Szeto in her artist statement. “Rust, dead bees, beaten up paintbrushes and scrap materials from my immediate surroundings all become a starting point. Play and chance are integral parts of my process; they’re a way for me to detach from preconceived ideas about the materials so I can freely explore their inherent qualities and investigate their deeper implications.”

You can explore the individual stories of all the women featured in the works seen here on Szeto’s website, and she’ll have work on view at Root Division in San Francisco as part of an exhibition titled Bizarre Bizarre curated by Michael Arcega starting in July.

Musical Notation. 7.25″h x 2.5″w x .1″d · Oil, Plaster on Carved Paintbrush · 2016.

Marion Mahony. 8″h x 3″w x 1″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2015.

Angela Isadora Duncan. 6″h x 2″w x .5″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2015.

Chibok Girl: Salamatu Bulama Usman. 5.5″h x 3″w x .5″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2017.

Violet Jessep. 5.25″h x 2.5″w x .5″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2015.

Emilie du Chatelet (2 for Squared). 8″h x 4″w x .5″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2015.

Margaret Roper (1500). 7″h x 3.5″w x .5″d · Oil on Carved Paintbrush · 2015.

 

 



Art History Illustration

Download More than 2,500 Images of Vibrant Japanese Woodblock Prints and Drawings From the Library of Congress

June 14, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Thanks to the Library of Congress, you can browse and download high-resolution copies of more than 2,500 Japanese woodblock prints and drawings from the library’s online collection. The prints, most of which are dated before the 20th-century, were amassed from a large group of collectors, including notable donors such as President William Howard Taft and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Despite the diversity of genres and traditions represented by the library’s large collection, the most prolific works are ones created in the tradition of the Japanese art form of Ukiyo-e or Yokohama-e. Ukiyo-e was developed in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) between 1600 and 1868 during a relatively peaceful period. The subject and inspiration for many of the prints includes that of entertainment and leisure, such as scenes from kabuki theater and fashionable restaurants.

The style of Yokohama-e was built on methods of production from Ukiyo-e around the time that American naval officer Matthew Calbraith Perry (1794-1858) led an expedition to Japan in the mid-1850’s. New trade agreements between Japan and the West brought travers to the country, inspiring Japanese artists to capture tourists walking throughout the port city, and borrow images from Western newspapers.

You can see the entire collection of historic works on the Library of Congress’s website. (via Open Culture)

 

 



Design History

The Roman Empire’s 250,000 Miles of Roadways Imagined as a Subway Transit Map

June 12, 2017

Christopher Jobson

University of Chicago sophomore Sasha Trubetskoy spent a few weeks designing this amazing subway-style transit map of all the roads in the Roman Empire circa 125 AD. As Kottke notes, Rome constructed 250,000 miles of roads starting in 300 BC—over 50,000 miles of which were paved with stone—linking a total of 113 provinces from Spain to modern day Britain to the northern tip of Africa.

Trubetskoy pulled data from numerous sources, but took liberties where the history is fuzzy. “The biggest creative element was choosing which roads and cities to include, and which to exclude,” he shares. “There is no way I could include every Roman road, these are only the main ones. I tried to include cities with larger populations, or cities that were provincial capitals around the 2nd century.”

You can see the map in a bit more detail on his website, and if you donate a few bucks he’ll send you a hi-res PDF fit for printing. (via Kottke)

 

 



Design History Photography

A Look Inside Europe’s Most Enchanting Libraries by Photographer Thibaud Poirier

June 8, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Trinity College Library, Dublin, 1732

Over the last year, photographer Thibaud Poirier has traveled across Europe to photograph some of the world’s most incredible libraries. The series includes both historic and contemporary libraries with a special emphasis on the varied designs employed by architects. Poirier captured each image when the buildings were closed and empty of people to focus entirely on structure and layout. From his statement about the project:

Like fingerprints, each architect crafted his vision for a new space for this sacred self-exploration. These seemingly minute details are everywhere, from the balance of natural and artificial light to optimise reading yet preserve ancient texts to the selective use of studying tables to either foster community or encourage lonely reflection. The selection of these libraries that span space, time, style and cultures were carefully selected for each one’s unique ambiance and architectural contribution.

So far Poirier has photographed 25 libraries and says he intends to add to the series as time permits. If you liked this, also check out his Berlin Interiors series.

Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris, 1850

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Salle Labrouste, Paris, 1868

Bibliothèque de l’Hotel de Ville de Paris, Paris, 1890

Grimm Zentrum Library, Berlin, 2009

Stadtbibliothek, Stuttgart, 2011

Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne, Salle Jacqueline de Romilly, Paris, 1897

Biblioteca Joanina, Coimbra, 1728