History

Explore the Vast Archive of the Museum of African American History and Culture Through Its New Digital Platform

November 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

Tintype of a young girl, 1870s. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Oprah Winfrey

The latest in a slew of institutions launching virtual counterparts, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture released a new platform that makes its archive accessible to those outside of its Washington, D.C. home. Displaying its lauded collection of Black history, the Searchable Museum is a digital trove of multimedia projects, videos, podcasts, and more than 40,000 3D renderings of its archive.

Its first exhibition, titled Slavery and Freedom, opens in 1400, an era before people were seen as goods to be bought and sold. “By the 1600s, an unanticipated shift took place. The primary commodity became enslaved African people. This is their story,” a statement says. The exhibition follows slavery’s trajectory—it speaks to the ways Black people shaped colonial North America and the hypocrisy inherent in the U.S.’s vows for freedom before culminating in an exploration of the Civil War and Reconstruction—through photos, banknotes, maps, illustrations, and a variety of other artifacts.

As its name suggests, the Searchable Museum offers multiple ways to peruse its archive, including an explore section with objects like Harriet Tubman’s shawl and the Point of Pines Slave Cabin, a relic from the plantation on Edisto Island, South Carolina, that was occupied from 1850 to the 1980s and is only viewable online. Other segments include glimpses into the stories of people who aren’t widely known but have profound impacts and the way history continues to shape life today. (via Hyperallergic)

 

Classroom, 1870. Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations

Anti-AIDS mural in New York City

Henrietta Lacks (HeLa): The Mother of Modern Medicine by Kadir Nelson, 2017. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and National Portrait Gallery, Gift from Kadir Nelson and the JKBN Group, LLC

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963. Library of Congress

 

 



Animation

Migrants: A Climate Disaster Forces a Polar Bear and Her Cub to Flee Their Home in a Harrowing Animation

November 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

A stunning work of both social commentary and technical dexterity, “Migrants” explores the heartbreaking aftermath of a climate disaster. The animation—which is an impressive collaboration between fifth-year animations students Zoé Devise, Hugo Caby, Antoine Dupriez, Aubin Kubiak, and Lucas Lermytte, who are currently enrolled at the French Pôle 3D school—centers on a simple story: a mother polar bear and her cub flee their arctic habitat as styrofoam icebergs crumble into the water and their once-frozen home becomes unlivable. As they encounter insensitive brown bears in a lush, green climate, the duo struggles to survive.

Through knitted patchwork characters and sets digitally crafted to evoke stop-motion techniques, the poignant short expands on climate crisis narratives that explore only the immediate effects of a hurricane, fire, or in this case, an entire region of the planet that’s melting. Instead, “Migrants” includes the difficulty refugees face when they’re displaced by such events, and the adorable, plush cub’s scared expressions and fearful whimpers generate a dose of empathy often lacking from today’s conversations and debates. In an interview diving into their process, the directors said:

We knew we wanted to make a short film about society and current issues. In 2018, there was a controversy about the “Aquarius” boat, which had rescued migrants in the Mediterranean sea but no country wanted to allow the boat to land at its ports. We were touched by this, and we were inspired by this event as the subject for our movie. So we made a story about the issue of migration, but with the global warming theme layered on top of it. With polar bears as our main characters, as they are one of the species most affected by climate change.

According to Short of the Week, the moving film already has garnered multiple awards from festivals, and it’s likely in the running for an Oscar. Head to Pôle 3D’s Vimeo to watch more student creations.

 

 

 



RISD Pre-College Returns to Campus this Summer and Announces an Online Option

November 22, 2021

Colossal

Artwork by RISD Pre-College student Abby Wang

RISD Pre-College is thrilled to announce the return of its on-campus residential summer immersive in 2022. Pre-College at Rhode Island School of Design is one of the most established and renowned summer art and design programs for high school students in the world—and also one of the oldest, celebrating its 50th anniversary since it was founded in 1971.

At RISD Pre-College, rising high school juniors and seniors can live like RISD students and work alongside hundreds of other creative, highly motivated peers who will inspire them to push their limits and produce their best work. Students will follow a college-level curriculum with day-long studio classes, visits to the Nature Lab and RISD Museum, critiques, and final projects that will forever shape the way they approach art and design. The program runs from June 25 to August 6, 2022.

The health, safety, and well-being of students, instructors, and staff remains a top priority, and RISD has developed a comprehensive set of protocols and policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

RISD’s Advanced Program Online is a year-round online intensive for high school students interested in pursuing art and design in college. This certificate program is for changemakers who want to develop their art practice, learn new ways to collaborate, and create a future they’re excited about. The Spring 2022 term runs from March 5 to May 29, and the Summer 2022 term runs from June 21 to August 14.

Both programs offer a college-level curriculum that provides a strong foundational understanding of drawing and design principles. Whether on-campus or online, students will participate in courses led by professionally practicing instructors, learn to manage time and self-motivate, and develop a portfolio of concepts, sketches, and finished pieces that can be included in or inform their college application.

Visit precollege.risd.edu to apply for RISD Pre-College residential summer immersive, and register for RISD’s Advanced Program Online year-round intensive at cereg.risd.edu.

 

 



Art

Carved Organic Patterns Highlight the Natural Wood Grain of Carbonized Mahogany

November 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

By any other name” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 27 x 2 inches. All images courtesy of TERN Gallery, shared with permission

In Splinters and Shards, artist John Beadle enriches the beauty of wood’s natural grain with a series of gouged dots, line carvings, and smooth, supple curves. His small, circular sculptures and vertical towers accentuate the texture and subtle gradients of carbonized mahogany through etched patterns that reveal the pristine reddish hue peeking through the charred surface. Always highlighting the potential of the raw material, Beadle, whose background is in painting and printmaking, evokes these mediums through layering dimension and motif in a single work and drawing on the subtraction inherent in carving into a blank woodblock.

Splinters and Shards is on view at the new TERN Gallery in Beadle’s hometown of Nassau, The Bahamas, from December 11, 2021, to January 22, 2022. Until then, check out the artist’s Instagram for a look at his process.

 

“Fruit & Texture one” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 28.5 x 2 inches

“Artifact II” (2020), carbonized mahogany and metal, 52.25 x 11.875 x 2 inches

“Fruit & Texture” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 27 x 2 inches

“Eclipse” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 52.75 x 2 inches

“Well Rooted” (2020), carbonized mahogany and metal, 69.5 x 7 x 2 inches

“What’s left behind” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 27 x 2 inches

“Before the chaos” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 27 x 2 inches

 

 



Design

An Ornate Metallic Butterfly Hides Hundreds of Symbols in a Screenprint by Seb Lester

November 22, 2021

Christopher Jobson

“Butterfly” (2021), a two color hand-pulled screenprint (Rose Gold & Moon Gold) on Peregrina Majestic Kings Blue Paper. All images © Seb Lester, shared with permission

In his latest screenprint, artist and calligrapher Seb Lester (previously) focuses on the Transcendentals: the virtues of truth, beauty, and goodness as they manifest to all living things. In the form of a butterfly, the work is filled with dozens of hidden symbols that dot the insect’s wings and abdomen, a mixture of order and chaos rendered in metallic ink. Lester shares about the piece:

It has been said that artists often seek to create order from chaos. Recent times have been nothing if not chaotic. In ‘Butterfly’ I’m trying to visualise a beautiful reconciliation, a balancing and harmonising of our currently fraught and destructive relationship with the flora and fauna of this beautiful and fragile planet.

Butterfly” is available as a limited edition of 75 in Lester’s shop and is nearly sold out. You can follow more from the Lewes, England-based artist on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Ephemeral Compositions Use Sand and Stone to Create Hypnotic Works on Land

November 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Jon Foreman, shared with permission

The wildly prolific Wales-based artist Jon Foreman has spent much of 2021 on a new batch of mesmerizing land pieces. Expanding on the swirling, organic shapes he’s known for, many of his recent works take on minimal, geometric formations in diagonal stripes or colorful, concentric circles. Foreman created a 2022 calendar featuring some of the compositions shown here—ordering instructions are on his Instagram—and you can find prints of his ephemeral pieces in his shop.