NYPL Labs is pleased to announce Anjuli Raza Kolb, Jaffer Kolb, and Kameelah Janan Rasheed as the recipients of first residency co-hosted Triple Canopy magazine. Engaging materials in The New York Public Library’s holdings both critically and imaginatively, as documents of past events and practices as well as bases for new creative work, these projects enact new modes of reading and writing history.
Over the next year, recipients will work closely with Triple Canopy editors toward the creative and technical realization of their projects, which may be published in a variety of formats, ranging from public performance to print pamphlet to hand-coded Web work. To this end, recipients receive six months of access to one of the research study rooms at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building; access to reference librarians and the NYPL Labs team for one-on-one consultations; and an honorarium of $2,000 from Triple Canopy. Their projects will be published in Triple Canopy's online magazine and also represented through public programs at the New York Public Library, as part of NYPL Labs’ ongoing effort to engage digital practitioners in new forms of knowledge creation and dissemination.
Triple Canopy received numerous well-conceived proposals in response to our call. We would especially like to acknowledge finalists Jenna Bliss, Adeola Enigbokan, Alan Felensthal, and Alan Reid, who submitted particularly strong and compelling projects.
We thank everyone who applied to the call and congratulate this year’s recipients!
Anjuli Raza Kolb and Jaffer Kolb are siblings working at the intersection of visual and scholarly practice. Anjuli is a professor of English and comparative literature at Williams College and Jaffer is a designer and lecturer at Princeton University's School of Architecture. For their Triple Canopy commission, the Kolbs will explore the social and architectural history of the Central Park Ramble. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, along with master gardener Ignaz Anton Pilát, designed the 38-acre Ramble to bring the “mysterious illusion of lush, tropical vegetation” into an otherwise highly rational park. The perfect combination of wildness and density, invisibility and navigability, the Ramble has served as one of the city’s most significant wilds, a space for orgiastic reverie, for community and solidarity, and for refuge and love during the darkest days of the AIDS crisis. The Kolbs’s research will draw upon the library’s Pilát papers and the Gay Activists Alliance records.
Kameelah Janan Rasheed is an artist-archivist whose work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Queens Museum, the Bronx Museum, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Weeksville Heritage Center, among other venues. Rasheed’s project focuses on printed matter, sermons, and religious iconography produced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries within black religious movements in the United States. She will explore how self-anointed black prophets created and sustained post-slavery communities, inspiring a sense of belonging on the part of followers. Her research will involve sermons, song lyrics, proselytizing materials, photographs, FBI investigation files, and ephemera related to the Church of God and Saints of Christ, the Moorish Science Temple of America, and the International Peace Mission, all housed at the New York Public Library’s Schomberg Center. Rasheed will write a sermon for the eve of the twenty-second century that draws on these documents, as well as an essay that includes annotated archival materials and video interviews with contemporary adherents of these movements.
Why Dozens of U.S. President Statues Sit Deteriorating in a Rural Virginia Field
Somewhere in Virginia on the outskirts of private farmland sits the completely bizarre sight of nearly 40 giant U.S. president busts crumbling amongst the weeds. The mammoth heads—each estimated to weigh in excess of 7,000 pounds—were originally commissioned from Houston artist David Adickes as the centerpiece for Presidents Park, a ten-acre open-air museum with presidential sculptures and informational plaques located in Williamsburg, Virginia. First opened in 2004, the museum closed just 6 years later due to lack of attendance and most of the heads were eventually moved to a private farm where they sit today.
Photographer Patrick Joust recently made a trek to the presidential graveyard and shot these amazing photos of the eroding statues. The pieces are already faded and peeling from the elements and display a number of structural scars from repeated moves. The post-apocalyptic scene is reminiscent of the final moments of Planet of the Apes, or a modern take on the giant mysterious heads sprawled across Easter Island. The artist also sculpted a second set of presidential busts which were on display near Deadwood, South Dakota in an outdoor park setting operated by the artist himself. After closing the heads are now scattered—Abraham Lincoln’s bust now rests in front of the the Lincoln RV Park in Williston, North Dakota, and Theodore Roosevelt’s bust sits outside the Roosevelt Inn in Watford.
You can see more of Joust’s photography on Flickr and by following him on Facebook. (via The Virginian-Pilot, Smithsonian)
Update: This post has been updated to include the artist’s name as well as refer to a second set of presidential busts that were originally on display near Deadwood, South Dakota.
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The Art Institute of Chicago Recreates Van Gogh’s Famous Bedroom to be Rented on Airbnb
Moving the art viewing experience from a linear surface to a three-dimensional environment, the Art Institute of Chicago is launching an interactive experience alongside their latest exhibition—entry to a full-size replica of Van Gogh’s painting The Bedroom. The room, available on AirBnB starting today, includes all the details of the original painting, arranged in haphazard alignment to imitate the original room.
The installation was built to celebrate the exhibition “Van Gogh’s Bedrooms,” a show which centers around three paintings of his domestic space he created from 1888 to 1889. The exhibition also serves as the first time the paintings will exist within the same space in North America. The first of the three paintings was produced shortly after moving into his “Yellow House” in Arles, France, yet suffered water damage soon after its completion. Van Gogh painted two other versions of the paintings to preserve the composition, one while at an asylum in Saint-Rémy in 1889 and the other as a present for his mother and sister.
Visitors will experience an immersive journey back to Van Gogh’s Yellow House, which is located outside of the museum’s campus in Chicago’s neighborhood of River North. The bedroom runs for just $10 a night and is part of a larger apartment. Dates will be released through the posting monthly and fill up quickly.
“Van Gogh’s Bedrooms” features approximately 36 works by the artist and will run through May 10, 2016. Make sure to keep updated on new listings for Van Gogh’s bedroom on the Art Institute of Chicago’s Facebook and Instagram page here.
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Extraordinary Interactive Hi-Res Exhibit of Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’
Teaching art history online can be tough, despite a wealth of tools and technologies it’s difficult to create an environment that compares to a great teacher who can make artworks engaging to a live audience. However, this new interactive exhibit of Hieronymus Bosch’s famous Garden of Earthly Delights completely nails it. This is the internet we were promised.
The site was created by filmmakers, photographers and art historians as part of an upcoming documentary by Pieter van Huijstee titled Hieronymus Bosch, Touched by the Devil. The ‘interactive documentary’ not only lets you explore the painting in incredible detail down to the most minute brush strokes, it also includes sound design as you move through various sections of the painting and a series of audio essays describing over 40 areas of the painting! This might be the crowning example of how to educate the public about a masterwork painting online, I wish there was something like this for more artworks.
The documentary and interactive exhibit coincide with the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, which is also being celebrated by the Noordbrabants Museum in the Netherlands that is currently exhibiting 20 paintings and 19 drawings by the “Devil’s Painter”—the vast majority of his surviving works.
To see more paintings in vivid detail you can also explore the Google Art Project (they beat us for a Webby a few years ago, but we’re not bitter). Also related: A new Bosch painting was identified in Kansas City last week. (via Metafilter)
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X-Ray Photographs From the 1930s Expose the Delicate Details of Roses and Lilies
“Lotus,” ca. 1930, vintage gelatin silver print, 11 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches. All imagery courtesy Joseph Bellows Gallery.
When selecting flowers we are often first attracted to their vibrant colors, eager to choose a bright orange lily or deep red rose. Dr. Dain L. Tasker, an early 20th century radiologist, was attracted to a different feature of the blooms—their anatomy. Using X-ray film to highlight the soft layering of petals and leaves, Tasker produced ghostly images devoid of color, each image appearing more like an ink drawing than photograph.
Born in 1872 in Beloit, Wisconsin, Tasker was the chief radiologist at the Wilshire Hospital in Los Angeles when radiology was in its first stages of exploration. He first became interested in photography in the 20s, focusing his hobby on landscape and portraiture. It wasn’t until the the 30s that he began to connect his career and hobby, moving his photographic interests to the X-ray machine and singling out flowers from his previously photographed landscape environments.
By composing images with singular flowers Taker examined their individualistic qualities rather than focusing on how they might be found grouped in nature or a bouquet. These minimal compositions contain a romantic appreciation for his subject matter. “Flowers are the expression of the love life of plants,” he said in a statement.
A selection of Tasker’s X-ray images can be seen in the exhibition “Floral Studies” at Joseph Bellows Gallery in La Jolla, California which runs through February 19, 2016. (via Hyperallergic)
“A Rose,” 1936, vintage gelatin silver print, 11 1/4 x 9 1/8 inches
“Yellow Calla Lily,” 1938, vintage gelatin silver print, 11 3/8 x 9 1/4 inches
“untitled, (lily),” 1932, vintage gelatin silver print, 11 1/4 x 9 inches
“Philodendron,” 1938, vintage gelatin silver print, 11 3/8 x 9 inches
“Peruvian Daffodil,” 1938, vintage gelatin silver print, 11 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches
“Fuchsia,” 1938, vintage gelatin silver print, 9 1/2 x 7 1/4 inches
“Delphinium,” 1938, vintage gelatin silver print, 11 1/4 x 9 1/8 inches
“Tulip,” 1931, vintage gelatin silver print, 9 x 7 inches
“California Holly,” 1937, vintage gelatin silver print, 11 3/8 x 9 1/8 inches
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Harvard’s Colorful Library Filled With 2,500 Pigments Collected from Around the World
Photos courtesy Zak Jensen & Andrea Shea/WBUR
The Harvard Art Museums, during renovation and expansion, showing the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies. Photo: Zak Jensen.
The Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at Harvard Art Museums is different than many other departments of its kind—its visible to the public. The public can witness conservators at work as well as view 2,500 pigment samples placed in tincture bottles and housed behind tall glass cabinets. The samples are reminiscent of medicine bottles—the concentrated material’s purpose to help doctor paintings rather than physical maladies.
The Forbes pigment collection was started by its namesake—Straus Center founder and former Fogg Art Museum Director Edward Forbes who began the collection at the turn of the 20th century. Forbes would collect his samples from his travels all over the world, bringing back pigments from excavated sites at Pompeii to rare lapis lazuli found in Afghanistan.
Image provided by Andrea Shea/WBUR
Forbes’ interest in pigments and preservation started with his purchase of the 14-century Madonna and Child with Saints, which he bought in 1899 and noticed that the painting was quickly deteriorating. Harvard Art Museums research curator Francesca Bewer remarks in her book A Laboratory for Art: Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum and the Emergence of Conservation in America, 1900-1950 that he then began a passionate exploration into the process of how paintings were made. This interest led to collecting the materials needed for the preservation of fine artworks alongside his own collection of early Italian paintings.
“Every time he traveled he would bring things back with him,” Senior conservation scientist Narayan Khandekar told WBUR. “And these are Japanese pigments and binding media that were collected in the 1930s. And we have one of our prized possessions, this ball of ‘Indian yellow,’ which is made from the urine of cows fed only on mango leaves.”
Image provided by Andrea Shea/WBUR
The production of Indian Yellow has ceased because of its harmful effects on cows, but ancient pigments are not the only focus of the collection which stopped amassing samples after World War II. Recently however, the collection has begun to collect contemporary pigments that have come into the market over the last 70 years including modern and synthetic pigments.
If you can’t make it to the floor-to-ceiling display of pigments in Cambridge, you can see an electronic directory of these materials through the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s Conservation & Art Materials Encyclopedia Online (CAMEO) database here. (via Hyperallergic)
The Straus Center’s materials collection includes an impressive array of pigments to aid research and conservation work. Photo: © Peter Vanderwarker.
Image provided by Andrea Shea/WBUR
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A VW Beetle Spotted in the Insect Collection at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
While walking through the Cleveland Museum of Natural History earlier this week, Redditor muppaphone spotted a toy VW Bug hidden amongst a collection of taxidermied beetles. Most likely the joke of a good-humored curator, commenters suggest museums frequently hide objects like this for observant patrons to discover. Love it. (via Laughing Squid)
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NYPL Shares Huge Archive of 180,000 High-Res Public Domain Images Online, Announces ‘Remix Residency’
At a small American Legion carnival near Bellows Falls, Vermont. Photo by Jack Delano, 1941.
The New York Public Library just released high-resolution scans of 180,000 public domain images including photographs, etchings, watercolors, sheet music, maps, stereoscopic views, and other images dating back as far as the 11th century. From their press release:
Did you know that more than 180,000 of the items in our Digital Collections are in the public domain? That means everyone has the freedom to enjoy and reuse these materials in almost limitless ways. The Library now makes it possible to download such items in the highest resolution available directly from the Digital Collections website. No permission required. No restrictions on use.
Not only is the NYPL encouraging people to use these public domain images in their personal endeavors without restriction, they’ve also announced the NYPL Labs Remix Residency for “artists, information designers, software developers, data scientists, and journalists.” Selected individuals will have the opportunity to work on-site at the NYPL as part of a paid residency to create work from this near endless resource of imagery. If that sounds interesting to you—which I know it does—you can apply online here.
They’ve also built a fantastic visual search tool that allows you to sort images by genre, date, and even color. Go make something amazing people! (via Kottke)
Soleil couchant. Watercolor, 1875. Félix Bracquemond.
Daughter of Mr. Buck Grant, preacher near Woodville, Greene County, Georgia. Photo by Jack Delano, 1941.
Seventh Avenue looking south from 35th Street, Manhattan. 1935.
DINNER TO S & H MANAGERS [held by] SPERRY & HUTCHINSON [at] “WALDORF-ASTORIA, [NEW YORK]” (HOTEL;) 1907.
Engraving of Miss O’Neill in the character of Belvidera in the stage production Venice Preserved, Act 3, Scene 1. Engraving. 1814.
Butterfly engravings, 1833 – 1830. Dumont d’Urville, Jules-Sébastien-César.