Digital Library of the Week: Comic Books of the 1950s

The Greenfield Library just got a new reference book set – The Encyclopedia of Comic Books and Graphic Novels edited by M. Keith Booker (in Greenfield Reference, 741.503 En19). These beautifully illustrated two volumes reminded me of a terrific collection from The University of Buffalo, SUNY library.

Blondie, no. 72 from December 1954
Blondie, no. 72 from December 1954

Comic Books of the 1950s is a collection of comic book cover art from what they call “the most turbulent and interesting decades in American comic book history.” It’s most fun to search by themes such as alien invasion, heroic pets, or jungle girls. Then there is my favorite theme, libraries and librarians!

Also read their essay, Crusade Against the Comics, and find out more about this “unsuitable reading material.”

The UArts Libraries’ has lots of material on comic books and graphic novels. Some of our newer books include A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld (in Greenfield Library open stacks: 976.335064 N394a 2009) and both Persepolis books by Marjane Satrapi (call numbers  955.0540924 Sa83p and  955.0540924 Sa83p2).

If you are into comics, then you definitely want to know about Philly Alternative Comic Con happening August 8, 2010.

SuMFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: Walter McConnell

Walter McConnell earned his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and  currently teaches there in the ceramics department. He often uses unfired ceramics in his time-based installations that resemble terrariums. In them, the unfired clay object slowly returns to dust.

To find out more about McConnell’s work, watch this behind-the-scenes video (about 2 minutes long) from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It shows a time-lapse of McConnell building his work, Calling Earth to Witness. McConnell also spoke about his work at the University of Colorado; watch him lecture on his work in this video from 2000 (about a half-hour talk).

You can also find out more about this ceramic artist through the University of the Arts Libraries. The following articles are all available through WilsonWeb (if you are off-campus, you will have to log in with your name and library barcode to access them).

McConnell's Theory of Everything (White version)
McConnell's Theory of Everything (White version)

Glen Brown’s “At the Daum Museum: Walter McConnell,” (in issue 76 of Ceramics, 2009) is a terrific article on McConnell’s work, particularly focusing on the commercial-mold mass sculptures and terrarium-like unfired clay works on exhibit at the Daum Museum in 2009. Brown discusses the similarities and contrasts of desire that resonant between the two types of work.

In “Encountering Abundance: Multiplicity in Clay” (Ceramics, issue 63, 2006), Holly Hanessian mentions McConnell’s work in discussing with five other artists who work in multiples in clay. In particular,his piece Theory of Everything (Blue Version) is noted.

Mitchell Merback’s “Cooled Matter: Ceramic Sculpture in the Expanded Field” (Ceramics, issue 39 2000) reviews the revised and updated version of the 1999 NCECA Conference exhibition, Cooled Matter. Merback details the work of the six sculptors included in the show, among them McConnell.

Find out more information on the Summer MFA Food for Thought lecture series. Lectures are about an hour long, free and open to the public.

SuMFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: Kathleen Gilrain

Kathleen Gilrain joined Smack Mellon Studios as its executive director in 2000. Prior to this position she was the director of Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. As well as her curatorial work at Smack Mellon, Ms. Gilrain is an associate professor in Brooklyn College’s Sculpture department.

As if that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she is also an artist! She holds a BFA from Cooper Union and an MFA from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Gilrain's site-specific installation at the South Carolina Botanical Garden
Gilrain's site-specific installation at the South Carolina Botanical Garden

To find out more about Ms. Gilrain, check out Socrates Sculpture Park by Alyson Baker and Ivana Mestrovic (New York: Socrates Sculpture Park, 2006). We have it in the Greenfield Library with call number 730.747421 So14b. Ms. Gilrain has written a brief essay entitled The Socrates Years and images of her own artwork are included. Also read Presence of Light” by Andrew Robinson (Gay City News, 9-15 September 2004). It reviews an exhibition curated by Ms. Gilrain at the Berkshire Museum in Massachusetts.

Find out more information on the Summer MFA Food for Thought lecture series. Lectures are about an hour long, free and open to the public.

Digital Library of the Week: Stanley Kubrick: Two Views

This dialogue between Robert Kolker and James Naremore (both professors in film studies) is presented by the National Gallery of Art (NGA) as part of their Notable Lecture series. The link is listed under December 2008 (or view all of NGA’s iTunes podcasts – they are all free!). The professors review two of Kubrick’s films in detail: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (ask for GD 241 in Greenfield Library) and Eyes Wide Shut (GD 640).

American film director Stanley Kubrick was very popular – and very controversial! He tended to work slowly and obsessively on a film, making sure everything was as perfect as his vision. His films, most of which were adapted from novels, reflect a strong influence of surrealism.

Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick

The library has plenty of information on Kubrick and his films, including Professor Naremore’s book On Kubrick (791.4302330924 K951n in Greenfield Open Stacks). You can read Stanley Kubrick: 2001: A Space Odyssey: New Essays, edited by Professor Kolker, on ebrary (if you are off campus, you will have to log in with your name and library barcode first).

We also have more of Kubrick’s films – and remember, we have a new DVD loan period for students of 3 days!

Philadelphia Center for the Book

In 2003, Jude Robison and Caitlin Perkins were MFA students in Books Arts and Printmaking at UArts. Amazed at all the local book arts, library history, and publishing houses right here in Philadelphia, they wanted to build a “bridge between Philadelphia’s cultural riches and its passionate bibliophiles, artists, collectors, librarians, educators, and students of all ages.” In 2005, The Philadelphia Center for the Book was born.

The Philadelphia Center for the Book hosts exhibitions, workshops, and other book-related fun. To find out about what events they are hosting, and when, read their blog. They will keep you up to date on everything book and library related in the Philadelphia region.

This is an offset lithography, handbound book entitled Everything and Everyone: In the End We All Are One by Philadelphia Center for the Book member (and UArts grad!) Sarah Pohlman.

Now THAT’S a bookcase!

Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian
The Ark at the V&A Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian

Do you have bookcases at home made from cement blocks and boards? Get inspired by this Norwegian design in the Victoria and Albert Museum:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/jul/13/the-ark-bookcase

To hear one of the architects discuss it (and see some snowy Norwegian landscape), watch this short film:

http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/architecture/smallspaces/videos/Rintala%20Eggertsson%20Architects/index.html

SuMFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: Joan Linder

Joan Linder received her MFA from Columbia University and also attended the prestigious Skowhegan School in Maine. A lifelong New York resident, she now teaches visual studies at the University of Buffalo and is represented by Mixed Greens Gallery in New York City.

Cooler (2007) by Joan Linder
Cooler (2007) by Joan Linder

Here is some additional reading material, offered through the University Libraries’ website, to help you learn more about Linder, her artwork, and her inspirations.

Lauren Fensterstock (“Samson Projects/Boston, MA: Joan and Liz Linder: Self Help” in Art New England from October/November 2005) provides a brief review of Joan’s and her sister, Liz’s, work at Samson Projects in Boston. Fensterstock describes Joan’s drawings as works that “raise questions that upset traditional concepts of power and complacency.” This article is found through the article database Wilson Web; the links will take you right to the article (if you are off campus, you will need to enter your name and library barcode first).

Kerr, Merrily (“Joan Linder at Mixed Greens” in Art On Paper from March/April 2006) reviews an exhibition of work, stressing that Linder’s paintings “are a wonderland of laboriously rendered forms.” Find this article in Greenfield Periodicals on the lower level in Technical Services.

Cathy Lebowitz (“Joan Linder at Mixed Greens and White Columns” in Art in America from November 2004) reviews two accordion-fold books of Linder’s drawings, Ramifications and Undue Influence. The conceptual process and techniques are described in these works that “have a grittiness and immediacy that give them strength.” Find this article in Greenfield Periodicals on the lower level in Technical Services.

Find out more information on the Summer MFA Food for Thought lecture series. Lectures are about an hour long, free and open to the public.

Digital Library of the Week: Restaurant Menus

How about two for you! There are quite a few digital collections of restaurant menus available to browse on the Internet. Here are two of my favorites:

Children's menu from the University of Washington collection
Children’s menu from the University of Washington collection

The University of Washington’s University Libraries put together this great Menus Collection that also includes placemats and other graphic material from area restaurants. Designs, foods, and prices all the way back to 1883 are represented, showing a timeline of American history through our eating habits!

The New York Public Library also hosts a digital collection of menus: the Miss Frank E. Buttolph American Menu Collection, 1851-1930. Miss Burton became passionate about collecting menus for their historical significance and, when she passed away in 1924, had amassed over 25,000! This collection terrifically demonstrates how text and visual graphic design can be visually stunning together.

Easter dinner menu for the Stanwiks Hall (1893)
Easter dinner menu for the Stanwiks Hall (1893)

How you’re helping to digitize books

You know those squiggly words you have to type in on certain Web sites to get access or to make a purchase? That’s a piece of software called CAPTCHA, or you may even be using reCAPTCHA and, unbeknownst to you, helping to digitize materials in the Internet Archive, Google and elsewhere. Want to know more? Watch this video of CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA creator Luis von Ahn describe it in a Computing Research Association presentation. (It’s 11:50 long, but he’s quite charming and funny, and the idea is so simple and great. Thanks to UArts librarian Josh Roberts for finding this great clip!)

Luis von Ahn

This is of particular interest to UArts since we have just begun a digitization project of the UArts archives. The resulting digital files will be freely available and searchable through the Internet Archive. Want to contribute? Check out Google’s “What is reCAPTCHA?” page, and start helping to digitize immediately!

SuMFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: Francis Cape

Francis Cape has his MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London and was also a resident at the prestigious Skowhegan School in Maine. He is represented by Murray Guy in New York City and Andreas Grimm in Germany.

Francis Cape's 2009 work HomeFront
Francis Cape's 2009 work HomeFront

Here is some additional reading material, offered through the University Libraries’ website, to help you learn more about this popular artist collective. All found through the article database Wilson Web, the links will take you right to the articles (if you are off campus, you will need to enter your name and library barcode first).

In Sculpture magazine, Dominick Lombardi (July/August 2000) interviews Cape about his craftsmanship and art world influences.

In a review of an exhibition at Murray Guy, Nancy Princenthal (“Francis Cape at Murray Guy” in Art in America, November 2004) notes that Cape’s work is full of impulses including “confession and stonewalling, Shaker-style transcendence and Minimalist materialism.”

In a brief review of Cape’s installation, Forest Park, at the St. Louis Art Museum, Eddie Silva (in the Sept/Oct 2004 issue of ArtUS) alludes to the work’s “quiet disruptions of expectation” and “exquisite craftsmanship.”

A final article on Cape’s work can be found in print in Greenfield Library’s bound periodicals. Janet Koplos (“New York: Francis Cape at Murray Guy” in Art in America, Jan. 2000) reviewed Cape’s non-functional cabinetry and drawings on exhibit at Murray Guy. Koplos calls the works a “virtuoso of quiet.”

Find out more information on the Summer MFA Food for Thought lecture series. Lectures are about an hour long, free and open to the public.