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Blog Category: Features

November 25, 2013

Dynamic L.A.: Images from the Julius Shulman Photography Archive

Kaufmann House by architect Richard Neutra Palm Springs, CA, 1947. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Used with permission. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute (2004.R.10)

Kaufmann House by architect Richard Neutra Palm Springs, CA, 1947. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Used with permission. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute (2004.R.10)

by Laura Schroffel, Library Assistant in Special Collections Cataloging at the Getty Research Institute

Co-published with The Iris, the online magazine of the Getty.

The Getty Research Institute recently collaborated with the Artstor Digital Library to digitize and share approximately 6,500 images from the Julius Shulman photography archive, series II and III. The work of American architectural photographer Julius Shulman (1910– 2009) comprises the most comprehensive visual chronology of modern architecture in the Americas, with a detailed focus on the development of the Los Angeles region. Spanning 70 years, it is a critical visual record of the metropolis’s evolution. The images are available now both on the Artstor Digital Library and in the Getty Research Institute’s digital collections.

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November 11, 2013

Small Format, Big Style: Images from the Alexander Liberman Photography Archive

Caption: An afternoon at the Libermans’, 1963. Left to right, Lawrence Alloway, Beatrice Leval, Barnett Newman, Alexander Liberman, Sylvia Sleigh, Robert Motherwell, and Annalee Newman. Liberman’s ever-present Leica camera is on the table. The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, (2000.R.19). © J. Paul Getty Trust.

Caption: An afternoon at the Libermans’, 1963. Left to right, Lawrence Alloway, Beatrice Leval, Barnett Newman, Alexander Liberman, Sylvia Sleigh, Robert Motherwell, and Annalee Newman. Liberman’s ever-present Leica camera is on the table. The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, (2000.R.19). © J. Paul Getty Trust.

by Emmabeth Nanol, library assistant in Special Collections Cataloging at the Getty Research Institute

Co-published with The Iris, the online magazine of the Getty.

The Getty Research Institute recently partnered with the Artstor Digital Library to digitize and make available approximately 1,500 selections from the Alexander Liberman photography archive, from the series “Artists and Personalities.” These selections from the archive, which holds nearly 150,000 items, were inspired by Liberman’s publications, most notably The Artist in His Studio. The images are available now both via Artstor and the GRI’s digital collections.

A prolific photographer since his childhood, Liberman enthusiastically identified with the candid documentary style of the 35mm camera and its grainy aesthetic—almost all of the images in the archive were captured using 35mm. He admired the camera’s journalistic aesthetic, its soft focus, and how it disintegrated background details.

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October 11, 2013

Deir Mar Musa: From Byzantine watchtower to monastic compound

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Deir Mar Musa; interior | 11th -13th century |Damascus | Photographer: James J. O’Donnell

Georgetown University’s James J. O’Donnell is contributing images of Deir Mar Musa, a monastic compound north of Damascus, to the Artstor Digital Library. Here, O’Donnell gives us a short history of the site and shares his experience of visiting.

Deir Mar Musa began life as a Byzantine watchtower, served as a medieval hermitage and modern monastery, fell into disrepair and neglect, and was then brought back to life a few years ago as a brave and venturesome monastic community and place for Christian and Muslim Syrians to meet in mutual respect. It has become a different kind of watchtower and monastery in the face of the murderous upheaval all around it.

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September 20, 2013

Upside down world: Rubén Durán on his photographs of Carnaval

Photographer: Rubén Durán | Creole/Fantasy Influence (Carnival in Dominican Republic) | February or March circa 2009-2010 | Cotuí, Dominican Republic | Photograph © HCC Central College - Rubén Durán

Photographer: Rubén Durán | Creole/Fantasy Influence (Carnival in Dominican Republic) | February or March circa 2009-2010 | Cotuí, Dominican Republic | Photograph © HCC Central College – Rubén Durán

Rubén Durán, Senior Web & Video Developer at Houston Community College Central’s Curriculum Innovation Center, was kind enough to give us a little background on his collection of photographs of carnaval, which were recently released in the ARTstor Digital Library.

The riotous, rebellious world of carnaval came to life for me when I traveled to my native Dominican Republic to recapture some of my youth. The result is a collection of 550 images now available in the Artstor Digital Library in collaboration with the Houston Community College Central Fine Arts Division. The vibrant colors document the oldest carnaval celebrations in the Americas and I discovered at the Caribbean crossroads, Creole, Spanish, and African cultures blending with the indigenous Taino people to create festivals unlike any others I’ve seen.

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September 13, 2013

A closer look at Hans Holbein’s “The Ambassadors”

Hans Holbein the Younger | Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve ('The Ambassadors') | 1533 | The National Gallery, London  | Photograph ©The National Gallery, London

Hans Holbein the Younger | Jean de Dinteville and Georges de Selve (‘The Ambassadors’) | 1533 | The National Gallery, London | Photograph ©The National Gallery, London

Hans Holbein the Younger’s “The Ambassadors” of 1533 is well known for its anamorphic image of a skull in the foreground, but upon close perusal, the objects on the table between the two subjects prove just as fascinating.

To start with, the painting memorializes Jean de Dinteville, French ambassador to England, and his friend, Georges de Selve, who acted on several occasions as French ambassador to the Republic of Venice, to the Pope in Rome, and to England, Germany, and Spain.

The upper shelf, which is concerned with the the heavens, includes a celestial globe, a portable sundial, and various other instruments used for understanding the heavens and measuring time, while the lower shelf, which reflects the affairs of the world, holds musical instruments, a hymn book, a book of arithmetic, and a terrestrial globe.

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August 5, 2013

A challenging treasure: the James Dee archives

D. James Dee and his archive

Photographer D. James Dee and his archive

In early June, the New York Times published an article about a massive (and massively intriguing) photography archive. D. James Dee, aka the SoHo Photographer, spent almost 40 years documenting contemporary art in New York City and, upon retiring, was searching for a home for his archive. Dee worked for many galleries such as Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc., Paula Cooper Gallery, Holly Solomon Gallery, OK Harris, and artists such as George Segal, Jeff Koons, and many others, in particular during SoHo’s art boom in the 1980s. The archive comprises slides, transparencies, negatives, and digital photographs of approximately 250,000 works of art.

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July 1, 2013

Thoughts on the Pride March, past, present, and future

Larry Qualls | Heritage of Pride March, 30th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots | 27 June, 1999 | New York City, NY | Image and original data provided by Larry Qualls

Larry Qualls | Heritage of Pride March, 30th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots | 27 June, 1999 | New York City, NY | Image and original data provided by Larry Qualls

June is Pride Month, and the month in which New York City’s famous annual Pride March parades down Fifth Avenue towards Christopher Street in front of the Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the historic Stonewall Riots of 1969. As I meander around Greenwich Village days before the event, I pull out my phone and begin taking unsteady shots of the infamous bar’s sign. Under the rather modest pride flags that border the doorframe (and a printout taped to the window that quotes Obama’s much-feted reference to the riots in his second inaugural speech), I consider how perhaps no one would have suspected this somewhat sleepy locale (granted, it was a Tuesday) would have engendered what would become the national push for pride and equality in LGBTQA communities everywhere.

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March 20, 2013

Spring mysteries: Botticelli’s Primavera

Sandro Botticelli | Primavera; Allegory of Spring | c. 1478 | Galleria degli Uffizi | Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Sandro Botticelli | Primavera; Allegory of Spring | c. 1478 | Galleria degli Uffizi | Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com | (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Spring is here! The return of sunshine inspired us to look at Botticelli’s Primavera, a masterpiece of the early Renaissance and arguably the most popular artistic representation of the season, even if – as we shall see – its interpretation remains inconclusive.

Botticelli painted Primavera sometime between 1477 and 1482, probably for the marriage of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, cousin of the powerful Italian statesman (and important patron of the arts) Lorenzo Medici. The date is just one of the many facts surrounding the painting that remain unclear. For starters, its original title is unknown; it was first called La Primavera by the artist/art historian Giorgio Vasari, who only saw it some 70 years after it was painted. While it’s generally agreed that on one level Primavera depicts themes of love and marriage, sensuality and fertility, the work’s precise meaning continues to be debated (a search in JSTOR led us to almost 700 results, with nearly as many differing opinions). Here’s what we think we know:

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February 28, 2013

A Woman’s Work

Milton Rogovin | Family of Miners series; Woman in field harvesting tobacco | 1983 | Milton Rogovin: Social Documentary Photographs; miltonrogovin.com

Milton Rogovin | Family of Miners series; Woman in field harvesting tobacco | 1983 | Milton Rogovin: Social Documentary Photographs; miltonrogovin.com

As a feminist, I often wonder how to approach events like Women’s History Month. Is it a celebration? A time for reflection? This year, I thought I’d meditate on an issue that has been popping up everywhere, from The Atlantic to the Academy Awards. 2012 saw a series of publications on women’s shifting role in the workplace, including Anne Marie Slaughter’s much-discussed essay, “Why Women Can’t Have It All.” Not to mention that, according to a recent article in The Huffington Post, the American workplace continues to be “really, really sexist.” In more specific terms, women still only earn $.77 to every dollar a man makes, and we make up only 4% of the S&P 500’s CEOs. 2013 also marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s monumental book, The Feminine Mystique, which challenged notions of women’s work in the 1960s. What better time to think about how we define a woman’s work, across generations and cultures?

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February 25, 2013

Karen Finley: “Straight from the gut”

Karen Finley | A Woman’s Life Isn’t Worth Much | 5/18/1990 | Originally at Franklin Furnace, New York, NY

Karen Finley | A Woman’s Life Isn’t Worth Much | 5/18/1990 | Originally at Franklin Furnace, New York, NY

March is Women’s History Month, the perfect time to highlight the work of Karen Finley, a world-renowned performance artist, author, and playwright whose work has addressed issues such as sexuality, abuse, and American politics from an uncompromising feminist perspective.

Finley came to national attention when her 1990 grant application to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was vetoed, along those of three other artists, because the content of her work was considered inappropriate. The artists sued and ultimately lost a Supreme Court appeal, but Finley was not deterred. As her struggles with the NEA were already in full swing in 1990, Franklin Furnace—in a bold move, as the organization itself was partly funded by the NEA—presented her installation, A Woman’s Life Isn’t Worth Much.

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