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Blog Category: Highlights

September 12, 2018

Fake news: the drowning of Hippolyte Bayard

Hippolyte Bayard, Self Portrait as a Drowned Man, 1840. Data from University of California, San Diego.
Hippolyte Bayard, Self Portrait as a Drowned Man (verso), 1840. Data from University of California, San Diego.

In a grainy 1840 photograph, a partially-covered corpse is propped against a wall, its decay evident in the darkening skin of the face and hands. The body is that of Hippolyte Bayard, an early inventor of photographic processes and supposed drowning victim, and written on the image verso is a strange note:

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August 16, 2018

2,000+ punk rock flyers, free as they were intended to be

 

On Broadway, 1983 January 22. Aaron Cometbus Punk and Underground Press Collection. Image courtesy the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
The Dry House, 1988 May 06. Aaron Cometbus Punk and Underground Press Collection. Image courtesy the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
Keystone Berkeley, 1981 May 14. Aaron Cometbus Punk and Underground Press Collection. Image courtesy the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
Dead Kennedys, 1980's. Johan Kugelberg punk collection, circa 1974-1986. Image courtesy the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

Punk flyers from the 1970s to the 1990s shared many of the qualities of the music they promoted–a DIY aesthetic, an embrace of cheap and accessible technology (i.e., photocopiers), plus a healthy dose of humor. In contrast to the often ornate Art Nouveau-inspired rock posters of the psychedelic 1960s, punk flyers typically featured dissonant collages, crude handwriting, and amateurish drawing–not to mention a strict limitation of color.

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November 27, 2017

The party of the century: Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball

Elliott Erwitt. USA; NYC; Candice Bergen dancing at the Truman Capote B&W Ball at the Plaza Hotel. 1966. ©Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos

Truman Capote’s fame transcended his literary status; he was famous for being, well, famous half a century before reality television and social media stars even existed. Also a uniquely gifted writer, Capote sought fame through publicity stunts, television appearances, and his friendships with both the social and Hollywood elite of the mid-twentieth century. Capote nurtured a persona based on being entertaining, rapier-witted, and eager to spread a rumor–attributes that would later haunt him.

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September 26, 2017

Highlight: photography in Artstor

Abdullah Frères. Cimitiere Turca, Sculari, Istanbul. 19th century. Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Did you know that nearly 20% of Artstor’s more than 2 million images are photographs? This summer we released a new collection of over 36,000 images from The Center for Creative Photography and we added 47,000 new images to existing collections from Magnum Photos, Panos Pictures, and Condé Nast, bringing our photography holdings to more than 350,000. These additions join major collections such as George Eastman House (the world’s oldest photography museum), Eyes of the Nation: a Visual History of the United States (Library of Congress), the Museum of the City of New York, and fine art photography from the Larry Qualls collection of contemporary art, among others. Photography collections in Artstor span many types, including photojournalism, art photography, social documentary works, carte de visites, stereographs, fashion photography, and even vernacular photography. In aggregate, these diverse collections can provide visual histories of people, events, cultures, and countries between the advent of photography in 1839 and the present day.

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June 6, 2017

The many questions surrounding Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait

Jan van Eyck. Portrait of Giovanni(?) Arnolfini and his Wife. 1434. The National Gallery, London

June is the most popular month to marry, an excellent reason to take a look at one of the world’s most famous wedding paintings–although we ended up wondering if that, indeed, was what we were seeing.

At first glance, Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait (1434) appears to be an exquisitely rendered but otherwise straightforward depiction of a wealthy merchant and his wife. But take a second look (or third or fourth), and a more intriguing image emerges. The room in which the Arnolfinis pose is laden with images that signal wealth, have religious implications, or are just plain… odd.

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June 2, 2017

Being there: Robert Capa’s photographs of Omaha Beach on D-Day

Robert Capa. Normandy; Operation Overlord; German soldiers captured by American forces. 1944. ©ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

Robert Capa. Normandy; Operation Overlord; German soldiers captured by American forces. 1944. ©ROBERT CAPA © 2001 By Cornell Capa / Magnum Photos

The more than 350,000 photographs in the Artstor Digital Library are not only there for the study of art—they also tell stories of our past. One of the best examples is that of Robert Capa’s breathtaking photographs of Omaha Beach on D-day in German-occupied France on June 6, 1944.

That day Western Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in France and began the effort to liberate Europe from Nazi Germany. The invasion was originally planned for May 1stbut was delayed due to bad weather. Finally, on June 6th, 156,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches—losing between 2,400 and 4,000 lives—and Robert Capa was there to capture it on camera.

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March 9, 2017

New ways of seeing Warhol – new collections in the Artstor Digital Library

Michael Hermann, Director of Licensing at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, explains how the Foundation’s collections in the Artstor Digital Library provide a comprehensive view of Warhol’s cultural impact–as well as insight into his personal life.

Thirty years after his death, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) remains one of the most influential figures in contemporary art and culture. Warhol’s life and work continue to inspire creative thinkers worldwide thanks to his enduring imagery, his artfully cultivated celebrity, and the ongoing research of dedicated scholars. His impact as an artist is far deeper and greater than soup cans and his prescient observation that “everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” His omnivorous curiosity resulted in an enormous body of work that spanned every available medium and most importantly contributed to the collapse of boundaries between high and low culture. The extensive Andy Warhol Foundation collections available on Artstor provide a thorough presentation of the prolific artist’s works in one place for the first time through more than 35,000* images inclusive of paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, and photography spanning four decades.

The turbulent 1960s ignited an impressive and wildly prolific time in Warhol’s life which saw the production of many of Warhol’s most iconic works, including Campbell Soup Cans, Marilyn Monroes, Dollar Signs, Disasters, Brillo Boxes and Coca Cola Bottles. These familiar works are supplemented by a wide-ranging presentation of the provocative and ground-breaking works Warhol continued to create until his untimely death in 1987.

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December 15, 2016

Artstor searches highlight women

In in the vast, global virtual museum of the Artstor Digital Library, women are rising to the top. Our recent use statistics reveal that portraits and likenesses of the fairer sex (your interpretation…) dominate. The subject of women prevailed among the top 20 hits, with, you guessed it, Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, c. 1505, his serene queen, as number one (more than 12,000 views), followed closely by the Venus of Willendorf, c. 30,000-25,000 B.C.E., and Manet’s Olympia, 1863, each a distinctive icon of a particular era.

Among our fine and plentiful selections from the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Warhol’s silkscreens of Marilyn, 1967, arguably the modern Mona Lisa, topped the charts, prevailing over favorites by Pieter Bruegel I, Caspar David Friedrich, Jan van Eyck and Hans Holbein the Younger. At MoMA, another version, the Gold Marilyn Monroe, 1962, figured among the top ten, and its shimmering ground recalls so many Byzantine and early Italian Madonnas, like Giotto’s Ognissanti Madonna, c. 1310, one of the most frequented images across all of our collections.

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December 14, 2016

The New York art world: the 2000s

Bruce Nauman; World Peace (Projected); 1996; Exhibited at Sperone Westwater Gallery, Fall 1996. Image and original data provided by Larry Qualls; © 2009 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Larry Qualls Archive of Contemporary Art surveys almost three decades of work exhibited in the New York area from 1988-2012. In this post, we consider the personalities and forces that dominated the art world in the 2000s. See also the 1980s and the 1990s.

The beginning of the 21st century was an especially auspicious time for the global arts community. While New York retained its place as a cultural capital, its standing in the world seemed buffeted by larger forces.

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December 13, 2016

The New York art world: the 1990s

The Larry Qualls Archive of Contemporary Art surveys almost three decades of work exhibited in the New York area from 1988-2012. In this post, we consider the personalities and forces that dominated the art world in the 1990s. See also the 1980s and the 2000s.

As curator Gary Carrion-Murayari pointed out, the 1990s had a large influence on how we see art today.  “Some of the artists who were doing things that were shocking then, we take for granted now.”[1]

It was a turbulent time, as major institutions were upended. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union. A stock market crash set off a recession keenly felt in the art market. New York gallery owner Mary Boone, named “The New Queen of the Art Scene” in the eighties, reflected on the downturn in 1992. “Value in everything is being questioned,” she said. “The psychology in the 80’s was excess; in the 90’s, it’s about conservation.”[2]

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