Category Archives: Exhibitions

Aubrey Beardsley’s “Die Götterdämmerung”


Ten drawings from Princeton University Library’s Aubrey Beardsley Collection, C0056, will be traveling to the exhibition Aubrey Beardsley on view at Tate Britain, London, from 4 March-25 May 2020. Among these are [above]: Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), Volpone Adoring His Treasure, pen and ink drawing, 1898. Published posthumously in Ben Jonson His Volpone, 1898. [Oversize » NE642.B363 J63, and four others]

Volpone was first brought out at the Globe Theatre in 1605, printed in quarto in 1607,  and was republished by Jonson in 1616 without alterations or additions.

“Beardsley appears to have been truly taken with Jonson’s play, writing F.H. Evans on 11 december: I am making pictures for Ben Jonson’s adorable and astonishing Volpone.” On the same day he informed Pollitt: “I carry Volpone about with me from dawn to dawn, and dream of nothing else.”The artist’s enthusiasm for the comedy is equally evident in his notes for the Volpone prospectus. “Daring and forcible in conception, brilliant and faultless in execution.” He writes, “It is undoubtedly the finest comedy in the English language outside the works of Shakespeare.” James G. Nelson, Publisher to the Decadents: Leonard Smithers in the Careers of Beardsley, Wilde, and Dowson (2010).

Also traveling to London will be [above] Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), Salomé with the Head of St. John the Baptist, ca. 1894. Pen and ink drawing. Although this was drawn to illustrate Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, it was not used. Aubrey Beardsley Collection, C0056, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

And most exciting: [below] Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), Die Götterdämmerung, 1892. Pen and ink, wash, and Chinese white. 12 1/8 x 20 1/4. Reproduced in A Second Book of Fifty Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley, London, 1899, p. [53]. From the collection of Robert Ross. [Gallatin 223] No. 17.

Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), is the last in Richard Wagner’s cycle of four music dramas titled Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung, or The Ring for short). It received its premiere at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 17 August 1876, as part of the first complete performance of the Ring.

Die Götterdämmerung,” notes Emma Sutton in Aubrey Beardsley and British Wagnerism in the 1890s (2002), “Beardsley’s only drawing of the concluding part of the Ring cycle, was probably prompted by the first performance for a decade of the Ring in London in June and July 1892. It is extremely likely that he attended a performance of the drama; he certainly attended Siegfried, and produced drawings on Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, and of the principle singers, in this year.

No interpretation of the drawing has, to my knowledge, ever been offered, perhaps because its stylistics might suggest that it is an incomplete or experimental, Impressionistic work. The drawing is, however, an intricate and highly knowledgeable representation of Wagner’s work, demonstrating Beardsley’s comprehensive knowledge of Die Götterdämmerung (and, indeed, of the whole cycle) from the very start of the decade. Beardsley presents the gods shrouded in long drapes in a bleak forest setting; with their elongated limbs and enveloping robes they appear androgynous figures, listless and melancholy, entrapped by the sharp bare stems that rise from the border and ground around them.

Despite the undulating lines of the landscape, Die Gotterdammerung is a scene of desolate stasis, bleakly portraying Wagner’s Twilight of the Gods. A compression of several scenes from Wagner’s drama, the drawing is, I would suggest, an extraordinarily innovative and ambitious attempt to evoke concisely the narrative events and cumulative tone of the entire drama.”
–Emma Sutton, Aubrey Beardsley and British Wagnerism in the 1890s (2002)

Tate Britain calls this the largest exhibition of Beardsley drawings for 50 years. “Aubrey Beardsley shocked and delighted late-Victorian London with his sinuous black and white drawings. He explored the erotic and the elegant, the humorous and grotesque, winning admirers around the world with his distinctive style. Spanning seven years, this exhibition will cover Beardsley’s intense and prolific career as a draughtsman and illustrator, cut short by his untimely death from tuberculosis, aged 25. Beardsley’s charismatic, enigmatic persona played a part in the phenomenon that he and his art generated, so much so that Max Beerbohm dubbed the 1890s the ‘Beardsley Period’.” https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/aubrey-beardsley

A library for our times, cash only

From now until February 28, 2020, the lounge at 185 Nassau Street, Lewis Center for the Arts, has “slipped into a reading lounge. Sitting next to the existing vending machine with snacks is its fraternal partner, 2019-20 Hodder Fellow Ryan Gander’s vending machine containing USB sticks of over 300 annotated essays. Collected together to form a library for our times, The Annotated Reader project includes texts of almost 300 contributors including the Faculty in Visual Arts. Is there one piece of writing that you would want with you for company in the small hours? All are welcome to come sit and read.”
https://arts.princeton.edu/events/the-annotated-reader/

Unlike his art vending machine that dispensed random artworks for a £500 fee during the London Frieze arts fair last fall, the Princeton vending machine only costs $1.00 for a complete book. The art machine contained a total of 125 items, including stones that Gander has collected with his children, as well as cast versions of some of the most widely used and affordable digital watches.

“The rest of the installation [at Frieze] includes paintings and a book, which is a version If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, a 1979 novel by Italian writer Italo Calvino, that Gander has re-typed using a typeface of his own invention that no one can read, in which the letters are replaced by shapes of stones–the same stones that can be obtained from the vending machine. The paintings are enlarged pages from the book, printed using the illegible stone typeface, then annotated over by the artist with black ink. ‘I repeated the annotations over them with a large calligraphy brush. They become a form of censorship, it makes them illegible in a way. But through that process they become an abstract, expressionist motif of what art is,’ he said. ‘The book is published. We will distribute these unreadable books in hospitals, prisons, hotels, lighthouses — places that have time abundance and attention abundance,’ he continued, adding that he’s replaced the bible in the hotel room up for grabs with a copy of the book.—Jacopo Prisco, CNN

Gander currently lives and creates in London and Suffolk, visiting Princeton periodically during his fellowship year. His work encompasses graphic design, installation, performance, and more, and he has garnered international attention as he challenges notions of knowledge, language, and understanding. He is drawn to the contradictions in paradoxes and the ambiguity of life. His work often unites the mundane and commonplace with the aberrant and extraordinary.

His recent solo shows include exhibitions at Esther Schipper in Berlin, The National Museum of Art in Osaka, Hyundai Gallery in Seoul, Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, and Manchester Art Gallery in Manchester. His most recent publications include The Boy That Always Looked Up, Picasso and I, and the monograph Culturefield. He has been presented with the 2007 Paul Hamlyn Award for Visual Arts, the 2006 ABN AMRO prize of the Netherlands and the 2009 Zürich Art Prize.

Gander studied at Manchester Metropolitan in the U.K., Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten and the Jan van Eyck Akademie, both in the Netherlands. He has been a visiting lecturer at a number of European art schools throughout the continent. He was also awarded Doctor of Arts of the Manchester Metropolitan University and Honoris Causa for his efforts in academia.—https://arts.princeton.edu/news/2019/11/screening-of-me-my-selfie-and-i-followed-by-talk-with-artist-ryan-gander-presented-by-lewis-center-for-the-arts-program-in-visual-arts/

Graphic MoMA

[left] Book shelves as wallpaper.

A first look at the rehung MoMA revealed a surprising number of works on paper, lettrism, fluxus, artists’ books, visual poetry, and other graphic arts. Beginning with the major exhibitions such as Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures, there are more than the usual number of letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs of text, in and among the oil on canvas.

“The Museum of Modern Art will open its expanded campus on October 21, 2019, with a reimagined presentation of modern and contemporary art.

The expansion, developed by MoMA with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler, adds more than 40,000 square feet of gallery spaces and enables the Museum to exhibit significantly more art in new and interdisciplinary ways.

The Studio in the heart of the Museum will feature live programming and performances that react to, question, and challenge histories of modern art and the current cultural moment. …Street-level galleries, free and open to all on the expanded ground floor, will better connect the Museum to New York City and bring art closer to people on the streets of midtown Manhattan.” http://press.moma.org/news/museum-renovation-and-expansion-project/

Here are a few examples:

Mirtha Dermisache, Augusto de Campos, et al. Visual poetry.

 

Dieter Roth (1930-1998), Literature Sausage, 1969. Artists’ proof.

Various artists, Fluxkit, 1965-66. Designed and assembled by George Maciunas.

Mira Schendel (1919-1988), untitled from Objetos graficos, 1967.

 

 

 

Finishing touches in the Frank O’Hara room

Wall corner note

 

Waldemar Cordeiro, et al., Manifesto Ruptura, 1952.

 

Lygia Pape (1927-2004), Livro da criação  (Book of Creation), 1958-1960.

 

The Black Factory Archive, 2004-

Stony Island Arts Bank

“How do we start to imagine ourselves as deeper caretakers of the things that exist in the world?” —Theaster Gates
In 2012 Gates purchased the Stony Island Trust & Savings Bank for one dollar. Today, “the Stony Island Arts Bank is a hybrid gallery, media archive, library and community center … built in 1923, the bank … had closed and the building remained vacant and deteriorating for decades. Reopened in October 2015, the radically restored building serves as a space for neighborhood residents to preserve, access, reimagine and share their heritage.” —https://rebuild-foundation.org/site/stony-island-arts-bank/

Forget about the $30 million sale of the Johnson Publishing’s historic Ebony and Jet magazine photo archive, the Johnson Publishing Archive + Collections was donated, free of charge, to the Arts Bank collection.

“The archive features more than 15,000 items including books, periodicals, ephemera, paintings, and sculpture, along with original furnishings and interior design elements custom-designed for JPC’s downtown Chicago offices by Arthur Elrod.”

The library, including complete runs of Jet and Ebony along with African history, American literature, and more, is open to all researchers.

Other collections include the University of Chicago glass magic lantern slides, over 60,000 slides of art and architectural history from the Paleolithic to Modern eras.

“In 2009, the Visual Resources Center’s historic collection of lantern slides at the University of Chicago was digitized and donated to artist Theaster Gates. Since then, a public digital collection has been made available online, the physical slides have been a part of several artist projects, and now the collection is permanently housed in the new Stony Island Arts Bank, a cultural venue for the community on the South Side of Chicago.” https://online.vraweb.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1069&context=vrab

They also quietly house the Edward J. Williams Collection: 4,000 objects of “negrobilia” – mass cultural objects and artifacts that feature stereotypical images of black people. https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-arts-bank-stony-island-ent-0705-20170628-column.html, and Frankie Knuckles Records: “Godfather of House Music,” Frankie Knuckles’ vinyl collection. “Frankie Knuckles, a club disc jockey, remixer and producer who was often called the “godfather of house” for helping that percussive genre of dance music spread from Chicago nightclubs to global popularity and influence, died on Monday at his home in Chicago. He was 59.”–https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/arts/music/frankie-knuckles-59-pioneer-house-dj-dies.html?ref=obituaries

The Stony Island Arts Bank is several blocks south of the site of the Chicago Columbian Exposition and the upcoming Barack Obama Presidential Center https://www.obama.org/the-center/. The New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA), who designed Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, will design President Barack Obama’s presidential library.

This October 2019 Gates brings his Black Artist Retreat, an annual event in Chicago, to New York for a two-day event including roller skating, music and performances.–http://www.armoryonpark.org/programs_events/detail/black_artists_retreat

see more: The HistoryMakers video oral history with Theaster Gates https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/10394330

Amalgam

https://gagosian.com/quarterly/2019/03/08/theaster-gates-slate-wall-drawing-video/

Theaster Gates, currently Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artist Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art, Waterville, Maine, has mounted his first solo exhibition in France at the Palais de Toyko entitled “Amalgam.” The term amalgam has been used in the past to denote racial, ethnic, and religious mingling. For Gates, it has acquired an even more charged significance, impelling his practice towards new formal and conceptual explorations in film, sculpture, architecture, and music.https://www.facebook.com/palaisdetokyo/videos/interview-theaster-gates/875998499398092/

On view through the end of 2019, the exhibition explores social histories of migration and interracial relations using a specific episode in American history “to address larger questions of black subjugation and the imperial sexual domination and racial mixing that resulted from it.”

The starting point is the story of Malaga Island in Maine. Gates notes: “In 1912, the state governor expelled from Malaga the poorest population, an interracial, mixed community of about 45 people, considered ‘indolent’ by many of the local white inhabitants. These unfortunate people were forced to relocate throughout the mainland; some were even involuntarily committed to psychiatric institutions.”  See more: https://www.pressherald.com/2012/05/20/a-century-of-shame_2012-05-20/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKvVvg0TeF8&w=560&h=315

#TheasterGates
“Nothing is pure in the end…
A sea of wood,
An island of debate.
Can an exhibition start shift the negative truths of the history of a place?.”

“Theaster Gates (born in 1973, lives in Chicago) works as an artist and land theorist. His practice includes sculpture, installation, performance and urban interventions that demonstrate the tremendous use value in economically destabilized communities. His projects attempt to instigate the creation of cultural capital by acting as catalysts for social engagement that leads to political and spatial change. Theaster Gates has described his method as “critique through collaboration” – often working with architects, researchers and performers to create works that expand ideas of what visual-based practices can be.”

See also Theaster Gates Art Library:

Graver pour le roi

Gilles Rousselet and Israel Silvestre, frontispiece for Charles Perrault, Courses de testes et de bague, faites par le Roy, et par les Princes et Seigneurs de sa cour en l’année 1662. Paris, 1670. Copper plate and engraving.

On view through May 20, 2019, at the Louvre is the exhibition Graver pour le roi: Collections historiques de la Chalcographie du Louvre. http://presse.louvre.fr/graver-pour-le-roi/. The press release notes:

Exceptionally bringing together more than a hundred works, the exhibition traces the origins of the Chalcography of the Louvre with nearly seventy engraved matrices of its collection, presented in relation to drawings of the Department of Graphic Arts of the Louvre Museum and prints from the Edmond de Rothschild collection and the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Gérard Edelinck, after Charles Le Brun, La Famille de Darius aux pieds d’Alexandre
https://rbsc.princeton.edu/versailles/item/924

Many of the copper plates on view are matrices for the prints Princeton students and visitors enjoyed a few years ago in the exhibition Versailles on Paper. https://rbsc.princeton.edu/versailles/

Our prints were acquired by Princeton University in 1886 in an exchange with the Bibliothèque nationale (Paris), thanks to John S. Pierson, Class of 1840, who effected the exchange, recorded by the BN as “Double échangé” no. 907. Volker Schröder, Associate Professor of French in the Department of French & Italian, researched and clarified this information for his essay in the Princeton University Library Chronicle dedicated to our exhibition. http://rbsc.princeton.edu/versailles/content/chronicle-article-abstracts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/2014/06/12/louis-xiv-visits-the-royal-academy-of-sciences/

In the galleries, the polished copper and steel-plated matrices are brightly lit and difficult to photograph without reflection. Happily the catalogue to the show, coming soon to Princeton, has excellent reproductions of both the printing plates and the paper prints.

Charles Nicolas Cochin fils, Pompe funebre d’Elisabeth Therese de Lorraine, Reine de Sardaigne ... [Interior of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, decorated for the funeral of Elizabeth Theresa, Queen of Sardinia], 1743. Copper plate and engravings.

 

Gerard Edelinck after Nicolas de Largilliere, Portrait of Charles Le Brun, 1684. https://rbsc.princeton.edu/versailles/item/923

A loose translation of one label:

The Chalcography of the Louvre is rich in a collection of some 14,000 engraved plates, the oldest of which date back to the 17th century. When it was founded in 1797, the new institution was given the role of preserving and exploiting three important sets of engraved plates seized during the French Revolution: those of the King’s Cabinet, the Pleasures Menus, and of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. The Cabinet of the King , born from the will of Louis XIV and Colbert, gathers 956 prints showing the castles, statues and paintings belonging to the king. Designed to spread the image of the magnificence of power, these boards are the work of the best engravers of time, such as Claude Mellan, Gerard Audran, Gérard Edelinck.

Jean Pesne after Nicolas Poussin, L’Eucharistie – Das letzte Abendmahl, [1680-1694]

 

Detail

 

Board games on view

Ellen Liman, Georgian and Victorian Board Games: the Liman Collection. Arthur L. Liman, foreword; A. Robin Hoffman, introduction (New York: Pointed Leaf Press, 2017). Graphic Arts Collection -On order

 

Our colleagues at the Yale Center for British Art are presenting the exhibition Instruction and Delight: Children’s Games from the Ellen and Arthur Liman Collection, on view through May 23, 2019. Please forgive the dark cell phone photography here, which doesn’t do justice to this bright and colorful show.

Curated by Elisabeth Fairman, Chief Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Center, with the assistance of Laura Callery, Senior Curatorial Assistant, they note:

By the beginning of the eighteenth century in Britain, parents and teachers had begun to embrace wholeheartedly a suggestion from the philosopher John Locke (1632–1704) that “Learning might be made a Play and Recreation to Children.” The material culture of this period, and the subsequent generation, reveals a significant shift in thinking, as adults found fresh value in childhood and in play for its own sake. British publishers leapt at the chance to design books and games for both instruction and delight. This small display celebrates the recent gift of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century children’s games and books to the Center by Ellen and Arthur Liman,

Happily, many of these rare and fragile games are also available to students in the collections of Princeton University Library.

See also:
Francis Reginald Beaman Whitehouse, Format Table Games of Georgian and Victorian Days. Revised 2nd ed (Royston (Herts.), Priory Press Ltd., 1971). Cotsen Children’s Library GV1243 .W59 1971

Giochi dell’Oca e di percorso by Luigi Ciompi & Adrian Seville:
http://www.giochidelloca.it/index.php

https://graphicarts.princeton.edu/?s=board+game

 

 

Swarthmore College’s Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary project

Visitors to the Book and Ephemera Fair in New York City today were treated to a preview of Swarthmore College’s Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary project, supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. http://fps.swarthmore.edu/

The two-year project brings renowned book artists into conversation with Syrian and Iraqi individuals who have resettled to Philadelphia. Driven by questions about displacement and refuge, history and experience, the project explores art’s capacity to build empathy and create a deeper sense of belonging.

Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary culminates in a series of exhibitions beginning this month at McCabe Library, Swarthmore College; three locations in Philadelphia throughout the summer;  and Brooklyn, New York City in the fall. Included will be artists books by Islam Aly, Maureen Cummins, Erik Ruin, Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist that weave archival research of refugee and migrant experiences with contemporary Syrian and Iraqi narratives.

Their works will be exhibited alongside works by Syrian and Iraqi project collaborators that were produced throughout a series of workshops led by the artists, as well as archival materials related to displacement from Swarthmore College’s Friends Historical Library and Peace Collection.

افتتاح معرض الأصدقاء والسلام والملاذ والعشاء المحلي

Join them at the exhibition opening and a Friends, Peace, & Sanctuary communal dinner on Friday March 29, 2019 beginning at 4:00 p.m.

٢٩ مارس ٢٠١٩
٤ إلى ٨ مساء
كلية سوارثمور: مكتبة مكايب و قاعة كلوثير
نرحب بكم في احتفال ختام مشروع الأصدقاء، السلام، والملاذ الآمن الذي امتد على عامين و ايضا ندعوكم في المشاركة في عشاء اجتماعي لكي تصبحوا جزءا من المحادثة في مشروع الأصدقاء، السلام، والملاذ الآمن.
تفضلوا معنا في احتفال ختم مشروع الاصدقاء، السلام والملاذ الآمن و افتتاح معرض الأول للفنانين إسلام علي، مورين كومينز، إيريك روين، كورتني بولز و مارك ستراندكويست، الذين تضمنوا أبحاث المحفوظات عن تجارب اللاجئين والمهاجرين مع التجارب السورية والعراقية المعاصرة لإعادة التوطين في فيلادلفيا. وسيتم عرض أعمالهم جنباً إلى جنب مع الأعمال التي يقوم بها متعاونون من المشاريع السورية والعراقية التي تم إنتاجها خلال سلسلة من ورش العمل التي يقودها الفنانون، بالإضافة إلى مواد أرشيفية متعلقة بالنزوح من مكتبة أصدقاء كلية سوارثمور التاريخية ومجموعة السلام.
بعد تجربة المعرض، اجتمع مع جميع المتعاونين والفنانين وأعضاء فريق المشروع الذين جعلوا هذا المشروع ممكنا في عشاء يقدمه مطبخ “أريا”. توقع الطعام اللذيذ وحفز المحادثة بينما نواصل بناء المجتمع معًا.

The initial exhibition will be up through April 24, 2019, at McCabe Library at Swarthmore College. A complete list of books and those for sale will be available soon. https://www.swarthmore.edu/libraries/mccabe-library

Installing Las Antillas Letradas

Antonio Martorell, Las Antillas Letradas, 2014. Multi-media prints in portfolio. Available Online Digital. Graphic Arts Collection Oversize 2014-0031E

One piece in the upcoming Firestone Library exhibition, Welcome Additions, is this map of the Caribbean, divided into 27 letters of the alphabet, which feature 27 portraits of leading literary figures with selected texts in their original languages of Spanish, English and French. Printing began in 2014 on Okawara paper in a Hewlett-Packard printer at El Taller de la Playa, Ponce, Puerto Rico with the help of Milton Ramírez. The edition consists of 100 copies signed and numbered by Antonio Martorell. Princeton is proud to hold copy 1 of 100, purchased together with PLAS, the Program of Latin American Studies.

Here is a look at the complex installation.

Portraits of Aimé Césaire; Julia de Burgos; Alejo Carpentier; Juan Pablo Duarte; Leonardo Padura Fuentes; Frantz Fanon; José Luis González; Eugenio María de Hostos; Pedro Mir; Juan Antonio Corretjer; Jamaica Kincaid; José Lezama Lima; José Martí; V.S. Naipaul; Arcadio Díaz Quiñones; Rosario Ferré; Luis Palés Matos; René Marqués; Magali García Ramis; Luis Rafael Sánchez; Marie Vieux Chauvet; Pedro Henríquez Ureña; Ana Lydia Vega; Kamau Brathwaite; Derek Walcott; Mayra Montero; and Juan López Bauzá.

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Rodin exhibition extended

Good news from Paris. The exhibition Rodin, Dessiner, Découper has been extended for a couple extra weeks and so, if you are in Paris in March 2019, you may still have time to see the ‘cut-outs’ from our Graphic Arts Collection at the Musée Rodin. The show includes nearly 250 drawings by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), of which 90 are his rare and often surprising cut and assembled figures, 6 loaned by Princeton University.

“Jouant de la mise en espace de ces corps,” writes curator Sophie Biass-Fabiani, “ce procédé révèle des silhouettes découpées audacieuses et un dynamisme d’une grande modernité. Cette exposition annonce un des modes d’expression novateurs du XXe siècle.”

http://musee-rodin.fr/fr/exposition/rodin-dessiner-decouper

Here are a few gallery shots, thanks to our colleagues.

 

Note, if you are watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, you will also see Rodin’s museum highlighted.