Rare glimpse of Syracuse University treasure offered in two exhibitions

context_pr-web_lib-spot_194x260Opening on August 19, 2014, more than 100 photographic prints from the Margaret Bourke-White collection will return home to Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) this fall. To mark the occasion, the Libraries will host an exhibition entitled Context: Reading the Photography of Margaret Bourke-White, curated by Special Collections Senior Director Sean Quimby. Simultaneously, SUArt Galleries will present a complementary exhibition Margaret Bourke-White: Moments in History 1930-1945, curated by Oliva Maria Rubio of La Fábrica (Madrid, Spain). Syracuse is the final stop on the world-wide exhibition tour for Moments in History, which has appeared in Berlin, Copenhagen, Munich, and the Hague.

The Libraries’ Margaret Bourke White collection is one of the most outstanding photojournalism collections in the country. Bourke-White was the first female war correspondent and the first female photographer for Life magazine, where one of her photographs appeared on the first cover. Her photographs of the American South during the Great Depression were taken several months before the Farm Security Administration photographers began their work in earnest. She was the first foreign photographer permitted to take pictures of Soviet industry in the 1930s. In 1941, when the first German bombs fell on Moscow, Bourke-White was the only foreign photojournalist in the city. Bourke-White also chronicled of the fight for India’s independence and the resulting formation of Pakistan. Many of her images are unforgettable, such as the ones she took following the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp by American troops, or her photographs of Gandhi at the spinning wheel. A pioneer in architectural and industrial photography and dedicated advocate of social reform, Bourke-White captured thousands of indelible images and authored more than ten books during her lifetime.

At the time of her death in 1971, Margaret Bourke-White gave her entire archive to Syracuse University. The collection contains some 19,000 negatives, approximately 24,000 prints, and 44 linear feet of manuscript material (including extensive correspondence, job files, financial files, and personal papers). “The collection documents the life and work of this remarkable photojournalist whose images have become part of our historical consciousness,” says Special Collections curator Lucy Mulroney. Reflecting the scope of her influence and career, the Bourke-White Collection includes correspondence from artists Georgia O’Keeffe and John Vassos; authors Sherwood Anderson and Theodore Dreiser; industrial clients Bethlehem Steel Company and Ford Motor Company; journalists Edward R. Murrow and Dorothy Thompson; photographers Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange; and world leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Select programming associated with the exhibitions includes:

  • a public lecture “Lightness: In the Air with William Faulkner and Margaret Bourke-White” by art historian Alexander Nemerov (Stanford University) on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m., co-sponsored by Syracuse Symposium™ in the SU Humanities Center;
  • a mini-seminar will be led by Dr. Nemerov in the SCRC on October 2 at 10 a.m.;
  • a tour of Margaret Bourke-White: Moments in History 1930-1945 in the SUArt Galleries with Lucy D. Mulroney on Friday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m.

These lectures are free and open to the public. Preregistration is required for the mini-seminar.

The Special Collections Research Center, located on the sixth floor of Bird Library, is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit http://library.syr.edu/find/scrc/programs/.

‘Shaping a Celluloid World’ is first NYC exhibition to showcase Perlov celluloid collection

SchoonerThe Palitz Gallery exhibition “Shaping a Celluloid World” has opened for viewing and is the first time a significant portion of the celluloid collection of Dadie and Norman Perlov will be on display in New York City. The exhibition is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., and runs through July 2. It is free and open to the public.

“Shaping a Celluloid World” contains over 100 objects, which represent just a portion of the collection the Perlovs donated to Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center. A wealth of materials that document the history of celluloid are represented in this exhibition, including jewelry, advertising and marketing brochures, postcards, figurines, decorative pins and buttons. Several rare items in the exhibition include a 15-piece dresser set, a set of Hyatt Billiard Balls and the last cocaine spoon in the Perlov collection, which was donated to the University.

Celluloid served as a less expensive material to bring mass-produced goods to an emerging middle class at the turn of the 20th century. It was also a unique material that could produce new goods or offer advantages over existing materials, including ivory, wood, metal and rubber. For some products, celluloid proved to be more useful than any material in existence. Celluloid piano keys, for example, were, in many ways, superior to ivory keys.

“‘Shaping a Celluloid World’ demonstrates how celluloid could be imitative or original, a substitute or a novel material, and how cultural ideas shaped a new technology,” explains the exhibition’s guest curator, Kellen Backer. “I wanted to show off the range of shapes and colors celluloid was made into. The exhibition showcases how people shaped celluloid as celluloid in turn shaped the world.”

“It is thrilling to have so many of the items we donated to the Special Collections Research Center in one exhibition,” says Dadie Perlov. “It was the real interest shown by everyone involved and the understanding that these objects could and would be used as teaching tools by departments as disparate as technology, design, political history, art, fashion—and even be exhibited, as they are doing at the Palitz Gallery.”

Today, celluloid is associated with film, and it played an important role in photography and cinema. Celluloid has also lived on in other uses. Guitar picks and ping-pong balls are still made of celluloid today. Throughout its history, celluloid has shown how plastics can be original or imitative, cheap or luxurious, and can be used to create new products or improve on existing ones.

“Celluloid played a large part in the growth and development of the plastics industry,” says Dadie Perlov. “Perhaps most of all, celluloid started an evolution of the American economy and the class structures that would operate within it.”

Contact 212-826-0320 or lubin@syr.edu for more information.

Reposted from Syracuse University News article by Scott McDowell, June 10, 2014.

Painting and sculpture by Edam Alvarado on display in the Biblio Gallery

Edam Alvarado - A woman without the womanPainting and sculpture by Edam Alvarado are featured in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th floor of Bird Library. Alvarado is an undergraduate painting major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at SU.

Alvarado says his work is influenced by graffiti and urban art culture and focuses on the purity of the color and saturation. The transition from urban art to fine art inclined him to design different methods of art display from those that have been historically acknowledged in the fine art community.

In reflecting on his work, Alvarado says:

This piece shown titled “A woman without the woman” expresses how a female is identified through objects that are produced to accentuate sexual aspects. The qualifications of the “beautiful women” in our culture are based on the physical aspects and the predominant wealth of such women. For example big breasts, thin waist, big behind, jewelry, make up, and well-treated hair are features that “the most beautiful women” like Miss Universe and Miss America are trained to highlight.

The exhibit will be on display through the summer into the fall semester.

For more information about exhibiting in the Biblio Gallery, contact Ann Skiold at saskiold@syr.edu or see the Biblio Gallery website.

Prints on display in the Biblio Gallery

cayla-lockwood A collection of prints for the Microsoft Paint Print Exchange, a collaborative project coordinated by Cayla Lockwood, are featured in the Biblio Gallery on the 4th floor of Bird Library. Lockwood is a third year graduate student in Printmaking at SU.

Seventeen artists across the United States and Europe were asked to design an image primarily in Microsoft Paint. Works range from traditional woodcut to digital print. In addition to this exhibition, the prints were collated and sent as a set to each participant, and are exhibited online at http://mspaintprintexchange.tumblr.com.

Artists include: Fredrick Arnold, Nicholaus Arnold, David Birkam, Caitlin Foley, hella trol buzy x peny gorig, Trevor Grabill, Alethea Hall, Heather Highfield, Baron D. Krupp, Kristen Leonard, Cayla Lockwood, Joe Maccarone, Sean Morrissey, J Norcross, Grace O’Meara, Sarah Pfohl, and Jason Weese.

For more information about exhibiting in the Biblio Gallery, contact Ann Skiold at saskiold@syr.edu or see the Biblio Gallery website.


Works of Paper/Works on Paper exhibit in Bird Library

Paper Art: Works of Paper/Works on Paper is currently on view on the sphere4th floor, Bird Library. This display presents a sampling of materials from the Syracuse University Libraries related to the varied and creative ways paper has served as a mainstay in the visual arts, both as a support for the graphic arts and as a medium on its own. Several original works by Syracuse University Libraries’ staff members are included. The display will remain up through the spring 2014 semester.