At the March 27th public program “Meet the Artist” at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Christo engaged a full house in the Ring Auditorium with discussions of two current projects: Over the River, a 5.9 mile expanse of fabric panels which will be temporarily suspended over 42 miles of the Arkansas River in Colorado, and The Mastaba, a new permanent sculpture reportedly the largest in the world to be situated near Abu Dhabi. After showing images of his projects, Christo was very entertaining and gracious in answering any question from the audience. Continue reading →
This post was contributed by Lilla Vekerdy, Head of Special Collections.
On December 19th, 2012 an unusual gift arrived to the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology in two huge crates. The cargo did not look like, nor was it packed as books, more like art work. Naturally, the shipment was not a surprise: its arrival had been preceded by a year’s worth of correspondence, administration, a trip to pack and ship, and several phone calls about the material. Continue reading →
Lines from Points to Points, Sol LeWitt (SAAM 1990.60.2)
Though American conceptual artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) worked in every media, he is known best for his wall drawings and series of investigations of lines, colors and shapes. If you have ever been to an exhibition of LeWitt’s wall drawings, you’ll agree there is a sense of awe (“How could someone draw so many tiny straight lines across that entire gallery?”) mixed with a sense of vertigo (“How could someone draw so many tiny straight lines across that entire gallery?”). Continue reading →
This post was written by Elizabeth Brunner, an intern at the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library September-December 2012.
Joseph Keppler was the predominant political cartoonist of the late nineteenth century. His creation of the magazine, Puck, in 1877 brought him into a national position that allowed him to influence people’s political views and opinions. The magazine featured cartoon and caricature lithographs created by Keppler. The National Portrait Gallery is fortunate enough to own a few of Keppler’s lithographs from the height of his fame during the early 1880s. However, as a bibliophile, I was far more excited to discover that the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library owns one of the 300 copies of a limited-edition book that features some of Keppler’s best lithographs. Published in 1893, this book served Puck as an advertising tool and as a way to promote Keppler’s lithographs and talent. Continue reading →
Front cover of the Tapa cloth binder for the Winter 1930 Telephone Directory for the Territory of Hawaii
The Smithsonian Institution Libraries recently acquired a telephone book. Big deal, you say? Ah, but this is a telephone directory for the territory of Hawaii, issued for the winter of 1930. For that reason alone, it’s fun to browse through, to see the old advertisements and daydream about living in the gorgeous Hawaiian Islands, back in the days when the entire list of businesses and households in the territory which owned telephones could be recorded in one slim volume.
But this isn’t just any old phone book. This particular copy belonged to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu, which opened in February 1927 on the spectacular Waikiki beachfront. Known as “the Pink Palace of the Pacific,” the Royal Hawaiian Hotel was one of the earliest luxury resorts established in this tropical paradise. The stylish décor featured at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, inspired partly by the native crafts of the South Sea Islanders, exerted a lasting influence upon tourists from the mainland, who came to associate the good life in Hawaii with vivid patterns reminiscent of exotic plants, birds, marine life, sunshine, and ocean waves. Continue reading →