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Tag: Art

The Other Woodstock

August 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the mother of contemporary music festivals: Woodstock. Held over three days in 1969, the festival featured three-days of performances for folk and rock artists like Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix.  The legacy of the festival was cemented by the Woodstock documentary and a song of the same name by folk luminary, Joni Mitchell.  That’s a lot of talk about Woodstock when the festival wasn’t actually held there.  Woodstock the event was actually held in Bethel, a neighboring town in upstate New York. Woodstock itself wasn’t even considered as a site for the festival. According to Woodstock the Oral History (1989) the only connection between the concert and the town is that the event’s promoters originally considered building a music studio in Woodstock, NY and incorporated under the name Woodstock Ventures. So what about the other Woodstock? Though it didn’t host the eponymous music festival, Woodstock, NY had been home to a thriving art colony since the early 1900s.

Cooper Hewitt Pro-Seminar Series IV: Luigi Colani ponders the Big Bang

This post was contributed by Evelyn Meynard, graduate student in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies program offered jointly by the Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and Elizabeth Broman, Reference Librarian, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Library

All incoming students in The New School Parsons History of Design and Curatorial Studies (MA) Masters’ Degree Program at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum take an object and research based class called Pro-Seminar. This course trains students in conducting formal analyses, writing catalog entries, and making visual presentations that require students to conduct and integrate primary and secondary source research. The Cooper Hewitt Library regularly collaborates with faculty and students, providing research resources, curriculum consultation and Special Collections presentations for classes.  Selecting  one work from the Cooper-Hewitt collection to study during the semester, that ”work” can be a book from the Cooper Hewitt Design Library presented by staff during curatorial orientations.

Significant donation from the Art Students League of New York

Alumni, Art Student’s League, 1950. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Arnold Newman. NPG.91.89.56

The Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to announce the donation of research ephemera for more than 4,000 artists from the Art Students League of New York (ASL), to be housed at the American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library.

Hard-edged, Bright Color: Generations of Color

Thomas Downing's examples of grids and dots
Thomas Downing’s examples of solid dots within rigid grids

In conjunction with the exhibition “Hard-edged, Bright Color: The Washington Color School” at the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library, the blog will be exploring the group of color artists to accompany the exhibit running until late spring. We’ll be exploring three of the “first generation” Washington Color School artists: Thomas Downing, Howard Mehring, and Paul Reed.

Hard-edged, Bright Color: Pure Color

Morris Louis ephemera from "Hard-edged, Bright Color"
Morris Louis ephemera from “Hard-edged, Bright Color”

In conjunction with the exhibition “Hard-edged, Bright Color: The Washington Color School” at the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library, the blog will be exploring the group of color artists to accompany the exhibit running until late spring. We’ll be exploring three of the “first generation” Washington Color School artists: Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Gene Davis. You can read the first post in this series here.

The 1950s and 1960s saw the emergence of a new ‘School’ in the American capital, the Washington Color School. Experimenting with fields of bright colors achieved by applying thinned paint onto large canvases, these artists sought to enrapture a viewer without the use of narrative or symbolism.

Hard-edged, Bright Color: The Washington Color School.

Hard-Edged, Bright Color
“The idea of bands of color, hard-edged, bright color. It was like a breath of fresh air in the early ’60s, because all this messy sh*t, you know, that was going on in New York — we provided an alternative.” Gene Davis oral history transcript, Archives of American Art.

With the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s upcoming exhibition, Gene Davis: Hot Beat, the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library is hosting a complementary exhibition of ephemera showcasing a group known as the Washington Color Painters, or perhaps better recognized by their more dubious title, the Washington Color School.