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Posts Tagged ‘studio 360’

Photo: Gavin Ashworth
Klewicke, “Original Design Quilt” (Corning, New York, 1907), pieced silk, faille, taffeta, and satin, digitized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.

Nowadays, it’s not enough for museums to exhibit art that you can go see or read about in a book: they want to be able to share their treasures online. That’s why the American Folk Art Museum in New York City is digitizing the New York Quilt Project, which features more than 6,000 quilts and their histories.

Allison Meier writes at Hyperallergic, “From a 19th-century block pattern quilt made from a woman’s wedding dress, to a commemorative quilt celebrating the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the New York Quilt Project contains an invaluable record of the state’s folk art history. …

“Now AFAM [the American Folk Art Museum] is digitizing these materials to make them more accessible. …

“The vast majority of these quilts are not at the New York City museum, but are heirlooms in private collections, whether an attic in the Catskills or a quilt trunk in Brooklyn. … AFAM has so far put about 1,500 quilts online, and expects to finish the digitization in 2019. AFAM also has related oral history recordings that they’re working to digitize.

“Quilt projects statewide were really popular in the ’80s, and people started collecting their histories,” [Mimi Lester, an AFAM archivist and project manager for the digitization] explained.

“The Kentucky Quilt Project, founded in 1981, was the first of these, inspiring a resurgence of interest in the United States. Frequently these grassroots initiatives revolved around ‘quilt days,’ at which people could have their family quilts documented. …

“People would bring their quilts to YMCAs or churches or museums, and we would have registrars there who would help the individuals fill out the forms and take photographs,” Lester said. …

“Details were recorded like family background, religion, where a quiltmaker learned the craft, why they made the quilt, and where they obtained textiles, and a small tab was sewn into the back of each quilt for identification. These stories often chronicle immigration.”

Click here for photos of some lovely quilts — and lovely quilters.

Hat tip: radio show Studio 360 on twitter, @studio360show.

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021116-Valentines-for-nursery-school

A few Valentine’s Day items.

Suzanne, her son, and I made 50 valentines, and I trotted along Thursday when he carried them in a little striped bag to nursery school. The school had told parents that it was fine if kids didn’t do valentines, but if they wanted to bring any, then they needed to bring them for everyone.

Suzanne reports the cards were a great success: “They decorated bags and then went around putting valentines in each others’ bags. G really liked opening the valentines at home and reading the kids’ names.  He particularly liked the one from a boy whose parents didn’t follow the rules and included a lollipop. 🙂 ”

My Valentine is in New York to help Erik with the kids while Suzanne attends the Playtime trade show. The cookies I made are for him when he gets home.

By the way, if you want to see some funny valentine gifs that listeners made at the behest of the radio show Studio 360, click here.

021416-valentine-cookies

 

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A couple years ago, I was taken with a newspaper photograph of pink and blue buildings in a lonely North Korean square. So foreign. So melancholy.

I tried to get in touch with the photographer, David Guttenfelder, to see if I could buy a print. That didn’t work out, but I learned quite a bit about him and his special status as an approved photographer for Western outlets in North Korea. I became a follower on twitter and instagram, where I discovered that his photos of everyday life in the isolated country had inspired other Westerners living there. Now I follow posts on instagram by a group of people calling themselves everydaydpk.

So I was intrigued when Studio 360 also took an interest in photographs from North Korea.

Khrista Rypl posts on the radio show’s website, “North Korea’s seclusion makes pictures from inside the country irresistible novelties. But while the country’s borders are tightly controlled, visiting isn’t as difficult as you might expect. Almost anyone with enough cash can book a tour (although the US State Department advises against it) and people even travel there to run in an annual marathon. Officially, North Korea says it hopes to attract two million visitors by 2020.

“One of the tours available is an architectural survey of the nation’s capital, Pyongyang. Oliver Wainwright, architecture and design critic for The Guardian, recently visited the country with that itinerary. He’s been posting photos of interiors of the city’s buildings, and wrote a nice piece about his visit. It’s a fascinating glimpse inside a closed society. The empty interiors look like they’re part of an abandoned theme park from the 1980s.

“Wainwright notes that pastel colors appear everywhere in the city and calls the aesthetic ‘kindergarten kitsch’ — ‘the logical next step for a regime intent on projecting an image of carefree prosperity.’ …

” ‘In every refurbished building we visit, there is a peculiarly consistent style of preschool colour schemes and shiny synthetic surfaces, the pastel palettes and axial symmetry giving an eerie feeling of walking into a Wes Anderson film set, or a life-size Polly Pocket toy,’ [he adds].

“The decor certainly has a child-like quality, both in the color palate as well as in how each room has been pared down to a few essential elements, like a dollhouse.”

See if you agree, here.

Photos: Oliver Wainwright/Tumblr
The National Drama Theater in Pyongyang

Below, a rendering of an architectural project from the Paektusan Academy of Architecture in Pyongyang 

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I had to share a delightful report from the radio show Studio 360 in which Khrista Rypl looks at the cultural aspects of African textiles.

She writes, “African textiles are distinctive for their vibrant colors, bold patterns, and batik dyes that give the fabric a unique crackled texture. But I had no idea that some of the trendiest of these prints are actually designed and produced in the Netherlands by a company called Vlisco.

“Inge Oosterhoff wrote a wonderful deep dive into the history behind the Vlisco textile house, and explained how their designs have remained hugely popular in Africa since the late 1800s. But Vlisco doesn’t just make fabric; they’re known for their printed designs. … Some patterns are designed with different countries in mind, while others are distributed widely around the continent. As the patterns catch on among shopkeepers and consumers, many of them get colorful names like ‘Love Bomb,’ ‘Tree of Obama,’ and ‘Mirror in the Sun.’ …

“Many patterns are sold widely in Africa, and different countries and cultures adopt different meanings and associations. [A swallow] print is a perfect example. The fabric was used for airline uniforms in Togo, so there the pattern is commonly referred to as ‘Air Afrique.’ The pattern also symbolizes asking for a favor, like the hand of a woman in marriage. In Ghana, the swallow refers to the transience of wealth, and the pattern is referred to as ‘Rich Today, Poor Tomorrow.’ It has a similar connotation in Benin, where it’s referred to as ‘L’argent vole,’ where it could either be interpreted as ‘Money Flies’ or ‘Stealing Money.’ ”

More designs and more of Studio 360 report, “Textiles Tell a Cultural History,” here.

Photos: Vlisco

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An art museum in Minnesota has used the occasion of its 100th birthday to grow a field-size replica of a Van Gogh work.

Emile Klein at Studio 360 has the story.

“The Minneapolis Institute of Art [MIA] has been throwing a year-long party for its 100th birthday, and the guest list has been a bit of a cultural catch-all. …

“How about a 1.2 acre rendition of a Vincent van Gogh painting, composed with items you could buy at the Home Depot?

“Van Gogh’s original piece, Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun, measures about two feet by three feet and hangs on a wall in the MIA. The new rendition, by land artist Stan Herd, covers 1.2 acres, or 7,230 Olive Trees. It’s so big that you’d have to fly a plane over to appreciate it …

“As a land artist, Herd knows that most of his work is just too big to fit inside a traditional museum, and that’s OK by him. ‘I’m a Kansan, and I make art on a frickin’ tractor. Do I really want the avant garde en Paris to see it?’

“Even if a major museum could secure zoning rights, representational art like the kind Herd makes is out of fashion in the art world. Surprisingly, the person who might appreciate Herd’s work the most is van Gogh himself. …

“Herd’s slice of Saint-Rémy won’t last forever. It will fade over time. Surprisingly, so will van Gogh’s. That’s because he painted with pigments now known to be ‘fugitive,’ like a very slowly disappearing ink. The chrome yellows and scarlets scattered throughout the painting’s sky will, in time, wilt like the marigolds in Herd’s field. Everything in nature is ephemeral — van Gogh would probably like that.”

More at Studio 360, here.

Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Art
A living representation of a Van Gogh painting. (Those are actual cars in the lower right corner.)

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Graffiti is not what it used to be. At the Studio 360 radio show, Jack D’Isidoro recently reported on an American city that wanted to be a tourist destination for murals on every wall.

“For decades, street art was bemoaned as a symptom of urban decay and detritus — a sign that system had lost control. …

“Times have changed, however; mainstream culture now recognizes that street art can be iconic, sensational, and good for business.

“But what if it was created with the intention of being a public good, as a tool that could revitalize and beautify a neighborhood? Richmond, the capital of Virginia, decided to find out.

“Now in its fourth year, the Richmond Mural Project brings internationally renowned mural artists to install pieces (with the building owners’ permission) throughout the city. The mission: create the highest concentration of murals in the world, turning Richmond into a global destination for street art lovers.

” ‘I thought, “I can make a change in Richmond,” ‘recalls Shane Pomajambo, a Washington, D.C., art gallery owner and organizer of the project. Initially, he had met with the mayor and city council members with the intention of creating an arts district within the city, but it quickly expanded into a wider effort …

“With a total of 84 murals since the project’s inception, it’s inspired local artists as well, who have added to the impressive displays across Richmond’s brick walls.”

More at Studio 360, where you can also see more Richmond murals.

Photo: Richmond Mural Project
A mural by the artist Ever in the city of Richmond, Virginia

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I realized we hadn’t done any poetry for a while. So after I heard poet Mary Jo Bang on the radio show Studio 360, I thought I would share an unusual thing she has done. She has created a modern version of Dante’s Inferno — relying on poetic license and others’ translations to make it more accessible.

Studio 360’s host calls Bang a “poet’s poet, one whose books regularly make year-end best-of lists. Her latest book of poetry is called The Last Two Seconds, and it couldn’t be farther from the stereotypical pretty nature poetry. The collection is full of a sense of impending environmental collapse: natural disaster, extinction, climate change, and cataclysmic violence. …

“The book’s title is also connected to Bang’s sense of her own mortality. ‘Once you get into your 60s you know you have x amount of time. …’

“Bang also recently produced a new translation of Dante’s Inferno — a feat she accomplished without knowing Italian. She worked from previous translations, she explains, comparing the work of other scholarly translators to get an idea of the literal meaning of the original. ‘I could see what was going on; I could see the liberties that each of these translators had taken,’ she says. ‘That gave me permission to come up with my own way of saying it, but it established the borders.’

“Bang also updated Dante’s hell to include [more-recent fiends, including] South Park’s Eric Cartman, who is condemned for the sin of gluttony. ‘Dante wrote the Inferno in the vernacular. He wanted everyone to be able to read it. I wanted to do the equivalent,’ she explains.

“Bang teaches at Washington University in St. Louis, and she says her students appreciate the contemporary references. ‘They tell me things like, “I always wanted to read this and I tried several times and I couldn’t.” That’s exactly the person for whom I wrote this, because I was one of those people, too.’ ”

Maybe me, too.

Hear Bang read her work at Studio 360, here.

Photo: Matt Valentine
Poet Mary Jo Bang. (Does this woman look like she hit 60?)

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