The end of the Tanner packet is near! Well, at least temporarily. Monday, I started writing a section of the packet comparing Tanner's work and life and that of local Houston artist John Biggers. The comparison is a little bit of a stretch; Tanner and Biggers had very different styles of painting and practical opposing conceptions of what it meant to be African American (granted they were working nearly three quarters of a century apart). However, both faith and travel were integral to their experiences as artists and human beings, which is what I focused on.
|John Biggers (1924 - 2001)|
|John Biggers, Jubilee: Ghana Harvest Festival, 1959-63, Tempera and acrylic|
on canvas, MFAH, Gift of Duke Energy.
Tuesday, Jason suggested that I give myself a break from Tanner by moving on to the WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY EFE packet. I'm very excited about the switch because, 1) Tanner has been dragging and 2) WAR's got some really incredible content. For this packet, I will be looking through the works (almost 500) and going through the catalogue (or what exists so far of the projected 600 page text) to find the works that are described most extensively and that seem most useful and appropriate for the classroom. The appeal of this new project, also gave me the little boost of energy that I needed to finish up my writing the comparison between Tanner and Biggers and reworking some of PAFA's original questions.
Wednesday, I dove into WAR. My first task was just to locate all the documents and images from the the photography department that I would need. In the afternoon, the interns met with Assistant Curator Christine Gervais for a insider tour of the new exhibition: American Made: 250 Years of American Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Christine was very nice and was able to tell us about certain restoration projects that happened for the exhibition and about the many curatorial decisions that she and American Painting curator Emily Neff made in creating the exhibit. Overall, American Made is one of the most impressive exhibitions that I've seen - it does a wonderful job of evoking the thoughts and feelings of each time period it covers without featuring any particularly famous works or didactic panels. The exhibition is an elegant creation that leaves one feeling practically patriotic by the final gallery (despite the fact that the room features selections from Robert Frank's critical photographic work The Americans).
John James Audubon, The Birds of America:
from Original Drawings, 1827–38, hand-colored
etching and aquatint, Private Western Collection.
Unknown makers (including S. R. Carroll, M. A. Humphreys,
Sophia Osborne, Ellen Ehlies, T. S. and M. D.), "Baltimore
Album" Quilt, 1840s, cotton and cotton appliqué, the MFAH,
gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Elie Nadelman, Tango, c. 1918–24, cherry wood
and gesso, the MFAH, gift of Mr. and
Mrs. Meredith Long. © Estate of Elie Nadelman
Helen Torr, Corrugated Building, 1929, oil
on panel, the MFAH, gift of The Brown Foundation,
Inc., and Isabel B. Wilson in memory of
Peter C. Marzio.
Thursday, Kendra and I did a little bit to help out with Family Programs by making examples for the art making activity based on Turner's A Coast Scene with Fisherman Hauling a Boat Ashore ("The Iveagh Sea-Piece") from the Kenwood House exhibition. The rest of the day was devoted to the WAR packet.
Joseph Mallord William Turner, A Coast Scene with Fisherman
Hauling a Boat Ashore ("The Iveagh Sea-Piece"), c. 1803–04,
oil on canvas, Kenwood House, English Heritage, Iveagh
Bequest. (Courtesy American Federation of Arts)
A splendid example project! Created using watercolor pencils
and paper, markers, and projector sheets.
Friday, the interns headed to Rienzi, the MFAH's second off site decorative arts department. While Bayou Bend focuses on decorative arts from America, Rienzi collects European works. Director and curator Katherine Howe was able to give us a tour of the house, which was a real treat because she was integral contributor to its creation in 1999. Beautiful art aside, the house itself is really interesting - many parts of its design are undeniably evocative of the 1950s, yet it is also accommodating to gold, silver, and ornament from another continent, centuries ago.