About Laura Graveline

Visual Arts Librarian, Dartmouth College

Transfer (objects) by Julianne Swartz

Julianne Swartz's art exhibit in Sherman Art Library

Part of the Hood Museum’s exhibit Resonant Spaces: Sound Art at Dartmouth in the Sherman Art Library Reference Room

9/15/17–12/10/17

Building on the qualities and expectations of the library, Swartz created three listening objects that resemble books in scale, weight, and location. They are meant to be held and listened to by one person at a time, and this one-on-one relationship dictates the objects’ form and function. The sound is a private, singular experience that echoes the act of reading.  Please pick up the objects (one at a time) and listen to them.

One of Julianne Swartz's objects with audio

Each object transmits a short piece of specific text. Swartz transcribed each text and spoke it aloud at the rate of transcription, trying to release the words vocally only as she wrote them. So the pen rushed to catch up with her voice and her voice slowed to stay in time with the pen in order to “absorb” the texts more slowly. She recorded both the sound of her voice and the writing simultaneously on different tracks so she could mix them together in varied combinations.

Swartz chose texts that spoke of the poetic transmission from writer to reader, and of receptivity—that is, the receptivity of listening as akin to the receptive state of reading.

The three texts Swartz used, one for each object, are Deep Listening: A Composer’s Sound Practice, by Pauline Oliveros (Deep Listening Publications, 2005); Collected Prose, by Charles Olson (University of California Press, 1997); and The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard (Presses Universitaires de France, 1958).

Transfer (objects) asks us to consider the act of reading through the act of listening. It suggests the echo of language in our mind as we read to ourselves, and it reminds us of the other sounds that accompany what we often think of as a silent act. As such, it questions how we receive information and develop knowledge and wisdom in an increasingly complex and noisy world.

Students in Sherman Art Library

This exhibit is part of the larger Hood Museum exhibit. Small installations can be seen throughout the Dartmouth Campus:

Hood Downtown:  Terry Adkins and Jess Rowland
Cummings Hall: Laura Mae
Sherman Art Library: Julianne Swartz
Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center: Bill Fontana
Sherman Fairchild Physical Sciences Center: Jacob Kirkegaard
Bema Amphitheater: Alvin Lucier
Strauss Gallery at the Hopkins Center for the Arts:  Christine Sun Kim

This exhibition was organized by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, and generously supported by the George O. Southwick 1957 Memorial Fund, the Eleanor Smith Fund, the Department of Biological Sciences, the Thayer School of Engineering, and the Danish Arts Foundation.

Handcrafted Book Art from Cuba’s Ediciones Vigia

finy

In 1985, a Cuban poet Alfredo Zaldivar and an artist Rolando Estevez established a literary forum for a group of Cuban artists in Matanzas, Cuba and called it Ediciones Vigía. For over twenty years now the goal for these artists has been to create beautiful handmade books. Through all of the social and political shifts, and even a severe paper shortage the artists have found ways to create works of enormous artistry, imagination, and creativity, by using found and recycled materials, such as leaves, sand, broken glass, and plastic.

Although a specific artist creates each edition, a team of artists in a publishing house in Matanzas works to create multiple copies of the book.  On every book, a drawing of a lantern or oil lamp is placed as a logo for the Ediciones Vigía publications. Perhaps, this is synonymous with their missions to light the way for artists and readers to be inspired by the world around them, as well as bringing into light many important Cuban artists and authors.

Dartmouth first began to acquire these books in 2003 as a result of faculty’s growing interest in them and since then has acquired more than 100 volumes, located in the Art Special Collection of the Sherman Art  Library.  A selection of books will be on display in the Sherman Art Library reference room July 29 through November 30, 2015, and the whole collection can be browsed in Artstor, http://library.artstor.org/library/#3|collections|36183||Ediciones20Vigia20Artists20Books|||

This exhibit was curated by Stacey Lee ’17.

The Splendor Solis

Splendor1 Splendor2
The Splendor Solis is one of the most beautifully illuminated alchemical manuscripts. The original manuscript of this facsimile is in the British Museum, and dated 1582. The earliest version of this text is considered to be the manuscript in the Kupferstichkabinett in the Prussian State Museum in Berlin, which is dated 1532-35. The Splendor Solis manuscript, which is illuminated on vellum, with decorative borders, beautifully painted and heightened with gold, is perhaps the most visually stunning.

The work itself consists of a sequence of twenty two images, set within highly ornamental borders. The symbolic images depict alchemical death and rebirth, and incorporate a series of seven flasks, each associated with one of the planets. Within the flasks a process is shown involving the transformation of bird and animal symbols into figures of a Queen and King, symbolizing the white and the red tincture. The imagery appears to have been influenced by the earlier Pretiosissimum Donum Dei or The Most Precious Gift of God, an earlier work consisting of twelve images depicting the transformation of white & red stones, often represented by the figures of a queen and a king. This work is thought to have first been appeared as a manuscript in 1475

The Splendor Solis has been associated with the legendary alchemist Salomon Trismosin, allegedly the teacher of Paracelsus, the great renaissance physician, astrologer, botanist and alchemist, although many scholars refute this attribution. The manuscript text was later published with woodcut illustrations, in the Aureum Vellus oder Guldin Schatz und Kunst-kammer, 1598, which was reprinted a number of times. Rauner Special Collections has a French translation, entitled La Toyson d’or, ou la fleur des thresors [QD25 .T751 1612] published in Paris in 1612, with a number of very fine engravings, some of which were hand-colored.
The original manuscript in the British Library can be viewed at the link below
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=harley_ms_3469_fs001r

The facsimile is in the Sherman Art Library Special Collection, ND3399 .T75 2010

El Hueso de la Tierra

hueso

This small book is handset and letter press printed, bound with the traditional woven indigo skirt fabric of Mayan women in Guatemala. It is a book of poetry by Caly Domitila Kanek, an indigenous author, who wrote the dark and powerful poems about the internal war in Guatemala. When the book was published in 1996, few were ready to read about the war, especially from an indigenous woman’s perspective. Printed in Spanish, Cachikel, and English, the publisher Libros San Cristobal in Guatemala was brave to print this important, and beautiful book.

From the Sherman Art Library Special Collection, PQ7499.2.G214 H8 1996

The Armory Show

The Armory Show was the first, and, ultimately, the only exhibition organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors.  Officially titled The International Exhibition of Modern Art, the exhibition started in New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, from February 17 until March 15, 1913. The exhibition went on to show at the Art Institute of Chicago and then to the Copley Art Society in Boston.Armory Show  New York  1913  cover (3)

The show became perhaps the most important event in the history of American art.  American audiences who were accustomed to more realistic or sentimental art, were introduced to cutting edge European artists work, including Fauvists, Cubists, and Futurists.   Reviews of the exhibition accused the art of inciting everything from anarchy to insanity.  Works like Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, created a shock among viewers, and caused many American artists to question the boundaries of what art could be.  Many art historians consider the exhibition to have been the turning point that encouraged American artists to become more avant-garde.

The Art Special Collection holds a fine copy of the original catalog of the show, made more interesting by the discreet comments penciled by some of the American art entries by “Abbot”, the original owner of the catalog.  You can view the catalog, N6448.A74 A3 1913, as well as the Association’s published response to the exhibition, For and Against: Views on the International Exhibition held in New York & Chicago, N5015.A8 A8 1913, in the Sherman Art Library.

The Grumpies

grumpies

This wonderful little book is a one of a kind piece made by artist Aimee Lee.  She often works with fiber and handwoven paper, and a grumpy mood inspired both the design of the book, and the poem printed inside.  The pages the poem are printed on slips of handmade paper, and attached to pages knitted with yarn made from pine wood, and dyed with calligraphy ink.  The sewing of the handmade paper cover was left purposely raised and visible to contribute to the rough feel of the book and poem, an excerpt of which is printed below:

The morning deer venture out
And cheer you

As does the message from a friend:
She woke up grumpy, too

This book can be found in the Sherman Art Library Special Collection, N7433.4 L44 G78 2010

A Flexagon

Flexagon
A wonderful example of a flexagon, is found in Vermont artist Carolyn Shattuck’s The quilts of Gee’s Bend, V.2. To be more precise, this is a flexagon book, a movable structure made up of 6 tetrahedons. This creates a kinetic structure that allows the user to manipulate and display the book in multiple, unexpected ways.

This is the second book Carolyn Shattuck created, that was inspired by the beautiful and unusual patterns found in quilts created in the rural African American community of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. The unknown artists who created the original quilts developed unique designs that are exceptionally vibrant, and this handmade book, #8 in edition of 25, was designed by Shattuck as a tribute to the artists who designed the original quilts. It can be found in the Sherman Art Library Special Collection, call #N7433.4 S417 G34 2011.

The American Art Union

The American Art-Union was founded in 1844 in New York City, with the aim of promoting the fine arts through its publication, which was available as membership subscription, and eventually through its art gallery, which was free and open to everyone.

Inspired by European models, the membership subscription entitled members to receive the annals and transactions, including prints and engravings of famous works, as well as an opportunity to participate in an annual lottery for a painting by a well-known American artist.  

The original aim was to focus on art that had an American character or appeal, and images of the American landscape and country life predominated. The American Art-Union also endeavored to provide artwork that represented all of America without a regional bias.  As this was the era of abolition, a politically charged atmosphere reigned over all public spheres, and it seems as though their aim to be unbiased created a bias.  Eventually, the union became embroiled in anti-abolitionist politics and was accused of running an illegal lottery, which led to its downfall.

However, the union had inspired other American cities to develop their own art unions, and the free and open to the public art gallery changed the greater public perception of art for the masses.  Few scholarly monographs have been published on the American Art-Union until Perfectly American was published in 2011, presenting new scholarship on this important aspect of American art history.  This volume can be found in the Sherman Art Library, N6510 .P47 2011.book  

In addition, an original volume of the Transactions of the American Art-Union is available in the Sherman Art Library Special Collection, 700.51 A5122T  1845; 1849.   All issues of the Transactions of the American Art-Union, as well as the Bulletin of the American Art-Union, are freely available from JSTOR’s Early Journal Content:

http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublication?journalCode=tranamerartunio

http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublication?journalCode=bullamerartunio

Flying Horses

book
This beautiful handmade artist’s book, created by artist Jill Timm, is illustrated with exquisite Chinese rice paper cutouts of horses, attached to thick, paper covered boards. The boards are hinged to create a double sided, accordion fold book, accompanied with a poem by Bonnie Lewis.

Jill resides in Washington state, and her books can be found in libraries and art collections around the world. This book was a special limited edition of 6, and you can find it and more examples of Jill’s work in the Sherman Art Library Special Collection: http://bit.ly/14V2YFP