Tony Smith, She Who Must Be Obeyed, 1975
From the Smithsonian American Art Museum:
“I always like to look at the sites in the dark because I feel that a lot of the detail is eliminated, and you can grasp the major features better.” Tony Smith, quoted in Donald Thalacker, The Place of Art in the World of Architecture, 1980
In March 1974 the General Services Administration commissioned Tony Smith to make a sculpture for the Department of Labor building in Washington, D.C. A few months later the artist was ready to present this maquette to the GSA Design Review Panel for final approval. Smith was concerned with getting the model safely from his studio in New Jersey to Washington, and carefully wrapped it and carried it like “a newborn child” (Thalacker, The Place of Art in the World of Architecture, 1980). The maquette had its own seat on the plane and arrived safely at National Airport. Smith hailed a taxi, and the driver, insisting that the model would be safer in the trunk than on the seat, slammed the trunk lid on one of its edges. Despite the damage to the model, the GSA panelists unanimously approved his design. Smith often titled his pieces after literary works, and this maquette was named after the central character in H. Rider Haggard’s 1887 novel She. The completed sculpture was installed in 1976 and measures 30 by 24 by 8 feet.
Check out the Wikipedia article that has been written about this artwork as part of INCCA-NA’s efforts to document ever single Tony Smith in the world. Get busy folks and get a t-shrt!
You can hear me talk about the project over on MAN’s podcast. Click here to listen.
I know that this is meant to be a thought-provoking discussion but it seems to be preposterously absurd and a little sophomoric. Of course art history is not dead and it’s not dying. Evidence? You’re convening a discussion about it on your Tumblr!
In the same way that journalism is not dead and not dying just because the way information is published has dramatically changed.
For one very recent example, my column this month on Art21’s blog features an art-historical based conversation around the need to preserve digital art and features a video that was recorded at the Museum Computer Network’s Annual Meeting with Anne Goodyear, a curator at the Smithsonian, Penelope Umbrico, an important artist whose practice is innovative and contemporary, Koven Smith, Director of Technology at DAM, and myself a conservator at the IMA.
How can you listen to that panel and think for a second that art history is dead? It is alive, breathing, and running around in new and exciting ways.
I would have much preferred a question asking how the way art history is being written and spoken is changing to be more open and available, and also much more interdisciplinary.
Finally, and though art conservators are not mentioned in this as someone they’d like to hear from, I want to say that today’s art conservators are uniquely positioned to convene relevant art historical discussions and projects that are centered on artworks, their preservation, fabrication, and material aspects.
Is art history dead? Is the digital revolution passing art historians by? What is the future of publishing in art history?
We’ll be exploring these topics next week on The Getty Iris, and we’re kicking off with a short Google+ Hangout, “Resuscitating Art History,” on Monday, March 4, at 4:00 p.m. PST.
We’d like to hear from artists, students, art historians, authors, and, especially, art history grad students: Is there a question the field needs to address? A challenge you face? A radical idea art historians need to be for (or against)? Please let us know here, on Facebook, or via tweet to @thegetty (hashtag: #digitalhumanities).
Books in the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute. 010101 is a real book.
A video about Möbius Ship by Tim Hawkinson at the IMA .
Preview: El Anantsui in Season 6 of “Art in the Twenty-First Century” (2012) | @Art21.
In this preview from the “Art in the Twenty-First Century” Season 6 episode, “Change,” artist El Anatsui discusses the use of bottle caps in his work, drawing connections with European trade across three continents.
This month on Art21’s Blog I look for the top ten contemporary conservation projects, but sadly only come up with 9. Link here.
There are projects from many, but not all, of the major U.S. contemporary art museums on the list.
The DeYoung Museum tweeted me a story from their Blog that would have made the list if I would have found it, “Conserving Louis Nevelson’s Ocean Gate”.
If you know of any others, leave them in the comment section of the Art21 article.
Best conservation film ever (I think). Who knows what this is all about, but it was shot in the SFMoMA conservation laboratory in the in the late 1970s by Albert Mayo.
Here are some links mentioned in Tricia Gilson and my presentation, Use, Degradation, and Patina: A Case Study of Eames Furniture at the Miller House and Garden, at Future Talks 011, in Munich, Germany.
The presentation was given at Die Neu Sammlung on October 27, 2011. (The RAR pictured above is in the collection of this museum.)
Before this presentation, Tricia and I interviewed Eames expert, Daniel Ostroff, on Art21’s Blog in a two-part series: Following the Eames Legacy, a Discussion with Daniel Ostroff
* Eames Furniture Links
Videos about Eames
Videos by Eames
* Miller House and Garden Links
IMA Art Babble Videos
Speakers at the Miller House Symposium at the IMA (May, 2011)
Publications about the Miller House and Garden
IMA Blog Posts