March 31, 2011
"Building Alaska" (video review)
A welcome army of invasion is the great force of United States soldiers now cutting the wonderful Alcan Highway through Canada's wilderness to Alaska. A former lithographer, Sherman Gardner of Midvale, Utah, is working as surveyor
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-08554
Written and produced by Daniel B. Polin
Charting the history of Alaska through its transportation development, Building Alaska explores the innovative techniques people used to settle and adapt in the Alaskan wilderness. From the Gold Rush and the resulting railways to the installation of the first telegraph, the film covers the various people who made it happen, including ambitious engineers, entrepreneurs, politicians, writers and schoolteachers, and the difficulties and disasters they overcame. Alaska’s historical role as a provider of natural resources to the United States from gold and copper to oil, as well as its important role as a military base during WWII is shown. Prominent figures who worked towards Alaska’s eventual statehood, including Judge James Wickersham and Governor Ernest Gruening, are recognized, and the film then describes the development of Alaska into the state we know today.
March 29, 2011
Watermarks from Venice
Preclarissimus liber elementorum with figures
Euclides; Abelard of Bath (translation); Campanus of Novara (commentator)
© Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
Source: LUNA Commons, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts
Currently at the Hatcher Graduate Library in the Special Collections on the 7th floor is an exhibition on early print books from Venice from the late 15th century onwards. Due to Venice’s many paper mills, its importance as a trading center, and its wealth of scholars and translators, printmakers traveled from France, Germany and all over Europe to work in this flourishing print environment. On display are books including the works of Aristotle and Euclid printed by Nicolaus Jenson, Erhard Ratdolt, Aldus Manutius and Andreas Torresanus. The innovations employed in print, from Ratdolt’s use of print for both text and graphics to Manutius’ design for smaller books, are displayed along with information on printing techniques, the use of watermarks, printing tools and the development of printed books in Greek. This captivating exhibit that tells the story of the printed book in Venice is well worth a visit before it ends on June 30th.
March 25, 2011
"Beyond the Moon" (video review)
Astronaut Bruce McCandless during EVA
Source: NASA Images
Beyond the Moon: Failure is not an Option 2
A&E Television Networks
The History Channel
Covering the development of NASA and its space program from the moon landing to the present, this film addresses the major question of "what next?" Various projects launched by NASA, from the sky lab launched after landing on the moon to the first space shuttle, Columbia, are presented. Problems are addressed: the changes and developments in the technology and understanding of space missions as well as the changing goals; difficulties such as politics and funding as well as tragic failures such as the Challenger mission; and the difficult decision making process at mission control. Yet the recent successes are also related: from the creation of the International Space Station (ISS), to the repair of the Hubble Telescope, and the 2005 launching of the Discovery. Overall the presentation seeks to focus on the questions NASA faces today and how these shape, challenge and develop their historical and present drive for future space exploration.
March 22, 2011
Lens "Moment in Time"
Here is a snapshot of our world - Earth, covered by stacks of thousands of virtual photographs, corresponding in location to where they were taken by Lens readers at one “Moment in Time” (15:00 U.T.C., Sunday, May 2, 2010).
Spin the globe in any direction to get where you want to go. Click on a stack and the top photo will open, giving the photographer’s name or pseudonym (if supplied) and a brief caption (if supplied).
March 18, 2011
Modernism at Risk / Michigan Matters Exhibit
Modernism at Risk / Michigan Matters Exhibit
March 16 - April 20, 2011
Taubman College Liberty Annex
305 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor
Modernism at Risk / Michigan Matters, an exhibition organized by University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and World Monuments Fund (WMF), will be on display in Ann Arbor, Michigan, through April 20th, 2011.
The WMF exhibit consists of large-scale photographs by Andrew Moore and interpretative panels with five case studies that address the distinct challenges to preserving modern architecture.
The Michigan Matters exhibit aims to bring to light the various intact resources associated with the modern architectural movement in Michigan, which date from as early as 1922. The exhibition calls attention to the responsibility we share as a community in the future conservation of our more recent heritage. Projects include works by Albert Kahn, Eliel Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, Minoru Yamasaki, and Marcel Breuer.
Ann Arbor has also hosted its own share of important architects and is home to ingenious works of architecture, which are mostly residential in nature. To broaden understanding of the tradition of expression of modern architecture in Ann Arbor, reproductions will be presented of drawings and photographs from the archives of Tivadar Balogh, George B. Brigham, Robert C. Metcalf, William Muschenheim, David W. Osler and Walter Sanders Collections from the Bentley Historical Library.
Event speakers include:
Monica Ponce de Leon, Dean of the Taubman College
Henry Ng, Executive Vice President, WMF
David Bright, Senior Vice President, Communications, Knoll
Brian Conway, Michigan State Historic Preservation Officer
Gregory Saldaña, curator of the exhibit.
March 15, 2011
Modern Art Iraq Archive
Online Archive Educates and Encourages Public Participation to Trace Lost Works
"The Modern Art Iraq Archive (MAIA) was made public last week. MAIA started as the result of a long-term effort to document and preserve the modern artistic works from the Iraqi Museum of Modern Art in Baghdad, most of which were lost and damaged in the fires and looting during the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. As the site shows, very little is known about many of the works, including their current whereabouts and their original location in the Museum. The lack of documents about modern Iraqi art prompted the growth of the project to include supporting text. The site makes the works of art available as an open access database in order to raise public awareness of the many lost works and to encourage interested individuals to participate in helping to document the museum’s original and/or lost holdings..."
March 10, 2011
"Palmyra" (video review)
Triumphal arch of temple at Palmyra, Syria
Digital ID: 88482. 1860s-1920s
Repository: The New York Public Library. Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.
Source: NYPL Digital Gallery
Palmyra: Venice of the Sands
Part of the Living Stones: Where Archaeology Begins series
Presented by Alpha Line Productions
A look at the ancient city of Palmyra in the Syrian Desert, this film covers the history and fall of a once prosperous desert oasis. Originally known as Tadmore, the city was conquered by Alexander the Great and then later by the Roman Empire, which gave the city its current name Palmyra. The wealth of the city, visible in the ruins of its great monuments, was due to its location on major caravan trade routes. The impact of the consequent diversity is seen in the temples to various deities as well as its varied art and architecture. Also covered is the city's rebellion against Roman rule under Queen Zenobia and the resulting destruction of the city by Emperor Aurelian. Using archaeological evidence and computer models the filmmakers explore the layout and plan of the city and attempt to recreate the atmosphere of the once flourishing Palmyra. In less than half an hour, this video provides a fine overview of the economic, political and multicultural history of this city.
March 08, 2011
The photographer Randy Juster shares his interests and work with Art Deco on his website Decopix. His galleries contain over 700 images of Art Deco art and architecture, along with an overview of the origins and boom of Art Deco. Documenting the wealth and elaborate nature of this art movement are Juster's photographs covering buildings, glass, woodwork, and murals with excellent photos of minute architectural details. Further sections are devoted to color schemes, demolished Art Deco buildings and Lawson Clocks, providing a varied and valuable image resource of the Art Deco movement.
March 04, 2011
"The Master Techniques of Marquetry" (video review)
Writing Table [detail], Jean-François Oeben, ca. 1761-1763
Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Reproduction of any kind is prohibited without express written permission in advance from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Master Techniques of Marquetry
By Silas Kopf
This how-to video also covers the history of marquetry and the various techniques employed in its creation and design. In his studio, Kopf first explains the difference between inlay and marquetry with their various advantages and disadvantages. He then displays the making of Parquetry, Boulle, Chevalet, and Piquage, explaining the differences in technique and the technological innovations that brought them about. With patterns ranging from simple checkerboards to elaborate pictures Kopf demonstrates the processes step by step, including the materials and tools he uses in the work. At the end of the video is a gallery displaying many of this artist's accomplished works.
March 01, 2011
With BBC Dimensions, Google maps are used in innovative ways to provide a sense of scale for everything from the Great Wall of China, to Glastonbury festival to the Marianas Trench. Ever wonder how the Gulf Oil spill would look in London or the Colosseum in Berlin? Simply type in an address or place name to compare, say, the size of Stonehenge to your backyard or the size of the moon to your continent. A work in progress, BBC Dimensions aims to bring new perspectives to the understanding of history and events with the latest in mapping technology.
Below, see the Pyramids of Giza at Michigan Stadium, with the Pyramid of Khafre covering the Big House: