Exhibit Archive

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Out of a Clear Blue Sky, Spetember 11 to November 8, 2002 Housatonic Museum of Art

Exhibit Home
images of 9/11 Your Response Music of 9/11 Links Remembrance Day Museum Home

The images in this exhibition are compiled from the following sources:

New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers

here is new york: a democracy of photographs

A Community Reflects... images and words offered by Housatonic Community College faculty, staff, and friends.

Exhibit materials for sale:

Book

Book CoverThe book New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers is available for sale for $30.00.

Book organizer and Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker will be appearing at a lecture at the Museum on October 2, 2002. He will be available for book signing.

Purchase through the HCC Foundation office, 203-332-5038.

Poster

Poster of Twin Towers

The limited edition OUT OF A CLEAR BLUE SKY poster is available for $15.00. Purchase through the HCC Foundation office, 203-332-5038.

The photo in this poster was taken by Christopher Wells. a New York City resident, on September 9, 2001. The poster measures 17.5" x 24".

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Out of a Clear Blue Sky, Spetember 11 to November 8, 2002 Housatonic Museum of Art

Exhibit Home Images of 9/11 Your Response Music of 9/11 Links Remembrance Day Museum Home

Join our community in reflection, remembrance and hope...

Photo of a sculpture park amidst debris from the twin towers by Susan Meiselas of Magnum PhotosOUT OF A CLEAR BLUE SKY is an exhibition to commemorate the first anniversary of the tragedy of September 11. This photographic exhibit includes images by Magnum photographers from the book New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers.

Also included are images from here is new york: a democracy of photographs which is an ongoing gallery show in Soho, New York comprised of photos submitted by amateur and professional photographers who were witness to the events of September 11 or its aftermath.

In addition, the HMA will be the site for the first observance of Connecticut’s Remembrance Day, a bill sponsored by Bridgeport’s Senator Bill Finch and signed by Governor Rowland.

Please browse this site where you can see images from the exhibit , the Remembrance Day event and offer your own personal response to the exhibit and the day that changed our world forever.

See photos of our Remembrance Day event

Please join us for this special event...

Lunch and Lecture

Wednesday, October 2, Noon
Room A101

Thomas Hoepker - Magnum photographer and organizer of the book New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers will discuss the power of images, how they inform our perceptions and understanding of current events and history.

This is a free event but space reservations are required please call 203.332.5052 to reserve your seat. Bring your own brown bag lunch. The museum will not be providing food or beverages.

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Out of a Clear Blue Sky, Spetember 11 to November 8, 2002 Housatonic Museum of Art

Exhibit Home
Images of 9/11 Your Response Music of 9/11 Links Remembrance Day Museum Home

Read words of reflection offered by others…

September 1, 2002

I have spent the last few months pouring over images and memories of last September. We are approaching the first anniversary of one of the most horrific events of our lives. As I watch all the specials on television reliving the events of September 11, 2001, I feel many of the same overwhelming emotions that I did during that most difficult time. Some of those emotions I would rather not ever have again. However, I feel it is my responsibility to keep them safely inside me, not to hide from but to ensure that they are part of me just as they are forever a part of who we are as a nation and as citizens of the world. September 11th has defined us.

But not all my memories are painful, and perhaps these are the ones that have changed me the most. I remember being so thankful for what I have personally, and what we, as a nation, take for granted. I will never forget the way the people responded to this tragedy. From the ordinary citizen to the politician to the fire and police personnel, everyone acted with such amazing grace. So many times, when there were no words to describe the pain, it was human kindness that communicated what we all could not say. Those are the things that I want to remember most. Those are the memories that give me hope.

Susan Greene
Webmaster

Read words of reflection offered by others…

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Out of a Clear Blue Sky, Spetember 11 to November 8, 2002 Housatonic Museum of Art

Exhibit Home
Images of 9/11 Your Response Music of 9/11 Links Remembrance Day Museum Home

"Music helps us to tame our sorrow and gets us through to the other side."

- Bill Flanagan, Senior vice president, VH1
Quoted from his essay on CBS Sunday Morning
September 8, 2002

Creative individuals use many forms to express their feelings and emotions. Musicians played an important role in the events following September 11. Many well known recording artists wrote, produced, or performed music that was created in the aftermath of tragedy or was rededicated due to its new meaning in our changed world.

There are also many artists that are much less known whose creations are just as meaningful and were born of the same need. OUT OF A CLEAR BLUE SKY exhibits images of September 11 offered by both professional and amateur photographers. Playing in the background is music created by both well-known and littl- known recording artists. Their messages are offered as part of the healing and reflection of this exhibit.

Below is a list of the music compiled for this exhibit. The links provided below offer information on the artists and many include MP3 files as well.

Song Title Recording Artist
Dawn Echo
Freedom Rings Smart Apple
Long Walk Home Curtis S.D. Macdonald
New York City Dreams Charlie Souza
RISE Jimmy James
September 11th Swing academy
September 11, 2001 The Hitman Blues Band
September 11, 2001: Echoes Of Terror Vistas
September 11th Sam Brooker
September 11th Sandy Ross (folk and blues)
Sing a Dragon's Song Sable
Sorrow Beyond Beyond
Teardrops In The Rain (4 Victims of 9/11) NEUROTRON 606
A Prayer in Remembrance Frans Cronje
Where were you when the World Stopped Turning Alan Jackson
Ashes in theFalling Rain Wayne Manby
Beautiful Day U2
Lonesome Day Bruce Springsteen
The Rising Bruce Springsteen
Empty Sky Bruce Springsteen
Further Up the Road Bruce Springsteen
Requiem, KV 626 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Exhibit Home
Images of 9/11 Your Response Music of 9/11 Links Remembrance Day Museum Home

These links to other internet site may be of interest...

Memorials, Images, Words...

Engineering Aspects...

Rebuilding...

News Coverage and Documentary...

  • USA Today, 9/11 A Year later An indepth site covering all aspects of this event in history. Please make special not of the Interactive Documentaries (Flash Plug-In required). Wonderful short movies with audio and animation explaining many aspects and timelines of the event.
  • Inside 9/11 at CBS News

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

American FlagRemembrance Day September 11, 2002

9/11 Exhibit Home| | Museum Home Page

View pictures of our community in reflection, remembrance and hope...

From Connecticut Public Act No. 02-126

The Governor shall proclaim September eleventh of each year as [911 Day, which day shall increase the public's awareness of the emergency telephone number and shall be observed in the schools and in other ways as indicated in such proclamation or letter] Remembrance Day, in memory of those who lost their lives or suffered injuries in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and in honor of the service, sacrifice and contributions of the firefighters, police officers and other personnel who responded to such attacks. Suitable exercises shall be held in the State Capitol and elsewhere as the Governor designates for the observance of the day.

Approved June 7, 2002 and signed by Governor John G. Rowland

You can read the essay by Bridgeport's Central High School student James Stephenson the Day of Remembrance declaration...

The Housatonic Museum of Art offers opportunities for healing and reflection...

Wednesday, September 11
at Noon
Burt Chernow Galleries

Please join...

Senator Bill Finch and James Stephenson, sponsors of the Remembrance Day Bill

Reverend Dr. Anthony L. Benett, Pastor of Mount Aery Baptist Church, Bridgeport
and Janis M. Hadley, President, HCC

for a special reception in honor of the 1st anniversary commemorating the tragedy of September 11, 2001

Spencer Cosgrove of Fairfield High School will perform an original song entitled "Dawn" written about September 11

Wednesday, September 11
10am until 4pm

Piecing Our Lives Back Together
Community Quilt project in the cafeteria. All members of the community are invited to participate in the making of a commemorative quilt. This event is sponsored by Student Life & Activities Office.

Wednesday, October 2, Noon
Room A101

Lunch and Lecture
Thomas Hoepker - Magnum photographer and organizer of the book New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers will discuss the power of images, how they inform our perceptions and understanding of current events and history.

This is a free event but space reservations are required please call 203.332.5052 to reserve your seat. Bring your own brown bag lunch. The museum will not be providing food or beverages.

Share your thoughts of September 11... respond in your own words to these images and the exhibit...

Music of our times... Read about the sound track of the exhibit, music inspired by this tragedy and the strength of the nation.

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Exhibit Home
Exhibit Home Images of 9/11 Your Response Music of 9/11 Links Remembrance Day Museum Home

The opening of this exhibit was held on September 11, 2002
in conjunction with Connecticut's first observance of Remembrance Day

Aidan

Aidan , daughter of Museum Director Robbin Zella handed out programs for the event.

Bill Finch and Dr. Hadley

HCC President Dr. Janis Hadley discusses the exhibition with Senator Bill Finch and Robbin Zella, Museum Director.

Reverend Dr. Anthony L. Benett

The opening included a September 11th memorial ceremony. Here, spiritual thoughts and prayer are offered by Reverend Dr. Anthony L. Benett, pastor of Mount Aery Baptist Church.

John Fabrizi, President of the Bridgeport City Council

John Fabrizi, President of the Bridgeport City Council shares his reflections as other council members look on. The exhibit was sponsored, in part, by the City Council.

Senator Bill Finch listens as Central High School student James Stephenson speaks

Senator Bill Finch listens as Central High School student James Stephenson speaks about his essay that helped bring about legislation declaring September 11th Remembrance Day.

Spencer Cosgrove, a senior at Fairfield High School, performed an original song , Dawn, written as a response to September 11th.

Spencer Cosgrove, a senior at Fairfield High School, performed an original song , Dawn, written as a response to September 11th.

standing-room-only crowd in the Gallery

The event drew a standing-room-only crowd to the Gallery. Attendees included city and state officials, local business leaders, HCC faculty, staff and students as well as employees of downtown businesses.

The audience joins Dr. Hadley in singing Amazing Grace

The audience joins Dr. Hadley in singing Amazing Grace at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Dr. Hadley congratulates James Stephenson on his essa

Dr. Hadley congratulates James Stephenson on his essay and his efforts to help bring about the Remembrance Day legislation.

Senator Finch with Spencer Cosgrove and HCC professor Marie Nulty

Senator Finch with Spencer Cosgrove and HCC professor Marie Nulty at the reception.

Our Community Remembers

A special area of the exhibit is dedicated to pictures offered by members of our community.
These images can be viewed on our web site.

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Out of a Clear Blue Sky, Spetember 11 to November 8, 2002 Housatonic Museum of Art

Exhibit Home
Exhibit Home Images of 9/11 Your Response Music of 9/11 Links Remembrance Day Museum Home

Our Community Reflects...
Images and words offered by our community and friends...

pre-911memorialiron crossjennifer

before and aftertributeyellow ribbonsfirehouse

candle memorialHenry, rescue workerEast Haven Sunset

FDNY at workwreckage debrishomagestreeets

calendarIron Cross

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Bill Finch and James StephensonRemembrance Day September 11, 2002

9/11 Exhibit Home| | Museum Home Page

Essay dated January 10, 2002, by James Stephenson of Bridgeport, junior at Central High School
This letter was part of an essay contest, prompted the State Legislature, to declare September 11 a Day of Remembrance.

On September 11th 2001 American suffered one of its most devastating attacks ever. Soon after you did not see anyone without his or her American flag or hear someone saying God Bless America. But then slowly the patriotism slowly died down. Some do not even realize that ground zero is still being worked on as we speak. Then before we knew it patriotism became a thing of the past. But we can never forget such a day, the men that died, the individuals that we are so proud of, and the honor of our country. Therefore I suggest we make September 11th an official holiday in Connecticut.

I choose to write about September 11th because I wanted to do something right. When I look at what happened I just want to go fight the war myself, but I am too young. So, by at least putting this idea out in the open I can feel like I did something in the end.

Making this an official holiday does not mean we have to get a day out of school. Instead of cramming algebraic equations in our heads we could take maybe ten minutes out of a class and do something that will help us remember this unforgettable day. For example we can start and end the day in silence, then go around the classroom and discuss what we remember and how we feel about what happened. And to the young ones who do not know what happened, have their teacher, parent or guardian explain to them what occurred and why we do this on this day. We must also stress that we are still the strongest and freest country we will ever see. We will call this day Remembrance Day.

If you are working on this day, everyone on the job should stop working for five minutes. What these people can do since they have to get back to work is maybe face the flag and say the (P)pledge of (A)allegiance keying in on the last phrase “with freedom and justice for all.” After that just a moment of silence and then back to work.

The whole idea of this day is to remember the men and women who died on this day. Remembering the children who aren’t able to see their father(s) or mother(s) or both any longer, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, and all others who lost friends and family. Let us remember how bless(ed) we are to be alive, well, and free something I can say we all take for granted.

I am not asking for anything big just let us remember. We do not have to make it a holiday, but rather a day of remembrance. Ask someone to do something special that they normally would not do. Who knows maybe by Connecticut doing this that (the) rest of the nation may want to catch on and do it as well. Thank you for your time, and have a blessed day.

From Connecticut Public Act No. 02-126

The Governor shall proclaim September eleventh of each year as [911 Day, which day shall increase the public's awareness of the emergency telephone number and shall be observed in the schools and in other ways as indicated in such proclamation or letter] Remembrance Day, in memory of those who lost their lives or suffered injuries in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and in honor of the service, sacrifice and contributions of the firefighters, police officers and other personnel who responded to such attacks. Suitable exercises shall be held in the State Capitol and elsewhere as the Governor designates for the observance of the day.

Approved June 7, 2002 and signed by Governor John G. Rowland

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Out of a Clear Blue Sky, Spetember 11 to November 8, 2002 Housatonic Museum of Art

Exhibit Home
Images of 9/11 Your Response Music of 9/11 Links Remembrance Day Museum Home

Book CoverImages from the book New York September 11 by Magnum Photographers are on display in this exhibition.

The book is available for sale for $30.00 through the HCC Foundation (203-332-5038). or email .

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Exhibit Home Images of 9/11 Your response Music of 9/11 Remembrance Day Museum Home

Here is New York: A democracy of Photographshere is new york is not a conventional gallery show. It is something new, a show tailored to the nature of the event, and to the response it has elicited. The exhibition is subtitled "A Democracy of Photographs" because anyone and everyone who has taken pictures relating to the tragedy is invited to bring or ftp their images to the gallery (in SOHO) , where they will be digitally scanned, archivally printed and displayed on the walls alongside the work of top photojournalists and other professional photographers.

All of the prints which here is new york displays will be sold to the public for $25, regardless of their provenance. The net proceeds will go to the Children's Aid Society WTC Relief Fund, for the benefit of the thousands of children who are among the greatest victims of this catastrophe.

The causes and effects of the events of 9/11/2001 are by no means clear, and will not be for a very long time. What is clear, though, is this: in order to restore our sense of equilibrium as a nation, as a city, and particularly as a community, we need to develop a new way of looking at and thinking about history, as well as a way of making sense of all of the images which continue to haunt us.

15 images displayed have been purchased by members of the Housatonic community for inclusion in the Houstonic Museum of Art's permanent collection. These images are a visual record of the attack on and destruction of the World Trade Center by terrorists on the morning of September 11, 2001. The photographs serve as a reminder that America, as powerful as we are perceived to be by ourselves and others, is not, in fact, invulnerable.

To view the images in the HMA collection The 15 images purchased by members of the HCC Community

here is new york: a democracy of photographs The here is new york web site offers almost all of the 6000 images that have been collected. You may also purchase images as well as the book here is new york.

Out of a Clear Blue Sky

Documentary Photographic Images: New York, September 11

Out of a Clear Blue Sky, Spetember 11 to November 8, 2002 Housatonic Museum of Art

Exhibit Home
Images of 9/11 Your Response Music of 9/11 Links Remembrance Day Museum Home

The reflections of others are offered here for you to read...

Wisdom Beyond Their Years Out of the Mouths of Babes... Elementary school children write letters to the babies born on September 11, 2001

The following comments have been offered by visitors to this site or to the exhibit in the Museum:

"I believe that I have changed in the manner that I see everything differently now ; nothing seems trivial. Every sunset, every smile, every raindrop now has so much more meaning than before September 11th 2001."
- Jennifer

"Since September 11th I make sure I never go to bed mad at anyone because I never know what tomorrow may bring. I have learned to appreciate everything for what it is and not what it should be."

"Since the attacks of Sept. 11 I have a greater awareness and appreciation for things that I had previously taken for granted. I have a more positive image of our society than previous. The outpour of volunteers, the genuine support, and emotions shared by people all around the world, renews my faith in people and in a "higher power" be it God, Allah, or Budda."
-a person believing in the common good of all

"At first I felt shock and horror the day all these horrific events took place. Then I felt anger at those who were suspected as having had involvement, then grief for those who lost loved ones, pride in how so many came together at a very tragic time. I can say after ONE year that today, I go forward with my life,believing that despite all the tragedy and devastation, deep-down people are generally good at heart. I leave you this one challenge...If a good thing is done for/to you by a person or persons, don't pay them back for it...pay it forward and do something good for 3 other persons, and encourage them to ""pay it forward"". If you don't get the ""message"" watch the movie ""pay it forward"" with Kevin Spacey. Let's pay it forward America and show the world what the United means in our name United States of America!"
- Housatonic Student

"it makes you look at life different"

"It could have easily been every one of us we must never forget what has happened to us as a country. "
- Tamara Jackson

"I feel a huge empty space in my heart where the soaring vista of the twin towers is missing; especially when we make the turn in an airplane on the way to La guardia. Thank you to all the unbelievable heros of our great country."
-Arline Rosenfeld

"I never thought that one tragic event would change my life forever. When this occured I was pregnant with my now 9 1/2 month old son. My boyfriend was at work and I was the closest to New York, my mother called, friends called to make certain that I was safe. I thank those who fought to save us and never made it home to their families. May God Keep Us All In Unity! My prayers are with those families. It will always be a special day in my heart!"
- Sabrina Peck

"The tragic affairs that took place on 9/11 have and shall always affect me. I felt that the one thing that really offered comfort was the way people all around opened up, pitched in, and helped out in this tragedy. I'd like to think we as a society are this way consistently and not just when bad things happen in our nation. I watched as people everywhere flew the ""stars and stripes"" on cars, their homes, and a year later, you see less of that. We were all comforting each other the week of the tragedy, and even months after the tragedy, but now everyone is back to doing things like nothing happened. Sure, we all need to move on from this, but we should still demostrate the love, support, and spirit shown when 9/11 happened, all these feelings were seen, felt and heard, but a year later, it has gradually vanished. Don't forget what this tragedy did to us all, both the good and the bad. just cause this is now a year later, doesn't mean we can't still pull together as a nation of caring, supportive, helpful people just because right now nothing tragic has occured for a year."
- Rev. Al P. Mead, UCC

September 11 2001 was a tradgedy beyond comprehension.It was hard to believe that such a thing would happen,that innocent people would be killed and made to suffer in such a horrific manner,and that their families and the survivors would suffer lifelong trauma.There are indeed some evil people in the World. I know they must be contained or they must be difused.And yet more than ever I want to see Peace in the World and no more of this killing.There must be a better way to work out our differences and rid the World of evil people.I was not personally involved in this tragedy but if I was I know that my wish for World peace would be even stronger."
-Time for Peace,Australia

Back to WEIR FARM: VISITING ARTISTS 2001 Exhibit Info

Weir Farm National Historic Site and the
Weir Farm Trust

Weir Farm, purchased in 1882 by the artist J. Alden Weir, occupies a prominent place within the history of American art. The Farm’s rocky pastures and dense woods were a source of inspiration for some of Weir’s best work, securing his role as a major and pioneering figure in the American Impressionist movement. Museums across the country own numerous works of art that were created at the Farm by Weir and his wide circle of friends including Childe Hassam, Albert Pinkham Ryder, John Singer Sargent, and John Twachtman to name a few. The home, studio, farm buildings and landscape integral to Weir’s artistic vision have survived intact, making it the finest remaining landscape of American Impressionism.

In 1990, following a twenty-seven year preservation effort that joined community and environmental activists, artists, art historians, local, state and federal officials, Congress established Weir Farm National Historic Site as Connecticut’s first National Park and the only one in the country devoted to American painting. The Farm included the 60-acre historic core located in the towns of Ridgefield and Wilton.

Recognizing the importance of preserving this rich artistic legacy, the Weir Farm Trust, a private, nonprofit organization, grew out of a grassroots effort in the seventies to save the Farm. The Trust has since worked in partnership with the National Park Service to implement the long-range plan for development and preservation of the Farm’s profoundly significant resources.

The Trust’s mission is to promote awareness of the Farm’s history and artistic tradition, facilitate its use by contemporary artists, provide educational opportunities, and preserve the Farm’s unique environment. Through its innovative programs and activities, the Trust brings artists and audiences to Weir Farm and seeks to build community and financial support to help ensure its success as a cultural, educational and creative center.

For more information about programs and activities at Weir Farm, please call the Weir Farm Trust at (203) 761-9945 or the National Park Service at (203) 834-1896 for information about tours.

Or you can visit the Weir Farm web site...

Weir Farm Visiting Artists Program

Drawing inspiration from its magical landscape, artists have lived and worked at Weir Farm for 120 years. Underlying the significance of Weir Farm National Historic Site is the preservation of an extraordinary facet of America’s artistic heritage. Equally important, is the preservation of an environment where contemporary artists can thrive. This environment includes not only the physical landscape, but also an atmosphere in which the creative spirit is both fostered and nurtured. Providing outstanding opportunities for promising artists within the context of this environment is a mandate of the Weir Farm Trust and is critical to the success of the long-range management plan of the Farm.

The Visual Artists Program including both resident and visiting artists is the cornerstone of the Trust’s programs for professional artists and is central to its mission. The Visiting Artists component was originally envisioned as the first step towards the development of the residency program. Artists apply to the program in all visual art forms and are selected primarily on the quality of their work through a competitive panel process. These artists have reached a level of maturity in their work and have thoughtfully considered why they would like to work at the Farm. Using Weir Farm as an open air studio, participating artists work over the course of a year to create a cohesive body of work influenced by his or her own experiences of the Farm’s cultural and natural resources.

Since its beginning in 1991, the program has attracted Guggenheim, Fullbright, National Endowment of the Arts Fellows and Connecticut Commission on the Arts grant recipients, as well as winners of other national and international residency and fellowship awards. We are very pleased with this year's outstanding visiting artists Richard Lang Chandler, Maureen Cummins, Steven Dolbin, Camille Eskell, Thomas Mezzanotte and Michael Torlen.

After the conclusion of the work period and as a key benefit of the program, each group of visiting artists is presented in a museum exhibition. We extend our deepest thanks to The Housatonic Museum of Art and to Robbin Zella, Director, for presenting this exhibition of the 2001 Weir Farm Visiting Artists.

J. Alden Weir had a lifelong commitment to nurturing other artists. His spirit is alive and well at the Farm, due in great part to the artists who come to immerse themselves in their work, having been captured by the landscape that continues to inspire.

Constance Evans
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
THE WEIR FARM TRUST

Back to LEST WE FORGET IMAGES OF THE BLACK CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT 2002 Exhibit Info

Foreward by the Director of HMA

 

LEST WE FORGET

 

FOREWORD

BY ROBBIN ZELLA, Director, Housatonic Museum of Art

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; 1964-1985 Acrylic, 84" by 94"

Terrorism. Unspeakable acts. Unthinkable events.

These words explain recent events in New York and Washington, D.C. but less than 40 years ago, these same words could have been used to describe a tumultuous period in American history marked by murders, bombings, and riots.

"The Sixties" was a time of immense political and social upheaval in this country - the struggle for Civil Rights, the Days of Rage, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the Women's Liberation movement and Gay Rights movement, and the emergence of a counterculture were periodically punctuated by assassinations: John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Artist Robert Templeton witnessed the race riots in Detroit, the illustration of which appeared on the August 4, 1967 cover of Time magazine. Deeply disturbed by this event, Templeton resolved to create a pictorial civil rights history to commemorate its leaders for future generations. Lest We Forget: Images of the Black Civil Rights Movement is comprised of 34 portraits completed over the course of twenty years by this nationally known portraitist and includes key figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. DuBois, Ralph Abernathy, Roy Wilkins, and Rosa Parks.

But while Templeton focused his energy creating these timeless portraits, photographers such as Gordon Parks, Charles Moore and James Karales captured candid shots from the front lines of the movement. Searing images of police dogs attacking demonstrators, firemen hosing down protesters, King being arrested, and the march from Selma to Montgomery, distributed in newspapers around the country as well as in photo-essays in Look and Life magazines, served to speed the cause of civil rights.

Reverend George Lee, Lamar Smith, Emmett Till, Willie Edwards, Jr., Louis Allen, Cpl. Ducksworth, Jr., and Viola Gregg Liuzzo are the ordinary heroes - black and white - memorialized in the film A Time For Justice. Produced by three-time Academy Award-winner Charles Guggenheim, this film is a moving account of the crises in Montgomery, Little Rock, Birmingham and Selma and is an homage to those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom and equality. Although the civil rights movement ended legal apartheid in this country and wrought significant changes in American life for African-Americans, women and other marginalized groups, it is nevertheless true that inequalities and racism remain, and so the struggle continues.

I would like to thank the following people for their contributions to this exhibit: Leonore and Kevin Templeton for the loan of Robert Templeton's work; Parker Stephenson, Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York for assisting with the selection and loan of photographs, and Instructor Tony Ball for his comprehensive catalog essay. In addition, special thanks to Shelley Solomon, Assistant Principal at Hall High School in West Hartford and Professor Peter Ulisse for their contributions to educational programming; and to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Parrish Art Museum, Southhampton, NY; and Bobs M. Tusa, Librarian, University of Southern Mississippi for assistance with research; Dr. James Mooney for educational panels, Helen Barnett for public relations and Blaine Kruger for design.

Robbin Zella, Director, Housatonic Museum of Art

Return to LEST WE FORGET exhibit home

 

Back to LEST WE FORGET IMAGES OF THE BLACK CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT 2002 Exhibit Info

THE PROMISE OF EQUALITY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

by Tony Ball, Instructor of History

THE PROMISE OF EQUALITY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

by Tony Ball, Instructor of History

On August 25, 1864, over a year and half after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, a black woman named Annie Davis wrote President Abraham Lincoln from Maryland. Her words remain poignant to this day:

Mr president It is my Desire to be free. to go to see my people on the eastern shore. my mistress wont let me you will please let me know if we are free. and what i can do. I write to you for advice. please send me word this week. or as soon as possible and oblidge.

There is no record of a response from the Lincoln Administration. Of course Annie Davis was not free; the Emancipation Proclamation explicitly excluded those slaves that were in Union-controlled territories, or in slave states like Maryland that had not joined the Confederacy. As Lincoln had famously noted during the Gettysburg Address, the American War for Independence had commenced some "four score and seven" years earlier. But the American Revolution, the long and sometimes violent struggle to make the vaulted principles of the Declaration of Independence a reality for African-Americans and other dispossessed peoples, was only just beginning.

In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited slavery in the United States. The 14th Amendment defined American citizenship based on birth (not race), and guaranteed to all persons equal protection and due process of law. The 15th Amendment forbade states from denying citizens the right to vote based on their race, color, or previous condition of servitude. With these Civil War Amendments and Congress' Reconstruction program, there was, for the first time in our history, a chance to bring about a more racially just society. Less than a decade after the United States Supreme Court had declared that no African-American could ever be considered a citizen of the United States, the first blacks were elected to the Congress, as well as to the legislatures of the several southern states.

Like emancipation for Annie Davis, true progress towards racial justice was elusive. For one thing, most white Americans in the 19th century simply did not believe in equality and were committed to maintaining political, economic and social control over African-Americans. In 1877, Congress officially ended Reconstruction, ordering the withdrawal of the remaining federal troops from the south. Southern whites were free to turn back the clock on equality and reverse those gains that had been made by African-Americans in the years immediately after the Civil War. Black voters were disenfranchised and the legal, economic and social system refined to keep blacks in virtual, if not actual, bondage. Jim Crow laws, mandating the physical separation of the races, were vigorously enforced, and those African-Americans who sought to leave the South for America's Midwest and West often had to do so under cover of darkness.

Thousands of African-Americans like Annie Davis were only half-free, completely subjugated and segregated in a society in which privilege and skin color were inextricable. It would take two world wars and an economic depression to bring the nation forward, and to hold Americans to the ideals of liberty and equality that form the foundation of our republic.Asa Phillip Randolph

In 1910, the noted African-American sociol- ogist W. E. B. DuBois, the anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells, educational pioneer John Dewey, and other progressives helped form the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Although just two decades earlier the United States Supreme Court had declared in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson that the forced segregation of blacks was constitutional as long as they were given "equal" facilities, the NAACP was committed to the strategy of using litigation to widen opportunities and address racial injustice. Early victories before the Supreme Court in the late 1910s and 1920s suggested that the NAACP had embarked on the right course.

Meanwhile, African-American soldiers had served with distinction during America's involvement in World War I (1917-1918), and returned to the United States with greater expectations for equal treatment and economic opportunity. However, the broader society was still ill-prepared for meaningful advances in civil rights. Indeed, after the production of the notoriously racist film The Birth of a Nation in 1915, organizations like the Ku Klux Klan experienced a resurgence, and African-Americans were increasingly the victims of lynching and other forms of racial violence. Indeed, even as black intellectuals and artists thrived during the years of the Harlem Renaissance and as African-Americans migrated to Northern industrial cities from the South in greater numbers, racial violence and injustice became even more entrenched.

The American stock market crash in October, 1929, and the ensuing Great Depression devastated African-Americans, who were disproportionately employed in the hard-hit agricultural sector of the economy. However, the Depression also helped forge a political realignment in the United States in which African-Americans, long faithful to Lincoln's Republican Party, were now part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Democratic New Deal Coalition. Together with intellectuals, Catholics, Jews, poor farmers and organized labor, African-Americans were part of a new progressivism in the United States which would redefine American society and government's role within it.

Despite the importance of African-Americans to Roosevelt's political coalition, little actual progress was made in the area of civil rights during the 1930s. Roosevelt steadfastly declined to endorse federal anti-lynching laws, and much of the legislation aimed at alleviating the effects of the Depression excluded African-Americans. When the United States' entry into World War II seemed an inevitability, the African-American labor leader A. Philip Randolph threatened a demonstration in the nation's capital to protest unjust treatment at home. Roosevelt responded by issuing an executive order which forbade government contractors from discriminating in hiring or wages based on race, and Randolph called off the march on Washington. As they had in World War I, African-American soldiers, sailors and airmen played a crucial role in the second World War, although again in segre-gated units. Significantly, blacks and women were vital to the nation's wartime industries which produced the munitions, planes, ships, tanks and other equipment necessary in the prosecution of the war.

World War II forced Americans to look more carefully at their own record on race and civil rights and further raised the expectations of African-Americans. In 1946, Franklin Roosevelt's successor Harry Truman created the Federal Committee on Civil Rights; two years later Truman ordered the desegregation of the U.S. armed services. Meanwhile the NAACP continued its litigation strategy. When a black student at the University of Oklahoma was not allowed to sit in the same classroom with white students, the NAACP filed suit. The Supreme Court invalidated the University of Oklahoma's segregation policy, ruling that forcing the student, G. W. McLaurin, to sit in an adjoining hallway could not be considered equal treatment as required by the 14th Amendment or the Supreme Court's 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision. At the same time, the Court indicated its willingness to reconsider Plessy's "separate but equal" doctrine altogether, and NAACP attorneys began to envision an end to legally enforced Jim Crow segregation.

That opportunity came with the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas in which Chief Justice Earl Warren declared on behalf of a unanimous court that the segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race violated the Constitution's 14th Amendment, because "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." This ruling was a major victory for the NAACP and for Thurgood Marshall, who argued the case before the Court and would subsequently be named the nation's first African-American Supreme Court justice. However, getting southern states to adhere to the Court's mandate would be no easy task and after the Brown decision the civil rights strategy clearly shifted from litigation to political activism and protest.

White resistance to desegregation was fierce. In the summer of 1955, a 14-year-old boy named Emmett Till was lynched in the small town of Money, Mississippi, presumably for having said "bye, baby" to a white woman in a candy store. Throughout 1955, local sheriffs in the South stepped up the enforcement of Jim Crow laws and customs, notwithstanding the clear direction of the Supreme Court towards invalidating such segregation. Rosa Parks

In Montgomery, Alabama, a 15-year-old girl black named Claudette Colvin was arrested for refusing to give her bus seat over to a white passenger. Montgomery's civil rights community considered rallying to Colvin's cause but ultimately decided that Colvin, who was unmarried and pregnant at the time, might not be the best person to symbolize the pernicious effects of Jim Crow segregation. Some months later, in December of 1955, a 43-year-old seamstress named Rosa Parks was arrested by Montgomery's police also for having refused to vacate her bus seat to a white passenger. This time, the civil rights community in Montgomery mobilized, forming a Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) and calling for a boycott of the city's public transportation system. The MIA selected as its president a young minister named Martin Luther King, Jr. and the modern civil rights era had begun.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted over a year. Although the practice of boycott in America went back to the days preceding the War for Independence, King and the entire MIA leadership were indicted on charges of "conspiring" to disrupt the city's bus system. Bayard Rustin, one of King's closest advisors, urged the Montgomery boycott organizers to submit freely to arrest following the non- violent principles of Mohandas Gandhi. The adoption of passive resistance, and King's subsequent articulation of principles of non-violence based on Christian theology, elevated King as a moral leader and gave him national stature.

The boycott finally came to an end on December 21, 1956, after the U.S. Supreme Court declared Montgomery's bus segregation unconstitutional. But King was committed to taking the civil rights agenda forward. He helped form a new organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), whose focus extended beyond desegregation of transportation facilities to education, voting rights, employment and economic opportunities.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower had succeeded Harry Truman in 1953. Eisenhower gave only lukewarm support to the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education. However, he did back the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first federal anti-discrimination legislation since the end of Reconstruction. In 1957 Eisenhower also sent 1,100 federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce a federal court order mandating the admission of black students to the city's Central High School.

In the early the 1960s, young people began to take a more active role in the growing civil rights movement. Black college students developed the strategy of the sit-in, aimed initially at forcing the desegregation of local restaurants in places like Greensboro, North Carolina. Student activism represented a new phase in the civil rights movement as well as the beginning of the political, cultural and social turmoil of the 1960s. In April, 1960 young people met and formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). SNCC initially embraced nonviolent strategies but during the 1960s its use of direct confrontation and increasing militancy would stand it in sharper contrast with King and the older, more conservative civil rights leaders.Study for the Detroit Riots

In 1961, college students began partici-pating in "Freedom Rides" in which interracial groups challenged segregation aboard interstate buses and trains. When John Lewis, one of the black riders and a future member of Congress, entered a Greyhound station in Rock Hill, South Carolina, he was brutally attacked by a white mob. The local police stood by and watched. That incident and subsequent violence against freedom riders highlighted the need for strong federal leadership. King and other civil rights leaders appealed to President John F. Kennedy for support. But Kennedy was hamstrung by his own party; southern Democrats constituted a powerful bloc in the Senate and were committed to defeating any additional civil rights legislation.

That reality led the NAACP, SNCC, the SCLC and the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) to focus their efforts on voter registration and education in the South. Despite their differences, all of the major civil rights groups began to view political empowerment as a necessary precondition to further progress. But political enfranchisement struck at the heart of the white power structure, and led to escalating levels of violence and suppression against civil rights activists. Alabama's state courts prohibited protest, and in April, 1963, King was arrested in Birmingham for engaging in a nonviolent march. From his Birmingham jail cell, King wrote a famous letter which crystallized his philosophy and energized the civil rights movement. Freedom, wrote King, "is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." The goal of nonviolent direct action was "to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community... is forced to confront the issue."

That crisis had certainly arrived in 1963. In May much of the nation and indeed the world was outraged when Birmingham's police chief, Eugene "Bull" Connor, set his fire hoses and police dogs on young children, assembled to peacefully protest continued segregation and injustice in the city. This, and the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the following month illustrated the point that white segregationists were willing to use terror and violence to stem the tide of change.

In response to the violent turn of events, the Kennedy administration proposed more sweeping civil rights legislation, but again this effort was stymied by southern Democrats. A coalition of civil rights organizations sought to support Kennedy's initiatives by planning a new protest on Washington, 22 years after A. Philip Randolph's threatened protest in the nation's capital had been called off. In August, 1963, over a quarter million marchers gathered before the Lincoln Memorial to hear King's dream for a racially just society, in which people would be judged not "by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." King's impassioned plea did not stop the racial violence. Just two weeks later four little girls attending Sunday school in Birmingham were killed when a bomb planted by white racists exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church.

After John F. Kennedy's assassination in November, 1963, the civil rights movement took a new turn. Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was committed to the civil rights agenda. Moreover, as a former southern senator himself, Johnson had the standing and political skill to effectively deal with the members of his own party who had stymied legislation in the past. Johnson engineered Congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, made all segregation in public facilities illegal, established an Equal Opportunity Employment Commission to combat job discrimination, and banned gender discrimination in employment and education.

As Congress was taking up the civil rights legislation, activists continued their voter registration and education efforts. The major civil rights organizations targeted Mississippi for a massive voter registration drive to begin in the summer of 1964. Mississippi's "Freedom Summer" attracted scores of college students from throughout the nation who braved racist local law enforcement, the Ku Klux Klan and the hostilities of white mobs to enfranchise African-American voters. The murder of three student activists - James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner - in June and a wave of church bombings, shootings and beatings, did not prevent the organizers of the "Freedom Summer" from empowering hundreds of black voters. However, the violence perpetrated against the Freedom Summer activists, as well as the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam, persuaded many young people in the civil rights struggle that the time had come to abandon the core principles of nonviolence and passive resistance that King had popularized.

Moreover, the traditional civil rights focus on desegregation seemed to ignore many of the pressing social and economic problems faced by African-Americans outside the south. The once booming industry that had attracted blacks to the northeast and midwest were beginning to close, and America's central cities had fallen into a rapid decline. The black nationalist and Nation of Islam spokesman Malcolm X came to stand for a more militant urban movement, which questioned the wisdom of nonviolence as well as the emphasis on integration. Malcolm X's assassination in 1965 did little to quiet this more strident activism. In 1966, Stokely Carmichael became chair of SNCC. He moved to expel SNCC's white members and to promote more militant confrontation. Even the word "Nonviolent" in SNCC's acronym was changed to "National," clearly indicating the new direction the organization was taking. "Black Power" became Carmichael's favorite slogan. H. Rap Brown, Carmichael's successor at SNCC, declared violence "as American as apple pie."

In October, 1966, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in Oakland, California. The Party's minister of education, Eldridge Cleaver, became one of the nation's most eloquent and controversial spokesmen for the new militancy which advocated the violent overthrow of repressive political and economic systems.

Part of the problem was that after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the subsequent 1965 Voting Rights Act, the goals and objectives of the civil rights movement became much less clear. King began to speak more clearly about issues of poverty and oppression that transcended racism, launching plans to begin a Poor People's Campaign in 1967. He also spoke out against the war in Vietnam. But the issues of poverty and American policy abroad were far more complex than dismantling Jim Crow segregation in the south, and their solutions far more elusive.

To many, King's assassination in 1968 marked the end of the traditional civil rights movement. SNCC was virtually defunct by 1969 and most of the Black Panther leadership was either jailed, exiled or dead by the end of the decade. There can be little doubt that America still has a long road before (to quote King's "I Have a Dream" speech) the nation rises "up and lives out the true meaning of its creed." But the changes which occurred in American society during the late 1950s and 1960s were indeed profound, and moved the nation far closer than it has ever been to fulfilling the constitutional promise of equality and justice for all.

Tony Ball
Instructor in History
Housatonic Community College
December 27, 2001

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Freedom: A History of US

FREEDOM TOUR

MARCH 13, 2003 THROUGH APRIL 18, 2003

SOURCES ABOUT CURRENT ISSUES
From a variety of viewpoints on FREEDOM

WEB SITES

www.firstamendmentcenter.org - annual report on survey of public views on the First Amendment
www.nytimes.com - Check out all points of view on the opinion pages.
www.Moveon.org - Information on the peace movement
www.truthout.org -Daily digest of critical news analysis
www.choices.edu – One of the most popular Iraq-related curriculums
www.aclu.org - The American Civil Liberties Union, “defending the Bill of Rights”
www.facinghistory.org - Facing History and Ourselves – many resources for teachers
www.tjcenter.org -Thomas Jefferson Center for Protection of Free Expression
www.eff.org/privacy - Electronic Frontier Foundation. Obtain document – USA PATRIOT Act which greatly expands government surveillance powers
www.ala.org - Resolution on USA PATRIOT ACT - a “present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users”
www.nccev.org - National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, Yale University. A Teachers Guide for Talking to Your Students

VIDEOTAPES, CDs and MOVIES

Freedom: A History of US videotapes and DVDs, available from PBS VIDEO: 1-800-344-3337, or http://teacher.shop.pbs.org/

Freedom: A History of US CD available from Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings

Glory, About the Civil War African American regiment

Amistad, About the mutiny of the slaves taken from Africa

BOOKS

Freedom, A History of US, by Joy Hakim. Oxford Press, 2003
The Greatest Sedition is Silence, Pluto Press by William Rivers Pitt, best-selling author and H.S. teacher in Boston.
A People’s History of the U.S. by Howard Zinn

Educational Materials Prepared by Janet Luongo, Educational Consultant

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Freedom: A History of US

FREEDOM TOUR

MARCH 13, 2003 THROUGH APRIL 18, 2003

 

THE EXHIBIT: FREEDOM: THE HISTORY OF US

The current exhibit is Freedom: The History of US, sponsored by G.E. In a letter informing schools about the exhibit, Gus Serra, Manager of Community Relations and Communication at G.E., wrote:

“History can play an important part in helping young people understand events of the day.”

The exhibit is based on the book, Freedom: A History of US by Joy Hakim, and was made into a landmark series of 16 TV documentaries that aired on PBS for eight weeks beginning in January, 2003. The videos are available from PBS and study guides and activities are available at www.pbs.org. When students come for the Freedom Tour, they may see excerpts from the PBS series. The following is from the introduction to the PBS guide:

“Freedom is an exciting, even dangerous idea. It means independence – the ability to act without being coerced by others. Freedom requires risk taking, courage and a willingness to struggle for the possibility of a better future. Freedom is one of the founding principles of the United States. The United States has offered hope for people seeking freedom. At the same time, many Americans have been denied freedom. When the Bill of Rights was written, slavery was an accepted institution and married women were considered their husbands’ property. The freedoms that today offer us protection and opportunities for change should not be taken for granted.”

There couldn’t be a better time for you to see this exhibit, because the issues it covers are very alive at this moment in our nation as issues of democracy and our constitutional freedoms are being hotly debated in Congress and all across the United States.

The exhibit reproduces revolutionary documents – primary sources - of our history that proclaimed our rights to self-government and freedom. It shows evidence – letters, photographs, art work - of the work of courageous men and women who took great risks as concepts of freedom evolved.

As preparation for the exhibit and, as a follow-up, we encourage your students to conduct research and engage in discussions and debate on their views about the past and present state of our freedoms. This is not a mere academic exercise, but the results of the research and the actions taken can affect the students and the future history of our great country.

GOALS OF THE FREEDOM TOUR

After viewing the exhibit and participating in dialogue, students will:

  • Learn or review important facts from our history
  • Gain insight from history that helps us understand the present
  • Understand more about the process of history – analyzing and interpreting primary sources: letters, photographs, drawings, paintings, and documents, such as
    • The Declaration of Independence,
    • The U.S. Constitution
  • Engage in critical thinking on the following:
    • Freedom is a concept that is evolving
    • Compromises were made in our past history

    There is an ongoing tension that continues today between freedom and security, the ideal and the rea,l and citizens and governments.

The exhibit was developed by Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection and is presented by PictureHistory

Educational Materials Prepared by Janet Luongo, Educational Consultant

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Freedom: A History of US

FREEDOM TOUR

MARCH 13, 2003 THROUGH APRIL 18, 2003

 

 

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SUGGESTED HIGHLIGHTS – FREEDOM TOUR

Tours are interactive; students who are currently studying American history are asked to contribute what they know about the periods or events depicted. Students are asked to comment on what they see, think and feel about the reproductions of visuals and documents.

The tour begins with the colonial period and ends with the twentieth century, but most of the panels are on the 19th century and the Civil War.

Trained guides will start with a basic review of the founding principles of freedom. They will choose from 8-12 of the following highlights, according to the suggestions of the teachers and the interest of the students.

 Painting by Paul Revere – The Bloody Massacre, 1770

A snowball fight began this killing of colonists.
Student Question: What do you know about Paul Revere?

 The Declaration of Independence – a “revolutionary” document

“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Student Question: What do you think of the above underlined phrases?

All “men” are created equal (who does this exclude?)
The “rights” to “liberty”
and “consent of the governed.”

 Power Derived from the Consent of the Governed

The Declaration of Independence determines that the government is set up by the people, to represent the people, and to serve the people. People have the power to dissolve the government:

“…whenever any Form of government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles.”

After a “train of abuses” or a “Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government.”

The colonists threw off the rule of Britain under the King George III. The tension between the people and government has existed throughout history and all over the world.

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

 Right of Impeachment

“The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the U.S. shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

In the Constitution “impeachment” appears six times. The Founders had lived under King George III and had accused him of usurping the power of the people, being above the law and criminal abuse of authority.

After the Civil War, during Reconstruction, The House of Representatives impeached President Johnson for things like encouraging racial bigotry and slowing the process of achieving “justice for all.” But because he did not commit “high crimes”, therefor he was acquitted in the Senate trial.

A similar thing happened to President Bill Clinton. He was impeached by the House in 1998 for lying under oath about sexual misconduct, but acquitted by the Senate for the same reason: it was not proven he had committed high crimes. President Richard Nixon resigned in the 1970’s because he faced almost certain impeachment by the House and a probable conviction in the Senate. 56 men in his administration were convicted of crimes and some went to jail. Twenty large corporations were found guilty of making illegal contributions. The House began to prepare the articles of impeachment following the guidelines of our Constitution: obstruction of justice regarding the Watergate break-in, violating the constitutional rights of citizens by authorizing illegal wiretaps. Today former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has drafted articles of impeachment against President Bush, V.P. Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft. Some of the charges are: “deprivations of the civil rights of the people of the United States and other nations, assuming powers of an imperial executive unaccountable to law and usurping power of Congress, the Judiciary and those reserved to the people of the U.S.”

Student Question:: When do you think it’s justified to exercise our constitutional right to remove our leaders from office?

 First draft of U.S. Constitution

The compromise on freedom: In order to get Southern states to ratify the constitution, a clause was added by Pierce Butler, one of the wealthiest slaveholders from S. C. It required the return of slave fugitives to their owners.

Student Question: Is compromise necessary sometimes?

 The Bill of Rights

Amendments to the Constitution adopted in 1791.

Student Question:: What freedoms to we have from our Bill of Rights? (freedom of religion, speech, press, to assemble, petition the government)

Listen to this description and try to figure out what period it is describing:

War is imminent. Foreigners are feared. Laws are passed to restrict the civil liberties of non-citizens and citizens as well.
Though this may sound like present-day U.S. since September 11, 2001, it is actually a description of the U.S. just seven years after the Constitutional amendments called the Bill of Rights were adopted (paraphrased from Joy Hakim’s book). The Sedition Act of 1798 signed into law by President Adams made it a crime to criticize the government. Today most historians believe these were bad laws.

 Habeas Corpus

Our U.S. Constitution addresses the abuse of being held in prison without being charged. That is called “habeas corpus.”

Section 9 of Article I states:

“The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Today Attorney General Ashcroft tells us our security requires that we suspend habeas corpus, and our government is holding suspected terrorists and hundreds of prisoners at our base in Guantanamo Bay without formally charging them with a crime. In Congress, some conservatives and liberals are joining to question these laws.

Student Question: Is the Patriot Act passed in October 2001, and the newly Patriot II Act currently being drafted by Attorney General Ashcroft a necessity to secure our liberties, or a threat to our liberties?

 Visual: “Slave Market of America.”

Abolitionist broadside of the 1830’s that exposed the brutality of slavery, calling it a violation of the Bible, the Declaration, and the Constitution.

Students: Describe what do you see

 Visual: Map of U.S. after the Missouri Compromise with territories added as of 1820. By John Melish

Student Question: What do you know about the expansion of the U.S. territories? What were the issues?

 Advertisement for John Warner Barber’s A History of the Amistad Captives, New Haven, CT 1840.

Student Question: Who knows the story of the Amistad?

 Louis Adolph Gautier engraving of Stump speaking”, a painting by George C. Bingham. NY 1856.

Student Question: How important is it to be politically aware and to vote?

 Abraham Lincoln, manuscript fragment of “House Divided” speech, ca. 1857. Draft for his acceptance speech as U.S. Senator.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave, and half free.”

Student Question: Why are these words so famous?

 Abolitionist Flag of U.S. 1858. 10 X 5 feet. Discovered in 1996 and displayed here for the first time.

Student Question: Count the number of stripes and stars? Why so few?

 Union Camp Life: Sketchbook of watercolors by Henry Berckhoff, 1861-63.

Student Question: What do you see? What does this tell us about the life of an ordinary soldier (who was also a skilled artist)?

 Henry C. Parrott, letter to his sister, Oct. 1862

“We were pretty well cut to pieces...”

 The Dead at Gettysburg: Photographs

Student Question: Do you think the realities of fighting in a war are different from the promises of recruiters, and the glamour of uniforms and medals?

 “Men of Color, to Arms!” 1863

Frederick Douglass lobbied Lincoln to organize black regiments.

 Photograph of anonymous private, 1863

Student Question:Do you think white Americans respected the African American more, as Frederick Douglas predicted they would, once he “had an eagle on his button, a musket on his shoulder, and the star spangled banner over his head?”

 Emancipation Proclamation,” engraving 1864

Student Question: What did this mean for our nation?

 Fifteenth Amendment Celebrated 1870

Student Question: What hopes did African Americans have?

 Susan B. Anthony

She voted illegally, was convicted and jailed.

Student Question: Did Susan B. Anthony have a lot of courage? Are there any things that you would have the courage to speak up about?

 The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Student Question: What do you know about him and how he advanced the cause of freedom?

TOUR FOLLOW-UP

Use it or Lose it

We all know what happens to our muscles when we don’t exercise. We lose our strength. Use it or lose it. The same thing happens to our mind. Use it or lose it. We, as citizens of a democracy, need to exercise the freedoms of speech, press and assembly granted us in our remarkable document, The Constitution of the United States. The same principle applies: Use it or lose it.

We encourage you to use the exhibit information and questions for follow-up research projects, discussions and debates on the important issues brought up by the book, videos and exhibit, Freedom: A History of US.

Some sources are listed here...

Educational Materials Prepared by Janet Luongo, Educational Consultant

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Grain by Janet PassehlGrain by Janet Passehl

The subtle cloth sculptures in “Grain”, created by artist Janet Passehl of Deep River, CT, capture discrete moments in time that essentially document the process of their own making, according to Robbin Zella, director of the Housatonic Museum of Art and the curator of this exhibition. Passehl, whose work has been exhibited in New England, New York, France and Iceland, says that drawing forms the basis of these works. “I set out, in part, thinking about making something as minimal as an Agnes Martin, as material as a Donald Judd, as simple as a Richard Tuttle.”

Passehl’s process includes staining the cloth with tea, drying it, then folding it in precise configurations and ironing the creases. The grain of the cloth itself becomes the subject: its texture, weave, and edges whether sharp or crooked, crisp or frayed, offer visual variety but also open a space for tranquility and contemplation. Passehl notes that “the process of staining is a marriage of manipulation and accident. Cutting a straight edge with a scissors is a futile striving for perfection. The ‘organic’ nature of cloth, the weave which has push and pull, stretches, shrinks, and frays, provides the perfect theater for the collaboration of artist and material. The material is not transformed, but the poetry of its nature is revealed.”

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Illustrating CT Book

The companion book, Illustrating Connecticut: People, Place, Things, will be available for purchase during the exhibit for $20, or you may purchase the book by mail.

To purchase by mail:

Please send a check for $24 (includes $4 postage and handling) made out to the Housatonic Community College Foundation and mail it to:

Housatonic Community College Foundation
Illustrating Connecticut Book
900 Lafayette Boulevard
Bridgeport, CT 06604

 

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AMERICAN ILLUSTRATION: A BRIEF HISTORY

Susan E. Meyer

For nearly seven centuries all artists in the Western hemisphere were employed to display the wealth and power of their patrons. In the nineteenth century, however, a change occurred and the publishing industry – replacing all traditional patrons – emerged as the chief employer of artists. The publications succeeded both church and court as the great showcase for artists, and illustration, a creation of the Industrial Revolution, became the significant avenue for the artist.

At the end of the nineteenth century and during the early decades of the twentieth, books and periodicals provided the major source of public entertainment. Consequently, the contributors appearing in those pages — the writers and illustrators – assumed an importance of unprecedented proportions. Now that publishing has surrendered its exclusive power, overshadowed by the more pervasive presence of television and the Internet, it is not easy for the contemporary reader to imagine the extent of the artist's influence on the public mind. Illustrators had a crucial role in governing the cultural appetites of the day, and no American of that period could possibly remain unaffected by the millions of pictures circulated each week.

The years between 1865 and 1917 represent publishing's most exciting and dramatic time of expansion. This era, known as the Golden Age of Illustration, shaped the American character as we know it today and illustrators became inextricably linked to the development of an industry whose main purpose is to embrace the aspirations of an entire nation, to create the American Dream.

During this time period, Hartford became a major publishing center, attracting great writers of the day, such as Mark Twain and the African-American poet Jupiter Hammond. The expansion of the publishing industry was in direct correlation to the growth of American industry, with Connecticut a central hub. After all, the ingredients needed for the success of publishing were the same as those required for the expansion of any industry: a sufficiently large market, an economical method of manufacture, and an efficient means of distribution. All three of these components fell neatly into place in America after the Civil War.

The explosion of books and periodicals produced was a direct result of America's growing demand for reading matter that had increased substantially after the Civil War. The widespread introduction of public education throughout the nation had greatly reduced illiteracy, and more Americans than ever now possessed reading skills. Public libraries – another great American institution that expanded substantially after the Civil War as a result of legislation and private philanthropy – provided ready access to reading matter. If an appetite for reading had been created by public schools and libraries, private industry had also given Americans the increased time and income needed for reading. Reader consumerism was a direct outgrowth of the Industrial Revolution.

The success of publishing periodicals depends not only on readers, however, but on advertisers as well. The expansion of industry after the Civil War meant new wares to be sold, and periodicals provided the vehicles for manufacturers to hawk their merchandise, competing against their rivals in these pages for a greater share of the market. Starting with the first magazine to carry pages of advertising (Scribner's in 1887), this source of income grew increasingly important with the years.

While the market had developed, so had the means of distribution. The growing network of railroads provided an economical and rapid method of carriage across the nation. The improved transportation system also allowed artists to live further away from their employers and Westport and Weston soon became home to prominent artists and illustrators, including Karl Anderson, George Hand Wright, Rose O'Neill, John Held, Jr., and Arthur Dove. Later the Famous Artists School, founded by Albert Dorne along with Norman Rockwell, offered courses with leading illustrators such as Stevan Dohanos, Al Parker, Austin Briggs, Ben Stahl, John Whitcomb, Peter Helck, Harold von Schmidt, Robert Fawcett, John Atherton, and Fred Ludekens. Equally significant, a new postal law in 1885 reduced the rate for second-class matter to cent a pound and a rural free delivery system was instituted in 1897. Newsstand distribution became its own kind of business, beginning with the founding of the American News Company. With this merger, the principal retail and the primary wholesale periodical businesses in the nation were united.

Because of the greater dependence on advertising for income, the emphasis was increasingly placed on acquiring more readers at any cost. Sophisticated methods of expanding circulation were instituted – such as premiums – and it became less important to distribute magazines economically, but mandatory to reach more and more readers to attract larger advertising revenues. A circulation of 100,000 may have been considerable in 1890, but relatively insignificant by 1910. Every literate American was reading published material.

Technological improvement had as great an impact on the publishing industry as it had on other industries. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the rotary press was introduced, a machine that enabled publishers to produce larger editions more rapidly and at lower cost. Of all the technological advances, however, none was more important to the American illustrator than the improvements made in pictorial reproduction. The significance of this advancement is worthy of greater elaboration here, since it is the single most important factor in making it possible for artists to expand their creative powers, liberated from the limitations formerly imposed upon them. This freedom hastened the development of illustration as a popular art.

Until the 1880s all reproduction was accomplished by means of wood engraving. The task of preparing the art was arduous and restrictive. On boxwood imported from Syria, the art would be prepared for printing. Boxwood is finely grained, ideal for engraving, but small in size because of the relatively small torso of boxwood trees. A large illustration might require a composite of several blocks… it would take an expert engraver ten or twelve hours to complete a wood engraving 5 x 4 inches in size. A full-page illustration would normally require one week to engrave.

In the 1870s one small technical advance improved the results for those artists preferring to create tonal works; the black-line was substituted by a white-line engraving. In the black-line engraving forms had been defined by areas of wood in high relief that carried the ink. With the white-line method the reverse is true, and the engraver was able to use flecks, dots, or lines to describe tones on the surface of the block. Frederic Remington took advantage of this minor technical advancement, preferring to work realistically whenever possible. Traditional pen and ink artists, such as Howard Pyle and A.B. Frost, however, continued to work with black-line engraving.

Artists found it difficult to accept the fact that their drawings were one step in a complex sequence of operations. (In many instances the engraver actually shared the credit for the illustration by signing his name alongside that of the artist.) The artist was beholden to the engraver, knowing full well that his reproduced illustration was only as good as the craftsman translating the work onto the block. An artist whose style was individual was particularly susceptible to mistranslation. In the hands of a mediocre craftsman his work could be destroyed. It is no wonder that bitterness and animosity often arose between artists and engravers.

Engraving improved greatly throughout the nineteenth century, primarily because of the great number of European craftsman to enter this country, but the cost of reproduction was extremely high. An average engraver received from $25.00 to $50.00 a week (some even higher), and the House of Harper claimed that it ultimately cost about $500.00 to engrave an average full-page block.

When photography was introduced into the printing process all this was to ultimately change. The photo-mechanical operation of translating the image to the plate by means of creating a photographic negative permitted the reduction or enlargement of the original design for reproduction. By using the electrotype process (known since 1839), a metal relief plate could be created mechanically from the photographic image, eliminating the need for wood engravers to perform comparable operations by hand. While the engraving of line drawings could be accomplished with relative ease, tonal work required a system of breaking up the continual tones into separate printing elements in order to simulate the middle (or half) tones between black and white. The so-called "halftone" process of photo-engraving provided the solution. With this method, the art was photographed with a large camera through a sheet of glass on which a series of cross lines had been finely and expertly drawn. This photograph would result in a screen negative, the lines of the glass breaking up the tones of the original art into a series of dots, larger or smaller, densely or sparsely populated, depending on the nature of the tones in the original subject. These dots could then be etched into the plate chemically so that the image would be translated onto the final printing surface mechanically in the form suitable for reproduction.

During the 1880s the publications experimented extensively with the halftone method of engraving. After the first commercial application of the screen process appeared in the New York Daily Graphic (a picture entitled "Shantytown"), the other halftones were seen more and more frequently. These early examples tended to be flat and muddy, and engravers were still employed to improve upon the plates produced the process. But by 1900 halftone reproduction – and the results obtained on the clay-coated papers created specially for the new process – had advanced so greatly that staff artists and engraving departments could be dispensed with altogether. No longer could the engraver be blamed for a poor illustration. No longer could poor draftsmanship be concealed with slapdash techniques. The new process recorded everything; it could display the best qualities of an expert illustrator, and expose the deficiencies of the less qualified. In turn, the newly developed screen halftone process created a preference for realistic pictures, fully modeled, and a new school of illustrators emerged to meet this popular demand.

Because of these technological, social, and economic developments, hundreds of publishing companies naturally emerged to produce a vast array of books and periodicals. It became a vigorous and aggressive industry that far out rivaled European counterparts. From this large field, only a few companies actually constituted the arena in which appeared America’s favorite illustrators. Yet, these few publications – and the few illustrators whose work appeared in them – represented a force in American cultural life that is almost unimaginable today. These publications had a major impact on the taste, humor, morals, and buying habits of the public, and defined the aspirations of an entire American civilization.

Today, illustration may be entering a second "golden age" although editorial illustration is no longer dominant, new avenues have opened up while older traditions, such children's illustrations, have been reinvigorated. Illustrators are well-versed in both the technology of computer software programs and traditional illustration drawing methods. As a result, traditional and digital techniques are often used in conjunction with each other. In the twenty-first century, illustration has reemerged as a key component in the creative and entertainment companies, becoming a new and significant factor in industries, such as graphic novels, video games, movies, animation, as well as advertising and publishing.

For the last eleven years, D. Dominick Lombardi has been working obsessively on the series “Post Apocalyptic Tattoos.” It began in 1998 as many artists’ projects do--with doodles in a sketchbook.

Quickly, those doodles came to resemble characters-- and as Dominick fleshed them out, they soon demanded their own world. Over the next ten years, his project mushroomed to encompass drawings in charcoal and India ink; reverse Plexiglas paintings; silkscreen and woodcut prints; and sculptures and bas reliefs assembled from pigment and papier-mache applied over junkyard detritus. He has also generated countless working drawings made with ballpoint and felt-tip pen on scraps of paper, or graphite on newsprint. Lately, Dominick has been focusing more intensively on the creatures’ environment, exploring it in the series-within-a-series he calls Graffoos--graffitti paintings made on new and old canvases.

Creatively, the project was born one night as Dominick was worrying about the fate of the universe. Its mutant creatures embody his fears and hopes for a future world, distorted by pollution, transgenic mutation, and apocalyptic events. These new people include Blue Boy, whose innards spill down his legs; his sweetheart, the rubbery-boned, turquoise-lipped Twister; Big Foot, who perambulates on a single massive foot; and Clown, who dies early on in the story from an enlarged hair follicle on his tongue. Central to the tale is the unseen Tattoo Artist, a character who chronicles his world by producing all these drawings, paintings, and sculptures.

“Are you the Tattoo Artist?” I asked Dominick once. “No,” he said. “I’m the vehicle for the Tattoo Artist who’s sending these images to me.”

Yet despite all this impending gloom and doom, Dominick’s characters pursue their distorted lives with so much spirit and joie de vivre that their universe never seems bleak. And Dominick himself has pursued the project with a zeal, intensity, and joy in craftsmanship that suggests life is truly worth living.

- Carol Kino


Return to Post Apocalyptic Tattoo: D. Dominick Lombardi’s Dark Vision Information Page

Return to Exhibit Archives

Biographies of the Curators of Polaridad Complementaria: Recent Works from Cuba

(Return to exhibit page)


Margarita Sánchez Prieto

(b. Havana City, 1953)

Margarita Sánchez Prieto. the co-curator of Polaridad Complementaria, is a researcher and art critic for the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam in Havana. Previously she served as curator for the Havana Biennial and for cultural institutions and universities in the Netherlands, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Venezuela, Paraguay and Canada, as well as the University of Havana. She has authored for catalogues and art magazines and has lectured on contemporary Latin American art in Cuba and abroad. She is the author of the anthology Visión del arte latinoamericano en la década de 1980 (Vision of Latin America Art in the ’80s) and of its foreword which was published by UNESCO in Lima, Perú. In 2001, she was awarded a Rockefeller scholarship for the research project Identidades en Tránsito: ante la globalización (Identities in Transit: In Face of the Globalization). Born in Havana, Prieto has juried exhibitions sponsored by the National Council of Visual Arts of the Ministry of Culture in Cuba and received the National Prize for Curatorship from the 2000 Havana Biennial.  She has a Bachelor in Art History from the University of Havana, 1976.


Jorge Fernández Torres

(b. La Habana, 1965)

Jorges Fernández Torres, the curator of Polaridad Complementaria, is the Director of the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam and the Havana Biennial, where he also works as an art critic. He is a past member of the Commission for Cuban Cultural Development of UNESCO and served on the Advisory Council for the Arts of the National Library of Cuba from 2000-2001. From 1998-2008 he was Vice Rector of the Higher Institute of Arts in Havana. Torres has curated and authored catalogues for numerous exhibitions in Cuba and abroad. Among his curatorial projects are El lugar construido (The Constructed Place), Scholtter Foundation in Altea, Alicante, Spain, 2005; Three Cuban Artists, Alicante, Spain, in 2006 and 2007; Cuban selection of Imágenes multimedias de un mundo complejo. Visiones a ambos lados del Atlántico (International Video Art) organized by Granada University, Contemporary Art Centre of Sevilla, Recoleta Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires, Mytho Gallery, Mexico D.F. and Ludwig Foundation and French Alliance in Havana. A Cuban native has a Bachelor in Art History from the University of Havana, 1990, and currently serves as professor of contemporary art at the Higher Institute of Arts and lectures internationally.

Pattern, Power, Chaos and Quiet

Curated by D. Dominick Lombardi
Organized by Katharine T. Carter & Associates

February 22-March 29, 2018 (We apologize that the original closing date of March 31 was pushed ahead. This is because HCC will be closed on March 30th and March 31st in observance of Easter weekend.)

Pattern, Power, Chaos and Quiet

Nature-Inspired Exhibit Opens at Housatonic Museum of Art On February 22, 5:30 pm until 7:00 pm in the Burt Chernow Galleries

Eight artists will be featured in the show: Gloria Garfinkel, Brenda Giegrich, Sandra Gottlieb, Nolan Preece, John Lyon Paul, Mark Sharp, Susan Sommer and Martin Weinstein. The works take nature as its subject, and through a prism of personal, political or technological concerns, each artist strives to portray the very essence of nature.

Click here for the slideshow.

Click here to download a PDF of the catalog.

Click here to download the essay.

Click here for a recent review of the exhibit.

LeWitt Exhibition Opens in Burt Chernow Galleries

The elegant work of minimalist-conceptualist artist Sol LeWitt will be exhibited in the Burt Chernow Galleries of the Housatonic Museum from Thursday, January 21 through Friday, February 19, 1998

100 Cubes by Sol LeWitt

LeWitt is considered an innovator in the field of contemporary art. His work, included in major museums and collections throughout the world, and his writings continue to have significant influence on the work of conceptual artists.

Robbin Zella, director of the Housatonic Museum, says, "Conceptual art declares that the idea rather than the art is significant. The concept in the artist's mind is, essentially, more important than the object itself."

The exhibit at the Burt Chernow Galleries will feature drawings, prints and structures. The prints and drawings included in the exhibit are geometric forms which the artist explores again through structures. Zella says, "(the structures) use mathematics and logical progressions as a way of formulating arrangements."<

LeWitt was born in Hartford in 1928. He was an architectural draftsman and later taught at the Museum of Modern Art School, Cooper Union, and at New York University.

The Housatonic Museum is at Housatonic Community College, 900 Lafayette Blvd., Bridgeport, CT. The Burt Chernow Galleries are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Thursday until 7 p.m., and on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For further information, call Robbin Zella 203-332-5052.

Personal Affects:
The Wishbone Project / The Pillow Project

June Ahrens

November 6 and continues through December 23, 1999


Provocative. That's the word that I hope comes to mind when people explain my work. I strive to create work that questions borders, unlocks stereotypes and stimulates thought.

photo of the Wishbone ProjectArtistically, I transform discarded objects to create a visual language that evokes the experiences of impermanence and loss, fragility and vulnerability, pain and most of all, healing and survival. This work has evolved from my experiences with the homeless and other marginalized communities.

Whether I use pieces of soap, dirty pillows, discarded furniture, latex or gauze, the tension between self and other is always present. The work is based on an awareness that tactile material, especially those with a previous life, can provide a visceral response. It is about isolating these materials to refocus the viewers' attention toward exploring and examining their own thoughts and feelings.

I feel I must step out of the comfort zone, out of the walls of my studio where I have some measure of control, to create individual pieces, installations or collaborations that involve other people. The involvement may be indirect because someone has given me materials, or direct, because others participate in my workshops to make objects that help form the whole.Photo of the Pillow Project

My hope is that the viewer can experience a connection, a recognition, a reawakening. I've been told that the response is unexpected, that it sneaks up on the viewer willing to look beyond the surface.

What is my attraction to everyday materials that people have used and would otherwise throw away? Why do I solicit the work of others? They come to me as gifts, as intimate extensions of their daily experiences. I then integrate these fragments, and somehow the imprint of each person, the exchange of feeling, thought and idea, becomes an unseen force in my work.


Multi-generation Collaborative

HCC's Early Childhood Laboratory School participated in a project in collaboration with senior citizens to create "wishbones" of their own.

ECLS students making wishbones

Student wishbones on exhibit

Defining Space, Producing History

"Producing Histories: African Art In The Housatonic Museum Of Art Collection" is an exhibition curated by Lyneise Williams, Ph.D. candidate at Yale University who specializes in African Art and the Art of the African Diaspora.

This exhibition opens September 3 and continues through October 29, 1999.

Symposium: Saturday September 18, 10:30 am
Lyneise Williams, moderator and discussant, Christa Clarke, Christopher B. Steiner, Omaa Chukwurah-Orezabo, Tim Barringer, Obiora Udechukwu

Storytelling: Saturday, October 9, 12-1 pm
Omaa Chukwurah-Orezabo and Raouf Mama,
Raouf Mama,Ph.D., professor of African Literature at Eastern Connecticut State University, will be telling stories and doing a "Meet the Author" book
signing of his new book on African folk tales.

Curatorial Talk: Monday, October 18, 12-1 pm In "Producing Histories: African Art In The Housatonic Museum Of Art Collection," Lyneise Williams explores the multiple histories attached to African art objects by those who construct those histories: the maker of the object, local tradesmen, collectors, dealers and tourists; museum professionals and academicians to name a few. These histories are further defined by the setting in which the objects themselves are encountered -- a living room, a public museum, and the usually restricted storage area. These spaces have been created and "displayed" in an effort to explore systems of presentation.

Producing Histories exhibit

Producing Histories Exhibit

According to curator Lyneise Williams, "African objects took the role of works of art in a domestic setting long before museums conferred on them aesthetic value. It seems appropriate that this exhibition should open with the private connection as the key site for the production of histories for African art." The histories produced in these settings, says Williams, where the collector lives, eats and sleeps creates a different relationship to the art -- it may serve as an artifact or merely a curiosity or conversation piece. No understanding of the work may be required or even wanted, nor will the absence of this formal knowledge interfere with the collector's personal enjoyment of the object.

Producing Histories Exhibit

By contrast, the second space is a formal museum installation with the objects placed in vitrines, replete with identifying labels and maps to educate the viewer about the object and the culture that produced it. This setting privileges the object by setting it apart in a variety of ways, including placing it on a pedestal and utilizing special lighting techniques. In other words, Williams creates a space the viewer expects to encounter designed for the purpose of imparting specialized knowledge.

The third gallery recreates a storage space usually "off-limits" to the casual museum-goer. Entry into private storage areas is reserved for visiting scholars, curators and museum staff. And though access is restricted, works themselves are not necessarily treated with the same degree of care and concern that is shown in the public museum space. Rather than being kept in vitrines, works may be rolled, boxed, or stacked thus de-emphasizing the preciousness "exhibited" in the museum space. Williams shows us through this ingenious installation how each one of these locations demands a different type of relationship to the object.

Collectors of African artifacts have been important producers of histories that in turn shape perceptions of what we think we know as African art. Lyneise Williams points out, "As we work towards a greater understanding of our relationship with African art, collectors, collections and institutions will figure prominently as producers of a range of histories. Each of these histories bears some level of 'truth', but as I have worked to demonstrate, any such claim to 'truth' can be contested. If there can be no simple meaning of African objects, there are, nonetheless, many valuable insights to be gained and generated in the complex journeys."

Thomas Rose

July 10 Through August 20, 1999

Garden Gate by Thomas Rose

INSTALLATION ARTIST, TOM ROSE EXPLORES THE CONCEPTUAL
AND THE SENSUAL IN 'ASH GARDEN'

"Ash Garden," an exhibition by renowned American sculptor Tom Rose, is at the Housatonic Museum of Art from July 10 th through August 20 th. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Rose is best known both for his installation art, as well as his sculptures, which use everyday materials including glass, wood, galvanized steel, stone and water. These materials, which may be carved, etched, painted or stained, are combined to create for the viewer a space that recalls specific experiences.

" Ash Garden" includes sketches, drawings and models of his larger installations. These installations use videos, music, and sculpture to create meditative spaces, that join the conceptual with the sensuous," according to Housatonic Museum Director Robbin Zella.

"His work asks viewers to become active participants in the artistic process by bringing their personal lives and emotional experiences with them

when viewing the works. Thus each viewer will react individually to the various elements of the work.

Rose, a professor at the University of Minnesota has created pieces such as "Searching for the Spiritual" and "Body of Water: Fourth Elegy" which are mediations inspired by the death of his parents.

He described the inspiration for "Searching" by saying, "I set out to examine the experience of people as they individually experienced the death of their father."

He combined video tapes of individuals with inserts from the texts of autopsy reports. "When cut into the narrative, it [the autopsy report] constructs a parallel narrative to that which is being given by the speaker. It is the space between these narratives - that shadow - what I believe in and is most interesting to me."

Also, the artist has given an outdoor sculpture titled "Garden Gate" to the Museum that will remain on permanent display in the courtyard.

Rose is represented in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Minnesota Museum of Art, Minneapolis Museum of Art, the University of Minnesota, the University of New Mexico, San Francisco Arts Commission as well as in many private and corporate collections.

He has exhibited widely including regular exhibitions in New York City at the Steinbaum Krauss Gallery and the Rosa Esman Gallery, the University of Minnesota, St. John's College {Collegeville, Minn.), East Carolina University (Greenville, N. Car.), and galleries in Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, and elsewhere.

Rose has been commissioned to create works for the Minnesota Zoological Garden, Hennepin Center for the Arts (Minneapolis), and Sacred Heart University among others.

He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois and his masters in fine arts from the University of California at Berkeley.

Edgar and Toby Buonagurio:
Opulence Against The Grain

Grotto 2 by Edgar Buonagurio

Whispering to Butterflies by Toby Buonagurio

PRILLA SMITH BRACKET
Remnants: Ancient Forests & City Trees

image of piece titled "Remnants: Big Red Reserve"

Remnants: Big Red Reserve, 1997-1998
Acrylic on collaged paper and oil on canvas
42 x 120"

November 9, 2000 - January 12, 2001

Opening Reception Friday, November 10, 2000 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Lecture: 7:30 pm Friday, November 10, 2000
Bob Leverett, Sierra Club Author will discuss the complex ecosystems of forests which are intrinsically connected to climatic stability and biological diversity, the controversies over their protection and the consequences of forest destruction.

Galley of works, click on one to see a larger view...

seriesimageimageimage

Installation images, click on one to see larger view...

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BUILDING ON A LEGACY: RECENT GIFTS 1997 - 2000

BUILDING ON A LEGACY
RECENT GIFTS 1997 - 2000

The Housatonic Museum of Art was born from the vision of Burt Chernow. An art history professor at the College, Chernow was a collector and enthusiast of art of all kinds. It was Chernow's belief that art should be seen and appreciated by all. To this end he began what is now the vast HMA collection, over 4000 works donated to the museum to provide art as a setting and resource to the public, and most specifically to the students of Housatonic Community College.

The Collection continues to grow and expand under the direction of Robbin Zella. In 2000 Ms. Zella curated an exhibit of the recent gifts to the collection. The works of many artists were displayed and can be seen here. Enter the gallery of "Building on a Legacy"...

Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation
Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation
Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation
Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation
Building on a Legacy Installation Building on a Legacy Installation

JONATHAN TALBOT / COLLAGE PAINTINGS / 1980-2000

MAY 19TH - JULY 19TH, 2000

Gallery view
View of the exhibition from the front door of the Bert Chernow Gallery.
Photo: Paul Mutino

(Right) Jonathan Talbot and Housatonic Museum Director Robbin Zella discuss the installation of the exhibit
Photo: Susan Greene

(Below) "TEMPLE," one of the larger works in the exhibition, measures 32 " x 52"
Photo: Paul Mutino
"TEMPLE," one of the larger works in the exhibition, measures 32 " x 52" Photo: Paul Mutino

J. Talbot and Robbin Zella
(Right) Another view of the exhibit
Photo: Paul Mutino
gallery view
Talbot giving lecture in Gallery (Left) During a lecture demonstration at the museum Jonathan removes one of the works from the wall to make a point.
Photo: Leslie Mueller

Other Works in the Exhibition

CUADRO FLAMENCO, Photo: The Artist
"CUADRO FLAMENCO"
Photo: The Artist
ALL THAT JAZZ;, Photo: Paul Mutino
"ALL THAT JAZZ"
Photo: Paul Mutino

To reach Jonathan Talbot's Website Click Here

PAST IMPERFECT: New Work by Deborah Muirhead

Art Inspired by Findings from African Burial Grounds
on View at Housatonic

Deborah Muirhead has created provocative paintings, drawings and books inspired by the 1991 excavation of the African Burial Grounds in lower Manhattan. These works will be on view in The Burt Chernow Galleries at Housatonic Community College from March 4 through April 15, 2000.

Libby by Deborah Muirhead
Libby, Oil on Canvas 72" x 120", 1998

The exhibition, Past Imperfect: Recovering and Reinterpreting History, represents Muirhead's attempt to trace, define and ultimately recover the past of a people brought to America in bondage and excluded from the historical record. The work presented confronts issues of race, gender and class oppression. It is a form of resistance against the messages of "otherness" still prevalent is our society.

Muirhead is an African-American woman descended from enslaved persons. She uses a variety of media, including texts from 19th century books to construct identities and recapture voices once silenced by oppression and slavery.

The Burt Chernow Galleries are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Thursday until 7 p.m. On Saturday the Galleries are open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information, call (203) 332-5052.

FLUIDITY AND FANTASY Paintings by Susan Sharp

FLUIDITY AND FANTASY"Orbit" by Susan Sharp

Paintings by Susan Sharp
In the Burt Chernow Galleries

November 17, 2001 through January 18th, 2002

Opening Reception November 17th, 3pm - 5pm

Catalog Essay by Donald Kuspit

Evolution: From Figuration to Abstraction
Gallery Talk with the Artist
Wednesday, December 5th, 12pm - 1pm

The artist's web site can be found at www.susansharp.net

Gallery during exhibition

Installation of the Susan Sharp exhibit in the Burt Chernow Galleries.

More Installation Photos...

Image Gallery...

Fluidity and Fantasy: Susan Sharp's Abstract Paintings

By Donald Kuspit

Susan Sharp's abstract paintings are saturated with an indwelling luminosity on which intricately meandering lines spin themselves out, often composing themselves into free-form planes that seem to throb with a life of their own. As Merge, Lumin, Double Reveal and Orbit (all 2001) indicate, there is a very organic, spontaneous look to Sharp's paintings, suggesting her roots in classical biomorphic vision and her mastery of expressionistic process. In fact, the restless, forceful movement of her gestures emotionally engages us, all the more so because they perpetually change direction, as though uncertain of their purpose. We are, indeed, in an "internal world," which is where Sharp wants to be- a world rich with seductive color as well as impulsive movement, that is, a world libidinously and aggressively alive. In such dense works as Desire, Surge, and Internal Logic (all 1999), there is a surfeit of primordial emotion that rebounds back on itself. The sense of entanglement-of a bizarre Gordian knot of forms, colors, and lines all implicated in each other-stamps Sharp's abstractions with uncanniness. She in effect conveys, in abstract terms, the unresolvable tension in herself, which threatens to tear her apart even as it is the source of her creativity. The convulsive beauty of Sharp's paintings suggests that they are abstractly surreal, in line with Andre Breton's assertion that beauty is always convulsive, especially modern beauty.

But this beauty is not entirely personal-not only expressive of the convulsions of inner life, but, paradoxically, also of social convulsion, more particularly the convulsion of the Holocaust, as Shoah I and Shoah II (both 2001) indicate. There are not many paintings that are pure in the Greenbergian sense--that are committed to the medium as the be-all and the end-all of art-- that can at the same time convey the suffering of the Shoah. And convey it with epigrammatic abstract brevity. The grim black shape in Shoah II-its zigzag evokes a figure, and I can't help but hallucinate a face in its center-epitomizes the agony of the Shoah, while the weirdly ecstatic agitation of Shoah I conveys its violence. In The Beginning (2001) seems related. It is as though the death involved in the Shoah returns us to the beginning of life-demands that we re-affirm our faith in genesis and the life force. In a sense, all of Sharp's abstractions are about elemental germination-a Random Act (2001), as one of her paintings suggests, that occurs at an unpredictable moment. Sharp captures this moment again and again. It gives her paintings emotional as well as aesthetic life. It may be that such a horrendous event as the Shoah can only be suggested by the opposite that evokes it. It is also so humanly awful that it is best conveyed abstractly, for all that remains of it is its emotional effect. Our own feelings about it are all that can bring us near to it, now that it is history, and Sharp's pictures are full of intense, complicated, self-dramatizing feelings.

Love is also emotionally exciting and self-dramatizing, as Sharp's refreshingly abstract Kiss (2001), suggests. I don't know any other "representation" of a kiss like it. It is certainly a long way from those Klimt and Brancusi, as well as Hollywood. Sharp's daring work seems like a summary of all her ideas: the impassioned merger of forms that nentheless remain at odds with one another--that pull apart even as they hold together, tenuously. Sharp's forms meet at a tangent even as they sometimes overlap in grim interplay, as occurs between the black and the brown in the lower left quadrant. For all the abstract fluidity of Kiss, there is a sense of fantasy about the work, as though it was the image of an event that is being dissected before our eyes. Clearly it is about the emotions aroused by a passionate kiss, but they look like the painterly tissue left after the bodies involved have been dissected.

Sharp can paint both thickly and thinly, as the difference between Breathless and Crossing Over (both 1999) on the one hand, and Untitled #3 and #4 (both 2000) on the other, indicate. She is a master of surface, using acrylic, gouache, and graphite among other materials, as well as a variety of printing techniques, including rubbings and transfers. Collage also plays a role in her respect for the medium, however, fraught it is with personal meaning. Again, we come back to Sharp's enjoyment of her medium-her deft way of handling it, sometimes with swashbuckling energy, sometimes with delicate finesse. In The Bone (2000) is an ingenious fusion of both modes. It is a masterpiece of eccentric transformation, with one gesture unlike it yet derived from it, and a mass of gestures that seem to implode. The work has an air of "fragility" and "impermanence", to use Sharp's words, but also of power and durability. However unstable and erratic they seem, the gestures are made too firmly to be erased.

FLUIDITY AND FANTASY - Gallery

Paintings by Susan Sharp
In the Burt Chernow Galleries

November 17, 2001 through January 18th, 2002

Click on image to see larger view...

Merge by Susan Sharp

MERGE
oil on canvas; 68" x 76" x 3"; 2001

In the Bone by Susan Sharp

IN THE BONE
oil and collage on canvas; 68" x 74" x 3"; 2000

Double Reveal by Susan Sharp

DOUBLE REVEAL
oil on canvas; 75" x 68" x 3"; 2001

Orbit by Susan Sharp

ORBIT
oil and collage on canvas; 50" x 50" x 3"; 2001

Malkhut by Susan Sharp

MALKHUT
oil and collage on canvas; 66" x 75"; 2000

Kiss by Susan Sharp

KISS
oil on canvas; 46" x 46" x 3"; quartet; 2001

Aleph by Susan Sharp

ALEPH
oil on steel panel; 46" x 47"; 2000

Seal by Susan Sharp

SEAL
oil on steel panel; 47" x 47" 2000

Evolution by Susan Sharp

EVOLUTION
oil on canvas ; 60" x 96"; 2001

Lumin by Susan Sharp

LUMIN
oil on canvas; 75" x 68" x 4"; 2001

See installation photos from the exhibit...

Exhibit Home

Innocence of Vision A 25 year retrospective of Kathy Jakobsen, American folk artist, 2001

Innocence of Vision

A 25 year retrospective of Kathy Jakobsen, American folk artist, author, and illustrator.

September 6 - November 9, 2001

SPECIAL EVENTS

Saturday, September 29, 1-2 p.m.
THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND . . . stories and slide show by Nora Guthrie and Kathy Jakobsen

Monday, October 8, 12:30 p.m.
LECTURE: PICTURE-BOOKS: READING BOOKS, READING WORDS
Dr. Ruth Macdonald, Academic Dean Housatonic Community College, specialist in children's literature

Also of Interest...

painting titled MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE by Kathy Jakobsen

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade"
by Kathy Jakobsen, 1988
From the collection of Victor and Susan Neiderhoffer

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Cover of the book "Meet me in the Magic Kingdom"

Innocence of Vision

by Robbin Zella, HMA Director

Interest in American folk art emerged in the 1920s and, by the 1950s, culminated in the founding of museums devoted exclusively to collecting folk art. Three ground breaking exhibitions were mounted in succession by leading folk art scholar Holger Cahill: American Primitive, 1930-1931 and American Folk Sculpture, 1931-32 held at the Newark Museum in New Jersey, and American Folk Art: Art of the Common Man in America 1750-1900 held in 1932 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. These shows were the first comprehensive exhibitions devoted entirely to painting, sculpture, crafts and the decorative arts, awakening a new appreciation for American hand-crafts and art created by untrained artists.

With the advancement of the industrial age and the production of mass-produced objects, nostalgia for simpler times emerged as did a passion for collecting folk art. Artists, like Charles Sheeler and William Zorach, admired American folk art for its simplicity and bold design which, in turn, underscored their own modernist aesthetic values captured neatly by the phrase "less is more."

Today, contemporary folk art, that is, work produced after 1900, splinters into a variation of styles including Art Brut, Art Singulier, Visionary art, Intuitive Art, Outsider Art, and Naïve Art. All except Naïve Art are styles that refer to a wider practice of a much more personal or eccentric kind of art. What distinguishes the Naïve artist from the other practices mentioned above is that the Naïve artist is consciously trying to reach or create an audience for the work whereas the other artists generally eschew exhibiting work publicly. Naïve art is also characterized by the depiction of highly detailed and realistic scenes of animals, people, places and events.

Clearly identified with the Naïve style, Kathy Jakobsen's paintings are abuzz with activity. Vibrant and brilliantly colored, her images radiate with the hustle and bustle of contemporary urban and suburban American life. In My New York, Jakobsen perfectly captures the frenzied motion and ceaseless activity that is Manhattan. She leads us on tour of all her favorite places: The Empire State Building, the famed toy store FAO Schwarz, Chinatown, the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, The Plaza Hotel and Central Park and several of the city's greatest museums. There's plenty to do and see. And just as you begin to believe you've seen it all, out the window of the Market Diner you catch sight of elephants marching down 8th Avenue! Jakobsen shows us that anything is possible in New York.

 Meet Me In The Magic Kingdom is Jakobsen's homage to an altogether different kind of mega-entertainment center. The fireworks, costumes, parades, rides and attractions are all here. Again, she successfully conveys the wonder and excitement that every child (and adult) feels upon entering the Magic Kingdom. It is that sense of amazement that is at the very heart of the Disney experience and Jakobsen is a master at translating that message through paint.

Through the use of pattern, repeating forms, and rhythmic line she illustrates an idealistic vision of contemporary American life and creates a wonderful positive feeling about each place-- urban, suburban or rural. A sunny cheerfulness infects every inch of her canvases making her hopefulness contagious. In fact, Kathy Jakobsen's greatest gift just may be her marvelous optimism, her amazing ability to see the world with a humble heart and an innocence of vision.

Robbin Zella
Director
July 11, 2001

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Grand Canyon

Kathy Jakobsen: An Artist of the People

By Dr. Ruth MacDonald

Any reader of Kathy Jakobsen’s books can see that the pictures are the most important part of her work; the words and stories are second, except when she is the illustrator of someone else’s words, as she is in the Johnny Appleseed and This Land is Your Land volumes. She joins a distinguished crowd of successful children’s picture-book writers in starting with the illustrations: Maurice Sendak’s early career as a window dresser and illustrator of other people’s books is well documented. Chris van Allsburg [Jumanji and Polar Express] and David Macauley [Cathedral; Subway; Unbuilding] are both award-winning author-illustrators who began their careers with the illustrations, and were artists before they were authors.

What sets Jakobsen apart from these ‘grandfathers’ in children’s literature is the issue of training. Sendak is self-taught in the history of illustration, with little formal education in art, but with much study and grounding in other illustrators and artists. Macauley and van Allsburg are both professors at the Rhode Island School of Design, both having thoroughly immersed themselves in the technique and history of art; for both of them, writing and illustrating children’s books was a sideline that gradually became a major part of their professional lives.

For Jakobsen, the path to the art has been natural and tutored only by occasional study. Her style is called folk because that has been a major influence on her work—the ways of the American people, not the professional artist. If she has taken on similarities with other artists and writers of children’s books, the influence has been not because of studied flattery but rather because of natural affinity. When I first saw her books, starting with My New York, I was reminded of Dr. Seuss’s To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street [1937], as the book progresses each page becomes fuller and grander and noisier whereby at the conclusion of the story, the narrator’s imagination has filled a two-page spread with every character in a parade. In this same way, Jakobsen’s New York City is filled with people, buildings, and stars in the sky.

Listening to Jakobsen describe her illustrations, you realize that the work is highly personal, her family friends and acquaintances are included as are the legendary. For example, in View from the Pierre Hotel, 5th Avenue featured on the cover of My New York, celebrities such as Dr. Ruth Westheimer and former New York City Mayor Ed Koch make cameo appearances as do her own three children and strawberry blonde cat, Speedy. The people she knows and loves are always present in the pictures, illustrating the text. These are very personal books, drawn from personal experience and they depict only the kinder, gentler, sweeter side of life. References to the techniques of the greatest great masters such as Vermeer or DaVinci are not relevant.

This level of small detail, of people doing something that a child might recognize, is a technique also used in the Richard Scarry books for very young readers, such as his Busy World series. The comparison to the Where’s Waldo books has already been made by Frank Rich in a New York Times review. Everyone who knows about the presence of Jakobsen’s family and cat will be on the lookout for them on every page. No ‘reading’ of her individual illustration will be complete without siting these personal details.

And it is this level of detail, of people, buildings, and landscape, that gives Jakobsen’s books a sense of stillness and peace in the midst of extreme activity. The hard outlines of all her drawings nail the figure to the page and freeze it for close inspection. The page may be filled with all the bustling in the world—there’s a reason that New York is called the City that Never Sleeps—but the overall effect of Jakobsen’s rendering is peacefulness, calmness, of each person and figure doing what it needs to without being disruptive. Even the noisiness of a Disney World is calmed by the detail and arrangement of all the figures. Each element of every building recalls Macauley’s books about architecture, especially Cathedral and Skyscraper. But Jakobsen draws the buildings not so much for their architecture as for the enormity of their mass and for remembrance of them, especially in her illustrations of buildings of earlier times.

What Jakobsen has done in her large page is to borrow a technique of small book illustrators, like Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit books. While each Jakobsen illustration is a whole, each part functions like a separate small page, drawing the reader in to observe it closely and carefully, as if each part were a small study in nature. This is a tactic that slows the reader down and draws the reader into the page, again reinforcing that peacefulness in the midst of bustle. The framing of the page with the tramp art borders of quilts, in Johnny Appleseed and This Land Is Your Land, further still the page and make the eye examine it in reflective tranquility.

Like Dr. Seuss, who was also not trained as an artist, Jakobsen has remarkable human forms, remarkable because of their lack of likeness to real people or other creatures seen in life. Imagine the Cat in the Hat with real joints, elbows and knees that have to work as they would in real life; this same untrained approach to drawing applies to Jakobsen, whose people walk and fill up the page, but who don’t seem to bend normally. Neither artist could do a real nude, though such illustrations are rarely called for in children’s books.

Unlike Dr. Seuss, Jakobsen can draw buildings and landscapes with remarkable precision and detail. In fact, it is these landscapes and cityscapes—and even seascapes-- that are the most memorable features of her works for children. Mostly folk artists take on rural scenes, and Jakobsen is adept at that. In fact, her use of the page that is much wider than tall in Johnny Appleseed, and the rolling landscape of the upper midwest recall Wanda Gag’s Millions of Cats. Gag pioneered this short, wide page in her own folktale, about the rolling hills of Minnesota; the same shape of hill is evident in Jakobsen’s Ohio hills in Johnny Appleseed, as well as in van Allsburg’s The Stranger, who is Jack Frost.

Where Jakobsen really challenges children’s illustration is in her book Meet Me In The Magic Kingdom. Of all the scenes in a child’ s life that have already been illustrated, photographed, and popularized, the view of the castle in the midst of Fantasy Land is surely one of the most widely known. It has been handled by Disney illustrators, animators, and imagineers for half a century that it has become an icon.

And yet Jakobsen takes it on, and makes it her own. The daily parade through Disney World becomes a tapestry not so much of Disney’s commercial tie-ins and incredible floats, but of American life and a combination of small town parade with kid fantasy. This is the small town Fourth of July parade of the nineteenth century detailed with elegance and dignity, rather than garish commerciality. Even Tomorrowland, that monument to the future and American inventiveness, has a quaint feeling to it because of the hard edges and unusual proportions. The illustrations look more like the Jettsons’ world, with 1950s quaintness, than the futuristic, well-groomed landscape that a real visitor sees. Jakobsen triumphs in capturing the fireworks display so frequent at Disney World. The display is captured with the static intricacy of needlework, rather than with pyrotechnic movement. Again, the result is pure Americana. Even the palette, emphasizing red, white, and blue, rather than Disney’s hot fantasy colors, underscores this message.

The sunny optimism of Jakobsen’s works for children contrasts directly with much of children’s literature in the late twentieth century. The realism of that genre of children’s literature that one wag called “my sister, the promiscuous drug-dealing anorexic” is nowhere present in Jakobsen. American accomplishment, the clean, crime-free world of a Disney World is as evident in that locale as in the streets of New York, at least according to Jakobsen’s rendition of them. This kind of cheery optimism has not been popular at the turn of this millennium, though it was much more in evidence at the turn of the 20th century, and in the children’s books of the 1950s.

World problems simply do not intrude themselves into her books, except at the end of This Land Is Your Land, where Woody Guthrie’s vision of a new world where there is enough for everyone, and no one is left behind is portrayed through community-based organizations to help the drug addict and the street person. While this kind of historicity is unusual in a Jakobsen book, it is absolutely true to Guthrie’s criticism of the culture of the 1930s. Being accurate in these details is part of the Jakobsen technique, and she could hardly have ignored Guthrie’s social criticism. In fact, the last few pages of this book are devoted to Guthrie’s biography, along with photographs to support the story. In this remarkable book, Jakobsen makes a transition from personal illustration to historian, committed to transmitting through her work the vision of another artist.

The labels of naive and primitive get attached to folk artists in a negative way. I’d prefer to think of Jakobsen as an artist of the people, from the people, for the people.

Dr. Ruth MacDonald
Academic Dean
July 6, 2001

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The Books of Kathy Jakobsen, published by Little, Brown & Company

cover of "Johnny Appleseed", Lyrics by Woody Guthrie, Illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen

Lyrics by Woody Guthrie
Illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen

cover of "Meet Me In the Magic Kingdom", Written and Illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen

Written and Illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen

cover of "My New York", Written and Illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen

Written and Illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen

cover of "This land is Your Land", By Reeve Lindbergh, Illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen

By Reeve Lindbergh
Illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen

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Kathy Jakobsen, Innocence of Vision

The following images may be clicked on to open a larger view of the image...

Images of New York City...
Barosaurus, American Museum of Natural History, 1992

Barosaurus, American Museum of Natural History, 1992

Chinatown, 1991

Chinatown, 1991

G.E. Building, Day

G.E. Building, Day
(not exhibited in show)

FAO Schwarz, 1992

FAO Schwarz, 1992

Christmas Tree At Rockefeller Center, New York, 1999

Christmas Tree At Rockefeller Center, New York, 1999

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1988

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1988

Flatiron Building, Autumn N.Y.C, 1996

Flatiron Building, Autumn N.Y.C, 1996

Plaza & Park, 2001

Plaza & Park, 2001

View from the 86th Floor, Empire State Building, 1992

View from the 86th Floor,
Empire State Building,
1992

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001

From Meet Me in the Magic Kingdom...
Spectro Magic Parade, 1994

Spectro Magic Parade, 1994

Pirates of the Caribbean, 1994

Pirates of the Caribbean, 1994

Mickey Mania Parade, 1994

Mickey Mania Parade, 1994

Other images...
San Francisco, 1997

San Francisco, 1997

This Land Is Your Land, Coney Island Scene, 1997

This Land Is Your Land, Coney Island Scene, 1997

Nankin Mills, 1985

Nankin Mills, 1985

Westport Main Street, 1998

Westport Main Street, 1998

Home for the Holiday, 1995

Home for the Holiday, 1995

Ecce Homo

Paintings by Chawky Frenn

June 8 through July 20, 2001

Chawky Frenn is a Lebanese-American artist whose powerful figurative work was influenced by his earlier life in his war-ravaged homeland, represents his continuing "struggle to find meaning in a world filled with suffering and triumph, good and evil, growth and deterioration."

A Catalog of his work is available through the Housatonic Museum of Art. To inquire email Robbin Zella at

National Interests Versus Human Rights, November 1993, Oil on PanelWhere Image Meets Reality, August 1996, 32 x 24 inches, Oil on Panel

Alberta Cifolelli

Fertile Ways

Brightness falls from the air
............................– Thomas Nashe

November 21, 2002 through January 10, 2003

Opening Reception:
2:00 - 4:00 pm, Saturday, November 23, 2002

Lunch and Lecture:
12 noon, Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Foreword
by Robbin Zella, Director

The Brightening of the Spirit in the Art of Alberta Cifolelli
by Mark Daniel Cohen

About the Artist

All art by Alberta Cifolelli is ©Alberta Cifolelli/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. No part of this publication may be duplicated without the written permission of the Artist and The Housatonic Museum of Art except for brief quotations and reproduction for the purpose of reviews and promotional materials.

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