VISUAL RESOURCES: An International Journal of Documentation, V 25, # 4 (Dec 2009)

SPECIAL ISSUE: Digital Crossroads: New Directions in 3D Architectural Modeling in the Humanities, edited by Arne R. Flaten and Alyson A. Gill

Contents after the jump!
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UCSD’s Stuart Collection aims to add a new work to its acclaimed assemblage of art by ‘the best and the brightest’

A rendering shows Do-Ho Suh's "Fallen Star," a house to be built and perched over the edge of the Irwin and Joan Jacobs School of Engineering Building at UCSD.

A rendering shows Do-Ho Suh’s “Fallen Star,” a house to be built and perched over the edge of the Irwin and Joan Jacobs School of Engineering Building at UCSD.

Mary Beebe, who has been director of the internationally acclaimed Stuart Collection at UCSD almost since its inception, recalls why she decided to take the position back in 1981:

“I thought: this is a job where there is no excuse to fail. It was a job where anything was possible.”

Even a house built on top of a building.

Looking toward the 30th anniversary of the collection next year, Beebe is raising money and awareness to install Korean-American Do-Ho Suh’s “Fallen Star” as the collection’s 18th work. It would consist of a modest suburban-style home with landscaping on the rooftop of a parapet that is part of a building in the campus’s engineering school. Suh is on campus this week to work on details of the proposal and speak to an invited audience at UCSD’s faculty club.

When Beebe began her tenure nearly 30 years ago, the prevailing idea for a predominantly outdoor university collection, much like elsewhere, was the sculpture garden. Lots of museums have them; UCLA has a major one. But the concept at UCSD was to commission original works of art, not acquire existing ones. And that meant Beebe, with the help of an accomplished advisory board, could do something new: invite artists and let them imagine what they would do, in response to chosen locales on campus.

Of course, none of this would have transpired without James Stuart DeSilva, an art collector who shared his idea of a public collection with the assistant chancellor, the late Patrick Ledden, in 1979. He helped DeSilva bring the idea to Chancellor Richard Atkinson, with the help of artist and faculty member Newton Harrison, and the rest is fortunate history. The collection was officially established in 1981. (DeSilva passed away in 2002.)

Beebe and the advisory board had a relatively straightforward criteria for choosing artists.

“We wanted artists who are the best and the brightest, just as in every other field at the university — though, of course, not all of the best and brightest necessarily were a fit with working in this way.”

Still, the university has proved to be accepting and fertile ground for an impressive range of artists who fit this billing, from William Wegman, best known for his witty videos and photographs starring a succession of Weimaraners, to Tim Hawkinson, whose sculptures often involve mechanically ingenious components.

Of course, creativity exercised in public has its limits. When Bruce Nauman conceived what is arguably one of the great works in the collection, “Vices and Virtues” (1988), he thought of its 7-foot-high letters in neon sitting atop the La Jolla Playhouse. But when residents of nearby homes objected to the site, the piece was relocated to a different building on the interior of the campus.

A change of structure, thankfully, didn’t diminish the sheer audacity of the piece. And audaciousness is a quality one can associate with other works in the Stuart Collection, such as Alexis Smith’s “Snake Path” (1992), with its 560-foot-long tile path to and from the Geisel Library, and Hawkinson’s “Bear” (2005), standing nearly 24 feet high and consisting of boulders weighing 360,000 pounds.

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Sad News. RIP Jeanne-Claude

I fear he may be like a man with no arms now–they were such an amazing team. Although this gives me hope: “Whether executed in oil drum or brightly colored fabric, the art of her and her husband, Jeanne-Claude said, expressed “ the quality of love and tenderness that we human beings have for what does not last.”

From the NYT Online

Jeanne-Claude, Artist who, with Christo, wrapped objects large and small, is dead at 74


By WILLIAM GRIMESJeanne-Claude, with Christo and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the opening of Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times Jeanne-Claude, with Christo and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the opening of “The Gates” in February, 2005

Update | 12:59 p.m. Jeanne-Claude, who collaborated with her husband, Christo, on dozens of environmental arts projects, notably the wrapping of the Pont Neuf in Paris and the Reichstag in Berlin, and the installation of 7,503 vinyl gates with saffron-colored nylon panels in Central Park, died on Wednesday in Manhattan, where she lived. She was 74.

The cause was complications of a brain aneurysm, her family told The Associated Press.

Jeanne-Claude met her husband, Christo Javacheff, in Paris in 1958. At the time, Christo, a Bulgarian refugee, was already wrapping small objects. Three years later, they collaborated on their first work, a temporary installation on the Cologne docks that consisted of oil drums and rolls of industrial paper wrapped in tarpaulin.

To avoid confusing dealers and the public, and to establish an artistic brand, they used only Christo’s name. In 1994 they retroactively applied the joint name “Christo and Jeanne-Claude” to all outdoor works and large-scale temporary indoor installations. Indoor work was credited to Christo alone.
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Roger Reynolds Appointed University Professor

From the Office Of The Chancellor-

Roger Reynolds, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and professor of music at UC San Diego, has been appointed University Professor by the University of California Board of Regents.
Reynolds is only the 36th UC faculty member since 1960 to be honored with the title – and the first artist.

The designation, the highest honor that can be bestowed on UC faculty, is reserved for scholars of international distinction who are recognized and respected as teachers of exceptional ability. The purpose of the University Professorship is to recognize throughout the UC system the special talents of outstanding scholars and teachers.

Reynolds joined the UCSD Department of Music in 1969. He became founding director of the Center for Music Experiment (now called the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts, or CRCA), UC’s oldest Organized Research Unit in the arts, in 1972. Reynolds was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1989 for “Whispers Out of Time.” He is credited with being the second experimentalist, after Charles Ives in 1947, to win the prestigious prize. Reynolds is a prolific composer – with an orchestral catalog numbering some 100 compositions. His music incorporates elements of theater, literary texts, digital signal processing, dance, video and real-time computer spatialization, which moves counterpoints of sound around the listener, as well as the perspectives of experimental psychology. His work with spatialization of sounds began in 1961-2 with his renowned music-theater piece “The Emperor of Ice Cream,” on a text by Wallace Stevens.
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Dave Kesner! Emmy Winner!

The Arts Library’s own Dave Kesner won an Emmy! Read all about it here!
(That’s him all the way on the left)

New UCSD Music Center

We here at the Arts Library are pretty excited about the new Prebys Music Center here on campus. Read all about it Here!
UC San Diego faculty, staff and students are invited to join in the dedication of the Conrad Prebys Music Center this Friday, May 8, from 5:00-5:30 p.m. The ceremony will take place in front of the building on Russell Lane. If you plan to attend, please email your RSVP to sofian@ucsd.edu, and include your name, institutional affiliation and email address.

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YouTube, and Now The Smithsonian Do Too

FROM The LOC Blog: Posted / April 7th, 2009 / Matt Raymond

Well, this is a day that has been a long time in coming. The Library of Congress has been working for several months now so that we could “do YouTube right.” When you’re the stewards of the world’s largest collection of audiovisual materials … nothing less would be expected of you, and our own YouTube channel has now gone public.

We are starting with more than 70 videos, arranged in the following playlists: 2008 National Book Festival author presentations, the Books and Beyond author series, Journeys and Crossings (a series of curator discussions), “Westinghouse” industrial films from 1904 [snip], scholar discussions from the John W. Kluge Center, and the earliest movies made by Thomas Edison, including the first moving image ever mad (curiously enough, a sneeze by a man named Fred Ott).
But this is just the beginning. We have made a conscious decision that we’re not just going to upload a bunch of videos and then walk away. As with our popular Flickr pilot project, we intend to keep uploading additional content.

Not so incidentally, all of the videos we post on YouTube will also be available at LOC.gov … [and] on American Memory … .
Library of Congress YouTube Playlist

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RIP Pirkle Jones, California Photographer

From the LA Times Online
Pirkle Jones, a California photographer admired for his stirring images of migrant workers, endangered landscapes and social movements, including a controversial series on the Black Panthers at the height of their activism in the late 1960s, died March 15 in San Rafael. He was 95.

The cause was heart failure, said his assistant, Jennifer McFarland.

Jones’ artistic sensibility was formed during a golden era in the history of photography in the West, when he joined the first class taught by Ansel Adams at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) in 1946.

His work over the next seven decades blended “the two strands of what California photography at a certain time was — the strand typified by Ansel Adams and the strand typified by Dorothea Lange. . . . But his work was more overtly political,” said Tim Wride, who curated a major Jones retrospective at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 2001 and wrote an essay for a book published the same year, “Pirkle Jones: California Photographs.”

Jones’ photographs had technical mastery and visual crispness reminiscent of Adams but also a strong sense of social purpose that made him a kindred spirit to Lange, the legendary Depression-era documentary photographer.

His best-known work includes a collaboration with Lange called “The Death of a Valley 1956,” which portrayed the Berryessa Valley in Napa County during the year before completion of the Monticello Dam that flooded the valley; “Walnut Grove 1961,” a series Jones shot with his wife, Ruth-Marion Baruch, which documents a dying Sacramento River town; and “Black Panthers 1968,” also in collaboration with Baruch, which caused a furor for its sympathetic view of the black power movement.
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Bacon World

Via Unusual Life

Looks pretty right?
Look a little closer… and read about it here.

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RIP Shigeo Fukuda

Via NYT online
Shigeo Fukuda, an influential Japanese graphic designer who was known for acerbic antiwar and environmental advocacy posters that distilled complex concepts into compelling images of logo-simplicity, died in Tokyo on Jan. 11. He was 76. The cause was a stroke, an article in the Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Daily reported.

Mr. Fukuda was expert at communicating messages using minimal graphic means. Although he admired Japanese woodblock traditions, his spare style was universal, his symbolism bridging cultural divides.
He was a popular figure among American designers. His book “Visual Illusion” (Rikuyosha Publishing, 1982) was a virtual textbook for designers in the United States.

Although he had some commercial clients, most of his work was for social and cultural concerns, like the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka, for which he designed the official poster. In Japan, poster design is not as aggressively sales oriented as it is in the West; rather, it is a form of cultural communication and often a vehicle for advocacy on political and social issues. In 1980, for example, Mr. Fukuda designed a poster for Amnesty International showing a drawing of a clenched fist interwoven with barbed wire.

And yet, in work reminiscent of the pictorial illusionist M. C. Escher’s, Mr. Fukuda often used humor as a tool. Many of his best-known designs are visual puns that evoke double readings. One is a widely reproduced satirical poster, “Victory 1945,” showing an airborne black artillery shell aimed directly at the opening of the cannon barrel from which it was shot.

During the 1960s Mr. Fukuda illustrated a column on visual magic in the Asahi newspaper called “Ryu Mita Ka?” (“Have You Seen the Dragon?”). He often used a comic conceit from an 1861 book “Faces of Five People Made to Look Like Ten,” where heads are turned topsy-turvy so that they read as faces upside down and right side up. “I believe that in design, 30 percent dignity, 20 percent beauty and 50 percent absurdity are necessary,” he once told the Japanese design magazine Idea. Read more…

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