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Over the past several years, Harvard Art Museums has acquired hundreds of printer’s proofs of work by celebrated artists, photojournalists, and fashion photographers, in a boon for Harvard holdings of contemporary art. Some of that rich collection is now on display.

“Analog Culture: Printer’s Proofs from the Schneider/Erdman Photography Lab, 1981–2001” features approximately 90 black-and-white images from the Manhattan lab of Gary Schneider, an artist, photographer, and master printer, and John Erdman, an artist and expert retoucher.

On view through Aug. 12, the exhibit explores the dynamic exchange between artist and printer, the methods and materials used in printmaking, and the social forces that helped shape New York and the nation in the 1980s and ’90s. (The lab closed in 2001.)

“For me that range is what really makes the collection significant,” said the show’s curator, Jennifer Quick, Harvard’s John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Associate Research Curator in Photography. “It’s the granular, material history of photography, and the big broader social histories that it documents.”

 

David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Buffalo), 1988–89.

“Untitled (Buffalo),” David Wojnarowicz, 1988–89, printed 1992.  © The Estate of David Wojnarowicz

One of the most haunting images on display is a photograph printed for the American artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz, who died from the disease in 1992 at the age of 37. For many, Wojnarowicz’s shot of buffalo plunging off a cliff — a picture of a diorama he snapped at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington — reflected not just the horror of the AIDS crisis but also the nation’s early apathy toward victims of the disease. The band U2 used the picture as cover art for the single “One,” donating sales to AIDS research.

In an interview, Schneider, a filmmaker and photographer by training, said that the choice of a “very bright” French paper called Brilliant helped render Wojnarowicz’s image “holographic.”

Becoming a printer was a natural progression for Schneider, who took a job in a photo lab to help him get through grad school at the Pratt Institute in the late 1970s and soon fell in love with darkroom work. Later, at the urging of a friend, he and Erdman, his partner, began printing works for other artists in their apartment in St. Mark’s Place. The spare bedroom doubled as a darkroom; the living room quickly filled with racks of drying prints. Eventually they moved to a studio in Cooper Square.

Gary Schneider and John Erdman at Harvard Art Museums exhibit.

Gary Schneider (left) and John Erdman with some of their iconic prints on view at Harvard Art Museums through Aug. 12.  Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

 

Erdman managed the books, but as the business grew, he also developed into a skilled retoucher. The shop became a regular stop for a who’s who of the East Village art scene. Famed portrait photographer Richard Avedon enlisted Schneider and Erdman to print a set of Beatles images. Madonna sought their expertise for her “Sex” coffee table book, a project that involved nondisclosure agreements and a range of creative voices. Nan Goldin, Peter Hujar, Lisette Model, and James Casebere, among many other noted artists, were regulars.

 

Peter Hujar, John Erdman and Gary Schneider at Mohonk Mountain House, 1984.

Peter Hujar, John Erdman, and Gary Schneider at Mohonk Mountain House, 1984, printed 2013.  © Peter Hujar Archive

 

Through the years, Schneider’s own gift with the camera helped inform how he translated an artist’s negative to a finished print. He likened his work to a kind of performance in which he channeled the ideas of others, using his experience and creative eye to develop options for clients whom he insisted arrive prepared.

“If they didn’t have a vision for the work I wasn’t going to create one for them,” he said. “I couldn’t.”

What he could do was deliver “a number of choices or alternatives,” by selecting the right combinations of paper, ink, toner, and developer, and by deciding how long to expose a work to enhance shadows or highlights.

“Even when I am dealing with a student, it’s their voice that I am looking to reveal to them,” said Schneider. “With an artist, it’s their desire that I’m searching for.”

The printing process is about “how far can I actually catalyze that artist’s voice or that artist’s desire rather than my own,” he said.

 

Lisette Model, Fashion Show, Hotel Pierre, 1940–46, printed 1982.
Nan Goldin, Naomi in the audience, Boston, 1973, printed 1990–91.

“Fashion Show, Hotel Pierre,” Lisette Model, 1940–46, printed 1982; “Naomi in the audience, Boston,” Nan Goldin, 1973, printed 1990–91.  © The Lisette Model Estate/Bruce Silverstein Gallery; © Nan Goldin

Peter Hujar, Will, 1985, printed 1987.

“Will,” Peter Hujar, 1985, printed 1987. © Peter Hujar Archive

Archival material, books, and an Irene Bayer photo from Schneider and Erdman’s personal collection are part of the exhibit, along with key darkroom items such as test prints, a light valve technology negative, and “masks” — material used to cover an area of a print to limit its exposure time. All help shine a light on Schneider and Erdman’s process.

Ensuring the collection would be housed at an institution devoted to teaching and learning was key for the pair, who led various demonstrations and discussions with Harvard students in the months before the exhibition.

“We always viewed the collection as a study collection,” said Erdman, who accompanied Schneider to Harvard in 2004 for the installation of “Gary Schneider: Portraits.”

It was during that visit that they were struck by the Fogg Art Museum’s Agnes Mongan Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, and its commitment to teaching. “We fantasized about [our collection] coming here,” said Erdman.

 

 

Written By: Colleen Walsh

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At the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center, grades 1, 4 and 7 from the Private Dutchess Day School created beautiful and extraordinarily elaborate Mexican Skulls and Skeletons for all to view.

Dia de los Muertos, which means Day of the Dead is an interesting Holiday celebrated in Central and Southern Mexico. The tradition honors the dead and celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties and activities the Dead enjoyed in life.

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Alison Rowland, the beloved Art Teacher at Dutchess Day School presented a lavish collection made by her students, under her talented and inspirational eye the children’s imaginations were free to soar with endless creativity exuding all the marvelous colors and textures that so capture the Mexican tradition of the celebrated Holiday.

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Hudson Heinemann and Derrick Rosse, both 4th graders displayed unique originality in their Skelton figures. “I really enjoyed making these clay skeletons and learning about this festive Holiday, there is so much to learn from other cultures. Ms. Rowland is an amazing Art Teacher and I look forward to all the Art Projects we participate in.” said Hudson Heinemann.

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Scholars trace the origins of the Modern Mexican Holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec Festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The Holiday has spread throughout the world, being absorbed within other deep traditions for honoring the dead. It has become a National Symbol and as such is taught for educational purposes in the Nations Schools. Many families celebrate “All Saints Day” associated with the Catholic Church.

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Delicious Pan de Muerto was served at the Exhibition, which is a sweetened soft bread shaped like a bun then decorated with bone shaped phalanges pieces and topped with sugar.

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A truly delightful Holiday!!

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Master Artist Eduardo Salazar is a world renowned portrait painter, art teacher and connoisseur. His works are held in both private and public collections and I have had a professional relationship with him for the last eighteen years.

His talent is extraordinary and his ability to capture the artistic representation of his subject on canvas remarkable.

There is no better way to document history in the making than with a piece of art that can be handed down from generation to generation and preserving memories.

 

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Michelle-Marie Heinemann

Hudson Cornelius Heinemann #2

Hudson Cornelius Heinemann

Hudson Cornelius Heinemann #3

Hudson Cornelius Heinemann

Jon and Michelle-Marie Heinemann #4

Jon and Michelle-Marie Heinemann

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Jon and Michelle-Marie Heinemann

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Jon and Michelle-Marie Heinemann

There is no better way to document history in the making than with a piece of art that can be handed down from generation to generation and preserving memories.

Mother and Daughter.......sm

Mother and Daughter

 

I encourage everyone to have their portrait painted at least once in their lifetime as the experience is extremely rewarding and leaves a wonderful legacy.

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Ron BurkhardtPhilanthropist and Artist Ron Burkhardt is the genius behind The Notism Movement. A method of painting that exhalts the Beauty of Memory and is symbolic of primal loss; the fading reality of nature’s perfection.

The hieroglyphic scribbles and scrawls in his work manifest in a unique pictorial language that reflects urgent efforts to preserve our personal histories and rapidly fleeting histories.

I first met Ron at a luncheon given by a mutual friend at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. We immediately bonded over art and our common interest in various charities.

Throughout the history of the world, important needs have been filled by volunteers, people working for the common good of others. These individuals are essential to the well being of people everywhere. Ron is a wonderful example of this. His charities that he is involved with include: South Hampton Hospital, Project Angel Food, Eisenhower Medical Center, Children’s Cancer and Blood Foundation, Children’s Development Center of the Hampton’s, and African Child Foundation.

Giving back to the community is very important to Ron as he has made it a priority to help those around him and positively impact those in need providing a renewed sense of hope.

My family and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to his Art Studio. The view from his work space overlooks Lake Worth and manicured Versailles styled gardens in Palm Beach, the perfect inspiration for his recently created “letterscape” masterpieces.

My son Hudson immediately selected his favorite as did my daughter Hyacinth. For me, it was somewhat difficult as there were several paintings that I fell completely in love with.

Ron has received over 200 awards for creative excellence and his work has been honored by The United Nations, Palm Springs International Film Festival, and Hollywood International Broadcast awards to name a few.

Each day I am moved and inspired by the generosity and creativity of people like Ron Burkhardt who genuinely want to leverage their wealth for the common good.

Michelle-Marie Heinemann & Ron Burkhardt

Ron Burkhardt with Hudson Heinemann and Hyacinth Heinemann

Ron Burkhardt with Hudson and Hyacinth Heinemann

Ron Burkhardt Art

Artwork – Ron Burkhardt

Michelle-Marie Heinemann & Ron Burkhardt

Michelle-Marie Heinemann & Ron Burkhardt

Ron Burkhardt Art

Artwork – Ron Burkhardt

RonBurkhardt.com >>