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Posts Tagged ‘Harvard’

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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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Between the paws of the six-story Great Sphinx in Giza, a slab of hieroglyphs tells the story of how King Thutmose IV dreamed his destiny.

The eight-foot Dream Stela was erected in 1401 B.C., 1,000 years after the Great Sphinx. Age has left the bottom third of the text unreadable.

Under the leadership of Harvard Semitic Museum curator Adam Aja, students created a reproduction of the monument, following a cast that dates to the 1840s. The work is now on display on the museum’s second floor. As an accompaniment, visitors can access an augmented-reality app that sheds light on the Sphinx throughout history.

Extension School student Caitlin Stone was one of 12 students who spent hours last fall poring over two molds Aja brought back from KU Leuven, a university in Belgium, which owns one of a group of mid-19th-century replicas.

“I just love casting,” said Stone, who is working on a master’s in museum studies. “It’s what got me interested in working with Adam. And the added element of the app is amazing in action.”

Aja concocted a blue urethane resin for his team to use in the project. The process demanded intense focus. Students from the College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Continuing Education had between seven and 10 minutes to “paint” the poured resin into the molds’ tiny crevices.

Aja reminded students to “even out.”

“We don’t want clear brushstrokes,” he said. “Curing time is 10 minutes from mixing time to application. After that, the veneer will layer thicker.”

Students work quickly to paint resin into molds made from a cast of the ancient Egyptian monument.

 

Idabelle Paterson, a gap-year student who will start at Harvard in the fall, worked on the project as part of a three-month internship with the museum.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn how the cast process works and it’s an interesting glimpse into what museum life is like. The fact that we are able to re-create what the stela really looks like is incredible. It’s an invaluable experience.”

Peter Der Manuelian, Philip J. King Professor of Egyptology and director of the museum, said that the sunk relief was a first for the exhibit spaces.

“We don’t have anything like this,” he said. “It grew out of Adam’s expertise in developing Mesopotamian resin relief casts. His thinking as both archaeologist and museum curator gave it the right balance. It has to catch the light to really show how impressive it was intended to look.”

The reproduction was installed in March. More than 300 students from Der Manuelian’s course “Pyramid Schemes: The Archaeological History of Ancient Egypt” tested the augmented reality app, which displays an overlay of clear hieroglyphs on the slab as well as translations of several sections.

When Kushi Mallikarjun ’19 clicked on the Sphinx icon, the towering creature appeared, visible in different eras (Old Kingdom, New Kingdom, and now) in 360 degrees.

“The Dream Stela and the augmented reality made me feel like I was actually traveling back thousands of years,” said Mallikarjun. “The fact that I could move the phone and see different parts of Giza made me feel present at the site. The augmented reality also provided a translation of the entire stela, which was really cool since normally I would have very little clue as to what it says. It was a great learning experience and makes the younger generation more interested in archaeology and ancient civilizations.”

 

 

 

Written By: Jill Radsken

Video by Kai-Jae Wang/Harvard Staff

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Human rights expert, former Law School dean, receives Harvard’s highest honor

Human rights expert Martha Minow, the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School and a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, has been named a University Professor, Harvard’s highest faculty honor.

Renowned human rights expert Martha Minow, the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School and a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, has been named a University Professor, Harvard’s highest faculty honor.

Minow, who was dean of Harvard Law School from 2009 to 2017, will begin her appointment as the 300th Anniversary University Professor on July 1.

Known for her wide-ranging intellectual curiosity and influential interdisciplinary scholarship, Minow has offered original ways to frame and reform the law’s treatment of racial and religious minorities as well as women, children, and persons with disabilities. She has taught and written about privatization, military justice, and ethnic and religious conflict, among other matters. Her work in constitutional law has addressed issues of equal protection, freedom of speech, the religion clauses, and federalism. Her current work focuses on whether and when legal systems and rules should promote forgiveness.

“Martha Minow is a scholar of extraordinary scope, imagination, and impact, whose wide-ranging work is anchored in a deep commitment to justice,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “Throughout her career, she has powerfully combined scholarship with service and education with inspiration. It is a special pleasure to recognize her with the 300th Anniversary University Professorship.”

John F. Manning, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (HLS), noted that “Martha Minow has been a transformative scholar across multiple fields and disciplines, a devoted and influential teacher, an innovative and impactful dean, and a tireless advocate for those in need of legal services.

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“I am delighted that the University has recognized her extraordinary contributions to Harvard and to the world by appointing her the 300th Anniversary University Professor,” said Manning.

Among Minow’s most influential works are two books, “Between Vengeance and Forgiveness,” which addresses legal and societal responses to mass violence, and “Making All the Difference,” which examines the legal treatment of group differences and identities in areas including race, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. She is frequently cited for her publications on the interpretation of rights, on the privatization of traditionally public services (such as prisons, schools, and police), on the influences of social history on family law, and on violence within families and between groups.

“It is an honor to teach and study at this extraordinary University, as it was to serve as dean of the Law School under President Faust’s outstanding leadership,” said Minow, who also was a fellow last year at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. “And now, this recognition moves me to work even harder to try to advance justice with every possible tool. This new appointment provides energizing encouragement as I return to the classroom after a wondrous, boundary-crossing year with generous colleagues at the Radcliffe Institute. I am particularly humbled to follow Laurel Ulrich and Derek Bok, whose works exemplify imagination, rigor, and conscience. I will work hard to be worthy of the great traditions and aspirations of Harvard and the project of using reason to advance understanding, opportunity, fairness, and peace.”

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A recipient of nine honorary degrees, Minow received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan (1975), a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1976), and a law degree from Yale Law School (1979), where she was an editor (1977–78) and then the articles and book reviews editor (1978‒79) of the Yale Law Journal. Following law school, she was a clerk to Judge David Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1979–80) and Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court (1980–81).

A highly regarded and dedicated teacher who has taught more than 25 different courses, seminars, and reading groups at the Law School, she began her academic career there as an assistant professor of law in 1981. She was promoted to professor of law in 1986 and to a named professorship in 2003. She received HLS’ Sacks-Freund Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005, and chaired the HLS curricular review from 2003 to 2007. She holds an appointment as lecturer on education in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is a longtime senior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows.

As dean of the Faculty of Law from 2009 to 2017, she guided HLS through a time of strong faculty hiring, notable curricular and pedagogical innovation, significant expansion of the School’s clinical programs, growth in financial aid, emphasis on public service, enhancements of the physical plant, and careful financial management. She is past acting director of what is now the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, and was the inaugural chair of the Deans Steering Committee of the Association of American Law Schools from 2013 to 2015. She has delivered more than 75 major lectures in this nation and abroad on topics ranging from religion, medicine, and law to genocide and mass violence, from the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education to access to justice.

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Besides Minow’s scholarship, teaching, and service to Harvard, she is highly active in service to the legal profession and the broader community. Since 2010 she has been vice chair of the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation, the largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans, and previously served on the Boston Bar Association Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts. She serves on the boards or advisory councils of such diverse organizations as the Advantage Testing Foundation, the American Bar Association Center for Innovation, CBS, the MacArthur Foundation, the MIT Media Lab, the Russell Sage Foundation, and WGBH.

The University Professorships were established in 1935 to recognize individuals whose work on the frontiers of knowledge crossed the traditional boundaries of academic disciplines. University Professors can teach and pursue research at any of Harvard’s Schools.

Minow will occupy the University Professorship held since 2006 by the American historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who will retire on June 30. Prior incumbents include President Emeritus Derek Bok.

 

Photo by Ken Richardson

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