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Paper + People is a blog about the Smith College Museum of Art’s collection of over 18,000 prints, drawings, and photographs. Here you will find a diverse array of posts written by museum staff, students, scholars, and other paper enthusiasts about anything pertaining to the collection.

Any works you see featured here are available to view by appointment.

  • Thursday, February 25, 2016

    To Know Ourselves: Exploring the Work of Black Artists in SCMA's Collection

    Saar, Alison. American (1956–). Topsy-Turvy. 1999. Sculpture; wood painted red and black with plaster, metal and cloth. Purchased with the Janet Wright Ketcham, class of 1953, Acquisition Fund and the Kathleen Compton Sherrerd, class of 1954, Fund for American Art.

    This Saturday, Beryl Ford '17 will be giving a gallery talk at the museum titled "To Know Ourselves: Exploring the Work of Black Artists in SCMA's Collection". What is especially exciting about this is that Beryl is our Student Picks curator for April! Her exhibition in the Cunningham Center is April 1 from 1-4 PM, and will examine similar themes of Black identity through photography. I highly encourage those who can to come to both Beryl's talk this weekend and her Student Picks Show!

     

    Lovell, Whitfield. American (1959–). Temptation. 2000. Sculpture; charcoal on wood, four frames with glass, chair and metal hook. Purchased with the Hillyer-Tryon-Mather Fund.

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  • Thursday, February 18, 2016

    Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

    Aldius Manutius and Francesco Colonna. Triumph of Leda, from Hyperotomachia Poliphili, 1499. Woodcut printed in black with text on paper. Purchased. SC 1950:34a,b

    During the Renaissance, scholars began to move away from basing academic theory on Christian theology, focusing instead on the rediscovery and analysis of classical texts.   The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (Poliphili’s Dream Strife of Love) was a text written in 1499 by Francesca Colonna, and was obviously influenced by this movement. It is one of the most elegant books of the time period, with an elaborate typeset page layout and 168 detailed woodcut illustrations.

    Detail of text

    Though it was written in Italian, a significant portion of it also used Latin and Greek grammar and vocabulary constructions. Poliphili, lover of all things, searches in his dreams for his love Polia—all things—through an increasingly bizarre series of classically-inspired landscapes. It is implied that Polia is meant to represent all of classical antiquity; something that we can experience through texts and images and imagination, but never truly fully experience. The woodcut illustrations depict images related to a number of ancient civilizations, with text in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, and ancient Egyptian.

    Detail of Triumph of Leda

    The page of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphiliin our collection is of the Triumph of Leda, part of a series depicting a parade of the lovers of Zeus. Accounts differ as to whether or not this seduction was willing, as female consent was not a particularly high priority in these kinds of narratives. However, this particular image shows Leda as exultant, embracing the swan on top of a chariot drawn by elephants, surrounded by a crowd of musicians and onlookers. It is intended to be a celebration of the power that love can hold over all beings—even gods.

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  • Thursday, February 4, 2016

    Student Picks: Time and Space

    Student Picks is a SCMA program in which Smith students organize their own one-day art show using our collection of works on paper. This month’s student curator and guest blogger Anna Saunders '17J  discusses her show "Workers in the Shadows: Portraits of Urban Life" which will be on view FRIDAY, February 5 from 12-4 PM in the Cunningham Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. We hope to see you there!

     

    Confused and contemplative, I don’t want to say America is at a crossroads with itself, but… it’s like we literally entered a new millennium. This exhibition loosely deals with American adolescence, of coming into a history with uncertain predictions of the future. A juxtaposition of isolated prints, this collection consists of portraits and still lifes that span that from roughly the Sixties to the early 2000s. 

    David Ricci, American, born 1952. Swan Hotel, Walt Disney World, 1991. Cibachrome. Gift of David Ricci. SC 1991:10

     

    Lauren Greenfield, American, born 1966. Jennifer Lopez in Versace at the VH1;Vogue Fashion Awards, New York, New York, 1998. Dye destruction print. Promised gift of Ann and Richard Solomon (Ann Weinbaum, class of 1959). SC TR 6977.37

    These photos represent my fascination with historical progression; the divergent subjects of these photos capture halted moments that are stalled within the context of time and space at which they were taken. 

    Martin Parr, English, born 1952. New Brighton, Merseyside from The Last Resort, ca. 1983-1986 negative; 2005 print. C-print. Purchased with the Josephine A. Stein, class of 1927, Fund in honor of the class of 1927. SC 2006:7

    I would like to thank the Cunningham Center for sponsoring such an incredible and unique opportunity. I would also like to thank Colleen McDermott for her help, support and patience.

    Sarah Malakoff, American, born 1972. Untitled Interior (blizzard), 2005. Digital C-Print. Purchased with the class of 1990 Art Fund. SC 2007:36

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