Roy Rudolph DeCarava

Roy Rudolph DeCarava (December 9, 1919 – October 27, 2009) was an Jamaican American photographer. DeCarava and poet Langston Hughes collaborated on a notable 1955 book on life in Harlem, The Sweet Flypaper of Life. The subject of at least 15 solo exhibitions, DeCarava was known as the first African American photographer to win a Guggenheim Fellowship and was awarded a National Medal of Arts in 2006.

Roy DeCarava was born in Harlem in as the only child of Elfreda Ferguson, a Jamacian immigrant, who separated from DeCarava's father shortly after his birth. DeCarava lived in Harlem through many decades of important changes and development to the area. In DeCarava’s childhood, the Harlem Renaissance gave prominence to many black artists, musicians and writers. He was close to poet Langston Hughes, and would later publish a book with him titled, The Sweet Flypaper of Life, which chronicled the lives of Harlem residents.
To earn money, DeCarava began working at an early age. He continued to hold odd jobs throughout most of his career as a photographer. DeCarava graduated from Chelsea Vocational High School. Through diligence and hard work, he secured admission to The Cooper Union, but left after two years to attend classes at the Harlem Art Center.
Deciding early on that he wanted to be an artist, he began working as a painter and commercial illustrator, and many of his early photographs were meant only as reference for serigraph prints. He was drawn to photography by “the directness of the medium,” and soon found himself communicating the themes and ideas of his paintings photographically. In 1955, DeCarava opened A Photographer's Gallery, an important New York City gallery pioneering an effort to win recognition for photography as a fine art; the gallery remained open for over two years.
Many still regarded photography as a documentary medium, and as a result a great visual lexicon of photojournalism was created by so-called street photographers like Garry Winogrand and Helen Levitt. DeCarava, however, never considered himself of this tradition.
Rather his work hearkens to the intense visual imagery and tones that influenced him as an early painter and graphic artist. He cherished the people, places, and events in his pictures and early on developed the means to express his affection. He shoots using only ambient light, then prints so as to coax light expressively out of very dark images or, more rarely, to delineate darker detail in very light ones. The grays in his black-and-white pictures are velvety and warm--qualities he occasionally enhances by purposely shooting out of focus or exposing long enough to show movement.
The strong lines, extraordinarily rich tonality, and exploration of light in his work charge his photographs with earthy mystery, like a prime Rembrandt painting (Rembrandt was an early influence) or a late Michelangelo sculpture in which, because of the artist's rendering of light and mass, life seems to be springing off the canvas.
DeCarava worked for a time at Sports Illustrated magazine, but found it difficult to adjust his style and schedule to the constraints of commercial work. He did a series on the set of Requiem for a Heavyweight in 1962, which the director liked so much he bought nearly 200 prints. Despite his successes DeCarava felt very strongly about maintaining the artistic integrity of his images, and eventually gave up magazine and freelance work in order to take on a job teaching at Hunter College, where he was a distinguished member of the faculty. In 2006, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
He died on October 27, 2009.
Click the link below for Mac McAllister Journal-TRIBUTE TO AFRO-AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER ROY DECARAVA

Art Deco

Art Deco was a popular international art design movement from 1925 until the 1940s, affecting the decorative arts such as architecture, interior design, and industrial design, as well as the visual arts such as fashion, painting, the graphic arts, and film. At the time, this style was seen as elegant, glamorous, functional, and modern.

The movement was a mixture of many different styles and movements of the early 20th century, including Neoclassical, Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism, Art Nouveau, and Futurism. Its popularity peaked in Europe during the Roaring Twenties and continued strongly in the United States through the 1930s. Although many design movements have political or philosophical roots or intentions, Art Deco was purely decorative.

Art Deco experienced a decline in popularity during the late 30s and early 40s, and soon fell out of public favor. It experienced a resurgence with the popularization of graphic design in the 1980s. Art Deco had a profound influence on many later artistic movements, such as Memphis and Pop art. Surviving examples may still be seen in many different locations worldwide, in countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, Spain, Cuba, Indonesia, the Philippines, Argentina, Romania, Australia, New Zealand, India and Brazil. Many classic examples still exist in the form of architecture in many major cities. The Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, both in New York City, are two of the largest and best-known examples of the style.

After the Universal Exposition of 1900, various French artists formed an informal collective known as, La Société des artistes décorateurs (the society of the decorator artists). Founders included Hector Guimard, Eugène Grasset, Raoul Lachenal, Paul Follot, Maurice Dufrêne, and Emile Decour. These artists heavily influenced the principles of Art Deco as a whole.

This society's purpose was to demonstrate French decorative art's leading position and evolution internationally. They organized the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Art) in Paris, which would feature French art and business interests.

The terms Style Moderne and Art Deco both derive from the exposition's title, though Art Deco was not widely used until popularized by art historian Bevis Hillier's 1968 book Art Deco of the 20s and 30s.

In the summer of 1969, Hillier conceived organizing an exhibition called Art Deco at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which took place from July to September 1971. After this event, interest in Art Deco peaked with the publication of his 1971 book The World of Art Deco, a record of the exhibition.

The structure of Art Deco is based on mathematical geometric shapes. It was widely considered to be an eclectic form of elegant and stylish modernism, being influenced by a variety of sources. Among them were the so-called "primitive" arts of Africa, as well as historical styles such as Greco-Roman Classicism, and the art of Babylon, Assyria, Ancient Egypt, and Aztec Mexico.

Much of this could be attributed to the popular interest in archeology in the 1920's (e.g. Tomb of King Tutankhamun, Pompeii, the Lost City of Troy, etc). Art Deco also drew on Machine Age or streamline technology, such as modern aviation, electric lighting, the radio, the ocean liner and the skyscraper for inspiration.It is in streamline modern styles that this technology fully manifests itself and, although it is not antithetical to Art Deco, it is now considered to be a separate architectural style

Art Deco design influences were expressed in the crystalline and faceted forms of decorative Cubism and Futurism. Other popular themes in Art Deco were trapezoidal, zigzagged, geometric, and jumbled shapes, which can be seen in many early pieces. Two great examples of these themes and styles are in Detroit, Michigan: the Fisher Building and the Guardian Building.

Art Deco was an opulent style, and its lavishness is attributed to reaction to the forced austerity imposed by World War I. Its rich, festive character fitted it for "modern" contexts, including the Golden Gate Bridge, interiors of cinema theaters (a prime example being the Paramount Theater in Oakland, California) and ocean liners such as the Île de France, Queen Mary, and Normandie. Art Deco was employed extensively throughout the United States' train stations in the 1930s, designed to reflect the modernity and efficiency of the train. Art Deco made use of many distinctive styles, but one of the most significant of its features was its dependence upon a range of ornaments and motifs.The style is said to have reflected the tensions in the cultural politics of its day, with eclecticism having been one of its defining features.
In the words of Scott Fitzgerald, the distinctive style of Art Deco was shaped by 'all the nervous energy stored up and expended in the War'. Art Deco has been influenced in part by movements such as Cubism, Russian Constructivism and Italian Futurism, which 'are all evident in Art Deco decorative arts'

Art Deco is characterized by use of materials such as aluminium, stainless steel, lacquer and inlaid wood Exotic materials such as sharkskin (shagreen), and zebraskin were also in evidence. The bold use of stepped forms and sweeping curves (unlike the sinuous, natural curves of the Art Nouveau) chevron patterns, and the sunburst motif are typical of Art Deco. Some of these motifs were ubiquitous — for example, sunburst motifs were used in such varied contexts as ladies' shoes, radiator grilles, the auditorium of the Radio City Music Hall, and the spire of the Chrysler Building.

A parallel movement called Streamline Moderne, or simply Streamline, followed close behind. Streamline was influenced by the modern aerodynamic designs, including those emerging from advancing technologies in aviation, ballistics, and other fields requiring high velocity. The attractive shapes resulting from scientifically applied aerodynamic principles were enthusiastically adopted within Art Deco, applying streamlining techniques to other useful objects in everyday life, such as the automobile. Although the beauty of the functional design, not tacked on ornamentation, of the Chrysler Airflow design of 1933 was commercially unsuccessful, it provided the lead for more conservatively designed pseudo-streamlined vehicles.
Streamlining quickly influenced American and European automobile design and changed the look from the rectangular "horseless" carriages into sleek vehicles with sweeping lines, symmetry, and V-shapes that added to their mystique of speed and efficiency Nash Motors introduced the modern fully-unitized body (monocoque) design for the low-price market in 1941 that featured fastback “Slipstream” models with high prow-like hoods, and Art Deco "speed lines" in sweeping chrome grilles and parallel bar trim. These aerodynamic-looking designs were applied by automakers and continued to be popular in the sellers' market after World War II. These "streamlined" forms began to be used in the design of mundane and static objects such as pencil sharpeners, refrigerators, and gas pumps

Art Deco celebrates the Machine Age through explicit use of man-made materials (particularly glass and stainless steel), symmetry, and repetition, modified by Asian influences such as the use of silks and Middle Eastern designs. It was strongly adopted in the United States during the Great Depression for its practicality and simplicity, while still portraying a reminder of better times and the "American Dream".

Art Deco slowly lost patronage in the West after reaching mass production, when it began to be derided as gaudy and presenting a false image of luxury. Eventually, the style was cut short by the austerities of World War II. Before destruction in World War II, Manila possessed many Art Deco buildings; a legacy of the American colonial past. A resurgence of interest in Art Deco came first in the 1960s, and then again in the 1980s with the growing interest in graphic design, where its association with film noir and 1930s glamour led to its use in advertisements for jewelry and fashion.

Some of the finest surviving examples of Art Deco art and architecture are found in Cuba, especially in Havana. The Bacardi Building is noted for its particular style, which echoes the classic themes of Art Deco. The style is expressed in the architecture of residences, businesses, hotels, and many pieces of decorative art, furniture, and utensils in public buildings, as well as in private homes.

Another country with many examples of rich Art Deco architecture is Brazil, especially in Goiânia and cities like Cipó (Bahia), Iraí (Rio Grande do Sul) and Rio de Janeiro, especially in Copacabana. Also in the Brazilian Northeast — notably in countryside cities, such as Campina Grande in the state of Paraiba — there is a noticeable group of Art Deco buildings, which has been called “Sertanejo Art Deco” because of its peculiar architectural features. The reason for the style being so widespread in Brazil is its coincidence with the fast growth and radical economic changes of the country during 1930-1940. Art deco buildings are also numerous in Montevideo, Uruguay, including the iconic Palacio Salvo, which was South America's tallest building when it was built in the late 1920s.

Fair_Park, located in Dallas, TX, stands as one of the largest collections of Art Deco structures. Much of the Art Deco heritage of Tulsa, Oklahoma remains from that city's oil boom days. Houston, Texas has some surviving buildings, such as the Houston City Hall, the JPMorgan Chase Building and the 1940 Air Terminal Museum, though many are threatened by modern development. In Beaumont, the Jefferson County Courthouse, built in 1931, is one of the few Art Deco buildings still standing.

Napier, New Zealand, was rebuilt in the Art Deco style after being largely razed by the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 3 February 1931. Although a few Art Deco buildings were replaced with contemporary structures during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, most of the centre remained intact for long enough to become recognized as architecturally unique, and from the 1990s onwards had been protected and restored. As of 2007, Napier has been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the first cultural site in New Zealand to be nominated

In London, the former Arsenal Stadium boasts the famous East Stand facade. It remains at the football club's old home at Highbury, London Borough of Islington, which was vacated in the summer of 2006. Opened in October 1936, the structure now has Grade II listed status and has been converted into flats. William Bennie, the man behind the project, famously used the Art Deco style in the final design which was seen as one of the most opulent and impressive stands in world football.

Mumbai has the second largest number of Art Deco buildings in the world after Miami

In China, at least sixty Art Deco buildings designed by Hungarian architect Laszlo Hudec survive in downtown Shanghai.

In Indonesia, the largest stock of Dutch East Indies era buildings are in the large cities of Java. Bandung is of particular note with one of the largest remaining collections of 1920s Art Deco buildings in the world, with the notable work of several Dutch architects and planners, including Albert Aalbers that added the expressionist architecture style to the Art Deco by designing the DENIS bank (1936) and renovated the Savoy Homann Hotel (1939), Thomas Karsten, Henri Maclaine-Pont, J Gerber and C.P.W. Schoemaker. The Nederlandsche Handel Maatschappij building (1929), now Museum Bank Mandiri, by J de Bryun, AP Smiths, and C Van de Linde, and right across it, the Jakarta Kota Station (1929) designed by Frans Johan Louwrens Ghijsels, are the surviving Art Deco buildings in Jakarta.

The Manila Metropolitan Theater located along P.Burgos Street in Manila is one of the few existing art deco buildings in the Philippines.

Valencia, Spain built profusely in Art Deco style during the period of economic bounty between wars in which Spain remained neutral. Particularly remarkable are the famous bath house Las Arenas, the building hosting the Rectorship of the University of Valencia and the cinemas Rialto (currently the Filmoteca de la Generalitat Valenciana), Capitol (reconverted into an office building) and Metropol.

Africa's most celebrated examples of art deco were built in Eritrea during Italian rule. Many buildings survive in Asmara, the capital, and elsewhere.

Finally, one of the most famous surviving examples of the Art Deco style is the famous RMS Queen Mary, which is currently moored in retirement in Long Beach, California as a floating museum and hotel, a true lasting reminder to the past glory of the once numerous trans-Atlantic ocean liners, and to the Art Deco period.

The distinctive style of Art Deco has been echoed in many similar movements since its early decline. Art Deco influenced later styles such as Memphis and the Pop art movement. It also had an effect on post modern architecture and styles, even through to the late 1970s.] Art Deco has also had a marked influence on contemporary design
During the 1930s, Art Deco had a noticeable influence on house design in the United Kingdom, as well as the design of various public buildings. Straight, white-rendered house frontages rising to flat roofs, sharply geometric door surrounds and tall windows, as well as convex curved metal corner windows, were all characteristic of that period

Click the link below for Art Deco - Treasures of The New York Public Library

Young Andy

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Suzanne Fiol, Avant-Garde Impresario

Click the link below for Way of the Word' at Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, on Oct 9 2009. Bob pays tribute to event co-curator Suzanne Fiol

Suzanne Fiol, an impresario of avant-garde culture in New York, who founded the performance space Issue Project Room and served as its artistic rudder, died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 49 and lived in Brooklyn.

The cause was cancer, said Sarah Garvey, a spokeswoman.Opened in 2003 in a former garage in the East Village, Issue Project Room quickly established a place in the small circuit of downtown clubs and makeshift theaters that specialize in the fringes of contemporary music, with performances by experimental, jazz and new-music regulars like Marc Ribot, Anthony Coleman and Elliott Sharp, as well as with literary readings and art exhibitions.

Ms. Fiol, a photographer and gallerist, opened it as an adjunct to the Issue Management photo agency, but she soon left that organization and dedicated herself to the performance space and its interdisciplinary approach. In an interview with Paper magazine in 2008, she recalled that as an undergraduate art student at Antioch College in Ohio, she decided, “I want to devote my life to experimental culture.”

Plenty of alternative arts spaces have difficulty keeping the doors open, and for its first several years Issue Project Room was no different, moving to two Brooklyn locations in the next four years as rents rose out of reach. Then, with pluck and help from corporate and government sources, Ms. Fiol found a prominent home and significant financing.

Last year she won a 20-year, rent-free lease at 110 Livingston Street in downtown Brooklyn, the former Board of Education building, whose residential developer was required to set aside space for cultural use. And in July, Issue Project Room received a $1.1 million grant from the discretionary funds of Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, for renovations. With the space’s new stability, Ms. Fiol was about to expand her staff and board — which includes the actor Steve Buscemi, the musician Tony Conrad and the visual artist Robert Longo — and begin to transform Issue Project Room into what she called “a Carnegie Hall for the avant-garde.” “We want to be an important space for music and film and literature and poetry and video and sound art,” she told The New York Times in July. “And a little bit of dance.”

The new Issue Project Room is scheduled to open in 2011. Until then it will continue to operate at its current space, at the Old American Can Factory, on Third Street near Third Avenue, in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn.Born in New York, Ms. Fiol attended Antioch and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago. Her photographs are in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum and other institutions, and in the 1980s and ’90s she worked at several New York art galleries, including Donald Wren, Marcuse Pfeifer and Brent Sikkema galleries.She is survived by a daughter, Sarah; a sister, Nancy Goldspink; and her parents, Arlene and Lawrence Perlstein.

Her marriage to Joaquin Fiol ended in divorce.Once plentiful in Lower Manhattan, alternative performance spaces like Issue Project Room began to vanish with rising real estate prices in the 1990s and 2000s, but Ms. Fiol said she thrived on the challenge of staying one step ahead of the real estate market.

Last year she learned she had lung cancer, which spread to her brain, but as recently as a few weeks ago she was still raising funds for Issue Project Room, friends said.“Everybody gets kicked out of their space, or they end up shutting down,” Ms. Fiol said. “But instead of getting all flipped out about that, I took the road of just finding a new space. And I’ve been really lucky.”

Dietrich von Bothmer, Curator and Art Historian, Dies at 90

New York Times


Published: October 15, 2009

Dietrich von Bothmer, who was regarded by art historians as the world’s leading expert on ancient Greek vases and who was a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for more than 60 years, died in Manhattan on Monday. He was 90 and lived in Manhattan and Oyster Bay, N.Y.The death was confirmed by his son, Bernard von Bothmer.

Dr. von Bothmer (pronounced BOAT-mare) made his reputation working with the legendary Sir John Beazley, his teacher at Oxford. Together, in an extraordinary display of research and connoisseurship, they identified the individual hands and workshops behind hundreds of Greek vases, transforming the understanding of ancient Greek art.

After taking up a curatorial post at the Met in 1946, Dr. von Bothmer continued this work of attribution, which he presented to the public in “The Amasis Painter and His World,” the first one-man show of an artist from the ancient world.

As the Met’s curator of Greek and Roman Art he acquired many of the museum’s most valuable works. One in particular, acquired in 1972, embroiled him in one of the Met’s longest-running disputes. With Thomas P. F. Hoving, then the Met’s director, he persuaded the museum’s board to pay $1 million for a Greek vase known as the Euphronios krater, named for its maker.
Evidence soon came to light suggesting that the vase had been looted from an Etruscan site just north of Rome, and for the next 30 years the Italian government campaigned for its return. After resisting for decades, the Met gave back the vase in January 2008.

“Dietrich von Bothmer was the greatest connoisseur of Greek art of his generation, and the most important and productive classical curator of the 20th century in the United States,” said Jasper Gaunt, the curator of Greek and Roman art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University. “He was an institution in his own right.”

Dietrich Felix von Bothmer was born on Oct. 26, 1918, in Eisenach, Germany and studied at the Friedrich Wilhelms University in Berlin. In 1938, after receiving the last Rhodes scholarship awarded in Germany, he went to Wadham College, Oxford, where he began collaborating on the attributive work that led to Beazley’s groundbreaking “Attic Red-Figure Vase-Painters” and “Attic Black-Figure Vase-Painters.”

After earning a degree in classical archaeology from Oxford in 1939, Dr. von Bothmer traveled to the United States to tour museums. With the outbreak of World War II, he found himself unable to return. He enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a doctorate in 1944.

He served with the Army in the South Pacific, where he received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for bravery after carrying a wounded soldier through enemy lines while wounded himself.
At the Met, where he began as a curatorial assistant in 1946, he was named curator in 1959, department chairman in 1973 and distinguished research curator in 1990.

Philippe de Montebello, the former director of the Met, said: “He added to the collection in a great many areas but most dynamically in Greek vases. The Met now has one of the world’s greatest collections.”

Dr. von Bothmer’s exhibitions at the museum included “Thracian Treasures From Bulgaria” (1977), “Greek Art of the Aegean Islands” (1979-80) and “The Search for Alexander” (1982-83). In 1999 the museum named its two main galleries of classical pottery the Bothmer Gallery I and Bothmer Gallery II in honor of Dr. von Bothmer and his wife, who endowed them.

The Euphronios krater placed Dr. von Bothmer at the center of a firestorm. The vase, used to mix wine and water for banquets, dated to the sixth century B.C. Restored from fragments, it was decorated with a scene of Athenian youths arming themselves for battle and an episode from the Trojan War showing Sarpedon, a son of Zeus, being lifted from the battlefield by the gods of sleep and death.

Dr. von Bothmer regarded the vase as the acquisition of a lifetime. To finance its purchase, the Met sold off most of its coin collection, provoking outrage among museum professionals and archaeologists. Dr. von Bothmer waved off criticism, saying he was only interested in the krater’s quality and genuineness. “Why can’t people look at it simply as archeologists do, as an art object?” he asked.

In 2006 the Met agreed to return the vase to Italy, with four other vessels and 15 pieces of Hellenistic silver, in return for the long-term loan of other classical antiquities.

In 1966 Dr. von Bothmer married Joyce Blaffer de la Bégassière. In addition to his son, Bernard, of San Francisco, she survives him, along with a daughter, Maria Elizabeth Villalba of Manhattan; three step-daughters, Marisol Bocly of Rougemont, Switzerland, Jacqueline Younes of Cairo and Diane de la Bégassière of Palm Beach, Fla.; five grandchildren; and five step-grandchildren. The eminent Egyptologist Bernard V. Bothmer, his brother, died in 1993.

Dr. von Bothmer began teaching at the Institute of Fine Arts in Manhattan in 1965. His many works on Greek art include “Amazons in Greek Art” (1957), “Ancient Art From New York Private Collections” (1961) “An Inquiry Into the Forgery of the Etruscan Terracotta Warriors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art” (1961) and “The Amasis Painter and His World: Vase-Painting in Sixth-Century B.C. Athens” (1985).

Dr. von Bothmer roamed the world in search of ancient vases and works of sculpture, taking detailed photographs as he went, amassing an enormous archive that he kept in file cabinets and, to an astonishing degree, retained as mental images.

“He was one of the few people who could look at a fragment of a vase and realize, by consulting his limitless memory, that it belonged to a vase in the Louvre,” said Jody Maxmin, a professor of art history and classics at Stanford University. “Then he’d buy it and donate it. The world of vases, for him, was an infinite, never-finished jigsaw puzzle.”

Nancy Spero

Nancy Spero (August 24, 1926 – October 18, 2009) was an American artist. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she had long been based in New York City. She was married to and collaborated with artist Leon Golub (1922–2004).

As both artist and activist, Nancy Spero’s career has spanned fifty years. Her continuous engagement with contemporary political, social, and cultural concerns is renowned. She has chronicled wars and apocalyptic violence as well as articulating visions of ecstatic rebirth and the celebratory cycles of life. Her complex network of collective and individual voices was a catalyst for the creation of her figurative lexicon representing women from prehistory to the present in such epic-scale paintings and collage on paper as Torture of Women (1976), Notes in Time on Women (1979) and The First Language (1981).

Spero was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1926, but a year later her family moved to Chicago, where she grew up. After graduating from New Trier High School, she studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, graduating in 1949. Among Spero’s peers at the Art Institute was a young GI who had returned from service in World War II, Leon Golub. After her graduation from the Art Institute Spero continued to study painting in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and at the Atelier of Andre Lhote, an early Cubist painter, teacher and critic. Soon after her return to the United States in 1950, she married the painter Leon Golub, and the two artists settled in Chicago.

From 1956 to 1957, Spero and Golub lived and painted in Italy, while raising their two sons. Spero and Golub were equally committed to exploring a modernist representation of the human form, with its narratives and art historical resonances, even as Abstract Expressionism was becoming the dominant idiom. In Florence and Ischia that Spero became intrigued by the format, style and mood of Etruscan and Roman frescoes and sarcophagi which would influence her later work.
Finding a more varied, inclusive and international atmosphere in Europe than in the New York artworld of the time, Spero and her family moved to Paris, living there from 1959 to 1964. Spero’s third son was born in Paris, and the artist had major solo exhibitions in Paris at Galerie Breteau in 1962, 1964, and 1968. During this period, Spero painted a series titled Black Paintings depicting mythic themes such as mothers and children, lovers, prostitutes and hybrid, human-animal forms.
Spero and Golub returned to New York in 1964, where the couple remained to live and work. The Vietnam War was raging and the Civil Rights Movement was exploding. Affected by images of the war broadcast nightly on television and the unrest and violence evident in the streets, Spero began her War Series (1966-70). These small gouache and inks on paper, executed rapidly, represented the obscenity and destruction of war. The War Series is among the most sustained and powerful group of works in the genre of history painting that condemns war and its real and lasting consequences.
An activist and early feminist, Spero was a member of the Art Workers Coalition (1968-69), Women Artists in Revolution (1969), and in 1972 she was a founding member of the first women’s cooperative gallery, A.I.R. (Artists in Residence) in SoHo. It was during this period that Spero completed her "Artaud Paintings" (1969-70), finding her artistic "voice" and developing her signature scroll paintings: Codex Artaud (1971-1972). Uniting text and image, printed on long scrolls of paper, glued end-to-end and tacked on the walls of A.I.R., Spero violated the formal presentation, choice of valued medium and scale of framed paintings. Although her collaged and painted scrolls were Homeric in both scope and depth, the artist shunned the grandiose in content as well as style, relying instead on intimacy and immediacy, while also revealing the continuum of shocking political realities underlying enduring myths.
In 1974, Spero chose to focus on themes involving women and their representation in various cultures; her Torture in Chile (1974) and the long scroll, Torture of Women (1976, 20 inches x 125 feet), interweave oral testimonies with images of women throughout history, linking the contemporary governmental brutality of Latin American dictatorships (from Amnesty International reports) with the historical repression of women. Spero re-presented previously obscured women’s histories, cultural mythology, and literary references with her expressive figuration.
Developing a pictographic language of body gestures and motion, a bodily hieroglyphics, Spero reconstructed the diversity of representations of women from pre-history to the present. From 1976 through 1979, she researched and worked on Notes in Time on Women, a 20 inch by 210 foot paper scroll. She elaborated and amplified this theme in The First Language (1979-81, 20 inches by 190 feet), eschewing text altogether in favor of an irregular rhythm of painted, hand-printed, and collaged figures, thus creating her "cast of characters." The acknowledgement of Spero’s international status as a preeminent figurative and feminist artist was signaled in 1987 by her traveling retrospective exhibitions in the United States and United Kingdom. By 1988, she developed her first wall installations. For these installations, Spero extended the picture plane of the scrolls by moving her printed images directly onto the walls of museums and public spaces.
Harnessing a capacious imaginative energy and a ferocious will, Spero continued to mine the full range of power relations. In 1987, following retrospective exhibitions in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, the artist created images that leapt from the scroll surface to the wall surface, refiguring representational forms of women over time and engaging in a dialogue with architectural space. Spero’s wall paintings in Chicago, Vienna, Dresden, Toronto, and Derry form poetic reconstructions of the diversity of representations of women from the ancient to the contemporary world, validating a subjectivity of female experience.

Spero has written: "I’ve always sought to express a tension in form and meaning in order to achieve a veracity. I have come to the conclusion that the art world has to join us, women artists, not we join it. When women are in leadership roles and gain rewards and recognition, then perhaps 'we' (women and men) can all work together in art world actions."

Ruth Duckworth

Ruth Duckworth (April 10, 1919 – October 18, 2009) was a modernist sculptor who specialized in ceramics. Her sculptures, as well as wall sculptures and monumental works, are mostly untitled. She is best known for Clouds over Lake Michigan, a wall sculpture.
Born Ruth Windmüller on April 10, 1919 in Hamburg, Germany, she took up drawing after a doctor recommended that she remain homebound to improve her health She was the youngest of five children. The oldest, a brother, had promised to watch over her for the rest of her life but was killed when his ship was sunk by a Japanese submarine.

The daughter of a Jewish mother and a Lutheran father, she left Germany to study at the Liverpool College of Art in 1936 as she could not study art in her home country under the restrictions imposed by Nazi Germany. She later studied at the Hammersmith School of Art and at the City and Guilds of London Art School, where she used the stone carving skills she learned there to decorate tombstones. When she applied for art school she was asked if she wanted to choose to focus on drawing, painting or sculpting and insisted that she wanted to study all of them, after all Michaelangelo did all three.

Inspired by an art exhibit of works from India, Duckworth studied ceramic art at the Central School of Arts and Crafts starting in 1956. While her early ceramic work was in traditional forms, she started to produce more abstract works that incorporated materials such as pebbles and rocks. Her work started to fall into a middle ground that wasn't the typical ceramics thrown on a wheel and fired in a kiln or the standard forms of sculpture that used metal, stone or wood.

As described by ceramist Tony Franks, Duckworth's style of "Organic clay had arrived like a harvest festival, and would remain firmly in place well into the '70s". While ceramists such as Bernard Leach rejected her work, other artists in the UK started adopting her style of hand worked clay objects.

Joining the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1964 gave Duckworth the opportunity to create grand pieces that included swirls and cloud patterns. Her mural series Earth, Water and Sky (1967-68) was commissioned by the university for its Geophysical Sciences Building and included topographical designs based on satellite photographs with porcelain clouds overhead.Her 1976 work Clouds Over Lake Michigan is a figurative depiction of the Lake Michigan watershed and is on display at the Chicago Board Options Exchange Building. While at the University of Chicago, Duckworth had a studio in the Pilsen neighborhood in the Lower West Side of Chicago.
She remained in Chicago after retiring from the university in 1977 and moved to a space in the Lakeview neighborhood on the city's North Side, in a former pickle plant. She had a hole in the floor of her second-floor living quarters, which allowed her to view works in progress in her studio and to envision how they would look on a wall. There she created large bronze works for Eastern Illinois University, Lewis and Clark College and Northeastern Illinois University
A retrospective of her work Ruth Duckworth: Modernist Sculptor opened in 2005 at New York City's Museum of Arts & Design before traveling to other museums across the country.In 2006, her works were featured at the Art Expo at the Seventh Regiment Armory in Manhattan.
The late sculptor was depicted in a documentary about herself titled Ruth Duckworth: A Life in Clay.

Henry Arthur McArdle

McArdle, self portrait

McArdle, Henry Arthur: (1836-1908). Born in Belfast, Ireland of French and Irish parents. He began the study of art under the French artist Sauveur. At fourteen, his parents having died, and he immigrated to America with an aunt, and settled in Baltimore, Maryland. He studied with David A. Woodward at the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of Mechanic Arts, and in 1860 won the Peabody Prize. During the Civil War he was a draftsman for the Confederate Navy, and later made topographical maps for Gen. Robert E. Lee. After the war McArdle married and eventually settled in Independence, Texas, where he taught art at Baylor Female College for many years. He worked with men of Hood's Texas Brigade on the historical canvas Lee at the Wilderness (1869-70) and became interested in Texas history. He won a commission to paint a full-length portrait of Jefferson Davis (1890) for the Capitol as well as several portraits of Sam Houston, and other notables, and stirring battle scenes. (Dawn at the Alamo (1876-1905) The Battle of San Jacinto (completed 1898), which hang in the Senate Chamber in the Texas Capitol) Sam Houston (1902) and The Settlement of Austin's Colony (1875), which hangs in the hall of the House of Representatives in the Texas Capitol. In later years he suffered from financial hardships, McArdle died in San Antonio on February 16, 1908. Nineteen years after his death, the legislature of Texas paid his heirs $25,000 for Dawn at the Alamo and The Battle of San Jacinto.

Anne Truitt

Anne Truitt (1921-2004) was a major American artist of the mid-20th century who was associated with both minimalism and Color Field artists like Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. Truitt graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in psychology in 1943 and was married to James Truitt in 1948 (they divorced in 1969)
She became a full-time artist in the 1950's and made what is considered her most important work in the early 1960s anticipating in many respects the work of minimalists like Donald Judd and Ellsworth Kelly.
The sculpture that made her significant to the development of Minimalism were aggressively plain and painted structures, often large. The recessional platform under her sculpture raised them just enough off the ground that they appeared to float on a thin line of shadow. The boundary between sculpture and ground, between gravity and verticality, was made illusory. This formal ambivalence is mirrored by her insistence that color itself, for instance, contained a psychological vibration which when purified, as it is on a work of art, isolates the event it refers to as a thing rather than a feeling. The event becomes a work of art, a visual sensation delivered by color.