Frida Kahlo Archive Drama

48901846The LATimesChristopher Knight reports on the archive of the “magnetic, self-mythologizing” Frida, little-known and drama enducing.

Barbara Levine displays the few pieces of ephemera by one of the biggest names in Mexico’s Modern art history here.

The findings include: “16 small oil paintings, 23 watercolors and pastels, 59 notebook pages (diary entries, recipes, etc.), 73 anatomical studies (some dated prior to Kahlo’s disfiguring 1925 trolley accident), 128 pencil and crayon drawings, 129 illustrated prose-poems, and 230 letters to Carlos Pellicer, the Modernist poet and Frida’s close confidant, many adorned with sketches — skulls, insects, lizards, birds… a small box holding 11 taxidermy hummingbirds. There are pistols, such as an ornate 1870 Remington; a tricolor Mexican flag, its central white panel altered to celebrate Leon Trotsky (“Troski”) and the Communist Party, to which Kahlo and Rivera belonged; hotel bills; photographs; receipts for sales of Rivera paintings; an embroidered huipil, a traditional Mayan blouse; an intimate diary, with one entry expressing Frida’s intense (and unrequited) erotic attraction to lesbian ranchera singer Chavela Vargas; a French medical text on amputation, painted over with blood-red pigments; and more.”

National Geographic Archives Cracked

Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden, c. 1894-1906. One photograph of a series illustrating the Greek myths.

The New York Times reveals that the National Geographic Society is entertaining the idea of opening up its archive of more than 11 million images to the fine-art market for the first time. Maura Mulvihill of the society recognizes photography’s (specifically, photojournalism) emerging role in the fine art world.

For many years, the collection has only been accessible to a few people. Mulvihill is excited to expose the vintage black-and-white prints and later color images “richly documenting the life of the 20th century, from Uganda to the Mississippi Delta to remote lamaseries near the Mongolian border.” National Geographic is seeking private and institutional collectors for the archive.

photo: One of a series to illustrate the Greek myths. Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden, circa 1894-1906.

chew on this

paperAn enlightening documentation of the archival restoration process of a collection of old paper materials, in this case, the Chew Family Papers, from maps to scraps. Here’s a rundown:

Dry Clean / Surface Clean – Use vulcanized rubber sponge and strip yourself of all emotion!

Humidify and Flatten – Use a Flattening Press, not an old dictionary!

Wash – Make sure the Ink is not water soluble!

Mend – Especially necessary when somebody has CHEWED your paper. OK sorry. Wheatpaste, not just for street artists like Swoon.

l’archivista, ciao

We saw this funny post on l’archivista the other day, via someone’s twitter feed. It features a really straightforward instructional video, hilarious in its earnest public-service-message aesthetic. And, we guess, it does give a nice overview of the mysterious duties of starchivists the world over. It’s for some job site, because you know, people are hiring and all, but we appreciate it nonetheless.

After the shushing’s done

librarians are hawtThe librarian is drinking again. Cute post from the Desk Set’s much improved website, Where DO Librarians and Archivists Hang Out? We know and like most of these local haunts, and look forward to the book swap on March 30th at nearby Pacific Standard.

Cribbed for her pleasure:

Enid’s in Greenpoint and Daddy’s in Williamsburg have hosted us countless times, and always with grace and style. The bartenders are super sweet, the drinks are affordable, and you are almost guaranteed to run into a librarian, archivist or writer every time you set foot into either joint, whether they are serving your drink, spinning the tunes, or reading at the bar.

Black Rabbit on Greenpoint Ave hosted our Library and Literature Trivia night last September, and we’re betting you might spot a librarian or two at their Smiths Speed Dating event tonight! That’s right: speed dating accompanied solely by Smiths songs.

On the other side of the river, the Great Jones Cafe has been known to employ librarians and library students, and they have incredible food, delicious drinks, and the greatest juke box in the city, no doubt.

Urban Librarians Unite, a group of New York City Public Librarians meet up frequently at the Creek in Long Island City – the neighborhood that’s close(ish) to every other neighborhood – to talk shop and have a few beers.

I happen to know that librarians and MLS students can often be found at Harefield Road in Williamsburg, especially on Thursdays.

And Pacific Standard in Park Slope is so dedicated to writers and readers, they have their own in-house Bar Librarian. (barbrarian?) (And the Desk Set is planning an event for readers and writers to mingle and swap books there on March 30th).

Real Life vs. Internets Life

Email Exhibition ImageArchivist, SD conspirator, and web-1.0 aficionado Jesse Aaron Cohen has just celebrated the 50th installment of his monthly email exhibition series, a set of curated images and links sent to subscribers once a month for the past several years. Often the material is drawn from his day job as archivist at a yiddish library/archive in Manhattan, but over the years there’s been plenty of other cultural ephemera included in the exhibitions. They are awesome! Subscribe to them!

Slides from all 50 months-worth of exhibitions are going to be shown as part of an upcoming ‘real life‘ event on internet bloggers and artists.

Quoth the Archivist:

A bunch of internet artists and bloggers who will be doing 4 hours ‘in real life’. As part of this guy Lance’s presentation, he is asking several other artists to show their work via slide show, and I am giving him all 50 exhibitions to use. So my exhibitions will be featured alongside a bunch of other projects on 8 March, 12–4pm, at the Capricious Art Space in W-burg.

Capricious Space
103 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(between Bedford and Berry)
718.384.1208

Gallery hours
(from March 7–March 28 only):
Saturday noon–8pm
Sunday noon–8pm
And some additional evening hours for special events, see the official calendar for full details.