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In a better world we would all be thronging the doors of the Newark Museum; in the best of worlds Ulysses Grant Dietz would be there to meet us, taking us through the galleries with fellow curators Christa Clarke and Katherine Anne Paul
A group of circus posters at the Shelburne Museum illustrates the routine stereotypes and exploitative practices of circus owners as they battled one another for primacy.
The brilliance of the master printmaker owed something to the patronage of Hollywood royalty but a great deal more to the dynamism of early California modernism.
Early nineteenth-century American portraiture includes a number of small profile likenesses in oil, pastel, and watercolor by artists such as C. B. J. F. de St. Mémin, James Sharples, Gerrit Schipper, and Jacob Eichholtz. All follow the European fashion for profiles, namely emulating those on Greek vases and Roman coinage, and are thus fitting for the neoclassical motifs and styles of the new republic.
Vitreous, white, and often delicately translucent, porcelain was invented in China as early as the seventh century, but Western attempts to reproduce the Chinese miracle failed until the dawn of the eighteenth century, when the Saxon ruler Augustus the Strong pressed into his service the young Berlin alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger and commanded him to enrich the Saxon coffers by producing gold from base metals.
For years I’d heard people expressing doubts as to whether the Smithsonian Institution actually needed a tenant devoted to black American history and culture. These misgivings didn’t come from whites only, but from black and brown people too. The more knowledgeable—or, anyway, least blinkered—of such skepticism circled around whether such a place wouldn’t be redundant since there was already a National Museum of American History on the National Mall, where you could find some of the same things the newer place was going to display.
There’s trouble on Monument Avenue. This grand boulevard in Richmond, Virginia, is the symbolic heart of the city. It is leafy and quiet, and lined with grand architecture dating largely from the early twentieth century. As its name suggests, it also features a series of monuments. One is dedicated to the tennis player Arthur Ashe. All the others pay tribute to the leaders of the Confederacy—and that, of course, is where the problem comes in.
The work of Ronald Lockett, like that of Thornton Dial, Lonnie B. Holley, and others in the Birmingham-Bessemer circle, uses found materials to address environmental, historical, and political themes in ways that go beyond the usual categories.
"In the midst of life we are in death." These familiar words, which marched across sermons and samplers alike in the early decades of the American republic, surely resonated with sixteen-year-old Charlotte Sheldon in the summer of 1796.