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Blog of the Hamon Arts Library

Pioneers of African-American Cinema

Kino Lorber recently released Pioneers of African-American Cinema, a five DVD set with extensive film notes.  An announcement of the collection’s release appeared in The New York Times (August 10, 2016), in which the film critic, J. Hoberman, stated that “there has never been a more significant video release” in cinema history.  This set includes films discovered and collected by the late SMU professor G. William Jones, which are part of the Tyler, Texas “race films” in the collection. It includes approximately 20 hours of feature films, shorts, interviews, trailers, and fragments.  Many of these films have only been circulated and seen in 16mm versions of inferior quality or have never been available for home video.  Each film has been digitally restored and reflects a wide-range of subject matter and styles.  Accompanying the set is an 80-page booklet with contributions from scholars.

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Collection Spotlight: Davis-Xander-Baker collection

The Davis-Xander-Baker Collection consists of materials from Clark M. Davis, Mrs. Tacie L. Davis, Carl Xander and Jack Baker relating to theater and film, primarily in Washington D.C. The collection includes artwork, clippings, correspondence, documents, ephemera, manuscripts, musical score, programs, publicity, published works, scripts and photographs.

The Davis-Xander-Baker collection includes a wide variety of materials including artwork, clippings, correspondence, documents, ephemera, manuscripts, musical scores, programs, publicity, published works, scripts and photographs.

Please take a look at the detailed finding aid available through Texas Archival Resources Online.

Image: Courtesy of Davis-Xander-Baker collection, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Collection Spotlight: Perry Nichols art work and papers

Perry Nichols (1911 – 1992), a Dallas native, was initially associated with the Texas regionalist artists of the 1930s and 1940s, and was also multitalented in many areas of art. Taught by local Dallas artists, Nichols entered the art world at an early age and worked in various art mediums throughout his life, including painting, particularly the technique called “trompe l’oeil” (“trick the eye”) mural painting, printmaking, and woodworking. The collection includes artwork, clippings, correspondence documents, ephemera, photographs, publicity, published works, and scrapbooks.

The Nichols collection consists of 11 works of art on paper and archival materials that include clippings, correspondence, documents, ephemera, photographs, publicity, and published works. The Nichols scrapbook contained artwork and archival material relating to the artist’s life and career. The items were removed for preservation purposes and placed in archival folders and boxes. A digitized copy of the scrapbook is available for viewing in Bywaters Special Collections. The archival material reflects Nichols’s diverse and multifaceted art career which included painting, printmaking, woodworking, and teaching. Supporting material consists of invitations to gallery openings, photographs of his family and friends, including some from his military days in San Antonio, and images of his paintings, murals, and “trompe l’oeil” work.

Please take a look at the detailed finding aid available through Texas Archival Resources Online.

Image: Courtesy of Perry Nichols Collection, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Pictorial: WFAA ID Launch Party – Crowdsourcing event at Hamon

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Eva Hesse: review of the documentary

While travelling recently, I had a chance to attend a screening of the documentary film Eva Hesse, directed by Marcie Begleiter.  The film draws from the large collection of diary entries and letters written by Hesse, now housed at the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio, and makes generous use of archival photographs and footage of Hesse and her circle of New York City artists and writers during the 1960s.  Featured in this film are Sol LeWitt (1928-2007), with whom Hesse maintained a close friendship, Robert Mangold and Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Paul Thek, Lucy Lippard, her former husband, Tom Doyle, and her older sister, Helen Hesse Charash, among others.   The actress Selma Blair is the voice-over for the selected passages from the diaries and letters.  Most of the still photography is black-and-white, and a few of the photographs are manipulated very subtly so that they appear to be slightly moving, creating a haunting effect.  Hesse’s artwork presented in the film is beautiful, poignant, and profoundly personal.

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Collection Spotlight: Maria Ascarra papers

Maria Ascarra was an actress who performed in multiple productions around the United States. The principal material in this collection was collected during her prime performing years in New York City and elsewhere. The collection includes clippings, correspondence, ephemera, documents, programs, publicity, published works, scripts and 3 dimensional objects (primarily theatre props) relating to theatre, dance and classical music. Most of the material originates from Dallas, Texas, but there is also material from New York City and other states and cities.

The Maria Ascarra Collection includes a variety of materials such as artwork, clippings, correspondence, documents, ephemera, programs, publicity, published works, scrapbooks, scripts, photographs, costumes and three-dimensional objects.

Please take a look at the detailed finding aid available through Texas Archival Resources.

Image: Courtesy of Maria Ascarra papers, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University.

Georgia O’Keeffe: The Palo Duro Canyon and Santa Fe connection

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In May, my husband and I took a road trip to celebrate our 25th anniversary. The first stop on the trip was the Palo Duro Canyon in the panhandle of Texas for a some hiking. While hiking, we were in awe of the beauty that nature composed through the use of the many colors of an artist’s palette. The most striking were the contrasting colors of the red soil and the green of foliage. As we left Palo Duro Canyon to continue our road trip into Santa Fe, NM, the images of the canyon were fresh in our minds.

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Semiconductors & Symbolism: Thomas Stell’s Ceramic Murals for Texas Instruments

Thomas Stell

At the recent annual meeting of the Center for the Advancement and Study of Early Texas Art (CASETA) in Dallas this past May, Linda East received an award for her recent thesis on the ceramic works of Thomas M. Stell, Jr. In addition to teaching, Stell was a member of the Dallas Nine, who were regionalist artists active primarily in the 1930s and 1940s. The Hamon blog contacted Linda to congratulate her and ask if she would share some comments about her research on these works sited at Dallas’ Texas Instruments campus. Her post about her thesis on this interesting local collection of art and her research process follows.

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Leaving the Cocoon: Art Road Trips in Texas in May

color-maze-1966

Travelling recently to Houston for a family event, I had the opportunity to consider the differences between the Houston art scene and that with which I am more familiar, Dallas/Fort Worth. Unlike the art districts in Dallas and Fort Worth, the museums and galleries of Houston are a bit more scattered. When you are in one of the venues in Houston, you are not aware that you are in an arts area. It takes more work to take in all of them; considerable sweating occurs in getting from one to the next.

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