Art Libraries

Egyptians Remain Vigilant Guarding Libraries & Museums

From Discovery News: Egyptians are bravely defending their cultural heritage, according to a statement from Ismail Serageldin, librarian of Alexandria and director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

“The young people organized themselves into groups that directed traffic, protected neighborhoods and guarded public buildings of value such as the Egyptian Museum and the Library of Alexandria,” he said.

“The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters,” Serageldin said.

However, the risk for cultural and archaeological sites remains high.

The West Bank, where the mortuary temples and the Valley of the Kings are located, is without any security, with only villagers trying to protect the sites.

“All the antiquities in the area have been protected by the locals all night, and nothing has been touched,” Mostafa Wazery, director of the Valley of Kings at Luxor, said.

UPDATE: Sun Jan 30, 14:40pm EST: In a faxed statement, Dr. Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, confirmed that a total of 13 cases were smashed at the Egyptian museum, adding that other sites are at risk at the moment.

Comic Books Get Stripped at NY's Museum of Sex

From BookTryst, snippets of a new exhibit at the MOSEX museum. The adult, sexual kind of fantasy has inspired a genre of art with its own instantly recognizable icons: voluptuous women and muscle-bound men; fetish clothing featuring six-inch stilettos, leather, lace, and latex; bondage gear including handcuffs, masks, and corsets; and sadomasochistic props like whips, chains, and ropes. New York City's Museum of Sex has just mounted (pun intended) a new exhibition of the erotic art of comic strips and comic books in the 20th and 21st centuries, to "reveal how the comic book medium has been used over time to depict sexual fantasy, poke fun at taboo topics and lampoon icons of popular culture." Comics Stripped, a show made up of over 150 artifacts, including original drawings, illustrated books, comic books, magazines and videos, chronicles the history of "dirty drawings" from the Great Depression to the present day.

Out of Many, One. Exhibit on the Religions of Abraham at the NYPL

The sweep of the new exhibition at the New York Public Library — “Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam” — is stunning. It encompasses both an elaborately decorated book of 20th-century Coptic Christian readings and a modest 19th-century printing of the Gospels in the African language Grebo. There are Korans, with pages that shimmer with gold leaf and elegant calligraphy, and a 13th-century Pentateuch from Jerusalem, written in script used by Samaritans who traced their origins to the ancient Northern Kingdom of Israel.

The library’s Gutenberg Bible is here, as well as its 1611 King James translation. The first Koran published in English is shown, from 1649, along with fantastical images from 16th-century Turkish and Persian manuscripts in which Muhammad is pictured with other prophets, his face a blank white space in obeisance to the prohibition against his portrait.

Out of many, one. That could well be the motto of this ambitious exhibition. It focuses on “the three Abrahamic religions” — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. One of the main sponsors of “Three Faiths,” is the Coexist Foundation, whose aim is “to promote better understanding between Jews, Christians and Muslims.” (The other main donor is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.) The display is on view through Feb. 27 at the New York Public Library.

A Library Designed for the Post-Print Era

From Fast Company Design:

The defining decorative element of a library has always been the books themselves. But now that institutions ranging from the University of Texas at Austin to ultra-traditional Cushing Academy are tossing their stacks in favor of digital collections, the question arises: How do you design a library when print books are no longer its core business?

At the University of Amsterdam, Dutch designers Studio Roelof Mulder and Bureau Ira Koers converted an existing 27,000-square-foot library into a massive study hall -- without any visible books -- to accommodate the 1,500 to 2,000 students who visit daily.

It’s a clever way to adapt to the post-print era. Libraries are expensive to operate. As books increasingly go digital, it makes sense for libraries to either downsize or, in the case of the University of Amsterdam, shift the focus of operations from books to people.

Check out the link for photos.

Symphony Librarian Knows the Score

It's 1:16 p.m. and Nancy Fisch sits at her desk, making mysterious, hieroglyph-like squiggles on a copy of music.

With a freshly sharpened pencil in her left hand — her left-handedness is a sign of her brilliance, she jokes — she's transferring the squiggles from one copy of a score to another.

"Let's see how long it takes me," she says, savoring the challenge.

Fisch is the Joan Rivers of symphony librarians, a wise-cracking, Brooklyn-born, former French horn player with a talent for organization, a salty sense of humor and a tireless devotion to the orchestra. She works as the librarian of the San Diego Symphony.

The music in front of her: the viola part of Mozart's Flute Concerto No. 2 in D major. It's one of the works that flutist Sir James Galway — the most famous flutist on the planet — will perform next month in the concerts that open the San Diego Symphony's centennial season.

On her right is the music prepared by the symphony's principal violist, Che-Yen Chen. On her left is the copy that needs work. -- Read More

Zappa -- "If You Want to Learn, Go To a Library"

from the Baltimore Sun: Live near Baltimore and looking for something to do on Sunday? Get thee to the library...

Two years after Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, donated a $50,000 bust of Baltimore-born rocker Frank Zappa, the art will be installed Sunday at the Southeast Anchor Library during a daylong celebration. The audience, which organizers expect to number in the thousands, will include Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Zappa's widow, Gail, and one of his sons, Dweezil, who'll be performing with his tribute band, Zappa Plays Zappa. Rawlings-Blake will designate Sunday as Zappa Day, Gail Zappa will host a Q&A and the Creative Alliance at the Patterson will throw an afterparty.

When asked where the bust should be placed, Gail Zappa said she picked a library because her husband was a self-taught man who loved libraries.

"He always said, 'If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want to learn, go to a library,'" she said.

Creating A Unique Library in Colorado

That's RANCH library... not branch library...

The LA Times Jacket Copy blogs on a new type of library currently under construction in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Land Library, where visitors can learn not only from books, but also from the landscape.

Jeff Lee and his wife Ann Martin, longtime staff members at the famed Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, are behind the Rocky Mountain Land Library project. They were inspired by St. Deiniol's Library in North Wales to create a space for scholarship, contemplation, reading and writing, all in connection with the land itself.

Students at the University of Colorado Denver are currently working at the Buffalo Peaks Ranch, where a 20,000 + volume natural history library will be focused on the land and communities of the Rocky Mountains.

Baltimore Will Celebrate Native Son Zappa This Fall

A weekend-long celebration featuring live music, a symposium and art exhibit will celebrate the dedication of the Frank Zappa statue in Baltimore, organizers said. A bust of Zappa, a Baltimore native, was a gift from a Lithuanian fan club. After much deliberation, the city decided to place it in Highlandtown, outside the library. His wife said Zappa would have liked the location, because his mother, Rose Marie, was a librarian.

Zappa Plays Zappa, a tribute act fronted by Zappa's son Dweezil, will perform; Zappa's widow, Gail, will give a symposium; and the Southeast Anchor Library will launch an exhibit in conjunction with the Sept. 19 statue dedication, according to producer Sean Brescia.

"It's going to make it what it should be," Brescia said. "It's going to be a cool tribute weekend." Baltimore Sun.

New Walnut Creek (CA) Library Houses Art & Books


"Shhh...A Portrait in 12 Volumes of Gray," by Christian Moeller, is the centerpiece of the public art on display in Walnut Creek's new public library, which opens on July 17.

At one entrance, shown above, visitors to the library will be greeted by internationally recognized artist Christian Moeller's 26-foot-tall portrait of a cheeky librarian holding a finger to her lips. At another, they'll walk under a stream of colorful glass bottles riding a metal tidal wave. And in the children's area they won't be able to help but notice the playful sculptures of bees, dragonflies and flowers flitting across the walls. Twelve photo images and more on the new library from Contra Costa Times.

New Jersey Library Loans a Little-Seen Painting to the Metropolitan Museum

From Arts Journal: A few days ago, the Dover Free Public Library in Morris County NJ, took 'Emigrant Train Attacked by Indians' by Emanuel Leutze (painter of the more famous Washington Crossing the Delaware) down from its walls, packed it, and put it in a truck destined for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It will be on loan there for five years. After that, no one is talking.

Why? Dover library director Robert Tambini told the Morris Country Daily Record that he was bothered that such an important painting, which hung in the library's reading room, was unrecognized, unseen by enough people. It was lent to the library in 1934, and given to it in 1943 by a local family, the Derrys, in memory of Olivia Smith Derry.

Recently appraised for insurance, it was valued at $2.5 million, up from $300,000 in 1988, according to the DR. Here's a link to the article in the Daily Record.

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