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First a filly wins the Preakness, and now, a 301-year male only streak is broken with the appointment of Ruth Padel as the new Oxford professor of poetry, the first woman to hold the post since it was established in 1708. Ms. Padel, the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin, was chosen on Saturday following a controversial contest for the position.
The controversy surrounding the contest was the withdrawal of another candidate, Derek Walcott, after news surfaced about sexual harassment claims made against him by a Harvard student in 1982. A dossier containing the details had been sent anonymously to 200 Oxford academics. Mr. Walcott’s withdrawal left Ms. Padel and the Indian poet and critic Arvind Mehrotra in consideration.
Story from The New York Times.
An interesting article concerning the controversy surrounding student protests of a recent exhibit at the University of Connecticut's Homer Babbage Library.
Some of the 15 pieces in the show he has spent years preparing have been moved, rejected or altered. And last week, the Student Board of Governors took the unusual step of declaring that the show should be moved out of the library, where it was scheduled to be on display through May 15.
Students cited two pieces that especially rankled them — a dead brown sparrow on a noose with the phrase "The bird got what it deserved" etched in glass.
The Boston Public Library is poised to sell or even give away a handful of items from its extensive special collection, as the landmark institution culls its vast holdings.
So far, the library's collections committee has discussed parting with three items, according to minutes from meetings: a Crehore piano, the first type of piano made in the US, a series of large-scale Audubon prints, and a collection of Tichnor glass printing plates that were once used to make postcards. The library has had the Aububon prints since the mid-1800s, while the piano and glass plates were acquired in the last several years.
Library officials stressed that these discussions are not related to the city's budget crunch, which will force the library to cut $4 million from its $48 million budget for the next fiscal year. Instead, a top library curator said the collection is reviewed on a daily basis, and the committee in charge of the buying and selling meets every two months.
Selling off work "is a small part of what we do," said Brian Clancy, head of the committee that oversees the collection. "Our decision-making is not influenced by these economic times."
Ever heard of the the Flickr Commons? The goal is to share the treasures of the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer. Flickr photographers are invited to help describe the photographs they discover in The Commons on Flickr, either by adding tags or leaving comments.
The newest member of the Commons is the D.C. Public Library, with some wonderful old photographs of our Nation's Capitol. The collection features historic images of D.C.’s buildings and federal memorials, Arlington National Cemetery, historic houses, and street scenes, portraits of past presidents and other prominent Americans.
Here's a scene from one hundred years ago, the inauguration of President Taft.
Many collectors will tell you that books are works of art. Not just for their words, but as objects of art. Many artists at some point in their careers have made books. The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is celebrating the book as an art form with it's exhibition "Text/Messages." It features books created by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Kara Walker, among others.
Story, slide show and audio from Minnesota Public Radio.
Money is scarce, but hopefully humor is in good supply.
When the well-heeled patrons of New York's venerable Morgan Library wander through its new exhibition of cartoons about money, there may be some hollow laughter as they ponder their own hard times.
The exhibit of 70 years of New Yorker magazine cartoons titled "On the Money" was planned over a year ago, before the full scale of the financial crisis that has plunged the United States and much of the world into recession became apparent.
Here's the story from Reuters with two cartoons included.
Philadelphia Inquirer: For more than two decades, they've been out of public view, feared lost, feared destroyed, feared - at the least - grotesquely faded or damaged.
But from a cluster of nondescript plastic tubs stuck in an out-of-the-way storage room in the bowels of a Center City office tower, they were ferreted out at last, still bright and essentially unmarred.
And now, for the first time since the mid-1980s, the vanished Alexander Calder banners - part of one of the greatest public art legacies in Philadelphia history - will be on public view until March at the Central Branch of the Free Library on Logan Square.
DC-ist Blog has the 'photo of the day' from 'volcanpkw'
...who has pretty much the coolest job ever; she's a Research Chemist with the LoC and has been working with daguerreotypes for the past few days. She told us she's trying to figure out:
* What did 19th century photographers use as plate bases for their daugerreotypes?
* Can we tell what the tarnish is on his plates?
* Can we treat the tarnish without destorying the image?
* Do multiple sensitizations change particle size/distribution?
* How can we clean off organics (like bugs) without destroying the image?
* Can we use hyperspectral imaging to re-create what an almost-gone image once looked like by using UV and infrared light?
From the New York Times an article about a forthcoming exhibition at the NYPL on the artists' retreat, Yaddo.
In 1899 Katrina Trask, desolate over the death of their four children, proposed to her husband, Spencer, that they turn Yaddo, their 400-acre estate outside Saratoga Springs, N.Y., into an artists’ retreat. He was a baron of the Gilded Age. She was a pre-Raphaelite figure who wore gauzy white dresses and wrote poetry about the days of King Arthur, and she imagined the place as a perpetual house party of writers, artists and musicians.
There was writing, there was painting and composing, but it sounds like there more than a bit of sleeping around too. Among other choice tidbits from the article..."John Cheever used to boast that he had enjoyed sex on every flat surface in the mansion, not to mention the garden and the fields. It was at Yaddo that Newton Arvin, a literary critic and professor at Smith College, met and began a long affair with the young Truman Capote, or “Precious Spooky,” as he calls him in a couple of charming letters, on display at the library. The novelist Henry Roth met his wife, the composer Muriel Parker, there, and the novelist Josephine Herbst started enduring relationships with the painter Marion Greenwood and the poet Jean Garrigue (who was also having an affair with another Yaddo resident, Alfred Kazin).