Milwaukee Art Museum Exhibits Rare Photos from Libraries’ Collection
Rare 19th century photographs held by the UWM Libraries will be featured in an exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum this fall. The exhibition, entitled "The American West, 1871-1874: Photographs from the American Geographical Society Library," will be on view from October 27, 2005 through January 1, 2006 in the museum's Cudahy Gallery.
Drawn from the American Geographical Society Library's extensive collections, the exhibit includes 55 albumen prints and stereographs produced by Timothy O'Sullivan and William Bell during a series of U.S. government expeditions. Also on view are the maps that resulted from the project, which was led by U.S. Army Lt. George Wheeler.
Nineteenth century exploration of the western U.S. was important in many ways, beyond the basic purpose of surveying and mapping the vast new territories. It shaped the perception of the West, especially through the use of photography, not only for documenting the natural wonders and beauty encountered, but also employing the relatively new medium in a "scientific" way, by recording geological formations, archaeological sites, etc. The expeditions also influenced the evolution of public policy towards the West and stimulated scientific advances.
The period between 1860 and 1900 was the era of the "Great Surveys." Wheeler was the last of the important army explorers. His Surveys of the Territories West of the 100th Meridian were an attempt by the army to regain prominence and control over geographical exploration, at a time of competition with other exploring expeditions composed mainly of civilians. Wheeler hired photographer Timothy O'Sullivan in part because he hoped that his photographs would help with public relations and persuade Congress to continue appropriations.
UWM Libraries staff member Jovanka Ristic facilitated the loan of the materials; the exhibition is curated by Lisa Hostetler, Milwaukee Art Museum assistant curator of prints, drawings and photographs.
UW Professor Donates Chinese Scrolls to Libraries
UW-Madison Professor Emeritus Tse-Tsung Chow and his wife Nancy Wu Chow have donated over 120 calligraphic and painted Chinese scrolls, ranging from the 18th through the 20th centuries, to the Special Collections Department of the UWM Libraries.
Professor Chow's collection is an invaluable addition to Special Collections, offering primary examples of Chinese culture spanning a two-hundred year period, with didactic applications in a broad range of disciplines at UWM, including art, art history, history, geography, foreign languages and linguistics, and international studies. The collection will also be of use to the general public for research, and to regional cultural and educational institutions for teaching and exhibition.
Professor Chow, who retired from the Department of East Asian Languages and Literature at UW-Madison in 1993, is a historian and poet, and his book The May Fourth Movement: Intellectual Revolution in Modern China is regarded as definitive. Chow received his B.A. degree from Cheng-Chih University in 1942, and was secretary to President Chiang Kai-shek from 1945-47. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and came to UW-Madison in 1963.
Important Book Arts Collection Transferred to Libraries
A rich collection of over 70 book arts materials, including original book works by internationally noted artists, has been transferred to the UWM Libraries' Special Collections. The materials, most of them donated, had been jointly owned by the School of the Arts and the School of Letters and Sciences, and held in the Art History Gallery.
The transfer, completed in May, was the logical answer to the question of how best to serve those materials, according to Special Collections curator Max Yela.
"The increased availability of the collection benefits students, scholars, donors, and the UWM community as a whole," he said. "The Art History department still has access to the works, including use for any future exhibition."
"The materials also relate directly to the book arts collection within Special Collections," he added, "and, in fact, many of them fill gaps in our collection."
Highlights include four limited edition works from the British book-arts publisher Circle Press-run by the highly regarded book artist, designer, and printer Ron King-which add to the Libraries' own Circle Press collection; book works by Marc Chagall, Jean Dubuffet, Alexander Calder, Joan Mir�, Ben Shahn, and Tom Phillips; books by noted Wisconsin artists, such as Warrington Colescott and John Colt; and a number of portfolios of the Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project
Discussions concerning the transfer began two years ago. Laura Luepke, then an art history undergraduate and now studying for her master's degree in history/library and information studies, undertook the lengthy task of inventorying the collection.
An exhibition marking the transfer is now on view in the Golda Meir Library's fourth floor gallery. "Extending the Legacy: From Collector to Gallery to Library" runs through the end of November 2005; hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.