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square_logo (2)We have been experiencing some temporary technical difficulties with our phone lines and emails recently due to our move to new offices. If you need help or have questions—or if you tried to reach us unsuccessfully—please call us at 877-771-4908. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

Reflections after Ramadan

Herbert Cole, People gathered for Ramadan Festival

Northern Ghana; Yendi: People gathered for Ramadan Festival, 1977, Photographed by Herbert Cole.

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less.
If the sound boxes stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean with fasting,
every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
– Molana (Rumi), Ghazal No. 1739 from Divan-e Shams-e Tabriz

This past June Muslims around the world fasted for the month of Ramadan. The sight of the crescent moon is the mark for the beginning of the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to the prophet Muhammad during Ramadan. Many friends and colleagues have asked me what Ramadan is about, and I wish to provide them with something deeper than a surface understanding.

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LINKMAN4Some stories we’ve been reading this week:

  • In 1969, an art history student was scouring through castaways at a used furniture store when she came upon more than 2,500 strange watercolors and collages of flying machines alongside cryptic newspaper clippings, crudely sewn together with shoelaces and thread.
  • In 1964, a worker passing through the garden park noticed the famous sculpture of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid had been beheaded. Horrified, he ran for the police.
  • In the annals of strange things done in the name of art, an Australian performance artist is quickly making a name for himself by growing a third ear on his arm.

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Jacki Apple & Martine Aballea, Artists Reading, 1977

Jacki Apple & Martine Aballea, Artists Reading, 1977. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, Moving image and original data provided by Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.; franklinfurnace.org

We are delighted to announce that Artstor has released nearly 50 videos of performance art from the Franklin Furnace Archive in the Digital Library. The videos feature such avant-garde artists as Alice Aycock, Ericka Beckman, Lee Breuer, John Cage, Guy De Cointet, Constance De Jong, Richard Foreman, the Kipper Kids, Jill Kroesen, Matt Mullican, Michael Smith, and William Wegman.

Les Levine, Artists Reading, 1976. © 2012 Les Levine / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Moving image and original data provided by Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.; franklinfurnace.org

Les Levine, Artists Reading, 1976. © 2012 Les Levine / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Moving image and original data provided by Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.; franklinfurnace.org

As Franklin Furnace’s founding director Martha Wilson said, “While there is undeniable value to gathering objects from performances such as costumes, props, and ephemera, video offers an irreplaceable key to understanding temporal works. Moving images are the best window we have into the past—no amount of caption text or notes from scripts can convey the look and feel of this pivotal time!”

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The Zen of Agnes Martin

Agnes Bernice Martin, Waters, 1962. Seattle Art Museum; seattleartmuseum.org. © 2008 Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Agnes Bernice Martin, Waters, 1962, Seattle Art Museum. © 2008 Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

To the pioneers of Minimalism, Agnes Martin’s grid paintings were an early source of inspiration. To the Abstract Expressionists, Martin was a peer, whose use of line to cover canvases from edge to edge was not a gesture of Minimal art, but an expression of the AbEx concept of “allover” painting. In her own words, her pale, meditative geometry harkened back to much older ideas. Her art, she claimed, should be recognized alongside that of the ancient’s— the Egyptians, Greeks, Coptics, and, most importantly, Chinese.

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LINKMAN4Some stories we’ve been reading this week:

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cincinnati art museumArtstor and the Cincinnati Art Museum are collaborating to share approximately 1,000 images from the Museum’s permanent collection in the Digital Library.

Founded in 1881, the Cincinnati Art Museum is one of the oldest arts institutions in the United States, and boasts a rich collection of more than 65,000 works of art spanning 6,000 years. This unique collection includes the ancient art of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as well as Near and Far Eastern art, art of Africa and the Americas, costume and textiles, prints, drawings, photographs, paintings, sculpture, decorative art, and contemporary art.

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