“Punk: Chaos to Couture”


The Met’s spring 2013 Costume Institute exhibition, PUNK: Chaos to Couture, will examine punk’s impact on high fashion from the movement’s birth in the early 1970s through its continuing influence today. Featuring approximately one hundred designs for men and women, the exhibition will include original punk garments and recent, directional fashion to illustrate how haute couture and ready-to-wear borrow punk’s visual symbols.

Focusing on the relationship between the punk concept of “do-it-yourself” and the couture concept of “made-to-measure,” the seven galleries will be organized around the materials, techniques, and embellishments associated with the anti-establishment style. Themes will include New York and London, which will tell punk’s origin story as a tale of two cities, followed by Clothes for Heroes and four manifestations of the D.I.Y. aesthetic—HardwareBricolageGraffiti and Agitprop, and Destroy.

Presented as an immersive multimedia, multisensory experience, the clothes will be animated with period music videos and soundscaping audio techniques.

Videos from the show

The catalog for the show is on order in the Arts Division.



Read more at the NYT and here .

Books on Punk and Fashion











Dandies and Muses: Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity


A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates fashion, art and their love of fashion  in 19th century Paris. This exhibit  illustrates how artists such as Monet, Seurat, Degas,  and other Impressionists responded to fashion between the 1860s and mid-1880s. With both masculine and feminine attire exhibited  we see the dialogue between art and fashion of the late nineteenth-century Parisian looks that inspired art of the day.

Fashion between those years was at its most beautiful. Opulent fabrics, the corset, tiny waists, stripes, gloves, bustles, and bows, all raised femininity to its highest. This was a pivotal time period for fashion and for Paris when the city emerged as a fashion mecca.

During these years Parisians saw a radical change in their city. Broad new avenues were places to be seen and the department store came into vogue. Ready-to-wear was suddenly available and the proliferation of fashion magazines allowed urban dwellers to see what they could expect in the new shops that were opening along these boulevards. Paris was a place to be seen and with so many choices the bourgeois women might change her outfit up to eight times a day.

As women and men began to look their best artists of the time period began to paint them in their high fashions. The mood portrayed by the Impressionists was one of vibrancy and seductive beauty with tightly corseted waists and elaborate decolletes that were on display in ballrooms and at the opera. An almost party like atmosphere was on display in art at this time. That atmosphere can be seen in Monet’s painting Luncheon on the Grass and in Jean Beraud’s An Evening Soiree.


Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Luncheon on the Grass


 Jean Beraud An Evening Soiree

In Bartholomé’s In the Conservatory, he painted his wife standing in a sunlight conservatory wearing a tightly corseted light summer frock. This exhibit pairs Bartholomé’s this life-size portrait portrait of Prosperie de Fleury Bartholomé in her purple striped dress with the actual dress she posed in.


Artists such as Manet and Degas shared an interest in shopping and both admired seeing the man as Dandies in their dark suits or frock coats and cuffs. This look contrasted with the opulence of the female companion’s attire. Monet particularly transferred this interest into his brightly colored paintings full of women and men both smartly dressed.

Some highlights of this exhibition include Monet’s Luncheon on the Grass (1865–66) and Women in the Garden (1866), Bartholomé’s In the Conservatory(circa 1881, paired with the sitter’s dress), and Degas’s The Millinery Shop(circa 1882–86) from the Art Institute of Chicago; Renoir’s The Loge (1874) from The Courtauld Gallery, London; and Cassatt’s In the Loge (1878) from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

NN ArtLibrarian@Central

The Art Division has a large selection books about this time period as seen below. This is just a sample sample of what we own. Click on image to access our catalog.













Becoming Modern: Armory Show Artists at the MAG

January 25-May 12, 2013


Gaston Lachaise, Standing Woman (1917). Gift of Charlotte Whitney Allen.

In 1913 the Armory Show in New York City shocked American artists and audiences with the radical abstractions of the European modernists. Later that year the Memorial Art Gallery opened its doors in Rochester, a city of predominantly conservative tastes at the time.

The Armory Show refers to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors. The exhibition ran in New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory, on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th Streets, from February 17 until March 15, and became an important event in the history of American art, introducing astonished New Yorkers, accustomed to realistic art to modern art. The show served as a catalyst for American artists, who became more independent and created their own “artistic language”.

On the 100th anniversary of both events, this exhibition at the MAG will explore how the Gallery’s history and collection have been shaped by the avant-garde art in the Armory Show and the Rochesterians who came to champion it. It will include over 35 paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture by modernist masters including Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Stuart Davis and John Marin.




Some artists who exhibited in the original Armory show in 1913.

European Artists




American Artists




Memorial Art Gallery: Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 3

November 18, 2012–February 10, 2013 in the Grand Gallery

This exhibition, the third in a series organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, showcases contemporary Native and First Nations artists from the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast USA, as well as Northeastern Canada. Exciting new work in ceramics, glass, metal, wood, fiber, and mixed media demonstrate how traditional cultural values and aesthetics are being renewed and debated by artists caught between traditional and dominant cultures.

Pictured from left: David Pruitt, Hands of the Real People—The Past Present and Future (2011). Courtesy of the artist.   Robert Tannahill, Wise Ass (2010). Courtesy of the artist.   Jeremy Frey, Best of Show Basket, SWAIA (2011). Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Ari and Lea Plosker. Image ©2012 Ari Plosker, all rights reserved.   Gail Tremblay, It Was Never About Cowboys and Indians (2011). Courtesy of the artist.

Al-Mutanabbi and Book Artist Scott McCarney

The Art of the Book opened here at the Central Library on October 21, 2012. There was a great reception and we had a great turnout.  Of course the best part were the artists books and altered books on display. A full post on that exhibit will be coming.

Along with the artists and altered books exhibit is a display by book artist Scott McCarney.  His book  Material Meditation on Mending Al Mutanabbi Street, is a commemoration of  Al-Mutanabi Street  in Iraq, that was destroyed by a bomb on March 5, 2007.

Before being bombed, Al-Mutanabbi Street was a place for to find books and a place for readers, writers, artists, and a place for all in pursuit of culture. His artist book commemorates the attack, the victims, and the survivors. You can view images from his book  in the library’s Link Gallery.

Scott McCarney, Rochester, NY, USA, April 2012
Material Meditation on Mending Al Mutanabbi Street consists of fifteen two-sided loose-leaf prints made from collages constructed from remnants of found books, rubbings from book bindings and photographs. The leaves are gathered into a tar paper folder, like scattered pages picked up in the street and slipped into a convenient sheath. The fragments, assembled with staples, tapes, and glue, attempt to speak to reconstruction as well as memory; of life, literature and culture suspended, disjointed and reassembled into some sense of a whole.

8.5 x 11 inches; 15 loose-leaf pages, digitally printed, housed in tar paper folder

Below are some images from Scott’s book
Material Meditation on Mending Al-Mutanabbi Street

Scott McCarney is an artist, designer, and educator based in Rochester, New York. His primary art practice has been in book form since 1980, combining an academic background in photography and design with a love for the corporeality of craft and philosophic possibilities of sculpture. His works are widely distributed and can be found in library collections at MoMA New York, V&A London and Yale University, among others. His work is shown near (Hallwalls, Buffalo; Everson Museum, Syracuse) and far (Sao Paulo, Brazil; Melbourne, Australia; Budapest, Hungary). He currently teaches in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Book Artists Commemorate Al-Mutanabbi

Project website in Boston  

Al-Mutanabbi Street is the centuries-old center of bookselling in Baghdad, a winding street filled with bookstores and outdoor book stalls. Named after the famed 10th Century classical Arab poet, Al- Mutanabbi, this street has been, since time immemorial, the historic heart and soul of the Baghdad literary and intellectual community.” On March 5, 2007 a bomb exploded on Al-Mutanabbi Street killing 30 and wounding 100.

To mark the anniversary of the bombing and the essential role that art plays in our lives, poet Beau Beausoleil and others have organized readings in 10 cities. These readings are part of a much larger project that Beausoleil and a dedicated group of artists and volunteers have worked on since 2007. Read more at the Huntington Post.

On July 2010, Beau Beausoleil put out a call for book artists to join ‘An Inventory Of Al-Mutanabbi Street’, a project to “re-assemble” some of the “inventory” of the reading material that was lost in the car bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street on 5th March 2007. We joined in with Beau that month, to co-curate the call to artists to join our project and further enhance the previous work of the Coalition by honouring al-Mutanabbi Street, through creating work that holds both “memory and future,” exactly what was lost that day.

Beausoleil also reached out to artists to create books that would hold both “memory and future” of the bombing. There are 261 books that have been created as part of the project. More at the Huffington Post.

More information at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts.

At the Art of the Book exhibit you will see some of the book art created for Al-Mutanabbi  by Rochester book artist, Scott McCarney. Read more below and click on the image for exhibit information.

On October 21, 2012, the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County will host the second exhibit of Art of the Book. Included in this exhibit will be a book by Rochester book artist, Scott McCarney in memory of those who lost their lives at Al-Mutanabbi Street. Entitled Material Meditation on Mending Al Mutanabbi Street, his book consists of fifteen two-sided loose-leaf prints made from collages constructed from remnants of found books, rubbings from book bindings and photographs. The leaves are gathered into a tar paper folder, like scattered pages picked up in the street and slipped into a convenient sheath. The fragments, assembled with staples, tapes, and glue, attempt to speak to reconstruction as well as memory; of life, literature and culture suspended, disjointed and reassembled into some sense of a whole.

Sue Huggins Leopard is another book artist who’s work will be seen commemorating  Al-Mutanabbi. Her book is entitled, ElegiesElegies uses part of a poem titled Elegy on the death of the mother of Saif al Daula, written by al-Mutanabbi in the year 948. Although written by the great poet in an age seemingly vanished and separated from the car bombing on al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad by more than a thousand years, the words remain very moving and speak powerfully to the universal themes of mourning and the futility of violence. I echoed these lines with words by an imagined poet in 2007. A poet who I imagined might be like a young person who would frequent a street of booksellers. A poet with a potential to see beauty; to speak.

Book artist, Barbara Fox will also have her book shown. That Day On Al Mutanabbi Street 2012, is a collection of digital images and poetry on various papers. It is printed in English using Lithos Pro, and in Arabic the font is Baghdad. 4 inches high by 6 inches wide. Digital Images on Various Papers. You can see more her work on her website, Barbara Fox.

Al-Mutanabbi is also commemorated by local artist printmaker, Kristine Bouyoucos. Her book folds out with
twenty-eight shadow people in the pages, one for each killed. Their names appear on the back of each page. The last page has a reddish background to remind us of the more than a hundred wounded.

Read and see more at the Centre for Fine Print Research. Find more information and images here at An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street.

The Real Frida Look: Frida Kahlo’s Clothes

On November 20, 2012 the world can see some of what belonged to Frida Kahlo. An exhibit opens at the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City.  After being locked away for 50 years viewers can now see the billowing colorful skirts and blouses Kahlo wore. They will also feel the physical and emotional pain they covered up. The museum will display a full collection from her wardrobe. These dresses, jewelery , and shoes have been locked away for 50 years in her dressers. These clothes still retain her perfume and cigarette scents.

Frida’s choice of clothing reflected things she experienced in life. Frida suffered from polio as a child and a then bus accident at 18 caused her great pain throughout her life. The clothes she chose to wear functioned as armor for her pain. Her long skirts hid her tiny right leg and she wore corsets for back pain. Emotional pain was caused by miscarriages and the many affairs she had to suffer through that her husband muralist Diego Rivera engaged in.

As she covered up pain, at the same time was exuberant in her self-confidence. Her clothes as her artwork were full of color. Kahlo’s style has influenced many artists, designers and musicians, like Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier. There are youtube clips on how to dress like her, do makeup like hers, and braid hair like hers.

After Kahlo died in 1954, her husband ordered her clothes to be locked up for 15 years. He died three years later, leaving art collector Dolores Olmedo as the manager of his wife’s collection. She refused to give access to Kahlo’s archives of letters, clothes, jewelry and photographs and they were not unlocked until 2004 after Olmedo died.

Museum director Hilda Trujillo said three of Kahlo’s dresses created a frenzy when they were shown in 2007, featured in fashion stories across the world. No doubt this opening of her personal wardrobe will create another frenzy.

This exhibit will display the white corset that Kahlo featured in her self-portrait “The Broken Column.”

And there will be an earring that was a gift from Pablo Picasso and was featured in a 1940 self-portrait and the mate has never been found. Kahlo’s blouses were custom made; she bought the fabrics and took them to Indian seamstresses. Often she bought velvet cherry, the fabric often used for traditional elegant dresses in Oaxaca region known as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The Tehuana dress, was named after the Indian women of that region and wad said to be Kahlo’s signature piece of clothing.

As women during Kahlo’s life were highly influenced by her style and this exhibit will no doubt expose younger women around the world to her style.

Read more at the links below.

The Real Frida Look: Frida Kahlo’s Clothes Go on Exhibit in Mexico After 50 Years Locked Away

The Real Frida Kahlo

Museo Frida Kahlo

Some Items at the Central Library about Frida Kahlo
we have much more



In Spanish

Artist of the Week

Mark Rothko

Today (as this is being written) is painter Mark Rothko‘s birthday. Born September 25, 1903, in Dvinsk, Russian Empire, he is referred to as an abstract or expressionist painter, and rejected both of those labels. Rothko is known for his rectangles of at first brilliant and later on somber color works.

His father emigrated to America because Jews were blamed for many of the evils that plagued Russia.  Although he was a brilliant student he did not show any special art talents. Like his father he was more intersted in the rights of workers and that of women.

Rothko went onto Yale where he and a friend founded the statistical magazine, The Yale Saturday Evening Pest, that made fun of the Waspy and elitist community.

Rothko soon dropped out of Yale and in 1923 he visited a friend who was at the Art Students League of New York. It was here he saw his life as an artist take form. He encountered artist Arshile Gorky his first vision of the world of the world of the “avant-garde”. Along with Gorky he met fellow Russian Jewish artist Max Weber. Weber’s influence provided Rothko a way to see that art could be used as a means of expressing emotional and religious feeling.

Mark Rothko, The Omen of the Eagle,1942, National Gallery of Art, Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.43.107

Rothko ‘s work during the early 1940’s was symbolic and contained abstracted figures. Yet Rothko felt unfulfilled by this imagery. He felt art should reflect social and the human condition. Rothko felt, new subjects and a new idiom had to be found. He said, “It was with the utmost reluctance that I found the figure could not serve my purposes….But a time came when none of us could use the figure without mutilating it.” (quote from Wikipedia). Rothko saw a deep connection between primitive art and children’s art. He began a book in 1936 that he never finished about this connection. He saw modern art as being derived from primitiveness much the way a child’s art looks. He also observed that one who is creative begins with color.

Mark Rothko Red, Orange, Tan, and Purple, 1949 Oil on canvas 84 1/2 x 68 1/2 inches (214.5 x 174 cm) Private collection ©1999 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko

In 1946 Rothko moved into painting with blocks of color. Although not a term used by Rothko himself, these works were called multiform paintings, devoid of figures or landscapes, these works took on an organic form. Large blurred paintings made up of blocks of color, Rothko felt they took on their own life and reflected what the figure never could. These large organic canvases are the style Rothko would work in until his death.

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Seagram Mural sketch), 1959 , National Gallery of Art, Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.43.156

Untitled, Black on Grey, 1970


Rothko’s work began to darken dramatically during the late 1950s. Eventually his works went untitled or were given numbers. Some art historians attributed the darkening of his canvases to his poor health and depression. Rothko committed suicide on February 25, 1970. His work is represented in major museums and galleries around the world. There of course is so much to be written about Rothko’s life and work.  See the sites below and view the collection of material the Central Library’s Art division owns about him.

Happy Birthday, Mark Rothko: Rizzoli Press Publishes ‘Mark Rothko, The Decisive Decade: 1940-1950’. from the Huffington Post.

Mark Rothko at the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

The Rothko Chapel. Rothko at MoMA.

Rothko Room at The Phillips Collection. Rothko’s Legacy at PBS.

Rothko Exhibits

Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade 1940-1950 at the Columbia Museum of Art
September 14-January 6, 2013

 Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade 1940-1950 celebrates one of the world’s most influential and best-known artists of the 20th century by featuring 37 paintings, watercolors and works on paper, which are drawn largely from the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

 After its showing at the Columbia Museum of Art, the exhibition travels to the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio (February 1 – May 26, 2013), the Denver Art Museum (June 16 – September 29, 2013) and the Arkansas Art Center (October 25, 2013 – February 9, 2014).

Mark Rothko Retrospective of the artist’s most important works

NN Art Librarian@Central

Wendell Castle: Volumes and Voids at Friedman Benda Gallery NY

October 25, 2012 – January 26, 2013

If you are in NY you’ll be able to view Wendell Castle‘s new work at the Friedman Benda Gallery. The gallery has not published a catalog yet.

Wendell Castle is an American furniture artist and a leading figure in American craft. He is often credited with being the father of the art furniture movement. (From Wikipedia).  He resides in Scottsville, NY, outside Rochester.

Items in Central’s Art Division.

Visit the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY to view his work.