War, Struggle, and Visual Politics: Art on the Frontlines

April 21 - April 22, 2014

April 21 – April 22, 2014

The Archives and Special Collections in collaboration with the Dodd Center and Booklyn Artists Alliance, are hosting two days of events on War, Struggle and Visual Politics: Art on the Frontlines.  Events will be held in the Dodd Research Center on April 21st and 22nd in conjunction with the Week In Humanities.  Artists Seth Tobocman, Stephen Dupont, Marshall Weber, Chantelle Bateman and Aaron Hughes will be holding talks, workshops and presenting artwork around the focus of politics and activism in art and war.  Students, community members, veterans and artists are encouraged to attend these events to provide a dynamic facilitation of how we utilize art, activism and memory to cope with war.

Art work will be on display in galleries as follows:Aaron Hughes : Institute for the Humanities : College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Seth Tobocman : Contemporary Art Gallery : School of Fine Art

Stephen Dupont : Coop Bookstore : Downtown Stores

For a full list of events, please follow this link for the Week in Humanities.

Out of the Frame: Alternative Arts of the 1980s

Out of the Frame: Alternative Arts of the 1980s

Out of the Frame: Alternative Arts of the 1980s

A co-curated gallery exhibition of alternative arts of the 1980s is currently on display at the Dodd Center.  This exhibit features selections of dial-a-poems, artists’ books, offset lithography, punk rock, zines, buttons, show flyers, cyberpunk literature, comic books and related ephemera from the Archives & Special Collections.  By focusing on underground visual and aural arts of fringe countercultures, our goal is to demonstrate the range of expression found within these distinct cultural enclaves.  The show offers materials from three distinct curatorial areas, however the threads that tie these materials together become interwoven through their reactions to the dominant modes of production of the era.

March 3-May 11, 2014

Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Gallery Hours: 8:30-4:30, Monday – Friday

For more information on the libraries ongoing exhibits, please visit the exhibitions page.

Sources for teaching about the Vietnam War

Cover of the book Postage Due: Forever Stamps, by C. David Thomas.

The New England History Teachers Association (http://www.nehta.net/) were to have their Fall meeting here at the Dodd Research Center this Friday, October 14, but we just got word that it has been canceled.  Even so, I put together a list of resources that about the theme for the conference —  “The Vietnam War: Scholarly Views and Classroom Applications” that may interest any History or Social Studies teacher who is doing a unit on the Vietnam War.  Here are just a few of the many recently published sources about the Vietnam War available at the Dodd Research Center:

Foley, Michael S. Confronting the War Machine: Draft Resistance during the Vietnam War.  Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

Carroll, Andrew, ed.  War letters : Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars.  New York : Scribner, 2001.

Caputo, Philip.  Ten Thousand Days of Thunder.  New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2005.  Written by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for children, this book gives a full account of the war, from the reasons for intervention to the battles and those missing in action, to the war’s music and the protests at home.

Harrison-Hall, Jessica.  Vietnam Behind the Lines : Images from the War, 1965-1975.  London : British Museum Press, 2002.

O’Roark Dowell, Frances.  Shooting the Moon.  New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008.  A book for young readers, the story of this book is “When her brother is sent to fight in Vietnam, twelve-year-old Jamie begins to reconsider the army world that she has grown up in.”

Thomas, C. David.  Postage Due: Forever Stamps.  A series of unofficial postage stamps inspired by people and events from the Vietnam War era, self-published by the author in 2009.

Wachsberger, Ken, ed.  Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press.  East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, 2011.

These publications complement our extensive set of journals and books about the Vietnam War in the Alternative Press Collection. 

Laura Smith, Curator for Business, Railroad and Labor Collections

August 2011 Item of the Month: Indigenous People Artists’ Books at the Dodd Center

Artists’ books have been around for a long time. Beautiful objects of art where all aspects of book making are explored and cherished: the inks, the fonts, the papers, the wrappings, the construction materials, the techniques (collages, 3-D, woodblock printing), etc. A tradition started in Europe at the end of the 18th century, today this is a worldwide phenomenon and indigenous peoples from all around the world are using their traditional practices to create artists’ books that blend the traditional with the modern, and the uniquely indigenous with other country’s traditions in bookmaking, printmaking and papermaking.

The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center’s Archives and Special Collection have an extensive collection of Artists’ Books from around the world but it wasn’t until recently that we started acquiring books created by indigenous people either in their own workshops or in collaboration with non-indigenous artists. Featured in this Item of the Month is the works of Taller Leñateros, located in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico and TALLERCONTIL from Matagalpa, Nicaragua in collaboration with artist and printer Eckhard Froeschlin from Germany.

Taller Leñateros describes itself as:

“A publishing collective operated by contemporary Mayan artists in Chiapas, Mexico. Founded in 1975 by poet Ámbar Past, the Workshop has created the first books to be written, illustrated, printed, bound (in paper of their own making) by Mayan people in over 400 years. Among its multiple objectives are those of documentation, praise and dissemination of Amerindian cultural values: song, literature, plastic arts, and the ancient Mesoamerican tradition of painted books.

The Leñateros’ rescue of old and endangered techniques such as the extraction of dyes from wild plants, contributes to the conservation of Native American languages, and benefits the ecology by recycling agricultural and industrial wastes, transforming them into art and beautiful books.” (1)

TALLERCONTIL was established in 1998 in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Edition Schwarze Seite, who published their works, reported in their literature and I quote from the Vamp and Tramp Bookseller website:

“The idea for this project came during a visit to the theater artist Pablo Pupiro and Ernesto Soto in 1997 in Wuppertal [Germany]. It has since been promoted within the framework of the partnership with the city of Matagalpa / Wuppertal. During the first graphic workshops in 1998, a group formed that has since been renamed as “TallerContil.” Participants and group members are not professional visual artists, but interested and talented people from other, and sometimes with several professions: theater people, teachers, agricultural technicians, mechanics, students.

“Based on personal contacts and the Wuppertal-Matagalpa city sisterhood, the project started with woodcut printing under the poorest circumstances. Now, the project group TALLERCONTIL owns an etching press and a Hollander beater, both built in Matagalpa. The studio has advanced to producing etchings, single-sheet book art, unique books and a mould- made paper production.” (2)

Indigenous artist’s books are not only enjoyable as pieces of art but they can be studied to understand indigenous techniques applied to the creation of these books. The study of these objects offers an opportunity to see the ways that indigenous people adapt their techniques with other culture’s printing techniques, and how collaboration emerge between them and artists from Germany, the United States or Japan. But beyond looking as these objects as works of art, studying these artist’s books allow social scientists to introduce students to concepts such as globalization–these objects are created for the world market not the local economy; indigenous empowerment–indigenous women participate in these workshops as a different way to earn money and self-esteem; and language preservation, since indigenous languages such as Mayan are used for the short stories and poems printed in these books.

We invite you to come and visit the Dodd Center for a closer look to these amazing books.

Marisol Ramos, Curator for Latin American and Caribbean Collections

Resources Cited

(1) Taller Leñateros: About Us, http://www.tallerlenateros.com/ingles/index_ing.php

(2) Description of Wuppertal / Matagalpa Project Bookworks at the Vamp and Tramp Bookseller website, http://www.vampandtramp.com/finepress/e/edition-schwarze-seite.html#wuppertal

Links of Resources

Thomas J. Dodd Research Center’s Artists’ Books Collection, http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/collections/artistsbooks/artistsbooks.htm

The Woodlanders’ Gazette (Summer 2007), Taller Leñateros, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. This newsletter includes images and an audio clip with a sample of the songs of the Bolom Chon that are included in the CD that accompanied the book, http://www.tallerlenateros.com/gaceta_web/eng/gazette.htm

Graphic Arts Exhibitions, acquisitions, and other highlights from the Graphic Arts Collection, Princeton University Library (Blog) Entry on Edition Schwarze Seite, http://blogs.princeton.edu/graphicarts/2010/12/edition_schwarze_seite.html

Anne Buessow and Eckhard Froeschlin Website (in German), http://www.froeschlin-buessow.de

For a history of Artist’s Books check this article from the Yale University Library, Special Collection, http://www.library.yale.edu/arts/specialcollections/abhistory.html