March 18, 2011
With his incredibly gifted team MIT researcher Deb Roy wired up his house with videocameras to catch almost every moment of his son’s life five years ago. The team then parsed 90,000 hours of home video producing compelling images of data at work. One of the most memorable is the condensed brief awe-inspiring sound digitage of clips of his baby’s voice as he learns to produce the word “water” starting with the sound “gaaa.”
The brilliant visualizations of data dynamics are true art forms for a digital age.
Connectivity takes on a whole new meaning.
February 23, 2010
“There are no laws,which you can trust to work.There are just rules,which you must make to work.In the one hand,you are holding the mirror.On the other hand,you are the mask.Put on the mask and look in the mirror.What you see(the mirror does not lie)is that which is common to both,the truth you can believe (Wilson Duff).'”
Alphone Pinart took a Tsimshian mask with open eyes from Metlakatla or on the Nass River. It was brought to the Musée de l’Homme in Paris where it was stored. http://www.abcbookworld.com/view_author.php?id=3015
1890 A few Indian oral histories survive that may describe the 1770s epidemic. In the 1890s, an “aged informant” from the Squamish tribe, located near the mouth of the Fraser River, related the history of a catastrophic illness to ethnographer Charles Hill-Tout. The ethnographer wrote:
“[A] dreadful misfortune befell them. … One salmon season the fish were found to be covered with running sores and blotches, which rendered them unfit for food. But as the people depended very largely upon these salmon for their winter’s food supply, they were obliged to catch and cure them as best they could, and store them away for food. They put off eating them till no other food was available, and then began a terrible time of sickness and distress. A dreadful skin disease, loathsome to look upon, broke out upon all alike. None were spared. Men, women, and children sickened, took the disease and died in agony by hundreds, so that when the spring arrived and fresh food was procurable, there was scarcely a person left of all their numbers to get it. Camp after camp, village after village, was left desolate. The remains of which, said the old man, in answer by my queries on this, are found today in the old camp sites or midden-heaps over which the forest has been growing for so many generations. Little by little the remnant left by the disease grew into a nation once more, and when the first white men sailed up the Squamish in their big boats, the tribe was strong and numerous again” (Boyd, 55).http://historyink.com/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=51001920 Bill Reid was born in Victoria, BC. His father William Reid, an American of Scottish and German descent, came to BC to run hotels in two northern British Columbia towns.
1929 Barbeau, Marius. 1929. Totem Poles of the Gitksan. Upper Skeena River, BC.1925 Wilson Duff ( (1925-1976) was born.1932 Bill Reid’s father abandoned his family leaving his wife to raise the children alone. Sophie Gladstone, a Haida from the Queen Charlotte Islands, was educated at the Coqualeetza residential school. My mother thought it was a good place to live since it was full of English people and she was a life-long, ardent anglophile. She is the best example of brainwashing that the Indian residential school system ever turned out.” — Bill Reid in Saturday Night, February1932. Sophie Gladstone supported her family by working as a dress-maker and designer in Victoria. When he was young, Reid knew little of his mother’s Native heritage. Although the young Reid had some interest in carving,literature, music, and poetry, his development as an artist was a prolonged process which stretched over several decades.1943 Bill Reid was twenty-three when he first visited Skidegate, his mother’s home town, and met his grandfather, Charles Gladstone. Gladstone was a carver and engraver who had learned his art from his uncle, a man named Charles Edenshaw, who was, perhaps, the best-known nineteenth-century Haida carver. At the time he met his grandfather, Charles Gladstone, Reid was already working in radio and he soon moved to Toronto to take up a job with the CBC.1947 In his sixties, artist Mungo Martin (1881-1962) accepted UBC’s offer to oversee the restoration of totem poles. Mungo learned his craft from his stepfather Charlie James. He restored totems and taught others the skill until he died in 1962. He began replicating old poles for the British Columbia Provincial Museum’s outdoor display in Thunderbird Park. Mungo taught his son-in-law Henry Hunt and his grandson Tony Hunt, both of whom worked with Mungo at Thunderbird Park. In the 1980s his grandson Richard Hunt continued his work. Mungo also taught the Haida artist Bill Reid the traditional woodworking techniques of the Southern Kwakiutl, and worked with Doug Cranmer, the grandson of Mungo’s second wife Abayah.1949 29-year-old Bill Reid became discontented with his CBC job as night-time newsreader in Toronto. At first he had wanted to be the best soap salesman chief salesman for Procter and Gamble but he soon became bored anddisillusioned although he remained with the CBC as a honey-voiced announcer for 20 years. Working the 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift, Reid was at loose ends during the day and enrolled in a jewellery-making course at Ryerson Institute of Technology to occupy himself during his time off work. Reid also served an apprenticeship there. He visited the Royal Ontario Museum to study totem poles (which had been “purchased?” or stolen? from northern BC Native peoples) , all the while continuing his work in radio. Bill Reid scraped by working as a CBC newsreader in Toronto to support his family.1949 Wilson Duff earned his BA UBC, Vancouver at 24-years-old; Based on his fieldwork with six main informants in the summers of 1949 and 1950, Wilson Duff provided the first modern ethnographic study of the Cowichan group in 1952. Who were these informants?1950 Barbeau, Marius. 1950. Totem Poles. 2 volumes. National Museum of Canada.1951 Bill Reid worked for the CBC in Vancouver. Here he visited the UBC Museum of Anthropology. He set up his own jewelry shop, and began to work on totem pole replication and restoration projects. He began to study Haidaart and culture as a white man investigating a set of formal design problems. See art critic Roger Downe. He first worked on a replication project in Thunder Bird park where he met Mungo Martin, a highly-skilled Kwakwaka’wakwcarver who was overseeing the project. Martin helped Reid to develop his skills as a carver. He next worked on a project sponsored by the University of British Columbia Department of Anthropology restoring a Haida house andtotem pole.1951 Wilson Duff earned his MA at 26-years-old; His MA was based on fieldwork with the Stó:lõ Salish people of the Fraser River in B.C.1952 Duff, Wilson. Totem Poles of the Gitksan Totem-Poles 1952. a survey of those totem poles in Barbeau (1929) that were still standing in 1952. Totem Poles of the Gitksan. Upper Skeena River, BC.1952 Based on his fieldwork with six main informants in the summers of 1949 and 1950, Wilson Duff provided the first modern ethnographic study of the Cowichan group in 1952.1950- 1965 Wilson Duff was Curator of Anthropology at the British Columbia Provincial Museum. At 25 Duff became the first anthropologist to be fully employed by the provincial government of B.C. as its curator of anthropology at the provincial museum in Victoria (from 1950 to 1965).He was involved with Mungo Martin in the reclamation of totem poles.“Having served as a consultant for the Kitwancool in northern B.C., Wilson Duff served as an expert witness for both the Calder Case and the ensuing Nisga’a land claims case before the B.C. Supreme Court. As an avid photographer and a carver of no small skill himself, he published a guide to Victoria’s Thunderbird Park and he made an important contribution by identifying personal art styles among Aboriginal artists, particularly Charles Edenshaw. This work led others, such as Bill Reid, to believe that most of the finest carving on Haida Gwaii was accomplished by relatively few gifted artists.”1950s Wilson Duff was only in his twenties when he decided to take the last remaining Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) totem poles by having them removed from their village Kitwancool (a.k.a. Gitanyow) and brought to the Royal British Columbia Museum or RBCM) in Victoria for preservation. They were cut down with chain saws and hauled to Victoria by boat.1957 Wilson Duff, Bill Reid and … went to Haida villages and used power saws to cut down totems.1957-11-01 “Carvers of the totem poles.” CBC. “It’s 1957 and Bill Reid is an announcer for CBC Radio in Toronto. In this CBC Radio clip, Reid takes a reprieve from his news-announcing duties and narrates a program about totempoles. But in the meantime, Reid’s two passions of art and broadcasting are colliding. In various CBC Radio and Television specials, Reid acts as the unofficial spokesman on Haida art and culture. In this clip, Reid praises the Haidacarvers’ unparalleled virtuosity.”1958 Bill Reid worked on a project sponsored by the University of British Columbia Department of Anthropology to restore a Haida house and totem pole. Bill Reid became a full-time artist at the age of 38. He resigned from the CBC where he had worked as the honey-voiced announcer for 20 years.1958. Duff, Wilson; Kew Michael. 1958. “Anthony Island, a Home of the Haida.” British Columbia Provincial Museum Annual Report for 1957. pp. 37-64. An account of the expedition which salvaged sections of 11 poles.1959 Duff, Wilson. “Histories, Territories, and Laws of the Kitwancool.” Anthropology in British Columbia. pp 21-30.1960-1966 Wilson Duff chaired the Archaeological Sites Advisory Board.
1963 Wilson along with Willard Ireland and Dr. Clifford Carl, provided the impetus for the formation of the BCMA, and served as the Associations third President from 1963-1964 and was active in encouraging native participation in the Association.1964. Duff, Wilson. “Contributions of Marius Barbeau to West Coast Ethnology. Anthropologica. Review of the existence of totem poles at the time of European contact.1965 40-year-old Wilson Duff resigned? as Curator of Anthropology at the British Columbia Provincial Museum (1951-1065). He became Associate Professor/Professor of Anthropology, UBC (1965 on)1967 Duff, Wilson; Holm, Bill; Reid, Bill. Arts of the Raven: Masterworks of the Northwest Coast Indians. Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery. animal forms.1967 Following his preparation of the 191-page Arts of the Raven catalogue for a Vancouver Art Gallery exhibit in 1967, Wilson became obsessed with the notion of bringing together the only two stone masks known to exist from the Northwest Coast; the other with open eyes was kept in Paris.1969 Wilson Duff served in court as an expert witness in the Nisga’a land-claims case Calder vs. Attorney-General of B.C., the famous “Calder case.”1970s By the early 1970s Wilson Duff was consumed with studying Haida art in all its formalistic and cosmological complexity — taking in structuralist and psychoanalytical insights — an endeavour which he undertook with his friend the Haida artist Bill Reid but which never resulted in a comprehensive published articulation. His immersion in the Haida thought-world was so total that, as he wrote in the early 1970s, colleagues “are concerned about my sanity and reputation.”“His profound admiration for the arts of the West Coast was obvious at all times, and so was his anxious need, always unsatisfied, to penetrate their most secret meaning, even beyond the meaning assigned by the artists themselves… He was, one felt, tormented by problems related to the psychology–I would even say the metaphysics–of art.” — Claude Lévi-Strauss1973-02 Hesquiat Band Cultural Centre: Lack of funds hit by Chief Rocky Amos. Nesika. Vancouver. Indian Affairs denied Hesquiat Band’s request for funds for their proposed Cultural Centre.Chief Rocky Amos argued that UBC was granted $10 million to house Indian artifacts so “more white people could study Indians.” Chief Rocky Amos also cautioned that the linguistic programme which includes language lessons prepared for pre-school children in Hesquiat dialect of central Nootka language, is on the verge of closing due to lack of funds. http://qmackie.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/nesika-1973-volume-2-number-1.jpg1973-02 By a member of the Hesquiat Band. Whitemen Stole Indian Artifacts: People now demand own museums. UBC basement storage has an unsurpassed collection of Northwest Coast Indian art. These Indian artifacts have no didactic material on who did the carving, what family owns the crests, who obtained the art work, was it purchased or stolen?“I have seen places in the Queen Charlottes where ancient totem poles have been cut off at the base with a power saw, dragged to the sea and towed behind a tug through salt water to be relocated. I have seen groups of Indian children escorted through government-run museums; small brown-eyed children under the watchful eyes of white museum guards, looking at glass cases in which lie the history of their people. A history made odd, different, and strangely foreign because it is lying in a glass case in a white man’s institution.  Who ever asked for permission to remove our heritage and place it in glass cases?  Why are there no funds for museums for us?  There is money for a boat to take archaeology students up and down our coastline to dig up the bones of our grandfathers and sift, sort and label sacred objects from our burial grounds, but no money for us to treat our heritage with the dignity it deserves?”Nesika. Vancouver.See http://gsdl.ubcic.bc.ca/cgi-bin/library?e=q-11000-00—off-0nesika1-nesika1,ubcicnew,unitybul,ubcicbu1-01-1–0-10-0—0—0prompt-10—4——-0-1l–11-en-50—20-about-archaeology–00-3-1-01-0-0-11-0-0utfZz-8-00&a=d&cl=CL11975 Wilson Duff and Vancouver Art Gallery director Richard Simmins succeeded in obtaining permission from France to transport their priceless Tsimshian mask to British Columbia. Wilson Duff retrieved the twin Tsimshian mask from the Musée de l’Homme for a one-year period, bringing it to his home in Vancouver; Hilary Stewart transported the mask from Vancouver to the Victoria Art Gallery where it was reunited with the mask from Ottawa. Hilary Stewart transported the mask from Vancouver to the Victoria Art Gallery where it was reunited with the mask from Ottawa. “The sightless mask was lifted carefully and placed over the face of its seeing twin,” Stewart recalled. “…the two nested together in a close, snug fit. It was a deeply moving moment as the two masks came together again for the first time in a hundred years or more.” After consulting with Musqueam Della Kew, Duff ensured the twin stone masks were henceforth stored together, one cradled by the other, each an equal part of a whole. He later wrote, “Life is a pair of twin stone masks which are the very same but have opposite eyes.” The masks represented the “living paradoxes in myth and life” that he believed were near the source of Northwest Coast Aboriginal art.”http://www.abcbookworld.com/view_author.php?id= ”1976 Duff, Wilson. “Mute Relics of Haida Tribe’s Ghost Villages.” Smithsonian.1976-08-08 “Wilson Duff committed suicide on August 6, 1976 in Vancouver, at age 51, hoping to be reincarnated as an Aboriginal from Haida Gwaii or the Tsimshian First Nation. Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote, “I wonder if it was not, after all, this desperate quest for infinite mysteries–perhaps because they were above all an exigency of his mind–that killed this unaffected, charming, altruistic and kind man, who was also a great scholar.” For his 50th birthday, Bill Reid had given Wilson Duff a silver medallion with a Haida design with an inscription on the back saying “survivor, first class.” He was wearing the medallion when he shot himself to death.” “He as on the planning committee for the new Vancouver Museum, consultant to the National Museum of Man, Ottawa. His publications were classics in the field – contributions to the study of First Nations cultures that added considerably to the development of museums around the province. He was recognized as one of the leaders I the “redefinition of ethnological materials as fine arts” within the early Canadian museum community. see “1981 Donald N. Abbott edited The World Is As Sharp As A Knife: An Anthology in Honour of Wilson Duff . The title was drawn from a poem by Wilson Duff of the same name.1998 Bill Reid died. He had become an internationally-recognized artist whose work earned him wide praise. He is likely the best-known of all the artists who contributed to what is sometimes referred to as a renaissance in NativeCanadian art.1999 Bierwert, Crisca. 1999. Brushed by Cedar, Living by the River: Coast Salish Figures of Power. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999. Reviewed by Brian Thom, McGill University. [this review is to be published in American Anthropologist]“In Brushed by Cedar Bierwert takes us to two Coast Salish Native communities (Stó:lo and Lushootseed) on the Northwest Coast and explores Coast Salish ways of making sense of current moral, intellectual, political and spiritual issues and dilemmas.” Bierwert was aware of the dangers inherent in writing about the power of the spirit dance.“When told about one initiate dying and another losing the ability to write when they had both joined the spirit dance in order to write about it, she reflected with some concern on the death of the two other scholars who published on Stó:lo spirit dance practices (Wilson Duff’s suicide and Oliver Well’s accidental death while vacationing in Scotland) and the controversy surrounding the publication of Jilek’s self-serving psychoanalytical text on spirit dancing. She describes the subsequent tension of being engaged in the community, even participating in a spirit dance, and the degree of circumspection needed in writing about spiritual matters, which she is left to figure out for herself. She finds that writing about these things is a part of a larger social dynamic, where “the boundaries of practice allow for variation, for deployment at different limits and different times” (133) and it is the movement of these boundaries which reveal the processes of power which give tension to these dynamics. Coast Salish people see syowen (the spirit which empowers the dancers) as an active agent, much the same way particular places are seen as containing power. Coast Salish people are motivated by the power of the syowen to respond to ritual, political and everyday situations with attention to the unique ways that the power may manifest itself. It motivates Bierwert to respect a boundary of appropriateness in her own writing about spirit dancing, staying clear of describing or trying to explain the details of the practice, while at the same time giving a sense of its power. In the most emotionally potent chapter Bierwert grapples with the ongoing problem of family violence in Stó:lo communities. She first brings forward the voices of some of the Stó:lo women – her friends – who discussed with her the violence which had occurred in her own marriage. The chapter sensitively moves back and forth between their commentary, their descriptions of their own experiences, and Bierwert’s discussion of how this unfortunately common violence may be uniquely understood in particular Coast Salish ways. Her friends respond the violence in their lives in various ways, but almost never did they or their families intervene. Like in spirit dancing, there are different boundaries of power which must be respected. Bierwert concludes that while traditional family structures which may have kept past violence in check have been disrupted by colonial institutions, the violence is now perpetuated by a difficult configuration of Native men appropriating the kinds of violence that is more widely present in non-Native communities and Coast Salish ways of thinking about how bad things need to run their course (Thom’s review).”2001 Marjorie Halpin was curator of ethnology at UBC MOA until her untimely death. She studied under Wilson Duff?2004 approximately 2,000 Haida lived in Canada, almost all in Haida Gwaii.2010 Artistic Directors Dennis Garnhum (Calgary) and Max Reimer (Vancouver) presented the world premiere production of Beyond Eden, written and composed by Bruce Ruddell, during their 2009-10 seasons at Theatre Calgary and the Playhouse Theatre Company of Vancouver. Beyond Eden will be featured as part of the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad.
See also Rhyne, Charles S. 2000. “Changing Approaches to the Conservation of Northwest Coast Totem Poles.” Tradition and Innovation: Advances in Conservation Contributions to the Melbourne Congress, 10-14 October 2000. London: International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 2000. Pp.155-160, color plates 7.1-7.4.
http://academic.reed.edu/art/faculty/rhyne/papers/approaches.html http://home.istar.ca/~bthom/brushed.htm http://gsdl.ubcic.bc.ca/cgi-bin/library?e=q-11000-00—off-0nesika1-nesika1,ubcicnew,unitybul,ubcicbu1-01-1–0-10-0—0—0prompt-10—4——-0-1l–11-en-50—20-about-archaeology–00-3-1-01-0-0-11-0-0utfZz-8-00&a=d&cl=CL1″ target=”_blank”>http://gsdl.ubcic.bc.ca/cgi-bin/library?e=q-11000-00—off-0nesika1-nesika1,ubcicnew,unitybul,ubcicbu1-01-1–0-10-0—0—0prompt-10—4——-0-1l–11-en-50—20-about-archaeology–00-3-1-01-0-0-11-0-0utfZz-8-00&a=d&cl=CL1 http://qmackie.files.wordpress.com/2010/02 http://qmackie.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/nesika-1973-volume-2-number-1.jpg http://historyink.com/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=5100 http://www.abcbookworld.com/view_author.php?id=3015 http://helios.e-e-e.gr/medicine/files/History_of_medicine_days.pdf#page=132 http://academic.reed.edu/art/faculty/rhyne/papers/approaches.html
February 2, 2010
In the 199os an artist-musician and close friend originally from Haiti, Emmanuel Printemps, used to visit us regularly on Friday evenings and we would ask him to share his music with us and our other guests. We always requested one of his most moving, enchanting Creole songs, the powerful but sad story of the local butcher who lost his livelihood during the pig slaughter. As I follow the events in Haiti since the earthquake, I think of these precious friends from another time and place; they and their families are in our hearts and prayers.
Rural peasants in Haiti raised a very hardy breed of creole pigs which along with goats, chickens, and cattle served as a savings account. It was argued that from 1978 to 1982 about 1/3 of Haiti’s pigs became infected with the highly contagious African Swine Fever (ASF) in an epidemic that had spread along the Artibonite River shared with the Dominican Republic whose pigs had caught the virus from European sources. At first peasants were encouraged to slaughter their own pigs but then the Haitian government proceeded on a total eradication program that virtually wiped out what remained of the 1.2-million pig population by 1982. Farmers argued that they were not adequately compensated for their losses. The more robust creole pigs were replaced with a sentinel breed of U. S. pigs that were not adapted to Haiti’s ecosystem or market. For Haiti’s rural peasants the loss of income due to the virus and the government’s controversial eradication and repopulation programs led to further impoverishment and greater hardship, ultimately resulting in greater political instability.
In two webviral posts entitled “The Hate and the Quake: Rebuilding Haiti” by scholar, historian Sir Hilary Beckles of the University of the West Indies, (Beckles 2010-01-19) that are now circling the globe , we need to do some memory work before we conclude that Haitians are the architects of their own impoverishment.
In this seminal retelling of Haiti’s history, (Beckles 2010-01-19) reminds us all that when Haiti provided freedom and the right of citizenship to any person of African descent who arrived on the shores of the newly formed Haitian republic (1805), the newly formed nation-state (1804) was strategically punished by Western countries, through economic isolation ( (Beckles 2010-01-19)).
From 1805 through 1825 Haiti was completely denied access to world trade, finance, and institutional development in “the most vicious example of national strangulation recorded in modern history ( (Beckles 2010-01-19)).”
In 1825 in an attempt to be a part of international markets, Haiti entered into negotiations with France which resulted in payment of a reparation fee of 150 million gold francs to be paid to France in return for national recognition. The installments were made from 1825 until 1922. From 1825-1900 alone this amounted to 70% of Haiti’s foreign exchange earnings. Beckles (2010-01-) argues that this merciless exploitation caused the Haitian economy to collapse (Beckles 2010-01-19).
Furthermore, when Haiti’s coffee or sugar yields declined, the Haitian government had to borrow money from the United States at double the going interest rate in order to repay their punishing debt to the French government (Beckles 2010-01-19) .
From 1915-1934 the United States occupied Haiti under orders of President Woodrow Wilson in response to concerns that Haiti was unable to make its considerable loan payments to American banks to which Haiti was deeply in debt. The brutal U.S. occupation of Haiti caused problems that lasted long after 1934.
Webliography and BibliographyPosted by Maureen Flynn-Burhoe1 Comment »
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Tags: Beckles, Emmanuel Printemps, Haiti, Memory Work
December 4, 2009
Honouring Honoré Jaxon (1861-1952) ocean.flynn (2009-12-03) Layered Images: PhotoShop CC 3.5
The life story of Honoré Joseph Jaxon born William Henry Jackson (1861-1952) is inextricably linked to the history of Canada, to the story of missing archives, to the history of the early North American Baha’is, the history of early social justice movements. Fragments of the “missing” archives have been partially restored through the work of countless historians, artists, social scientists, cultural workers and journalists. Jaxon adopted the cause of the Métis and worked tirelessly to build an archives that literally weighed three tons when he was evicted from his New York apartment in 1951 at the age of 90. His archives were almost completely destroyed and he died with a broken spirit three weeks later.
A timeline of selected events in the contextualized life of Honoré Joseph Jaxon born William Henry Jackson (1861-1952)
10,000 years ago or more The hunter-gatherer ancestors of Manitoba’s First Nations were already in the area at least 10,000 years ago. Even then the forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers (where Winnipeg now stands) provided a natural major gathering place of different First Nations. All of Manitoba’s rivers—the Nelson, Churchill and Hayes—flow directly into Hudson Bay. The Saskatchewan River flows into Lake Winnipeg from the west, the Winnipeg River from the east, and the Red River from the south. The Assiniboine, joins the Red River at the Forks in Winnipeg.
1612 The first European reached present-day Manitoba.
1690 Henry Kelsey, traveled the northern part of the Manitoba. He was the first non-aboriginal to do so.
In 1738, Fort Rouge was built at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. The Forks, as the junction was called, became the centre of a the fur trade.
In 1811, Lord Selkirk, from Scotland established the Red River Settlement with plans to increase agricultural production at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers.
1817 Quebec Catholic missionaries arrived on the east side of the Red River.
1837 The Upper Canada Rebellion was led by William Lyon Mackenzie against the ruling oligarchy in York (now Toronto), Upper Canada.
1844 Louis Riel was born near modern Winnipeg, Manitoba, in the Red River Settlement, a community in Rupert’s Land nominally administered by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), and largely inhabited by First Nations tribes and the Métis, an ethnic group of mixed Cree, Ojibwa, Saulteaux, French Canadian, Scottish, and English descent. Read the rest of this entry »Posted by Maureen Flynn-BurhoeLeave a Comment »
Filed in Canadian Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, forgetting, History, Memory Work, Social History Timeline, Social Justice, Sociology, Teaching Learning and Research Tools
Tags: Adobe Photoshop, Baha'i, Blackfoot, Creative Commons, flickr, Honore Jaxon, Louis Riel, Métis History, memory and archives, Memory Work, Plains Cree, Positive Presence of Absence, Red River Settlement, Van den Hoonaard, William Henry Jackson (1861-1952)
October 5, 2009
1677 G. Mitelli’s “A Baroque “Cabinet of Curiosities.” Lorenzo Legati, Museo Cospiano annesso a quello del famoso Ulisse Aldrovandi e donato alla sua patria dall’illustrissimo Signor Ferdinando Cospi. “One of the first full-fledged demonstrations of this interpretative strategy was Eilean Hooper-Greenhill’s Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge, several times reprinted since its appearance in 1992. “[I]nstead of attempting to find generalisations and unities,” Hooper-Greenhill proposed “to look for differences, for change, and for rupture.”15 This “effective history” as distinct from the “normal history” of progressive development would clear the way to a full appreciation for the array of alternative practices that the old teleological accounts had glossed over or suppressed. On the model of Foucault’s templates of successive formations of power and knowledge (the famous discursive formations-discourse-epistemes), Hooper-Greenhill discussed a succession of sites of collection and display—the Medici Palace in Florence; the Renaissance Wunderkammer or Cabinet of Curiosities (see Fig. 1) the natural history collections of the seventeenth century, particularly the Repository of the Royal Society in England; and the modern “Disciplinary Museum” for which the postrevolutionary Louvre was the prototype. The result is not a connected museum history, let alone a history of “the” museum. It is rather a kind of genealogical chart of the shifting constellations of epistemology and authority governing the collection of material objects” (Starn 2005).
1783 An image depicting the monument to Friedrich II in Kassel’s Friedrichsplatz. The Museum Fridericianum proudly claimed that it was the first museum in Europe. Cassel had galleries, parks, gardens and palaces that imitated the magnificence of Versailles. The Langraves of Hesse-Cassel were dealers in men for centuries. Hessian mercenaries had defeated the agrarian peasants in the area and took their lands. Napoleon III was imprisoned in Cassel, Northern Germany. See Crimp ‘The Art of Exhibition’ (OMR:236). 1845 William Peale’s Museum in Philadelphia closed because of competition from P. T. Barnum’s Grand Colossal Museum and Greatest Show on Earth (Boon 1991:259).
1828 In his plans for the Berlin Museum, Schinkel preserved the world of classical perfection in his rotunda which was also the visitor’s first encounter with the museum.”The sight of this beautiful and exalted place must create the mood for and make one susceptible to the pleasure of judgement that the building holds in store throughout.” [. . . ] “First delight, then instruct.” This sanctuary as Schinkel called it, would contain the prize works of monumental classical sculpture mounted on high pedestals. This was to have the effect of preparing the visitor for a “march through the history of man’s striving for Absolute Spirit. Schinkel planned a gestalt in which all relationships among objects were fixed. He paid close attention to Hegel’s notion of aesthetics as they were elaborated in his lectures from 1823-29. Hegel declared that, “The spirit of our world todat appears beyond the stage at which art is the supreme mode of our knowledge of the Absolute. The peculiar nature of artistic production and of works of art no longer fulfills our highest need. We have got beyond venerating works of art as divine and worshipping them. The impression they make on us needs a higher touchstone and a different test. Thought and reflection have spread their wings over fine art.” (Hegel, Introduction to Aesthetics). Hegel was speaking of the Owl of Minerva which was to be exhibited in the museum’s rotunda. The Owl of Minerva prepares the viewer for a contemplation of art which “has lost for us genuine truth and life, and has rather been transferred into our ideas instead of maintaining its earlier necessity in reality . . . Art invites us to intellectual consideration, and that not for the purpose of creating art again, but for knowing philosophically what art is.” Crimp continues, “It is upon this wresting of art from its necessity in reality that idealist aesthetics and the ideal museum are founded; and it is against the power of their legacy that we must still struggle for a materialist aesthetics and a materialist art (Crimp 1993:302).
1845 P. T. Barnum’s Grand Colossal Museum and Greatest Show on Earth (Boon 1991:259).
1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition was one of the first great world fair’s which were a great nationalistic invention in the 19th century based on the theme of European’s progress (Errington 1998:18). Colonized peoples were represented as sources of raw materials. The disciplines of folklore and archaeology were used for nationalistic purposes. The Crystal Palace unintentionally represented Britain’s colonial transgressions (Boon 1991:259). The world’s fair, the museum of science and technology, the fine arts museum, the natural history museum are examples of public sites for mass education in the idea of progress (Errington 1998:19).
1861 Edward Belcher wrote an paper entitled ‘On the manufacture of works of art by the Esquimaux’ which is archived in the Department of Ethnography in the British Museum in London. See J. King Franks and Ethnography. This may be the first paper written on Inuit art (Belcher 1861).
1892 Henry James (1892) described Venice as a beautiful tomb, a museum city with its gondoliers, beggars and models as custodians and ushers and objects of the great museum. (James, Henry. 1988. Henry James on Italy [Selections from Italian Hours] New York: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988:10 cited in Boon 1991:255). Crimp (IMR 1993:109) referred to a ghost tale by Henry James which played on the double, antithetical meaning of the word presence. “The presence before him was a presence.” In his ghost stories James uses a notion of presence as a ghost that is really an absence. It refers to a presence which is not there. Crimp added the idea of a presence as a kind of increment of being there. It is a ghostly presence that is its excess of presence even when the person conjured is absent. Crimp compared this to Laurie Anderson’s presence at Documenta 7 (1982) in Cassel as an uninvited but powerfully present contemporary artist.
1893 Boas has collected data for this book while gathering ethnographic material in preparation for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition which he hoped would be a potential for public education about other cultures through the use of culturally sensitive and intelligent ethnographic displays. Boas, a Jew devoted his life to dismantling racist notions that had impregnated the social sciences in the 19th century. He was so disgusted by the final displays of human culture in the world fairs that he refused any further collaboration. At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair Inuit wore their fur clothing in the heat of Chicago summers. They demonstrated the art of snapping whips and exhibited their kayaks. Franz Boas’ (1858-1942) book entitled The Central Eskimo was reprinted. Boas has been called the father of American Anthropology. Boas promoted the concept of cultural determinism. His students including Margaret Mead founded university departments and/or directed museums of ethnography. See also The World as Marketplace: Commodification of the Exotic at the World’s Colombian Exposition, Chicago (Hinsley 1991) Columbia Exposition was the origin of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (Errington 1998:20).
1904 Exposition in St. Louis displayed Philippine natives. The US had recently annexed the Philippines.
1905 Franz Boas resigned after ten years with the American Museum of Natural History because he was convinced that it was impossible to adequately represent cultural meaning on so slim a basis as physical objects. (8) He turned his attention to analysis of oral traditions, hoping to find in texts recorded directly from native speakers a more objective method of addressing the issues preoccupying the anthropology of his day — race, language, and culture. (9) Some of his followers, though, continued to argue for the superior objectivity of material culture; Alfred Kroeber, for instance, saw archaeological data as ‘the purest [data] there are.’ (10) This penchant for trying to abstract evidence about ‘traditional’ culture from embodied words and things, while ignoring the turmoil engulfing Native peoples at the time collections were made, has retrospectively been interpreted as a serious shortcoming of early anthropology, but it established patterns. “In the short history of anthropology, analyses of spoken words and of material objects have usually been compartmentalized. In North America this dichotomy reflects the way the discipline was originally constituted.
1907 Picasso’s acquaintance Pieret began to make raids on the Louvre removing Phoenician antiquities and selling them to Picasso. Richardson suggested that these Iberian sculptures inspired Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) (Richardson 1996:22-3). Picasso claimed that his epiphany came in when he paid a visit to the seldom frequented Ethnographical Museum at the Trocadero, now the Musee de l’Homme. He described this visit to Malraux later. “When I went to the old Trocadero, it was disgusting. The Flea Market. The smell. I was all alone. I wanted to get away. But I didn’t leave. I stayed. I understood that it was important: something was happening to me right? The masks weren’t like any other pieces of sculpture. Not at all. They were like magic things. But they weren’t the Egyptian pieces or the Chaldean? We hadn’t realized it. Those were primitives, not magic things. The Negro pieces were intercesseurs, mediators: ever since then I’ve known the word in French. They were against everything. I too believe that everything is unknown, that everything is an enemy! Everything! I understood what the Negroes used their sculpture for… The fetishes were… weapons. To help people avoid coming under the influence of spirits again, to help them become independent. Spirits, the unconscious (people still weren’t talking about that much), emotion — they’re all the same thing. I understand why I was a painter. All alone in that awful museum, with masks, dolls made by the redskins, dusty manikins. Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon must have come to me that day, but not at all because of the forms; because it was my first exorcism painting— yes absolutely! (Malraux 1974:11)” Picasso discovered African art section of Tropedaro? in Louvre (Errington 1998:10). Primitive objects, history
1910 National Gallery of Canada Collection moved to east wing of theVictoria Memorial Museum building.
1914 “In her recent book, The Death of Authentic Primitive Art and Other Tales of Progress (1998) anthropologist Shelly Errington traces the rise of the modernist paradigm of Authentic Primitive Art in the United States through a series of temporary exhibits, ranging from the 1914 exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s 219 Gallery in New York to the exhibits of African, Oceanic and American Indian Art at the Museum of Modern Art during the 1930s and 1940s to the permanent Museum of Primitive Art established in New York in 1957 (Phillips 2002:46-7).”
1923-42 Frederick Keppel was the president of powerful Carnegie Corporation. At that the Corporation were interested in creating elitist consensus building and in cultural development in places like Australia. The Corporation’s ideals, values, prejudices, interests and assumptions tended to support business-orientated, white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant men (Lagemann 1989:6-8,104). Keppel’s aim was to the transmission of “traditionally elite culture…[through]… enlightening public taste directly”. In regard to the arts it was clear that “the goal was to elevate the “best taste” rather than “improve the average”. Under Keppel, classical styles in the fine arts, great literature and the sensibilities and habits associated with them, were seen as “essential to character and taste especially as culture became more susceptible to commercial standards and interests”. Keppel’s goal was to be achieved, not just through schools, but also via the diverting of popular interest in education to agencies like the library, adult education center and the art museum. E. Root (president of the Carnegie Corporation until 1932) echoed 1920 sentiment, when he directed that Corporation policy would follow the trend “for art education and art appreciation… to unite all of the arts in the common endeavor to educate the publics tastes and to train men and women who may interpret the arts to the body of the people” (Lagemann 1989:95,102,115,117).
1923 Le Corbusier held up an image of a pipe as an image of pure functionalism. See Foucault (OT 1982:60) See Magritte (1926).
1926 Réné Magritte (1898-1967) entitled a painting “Ceci n’est pas une pipe. See Foucault (1973).
1927 Marius Barbeau was an ethnologist who proposed the 1927 exhibition showing native and non-native artists side by side, Emily Carr and totem poles. “The interrelation of totem poles and modern paintings displayed in close proximity made it clear that the inspiration for both kinds of art expression sprang from the same fundamental background. One enhanced the beauty of the other and made it more significant. The Indian craftsmen were great artists in their way, and original; the moderns responded to the same exotic themes, but in terms consonant with their own traditions (Barbeau 1932:337-8 cited in Nemiroff 1992:23).”
1930 Canadian Handicrafts Guild organized an exhibition of Eskimo Arts and Crafts at the McCord Museum in Montreal. The exhibition attracted the attention of the New York Times (Canadian Guild of Crafts Quebec 1980:11).
1936 Walter Benjamin wrote his influential essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” (1936) the aura is the source of all value in a deteriorating world. Aura as used by Walter Benjamin refers to “the associations which, at home in the mémoire involuntaire, tend to cluster around the object of a perception”(186). Its place in memory reveals that the aura is what has made the objects of the collector, the translator and the storyteller seem so meaningful “Once you have approached the mountains of cases in order to mine the books from them…what memories crowd in on you!”(66), he writes of his collection. He connects storytelling explicitly to memory. “Memory is the epic faculty par excellence”(97) and even employs the term “aura”The storyteller is the man who could let the wick of his life be consumed completely by the gentle flame of his story. This is the basis of the incomparable aura about the storyteller….The storyteller is the figure in which the righteous man encounters himself (108_9). The aura is elsewhere defined in these telling terms. Experience of the aura thus rests on the transportation of a response common in human relationships to the relationship between the inanimate or natural object and man….To perceive the aura of an object we look at means to invest it with the ability to look at us in return. This experience corresponds to the data of the mémoire involontaire (188). As one can see, before the essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” (1936) the aura is the source of all value in a deteriorating world. It grounds the practice of the collector, the storyteller and indirectly the translator for it lends to their activities a purposefulness they would otherwise not have, becoming only allegories of market strategies. It makes sense that he would have to declare war on this concept given the way those activities resemble market strategies even with their aura__ given, in fact, the resemblance of aura to ideology. Experience of the aura thus rests on the transportation of a response common in human relationships to the relationship between the inanimate or natural object and man….To perceive the aura of an object we look at means to invest it with the ability to look at us in return. This experience corresponds to the data of the mémoire involontaire (188). Crimp (OMR 1993:112) argued that art history adopts an approach modeled on kunstwissenschaft wherein art historians attempt to prove or disprove the aura or presence of the authentic, unique original aspects of works of art. Using chemical analysis or connoisseurship art historians can prove or disprove the authenticity of a work of art which assures its place in a museum. Museums reject copies and reproductions. The presence of the artist must be detected through the work of art or the claim of authenticity cannot be made. See Crimp (OMR 1993:112).
1941 The US was almost ready to join the war. American nationalism intensified. Marc Chagall invited by the Museum of Modern Art, arrived in New York the day the Germans invaded Russia. New York columnist Henry McBride claimed that Americans “had become the sole custodians of the arts” since the collapse of Europe. He vaunted the Museum of Modern Art, “Is not the museum asking us to take the hint and to return to these original sources and start our aesthetic life anew?” (McBride 1941 cited in Nemiroff 1992:29)
1930s-40s “In her recent book, The Death of Authentic Primitive Art and Other Tales of Progress (1998) anthropologist Shelly Errington traces the rise of the modernist paradigm of Authentic Primitive Art in the United States through a series of temporary exhibits, ranging from the 1914 exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s 219 Gallery in New York to the exhibits of African, Oceanic and American Indian Art at the Museum of Modern Art during the 1930s and 1940s to the permanent Museum of Primitive Art established in New York in 1957 (Phillips 2002:46-7).”
1941 The Museum of Modern Art in New York “staged a major exhibition called “Indian Art in the United States”, a seminal show which demonstrated that scholars and curators had recognised the unstoppable force of a key area of aesthetics and felt obliged to say: “Yes, we recognise this art, these artifacts, for the divinely inspired wonders which they often are.” One man who summed up what the American public was seeing, in many cases for the first time, was the ethnographer and anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. “Before long,” he noted, “these works will appear in museums and galleries of fine art.” (Hensall 1999) See 1999 “The Back Half – Visions of another America” The New Statesman.
1941 The exhibition entitled the “Art of Australia” traveled to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York and the National Gallery of Art Washington and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The exhibition in Canada displayed different works of art than those shown in the US. The MoMA and the US National Gallery of Art were considered to be the most significant. Canada is a commonwealth country whose civic structure and population size is roughly similar to Australia’s. “These three venues set the parameters and context of the exhibition as a public event, configuring the show in a sequence of events in a bigger cultural picture that reveals the relationship of alliances that exists between governments and the deployment of culture as a tool of propaganda (Ryan, Louise 2002)”.
1947 André Malraux introduced his notion of the musée imaginaire or Museum Without Walls. “In his well known Museum Without Walls of 1947, André Malraux commented on the “fictitious” aspect of art books and observed that reproductions not only change the scale of original works, they also make them lose any sense of relative proportion when gathered together in such a way. Enlarged details, lighting, angle of shots, colour, everything metamorphoses the works. Furthermore, reproduction can bring side by side works of art that could never be seen together simply because they are housed in various institutions or scattered in different locations, indoors and outdoors, all over the world. The end result for Malraux was nothing less than an “imaginary museum”, an ideal art museum, as opposed to a real one, one that transformed the way art was experienced, appreciated and understood” (Malraux, 1956).
1949 In his 1949 publication La Méditerranée et le monde méditerranéen à l’époque de Philippe II, Fernard Braudel irreversibly transformed the way history was written. The social science turn in historiography was propelled forward by Braudel’s methodology based on “la longue durée”. Braudel examined white writings on the surface of the profound oceans to explore societies in relation to their geographic environments, social structures, their trade routes and their intellectual histories. Braudel examined the geography, political economies and sociology of the cities, Venice, Milan, Genoa and Florence in the age of Phillip II. Images of the immobility of time in Borges map contrast with the rapid acceleration of time in traditional history where centuries and millenia were encapsulated into the lives of singular heroic figures from Alexander the Great, Caesar, Gengis Khan, Louis XIV to Napoleon (Braudel 1949).
1950s Whitney committed to MoMA orthodoxy-the preference for European modernism. Prior to 1950s the Whitney was committed to realist art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA) was considered to be an elitist, right of center museum dedicated to exhibiting the aesthetic tastes of the New York establishment.
1953 Charles and Peter Gimpel opened an exhibition of Inuit art entitled “Eskimo Carvings” in May in London, England at the gallery they had opened in 1946 (Vorano 2004:9-18). An illustrated catalogue was produced for the exhibition. Vorano argues that this was a pivotal exhibition introducing Inuit art internationally. Charles Gimpel was a photographer who traveled to Canada’s far north in the 1950s and 1960s long before this became a popular tourist attraction. See Tippett and Gimpel (1994). Charles Gimpel and Terry Ryan visited Kingait in 1958 when James Houston was there. “Charles Gimpel had arranged an exhibition of Inuit art at his Gallery during the Coronation celebrations in 2 June of 1953, and the international press covered it Time International, Mayfair, The Observer, The Times. Every prominent newspaper in the western world was writing about this art, and Canadian critics decided that maybe there was something here they should take a look at.” It was terrific: the Museum of Modern Art in New York bought the first set of Cape Dorset prints. Governor General Vincent Massey gave an Inuit print to Princess Margaret as a wedding present.”
1953 James Houston met with his friend Eugene Power to discuss ways of marketing Inuit Art in the United States. Power, who owned and operated University Microfilms in Ann Arbor, established a non-profit gallery in Ann Arbor called Eskimo Art Incorporated to import the work. He encouraged the Cranbrook Institute of Science to host an exhibition of the work in 1953, the first exhibition of Inuit Art in the United States. In 2004 The Dennos Museum Center holds a collection of nearly 1,000 works of Inuit art from the Canadian Arctic. It is believed to be one of the largest and most historically complete collection of Inuit sculpture and prints in the United States. James Houston visited New York and Chicago to sell Inuit carvings and talk about their experience in the Canadian Arctic. Houston’s friend Eugene B. Power at the university at Ann Arbour, Michigan invited some colleagues including museum director Dr. Robert Hatt and anthropologist Bruce Inverarity, who began collecting Inuit art. Power began Eskimo Art, Inc Power’s foundation Eskimo Art Inc offered to purchase the entire Guild inventory of Inuit art although the Guild declined the offer. Guild president Jack Molson had informed James Houston that even though the quality of the works was improving the Guild did not have a large enough clientele to sell the work. Eskimo Art Inc later helped organize exhibitions of Inuit art including a travelling exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. Houston described other early exhibitions at the Field Museum in Chicago and at the Museum of Natural History in New York. There were exhibitions in the States before Canadian galleries noticed (Houston 1995:146-8).
1957 “In her recent book, The Death of Authentic Primitive Art and Other Tales of Progress (1998) anthropologist Shelly Errington traces the rise of the modernist paradigm of Authentic Primitive Art in the United States through a series of temporary exhibits, ranging from the 1914 exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s 219 Gallery in New York to the exhibits of African, Oceanic and American Indian Art at the Museum of Modern Art during the 1930s and 1940s to the permanent Museum of Primitive Art established in New York in 1957 (Phillips 2002:46-7).”
1959 The Vancouver Museum and the Art Gallery of the University of British Columbia welcomed young innovative artists of their region. Roy Kiyooka added his New York influence to Jack Shadbolt’s charisma at the Vancouver School of Fine Arts. Vancouver because of its closer ties to the American west coast, Seattle and San Francisco, was not evolving in an artistic vacuum. See Withrow (1972:12.)
1960 Michael Spock director of the Boston Children’s Museum adopted a missionary zeal in development and implementation of hands-on visitor-centred learning experiences in museum display. Based on his own learning experience as a dyslexic in a well-known and politically liberal family, Spock focused on a concept of aesthetics which was linked to comfort in learning. He used interactive materials in the museum space prior to developing the exhibition to ask viewers what they wanted to know about the exhibition content. He and Oppenheimer were among the pioneers in hands-on museum display (Gurian 1991:180 in Karp and Levine).
1960s and 1970s Canada experienced a major expansion of museums through the late 60’s and 70’s, an expansion often inspired and led by volunteers.
1960s Photography was ‘discovered’ as an art form. Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol began to silkscreen photographic images onto the canvases. Through this process photography contaminated the purity of modernism’s separate categories of painting and sculpture. See Crimp, (On the Museums Ruins 1993:77).
1964 The artist Marcel Broodthaers held an exhibition at the Galerie Saint-Laurent in Brussels. He explained that until that time he had been good for nothing so he decided to try to create. His admission of bad faith, of the commodization of art, made of him a creator of ‘museum fictions’. “Fiction enables us to grasp reality and at the same time that which is veiled by reality.” See Crimp (1993:201).
1965 Ian Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) signed the Declaration of Independence. Museums in Rhodesia reflected the anti-black stance of the government. Africans were discouraged from patronizing museums. The cultural heritage of Africans of Zimbabwe was very rich. Material culture included numerous objects that were aesthetic, sophisticated, innovatice, original and ingenious. Artifacts were collected by third parties, such as farmers, missionaries. These collections were then acquired by museums so that there was no relationship between the ethnographer and the object. The original environment and social context of the object were of no interest to the museum since their was no value assigned to the entire culture of Africans of Zimbabwe. A policy of centralization of research collections was adopted and implemented between 1979 and 1981. No African traditions of Zimbabwe were collected in the archives until 1977. They had clearly set up museums as white culture houses. When Robert Mugabe, first black prime minister of Zimbabwe first came to power in 1981? he called for a reconciliation of the political, economic, cultural identities of Zimbabwe. Cultural institutions through collections and galleries are the central artery of communication as providers of education and information. Some argued that cultural institutions in Rhodesia, like museums, were a European concept that could not be adapted to the needs of a pluralistic society like Zimbabwe. See Munjeri in Karp and Lavine.
1967 Federal and provincial governments built historical parks. Students wore period costumes and took on roles of their forefathers as a summer job. Canadians were learning to be proud of being Canadian. Tourism was on the rise.
1968 But in Krauss’ narrative, by the late 1960s video and television were rendering film obsolete; Broodthaers’ Musee d’Art Moderne signaled a loss of confidence in medium in retooling the readymade to embrace the entirety of commercial dross. In so doing Broodthaers further registered the classifying and collecting functions of the museum as a practice heading toward obsolescence See EndNote entry under Krauss (1999).
1970 Museum workers including Leah Inutiq, at the newly founded institution Nunatta Sunaqutangit organised an exhibition of Inuit Art during the Royal Visit to Frobisher Bay, NWT.
1970s According to d’Anglure (2002:227) new generation of educated Inuit, including the founders of Igloolik Isuma like Paul Apak and political leader Paul Quassa, began to visit archives, museums and libraries to learn more about the past and about shamanism. Research into the past intensified along with negotiations for Nunavut and self-government. (D’Anglure 2002:227).
1970 Minimalist artist Richard Serra moved his work outside museum walls by building Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
1971 Doris Shadbolt was one of the curators of the exhibition “Sculpture of the Inuit: Masterworks of the Canadian Arctic” which opened at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
1971 The Multiculturalism Policy and its attendant Canadian Multicultural Act were adopted. “The federal multicultural program formalised support for the idea of Canadian identity as constituted in its diversity of cultures, an idea that was only implicit in Massey-Lévesque. Multicultural diversity was designed to be the basis of the cultural pillar of Canada’s foreign and domestic policy. In many ways, its logic is the inverse of Massey-Lévesque. The aim of Massey-Lévesque was about building institutions that would unify a compartmentalised nation and about underlining Canada’s historical roots in Europe, primarily Britain and France, as a means to deflect Canadians from the pernicious influences of American culture.” See Ken Lum (1999).
1971 Duncan Cameron published his article distinguishing between the museum that plays a timeless, universal functions as a structured sample of reality, an objective model of reality (Cameron 1971:201. The museum as forum is a place for confrontation, experimentation and debate (Cameron 1971:197 cited in Karp 1991:3).” “In 1971 the Canadian museologist Duncan F. Cameron pointed out the museum’s need to develop both the functions as a temple and as a forum. Twenty years later he once more offers a critical analysis of the museum and the museum profession. Cameron still thinks the museum profession can form part of the vanguard for positive social change. One of the biggest problems, he finds in the conflicting values within the individual, who is constituted as an unholy trinity of private, professional and institutional persons. Each professional person will have to re-examine himself, the academic disciplines and the museum institution. To meet the challenges of tomorrow it is necessary with a change of heart, not only intellectualism.” (Gjestrum 1994).
1973 Daniel Buren published his influential article in Artforum entitled ‘Function of the Museum’.
1973 Marcel Broodthaers, produced a film entitled A Voyage on the North Sea.
1974 The Museum of Modern Art held a controversial exhibition entitled ‘Eight Contemporary Artists’ including the highly politicized Conceptual and Minimalist work. Minimalist artist and museum critic Daniel Buren cynically argued that works of art might as well be locked up in vaults to protect them since they are already so isolated from the world framed, encased in glass in museums. Burin’s contribution to the exhibition was striped panels and fragments representing these frames affixed to nearby corridor and garden walls. Vogue magazine’s Barbara Rose vented her anger against this complicity between the dominant bourgeois cultural institutions and politically-motivated critics of these institutions. She argued that artists like Buren were disenchanted and demoralized artists who sabotaged museums of prestigious museums like the MoMA. focused their aggression against art greater than their own. See Crimp (Museum Ruins:85).
1974 William Rubin responded to Rose in “The Museum Concept is not Infinitely Expandable” published in Artforum explaining that ‘museums are essentially compromise institutions invented by bourgeois democracies to reconcile the larger public with art conceived within the compass of elite private patronage’. Rubin predicted that museums are perhaps becoming irrelevant to the practices of contemporary art. He predicted the end of the period of modern art (c.1850-1970) which for over a century focused on the ‘easel painting concept with its connection to bourgeois democratic life and concurrently the development of private collections as well as the museum concept. See Crimp (Museum Ruins:87). Crimp (1993:281) described how Rubin attempted “to defend the museum against the charge that it had become unresponsive to contemporary art. He insisted that this art simply had no place in a museum, which he sees essentially as a temple for high art. This, of course, puts him in perfect accord with New York critic Hilton Kramer’s position. Crimp (1993) argued that ‘What is never acknowledged is that ignoring those forms of art which exceed the museum – whether the work of historical avant-garde or that of the present – will necessarily give a distorted view of history.”
1970s Museology became more professional as money increased. Their staff’s professional credentials trumped experienced volunteers.
1970s Feminist projects consisted of retrieval-of the re-presentation of work by women that had been “hidden from history,” as a result of the by now well-known joint effects of selective art criticism, art history, and museum practices. “ (Nochlin 1971, Kristeva 1980, Parker and Pollock 1981), Duncan, Broude and Garrard 1982, Pollock 1988, Tickner 1988, Lipton 1988, Rose in Holly 1997) Borrowing from Marxist ideology critiques, Pollock’s Vision and Difference (1988) contends that the only viable conceptual framework for the study of women’s artistic history is one that emphasizes the ways in which gender differences are socially constructed. While indebted to poststructuralist French feminist thinkers such as Julia Kristeva (who also wrote several important essays in art theory, such as “Motherhood According to Giovanni Bellini,” Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art, ed. Leon S. Roudiez, 1980), contemporary English-speaking feminists such as Pollock, Lisa Tickner (The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the Suffrage Campaign, 1907-1914, 1988), Eunice Lipton (Looking Into Degas: Uneasy Images of Women and Modern Life, 1988), Carol Duncan (“Virility and Domination in Early Twentieth Century Vanguard Painting,” Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany, ed. Norma Broude and Mary Garrard, 1982), and Jacqueline Rose tend to focus on the articulation of sexual difference rather than on a definition of a specific female artistic sensibility. They simultaneously restore a certain power to images, for they emphasize that art is as capable of constituting ideology as it is of reflecting it–a political commitment that goes way beyond the mission of art history proposed by either the formalist tradition or the iconological method (See Feminist Theory and Criticism (Holly 1997).”
1977 Michel Foucault’s 1977 essay “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History” provides his most programmatic and most influential statement on the genealogical method is the essay. See Starn (2005).
1976 Brian O’Doherty’s well-known series of articles entitled “White Cube” published in Artforum provide a useful analysis of the modernist art gallery and museum, like the Museum of Modern Art in the 1970s which provide a “a white, ideal space that, more than any single picture, may be the archetypal image of twentieth-century art.” Referring to the architectural rhetoric of modern museums, he described how these spaces in their whiteness seem “possessed by other spaces where conventions are preserved through the repetition of a closed system of values,… [the] sanctity of the church, the formality of the courtroom, [and] … the laboratory…”White Cube
1978 President Carter established a commission, chaired by professional “survivor” Elie Wiesel, to create a national museum in Washington memorializing Jewish suffering in Europe (Finkelstein 2000).
1979 U’mista Cultural Centre is located in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island near the northern tip of Vancouver Island. It adjoins the former residential school, St. Michael’s Residential School. The objects now on display U’mista Cultural Centre and the Kwagiulth Museum and Cultural Centre (opened 1979) were part of major 1921 potlatch hosted by Dan Cranmer from Alert Bay. Potlatch ceremony was criminalized against harsh criticism by Franz Boas. These objects were all confiscated by the Indian agent at Alert Bay, William Halliday who was a ‘former Indian residential school administrator imbued with civilizing zeal’. In the 1950s and 1960s there was a general cultural resurgence. The movement for repatriation emerged. The Museum of Man in Hull (now the Canadian Museum of Civilization) and the Royal Ontario Museum agreed to their repatriation. At this time the two museums were built with private and government funding. Objects in these museums have an evocative power that includes a sense of ‘here’ as well as formal, aesthetic power. See James Clifford in (Karp and Lavine).
1979 Vogue‘s Barbara Rose published ‘American Painting: The Eighties’
1979 Two “large collections of potlatch regalia were returned to the communities of Alert Bay and Cape Mudge in British Columbia. They were housed in museums built specifically to receive them and financed by the federal government. Repatriation can be a deeply spiritual and powerful experience, as indicated in the Peigan Nation response to repatriation of their cultural materials.” RCAP
1980s Marcel Broodthaers’ controversial work led to a series of publications including a special edition of the journal October (1987) devoted to his role in the unsettling the role of museums. Broodthaers registered the classifying and collecting functions of the museum as a practice heading toward obsolescence See EndNote entry under Krauss (1999).
1982 The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened the Rockefeller Wing of Primitive Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is considered to be a politically right of center museum, an establishment or elitist organization (Gurian 1991:178-9). The opening of the Rockefeller Wing was the culmination of “institutional validity” of the Primitive Art (Errington 1998 cited in Phillips 2002:46). Phillips summarized Errington’s argument that by the time Metropolitan Museum of Art opened this wing the distinction between purely authentic primitive art forms and cultural productions transformed by contact with the Other, that is, contaminating cultural (technological) influences leading to acculturation was already waning.
1982 Hans Haake participated in the Documenta 7 exhibition which was held at the Museum Fridericianum in Germany. Haake Oelgemaelde, Homage a Marcel Broodthaers in the Neue Gallery not in the Museum Fridericianum. His work was confrontational. On one wall was a detailed oil painting of Ronald Reagan which was in a gold frame and surrounded by classical museological framing devices. On the other was a gigantic photomural of a peaceful anti-Reagan demonstration protesting the deployment of cruise missiles to German soil held in Bonn a week prior . Artistic Director Rudi Fuchs presented a contradictory image. See Crimp (MR:238-9).
1983 Benedict Anderson wrote his influential “Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism” Census, map and museum are the three major institutions of power which shaped the way in which allowed the colonial state to imagine its dominion. These three institutions of knowledge management established systems of classification which nurtured a sense of identity in the emerging, imagined, national community. The museum served to classify, create hierarchies of value, store and served in a role of archontes of cultural traditions. (Anderson, Benedict. 1983. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism.) [MFB: Museums, along with census and maps, were one of the three major colonializing agents producing infinitely reproducible symbols of tradition that constructed imagined communities. Museums as symbols of a hierarchy of power and order responds to the individual and community’s need-to-remember. The museum served to classify, create hierarchies of value, store and served in a role of archontes of cultural traditions. It is our limitation as humans constrained in serial time yet equipped with selective memories, that leaves us dependent on archives. Our long term memory is accessed through mechanisms that we do not yet fully comprehend, so we recall certain things but not others. Everyday life experiences provide individuals with an accumulation of events that evoke (sympathy) emotions. Remembering these sympathies repeated in small habits day after day, helps individuals to evaluate justice with greater lucidity and reason. Museums provide ] These three institutions of power profoundly shaped the way in which the colonial state imagined its dominion. The census created ”identities” imagined by the classifying mind of the colonial state. The fiction of the census is that everyone is in it, and that everyone has one, and only one, extremely clear place. The map also worked on the basis of a totalizing classification. It was designed to demonstrate the antiquity of specific, tightly bounded territorial units. It also served as a logo, instantly recognizable and visible everywhere, that formed a powerful emblem for the anticolonial nationalism being born. The museum allowed the state to appear as the guardian of tradition, and this power was enhanced by the infinite reproducibility of the symbols of tradition. Chapter 11: Memory and Forgetting Awareness of being embedded in secular, serial time, with all its implications of continuity, yet of ”forgetting” the experience of this continuity, engenders the need for a narrative of ”identity.”
1984 The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York hosted an exhibition entitled Primitivism in 20th Century Art which juxtaposed modern artworks with masks from Zaire, Nigeria and Inuit masks. McEvilley (1984) criticized the premise of the exhibition and inaugurated debates on representation of culture. Danto (1987) argued that the juxtapositioning was false and inane. The Museum of Modern Art held an exhibition entitled “Primitivism in 20th Century Art” which was attacked by critic Thomas McEvilley, who called for a rejection of Eurocentricism in cultural history. This opened debates on representation of cultures with a more sophisticated approach to discussions of Self and the Other that continued throughout the 1980s.
1984 The Maori exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum created tensions over ethnohistorical exhibitions. The ethnological and historical background material was rejected as nonsensical by the Maori elders revealing how deeply marginalized groups want to ‘define their own heritage’ and launching debates about institutional procedures (Lavine and Karp 1991:2)
1984 The MOMA held an exhibition in 1984 entitled “An International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture, in which curator McShine excluded many important artists. AT&T Corporation sponsored the exhibition. Their interests were in accord with the exhibition’s. Innovation and experimentation were valued in business, industry and the arts. One of the new acquisitions of the Architecture and Design Galleries at the MOMA was a Bell 47D helicopter which was considered to be a coup de théatre. These helicopters are manufactured by the same corporation Textron, that builds the Huey model used against civilians in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. “Contemporary art of exhibition has taught us distinguish between the political and the aesthetic. A New York Times editorial described how, “A helicopter suspended from the ceiling, hovers over an escalator in the Museum of Modern Art . . . . The chopper is bright green, bug-eyed and beautiful. We know that it is beautiful because MOMA showed us the way to look at the 20th century.” See Crimp (1993:272-5).
1987 The exhibition catalogue (1987) was published for The Spirit Sings, an ethnographic exhibition of 106 artifacts sponsored by Shell Canada. The exhibition included cultural productions of the Tlinglit, Salish, Haida, Tsimshian (including the mate of the famous Musee de l’Homme prehistoric mask), Gitksan, Iglulik, Netsilik, Mackenzie Inuit, Copper Inuit, Qairnirmiut, Caribou Inuit, Sadliermiut, Southern Baffin, Labrador Inuit, Slavey, Kutchin, Athapaskan, Tahltan, Cree, Chipewyan, Tanaina, Ojibwa, Assiniboin, Sioux, Plains Cree, Blood, Blackfoot, Sarsi, Red River Metis, Late Missippian, Ottawa, Cayuga, Iroquois, Huron, Woodlands, Mohawk, Montagnais (Innu?), Naskapi, Micmac, Maliseet and Boethuk spanning centuries. The goal of this exhibition was to enhance understanding and appreciation of ‘the spirit of Canada’s Native peoples. It was dedicated to the ‘people who produced the objects included in the exhibition. Eighty-five institutions loaned works for the exhibition which was shown at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary and the Lorne Building in Ottawa. The voluminous preparatory research undertaken by a team of anthropologists and ethnographers produced a vast archives of slides and text that remains as an invaluable lasting resource for all researchers. In her Introduction Harrison (Harrison 1987:7) grouped together all the native populations in Canada at the time of contact suggesting a unified and unifying pan-Aboriginal world-view informed by myths and legends.
1987 In his publication Museums of Influence, Kenneth Hudson described how he had visited 37 museums that made significant changes in the 200 years of museology. He dismissed ethnographic museums as those that exhibited objects from exotic cultures without attempting to communicate essentials features of the societies more easily conveyed through film, video or even lectures. He laments the absence of ambitions, fears, poverty, disease, climate, cruelty, brutality, blood, sense, smell and therefore cohesion to the exhibits. “Ethnographical museums collect widely but do not dig deeply” (Hudson 1987:vii) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
1988 The “Lubicon Lake Cree organized a boycott of The Spirit Sings, the cultural showcase of the Winter Olympics in Calgary. Museums were asked not to lend objects for the display, and many people, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, refused to attend. The boycott did a great deal to raise awareness of the issues, and as a result of the conflict, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Canadian Museums Association (CMA) formed a task force with a mandate to “develop an ethical framework and strategies for Aboriginal Nations to represent their history and culture in concert with cultural institutions”.6 The task force report sets out guiding principles, policies and recommendations on repatriation and calls for the creation of new relationships to serve the needs of Aboriginal people and the interests of Canadian cultural and heritage institutions. (See Appendix 6A to this chapter for excerpts from the report.)” RCAP
1988 Marybelle Mitchell wrote an article entitled “Current Issues Facing Museums” published in the Inuit Art Quarterly. In 1988 200 delegates met.
1988 Clifford went on to give a powerful example from a museum. The Portland Museum of Art houses the Rasmussen Collection, a series of masks, [end of page 98] headdresses, and other objects collected from southeastern Alaska during the 1920s. When the museum made plans to reinstall and reinterpret the collection in the late 1980s, it decided to involve Tlingit elders as consultants from early stages. A dozen prominent elders, representing clans that originally owned the objects, were invited to travel to Portland, Oregon. During a planning session at the museum, objects were brought out, and elders were asked to speak about them. Clifford describes how he and the curatorial staff, focusing on the objects, waited expectantly for some sort of detailed explication about how each object functioned, who made it, what powers it had within Tlingit society. Instead, he reports, the object acted as memory aids for the telling of elaborate stories and the singing of many songs. As these stories and songs were performed, they took on additional meanings. An octopus headdress, for example, evoked narratives reaching about a giant octopus that once blocked a bay, preventing salmon from state and federal agencies regulating the right of Tlingits to take salmon, so what was started as a traditional story took on precise political meanings in terms of contemporary struggles. “And in some sense the physical objects, at least as I saw it, were left at the margin. What really took center stage were the stories and songs.” (1) From Julie’s Cruikshank “The Social Life of Stories: Narrative and Knowledge in the Yukon Territory”
1989 In 1989, “the editors of the first book on history museums in the United States complained about a “blanket of critical silence” surrounding the subject. In 1992, the British museum specialist Eilean Hooper-Greenhill observed that the museum as a historical institution had not received “any rigorous form of critical analysis.” Other scholars and critics chimed in around the same time.1 As it happened, a tidal wave of museum studies was just beginning to crest, many proclaiming critical agendas while complaining about their absence. The problem these days is how to navigate a flood of literature on the theory, practice, politics, and history of museums” (Starns 2005).
1989-90 Dr. Jeanne Cannizzo curated an exhibition mounted by the Royal Ontario Museum entitled “Into the Heart of Africa.” It was the most controversial show in the history of the ROM. A vocal opposition arose against cultural racism and appropriation. Cannizzo stated that the goal of the exhibition was to represent the impact of colonialism on Africa. However the 375 artifacts from central and west Africa used were donated around 1889 and onwards to the ROM by Canadian missionaries and military personnel who spent some time in Africa and fully supported Britain’s colonial campaign which imposed “Christianity, civilization and commerce” on Africans. Cannizzo misread her audiences and attempted to use the postmodern trope of irony to draw attention to racist terms such as ‘barbarous customs.’ In fact there were at least two divergent audiences. A misinformed general public read the exhibition as a uncritical cultural exhibition of primitive Africa and the good work of Canadian missionaries and soldiers. The large African-Canadian population of Toronto interpreted the exhibition as a racist assault. A slide show lecture containing highly derogatory, culturally racist, and paternalistic language played framed with a critical introduction and conclusion to situate viewers within the racist colonial context. But most people read it as ‘real’ without the critical postmodern lens of irony. Tour guides had no training in colonial histories or cultural sensitivities and presented the exhibition literally without understanding the critical ironic trope. The guide explained to Grade five children how missionaries taught Africans to carve wood and described African barbaric acts. “This case study crystallizes many of the issues related to cultural racism and cultural appropriation. Nourbese Philip (1993) suggests that at the heart of the ROM controversy are changing beliefs about the role and function of museums and other cultural institutions, especially the issue of who should have the power to represent and control images created by “others.” The traditional values and practices of institutions such as museums are difficult to change. One analyst poses an important question about the ROM controversy: Would the institution have supported a more critical approach to the subject? Would it have risked offending its important patrons, some of whom donated artifacts to the collection? (Butler, 1993:57).”(See the Colour of Democracy).
1990 ? Crossroads of Continents exhibition at the Museum of Natural History disseminated new research and scholarly understandings (in Karp and Levine 1991:315)
1990s There has been an exponential growth of the number of local museums and the expansion of large museums in the 1990s has been referred to as the big bang by former ICOM director Hugues de Varine.
1991 This is a performance art piece by poststructuralist artist. Her work is situated under institutional criticism. In it Andrea Fraser toured an exhibition of the work of contemporary artist Allan McCollum shown at the American Fine Arts Gallery in New York City. She presented the tour in two voices, her own and that of Ms. Jane Castleton), a fictional character, Fraser’s alter ego who was a museum volunteer docent with little understanding of modern art.
1991 Rabbi Michael Berenbaum was project director of the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Public awareness of the holocaust had heightened since 1978. Jewish suffering was once considered to be a footnote of WWII. This was changed and the horrendous crime was acknowledged.
1991 Ayanna Black (1991:27 in Creane cited in Barrett 2004) critiqued the Royal Ontario Museum’s infamous exhibition “Into the Heart of Africa.” She described the situation as follows, “They used the propaganda of the period without proper explanation or preamble. [The curator] did not want to manipulate the material, but she ended up implanting racist images because the critique of ‘intellectual arrogance’ did not come through. People missed it.” Cannizzo, a contract curator who had trained as a social and cultural anthropologist had done fieldwork experience in Sierra Leone misread her audience.
1991 Mieke Bal (1991) critiqued the Royal Ontario Museum’s infamous exhibition “Into the Heart of Africa” in a diachronics article entitled “The Politics of Citation.” He argued that the reproduction of racist, colonial imagery leads to reinscribing the very attitudes and assumptions that the critic is attempting to expose and analyse. Great care must be made to frame this imagery in such a way that the critique – and not the racist content – predominate. It is fair to ask whether ‘Into the Heart of Africa” did this. Many of the images were troubling for viewers who felt assaulted by the racist perspective embodied (Bal 1991:31 PC in D); museology, politics of representation;
1991 Lee-Ann Martin submitted her commissioned report to the Canada Council entitled “The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion: Contemporary Native Art and Public Art Museums in Canada.” It was the catalyst for the Visual Arts Section’s Acquisition Assistance Program (1996-9) offering monetary incentives to encourage Canada’s fifty-six public galleries to purchase contemporary art by Canada’s First Peoples (Jessup 2002:xxv).
1991 Kenneth Hudson in “Misleading Ethnographical Museums” argued that experts in ethnography are “very knowledgeable about what is usually described as the “traditional culture” [..] but are much less informed about what is going on in the same country today” (Hudson 1991:459). He continued his argument that this lack of knowledge of the contemporary everyday life is acceptable in an exhibition of ancient Roman art since most museum goers are familiar with Italian culture today. It is less neither responsible nor constructive to exhibit traditional artefacts from Ghana without contextualizing them, since the average person may have the impression that Ghana today has remained as it was hundreds of years ago. He recognised that objects alone cannot convey the ambiguities and contradictions of contemporary everyday life of Bombay or Accra or even small town England. He praised an exhibition called Hunters of the North at the Museum of Mankind in London, UK for an installation showing families in the ‘traditional’ igloo and the portable hut. Did this exhibition manage to show anything of
1991 ROM under fire again over 1990 African exhibit: advisory panel members demanding unequivocal apology. ROM hoping to mend fences: Museum plans exhibition of Caribbean festival costumes. A rich sampling of Caribbean traditions: you may want to dismiss this ROM festival [ Caribbean Celebrations] as another crowd- pleasing gesture, but the centrepiece exhibit is worth catching
1992 “In 1992, the British museum specialist Eilean Hooper-Greenhill observed that the museum as a historical institution had not received “any rigorous form of critical analysis.” Other scholars and critics chimed in around the same time.1 As it happened, a tidal wave of museum studies was just beginning to crest, many proclaiming critical agendas while complaining about their absence. The problem these days is how to navigate a flood of literature on the theory, practice, politics, and history of museums” (Starns 2005).
1992 Assembly of First Nations [AFN] and Canadian Museums Association [CMA], Task Force Report on Museums and First Peoples, Turning the Page: Forging New Partnerships Between Museums and First Peoples (Ottawa: 1992).
1994 The Heard Museum hosted a conference entitled “Navajo Weaving since the Sixties” attended by forty weavers and who presented detailed statements about their work. M’Closkey (2002:230-3) noted a sharp contrast between the presentations by the weavers and those made by dealers, museologists and textile experts who spoke of gallery aesthetics, the history of Navajo weaving and the quality of market-friendly rugs. Gloria Emerson of the Centre for Cultural Exchange at a New Mexico art institution commented on the chasm between the weavers and the scholars. She argued that the weavers should be generating the questions discussed at these conferences (M’Closkey 2002:233).
1994 Today “there are several reasons to stress the importance of local museums. At the same time we find big museums growing even bigger and observe an explosion in the number of small museums all over the world . The former ICOM director Hugues de Varine calls this a big-bang in the museum world, which makes it necessary to separate museums in two very different types: the process-museum and the institution-museum, the latter being the traditional museum” (Gjestrum 1994).
1996 A conference organized by the Department of Ethnography of the British Museum entitled “Imagining the Arctic: The Native Photograph in Alaska, Canada and Greenland” was held in London, UK. Guest speakers included George Quviq Qulaut (Commissioner for Nunavut), Hugh Brody, Nelson Graburn, Elizabeth Edwards of Oxford’s Pit River Museum, Kesler Woodward, Alan R. Marcus who “explored the relationships between government policy and images of the Ahiarmut, as backdrop to the disastrous arctic relocations of the 1950s, Peter Geller presented hia paper on “Archibald Lang Fleming, first Anglican Bishop of the Arctic, as he disseminated a fascinating view of the “Eskimo” through his publications and lantern slide lectures; this was followed by a contemporary example of northern image-making, as Zebedee Nungak presented a series of slides documenting the recent political history of northern Quebec, as carried out by photographers for the Makivik Corporation of the Inuit of Nunavik.” See Peter Geller’s report.
1997-8 Statistics Canada reports that for the year 1997/98, there were some 46,400 volunteers directly engaged in museums and related heritage institutions. This represents about 65 % of the museum workforce on a national basis, including full-time and part-time paid workers. This does not include the vast network of related organizations, such as local Friends of Museums societies, historical societies and community service organizations, all of which contribute greatly to the work of their museums. Volunteers contribute to virtually all facets of museum operations, from facility maintenance, to administration, collections management, events management and public programming. The distribution of volunteers varies greatly across the country. For example, they represent over 95 % of the work force at museums in one province.” MUSE
1998 The first exhibition entitled “First Peoples, First Contacts” at the Museum of Man’s Gallery of North America at its new location at Bloomsbury opened. It was sponsored by the powerful Chase Manhattan Bank. The exhibition tells the story of the interaction of native Americans with the outsiders. The First Nations peoples represented in the Gallery are for the most part unfamiliar even to North Americans. They are represented as “half-forgotten, disgracefully patronised, different and enduringly fascinating peoples.” The story of curious Columbus is depicted without the usual overly romanticized sentiment. He is portrayed as the first of an onslaught of the “blatantly greedy and bigoted arrivistes, colonialists, sharks and expropriators.” Gallery of North America will feature rotating temporary exhibitions and will stay in situ for at least five years. See Henshall (1999) and J. C. H. King (1998) First Peoples, First Contacts, Museum of Mankind, London, UK: Chase Manhattan Gallery.
1999 Meanwhile, the museum was also being thoroughly absorbed by the markets and industries of culture under late capitalism.” See EndNote entry under Krauss (1999).
1999 Rosalind Krauss (1999) published a book entitled A Voyage on the North Sea criticizing art forms like his that had in her view, become fashionably vacuous, a shibboleth– installation art. “Krauss reflects that the notion of the specificity of medium as a foundation of the modern was shaken by Broodthaers ‘s practice and by the introduction of video technology in the 1960s. She anchors her historical narrative in the writing of Greenberg and Fried (in the latter’s reading of Maurice Merleau-Ponty) and in paintings by Jackson Pollock and Color Field painters, the sculptures of Richard Serra, and the structuralist films of Michael Snow, all of which registered a ‘new idea of aesthetic medium’ in new artistic conventions of opticality, which Krauss describes as foregrounding a ‘phenomenological vector’ in art that connects an object to a viewing subject. She forwards the notion that the construction of physical structure, even within the making of film, is constitutive of modern art: “For, in order to sustain artistic practice, a medium must be a supporting structure, generative of a set of conventions, some of which, in assuming the medium itself as their subject, will be wholly specific to it, thus producing an experience of their own necessity” (26). See EndNote entry under Krauss (1999).
2000 Izzie Asper became Canada’s new media lord as head of Canwest Global Communications. “After acquiring most of Hollinger’s newspapers and magazines, including half of the National Post, Asper now stands to be the most powerful figure in the history of Canadian media. A relentlessly tough businessman, he made a rather unexpected power play to dethrone Conrad Black and, although he might not be as grandiose about it, he now has more clout within Canada than Black ever did.” (Pundit Magazine). “Today, CanWest is one of Canada’s most profitable communication companies. In fiscal 2000 its net earnings were $162 million, with revenues totalling $1.08 billion and operating profits of $263 million. In July 2000, CanWest acquired most of Canada’s leading newspapers, as well as a 50 per cent stake in one of the country’s national dailies, The National Post. Earlier that month, federal regulators approved CanWest’s purchase of eight television stations, an acquisition that created Canada’s second-largest private television network under the banner of Global TV. Long before that, the corporation had forged an international broadcasting presence in New Zealand, Australia and Ireland” (Manitoba Government).
2004 Inuit artist Isaaci Etidloie and x Ashoona, daughter of renowned carver Kiaksuk Ashoona were among the Canadian Aboriginal artists present for the opening of the exhibition entitled Dezhan ejan – “medicine song” at the art gallery of the Canadian Embassy in Washington. The opening of the exhibition jointly sponsored by the Canada Council Art Bank and the Canadian Embassy took place in conjunction with the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian () at the Smithsonian. Ruth Phillips wrote the exhibition promotional brochure. Michael Kergin, Ambassador of Canada to the United States, stated, “Dezhan ejan is an expression of the unique and vibrant culture of Canadian Aboriginal artists. The ties between Aboriginal peoples in North America are long and rich in history, and continue to grow. It is our hope that the exhibition will serve to inform and expand this relationship, not only among Aboriginal communities, but for all Canadians and Americans.” Victoria Henry, Director of the Art Bank curated the exhibition of 18 works selected from the Canada Council’s collection of aboriginal art (Canada Council Press Release 2004). MFB
1904. Exposition in St. Louis displayed Phillipino natives. The US had recently annexed the PhillipinesPosted by Maureen Flynn-BurhoeLeave a Comment »
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Tags: American Museum of Natural History, anarchives, archives, Archives Fever, archontes, authenticity, cartography, census-map-museum, communal memory, ethnographic, from knowledge towards community, imagined communities, knowledge communities, meddling with memory, memory and archives, Memory Palace, Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, museology, museum without walls, Museums, new museology, virtual cartography, virtual museum
February 22, 2009
Imagine Goethe’s inner gaze marveling at majestic Mount Damāvand, the highest peak in the Middle East, immortalized in Persian literature through masterful works like Ferdowsi’s Shâhnameh. From its seemingly timeless lofty heights, Mount Damāvand, remains as unconstrained as the wind, in contrast with the social, political and historical changes unfolding all around it.
I was looking for the fertile, picturesque places with names like warm valley and seven creeks where the judge’s grandson grew up when I came across images of Mount Damāvand and learned of its history.
Illustrations inspired by Abolghassem Mansour-ibn-Hassan Firdausi Tousi (Ferdowsi)’s epic work entitled Shâhnâmeh (Book of Kings) (1010) were submitted by Iran for inclusion inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2007. They now host a gallery of illustrations.
“Abolghassem Mansour-ibn-Hassan Firdausi Tousi (Ferdowsi) was a prominent figure in Iranian poetry and the nationalist poet of the Persian Empire. He was born in the Iranian city of Tous in 941 and died in 1020, ten years after he finished his major epic work, the Shâhnâmeh (Book of Kings). This is one of the classics of the Persian-speaking world and is on a par with the ‘Iliad’ and the ‘Aeniad’ of the Greco-Romano cultural communities. An important feature of this work is that although during the period of its creation, Arabic was the main language of science and literature, Ferdowsi used only Persian and therefore helped to revive and maintain this important world language. Today Persian is spoken by over 65 million people in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan and diaspora communities. The Shâhnâmeh has also become an important text throughout Central Asia, India and the former Ottoman Empire. It has been copied countless times and three of these copies could be said to have universal value: the “Demotte Shâhnâmeh” made in the early 1300s for the Il-Khanid patron, Giyath al-Din ; the 16th Century “Houghton Shâhnâmeh” ; and the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh”, which was made in 1430 for Prince Bayasanghor (1399-1433), the grandson of the legendary Central Asian leader Timur (1336-1405). Only the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh” has survived and is kept under lock and key in the Imperial Library of the Golestan Palace in Tehran. The Shâhnâmeh represents the quintessence of aesthetic and literary values of the elite rulers of the Timurid Renaissance who dominated Central and Western Asia in the 15th Century.”
In the nineteenth century, Goethe considered Persian literature to be one of the four main bodies of world literature (Ferdowsi 2006) and his “Verstandnis des West-Ostlichen Divans” was inspired by Persian literature.
“When we turn our attention to a peaceful, civilized people, the Persians, we must — since it was actually their poetry that inspired this work — go back to the earliest period to be able to understand more recent times. It will always seem strange to the historians that no matter how many times a country has been conquered, subjugated and even destroyed by enemies, there is always a certain national core preserved in its character, and before you know it, there re-emerges a long-familiar native phenomenon. In this sense, it would be pleasant to learn about the most ancient Persians and quickly follow them up to the present day at an all the more free and steady pace (Goethe 1819 in Wiesehofer and Azodi 2001: Preface).”
For over 2600 years Persia has been at the geographic centre of trade and cultural exchange, friction If you draw lines from the Mediterranean to Beijing or Beijing to Cairo or Paris to Delhi, they all pass through Iran, which straddles a region where East meets West. Over 26 centuries, a blending of the hemispheres has been going on here—trade, cultural interchange, friction—with Iran smack in the middle.
“If we could realize that great works such as the Shahnameh [of Ferdowsi] exists in the world, we would not become so much proud of our own works in such a silly manner (Saint-Beuve cited in Wiesehofer 2001-08-18).”
1. This UNESCO site entitled Memory of the World hosts digital images like this 1430 illustration from the “Bayasanghori Shâhnâmeh” for Prince Bayasanghor (1399-1433). It illustrated one of the stories in Ferdowsi’s Shahnameb (1010) showing the tyrant Zahhak, nailed to the walls of a cave in Mount Damavand.
3. “FERDOWSĪ,ABU’L-QĀSEM (329-410 or 416/940-1019 or 1025), one of the greatest epic poets and author of the Šāh-nāma, the national epic of Persia. See also ŠĀH-NĀMA. […] The sum of such heartfelt, mature, and eloquently expressed views and ethical precepts regarding the world and mankind have led to his being referred to, from an early period, as ḥakīm (philosopher), dānā (sage), and farzāna (learned); that is, he was considered a philosopher, though he was not attached to any specific philosophical school nor possessed a complete knowledge of the various philosophical and scientific views of his time. [His sobriquet or pen name], Ferdowsī means “[man] from paradise” (Khaleghi, 1988, p. 92). From Encylopedia Iranica”
4. The concepts of freedom and human rights allegedly originated in the first Persian Empire, as early as the c. 539 BC with the Achaemenid Persian Shāhanshāh Emperor Cyrus the Great (c. 600/576 BC – c. 530/29 BC). His successors including Darius ruled over a stable global superpower, the world’s first religiously and culturally tolerant empire administrated with the first human rights charter (Farrokh 2007:44, Robertson and Merrills 1996:7, Lauren 2003:11, Xenophon and Hedrick 2007:xiii) with a central government in Pasargadae for more than a thousand years. The borders of the Persian Empire ultimately extended from the Mediterranean to the Indus River, encompassing 23 different peoples and including nations and regions that by 2008 were called Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Jordan, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, and the Caucasus region (Del Giudice 2008-08:5).” It was Emperor Cyrus the Great who freed the enslaved Jews of Babylon in 539 B. C. providing them with necessary funds to rebuild their in Jerusalem through the Edict of Restoration. (Del Giudice 2008-08:5)”
5. Cyrus the Great Cylinder, The First Charter of Rights of Nations: (Farrokh 2007:44, Robertson and Merrills 1996:7, Lauren 2003:11, Xenophon and Hedrick 2007:xiii)
“In short, the figure of Cyrus has survived throughout history as more than a great man who founded an empire. He became the epitome of the great qualities expected of a ruler in antiquity, and he assumed heroic features as a conqueror who was tolerant and magnanimous as well as brave and daring. His personality as seen by the Greeks influenced them and Alexander the Great, and, as the tradition was transmitted by the Romans, may be considered to influence our thinking even now (Frye 1963).”
6. Richard N. Frye (1920- ), now a professor emeritus at Harvard devoted more than sixty years to teaching, learning and research on Persian history. He founded the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard and is the Aga Khan Professior of Iranian history at Harvard University. Frye’s books entitled the Nation of Archers (1954) and The Heritage of Persia (1962) The Heritage of Persia (Bibliotheca Iranica, No 1). Islam and the West. Proceedings of the Harvard Summer School Conference on the …
His mentor and predecessor, Arthur Pope was director of the Asia Institute in Shiraz.
“Thus, to refer to the Sasanian period of Iran’s history, Vahram-i Varjavand, seems to me to be a greatly heroised example of the millenary tradition, for he is a truly messianic personality, even though probably a greatly heroised form of the historic Bahrám Chobin. As I have frequently stated, in the past of Iran, for the people, history was not what really happened, or even what they thought had happened, but what they thought should have happened. This is a fundamental characteristic of the view of the past among a people who have a strong epic tradition and a messianic tradition of time speculation (Frye, 1974:57-69 1964: 36-54 cited in Buck 1998).”
7. Some useful translations
Shâhnameh Shahnameh (Farsi) Emperor
Kūrošé Kabīr or Kūrošé Bozorg Kurose Kabir or Kurose Bozorg (Farsi) Emperor Cyrus the Great
Koresh (Hebrew in Bible) Emperor Cyrus the Great
Dhul-Qarnayn (Arabic in Qur’an) possibly referring to Emperor Cyrus the Great.
Damāvand – Damavand
West-Ostlichen (German) West-Eastern
Webliography and Bibliography
Buck, Christopher. 1998. “Bahá’u’lláh as Zoroastrian saviour.” Baha’i Studies Review. 8. London: Association for Baha’i Studies English-Speaking Europe. pp.14–33.
Farrokh, Kaveh. 2007. Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War. History.
Frye, Richard N. 1963. The Heritage of Persia: The pre-Islamic History of One of the World’s Great Civilizations. World Publishing Company: New York.
Ghasemi, Shapour. “The Cyrus the Great Cylinder.” History of Iran. Accessed February 24.
Knappert, Jan. Ed. 1999.Encyclopaedia of Middle Eastern mythology and religion. Longmead, UK.
Robertson, Arthur Henry; Merrills, J. G. 1996. Human Rights in the World: An Introduction to the Study of the International. Political Science.:7.
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