Monday, December 28, 2009

Graphis Design Annual

Graphis is a bi-monthly periodical first published in Switzerland in 1944 that ceased in 2005. Since then, Graphis Inc. has continued to publish annuals and monographs for all areas of graphic design. From their inception to the present, they have sought, in their words to present “the best in international visual communications.” In their early days, they not only showed the best examples of design, advertising, photography and illustration, but also presented work of fine artists. Since 1952 have published annual volumes for the best of the year in graphic design, originally called Graphis Annual and now named the Graphis Design Annual. Annuals for photography and posters came in 1966 and 1973 respectively.

In his introduction to Graphis 1960/1961 Leo Lionni highlights the difference in outlook between “Art with a capital A” and commercial art, quoting Mies van der Rohe statement about art: “I don’t want to be interesting - I want to be good.” For Lionni the fine artist must create work that is good, but the graphic designer must also create something interesting. The imagery of Graphis shows how designers achieve work that not only is technically accomplished, but grabs the attention of viewers.

The Main Library owns many editions of the Graphis Annuals. The latest edition, the Graphis Design Annual 2010 is located at the Art, Music and Recreation Center Reference Desk. The layout of this and all the annuals favors the artists’ work over editorial design flourishes. The contents page lists in small type the many sub-categories of design.

These annuals present the work that has won Graphis Gold and Platinum Awards in a variety of areas of graphic design. An opening section called “Commentary” gives several Q & A sections where design studios discuss their creative process. One of these interviews is with Office, a San Francisco-based studio. Here, the designers at Office speak about the genesis for the design of pirate products for the Pirate Store which benefits the nonprofit writing center, 826 Valencia. The pirate store offers such unusual items as “Peg Leg Oil,” “Scurvy Be Gone” and more. Here is the product description for “Blackbeard’s Beard Dye”:
Beards can get bleached by the sun. Beards can turn white from fear; in either case, Blackbeard’s Beard Dye imparts a midnight hue to your whiskers, leaving them shiny, conditioned and bristling with health. Next time you take it on the chin make sure it’s covered with a beard you can be proud of … a Blackbeard beard (p. 14).
This year’s annual also presents the exhibit spaces created for the California Academy of Sciences by another San Francisco firm, Volume Inc.

The work presented in the Graphis Design Annual is arranged by categories like animation, branding, brochures, editorial logos, music CDs, stamps, t-shirts, and many other subcategories. Each award winner is given its own page or pages, with the name of the design agency, its URL, the client name and the category of design at the bottom of the page. “Platinum” award winners are also noted here.

The Credits and Comments section provides background information about the visual work that makes up the Annual. This includes the names of the team who created the work from design firm to art director, print producer, writer, etc. The comments may also describe the requirements of the client and the concept behind the design. The Winners Directory lists all of the firms alphabetically. There is also an index of members of the creative teams, the design firms, and their clients.

The Graphis Annuals are a touchstone to the trends of the year in design. The consistent high caliber of art, combined with wit and sensitivity is a great source of inspiration for designers.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Musicians' Autobiographies: An Annotated Bibliography

An autobiography or memoir at its best provides us with a sense of the author's personality and point of view. It provides an opportunity to learn the background behind the events that the writer has lived through. Although a slim volume, Musicians' Autobiographies: An Annotated Bibliography by John L. Adams, is a unique and useful reference source that helps the reader discover accounts of musicians' lives written in their own words.

Musicians' Autobiographies consists of entries for 757 entries written between 1803 and 1979. Each entry is listed alphabetically by last name and includes bibliographic information and a brief annotation. The most useful feature of this book is the subject index at its conclusion. This index groups together the autobiographies by the subjects' role in music. For the letter "c" alone, there are entries for categories like "choral conductors," "clarinetists," "composers," "conductors," and "critics, music." Under the subject of "singers" there are subdivisions by genre - classical, popular, jazz, folk - and by nationality. There are subject categories including for women and African-American musicians.

For the subject of "medium (i.e., clairvoyante)" we are given a citation for the book Unfinished Symphonies; Voices From The Beyond written by Rosemary Brown who claims to have transcribed music transmitted to her by the great master composers from beyond the grave. The category "folksong collectors" leads us to Git Along, Little Dogies: Songs and Songmakers of the American West, a memoir John I. White who both sang and collected cowboy songs for performance on radio and record and for sheet music. And if one needs an autobiography written by a Native American ceremonial singer this book will lead you to Navajo Blessingway Singer: The Autobiography of Frank Mitchell.

There is an additional index by book title, as well as a chronological index.

An obvious shortcoming of this book is that it only lists books published as recently as 1979. While there are a good number of entries here for jazz, classical, and folk musicians, it is considerably thinner in the realm of rock and pop music. We will have to find another method to unearth the explosion of confessional autobiographies written by musicians and entertainers in the past three decades.

Musicians' Autobiographies: An Annotated Bibliography of Writings Available in English, 1800 to 1980, compiled by John L. Adams (McFarland, 1982).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beyond Isadora: Bay Area Dancing, the Early Years 1916-1965

The Art, Music & Recreation Center is pleased to present Bay Area author, dance critic and historian, Joanna Gewertz Harris. On Wednesday, December 16, 2009 from 2 to 4 PM she will speak about her book Beyond Isadora: Bay Area Dancing, the Early Years 1916-1965 in the Koret Auditorium located in the Lower Level of the Main Library.

As she writes in her introduction, Beyond Isadora "is a history of performers, choreographers and teachers, pioneers of today's dance community. It is also women's history, since the prime movers were almost all women... This history, offered here as short biographical and chronological sketches, seeks to detail the regional development of ballet and of modern, ethnic and folk dance, from the era of Isadora Duncan, San Francisco's dance legend, who is regarded as the pioneer revolutionary and the mother of modern dance, to the mid 1960s."

Her presentation will discuss the rich range of innovative dance that flourished in the Bay Area. Her richly illustrated book unearths valuable archival programs, images, and reviews. In addition to professional dance and ballet companies she also examines street and folk performance in the Bay Area dance community.

Joanna Gewertz Harris studied dance with Duncan Dance Guild and the New Dance Group in New York City, then came to the Bay Area to study at Mills College. For many years she taught, choreographed and performed at UC Berkeley's Department of Drama and Music. She also formed her own company, the Monday Night Group, and founded the Dance/Drama Department at UC Santa Cruz and the Creative Arts Therapy program at Lone Mountain College. She is on the faculty of OLLI Institute, Berkeley and an instructor at the Modern Dance Center, Berkeley. She also writes reviews and essays about dance for websites and print publications.

All programs at the Library are free. This event is supported by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography

The Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art is an omnibus reference source for the themes and motives of Western art. So much visual art over the millennia has used allegory and symbolism to express emotion and meaning, but not all of this rich thematic material is always readily or fully understood by the uninitiated viewer of art. Much of the artistic symbolism is drawn from Western religious traditions and mythology.

This two volume set consists of around 100 entries written by various scholar about particular themes. As the book’s editor writes in the introduction, the purpose of each entry is to “trace the various interpretations given to a theme during different periods and cultures to account for varying social and political beliefs.”

Many of the chapters relate to the human life cycle –“Birth/Childbirth,” “Marriage/Betrothal,” “Death” – and to eternal aspects of the human condition like “Avarice,” “Betrayal,” “Ecstasy,” “Honor/Honoring,” “Imagination/Creativity,” “Laughter,” Melancholy,” “Misfortune,” and “Sacrifice.” There are also other entries about extremes of human behavior like “Beheading/Decapitation,” “Damned Souls,” “Evil Eye,” “Madness,” “Martyrdom,” “Nightmare,” “Temptation,” and “Witchcraft/Sorcery.”

Each entry includes an essay reviewing the depiction of the concept in antiquity, mythology, religion and up through its contemporary meanings. Representative presentations of the themes are presented in “Selected Works of Art” passage at the end of each chapter. These are grouped by time period and provide information about the location of the art work. “Further reading” provides a bibliography of resources that explain and develop each theme in greater depth.

The end of the second volume includes a number of useful indexes. First there is an “Index of ancient mythological and historical personages, places, and concepts.” This is followed by an “Index of Judeo-Christian Personages, Places and Concepts.” For those looking to find discussion of visual representations from the Old and New Testaments there is also an index to chapters and verse of the Bible and the themes covered in those passages. There is also an “Index of other cultures, religions, and mythologies,” though these receive far less extensive treatment than the Egypto-Greco-Roman / Judeo-Christian traditions in this book.

There are two indexes to creative artists and their works: an “Index of artists and works of art” and an “Index of authors, literary texts, composers, filmmakers, and folktales.” Finally, and perhaps most essentially, there is an “Index to other names and terms.” Here one can find references to the concrete objects, concepts, or types of personages or animals that are subsumed under the wider themes of the book.

Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography will assist students or art lovers trying to understand the allegory or symbolism of an art work. It may also help the student of psychology realize the variety of meanings and manifestations of human behavior. This is a reference book that repays repeated study and consultation.

"Tailpiece, or the Bathos" by William Hogarth depicting "Order/Chaos." Source: Hogarth's Works, with Life and Anecdotal Descriptions of his Pictures by John Ireland and John Nichols (Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier, 1883).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude

With great sadness the world was given the news of Jeanne-Claude's passing at age 74 on November 18 due to complications of a brain aneurysm. Within hours however a heartfelt statement from Christo, the surviving husband and half of the artistic team Christo and Jeanne-Claude, was published on their website. In it he commits "to honor the promise they made to each other many years ago: The art of Christo and Jeanne-Claude will continue."

Best known in California for projects such as “Running Fence” (Sonoma and Marin Counties, 1972-76) and “The Umbrellas” (two 60+ mile spans, one north of Tokyo, the other north of Los Angeles, 1975-85), the artists worked collaboratively for years under the single name Christo, finally changing their artistic signature in 1994 to Christo and Jeanne-Claude. In total, they shared fifty years of collaboration, working 10-16 hour days, turning their ideas for projects of unimaginable scale and beauty into reality.

What began with Christo wrapping small objects, then oil drums, lead to the wrapping of trees, buildings and bridges. Their reputation as people who "wrap" things followed, despite numerous large scale works with little to do with that technique. Take, for example, “Valley Curtain,” “Surrounded Islands,” and most recently “Fences,” which brought millions of visitors to New York City's Central Park during the last two weeks of February 2005. As Vadim Rizov wrote of the two, beyond the wrapping, “a bigger part of their projects was rendering the familiar temporarily strange, whether by covering a bridge's familiar outlines in fabric or by transforming it into an ominous new bulk.”

The San Francisco Public Library has many items related to Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Most unique is an Artists File complete with over a hundred newspaper articles on the artists. Over half relate to 'The Umbrellas' project and include not only SF articles, but a commemorative issue of the Bakersfield Californian, project maps and drawings, as well as the actual material swatches used in the umbrella construction. Also included is coverage of visits to the Bay Area, local lectures, as well as an article speculating that Coit Tower might be used as an installation site.

If interested in learning more about the artists, the library has the following books and videos:

The Running Fence Project by Christo; text by Werner Spies; photographs by Wolfgang Volz; translated from the German by Kathleen Cheesmond. (H. N. Abrams, 1977).

Running fence [videorecording]: Christo's project for Sonoma and Marin Counties, State of California, 1972-76; a film by David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin, & Albert Maysles. (Maysles Films, 1990).

Christo, Running Fence: Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972-1976; photographs by Gianfranco Gorgoni; chronicle by Calvin Tomkins; narrative text by David Bourdon. (Abrams, 1978).

The Accordion-Fold Book for the Umbrellas, Joint Project for Japan and U.S.A by Christo; photography by Wolfgang Volz; foreword and interview by Masahiko Yanagi. (Bedford Arts, 1991).

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: On The Way to the Gates, Central Park, New York City by Jonathan Fineberg; with photographs by Wolfgang Volz. (Yale University Press, 2004).

Christo, Complete Editions, 1964-1982: Catalogue Raisonné and Introduction by Per Hovdenakk (New York University Press, 1982).

Christo: The Reichstag and Urban Projects, edited by Jacob Baal-Teshuva; photography by Wolfgang Volz. (Munich: te Neues Pub. Co., 1993).

Islands [videorecording]; a Carl Flach Jeanne-Claude presentation; a film by David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin, & Albert Maysles. (Maysles Films, 1986).

Two Youtube videos capture the controversy and sensation that the Running Fence project made in 1976.

An excerpt from the Mayles Films documentary, Running Fence.

Super 8 home movie footage of "Running Fence" with still bemused commentary.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Poster Display - Rock Silkscreen Prints by Lil Tuffy

image source:

The rock posters currently on display were donated to the San Francisco Public Library Poster Collection by graphic artist Terrence "Lil Tuffy" Ryan. Most of these works are limited edition, hand-pulled silkscreen prints representing Bay Area music venues and/or Bay Area musicians. The exhibit includes local musicians Chuck Prophet, Digital Underground, The Music Lovers, Cari Lee and the Saddle-ites, Loop Station, Griddle, Magic Christian, Bhi Bhiman, and Tom Heyman among others.

Lil Tuffy’s public biography is brief. After completing studies at Carnegie Mellon University in 1994, he relocated and set up studio in San Francisco where he has specialized in music-related design for over a decade. His reputation now extends beyond the Bay Area clubs, to international shows and large music festivals, such as Reeperbahn Festival, Noise Pop and Bumpershoot.

The Art, Music and Recreation Department attempts to archive the culture of our City. To meet that end, we welcome donations of San Francisco-related music posters, flyers and ephemera. If you have materials you would like to donate, please speak to a librarian at the reference desk.

If you are interested in learning more about the silk-screening process, the Library of Congress Subject Heading to use for searching the SFPL catalog is "Screen Process Printing."

When you visit our department, you can also view the related displays: The Art of Rock - Graphic Sound in the 60's and Punk Graphics.

Monday, November 9, 2009

DIY Holiday Magic!

(image from the Art, Music & Recreation Center picture file)

Just when we think it’s safe to kick back, shed our costumes and put away the pumpkin carving tools, it suddenly dawns on us that more major holidays are right around the corner. For many, this can be a stressful time of year, especially for those who have been hit hard by the recession. Some are wondering how they can share in spreading holiday cheer in this bad economy.
The good news is that the library has books to address this dilemma. Making your own gifts and decorations is a good way to save money and gain a sense of satisfaction from the creative process. Handmade items have a way of saying: “I care enough about you to invest my heart, hands and time in making something one of a kind.”

The following titles are just a tiny example of what the Art and Music department has to check out and take home. Combine the ideas in these books with books on holiday meals and treats (located in the Business, Science and Technology Center on our floor) and you’ll be on your way to having the happiest holidays every.

300 Ways to Make the Best Christmas Ever!: Decorations, Carols, Crafts & Recipes for Every Kind of Christmas Tradition edited by Mimi Tribble (Sterling Pub., 2004).

Christmas Craft Sourcebook by Gail Lawther (Trafalgar Square Pub., 1995).

Christmas Doughcrafts by Elisabeth Bang (Cassell, 1996).

Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick (STC Craft, 2005).

Holiday Knits by Sara Lucas and Allison Isaacs (Chronicle Books, 2005).

How to Make Christmas Tree Decorations by Petra Boniberger, et al. (Search Press, 1997).

Merry & Bright: 301 Festive Ideas for Celebrating Christmas (Hearst Books, 2007).

Old-Fashioned Christmas Crafts (Better Homes and Gardens Books, 1995).

Papercrafts for Christmas by Judy Balchin and Polly Pinder (Search Press, 2008)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Aurora Mandolin Orchestra at the San Francisco Public Library

Marco de Natale's Green Street Barbershop. "Papa" Gianni Giotta, singing. Nick Sfarzo, guitar. Unknown violinist and accordionist. 1968 (From Mandolins, Like Salami).

The Aurora Mandolin Orchestra will be returning for another performance in the Koret Auditorium, on November 7th, 2009. Some of the songs they may play from their repertoire include "La Cumparsita," "Vienna, City of My Dreams," and medleys from La Traviata and South Pacific, among many others.

As noted in Sheri Mignano Crawford's history of mandolin music in the Bay Area, Mandolins like Salami, the tradition of Italian mandolin music grew in part out of the “musical hub” of the barbershops. Between haircuts there was enough time for barbers to sing and play mandolin. Customers and anyone who was interested could join the music making at any time. For expediency the instruments were actually kept in barbershops – hanging like salami from the ceiling.

In North Beach, a center of this scene, the Green Street Barbershop continued this tradition into the 1970s. When the owner of that shop, Marco de Natale died, the center of the scene changed but the vibrancy continued to grow. The author mentions the Aurora Mandolin Orchestra as one of the groups that enjoyed this renaissance. Gino Pellegrini had played with Aurora in the 1930s, and had also played in other bands up to 1970. When he retired that year he resurrected the Orchestra.

His style of playing called “duo” mandolin was particularly difficult. Musicians using this style, pick the melody while also playing the accompaniment. When he died in 2006, his wife, Jo took on the role of Director and Conductor. The Aurora Mandolin Orchestra continues to flourish, playing a lively mixture of classical, traditional and contemporary pieces. Among the larger venues they’ve played are Davies Hall, the Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park, Santa Clara University, and the annual San Francisco Mandolin Festival.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

50 Years of the San Francisco Mime Troupe Free In(g) the Parks - The San Francisco Mime Troupe Fights for Free Speech, 1959-1969

R.G. Davis performing in Il Candelaio (1965). Photo by Erik Weber, image courtesy of the Bancroft Library

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the library is pleased to present an exhibit of photographs, original press clippings, court papers, broadsides, posters and other artifacts that dramatize the Mime Troupe’s struggles to win the right to perform uncensored in San Francisco and on the road, at the price of repeated arrests, expulsions, and court cases.

This exhibit will be displayed in the Steve Silver Beach Blanket Babylon Room in The Art, Music and Recreation Center on the Fourth Floor of the Main Library from October 24, 2009 through February 1, 2010.

There will be a related program on Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 2 PM in the Koret Auditorium on the Lower Level of Main Library. Radical Theater Revisited is panel discussion by 3 founding fathers of radical theater: R.G. Davis, San Francisco Mime Troupe; Peter Schuman, Bread and Puppet Theater; and Luis Valdez, El Teatro Campesino.

All library programs are free and open to the public.

Related resources:

The Album, a sound recording by San Francisco Mime Troupe [long playing 12 inch record] (Flying Fish, 1983).

By Popular Demand: Plays and Other Works by the San Francisco Mime Troupe (The Troupe, 1980).

Festive Revolutions: The Politics of Popular Theatre and The San Francisco Mime Troupe by Claudia Orenstein (University Press of Mississippi, 1998).

The San Francisco Mime Troupe: The First Ten Years by R. G. Davis (Ramparts Press, 1975).

The San Francisco Mime Troupe Reader, edited by Susan Vaneta Mason (University of Michigan Press, 2005).

The Art, Music and Recreation Center also has vertical files for the San Francisco Mime Troupe and for Ronny (R. G.) Davis.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Century of Pop Music

Entering a new millenium provided an opportunity to look back at an era. Musical tastes and fashions provide a way to travel backwards to get a sense of what the past sounded like.

Joel Whitburn Presents A Century of Pop Music: Year-by-Year Top 40 Rankings Of The Songs & Artists That Shaped A Century provides such a century long overview. Joel Whitburn and his Record Research company have been assembling books ranking record singles and albums since 1970. All of Whitburn's earliest work was based on the weekly top record charts published in Billboard magazine. These famed record charts on came into existence in 1940. For earlier years Whitburn and his staff have relied upon periodicals like Talking Machine World and other reference sources.

There is no absolutely objective way to rank the popularity--the Billboard charts are only a sampling of buying behavior. The results in A Century of Popular Music are biased toward the longevity of time that song spent on the highest ranks on the charts rather than a composite of sales or radio airplay. Nevertheless this book presents a fascinating glimpse of American popular taste.

While it seems natural that The Beatles' "Hey Jude" is ranked the number one song of the 1960s, who would have guessed that "Theme from a Summer Place" by Percy Faith was number two? Or that the Paul Whiteman Orchestra had more ranked songs (78 of them over fourteen years) than the Jimmy Dorsey and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras combined. However, legends of American music like Louis Armstrong and Bob Dylan did not often reach the pinnacles of the singles charts and their work is under-represented here (there are listings for three songs by Armstrong and two by Dylan).

Joel Whitburn Presents A Century of Pop Music: Year-by-Year Top 40 Rankings Of The Songs & Artists That Shaped A Century: Compiled from America's Popular Music Charts, Surveys, And Record Listings 1900-1939, And Billboard's Pop Singles Charts, 1940-1999 (Record Research, 1999).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Art of Rock - Graphic Sound in the 60's and Punk Graphics

The Art, Music and Recreation Center is presenting two small exhibits, Graphic Sounds In The 60's and Punk Graphics, through the end of November. These exhibits, consisting of images from our book collection, are located in a wall display case on the South wall opposite the atrium on the Fourth Floor of the Main Library.

Graphic Sound in the 60's

In the 1960’s San Francisco became home to a generation of people looking for a different way of life than those of their parents. They were known as hippies and valued free spirit, peace and harmony, and often alternative states of consciousness achieved by using hallucinogenic drugs. The music in San Francisco during this time was a reflection of this awareness. And in response, the posters promoting the musical groups took on a psychedelic edge. Art Nouveau images and Edwardian lettering provided inspiration as well. Many of these shows happened at the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium. Five of the best known poster artists, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin and Wes Wilson, became known as “The Big Five.”

Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley provided the images for many of the most popular rock artists of the 60’s; Grateful Dead, Big Brother and The Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger service, Steve Miller Band, to name a few. The skull and roses image has become one of the strongest images associated with the Grateful Dead. Mouse and Kelley were the artists.

Victor Moscoso also gained fame for his poster work in San Francisco on 1967. He went on to work for Zap Comix with Robert crumb in the San Francisco Underground Comix movement.

Rick Griffin grew up in Palos Verdes and participated in Ken Kesey's Acid Test. After seeing work by Moscoso and Kelley he moved up to San Francisco and started working on his graphic art. The music promoter Chet Helms liked his work and invited him to create posters for Family Dog and the Avalon Ballroom. Griffin, like Moscoso, was part of the Underground Comix movement.

Wes Wilson, born in 1937, is known for his "psychedelic" lettering that appeared to be melting or moving. He designed posters for Bill Graham and the Fillmore Auditorium during the 1960's.

Frank Kozik was not a part of the “Big Five” and actually became active in Austin, Texas in the late 1980’s but has been credited as reviving the art of the concert poster. Born in Spain in 1962, he moved to TX at the age of 14 and now works in San Francisco. He is well known in the music poster world and his work is quoted as “simulating the intensity of the rock scene he has long been affiliated with, his art acts as a pictorial introduction to the musical experience”. The book Man’s Ruin: The Poster Art of Frank Kozik offers a look into the artist’s process with notes written by Kozik and the artists he was friends with.

Punk Graphics

The punk poster was designed for the moment.

The graphic artist, more than occasionally one of the band members, would create the music visuals and Xerox as many as he/she could afford or finagle. Flyers and handbills were taped to club walls, stapled to telephone poles and papered the streets. This art was left to be covered by the next shows’ flyers, to fade in the elements and rot in the rain. They were quickly made, bold, B&W blasts, created to spread the word of the band and then left to become trash.

Different than their 60s and early 70s psychedelic predecessors which used technology to evoke the “pretty” aesthetics of the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau movements, the punk poster aesthetic was different. It was typically satirical or political and was almost always emotionally raw. As Devo is quoted, “the more technology you have, the more primitive you can be. With synthesizers you can express guttural sounds, bird noises, brain waves, blood flow.” Similarly, punk posters evoked a primitivism.

Just as Raymond Pettibon, the graphic artist for Los Angeles’ Black Flag, went on to international acclaim as a highly-collectible visual artist, the Bay Area punk movement also launched careers. Pepe Moreno is best known for his DC Comic creation, Batman: Digital Justice, as well as video and arcade games such as HellCab. An Rafferty remains a freelance artist, having worked for Thrasher, Warner New Media and Klasky-Csupo, among others. Edwin Heaven, designer and promoter for The Tubes and The Nuns, continues to mold popular culture through advertising slogans, creative writing and novelty inventions. Patrick Miller, Minimal Man creator, worked in Hollywood as a set designer and dresser.

Other artists might be forgotten if not for archivists Peter Belsito, Bob Davis, Marian Kester and the local publisher Last Gasp. Their books Streetart: The Punk Poster in San Francisco 1977-1981, and Hardcore California: A History of Punk and New Wave offer a comprehensive look at the posters of the time.

Nervous Gender by An Rafferty (used by permission of the artist)


Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion by Paul Grushkin & Dennis King; foreword by Wayne Coyne (Chronicle Books, 2004).

The Art of Rock: Posters from Presley to Punk by Paul Grushkin; artworks photographed by Jon Sievert (Abbeville Press, 1987).

The Blues Album Cover Art, edited by Graham Marsh & Barrie Lewis (Chronicle Books, 1996).

Cover Art By: New Music Graphics designed, written & edited by Adrian Shaughnessy (Laurence King, 2008).

Factory Records: The Complete Graphic Album by Matthew Robertson; foreword by Tony Wilson (Chronicle Books, 2007).

Fly: The Art of the Club Flyer by Nicola Ackland-Snow, Nathan Brett, and Steven Williams (Watson-Guptill Publications, 1997).

Freehand: The Art of Stanley Mouse by Stanley Mouse, with joint works by Alton Kelley; introduction by Joel Selvin; foreword by Mickey Hart; essay by Walter Madeiros (SLG Books, 1993).

The Greatest Album Covers of All Time by Barry Miles, Grant Scott and Johnny Morgan (Collins & Brown, 2005).

High Art: A History of The Psychedelic Poster by Ted Owen, Denise Dickson (Sanctuary, 1999).

In The Groove: Vintage Record Graphics, 1940-1960 by Eric Kohler (Chronicle Books, 1999).

Man's Ruin: The Posters & Art of Frank Kozik by Frank Kozik (Last Gasp, 1995).

Mouse & Kelley by Stanley Mouse and Alton Kelley (Dell Pub. Co., 1979).

Modern Dog: 20 Years of Poster Art (Not Canine-Related) by Robynne Raye, Michael Strassburger; introduction by Steven Heller; interviews by Rick Valicenti and James Victore (Chronicle Books, 2008).

Off The Wall: Psychedelic Rock Posters from San Francisco compiled by Amélie Gastaut and Jean-Pierre Criqui (Thames & Hudson, 2005).

100 Best Album Covers: The Stories Behind The Sleeves compiled and written by Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell; design by Richard Evans, et al. (DK Pub., 1999)

Punk on 45: Revolutions on Vinyl 1976-79 by Gavin Walsh; text by Paul A. Woods (Plexus, 2006).

Rock Art: CDs, Albums & Posters by Spencer Drate; foreword by Roger Dean (PBC International, 1993).

To search the catalog for similar books enter the following Subject Headings:

Advertising flyers
Rock music -- Posters
Sound recordings -- Album covers

To browse the shelves, go directly to these key Call Numbers:


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music

Die Symphonie (detail) by Moritz von Schwind, from Schwind: Eine Auswahl aus dem Lebenswerk des Meisters in 114 Abbildungen. (Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt,1922).

Robert Greenberg is a composer and music scholar who lectures extensively throughout North America and Europe. He attended Princeton where he earned a B.A. and continued his education at the University of California Berkeley, receiving his Ph.D. in music composition in 1984. His music has been performed in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, England, Ireland, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands. He was a professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for 20 years and was the creator, host, and lecturer for the San Francisco Symphony’s “Discovery Series.” He is also Music Historian-in-Residence with San Francisco Performances, where he has lectured and performed since 1994.

Dr. Greenberg’s energetic, involving lectures on classical music, and composers have been captured by the Teaching Company on CD and video. The San Francisco Public Library owns the series How to Listen to and Understand Great Music and the Great Masters series on individual composers. Though these talks are packed with information--listening a couple of times is a good idea for the beginner--the lively presentation makes them very entertaining as well.

The Art, Music and Recreation Center also has scores and parts for two works written by Robert Greenberg:

Breaths, Voices and Cadenze
for string quartet. (Fallen Leaf Press, 1982).

By Various Means
for clarinet quartet [clarinet, violin, viola and 'cello]. (Fallen Leaf Press, 1983).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Kimono Display

In Japan, kimono is a generic word that literally means “thing to wear”. While this could cover a wide range of garments, it is usually used to describe the full-length robe that people associate with Japanese attire.

In earlier times, Japanese clothing closely resembled Chinese-style robes. “During the Nara period (AD 710-794), however, garments resembling the kimono began to appear, and after Japan suspended contact with China. . . a style began to emerge that became uniquely Japanese” (Jenni Dobson. Making Kimono and Japanese Clothing. London: Batsford, 2008).

Through October 19, the Art and Music Center will display a contemporary art style kimono designed by Northern California fiber artist Sharon Cahn. Colorful reproductions of book covers from books about kimono are displayed as well.

For further reading, the following books may be of interest:

The Book of Kimono by Norio Yamanaka. (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1986).

Fashioning Kimono by Reiko Mochinaga Brandon and others. (Milan: 5 Continents, 2005).

Kimono as Art by Itchiku Kubota. (London: Thames & Hudson, 2008).

Kimono: Fashioning Culture by Liza Crihfield Dalby. (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1993).

Kimonos by Sophie Milenovich. (New York: Abrams, 2007).

Knit Kimono by Vicki Square. (Loveland, Colo.: Interweave Press, 2007).

When Art Became Fashion by Dale Carolyn Gluckman. (Calif.: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1992).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Splendid Survivors

Splendid Survivors: San Francisco's Downtown Architectural Heritage is perhaps the most meticulously prepared book to date on the history of San Francisco's buildings. This book was created with a purpose of documenting the City's downtown architecture with an aim of taking stock of what deserved preservation.

The authors compare their mission of preservation with environmental conservation: "a broader and more sophisticated understanding of environmental quality [should] encompass natural and man-made factors that make up our environment." They lay stress on preserving a "sense of place" and "cultural continuity." They also maintain that in most cases, older buildings were better constructed and better suited to the native climate.

Splendid Survivors is primarily an inventory of 790 buildings in San Francisco's Financial District, South of Market, Union Square and Market Street districts. This inventory includes the address, the name of the building, the date of its construction and when available the architect(s). Most entries include a paragraph about the building and a photograph. They also
rate the buildings on a scale from A to D - the "A" buildings having "outstanding qualities of architecture, historical values and relationship to the environment."

This book also includes an excellent essay by Michael R. Corbett entitled "Historical Background" that traces the architectural history of downtown San Francisco. It also details the buildings that survived the 1906 earthquake and fire buildings.

In light of the construction boom that took place in San Francisco in the late 1990s and early 2000s the work that went into this book probably played a role in preserving San Francisco's architectural character. It also documents the City as it was before this transformation.

Strolling with this book through San Francisco's downtown, one can truly develop an appreciation for the layers of historic and the dynamics of change on the City's streets.

Splendid Survivors: San Francisco's Downtown Architectural Heritage, prepared by Charles Hall Page & Associates, Inc., for the Foundation for San Francisco's Architectural Heritage,text by Michael R. Corbett. (California Living Books, 1979).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Punk Passage and Punk Penelope

The band Crime photographed by Ruby Ray

Don't forget to check out two new exhibits at the San Francisco Public Library.

Punk Passage: San Francisco First Wave Punk 1977-1981 in the Jewett Gallery on the Lower Level of the Main Library is an exhibit of photographs taken by Ruby Ray for the magazine Search And Destroy. In addition to the striking photography there is are also 'zines, flyers, posters and other ephemera, including material from the Art, Music and Recreation Center Collection.

Additionally, in the Lower Cafe Exhibition Case opposite the Jewett Gallery the library is presenting Punk Penelope. This is a small display includes original artwork, albums, lyric sheets and other ephemera from Penelope Houston's days with The Avengers.

Both exhibits will be on display from September 12 through December 6, 2009. Visit the library's web page for related events.

A booklist for the San Francisco / Bay Area punk scene

Dead Kennedys: The Unauthorized Version edited by f-Stop Fitzgerald; written by Marian Kester. (Last Gasp of San Francisco, 1983).

Gimme Something Better by Jack Boulware and Silke Tudor [on order]. (Penguin Group USA, 2009).

Hardcore California: A History of Punk and New Wave by Peter Belsito and Bob Davis. (Last Gasp of San Francisco, 1983).

Loud 3D: Hardcore Rock'n'Roll by Gary Robert, Rob Kulakofsky, and Mike Arredondo. (IN3D, 1984).

Music For Vagabonds: The Tuxedomoon Chronicles by Isabelle Corbisier. (OpenMute, 2008).

Punk '77: An Inside Look at The San Francisco Rock'n'Roll Scene, 1977 by James Stark,
with an introduction to reprint by V. Vale. (RE/Search Publications, 1999).

Search & Destroy #1-6: The Authoritative Guide to Punk Culture (Complete Reprint) edited by V. Vale. (V/Search Publications, 1996).

Search & Destroy #7-11: the Authoritative Guide to Punk Culture (Complete Reprint) edited by V. Vale. (V/Search Publications, 1996).

Streetart: The Punk Poster in San Francisco, 1977-1981
by Peter Belsito, Bob Davis and Marian Kester. (Last Gasp of San Francisco, 1981).

Weird Angle by f-Stop Fitzgerald. (Post Contemporary Productions: Last Gasp, 1982).

We're Desperate: The Punk Photography of Jim Jocoy: SF/LA 78-80
, photos by Jim Jocoy, interview by Thurston Moore, prose by Exene Cervenka, and intro by Marc Jacobs. (powerHouse Books, 2002).

X-capees: A San Francisco Punk Photo Documentary by Raye Santos, Richard McCaffree, f-Stop Fitzgerald and Howie Klein. (Last Gasp of San Francisco, 1981).

The following titles contain interviews, discographies and or related performance information on various local punk performers:

Cinderella's Big Score: Women of The Punk and Indie Underground by Maria Raha. (Seal Press, 2005).

Real Conversations. No. 1, Henry Rollins, Billy Childish, Jello Biafra, Lawrence Ferlinghetti Interviews By V. Vale. (Re/Search Publications, 2001).

Unknown Legends of Rock'n'Roll: Psychedelic Unknowns, Mad Geniuses, Punk Pioneers, Lo-Fi Mavericks & More by Richie Unterberger. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 1998.

We Owe You Nothing: Punk Planet, the Collected Interviews by Daniel Sinker. (Akashic Books, 2001).

The 4th Floor Art, Music and Recreation Desk has reference vertical files related to Penelope Houston (Avengers), Club Foot Orchestra, The Contractions, Dead Kennedys, Dils, Flipper, The Mutants, The Nuns, Tuxedomoon and Dirk Dirksen.

Special bonus: Guitar Hero. 3, Legends Of Rock: Songbook (Hal Leonard, 2008) includes an authentic guitar transcription of Holiday in Cambodia by the Dead Kennedys.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Purge and Plunder: Art Under The Third Reich

Allied Monuments Officers Recovering and Safeguarding Stolen Art (source: website for the 2006 documentary film The Rape of Europa)

It started with a simple reference question. A person needed to write a report on Nazi degenerate art. He asked if I had heard of it and if the library had any books on it. When I replied in the affirmative, he looked relieved. “I’ve been to many bookstores” he said “and you wouldn’t believe the strange looks I’ve been getting with this request”.

Coincidentally, I was currently embroiled in a novel at home that also dealt with the Nazis and art entitled Pictures at an Exhibition. Written by local author Sara Houghteling, the story masterfully weaves in historical figures of the Paris art world of the 1930’s and 1940’s while focusing on the Nazi’s systematic looting of French museums, art galleries and private art collections. I realized that I was being introduced to a whole new perspective on the history of the Third Reich and of World War II.

Before World War I, avant-garde German art was at the forefront of the 20th century modern art movement. Despite an encouraging atmosphere for German contemporary artists, there was also a growing opposition movement of conservatives that viewed their art as “degenerate.”

The move to rid Germany of all its modern art began in earnest when Adolf Hitler became Chancellor-President in 1933. He passed laws dictating what art forms were acceptable. He believed that it was the state’s responsibility to prevent people from being driven to madness by purging those things that he viewed as corrupt and degenerate. German artists, art dealers and museum officials were given four years to comply with the new standards of what was acceptable.

Artwork that was not in compliance was confiscated by the Gestapo. Confiscated art was then sold to support the Third Reich or dismembered, defaced, destroyed or buried. Many avant-garde artists fled the country; those who stayed were not allowed to work. Art that met Hitler’s standards became at risk as well, as he and some of his officers began to collect and acquire artifacts for their personal collections.

In her book The Rape of Europa, Lynn H. Nichols writes: “When the German occupation of Poland, France, the Low Countries, and finally Italy began, a colossal wave of organized and casual pillage stripped entire countries of their heritage as works of art were subjected to confiscation, wanton destruction, concealment in damp mines, and perilous transport across combat zones.” All of Europe’s cultural treasures were at risk of becoming lost forever.

In the years following the end of World War II, an international corps of “Monuments Officers” worked tirelessly to sort through the huge Nazi cache of stolen art and return the works to their rightful homes. To this day, thousands of artifacts remain missing. Museum officials continue to work with governments and individuals to recover the treasures that were looted by the Nazis.

The San Francisco Public Library offers many books for the reader who wants to learn more about this unique time in cultural history:

Art, Culture and Media Under The Third Reich by Richard A. Etlin, ed. (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2002)

Art of The Third Reich
by Peter Adam. (Abrams, 1992)

Art Under A Dictatorship by Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt. (Oxford Univ. Press, 1954)

The Battle of The Louvre: The Struggle to Save French Art in World War II by Matila Simon. (Hawthorn Books, 1971)

“Degenerate Art”: the Fate of The Avant-garde in Nazi Germany by Stephanie Barron. (Abrams, 1991)

The Linz File: Hitler’s Plunder of Europe’s Art by Charles De Jaeger. (Webb & Bower, 1981)

The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspiracy to Steal The World’s Greatest Works of Art by Hector Feliciano.

The Rape of Art: The Story of Hitler’s Plunder of The Great Masterpieces of Europe by David Roxan. (Coward-McCann, 1964)

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War by Lynn H. Nicholas. (Alfred A. Knopf, 1994)

Second National Exhibition of the Words of Art Recovered In Germany: Catalogue by Rodolfo Siviero. (Sansoni, 1950)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Top Five Reference Sources

With our online library catalog we are able to keep track of the number of times we consult or hand out books from our reference desk. With this information we have compiled a list of the five most used sources that we keep at our reference desk. Our work at the reference desk often involves finding concise, factual information for library patrons both on the phone and in person. The following five sources are comprehensive and provide ready answers to commonly asked questions.

We have written in the past about the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, specifically in its online form Oxford Music Online. This 30 volume set is considered the definitive reference source for classical music. It is particularly indispensable for the detailed listings of all the compositions written by major composers.

Popular Music, 1920-1979, subtitled “an annotated index of over 18,000 American popular songs” is an important reference source for verifying the correct spelling of song titles, as well as for providing the names of a song’s composers and lyricists, the year a song was composed, as well as its publisher and the recording artists who made it popular. There are also supplemental volumes for the years 1900-1919, 1980-1989, as well as annual updates from 1990 through 2002.

A Guide Book of United States Coins, now in its 67th edition, is sometimes known as the “blue book” of coins. This annual publication presents the prices that dealers typically will pay for all denominations of U.S. coinage that have been in circulation from the colonial era to the present.

Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide, at 2805 pages in its current edition, is a massive summary of the art auction market. It includes over 320,000 artists providing their dates, nationality, a brief bibliography, as well as price ranges for each artist arranged by medium and size. This source does not take the place of actual auction catalogs, but it does provides a quick, all-in-one summary of the market for an artist’s work.

The Film Encyclopedia by Ephraim Katz is now in its 6th edition. Also a thick volume at 1567 pages, this encyclopedia is both biographical and factual. It provides definitions of motion picture terminology as well as entries for awards, countries, and motion picture companies. In summary it’s another excellent all-in-one source.

1) The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians edited by Stanley Sadie. (Grove, 2001).

2) Popular music, 1920-1979: A Revised Cumulation edited by Nat Shapiro and Bruce Pollock, editor. (Gale Research Co., 1985).

3) A Guide Book of United States Coins. (Western Pub. Co., 2010) [latest edition].

4) Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide by R.J. Davenport. (Davenport's Art Reference, 2009/2010). [latest edition].

5) The Film Encyclopedia by Ephraim Katz, revised by Ronald Dean Nolen. (Collins, 2008).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Celebrate Jug Band Music!

Got a spasm? A case of the skiffle? Does your jook or your hokum need tweaking? If so, then The California Jug Band Association is here to cure what ails you, for the doctor said ‘Give them jug band music.’

Once a year, the California Jug Band Association welcomes the Bay Area public to celebrate and explore the original American musical form of jug band music. This year’s 2009 San Francisco Jug Band Festival is a three-day affair that includes a full day of music at the Bandshell in Golden Gate Park on Saturday August 15, a multimedia presentation at the San Francisco Public Library on Sunday August 16, and two more evenings of live music on Sunday the 16th and Monday the 17th at Amnesia.

Jug band music is a unique American musical style that developed in Louisville and Memphis at the turn of the 20th century. Jug bands consist of instruments like harmonica, kazoo, banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, washboard, washtub bass, and the eponymous jug (of glass or stoneware). The jug player blows across the aperture often providing a bass ostinato.

Jug Band Music: Certainly Is A Treat To Me! will be presented in the Main Library's Koret Auditorium from 1-4 PM on Sunday, August 16, 2009. The program is supported by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. All programs at the Library are free.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Crochet at the Main Library's Knitting Club

Knitting is not the only needlework craft that is experiencing a renaissance. Crocheting is also back in style and the library has many new books with fun and easy projects. These are just a few of the titles; more can be found by searching Crocheting as a subject. Don’t know how to crochet? The Main Library’s monthly Knitting and Crochet Club for teens and adults has yarn and hooks for beginners to try out. Our next meeting is Saturday August 15 from 2-4 pm in the Creative Center, second floor. Call (415) 557-4497 for more information.

A Selection of Crocheting Books

The Complete Idiot's Guide To Crochet Projects Illustrated by Marcy Smith. (Alpha Books, 2007).

The Crochet Bible: The Complete Handbook For Creative Crocheting by Sue Whiting. (David & Charles, 2008).

Crochet Stitch Motifs: 250 Stitches To Crochet edited by Erika Knight. (Interweave Press LLC, 2008).

Crochet Techniques
by Renate Kirkpatrick. (Sally Milner Pub., 2007).

Crocheting In Plain English by Maggie Righetti. (Thomas Dunne Books, 2008).

Crocheting On The Edge: Ribs & Bobbles, Ruffles, Flora, Fringes, Points & Scallops: The Essential Collection Of More Than 200 Decorative Borders by Nicky Epstein. (Sixth & Spring, 2008).

Super Stitches Crochet: Essential Techniques Plus A Dictionary Of More Than 180 Stitch Patterns by Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell. (Watson-Guptill Publications, 2007).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Opera Series - 2009

Nadja Michael in Salome, photo by Clive Barda (from the San Francisco Opera website)

Each Thursday at noon throughout the month of August the Art, Music and Recreation Center with the Audiovisual Center will present a series of large screen video presentations of operas. These are abridged screenings (approximately 60 minutes in length) of works that will be performed during the upcoming San Francisco Opera Season.

August 6 - Il Trittico (Triptych) by Giacomo Puccini, consisting of three one-act works: Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. Starring Amarilli Nizza, Alberto Mastromarino, Rubens Pelzzari and Andrea Giovanni.

August 13 - Salome by Richard Strauss. Salome is played by Nadja Michael, a role she will play it here in SF Opera. Also starring Falk Struckmann, Peter Bronder and Iris Vermillion

August 20 - La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) by Giacomo Puccini. Starring Barbara Daniels, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes

August 27 - Die Walkure (The Valkyrie) by Richard Wagner. Eva-Maria Westbroek plays Sieglinde, a role she will sing in SF Opera. Also starring Robert Gambill, Willard White, Eva Johansson, Lilli Paasikivi and Mikhail Petrenko.

The videos will be shown at the Koret Auditorium in the Lower Level of the Library. All programs at the Library are free.

These programs are supported by the Friends of the Public Library.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hip-Hop Globe-trot

Rap is a distinctly American music. It incubated and developed among the African-American and Afro-Carribbean youth of New York City in the 1970s. Rap quickly spread to urban centers all over the United States blossoming into a rich variety of regional styles and scenes. It has also moved from an underground urban setting to having a strong influence on mainstream youth culture. Rap and hip hop have helped to create distinctive styles of fashion, gesture, art and video-making.

It's not surprising that such an appealing culture would have have adherents outside of the United States. The following video presents rappers from 30 countries.

While each of these rappers have absorbed aspects of rap's roots they all find ways to use this form to express their own personal and national identity.

World rap is subject that is just beginning to receive book length treatment.

Global Noise: Rap and Hip-Hop Outside the USA is a collection of essays that look at the scenes in a number of countries. This book includes articles in the Islamic world, among ethnic minorities the Basque and the Maori, and in Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, and Korea.

The Africanist Aesthetic In Global Hip-hop by Halifu Osumare is an analysis of rap in a number of countries. While not an easy read it looks at the social, political and aesthetic manifestions of rap and hip-hop in many settings.

Like Global Noise, Black, Blanc, Beur: Rap Music and Hip-hop Culture in the Francophone World is a collection of essays by many authors. This book looks at rap in France, Quebec and Gabon.

Hip-hop Japan: Rap and The Paths of Cultural Globalization by Ian Condry while focussing on one country looks at the subject from a number of angles. Condry examines the historical influence of Black culture in Japan, rap fans and their consumer culture, the Japanese language as a medium for rap, women rappers, and the economics of rap in Japan.

For those who can read other languages the library also owns Hip hop italiano: suoni, parole e scenari del posse power by Pierfrancesco Pacoda about the Italian scene and Can pi de rao she da ji hua - 參劈的饒舌大計劃 (translates as: Tri Poets’ Rapping Big Project) by the TriPoets, group of Taiwanese rappers.

For those wanting to explore this subject more deeply the Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World has four volumes by region that frequently index the term "rap." The Music Index, an annual print index of current articles about music includes references to current articles about rap and hip hop. They are found under the subject heading Popular Music Styles and are divided geographically.

For recordings in the San Francisco Public Library's collections follow these subject links:

Rap (Music) - China - Hong Kong
Rap (Music) - Cuba
Rap (Music) - Great Britain
Rap (Music) - Israel
Rap (Music) - Jamaica
Rap (Music) - Latin America
Rap (Music) - Mexico
Rap (Music) - Puerto Rico
Rap (Music) - Russia - Federation
Rap (Music) - Vietnam

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Folk Song Index

Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide To The Florence E. Brunnings Collection, volume 252 of the Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, is an indispensable reference resource. This work is actually Florence E. Brunnings' personal index to her personal collection of recordings, books, songbooks and magazines. She wrote in the introduction to her book:
In 1969 I became angry at not being able to find a particular song quickly enough in one of my many songbooks to follow the tune on the radio. So I decided to take a few weeks of spare time and make an index of all the songs in all my books in my books and on my records. The project soon became an obsession and eleven years later I had collected 49,300 cards, one for every song and every variant of a song in the 1,115 books and journals and the 695 records in my collection.
While this index cannot claim to be complete, and may not even be entirely representative, as it reflects a tendency towards Anglo-American folk music, it provides access to many songbooks in our collection or helps us track down songs in collections owned by other libraries. Of particular importance is its cross-indexing of multiple song titles and title variants. Very frequently the greatest challenge in tracking down a folksong is learning its correct title.

The index opens with a numerical listing of the indexed books and journals, a bibliography of these works, a numerical list of recordings and index of performers on these recordings.

The late Mrs. Brunnings came to this task as an enthusiast. While employed at a bank she became active as an amateur folk musician in the Boston area, and was even a library volunteer. According to her obituary in the Quincy Patriot Ledger, "She taught herself to play guitar, autoharp, recorder and the spoons. She even took requests for songs while playing the spoons in front of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston." Her Folk Song Index is truly a labor of love.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities

Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities is an exhibit at the San Francisco Musuem of Modern Art from May 30 through September 7, 2009.

This traveling exhibition, organized by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, is the first to compare the works of two major twentieth century artists: Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and Ansel Adams (1902-1984). At a time when the art world was dominated by men, O’Keeffe revolutionized the role of women artists with her lyrical, abstract paintings of desert mountains, flowers, plants and bones. Ansel Adams, a photographer and conservationist, helped legitimize photography as an art form with his haunting landscapes of the American West. They met for the first time in 1929 at a gathering of artists and writers in the Taos home of a mutual friend.

Despite the differences in their personalities, age and working methods, O’Keeffe and Adams developed a lifelong friendship through their mutual love of the natural world. The exhibition brings together approximately 100 works from both artists which reveal and contrast the similarities and differences of their views of the environment.

San Francisco Public Library has recently acquired the catalog that accompanies this SFMOMA exhibition for its reference collection. Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities (New York: Little, Brown, and Co., 2008) has superb reproductions of paintings and photographs, as well as insightful essays on both artists. The book is located in the Art and Music Department of the Main Library and may be used inside the library.

In addition to this book, the library also owns a variety of titles on both artists that may be checked out.

Books on Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams, An Autobiography with Mary Street Alinder. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1985).

Ansel Adams: Letters and Images, 1916-1984, edited by Mary Street Alinder. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1988).

Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs by Ansel Adams. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1983).

Our National Parks by Ansel Adams. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1992).

The Portfolios of Ansel Adams edited by Tim Hill. (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1977).

This Is The American Earth by Ansel Adams and Nancy Newhall. (San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1960).

Yosemite And The Range of Light by Ansel Adams. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979).

Books on Georgia O’Keeffe

The Art & Life of Georgia O’Keeffe
by Jan Garden Castro. (New York: Crown, 1995).

Georgia O’Keeffe. (New York: Penguin Books, 1987).

Georgia O’Keeffe by Lisa Mintz Messinger. (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2001).

Georgia O’Keeffe: An Eternal Spirit by Susan Wright. (New York: New Line Books, 2006).

Georgia O’Keeffe and the Calla Lily in American Art, 1860-1940 by Barbara Buhler Lynes. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002).

Georgia O’Keeffe, Art and Letters by Jack Cowart and Juan Hamilton. (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1987).

Georgia O’Keeffe: Nature and Abstraction
by Richard D. Marshall. (Italy: Skira, 2007).