Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Presentation: The Silk Road

Globalization in the Ancient World (Asian Art Museum Speaker Series)

Travel the ancient routes that provided goods, technologies, and ideas to countries and cultures from the Mediterranean to the Pacific. Discover the transformations that resulted from the complex exchanges between East and West.

Before jet planes and smartphones, militia, merchants, monks and pilgrims spent months, even years, traveling over perilous land routes to carry luxury goods and new ideas thousands of miles across lost civilizations. Luxury commodities such as silk, porcelain, paper, tea, jade, amber, spices, ivory, gunpowder, gold and silver were carried across overland and sea trade routes known as the Silk Road. Religions and ideas, technologies and innovations also spread along these trade routes in all directions.

History’s greats such as Alexander the Great, Marco Polo, Zhang Qian, and Genghis Khan, all left their traces on the greatest roads humankind has ever known. Come discover the complexity of the exchanges and variety of cultures transformed as a result of goods, knowledge and techniques transmitted between East and West in this slide show and lecture by an Asian Art Museum docent.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Learning Center, 5th Floor, Main Library
12:00pm - 1:00pm

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Performance: Violins of Hope; Along the Trade Route

Main Library - Koret Auditorium
Thursday, 2/6/2020: 6:00 - 7:30

This program is part of Violins of Hope San Francisco Bay Area presented in association with Music at Kohl Mansion, Burlingame, CA.

Each violinist will be performing on a violin once owned and played by a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, now repaired and repurposed as an instrument of peace, social justice and hope.

Musicians have been sharing melodies for centuries, with no regard to political and national boundaries. Irish sailors brought melodies to sea ports in Ukraine; Turks, Roma and Jews shared common songs, and Roma music has origins in India. In Trade Routes, we present these internationally renowned Bay Area musicians steeped in seemingly separate cultural musical traditions with an exciting and surprising common vision of musical sharing.

Featuring violinists Cookie Segelstein (Klezmer), Emmanuel  During Middle Eastern), Darcy Noonan (Celtic) and Suzy Thompson (Americana).

Related Event:
Film: Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust
Friday, 2/7/2020
3:00 - 4:30
Documentary featuring Israeli violin maker Amnon Weinstein and his efforts to restore violins recovered from the Holocaust. Some were played by Jewish prisoners in concentration camps; others belonged to the Klezmer musical culture, which was all but destroyed by the Nazis.  Narrated by Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody. WVIZ/PBS. NR, 60 mins., 2016.

This program is part of the Violins of Hope San Francisco Bay Area presented in association with Music at Kohl Mansion, Burlingame, CA.

This free concert is funded by a generous grant from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Learn more at www.violinsofhopesfba.org.

Exhibition: Through the Lens of Black Photographers

Doris and Virginia "Ann" on the steps with her 1st Brownie camera, 1957.  Courtesy of the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection "Shades of Western Addition".

A. P. Bedou, Photographer in a Crowd", c. 1910

“In a time when the deliberate distortion of black images in popular culture was as common as ice vendors in turn-of-the-century cities in August, the camera became a mighty weapon in the hands of pioneering black photographers. The same photographic technology responsible for the circulation of minstrel caricatures … was used to create counter images of African-American life—images of dignity, pride, success, and beauty. A wide array of figures such as James Presley Ball and Augustus Washington of the nineteenth century, and Robert McNeill and Chuck Stewart of the twentieth, wielded their cameras against the Goliath of white supremacy.”
— Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present by Deborah Willis

Since the earliest days of photography, black artists and documentarians have used the medium to assert the vibrancy and importance of their communities on their own terms. The images they captured with their cameras provided a different view that counteracted the racial stereotypes and bigotry prevalent in the visual media of popular culture.

This small-scale exhibit aims to recognize and celebrate the legacy and canon of many remarkable artists, illustrating their real-life experiences of dignity and pride.

To complement the fine art photography of well-known black artists, photographs taken throughout the decades by members of San Francisco’s African-American community round out this visual narrative. Pulling from the San Francisco History Center’s Shades of San Francisco photo project, this “community scrapbook” forms a constellation of friends, neighbors, acquaintances and relatives who used their cameras to document holidays, celebrations and moments of everyday life – authenticating experience and contributing to the visual history of San Francisco.

About the images in this exhibit

The images on display in the wall cases have been selected from the Art, Music and Recreation Center’s collections of fine art photography books, which can be found in the Dewey Decimal call number range of 770-779. A bibliography is available.

The images in the two wooden cases are reproduced courtesy of the donors of the Shades of San Francisco projects – specifically the neighborhoods Western Addition, Bayview/Hunters Point and Oceanview/Merced/Ingleside. To learn more about the San Francisco History Center’s Shades of San Francisco community history photography project, visit sfpl.org/sfphotocollections or visit the Center on the 6th floor.


Ashe, Jeanne. Viewfinders : Black women photographers. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1986. Print. 770.973 M867v

Ball, James P., and Deborah Willis. J.P. Ball, daguerrean and studio photographer. New York: Garland Pub, 1993. Print.  770.973 M867v

Bey, Dawoud, et al. Dawoud Bey : portraits 1975-1995. Minneapolis New York: Walker Art Center Available through Distributed Art Publishers, 1995. Print.  779.2092 B468d

Brathwaite, Kwame, Tanisha C. Ford, and Deborah Willis. Kwame Brathwaite: black is beautiful. New York, NY: Aperture, 2019. Print.  770.92 B7373f

Combs, Rhea L., Deborah Willis, and Lonnie G. Bunch. Through the African American Lens. Washington, D.C. London: National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution in association with D Giles Limited, 2014. Print.  973.0496 T4166

Cowans, Adger W., et al. Personal vision : photographs. New York: Glitterati Incorporated, 2017. Print.  779.092 C8386p

Millstein, Barbara H. Committed to the image : contemporary black photographers. Brooklyn, N.Y: Brooklyn Museum of Art in association with Merrell, 2001. Print. 779.0899 C737

Parks, Gordon, and Philip Brookman. Half past autumn : a retrospective. Boston: Little, Brown and Co, 1997. Print.  770.92 P236a

Reed, Eli. Black in America. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997. Print.  779.9973 R251b

Roberts, Richard S., Thomas L. Johnson, and Phillip C. Dunn. A true likeness : the black South of 
Richard Samuel Roberts, 1920-1936. Columbia, South Carolina: The University of South Carolina Press, 2019. Print.  779.2092 R543t 2019

Shabazz, Jamel, Fab 5. Freddy, and Ernie Paniccioli. Back in the days. New York: PowerHouse Books, 2001. Print.  974.71 Sh113b

Sue, Jacqueline A. A dream begun so long ago : the story of David Johnson ; Ansel Adams' first African American student. Corte Madera, Calif: Khedcanron Publishing, 2012. Print.  779.9979 J6312s

Wallis, Brian, and Deborah Willis. African American vernacular photography : selections from the 
Daniel Cowin Collection. New York Göttingen: International Center of Photography Steidl, 2005. Print.  779.9973 Af834

Weems, Carrie M., et al. Carrie Mae Weems : Kitchen table series. Bologna, Italy New York: Damiani Matsumoto Editions, 2016. Print.  779.092 W4188e

Willis, Deborah. Black : a celebration of a culture. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2014. Print.  779.0899 B5611 2014

Willis, Deborah. Reflections in Black : a history of Black photographers, 1840 to the present. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000. Print.  770.8996 W679r

Willis, Deborah, et al. VanDerZee, photographer 1886-1983. New York: Harry N. Abrams, in association with The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1993. Print.  779.2092 V286w

Related Program:
Film:  Through a Lens Darkly
The first documentary to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to the present, Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, probes the recesses of American history by discovering images that have been suppressed, forgotten and lost. 92 mins, 2014