Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mizzou LGBTQ Pride!


"Celebrating LGBTQ Pride at Mizzou" display in the Lower Lair Lounge of the MU Student Center.
In recognition of LGBTQ Pride at Mizzou, there is currently an exhibition on display in the Lower Lair Lounge of the MU Student Center featuring notable moments, individuals, and organizations from the University's history. Stop by to check it out when you have the chance! In the meantime, here are some highlights:

Thomas Lanier Williams (aka Tennessee Williams), (1930 Savitar)

Thomas Lanier Williams, better known as the Pulitzer winning playwright Tennessee Williams, attended the University of Missouri in the early 1930s. He won the Pulitzer in 1948 for "A Street Car Named Desire" and again in 1955 for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Both plays were later adapted in to films. Williams began living openly as a gay man in the late 1930s after moving to New York.
In 1957, Missouri Workshop students put on a production of Tennessee Williams' "A Street Car Named Desire" in Jesse Hall. (1958 Savitar)

Marijane Meaker (BA '49), (Missouri Alumnus, May 1975)
Marijane Meaker is a prolific author who has published under several different noms de plume. Her 1952 novel Spring Fire is credited with launching the genre of lesbian pulp fiction. Published only a few years after Meaker graduated from Mizzou under the name 'Vin Packer,' the novel sold 1.5 million copies. It tells the story of a shy freshman girl who falls in love with a popular sorority girl.
Spring Fire (1952) by Vin Packer (aka Marijane Meaker), 2013.105
Meaker has also published several non-fiction books on lesbian culture in Paris and New York in the 1950s and 1960s. Later in her career she began writing young adult novels, including Night Kites, which is written from the perspective of the younger brother of an AIDS patient.

Photograph courtesy of The Maneater, October 17, 2013
In 2003, the University made sexual orientation a part of the UM System's non-discrimination policy. In this picture, Struby Struble (BA '04) celebrates the announcement with her friends at a press conference. Struble is now the coordinator of Mizzou's LGBTQ Resource Center.

Surrounded by his teammates, Michael Sam kisses the Field Scovell Trophy after winning the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic against Oklahoma State. (Mizzou Alumni Magazine, Spring 2014)
In February 2014, Mizzou football player Michael Sam announced via The New York Times and ESPN that he is gay. Sam's outstanding performance at Mizzou earned him the title of SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and in May 2014 he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Sam was the 249th pick of the NFL draft and was the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL.


Authored by Sarah Horne, PhD Student in Art History and Archaeology

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Missouri "ShowMe"

There is currently a new exhibition in the MU Student Center chronicling the history of the MU periodical ShowMe. The exhibit is located in the display case just outside of Mort's on the main level and features a large number of ShowMe magazines from the Unions' collection.


The ShowMe was a student run humor magazine published at the University of Missouri from the early 1920s through the early 1960s. The monthly magazine was edited, managed, and staffed entirely by MU students. The first issue of the periodical premiered in October of 1920. In its early years ShowMe struggled to meet its financial obligations and it disbanded in 1925. It was briefly replaced by The Outlaw, but in February 1930 Sigma Delta Chi, a national professional journalistic fraternity, purchased The Outlaw and revived ShowMe. Publication of ShowMe would be suspended again in the early 1940s due to World War II, but the magazine resurfaced in January 1946.

These covers are from ShowMe's second year of publication. (1922 Savitar)
 
During the post-war years of the late-1940s and early-1950s ShowMe enjoyed unprecedented success. The National Scholastic Press consistently ranked ShowMe among the top University humor magazines in the nation, and the magazine achieved a print circulation of more than 6,000 copies per issue. ShowMe’s surge in popularity at this time is largely credited to the efforts of famed cartoonist and MU alumnus, Mort Walker.
 
Mort Walker (1951 Savitar)
Walker worked as the editor of ShowMe from 1947-1948, during which time he introduced full-color covers and introduced several new features to the magazine. These included the double-page center-spread cartoon, an idea he took from Judge magazine, and the “Around the Columns” section, which was based on “About Town” from the New Yorker. These changes earned ShowMe the title of “All-American,” the top honor for college publications.

ShowMe: Sex Issue cover (November 1947, Missouri ShowMe)
However, ShowMe’s new found success was also accompanied by scandal and censorship. Walker was temporarily suspended from his position as editor after publishing “The Sex Issue,” which featured an abstract nude in the style of Pablo Picasso and aimed to conduct a Kinseyian-style survey of the students and faculty at the University. Censorship was an issue for ShowMe because there was very little pre-print monitoring of the periodical, meaning that if the university disapproved of a section or an illustration it either had to be painstakingly edited by hand with pen and ink or ripped out entirely before the magazine could be distributed.

 
The University forced the ShowMe staff to tear out this controversial cartoon by Mort Walker featuring a classroom full of Joseph Stalins from every issue before it could be distributed. (See the University Archives)

Increasing encounters with censorship in the late-1950s foreshadowed the end of ShowMe. In 1957, the magazine was banned from campus for the use of semi-nude co-eds in its advertising. Students created The Harlequin in 1958 to temporarily fill the void created by the banning of ShowMe. In 1960 the University finally allowed ShowMe to return, but its revival was short-lived. The content of the men’s magazine parody issue “Sweat” of February 1961 again caused ShowMe to be suspended. Although ShowMe reappeared that fall, it was no longer a monthly serial and was only published quarterly. Finally, after printing 111 issues, financial difficulties brought the magazine to its end in the winter of 1963.
 

Sweat: The Man's Mag (A Parody by the Maker's of ShowMe), (February 1961, Missouri ShowMe)
 
Authored by Sarah Horne, PhD Student in Art History & Archaeology
 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Upcoming Event!

NedRa Bonds - Contemporary African American Textile Artist

In my last post I introduced you to the Unions' most recent acquisition, a quilt by textile artist NedRa Bonds. I am happy to announce that the artist herself will be coming to MU's campus April 17th for a fun filled day of quilt related activities! And YOU'RE INVITED!!!
NedRa Bonds
*Learn about the artist's journey as a textile artist at the roundtable presentation! (11:30am - 12:30pm - 2206 MU Student Center)
 
*Learn to make a quilt square at the workshop led by NedRa herself! (1pm - 5pm - Memorial Union S110 - Space is limited for this event. To register call: 573-884-8793 or email muunionsart@missouri.edu for additional details)
 
*Learn about the history of African-American quilt making at the lecture given by Dr. Kristin Schwain! (5pm - 6pm - Leadership Auditorium, 2501 MU Student Center)
 
*Meet and greet with the artist at the exhibition opening and reception! (Traditions Lounge, MU Student Center)
 
If you have any questions about the event, please contact me at: muunionsart@missouri.edu

I look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Acquisitions

Come over to the MU Student Center to view the new art works on the hanging wall across from US Bank. These represent some of our most recent acquisitions from the past year, which include a quilt by contemporary textile artist NedRa Bonds of Kansas City, Kansas and two watercolor landscapes by Columbia's own Frank Stack. These works will remain on display until July.

View of the hanging wall across from US Bank.
The quilt by textile artist NedRa Bonds (American, b. 1948), titled Out of the Glorious Past, is made from cotton and mixed media. Unlike traditional quilts, this textile work incorporates hand-painted images alongside preprinted fabrics. In addition, a large portion of the piecework is irregular and organic rather than geometric. The artist created the column of faces running down the center of the quilt by utilizing various painting and cutting techniques, which showcase her use of mixed media and the spontaneous nature in which her quilts typically take shape. 
Out of the Glorious Past (detail), 2008, cotton and mixed media  (2014.001)
According to Bonds, this quilt is about looking towards the future while remembering the past. She explains, “Everybody has ancestors.  Their experiences help shape each of us, whether we are aware of it or not. For that reason, each of us should know our family history.” Quilting is a part of Bonds’ family history. Both of her parents quilted, as did both of her grandmothers, and Bonds was only six-years-old when her grandmother began teaching her to quilt. The artist included a personal reference to her own family in this work by incorporating a photographic image of her grandson in the center of the upper portion of the quilt.

Bonds spells her name with a capital “R” for “ART.” While the incorporation of the capital letter “R” is meant to be playful, she stresses the seriousness with which she employs the power of art in her work and her sincere desire to make a difference through her art. 
The other two works currently on display are by University of Missouri-Columbia Professor Emeritus of Fine Art, Frank Stack (American, b. 1938). In River Overlook, the artist depicts plant life growing on bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. 
River Overlook, 1988, watercolor on paper (2013.081)

Stack’s bold layering of vibrant saturated hues and juxtaposition of color fields combine to create a rich landscape that conveys the warm luminous atmosphere the artist experienced while painting this scene en plein air, referring to the tradition of painting outdoors. The artist’s ability to layer colors to create a sense of depth while preventing the image from becoming muddy or murky demonstrates his mastery of the watercolor medium. He also utilizes washes of color to suggest the airiness of the scene and the reflection of light on the water’s surface.

Like the French Post-Impressionists of the early 20th-century, Stack uses color as a powerful and expressive instrument to enhance the viewer’s emotional response to the work. The artist explains:
“Painting is about color. It uses drawing and literary references and whatever, but… I think the best kind of painting is hue-based painting where you don’t go to lights and darks. You do like Van Gogh and the Fauves did. You make the color do all the work. It actually frightens a lot of people. I’ve even had people look at my landscapes, and if anybody says they’re ‘light-filled,’ I’m flattered that they get it.” 1

Stack's other painting currently on display, Trees Reflected in the Missouri River, is also a fine example of the artist's talent for rending the pastoral landscape in watercolor. 
 
Trees Reflected in the Missouri River, ca. 1996, watercolor on paper (2013.082)

An accomplished artist in many mediums, Stack chooses the one he feels is best suited to the subject of each work he creates based upon the medium’s advantages. He considers himself a purist when it comes to media, stating, “I feel like you choose a medium for what it does well.”2 The properties of watercolor make it an ideal medium for portraying the transient effects of light and color that fascinate the artist, an interest Stack shares with the French Impressionists of the 19th-century. 


Frank Stack is a prolific artist with a diverse body of work that includes drawing, watercolor, oil painting, etching, lithography, comics, and graphic novels. He became an instructor for the Art Department of the University of Missouri – Columbia in the early 1960s, where he worked for nearly four decades before retiring to pursue art full time. A native of Houston, Texas, Stack received his Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts form the University of Texas – Austin and his Master’s degree from the University of Wyoming before eventually settling in Columbia. He also completed post-graduate work in Chicago, New York, and Paris. Stack is an internationally recognized artist who has exhibited widely in the United States as well as France, Italy, Poland, South Korea, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Works Cited:
1. Wilder, Amy. “Upcoming exhibit displays the peculiar brilliance of Frank Stack.” Columbia Daily Tribune [Columbia, MO] 7 Oct. 2012: n.p. Columbia Daily Tribune. Web. 7 Mar. 2014. 
2. ibid. 

 Authored by Sarah Horne, PhD Student in Art History and Archaeology