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September 13, 1960 - Image 125

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1960-09-13
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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;

'S 4 -

Aodern American Art:
L New National Genre
By W. G. ROGERS informed pair you could find, the
THAT HAS happened to Ameri- retiring director of the Whitney
can art in the past 25 years? Museum of American Art and his
two men as closely associated successor, have these things t4
lh the change as anyone in the say:
ntry, indeed probably the best We have ceased to be dominated
by foreigners.
Social realism has almost dis-
appeared as subject matter; and
our one new contribution to the
wide outside art world, our one
Pollock, Philip Guston and Willem
deKooning being perhaps its best
/known practitioners.
The're are more young painters
than ever.
Prices have skyrocketed; 10 to
i 15 living Americans are paid $8,000
to $10,000 or more for a canvas.
REGIONAL ART seems to be
dying out, with Texas and the
Northwest its last strongholds; and
it is now possible, as never before,
to get almost as rounded and ac-
curate an idea of American art
as a whole from the work done in
San Francisco or Chicago or New
Orleans, say, as from New York
work itself.

Student Needs

RETURN TO REALISM--American art leans toward the concrete, away from regionalism. Contem-
poraries are beginning to follow the solid American tradition set by Winslow Homer and Grandma
Moses, critics point out.'

painting that I had to abandon
when I became curator and direc-
tor."
His successor, Lloyd Goodrich,
also used to paint but he gave it
up long ago and, with the support
of the museum's founder, Gertrude
Vanderbilt Whitney, a sculptor,
began to write about painters.

Two of his first ambitious works
are standard studies of Homer and
Eakins.
TH E ARE evidently fewer
changes in the steadfast Whit-
ney itself than in the art which
it has been the eloquent advocate

Finally, today's artist is more
thoughtful and instropesctive, less
Bohemian and bearded, and more
secure and confident of a place
in his community.
Herman More, curator of the
museum from its founding in 1930
down in this city's nearest ap-
proach to Bohemia, Greenwich
Village, became director in 1948
at the death of Mrs. Juliana Force.
This month he goes off up the
Hudson to settle in a country
home where, he hopes, "I may be
able again to do a little of the

YOUNG ARTIST
Introspective, not boh

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AMERICAN ART-Getting more individually American, less under
foreign influence, say directors of the Whitney Museum of Art.
Social realism from thoughtful painters is creating a national
genre within America.

-- ------.----- ---- ----_____---------------______________________________ U I

and devoted supporter, as Good-
rich sees it.
"The museum pioneered in the
field of American art," he re-
called. "To begin with, it was in-
terested in 19th Century men, too,
but for some years it has concen-
trated on work dated from 1900 on.
"At the start, we had, it was
felt, a sort of missionary job to
do. If the public liked American
art at all, it was only the most
conservative and least venture-
some. So for a while we did battle
with the conservatives. Now we no
longer believe that is necessary.
We try to keep a balance between
old and new, conservative and
advanced.
The character of the audience
has not changed much. It was con-
siderably bewildered at its first
contact with social realism.' More
remembered, and then later it
was just about as much bewild-
ered by its first sight of abstract
expressionism.
"But there is a tremendous in-
crease in the audience numeri-
cally, and in public interest in
general," Goodrich said.
"Average attendance in the last
few years in its old downtown
center on 8th Street was 70,000 a
year. In the four years since it has
moved into the middle of the ex-
hibition area, on West 54th Street
adjoining the Museum of Modern
Art, the attendance has jumped
to 260,000 a year, or almost four
times as much.
THE MUSEUM circulates some
shows to other cities, and it
keeps an eye out for good out-of-
town shows to bring here-among
them was a Stuart Davis exhibi-
tion that first opened in the Walk-
er Art Gallery in Minneapolis, and
there is upcoming an Arthur Dove
collection borrowed from Los
Angeles.
The museum also more than
ever before follows the work of
artists not only in its vicinity but
all across the country, and sev-
eral times ahyearholds viewings
to which artists may submit work
for the staff's benefit.
The Whitney has never awarded
prizes or medals, but it has al-
ways made purchases. As of last
year it owned almost 1,200 works,
half of them paintings, plus. about
200 watercolors, 200 drawings and
almost 200 pieces of sculpture.
Especially well represented in
the painting collection are Alex-
ander Brook, Charles Burchfield,
John Steuart Curry, Arthur B.
Davies, Adolf Dehn, Ernest Fiene,
Yasuo Kunyoshi, John Marin,
Reginald Marsh, Kenneth Hayes
Miller, Henry Schnakenberg, John
Sloan, Eugene Speicher. Among the
sculptors are Alexander Caldet,
Jo Davidson, Gaston Lachaise,
Theodore Roszak and William
Zoracli.

for more social than academic ac-
tivity, and it leaves much to be
desired architecturally and aes-
thetically
When students pass through any
edifice in such huge numbers, mass
socializing is almost inevitable.
The second point of attack is less
explainable, although one may
point to the University's need to
make the most of all too few capi-
tal outlay dollars.
THE GENERAL LIBRARY serves
a different group of users -
faculty and graduate students. It
consists of nine floors of dusty
stacks containing almost 1.5-mil-
lion books ranging from new to
antique. Many administrative fa-
cilities of the library system are
also in the building, which has
been built up over time. (The time
sequence of construction may be
roughly ascertained from scrutiny
of the stratified dust on the back
walls of the stacks, which repu-
tedly has a half-life of thirty
years.) The General Library con-
trasts with the UGLI in that it
looks like a library.
Nine floors of sardine-packed
books are as awe-inspiring and
monumental as anything in the
University, and first ventured into1
the labyrinthine General Library
stacks are often approached with
trepidation. Warnings to carry a
food supply and sleeping bag into
the stacks, or to unroll a ball of
twine in order, to retrace the
route of entrance heighten the
interest.
But unoccupied carrels at the
back of the building are near ap-
proximations of absolute quiet and
isolation for purposes of concen-
tration, and are incentive enough
for many a user to acquaint him-
self with the complex geography;
of the building.
THE GENERAL Library's Rare
Book Rm. and the Clements
Library of Early Americana areE
among the branches of the libraryR
system most remote from under-
graduates, but nonetheless impor-
tant to the University.
The Rare Book Rm. houses a
collection which must be used
within the library, and is strictly
supervised. To the serious re-
searcher, however, the red tape is
well worth enduring. Included in
the collection are original editions
of Newton's Principia Mathemati-
ca and the works of Copernicus,
the Hubbard Imaginary Voyages
collection (which includes most
editions of books like Robinson
Crusoe and Swiss Family Robin-
son), and extensive editions of
other famous English authors.
fr E CLEMENTS LIBRARY has
Columbus's report of his first
voyage to the New World and the
first Detroit City Directory (1837)

among the books that line it.
shelves.
The Clements Library, endowed
by William L. Clements, "collects
books, manuscripts, maps, news-
papers and prints relating to early
America and all aspects of life
here, from Columbus's discovery
of the New World down to about
1830," the publicity pamphlet
states.
Particularly outstanding is its
collectio of Revolutionary War
documents, including the papers
of Lord Germain, the British colo-
nial secretary who prosecuted the
war, two of the British command-
ers in America (Clinton and
Gage), and Nathanael Greene,
commander of the Americans in
the South. Documents of the Hes-
sian war minister and the British
attorney general who dealth with
the American Loyalists are also
included.
ALTHOUGH private fund en-
dowments help support- the
library system, it shares the Uni-
versity's financial difficulties. How-
ever, the University administra-
tion has been sympathetic to the
library system's situation and has
increased its book fund even' in
recent lean years, Prof. Wagman
said.
Stiff fines on overdue books (25
cents per day for two-week books
and 25 cents per hour for over-
night Books) have served to reduce
the number of books returned late.
Second and third notices on over-
due books have been markedly de-
creased.
Penalties for attempting to steal
or mutilate books are necessarily
much stiffer-a $100 fine and/or
suspension from the University.
Three students have been prose-
cuted under these regulations.
Prof. Wagman is waiting for
results of the annual inventory to
ascertain whether these penalties
have effectively deterred the rath-
er large rate of recent theft, espe-
cially from the UGLL He empha-
sizes that penalties are strictly a
deterrent and are not aimed at
punishing students.
The fines are not returned to
the Library and do not help sup-
port the library system.
IN HIS LAST public report, Prof.
Wagman cited increasing book
costs and increasing demand for
them as heavy pressures on the
system.
Though the University has been
spending some five per cent of its
budget-about $2 million-on li-
braries, books and services "have
not been what they should," Vice-
President and Dean of Faculties
Marvin L. Niehuss declares.
The library system will get some
fund relief in the coming year
Continued on Page Ten

DIAMOND)S

PATRIARCH OF LIBRARIES--The General Library, father and head
the University library system, is now the haven of the graduate stude
a library that looks like a library. The enthusiastic researcher finds
resources within these walls.

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