Arts and Artists
In my last column, I mentioned that one of the perks of working in a library is that you learn something new every day. This helps immensely when trying to decide upon a topic for an article with a deadline fast approaching. Fortuitously, an email I recently received from one of our library vendors announced that August is American Artist Appreciation Month, which was big news and a big inspiration (read big relief!) to me. So, here’s my take on how the library can inspire you to celebrate American artists.
Marc Tyler Nobleman likes comic books. Actually, he loves comic books. And, he loves the histories of his comic-book writers. On Saturday, September 9, from 3:00-4:00 at England Run Branch, Mr. Nobleman will be joining us as part of the University of Mary Washington's Great Lives series to talk about his beloved superheroes, the books he has written, and the inspiration he continues to receive from creators such as Bill Finger, Jerry Siegel, and Joe Shuster.
Home to sprawling plantations, the even more sprawling Fort A.P. Hill, and historic sites such as assassin John Wilkes Booth’s death place and explorer William Clark’s birthplace, Caroline County is an archetypal rural Virginia county, far closer in spirit to the somnolent Clayton County from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind than the avant-garde art and literature communities of cities like New York and Madrid. But for several months back in 1940 and 1941, Bowling Green, Caroline County’s seat, was the unlikely home to artist Salvador Dalí and authors Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin.
As an art student, Donna Seaman naturally studied artists of the past, thumbing through photographs and reading sketches of their lives and works. It didn’t take her long to figure out there was something wrong with these pictures. In too many, the male artists’ names were proclaimed, but the women, when they did appear, were simply listed as, “Identity Unknown.”
On a mission to make these women and their works known, Seaman did the research on seven whose art and lives were every bit as intriguing as their male counterparts. We meet the provocative sculptor Louise Nevelson, “The Empress of In-Between.” Her medium was wood, and she derived much inspiration from ancient cultures. The essay “Girl Searching” introduces Gertrude Abercrombie, whose specialty was edgy, emotional and autobiographical paintings. She cruised Chicago in her vintage Rolls-Royce and held jam sessions in her three-story Victorian brownstone, earning her title, “Queen of the Bohemian Artists.”