Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Photo as Object and Object as Photo

By Tim Pinault,

The image on the left is a tintype and was the test shot for the image on the right, a black glass ambrotype.
Like many people, I have recently migrated from San Francisco to the East Bay in search of cheaper rent, more space, and a shorter commute; all things vital to sustaining an art practice while holding a full-time job. My previous studio space was a combination of my smallish living room and garage if I could find street parking. Every Saturday and Sunday I prepped for the three or so hours when the afternoon light would flood the garage so I could make an exposure . Needless to say it wasn’t the most productive of setups.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Type Tuesday - AD, An Intimate Journal for Production Managers, Art Directors, and their Associates

AD, Volume VI, Number 5 (June - July, 1940)


A few weeks back Type Tuesday featured covers of PM Magazine, promising a follow-up showcasing the covers of AD, An Intimate Journal for Production Managers, Art Directors, and their Associates. PM Magazine's evolution to AD in June, 1940 marked the periodical's increased focus on graphic design, as demonstrated in this sample of the publication's covers from the early 1940s.



AD, Volume VI, Number 6 (August - September, 1940)

AD, Volume VII, Number 1 (October - November, 1940)


AD, Volume VII, Number 6 (August - September, 1941)

AD, Volume 8, Number 1 (October - November, 1941)

AD, Volume VIII, Number 2 (December - January, 1941-2)

Jaime Henderson
Archivist
jhenderson@calhist.org

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Turk Island Salt Works, Alvarado

Turk Island Salt Works, Alvarado (Alameda Co.), ca. 1883
Turk Island Salt Works, Alvarado (Alameda Co.), ca. 1883. California Historical Society, CHS2013.1387.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Type Tuesday - Keystone Type Foundry's Caslon Adbold


Caslon Adbold Group brought to you by the Keystone Type Foundry. The Keystone House and Selling Agent for San Francisco was located at 638-640 Mission Street, near the current California Historical Society Location at 678 Mission Street. 


Above: Caslon Adbold
Above: Caslon Adbold Extra Condensed

Above: Caslon Adbold Extended

Above: Caslon Adbold Initials


Above: Caslon Adbold Borders


Jaime Henderson,
Archivist
jhenderson@calhist.org

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Type Tuesday - Lee Paper Company

Today we feature images from Lee Paper Company's quarterly publication Dimensions. The theme for this Spring 1961 issue was Letterforms: Constructed and Deconstructed. 





Above: Cover, Dimensions. Vol. V., No. 1, Spring 1961. 













Jaime Henderson,
Archivist
jhenderson@calhist.org

Monday, July 13, 2015

Choreographing the Environment: The Counterculture of Anna and Lawrence Halprin

Anna Halprin; photo by Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle
Anna Halprin; photo by Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

San Francisco Magazine called her a “postmodern dance legend.” The San Francisco Chronicle declared that she “essentially invented postmodern dance.” Today dance pioneer Anna Halprin turns 95. To celebrate her birthday, fans worldwide in fifteen countries are staging hundreds of events this summer, including last week's "95 Rituals" in San Francisco 

Anna Halprin has won numerous awards, most recently a Doris Duke Impact Award in 2014. That award—for artists who have influenced and are helping to move forward the fields of dance, jazz and/or theatre—acknowledged her work in revolutionizing dance and extending the impact of the performing arts “to address social issues, build community, foster emotional healing, and connect people to nature.”

Over the decades, Anna has created more than 150 dance-theatre works. She remains an arts educator through workshops and the Tamalpa Institute, an international movement-based expressive arts training program. As she has explained: “I want to integrate life and art, so that as our art expands, our life deepens, and as our life deepens, our art expands.”

Experiments in Environment

In California, Anna and her husband, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, created a new way of thinking and moving through the physical environment. During the 1960s and 1970s—decades of experimentation and radical social and political change—these two cultural leaders in their seemingly unrelated fields of landscape architecture and dance were at the forefront of a sea change in how we experience public spaces.


(Left) Col. Arthur Roth (Photographer), Hippies in Powell and Hyde St. Phone Booth, San Francisco, c. 1969–70, California Historical Society, CHS2013.1238; (right) Photographer unknown, Vietnam War Demonstration, February 19, 1965, Federal Office Building, San Francisco, California Historical Society
(Left) Col. Arthur Roth (Photographer), Hippies in Powell and Hyde St. Phone Booth, San Francisco, c. 1969–70, California Historical Society, CHS2013.1238; (right) Photographer unknown, Vietnam War Demonstration, February 19, 1965, Federal Office Building, San Francisco, California Historical Society
In the explosive place and time that was San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s, free love and drug cultures intersected with free speech and antiwar sentiment. Experimentation and open-mindedness ruled the day. The Halprins found common ground—the environment—in which to explore their fields in a transformative way: a series of experimental, interdisciplinary workshops called Experiments in Environment.

Set in the streets of San Francisco, on the shores and cliffs of Sea Ranch (a coastal community in Sonoma County designed by Lawrence), and on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais in northern California, the Halprin workshops brought new environmental awareness to artists, dancers, architects, designers,  and others.

From movement sessions on a dance deck, to blindfolded awareness walks through the landscape, to collective building projects using driftwood and choreographed urban journeys, participants engaged in multisensory activities in alternating environments. “We were trying to break down the aesthetic barriers that we had inherited,” Anna told the Chronicle in 2013. 


Men’s Dance, Kentfield, CA. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 7, 1966. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania.
Men’s Dance, Kentfield, CA. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 7, 1966. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania.
Blindfold Walk, Kentfield, CA. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 2, 1968. Courtesy of the Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania.
Blindfold Walk, Kentfield, CA. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 2, 1968. Courtesy of the Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania.
Driftwood Village—Community, Sea Ranch, CA. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 6, 1968. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania.
Driftwood Village—Community, Sea Ranch, CA. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 6, 1968. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania.
Market Street Walk, San Francisco, CA. Experiments in Environment Workshop, July 8, 1966. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania. Photograph by Joe Ehreth. 
Impact

In January 2016 the California Historical Society (CHS) will examine this seminal period in our history—50 years after the first Halprin workshops were held. The exhibition Experiments in Environment: The Halprin Workshops, 1966–1971, along with a series of public and educational programs and events, including dance performances, will explore the impact of the 1960s counterculture on California and the nation by examining the significant contributions the Halprins made to their fields.  CHS will be collaborating with the Museum of Performance + Design, which houses the Anna Halprin archives, and other groups on this effort.

At a time when we are rethinking and reactivating our public spaces—in our parks, streets, plazas, business districts, and communities—and exploring the role of art and artists in cities, a renewed awareness of the Halprins’ groundbreaking creative process and their legacy on city planning and the arts contributes to the ongoing public discourse about how we create, use, and value public space.

Shelly Kale
Publications and Strategic Projects Manager
skale@calhist.org

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Willard Worden—Photographer of the Bay Area and the Panama-Pacific International Exposition

Willard E. Worden was in the prime of his career at the time of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) held in San Francisco in 1915.  Worden was one of the official photographers of the Fair, and he won a medal of honor for his own work that was exhibited in the Palace of Fine Arts.  The upcoming deYoung Museum exhibition opening on July 25, The Portals of the Past:  The Photography of William Worden, showcases five Worden photographs from the California Historical Society collections.  Two of the images are of "Portals of the Past," the remains of the 1101 California Street home of Alban Nelson Towne, general superintendent of the Central Pacific Railroad.  Towne's home was decimated during the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.  The remnant left standing, the portico, known as "Portals of the Past," was given to Golden Gate Park by Towne's wife in 1909.  The other photographs are representative of Worden’s body of work, which focused on Bay Area locations and events, most notably the 1906 Earthquake and Fire and Chinatown.

Worden was born in Smyrna, Delaware in 1868.  He began practicing photography while serving in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars.  Though not a studio portrait photographer, he opened his first photography business in Cow Hollow.  After the PPIE, Worden established a gallery at 312 Stockton Street which remained in business until the 1940s, though he appears to have ceased making photographs after the gallery opened. 

The Portals of the Past (Ruins of the Towne Residence, California Street), 1906



The Portals of the Past, Golden Gate Park, 1910





The Call, Examiner, Chronicle, Palace Hotel and Crocker buildings from Kearny Street after 1906 Earthquake and Fire




Anglo American Bank reconstructed one month after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire



Market Street decorated for the encampment of Grand Army veterans, 1903


Wendy Welker
Archivist & Librarian

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Type Tuesday - Klang offered by Lanston Monotype


Klang, a bold italic designed in 1955 by British type designer and printer Will Carter, is displayed in this type specimen from Lanston Monotype Company.





Jaime Henderson,
Archivist
jhenderson@calhist.org

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Marliese Gabrielson photographs

Photographer Marliese Gabrielson lived on Ashbury Street in San Francisco in the 1970s and she took to the streets with her camera to capture life as it was lived at that time.  She also took photographs of friends and family, and cultural figures and events.  Recently, Ms. Gabrielson generously donated a collection of her images from 1975-1979, and a small selection from 1999, to the California Historical Society.  The collection has been processed and cataloged and is currently available for viewing in our library.

Aside from being a street photographer, Ms. Gabrielson managed a shop on Haight Street that sold clothes that she and her friends designed (pictured below), produced and managed Big Brother and the Holding Company from 1989 to 1994, booked concerts at the I-Beam club, was the personal photographer to Margo St. James during her bid to become a member of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, and was part of the management staff of the Human Be-In held in Golden Gate Park in 1967.

Displayed below are a few selections that take us back four decades, from Marliese Gabrielson Photographs, 1975-1979, 1999, PC 16.

Three men behind shop counter, 1976


Man on penny-farthing at University of California, Berkeley, ca. 1976


Hookers Ball attendees sitting on steps, ca. 1976


Woman and two large dogs on Haight Street, 1976


Teamster strike picketers, 1976


Radio broadcaster Jane Dornacker, ca. 1975


People waiting on BART station platform, 1976


Man cutting fruit at Unity Foundation event, 1976


Group of ladies on park bench in Union Square, 1976


Man with bottle of beer on park bench, ca. 1976


Activist Margo St. James and music promoter Chet Helms, 1999


Marliese Gabrielson (far right) and friends, ca. 1975
Photograph by Tom Houston





Wendy Welker
Archivist & Librarian

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Type Tuesday - Cover design for PM magazine



PM, a trade publication dedicated to the work and stylish inclinations of production managers, was started in 1934 by the PM Publishing Company of New York. As a publication of Sol Cantor and Dr. Robert L. Leslie's type firm The Composing Room, PM provided young American art directors with an introduction to modern design, especially the work of European designers and styles. 




German graphic and type designer Lucian Bernhard acted as guest art director for the March 1936 issue of PM (see above). An overview of the designer's work, including his most well-known type, Bernhard Gothic, was featured in this issue of PM.







After an eight year run, the publication's focus on graphic design brought about a title change to AD, and Intimate Journal for Production Managers, Art Directors, and their Associates.  Stay tuned for an upcoming Type Tuesday dedicated to the covers of AD!







Both PM and AD are available for viewing in the California Historical Society's library, open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 12-5. 


Jaime Henderson,
Archivist
jhenderson@calhist.org