December 6, 2013
This past term my art professor gave us the assignment of making a “zine.” I had heard of zines before, but I had no idea how easy it was to put one of my own together. I illustrated several based off of a poem in a decidedly cartoon-y style, Xeroxed them at Kinko’s, and gave them to friends. The satisfaction of giving someone a real, tangible, thing was immediate and personal. I was hooked, and nearly every piece of paper that I could get my hands on after that I turned into a zine. I wanted to know more about zines, and zine culture so I did some research on the library database. I realized that a lot of the results for zines were in Special Collections; so I made my way up the marble staircase into the Special Collection’s Paulson Reading Room and asked to see their zine collection. I was given a large white box filled with zines each with its own voice and energy. Themes ranged from punk rock, to science fiction, to prison abolition. Feminists, anarchists, comic artists, and a whole range of radical intellectuals wrote and illustrated these zines. I was so happy to see that these zines were recognized as something that deserved to be among other scholarly articles. The ideas that these zines project go largely under-represented, and the fact that the library sees these other ideals as other equally viable perspectives is really important. Zines are made to have your voice heard by the public, and the library makes Zine artists’ voices heard by putting them out for public display.
November 11, 2013
Until recently I walked through the Knight Library unaware of what was surrounding me. Lining the walls of the library are several incredible pieces of art by local artists that, before now, I had never given a second glance. This past week Ed Teague gave an enlightening lecture on Art in the Knight library. I have fresh perspective while going through the security gate now that I know the name of the iron gate piece surrounding it is called “Transverse Wave Portal,” which represented by the piece’s structure and by the fact that it works by means of magnetism.
Art in the library is stuffed into corners, along office hallways, and put behind help desks. One of my favorite pieces shown was a sculpture by an artist named Nancy Mee. The name of the sculpture is “Melpomene,” and it depicts a woman etched in a flat pane of glass, and in front of her is a large glass crystal formation, supported by steel bars. I was amazed by this piece in the slideshow, and stunned that I hadn’t taken notice of the piece before. “Melpomene” is placed on the first floor in the back wall; two smaller walls stick out and encase it. The sculpture is against a blue wall, with a top light. I wished the piece would be given proper lighting, and put against a white wall, that is how the artist intended for it to be presented, and it makes the piece appear more lucid and dreamy.
Ed Teague gave a rewarding lecture, that made me think differently about the Knight Library. Now, in every story I go up I see a piece that he talked about. It makes the art more beautiful when its put into context. The slideshow contained a painting depicting two men in an auto-shop, the men two looked graceful and elegant. It turns out the painter has a background in dance and often puts her subjects into dancer’s poses. Knowing all this about art in the Library has given me a new understanding of all the culture that is inside, and I am very glad to know about all of it.
By Derek Chesnut