Bermuda Race June 20th, 2014

Every two years in mid June sailors descend upon Rhode Island to enter a race that will have them travel 635 nautical miles to the finish line on the island of Bermuda. The Bermuda Race, as it is called, was founded in 1906, making it one of the oldest regularly scheduled ocean sailing races. The record for the best elapsed time (39 hours, 39 minutes, 18 seconds) was set in 2012 by the 90ft maxi yacht, Rambler. There are over 180 boats competing in 2014, ranging from 30 to 90 feet. This race can take up to 5 days, depending on the type of boat and weather.  As sailors are settling in for what could be a long haul, let us look back on some great images from the past. Best of luck to all boats and their crew, especially Old School.

Jill Freedman, Sailing Homeward, County Galway, 1984, (32.1988)

Jill Freedman, Fisherman, County Galway, (1984, 5.1988)

Martin Muckacsi, glass plate negatives
Martin Munkacsi, [Two men atop mast of sailboat, Wannsee Lake, Berlin], ca. 1929, (2007.110.119)

capa_4x5 007
Robert Capa, [Sailing race, Lofoten Islands, Hankoe, Norway], 1951 (2013.92.117)


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Truth in advertising

Often a distinction is made between “commercial” and “artistic” photography but as these works show a photograph can be both at the same time.

Manuel Alvarez Bravo, El Sistema Nervioso Del Gran Simpatico, ca. 1929 (1.1979.b)


Gjon Mili, Powder Puff (Vogue), 1943 (8.1998)

Kyle, [Advertisement for Axel Mirano’s amusement apparatus, the Auto Flying Torpedo], 1919-20 (897.1990)


Gordon Coster, [Advertisement for Venetian blinds], 1930s (2010.119.17)

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Lou Bernstein Can’t Swim

For over 30 years Lou Bernstein spent mornings at the New York Aquarium photographing the lives of the resident sea animals. In his 1992 New York Times Article, The Dance of a Dolphin, Forever Frozen on Film, John Durniak states, “his photographs reveal the lives and social structure of the undersea inhabitants”. He then states, “Every photo is just a fleeting moment that he was lucky to capture on film.”

The director of the aquarium at the time, Louis E. Garibaldi, called Bernstein’s images “short-lived phenomena — unique interaction between whales, between dolphins. One would have to wait for hundreds of hours for them to occur. None of his pictures are staged, air-brushed or manipulated in any way. They are real.”

Bernstein’s appreciation of these animals, who appear to defy gravity, is all the more poiniant given that he could not swim. The submarine dance he depicted was of a world that he could not possibly enter; except photographically from behind glass.


Lou Bernstein, N.Y. Aquarium, 1988, (92.1992)

Lou Bernstein, N.Y. Aquarium, 1971, (98.1992)


Lou Bernstein, N.Y. Aquarium, 1975, (100.1992)

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A Spectator Sport

Morris Gordon [Fans watching horse races, Jamaica Bay, New York], 1948 (2012.121.34)

There is much more to horse racing than the race itself. While the appeal of racing horses has long stemmed from the masculine superiority demonstrated in the sheer competition of the race, the social world of the track provided an opportunity to demonstrate superiority of a different kind. Those who occupied aristocratic social classes were offered the chance to display their wealth which in turn solidified social status and authority. It was the social world of the clubhouse and the private boxes that shaped the aspirational nature of a sport that was, historically, quite often restricted to the gentry simply due to financial privilege.

Martin Munkacsi [Spectators at race track, Saratoga Springs, New York], ca. 1934 (2007.110.1321)

While such displays of social status are no longer quite as ostentatious as they once were, there are still elements of the grand pomp and revelry surrounding horse racing that are enticing to a wide variety of people. Today, race-goers vary in interest: there are those who come to place bets, those who come to participate in the social environment of the clubhouse and various jockey’s clubs and other exclusive events, and those who come to watch the race purely for the enjoyment of the sport. One only needs to spend an afternoon at a racetrack to witness the mixing of revelers from very different backgrounds enjoying themselves.

Nowhere is this varied group of spectators more evident than at big stakes races, particularly the three that make up the Triple Crown: The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes. Running since 1875, 1873 and 1867 respectively, the three jewels of the Triple Crown are often considered the biggest events in the United States horse racing season. There are few who win all three races, and there hasn’t been a winner since Affirmed in 1978. The suspense of whether there will finally be another to join the pantheon of Triple Crown winners is enough to entice even the most novice of spectators.

Martin Munkacsi [Spectators at horse race track, Saratoga Springs, New York], ca. 1934 (2007.110.1329)

Robert Capa 937
Robert Capa [Watching the horse races with binoculars, Deauville, France], August 1951 (3236.1992)

Margaret Bourke-White Gloomy view of the race track at Churchill Downs submerged in water from the surging Ohio River, 1937 (1645.2005)

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Jerry Uelsmann’s Lesser Seen Images

Jerry Uelsmann, Little Golden Hamburger Tree, 1970, (516.1994)

Jerry Uelsmann, Workshop Print, Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois, 1973, (165.1980)

Jerry Uelsmann, Untitled, 1977, (126.1981)

Jerry Uelsmann, Untitled, 1992, (2011.78.26)

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The 101st Anniversary of the Premiere of “The Rite of Spring”

Dance Index, Volume VI, Nos. 10, 11, 12, 1947. Editors: Marian Eames and Lincoln Kirstein

“Strawinsky cannot imagine separating the task of composing from that of providing for the needs, say, of his cat. He will provide nourishment for his cat by composing…” Alexei Haieff, p. 237

Le Sacre du Printemps was performed in a new hall with out patina and too comfortable and too cold for a public accustomed to elbowing emotions in the warmth of red plush and gilt, I do not believe that Sacre would have received a more correct reception in a less pretentious setting; but this luxurious hall seemed at once to symbolize the misunderstanding that set at odds a decadent audience and a work of youthful vigor… At two o’clock in the morning, Strawinsky, Nijinsky, Diaghilew and myself piled into a cab and were driven through the Bois de Boulogne…” Jean Cocteau, pp. 238-41.

“One day in 1912, after I had become conductor for the Ballet Russe… Le Sacre du Printemps was presented in 1913 at the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris, and cause a scandal it certainly did. The audience remained quiet for the first two minutes. Then came boos and cat-calls from the gallery, soon after from lower floors. Neighbors began to hit each other over the head with fists, canes or whatever came to hand. Soon this anger was concentrated against the dancers, and then, more particularly, against the orchestra, the direct perpetrator of the musical crime. Everything availible was tossed in our direction, but we continued to play on. The end of the performance was greeted by the arrival of the gendarmes. Strawinsky had disappeared through a window backstage, to wander disconsolately along the streets of Paris.” Pierre Monteux, pp. 242-43.

Le Sacre was in this day a famous scandal. Audiences everywhere were taken completely by surprise. Such music had never been heard before. It appeared to be without logic, idea, or any sense whatever. People were shocked, even disgusted by its oddness. Only a few–the real musicians–discovered a notion of order, harmony, organization, composition, of character itself, in this music, so radically different from any written before. But the majority did not understand how one could have the courage to affirm that Le Sacre was music at all…” Carlos Chavez, p. 243

“In Strawinsky’s music, the dance element of most force is the pulse. It is steady, insistent yet healthy, always reassuring. You feel it even in the rests. It holds together each of his works and runs through them all. The time in Le Sacre changes from measure to measure…” George Balanchine, p. 250

“On Choreography, Le Sacre: Nijinsky’s filure
One day, when I was finishing the last pages of L’Oiseau de Feu in St. Petersburg. I had a fleeting vision which came as a complete surprise… I saw in imagination a solemn pagan rite: sage elders, seated in a circle, watched a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring. Such was the theme of Le Sacre du Printemps… This vision… I at once described to my friend Nicholas Roerich, he being a painter who had specialized in pagan subjects. He welcomed my inspiration with enthusiasm, and became my collaborator in this creation…
Le Sacre du Printemps was given on May 28 [1913]… During the whole performance I was at Nijinsky’s side in the wings. He was standing on a chair, screaming “sixteen, seventeen, eighteen”–they had their own method of counting to keep time. Naturally, the poor dancers could hear nothing by reason of the row in the auditorium and the sound of their own dance steps. I had to hold Nijinsky by his clothes, for he was furious, and ready to dash on to the stage at any moment… Diaghilew kept ordering the electricians to turn the lights on or off, hoping in that way to put a stop to the noise. That is all I can remember about the first performance…

The Death of Diaghilew
1929 [was] a year overshadowed by a great and grievous event – the passing of Diaghilew…At the beginning of my career he was the first to single me out for encouragement… Not only did he like my music and believe in my development, but he did his utmost to make the public appreciate me. He was genuinely attracted by what I was then writing, and it gave him real pleasure to produce my work, and, indeed, to force it on the more rebellious of my listeners… It is only today, with the passing of the years, that one begins to realize everywhere and in everything what a terrible void was created by the disappearance of this colossal figure… I recall this fine phrase of the painter, Constantine Korovine: “I thank you,” he said one day to Diaghilew, “I thank you for being alive.” Igor Strawinsky

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Memorial Day

Peter Stackpole, [American soldier tenderly holding a wounded Japanese boy inside an airplane as they await a flight to the nearest field hospital], 1944 (1494.2005)

Robert Capa, [American troops landing on Omaha Beach, D-Day, Normandy, France], June 6, 1944 (2991.1992)

Carl Mydans, American Flag raised over Atisugi Air Base, 1945 (153.2005)

Larry Burrows, Marines Blunt the Invasion from the North, October 1966. (1761.2005)

Thomas Morrissey, Unidentified veteran holding a photograph of himself holding a gun, 1997. (20.2001)

We have been celebrating Memorial Day since 1868 in order to remember those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.Traditionally on Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country.

Some believe the true meaning of Memorial Day has been lost over time so in December of 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed in hopes to re-educate the public. This resolution asks that at 3 p.m. local time, Americans “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence.” So along with celebrating the start of summer, we are invited to pay our respects, in whatever ways we feel appropriate, to our fallen men and women of service.

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