In conjunction with the exhibition Between the Beads: Reading African Beadwork, on view through Summer 2009, the Harn Museum of the University of Florida developed a complementary online exhibition that features rotating 360 degree views of thirty-two of the objects in the exhibition.
As the UF Library's Arts of Africa page explains,
In selecting items for the Between the Beads exhibit of African Beadwork in 2008, the Harn Museum partnered with the University of Florida Digital Library Center. The Digital Library Center provided imaging support by photographing each object in high resolution and creating a digital package which would simulate museum viewing by allowing each object to be seen in the round (360 degrees). Each object can also be enlarged to show detail giving scholars, researchers and the public an experience not available in the museum setting; the ability to inspect even the smallest stitch or tiniest bead. These images are now freely available online to anyone with an Internet connection within this collection.
Beaded Coronet (orikogbofo), Yoruba People (2002.39) (Click on the link to watch the object rotate)
Objects presented in the exhibition are drawn from the Harn Museum‘s collection and private collections. Interpretive text for the exhibition, available throughout the gallery,
was supplied in part by the students in Dr. Victoria Rovine’s Spring
2007 Clothing and Textiles in Africa class.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has joined a growing number of universities and museums in contributing educational media to iTunes U. iTunes U is the free educational portal of the iTunes Store, Apple's online music, video, and podcast service. The Met's iTunes U site contains lecture videos, curator interviews, audio podcasts, and PDFs. We've divided our content into "subjects" that correspond to areas in the fields of art history, conservation, and museum education. The user can to subscribe to particular subjects and automatically receive newly-uploaded content.
The iTunes software must be downloaded on your local computer to view iTunes U. The address of the Metropolitan Museum's iTunes site is: http://deimos3.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/Browse/metmuseum.org
Networking needs time: Vansa Western Cape
by Chad Rossouw
Vansa, the Visual Arts Network of South Africa, has been around for a couple of years, but it always seemed to be all talk and no action. Of course, this is no surprise. Any organisation that relies on voluntary work, works slowly. So while as a national body it has achieved a few things, the impact, unlike that of its performing arts cousin Pansa, has yet to be felt.
Vansa is divided up into regional committees with one each in the Western Cape, Free State, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.These operate separately under one umbrella constitution. The Western Cape committee recently set itself up as a Section 21 company (Non-Profit Organisation), and secured funding from the Western Cape Department of Economic Development. With this financial boost they have been able to start making their presence felt in the local community, driven in part by the hiring of a paid Project Manager. This can be seen in their group emails which provide interesting news and listings, and the new quarterly print newsletter.
Reflecting their more active role, Vansa Western Cape has launched an interactive website: http://www.vansawesterncape.org.za. The site itself is one of the most navigable sites I have come across. Nothing fancy, but also nothing distracting. The design is clean, using a single bright red to break up the monochrome. The text is legible, with a widely spaced but smart sans-serif font. The content is what lets the site down, though this is mostly because the organisation is young, and the site younger yet.
Besides the standard About and Contact page, almost every company is trying to embrace the Spirit of Web 2.0, where interactivity, dynamic content and user-generated text are the buzz-words. It is supposedly good for business, and piles of websites now have the CEO blogging about Insurance or young parents discussing nappies. It probably is good for business too, if you can generate enough user confidence. People, it would seem, are the weakest link.
Vansa Western Cape has tried to generate this style of website by attaching a Profile section in which users can upload images, a bio and a CV to the site, as a central resource for artists. Here they have experienced the standard block: people just aren't interested. So while their intentions are admirable, not financial, the arts community hasn't been quick to bite, and the section contains only two profiles, one being that of the Project Manager herself. It's a pity, because this isn't writing poetry for Nescafé, it is something which could be beneficial. The lack of involvement is in part because of the notable reticence and resistance to change of the art world, but also in part the pitfall of a young organisation that hasn't built up the trust of the people yet.
With time and exposure, this could be an excellent project and a useful site. Unfortunately, it's up to us to make it work.
Clark Art Institute web site:
This spring The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and the Williams College Museum of Art have organized a series of programs and exhibitions focusing on contemporary African art, diasporic art, and art history, designed to catalyze dialogue across academic disciplines for artists, scholars, students, and the general public.
Artistic Crossings of the Black Atlantic: The Migratory Aesthetic in Contemporary Art (Symposium)
Saturday, March 1, 2008
This symposium invites five acclaimed artists—multi-media artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, sculptor Willie Cole, British filmmaker Isaac Julien, photographer Hank Willis Thomas, and installation artist and MacArthur Fellow Fred Wilson—to discuss the Black Atlantic aesthetic. Through transatlantic connections among Africa, Britain, the Caribbean, and the United States, black intellectuals and literary figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Richard Wright fashioned a Black Atlantic culture that made a central contribution to the modernist aesthetic. Today this Black Atlantic aesthetic extends into the realm of the visual as international artists critically engage cross-Atlantic migration as a principal focus of their work. (Ticketed event: $20, $10 for members; students free)
Art History and Diaspora: Genealogies, Theories, Practices (Conference)
Friday, April 25-Saturday, April 26, 2008
This year's Clark Conference will bring together artists, curators, and art historians to investigate the impact of the field of diaspora studies on art historical scholarship. A primary focus will be on defining how diaspora—with its connotations of forced migration because of political expulsion, enslavement, shifting belief systems, war, and other forms of nationalist conflict—has shaped both art-making and art historical scholarship in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Speakers will include John P. Bowles, Hamid Naficy, Richard J. Powell, Nikos Papastergiadis, Kobena Mercer, Simon Njami, Pamela R. Franco, and Lubaina Himid. Co-convened by Mora Beauchamp-Byrd, Natasha Becker, and Ondine Chavoya.
Contemporary African Art: History, Theory and Practice: A Workshop
May 24, 2008
"Contemporary African Art: History, Theory, and Practice" is a workshop organized by the Research and Academic Program of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and the Wits School of the Arts at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) in Johannesburg, South Africa. This project, undertaken with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will examine more than forty years of art historical scholarship about modern and contemporary African art. The two components of the workshop, international gatherings of distinguished scholars and artists, will take place in 2007 and 2008. The initial phase of the Workshop [was] held at WITS (October 25–28, 2007), and the second phase will be held at the Clark in Williamstown, Massachusetts (May 22–25, 2008). This will be followed by a Getty-funded residency for African participants in Williamstown and New York City from May 25–30.