Review of The Chapbook No. 23

In the Journal, The Chapbook, No 23 of May fifth, 1921, the book is a small modernist book with nineteen poems that seem to have an overall dark theme. This ranges from many subjects such as extreme adoration leading to murder in the poem Criminals by H. Stuart, and other subjects such as the fleeting nature of life as seen in the poem Flagermus, by Mabel Hart. It seems as though this particular journal tackles themes of Realism in an almost cynical way, as many of the characters in the journal individual poems seem to be subjected to whatever circumstances they seem to be in, whether that be self inflicted or by the nature of their being. This is given context in the Imagist nature of this publication, which helped pioneer Modernist ideas. Authors that have greater significance in the overall text seem to be John Redwood Anderson, with three poems and Maxwell Bodenheim with three poems as well. John Redwood Anderson, or as formatted in the text Anderson, John Redwood seems to be a somewhat notable author with seventy-nine works in one hundred and sixty three publications(Worldcat). Maxwell Bodenheim however, seems to be far more recognized in his work in literary bohemia, but is also recognized for his modernist writings(Brittanica). The audience for this journal seems to be middle to lower class individuals, with its cheap printing quality that was sold on the streets by individuals known as Chapman(British Library). This journal in particular lacks advertisements, which gives context to the fact that this was an annual publication, with such a small overall amount of content that lasted for four years.

Works Cited

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Maxwell Bodenheim". Encyclopedia Britannica, 22 May. 2021, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Maxwell-Bodenheim. Accessed 7 September 2021.

Anderson, John R. While the Fates Allow: [poems], 1952-61. Beckenham, Kent: Bee & Blackthorn Press, 1962. Print.

Richardson, Ruth. “Chapbooks.” British Library, British Library, 15 May 2014, www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/chapbooks.

The Masses Magazine Study

In the excerpt "How to Study a Modern Magazine," authors Scholes and Wulfman offer a variety of things to consider when attempting to study a Modernist Period piece such as the implied reader, circulation, regular contributors, contents, the editor, format, and the magazine's history, as well as a description of the magazine. I chose to do the magazine Masses for an example of each of these things.


Implied Reader: On the front cover of the January 1911 issue, Masses declares itself a  "Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Interests of the Working People," meaning that the implied audience must be working-class, ordinary people.

Source: The Modernist Journals Project (searchable database). Brown and Tulsa Universities, ongoing. w


Circulation: Masses circulated around a quarter million magazines per issue, due to its popularity.

Source: Maik, TA. A History of The Masses Magazine. Bowling Green State University, 1969.


Regular Contributors: "Radical Journalists John Reed and Louise Bryant;...Art Young...John Sloan and Boardman Robinson...Carl Sandburg, Louis Untermeyer, and Amy Lowell; fiction by Jack London, Upton Sinclair, and Sherwood Anderson."

Source: The Modernist Journals Project (searchable database). Brown and Tulsa Universities, ongoing.


Contents: Art, Poerty, Politics, Reporting/Journalism, Fiction. If another magazine had something in it, chances are that Masses had it too.

Source: The Modernist Journals Project (searchable database). Brown and Tulsa Universities, ongoing.


Editor: Over the years many different people edited Masses such as Thomas Seltzer, Horatio Winslow, and Piet Vlag in the first years, and Max Eastman with Floyd Dell for the later years.

Source: The Modernist Journals Project (searchable database). Brown and Tulsa Universities, ongoing.


 Format: Masses is set up in a three-colun format with visuals and title inbetween and around each piece of writing. Some pages are taken up by full drawings. There are limited advertisements and they only take up a few pages. There are consistently 15 to 30 pages in each issue including the adverts.


History: Masses was founded in 1911 and ran until 1917 when it was blacklisted by the government for espionage due to it's radical views and critiquing of the government. Over that time, there were many editors as well as lawsuits against the magazine.

Source: The Modernist Journals Project (searchable database). Brown and Tulsa Universities, ongoing.


Putting it together:  Masses is the most influential, radical, and shocking modern magazine. It is known as the "Socialist" Magazine of the Modermism era, displaying radical ideas for the time such as suffrage, birth control, and free love, as well as civil rights and unionization.

 

 

The Hunt for Fleas in "The Beggar's Hunt" by W. H. Davies

In the magazine, The Blue Review Vol 1, No 1, on pages twenty four to twenty seven, there is a story called,"The Beggar's Hunt" by W. H. Davies, and it is about our main character encountering a poor fellow that is infested with flees, so much so that the man cannot resist scratching himself frequently, as stated from lines thirty three to thirty four,"Soon came to the conclusion that the man was scratching himself, owing to the attack of fleas." This sentiment about this poor man's scratching is the main centerpiece of this story. To provide context, the main character was on a journey, and for whatever reason decided to try and travel with this man that he never knew before, but it could be implied that our main character needed to have a companion, even if it was a flea ridden beggar, which ties into what is believed to be the main theme of this short story. This short story is about how people see outcasts, beggars, and/or the impoverished in general.

The main character, after talking with the beggar and then proceeding to walk with him notes how often he scratches himself which in this story, seems to solidify the beggar's position as someone who is impoverished. The main part of this story that ties with the theme of the negative attitude toward people who are impoverished, comes in this part of the story, when the main character decides that he would wish to go to a tavern,"Even in the very lowest kind of a tavern; where the landlord and his customers would be certain to object to his company." The main character still wishes to give the man a beer for his time. They proceed to go into the tavern, but only on the condition that the beggar won't scratch whatsoever, thematically speaking, to not reveal himself as a beggar, as even the lowest of taverns would kick out someone like the beggar, who is so impoverished that he suffers from flees.

What happens in the tavern is that the beggar cannot resist the urge to scratch himself, thereby revealing himself as a beggar, but instead of the tavern kicking him out, the beggar leaves on his own volition, which makes the main character believe that the beggar has left for good, but later, about twenty minutes after the main character started traveling, the beggar came back, and after some talk back and forth, he proclaimed,"I have been having a lively time at hunting and killing fleas. I shall sleep well after this excitement." The beggar seemed to have managed to cleanse himself of his thematic burden, which of course was the flees.
It seems greatly apparent that in this story, society's negative attitude toward those who are stricken with misfortune, are represented by this man who has earlier stated to have lost his job, and then become ridden with flees. Now that he has gotten rid of these flees, he is able to properly travel with our main character, which implies that it would be too much of a burden for out main character, to deal with a man who has been stricken with flees, that signify his position as a beggar. Overall, the theme of society rejecting and looking down on those who are outcasts or rejects, is incredibly apparent in this story, to others views of the beggar, to his scratching, which represents his societal position, to his eventual cleansing, which relieves himself of this burden and allows the beggar to travel with our main character and, in a way, be accepted back into society.

National Geographic

In the June 1910 issue of National Geographic, found on the Modernist Journals Project website, there is an article on page 487 called "Where Women Vote," in which Baroness Alletta Korff describes how Finland allows women to vote. Three years prior to 1910, in 1907, Finland allowed suffrage to women, which allowed the well educated women to have more power in their community, thus creating a better environment and quality of life for them. Because the Finnish women were educated, they demanded voting right, and although it was deemed too progressive by other countries' standards, they were even allowed to go in to politics. 

Camera Work - Signatures

The article Signatures by Eva Watson-Schutze was published in Camera Work Issue 1 on pages 35 and 36 in 1903. This magazine is focused around showcasing good photography, and is littered with articles about photography and how to create high-quality photos. At this time, photography as an art wasn't really cemented yet. This magazine seeked in part to solidify photography as a fine art, and the article Signatures is a great representation of that. The article itself is focused around talking about how important properly imbedding your signature into your photograph is. Watson-Schutze argues that an embedded, subtle signature can add to the piece instead of taking attention away from the main subject. This is a great example of the start of the shift from looking at photography purely as a way to document and record things to a form of art. The article is focused specifically on telling the reader how important making your signature match the photo is (and how jarring it is when your signature is just plastered on) and giving a few tips on how to make signatures look good. The author is focused more around the form of the photo than the function, showing that photographs are starting to be seen more as an art.

"Autumn in Three Lands" Summary

Magazine: Rhythm (Issue Date: 1911-06-01)

Item: "Autumn in Three Lands" from pages 34-35

Author: Rhys Carpenter

Form: Poem(s)

What the poem focused on was the imagery of the beginning and end of Autumn with a focus on comparisons to nature. The rain, mountains, grass, sea, and sky are all included into the poem. How it is written is a large part of why it is intriguing for it uses metaphors and personification when describing the setting. References to gods and the wind being wolf laughter gives an exaggerated majesty to natural weather events. The time for the setting, or the when, is both the beginning and end of Autumn. With the first part of the poem, the rain is compared to wolves on the hunt which sets a daunting mood. The second part suggests the seasonal transition with elongated nights and the third part describes the end of winter as snow starts to come in. As described before, the where of the poem is focused on nature and how flows with the season of Autumn. The setting changes from rainy cavern or forest, to fields at night, to a house with a clear mountain view. As for why the poem was written, Rhythm magazine focuses on making art with a deeper meaning, as most modernist art does, and tries to connect with reality. We can see this in the clear description of nature and how it changes depending on the time in Autumn.

 

 

"Autumn in Three Lands" Summary

Magazine: Rhythm (Issue Date: 1911-06-01)

Item: "Autumn in Three Lands" from pages 34-35

Author: Rhys Carpenter

Form: Poem(s)

What the poem focused on was the imagery of the beginning and end of Autumn with a focus on comparisons to nature. The rain, mountains, grass, sea, and sky are all included into the poem. How it is written is a large part of why it is intriguing for it uses metaphors and personification when describing the setting. References to gods and the wind being wolf laughter gives an exaggerated majesty to natural weather events. The time for the setting, or the when, is both the beginning and end of Autumn. With the first part of the poem, the rain is compared to wolves on the hunt which sets a daunting mood. The second part suggests the seasonal transition with elongated nights and the third part describes the end of winter as snow starts to come in. As described before, the where of the poem is focused on nature and how flows with the season of Autumn. The setting changes from rainy cavern or forest, to fields at night, to a house with a clear mountain view. As for why the poem was written, Rhythm magazine focuses on making art with a deeper meaning, as most modernist art does, and tries to connect with reality. We can see this in the clear description of nature and how it changes depending on the time in Autumn.

 

 

Virtual Tours: How much should we share?

It is interesting how the pandemic and my career have become so intertwined in my understanding of this course and how I will reflect upon it upon its completion. My most recent project has been setting up virtual tours for Gilcrease Museum's primary exhibitions in order to grant access to people who do not feel safe coming to the museum due to the risk of Covid-19. As safe as we attempt to make the museum experience amid this pandemic, there is an inherent danger with which we cannot compete. Therefore, I have been tasked with bringing those exhibitions to them, and have landed on using Matterport to do it. Matterport allows for information to be overlaid onto 3D images taken in gallery spaces in order to create an engaging, self-navigable, virtual gallery experience. I got this idea from the tours offered by the Dallas Museum of Art, and the imaging process turns out to be surprisingly budget-friendly. However, while it won’t cost much to take the images, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We can begin again with Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (I really enjoyed this piece) and how these virtual tours, while serving the benevolent purpose of allowing access to beautiful artwork and culture that many cannot currently access, will also be reproductions of artwork. The pieces will be in “situations which would be out of reach for the original itself” (Benjamin, 218.) One could also argue that these pieces, most of them originals, have already been moved from where they conceived as they now reside in a museum. However, one of the duties of the curators is to do their best to preserve the aura of the works they display by contextualizing them within the exhibition. They do this using many methods, among them placement in the gallery in relation to other pieces and accompanying object label text. It would be a similar goal to preserve this aura online. The pieces will exist in the same space they would in the physical exhibition, and one will be able to view the piece and look to clickable points on the tour to find more information about the piece.

However, preserving a work’s aura is not the museum’s main concern when it comes to reproducing artwork. We also must be sure that we have the rights to share these pieces online. For exhibitions like Masterworks from the Gilcrease Collection which primarily features artwork by Western artists who are no longer living, it is not difficult to navigate the process. However, for Enduring Spirit, an exhibition that showcases generations of Indigenous art and culture, we have to contend with not only the legality of showing artwork by living artists, but also whether or not it is appropriate culturally. Risam explores this in New Digital Worlds when she notes when moving cultural artifacts to a digital space one must consider “who owns digital cultural heritage, given its commodity value and the cost of database design and access” (Risam, 11.) For these virtual tours, we are already in the process of determining if there are pieces in Enduring Spirit that need to be removed during imaging because of their sensitivity. Risam notes that there is a “failure of copyright laws to take into account the spiritual significance of indigenous cultural heritage marks indigenous knowledge as being in the public domain and thus freely available for reproduction” (Risam, 15.) Fortunately, through NAGPRA, Gilcrease has been able to consult with many tribes represented in the Gilcrease collection, but there are still more conversations that need to take place that have been delayed due to the pandemic.

It is difficult to accept the argument that beautiful examples of artwork in our Indigenous collection is not appropriate to share online, however, it is of the utmost importance that we respect the auras of these Indigenous works just as we would respect the auras of Remington bronzes in Masterworks. I look forward to when these tours are online, but there is definitely plenty of work ahead before they are ready for release.

Finding a Cure for Colonial Hangovers: Doing my best not to be an internet troll at work

I’d like to go have coffee with Roopika Risam. She has beautifully articulated exactly why it is of the utmost importance to working to remedy the damages of colonialism, and is simultaneously aware and honest about the complicated challenges that institutions face in this effort. This is a conflict I have seen play out many times during my tenure at Gilcrease Museum, and I happen to have a decent example of my ability to exercise self-control as the Museum’s social media personality when presented with this comment from a Gilcrease Museum member on this Facebook post that featured the exhibition I-Witness Culture: Frank Buffalo Hyde(For Context: The exhibition features artwork by artist Frank Buffalo Hyde (Onondaga/Nez Perce), and it "investigates the space where Native Americans exist today: between the ancient and the new; between the accepted truth and actual fact; between the known and the unknown.")

I remember when Gilcrease displayed some of the finest historical art in the country and had excellent traveling exhibits. Now, it seems that Gilcrease displays mostly junk art and trys to be political rather than historical.”

Currently, Museum policy is that I can’t troll people who comment in this manner, although I would love to do that. Fortunately, we had some supporters step in and show their love. Richard illustrates the dangerous belief that many other Gilcrease donors and members hold: history and politics should remain separate. Risam makes it very clear early on that there are “disruptions within the digital cultural record produced by colonialism and neocolonialism” (Risam, 3.) People like Richard, however, prefer to remain unaware of those disruptions because of how they were taught history long ago. They believe what they learned was fact, and now those facts that they cherish as cannon are being shown in a new light. This is problematic because, as I said, Richard is a paying Gilcrease Museum member. His opinion is taken more seriously by museum leadership because he contributes to covering our operating costs, and we don’t want to lose his support.

Risam addresses comments like Richard’s head-on, stating “digital humanities practitioners must contend not only with the colonial hangovers from the cultural record, but also with the forces that are actively constructing the medium of the digital cultural record—the internet—as a hostile environment where universities, libraries, and the cultural heritage sector are under threat, right along with the knowledge being produced and made publicly available by them” (Risam, 6.) Comments like Richard’s are not unique to Gilcrease Museum. They are an exhausting reality many museum social media managers face, but fortunately, it does appear that more museum followers are empowering themselves to fight back. However, Facebook comments only go so far. If people like Richard are unable to bring themselves to fund institutions like Gilcrease Museum because of their alleged politicization of history, which is more accurately postcolonial discourse, how will Gilcrease continue to operate?

Fortunately, people like Richard aren’t the only source of income for institutions with postcolonial pursuits. There are plenty of grant opportunities, foundations with similar interests, donors who see the value in uncovering voices that had been marginalized for far too long. Risam notes, though, that to best move forward in postcolonial efforts, institutions must “cultivate diverse communities; challenge the myth of democratized digital knowledge; make the case for and actually make new tools and methods” (Risam, 143.) All of these examples, if enacted successfully, can also help welcome more contemporary voices on social media to counter those like Richard’s. It takes time to shift brand perception and engage a new, more diverse audience, but historical and cultural institutions globally are making concerted efforts to do so. It will be rewarding to see fewer comments like Richard’s as this work continues.

The Need To Read Between the Lines

If there's anything I've learned after two years of working in a history museum, it's that history is problematic.

Before I took my job at Gilcrease Museum (which I constantly write about in my blog posts because I have no life,) I looked myself in the mirror and asked myself: “Do I really want to sell a museum that is the embodiment of the John Wayne cowboy trope?” I remembered the museum from my obligatory visits from elementary and high school to fulfil requirements for United States history classes and being inundated with mustached, old, white cowboys on horseback (still today, Gilcrease unfortunately has a crushing lack of Black representation in its collection of art from the American West). Fortunately enough, the marketing team in place at Gilcrease at the time I was brought on the team had done their best to promote the museum’s incredible collection of Indigenous art and objects, and the curatorial team had lined up a diverse range of powerful exhibitions which caught my interest enough to entice me to take the job.

The first exhibition I worked on promoting at Gilcrease was The Chisholm Kid: Lone Fighter for Justice for All which featured comic strips from the Pittsburgh Courier’s comic of the same name that ran in the early 1950’s. Set in the proverbial ‘Old West’ The Chisholm Kid featured a Black cowboy who roamed the Chisholm Trail from Texas to Kansas doing good deeds and fighting crime, but more importantly, the trailblazing comic brought attention to the fact that an estimated 25% of cowboys on the Chisholm Trail in the years following the Civil War were Black. However, if you asked me in third grade after a trip to Gilcrease Museum what that number was, it would have been much lower due to how history had been taught, not only at Gilcrease, but in media and the U. S. education system. Now, though, that trend is changing at Gilcrease and elsewhere.

It is wonderful to hear of work being done by researchers like Lauren Klein (great name, by the way) to give voices to those that had been marginalized for generations. It is not by accident that priority was given to preserving voices of white men over the last several hundred years, but rather by design, and it is wonderful that researchers today are working to change the oppressive systems in place. Klein illustrates how hundreds of years ago, men in power were aware of their legacies, including Thomas Jefferson. She explains Jefferson had a “desire to influence that legacy through the documents he recorded, edited, and preserved” (Klein, 662.) This problematic figure actively worked to curate how he was remembered in history, and did well to quell records of those he enslaved.

Klein’s drive to examine the power dynamics at play in what remains of literature recording the history of those Jefferson enslaved is long overdue and incredibly resourceful. It is also refreshing that she addresses the importance of performing her work “without reinforcing the damaging notion that African American voices from before emancipation—not just in the archival record, but the voices themselves—are silent, and irretrievably lost” (Klein, 665.) There is plenty of work that can be done that can retrieve these resilient records if one looks closely and considers new means of data analysis and visualization that are available. It is also excellent that she jabs at Jefferson in the closing of her piece, stating that history must recognize “Jefferson’s personal responsibility for inscribing the silences of slavery into American culture” (Klein, 684.) While Jefferson’s willful omission of the voices of enslaved men and women had succeeded in his presentation as a hero to schoolchildren for generations, historical institutions in the United States are now finally recognizing the lack of representation of minority voices throughout history and the problematic legacy of the United States’ “founding fathers.”

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