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Few magazines managed to embody the creative aesthetic of their time as Verve magazine did in the first half of the 20th century. And although the Paris-based journal last received some attention in 1988, when Verve: The Ultimate Review of Art and Literature was published, it has mostly faded into obscurity; that retrospective, edited by Michel Anthonioz, has since gone out of print. It’s easy to consider the role of artists in magazines as consigned to, say, Shepard Fairey schlock on the cover of Time or a Koonsy T cover, but for a significant chunk of the 20th century, magazines played a significant role in cultivating the public audience for the artists of their day.
This isn’t to say that excellent art is impossible to come by in the pages of today’s journals, just that its role in high-visibility magazines, or its concentration in a single publication, has been diminished — and, in fairness, so has the significance of magazines as vessels for culture. Writing in 1988, John Russell of the New York Times remembered it thus:
Fifty years ago in Paris, the magazine to look for was Verve, which first came out in December 1937 and kept going in one form or another till 1960. That first cover (by Henri Matisse) sang out from the other side of the street in a way that made us run across the road to look at it more closely. And when we turned its pages, Verve had a bosomy, full-fleshed, slightly slithery quality that this former subscriber would know in his sleep.
Yes, it was a publication for the ages. Verve featured art for art’s sake, not as an accessory to an editorial vision, a narrowly conceived commission, or a luxe signifier. Here are some standouts from the nearly fifty years of Verve, all culled from eBay because, well, there is no better repository of Verve lithographs, as far as we can tell (get on that, digital archivists).
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“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…