Monday, October 29, 2007

Modern Graphic History Symposium

Washington University in St. Louis, where I work, is gearing up to launch the Modern Graphic History Library. The mission statment of the MGHL reads as follows:

The Modern Graphic History Library is a new collaborative effort of the Washington University Libraries’ Department of Special Collections and the College & Graduate School of Art, part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

The Modern Graphic History Library acquires and preserves distinguished works of modern illustration and pictorial graphic culture to promote sustained academic consideration of those materials. The collection includes artists’ working materials, sketches and finished artworks—from book, magazine, and advertising illustration to graphic novels, comics, poster design, pictorial information design, and animation.

The library is being launched through a series of public events on November 16 and 17, 2007. In several weeks, in other words. Please help spread the word to people with interests in the history of illustation, especially, since the symposium will address it directly.

Here are the details.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Highlights from the Modern Graphic History Library
5:30 – 7p Opening Reception, Ginkgo Reading Room & Grand
Staircase Lobby, John M. Olin Library. This exhibition will feature
selections from some of the many collections that are part of the
Modern Graphic History Library, and will run through January 13.
Call 314.935.8003 by November 13 to RSVP

Ephemeral Beauty: Al Parker and the American Women's Magazine, 1940-1960
7 – 10p Opening Reception, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.
This exhibition presented by the Kemper Art Museum will run through
January 28. For more information visit
or call 314.935.4523

Saturday, November 17, 2007
An Art of Aspiration: Periodical Illustration and American Visual Culture
9a – 4p Symposium, Steinberg Hall Auditorium

9a Coffee
9:30a Offset Aspirations: Image-Making for Periodicals, 1900-1960
D.B. Dowd, Professor of Visual Communications

10:30a Panel Discussion
Anxious Significance: the Culture of Illustration

12p Lunch

1:15p Mid-Century Magazines and Postwar Aspirations
Wayne Fields, Lynne Cooper Harvey Distinguished Professor
in English; Director, American Culture Studies Program

2:15p Panel Discussion
Periodical Illustration and the Study of American Culture

3:45p Wrap up discussion & final remarks

While the symposium is free, registration is required. Please email or call 314.935.7497 by November 13. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

I will have more to say, including offering snippets from the inaugural catalogue publication, over which I (and others) have been sweating bullets the past several weeks!

Image: Sarah Phares and Scott Gericke, Modern Graphic History Catalogue image grid. Visual Communications Research Studio, Washington University, 2007.

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