Friday File – Spring Break

It was a very quiet week. At work the students were on spring break, so I had fewer scheduled appointments, tours, and meetings. I wasn’t any less busy because there’s still so much to do to turn the collection into the dynamic place I want it to be. But the silence was really hard to deal with so I had to turn up my music.

And now, some links:

Self-portrait by Gertrud Arndt at the Bauhaus in 1926-27, from the Bauhaus Archive via The New York Times

The Bauhaus was a German school of design and fine arts that functioned between 1919 to 1933. It’s influence on Modernism was very important. However its female students were often forced to enroll in the “feminine” subjects instead of the ones they had originally came to the school to study. Now the Bauhaus Archive is trying to amend its wrongs with a series of exhibitions called the “Female Bauhaus.” The New York Times examined three female students whom attended the Bauhaus in this article.

Zelda Fitzgerald is suddenly very popular among novelists. Partially because The Great Gatsby comes out in theaters this summer and partially because a couple other novels featuring famous men’s wives have done so well in recent sales, authors are turning to Zelda, F. Scott’s wife. She’s an interesting figure I can’t wait to read about after I finish a few more biographies about the Hemingways and Ernest’s novels. Did you know that Zelda claimed Scott plagiarized her short stories, letters, and diaries in his work? A few weeks ago I bought her only novel, Save Me the Waltz, at a used bookstore, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Newcity published an article last Friday on “Design 50: Who Shapes Chicago.” It’s a really interesting look at the creatives doing big things in Chicago.

And this week, Design*Sponge finally put out a city guide for my former residence, Fargo, North Dakota! It’s about time other people knew about some of the cool gems hidden in the backwards state. If you ever find yourself in Fargo, it’s a good roundup of what to check out.

And lastly, here’s an article for when you have a chunk of time. I’m a little late on this story, but I still had to tell you about The New Yorker piece on the drama and scandal at the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia. This story about the creative director who was burned with acid is full of politics, history, brazen ballerinas, corruption, and detective work. Don’t miss the slideshow either.

Book File – New to My Bookshelf

I love books. My husband can attest that our bookshelves are overflowing. But this never stops me when I see a great new title.

I recently finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. So many friends recommended this novel to me, and it was a light-hearted, enjoyable read. The whole book is written through letters between the main character, Juliet, and her friends, family, and new acquaintances on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel. The novel is about friendship, love, career, and literature. As a fashion historian, I was entertained that Juliet makes reference to clothing coupons used during and just after World War II for rationing purposes.

And on my last trip to Minneapolis, we stopped in two bookstores, prompting a few more purchases.

The first was a used bookstore, and I found the book Massive Change which accompanied an exhibition of the same name I saw at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in 2006. The exhibition changed both the way I thought of museum shows — that they could be catalysts for social and environmental change — and design — that it could address social, environmental, and other cultural needs. I’m so happy I scored this book.

The second book bought in Minneapolis was found in a independent bookstore. Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy is the catalogue of another exhibition with the same name. This exhibition was put together by the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The book is filled with gorgeous color photos of garments in the collection and on the runway, and is broken down thematically. I’m sure I’ll use it in my future research, especially when talking about the body and its presentation through fashion.