Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Button with text: I have seen the future

Pin given out at General Motors Futurama Exhibit, 1940.

Norman Bel Geddes: I Have Seen the Future October 16, 2013 – February 10, 2014
Museum of the City of New York

The first major exploration of the theater and industrial designer who The New York Times dubbed "the Leonardo da Vinci of the 20th century."

A visionary who was equally comfortable in the realms of fact and fiction, Bel Geddes (1893-1958) played a significant role in the 1920s and '30s, shaping not only modern America but also the nation's image of itself as innovator and leader into the future. Bel Geddes most famously expressed his dynamic vision of this American future—streamlined, technocratic, and optimistic—with his unforgettable Futurama exhibition at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. Bringing together some 200 never-before-seen drawings, models, photographs and films of theater sets and costumes, housing projects and appliances, airplanes and automobiles, the exhibition underscores that Bel Geddes sought nothing less the transformation of American society through design.

Norman Bel Geddes: I Have Seen the Future is a collaboration between the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the Museum of the City of New York. First presented at the Ransom Center, the exhibition has been curated by Donald Albrecht, the Museum's Curator of Architecture and Design. The exhibition's accompanying book, Norman Bel Geddes Designs America, is co-published by the Ransom Center and the Museum in conjunction with Abrams.

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Radio Talent by Miguel Covarrubias, 1938.
Original illustration for Fortune, May 1938.
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
Courtesy of the Miguel Covarrubias estate.

Miguel Covarrubias: Caricaturista

Miguel Covarrubias (1904–1957) was one of the foremost Mexican artists of the twentieth century. A quintessential humanist, he made important contributions in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, theater, and dance.

The breadth of his intellectual interests inspired him to explore cultures as varied as the brilliant hues of his art. He became an expert in indigenous Mexican art and culture and an important figure in the preservation of ancient sites and artifacts. After capturing the creative energy of the Harlem Renaissance, he documented a vanishing way of life on the Indonesian island of Bali. In the pages of Vanity Fair and other popular American magazines of the Jazz Age, Covarrubias took the measure of the era's statesmen, celebrities, and rogues.

Miguel Covarrubias: Caricaturista focuses on the sophisticated caricatures that made Covarrubias famous. His caricatures provide a unique window into the cultural and political milieu of the 1920s and 1930s.

Miguel Covarrubias: Caricaturista is an exhibition created in cooperation with the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin and Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Two street scenes

Left: Thomas Annan
Princes Street, from Kings Street, 1868
(from "Photographs of the Old Closes & Streets of Glasgow")
Carbon print

Right: © Richard McCowan
[Cobblestones at Tower of London], ca. 1998
Carbro print

The Image Wrought: Historical Photographic Approaches in the Digital Age

The Harry Ransom Center's exhibition The Image Wrought: Historical Photographic Approaches in the Digital Age has completed its 2007-2010 tour.

Newcomb Art Gallery
Woldenberg Art Center
Tulane University
New Orleans, Louisiana
November 28, 2007 - February 24, 2008

Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Brunswick, Maine
January 23 - March 22, 2009

University of Michigan Museum of Art
Ann Arbor, Michigan
November 7, 2009 - January 17, 2010

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York
January 30 - March 28, 2010

The Image Wrought examines the seeming paradox of contemporary photographers embracing archaic photographic practices in today's digital age. In a departure from other exhibitions of alternative process photography, The Image Wrought provides a singular opportunity to present contemporary images alongside vintage examples of their 19th-century predecessors. These groupings allow viewers to examine how contemporary photographers interpret history. Past and present come together to provide a unique perspective on this important moment in the history of photography.

The Image Wrought explores not only 19th-century processes, but also camera technology and photographs on alternative supports and with surface treatments. A documentary section provides an overview of the alternative process movement from the 1970s to the present. All images in the exhibition are from the Ransom Center's collections. The exhibition was on display in the Ransom Center Galleries from January 31 to July 23, 2006. Additional information about the exhibition can be found online.