Literature and Sport June 11 – August 4, 2013
The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the sudden-death play, the crushing blow, the herculean feat, the insufferable star, the sweat, the triumph, the thrill. Sport holds a sacred place in western culture and literature. Writers as diverse as Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Norman Mailer, Marianne Moore, Don DeLillo, Joyce Carol Oates, and David Foster Wallace have written about sport. But their works are no mere play-by-play accounts. The competition, spectacle, personal struggle, and exaggerated personalities so characteristic of sport offer writers the perfect backdrop upon which to look deeply into human nature and create literature that transcends sport itself.
This exhibition showcases the literature of sport through fiction, essays, poetry, and plays. Organized by sport, the exhibition highlights some of the finest examples of literary writing about baseball, football, boxing, tennis, cricket, and other sports. From Bernard Malamud's The Natural to Norman Mailer's The Fight, great literary works capture the appeal of sport and its ability to transform both the individual and society, all the while demonstrating through lyricism and verbal dexterity how writers elevate language to literature.
Contemporary Photographic Practice and the Archive June 11 – August 4, 2013
This exhibition was created in cooperation with the Lakes Were Rivers collective, an Austin-based group of artists working in photography and video. Members of the collective created a body of work influenced in some way by the Ransom Center—its space, its purpose, its collections. Approximately 50 new works are displayed alongside Ransom Center collection materials chosen by the artists. The pairings highlight how archives and cultural collections stimulate new ideas and creative acts.
The 11 artists in the Lakes Were Rivers collective focused on the process of discovery, on moments when the unexpected occurred and an unanticipated relationship between the Ransom Center collections and the artist's own work became apparent. Photographic concepts of material, time, and illusion shaped their encounters with the collections.
For example, Jason Reed discovered a remarkable kinship between his photographs of the Texas-Mexico border and those taken by W. D. Smithers nearly a century ago. Mike Osborne was intrigued by photographic surveys of rivers becoming lakes, directly linking the collective's name to material in the archive. Barry Stone saw parallels between his practice of purposefully introducing glitches in digital image data and earlier technical photographic experiments by Alvin Langdon Coburn and others. Susan Scafati Shahan responded to textures and structure in the archive, and Anna Krachey was captivated by degrees of translucency and opacity.
Items from the Ransom Center's collection represented in the exhibition include, among many others, photographs by Ansel Adams and Man Ray, manuscripts from the Herschel family papers and the E. E. Cummings archive, William Blake's Songs of Innocence, an embellished Ravel score, and props from the Robert De Niro collection.
The Lakes Were Rivers artists are: Leigh Brodie, Elizabeth Chiles, Anna Krachey, Jessica Mallios, Sarah Murphy, Mike Osborne, Jason Reed, Ben Ruggiero, Adam Schreiber, Susan Scafati Shahan, and Barry Stone.
Magnum Photos into the Digital Age September 10, 2013 – January 5, 2014
Magnum Photos photographers have produced some of the most memorable images of the last century, shaping history and revolutionizing photography's influence on modern culture. Founded in 1947, it was the first cooperative agency to be established and operated by photographers, thus insuring unprecedented creative, editorial, and economic independence. Its founders, including renowned photographers Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David "Chim" Seymour, and George Rodger, united in their pursuit of creative freedom and their commitment to sharing their images with the world. Membership in this collective empowered photographers to document conflict and liberation, revolution and reform, while preserving their own powerfully distinct points of view. Established during the post-war golden age of the picture magazine, Magnum has flourished despite the impact of radical technological, economic, and cultural transformations on publishing and media. When television began to take over as the dominant form of mass communication in the 1950s, Magnum photographers explored motion picture and book formats. As the editorial market continued to shrink, photographers found new audiences in museums and galleries. Over the last decade, new technologies have dramatically changed the way photographic imagery is captured, distributed, and consumed. In this new environment, Magnum photographers have kept pace, experimenting with a variety of multimedia platforms to publish their work. This exhibition investigates the evolution of Magnum Photos from print photojournalism to the digital age, revealing a global cooperative in continual flux, persistently exploring new relationships between photographers, their subjects, and their viewers.
Organized by Roy L. Flukinger and Jessica S. McDonald, this exhibition of approximately 300 works investigates the evolution of Magnum Photos from print photojournalism to the digital age, revealing a global cooperative in continual flux, persistently exploring new relationships between photographers, their subjects, and their viewers.
Reading Magnum's Photos: A Visual Archive of the Modern World, a book edited by Steven D. Hoelscher, will be published fall 2013 by the University of Texas Press.
The Magnum Photos Collection resides at the Harry Ransom Center courtesy of MSD Capital, Michael and Susan Dell, Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman and John and Amy Phelan.
The World at War, 1914–1918 February 11 – August 3, 2014
The exhibition, The World at War, 1914–1918, marks the centenary of the start of World War I. Once thought to be "the war to end war," such naïve optimism was quickly shattered by the experience of civilian and soldier thrust into the shared horror of industrial warfare. The war lasted four long years and killed ten million people.
Wilfred Owen eulogized those killed in battle as "our undying dead." Siegfried Sassoon called them "the nameless names." And Gertrude Stein famously pronounced the casualties as well as the survivors of the war "The Lost Generation," whose world view had been changed forever.
The geo-political causes, the war's global expansion, and the outcomes of the war are well documented. The collective personal and national trauma inflicted on all who experienced the war, however, remains a potent touchstone that speaks to a contemporary world still embroiled in conflict.
Drawing on the Ransom Center's extensive cultural collections, this exhibition illuminates the lived experience of the war from the point of view of its participants and observers, preserved for a twenty-first-century generation through letters, drafts, and diaries; memoirs and novels; photographs and works produced by battlefield artists; and propaganda posters and films.
Visitors will come away from the exhibition with a greater understanding of the First World War's reach into our own century.
The Making of Gone With The Wind September 9, 2014 – January 4, 2015
David O. Selznick's 1939 epic film, Gone With The Wind, was embroiled in controversy before a single frame was shot. Based on the 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell, the film's depictions of race, violence, and cultural identity in the South during the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction continue to both compel and trouble audiences around the world.
The exhibition will reveal surprising new stories about the making of this quintessential film from Hollywood's Golden Age and illustrate why it remains influential and controversial 75 years after it was released.
The exhibition will include over 300 original items from the Selznick archive housed at the Ransom Center including behind-the-scenes photographs, storyboards, correspondence, production records, audition footage, and fan mail. The exhibition will also feature gowns worn by Vivien Leigh as the beautiful and ambitious Scarlett O'Hara. The newly conserved costumes will be displayed together for the first time in more than 25 years.