Live programs featuring stories that connect objects and personalities from a variety of library and museum collections.
Adhesiveness, Walt Whitman and David Hockney
Discover the influence of 19th-century American writer Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass, 1860) on 20th-century British artist David Hockney through allusions embedded in Hockney’s painting, Adhesiveness (1960). Both men centralized queerness in their creative pursuits, and Adhesiveness is a prime example. Join Micah Bateman, editor of the Harry Ransom Center's Walt Whitman Digital Collection, and Janelle Montgomery, curatorial assistant at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, in a live discussion about the painting, the lives of Hockney and Whitman, and the queer links between their work.
Hazel Burnett’s Impact on Film Music
Texas-based musician Hazel Burnett found a way to be heard in the era of silent films. She played live accompaniment for silent films as thousands watched in Texas’s biggest theaters, including the Majestic in Austin and the Aztec in San Antonio. Burnett's work can be found in the Center’s film music collection, including her handwritten cue sheet for Humoresque (1920), in which she assembled her own score to perform live at screenings of the film. Learn Burnett's story as Harry Ransom Center Curator of Film Steve Wilson and Executive Director of the Silent Film Sound & Music Archive Kendra Leonard take you back to the early days of film in this online program.
The Voices of Dylan Thomas
The roots and routes of the poetic voices of Dylan Thomas, best known for Under Milk Wood and “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” will be explored in this transatlantic dialogue between Professor Daniel G. Williams of Swansea University and Professor Kurt Heinzelman of the University of Texas at Austin. Collections exploring the life and work of Thomas are found at the two institutions, and this conversation will explore Thomas’s poetic style, including the impact of reading and performance. What effect did Thomas’ ‘Welshness’ have on his appeal in the United States? Judge for yourself after hearing our guests play two very different readings of “In My Craft of Sullen Art” and discuss this iconic poet who spoke of universal themes from his particular native place.
Renaissance Humanism between Islamic Covers
Ransom Center conservator, Andrea Knowlton, and Pforzheimer Curator, Aaron T. Pratt, will discuss an exciting new Ransom Center acquisition. A copy of famous Venetian printer-publisher Aldus Manutius’s 1502 geographical dictionary in Greek, originally written by Stephanus of Byzantium in the 6th century, it was at some point rebound in a style and using methods associated with the Islamic world. Exactly how, when, and why are unclear—Knowlton and Pratt will talk through the trajectory of their research so far and about the life this 500-year-old book appears to have lived.
James Turrell’s Deep Sky Portfolio and The Color Inside Skyspace
What is required of a viewer to step inside the work of artist James Turrell, and how does that experience change when viewing his two-dimensional prints rather than standing within an immersive Skyspace? Join Ransom Center Curator of Art Tracy Bonfitto and Landmarks Founder and Director Andrée Bober for a conversation that considers Turrell’s prints in the Deep Sky portfolio together with his Skyspace on the University of Texas campus titled The Color Inside. In anticipation of Slow Art day in April, learn how to linger with Turrell’s work and look deeply into the (not quite) sky.
Stories Re-imagined with Author Edward Carey
Set inside the belly of an enormous sea beast, author Edward Carey's latest novel The Swallowed Man is a familiar fable, brilliantly re-imagined. Join us for a conversation with Carey as he discusses finding inspiration in archives while sharing unique items from the Ransom Center's collections that are meaningful to him and that have influenced his writing. Ransom Center Associate Director Cathy Henderson will chat with Carey about his new book, his methods of working in multiple mediums, and connections Carey has to creative figures like William Blake and Robert De Niro, who have materials at the Ransom Center. Tune in to hear more about how locks of hair and a bust of Frankenstein have captured Carey's imagination.
Authors and Presidential Inaugurations
Over the years, several authors have participated in or influenced American presidential inauguration ceremonies. Join us for a discussion about two items from the Ransom Center’s collections that will help deepen our understanding of why poetry readings and speeches at these events matter. Ransom Center Associate Director Megan Barnard and UT Professor of History and Public Affairs Jeremi Suri will discuss and contextualize a typescript of Miller Williams's poem "Of History and Hope," read at the 1997 inauguration of Bill Clinton, and a draft of a mostly unused speech John Steinbeck wrote for Lyndon B. Johnson's 1965 inauguration.
What Did Gutenberg Invent?
The Gutenberg Bible, famous as the first major book printed using moveable type in Europe, is one of the most recognizable objects at the Ransom Center. But what exactly did Gutenberg invent, and what was it good for? In our next virtual conversation across collections, we will explore the early history of printing by putting the Center’s Gutenberg Bible in conversation with a remarkable book in the UCLA Library Special Collections: a 16th-century volume printed in China that reproduces an 11th-century pharmacology treatise. Join Aaron T. Pratt, the Ransom Center's Pforzheimer Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts, and Devin Fitzgerald, UCLA’s Curator of Rare Books and History of Printing, as they contextualize Gutenberg’s innovation within the long and vibrant history of woodblock printing in Asia.
Arthur Miller remixes Jane Austen classic for radio
In 1945, American playwright Arthur Miller adapted British novelist Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for the radio. The quirky adaptation aired just before Thanksgiving Day 75 years ago, a few years before Miller became a household name as author of plays like All My Sons and Death of a Salesman. Tune in as Jane Austen scholar and UT professor Janine Barchas talks about the original script with Eric Colleary, the Ransom Center's curator of theatre and performing arts. Did this unlikely remix for the airwaves lead to success?