This project reminded me of the actual, physical connection between writing, writer, and words. It’s especially telling in the context of someone like Whistler, who was such a clever writer and for whom words were his weapon of choice in his battles against the (to his mind, at least) unappreciative British public.Read More
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"It’s concerning that kids growing up today might not be able to read letters, read these manuscripts. Flavin’s early text is so difficult to read, you almost feel shut out. He has all these flourishes, especially the way he ends a word. It’s very sad when this kind of information becomes inaccessible."Read More
"Eakins learned his elegant copperplate hand from his father, a skill that was reinforced at Central in his drawing classes. To the nineteenth-century mind, good penmanship and draftsmanship were seen as interrelated skills that reflected clarity of thought."Read More
Is handwriting really a lost art? Mary Savig, Curator of Manuscripts at The Smithsonian's Archives of American Art, says no. And we agree, which is why we have bonded, and for two months, banded together to help celebrate the launch of their latest anthology, Pen to Paper. Edited by Savig, this art object brings together worlds of insight on handwriting: the personal with the professional, and the past as translated by the present. Published by the one and only Princeton Architectural Press, Pen to Paper showcases letters written between American artists, their intimates, and colleagues. In this online exhibition, you will find interviews and reflections from contributors expanding on their essays in the book alongside a selection of letters from the Archives.
"And yet, handwriting continues to prove its fluidity. The craft of handwriting had flourished online, especially on social media. Artists, thinkers, and makers alike are experimenting with penmanship in innovative ways. Demonstrations of calligraphy can be found on YouTube and hand-scribed cards flourish on Etsy. In the past few years, curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist has rebooted autograph collecting by posting handwritten notes--usually jotted down on Post-It Notes--by contemporary artists on Instagram, where anyone is welcome to add comments. With this in mind, let's not mourn handwriting as a lost at, or even as a dying art. As snail mail fades from contemporary culture as a primary mode of communication. the vast array of handwritten letters in the Archives of American Art remains relevant and ready for new generations to discover. Let's celebrate how imaginative correspondence now exists in material and digital forms, posing new ways of thinking about art, history, and culture. In the spirit of this book, pick up your pen and write a letter today. What stories will your handwriting tell?"
- Mary Savig, Introduction, Pen to Paper (page 23)
Pen to Panel
Handwritten & Smithsonian at The Sketchbook Project
September 10, 2016
We are over the moon to be partnering with the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art to celebrate the launch of Pen to Paper, an object of art published by Princeton Architectural Press, by hosting this culminating event, “Pen to Panel,” at none other than the world-renowned The Sketchbook Project. What better setting than a massive room lined with thousands of sketchbooks from humans around the world?
Join us on September 10th, from 6 – 8pm, for an evening of conversation, Brooklyn lagers, and archives. Curator of Manuscripts Mary Savig will be bringing letters from their archives to exhibit in the space, and around 7pm, we'll be quieting down to listen to five incredibly bright minds talk about the art and act of writing by hand today. On the panel will be Mary Savig, Linda Shrewsbury, Tullis Johnson, Luis Jaramillo, and Barbara Bash. You can see more information about our panelists and get a sneak-peek at Pen to Paper by visiting our online exhibition here: www.handwrittenwork.com/pentopanel.
The event is free, and so is the beer thanks to Pipe Dreams NYC! So come one, come many. We hope to see you at The Sketchbook Project for a few hours of wild words. Until then, keep the beautiful pen busy, and ink responsibly.
Curator of Manuscripts, Mary Savig, will be bringing some of the letters from Pen to Paper, which was published by PA Press (2016).
In this essay on deleted pasts and new beginnings, Aine Greaney takes us around the world in an old composition notebook: the only one she brought with her when she emigrated to America. With the start of the new year just behind us, we find this piece more timely than ever, as we revisit filled pages from the past, and look toward the blank ones of the future.Read More