Cy Twombly, Natural History, Part 1, Mushrooms, (1974)
This is one of two portfolios made in the mid 1970s, the other being Natural History Part II (Some Trees of Italy) 1976. In both of these series, Twombly uses a quasi-scientific presentation with his characteristic expressive, gestural graphic language.
Twombly, like Rauschenberg with his collage prints, was a master of this kind of aleatoric-seeming collage, loose and dispersed but nonetheless composed. The intelligible and authentic science being practiced here is the testing of graphic structure itself - testing whether, in the end, it isn’t a matter of sensitivity. Might not structure be so permissive and flexible a thing that even the chaotic, at infinite distance, has a shiver of logic? Like John Cage (who Twombly might have picked up the fascination with mushrooms from), Twombly seems to have realized how easy art can be once you stop struggling with it!
James Keeler, Pleiades Star Cluster, Original Glass Plate Negative and a Positive Print, (1898)
Above is a two and a quarter hour exposure of the Pleiades star cluster in the constellation Taurus, taken on December 10, 1898, with James Keeler’s double-slide plate holder attached to the newtonian focus of Lick’s 36-inch Crossley reflector. The image on the left is the glass plate itself at approximately life size; next to it is a positive made from the plate. Positives prints were generally only made for publication, teaching, or public consumption, the scientific analysis being performed on the original negative.
Color sheets for Josef Albers’ Never Before series, and one sheet with the general layout for Never Before. So awesome!
Donated to the Met by some guy called Kenneth Tyler, who hung out at Tamarind 3 years after it was founded by Wayne and Adams, himself founded Gemini Ltd -> Gemini GEL and Tyler Graphics Ltd and printed with way too many cool artists.