Here is a GREAT letter from Eric Segal one of the star curators at the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida. He has brilliantly, steadily, creatively, doggedly found a way to give true use for my gifts as they are USED by students at this fine institution.
Instead of having works of art on paper languishing in drawers Eric is bringing them to life for his university students.
And three cheers to Rebecca Nagy who hired Eric and gave him the inspiration and freedom to create alluring programs. The University of Florida is leading the way in the teaching the story of Natural History illustration. Thank you Rececca and Eric.
Eric's kind letter to me follows:
Just a note to say, I love the prints! Aside from being wonderful objects, they are just extraordinarily versatile in the university context. I continue to speak with people across campus about them, and am discovering a deep well of interest, but I particularly wanted to share with you a class visit we had just yesterday. This was group of students in a History of Graphic Design course (most of them are Graphic Design majors). After speaking to them about several techniques for producing prints (engraving, lithography, and so forth), and the kinds of workshops that produced medium- to large-scale print runs, I showed a few digital images of botanicals (Fuchs, Besler, Gould). You can imagine that their first response was kind of ho-hum . . . what did they care about Periclymenus? However, when I put magnifying glasses in their hands, and made them look closely at how the materiality of the actual prints – their format, their methods of production, etc. – shaped what appeared in front of them, they suddenly got extremely interested. It was a marvelous instance of the power of physical objects to engage mind and imagination. Moreover, they began to get a glimmer of how these insights drawn from 500 year old prints applied to their own practice which, of course, is dominated by work on computers with their own limiting contexts of scale, format, luminance, resolution, touch, and so forth.
I continue to be astonished by the collection of prints and what we can do with them!
Eric J. Segal
Education Curator of Academic Programs
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
University of Florida
P.O. Box 112700
Gainesville, FL 32611-2700
tel. (352) 392-9826 ext. 2115
fax (352) 392-3892
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