Art School(ed): A survey of Providence’s wallpapers

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Our story begins with the Eliza Ward House on the corner of Benefit and George. At night, the perceptive pedestrian might notice a glimpse of something peculiar through the window: a series of panoramic wallpapers in the house Joseph Brown, a founder of Brown University, built and designed the house for his daughter, Eliza Ward, in 1814. Ward had commissioned the woodblock-printed, full color scenes from Dufour & Cie, a French manufacturer of painted wallpapers and fabrics, and they remain to this day (thanks to thorough restorationists). Panoramic scenes transform the Bosphorus Room and the Incas Room into 19th century marvels. While the wallpaper titled “Les Rives du Bosphore” (On the Banks of the Bosporus) is loosely based on palm tree-laden landscapes of Turkey, the panel above the fireplace mantel depicts a pine-treed scene from Maine, reflecting Ward’s personal affinity for the northernmost New England state. The print “Les Incas” portrays an imagined scene of explorer Francisco Pizarro’s first encounters with the Incas. (For a more in-depth explanation of the house’s history and restoration process, check out Houzz’s Room of the Day article on the Eliza Ward House.)

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Art School(ed): Understanding Andy Warhol’s Photographs at the RISD Museum

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In 2007, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. established The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program in order to celebrate the foundation’s 20th anniversary. The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program donated approximately 28,500 of Warhol’s original photographs to more than 180 American college and university museums and galleries. The program selected the RISD Museum as a beneficiary of the program, and the invaluable gift of about 150 photographic works is on display in full at the museum now for this season’s blockbuster exhibition, Andy Warhol’s Photographs.

The show can be viewed in conjunction with the Warhol print Race Riot in the permanent collection gallery, and a nearby, complementary exhibition of Warhol’s screen tests (silent, slo-mo four minute film portraits of Warhol’s celebrity social circle, including Edie Sedgwick, Lou Reed, Susan Sontag, Bob Dylan, etc). The curators have transformed the RISD Museum into a Warholian wonderland.

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Art School(ed): Aesthetes and athletes, art and basketball

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2014 has been a big year for basketball thus far. Just yesterday, BlogDailyHerald got you thoroughly jazzed for the CIT (not the building). In February, a new commissioner graced the National Basketball Association with his presence. Legend Bill Russell turned 80. 2 Chainz and some other guys had a swell time at NBA All Star Weekend in New Orleans. While none of you were watching, the RISD Balls creamed Cooper Union 56-52 in the (first ever) Art School Championship. (As they say, when the heat is on, the balls stick together.) This past Selection Sunday riveted fans once again, and Barack Obama is working hard on his bracket because he has motives this year. In the apparel department (no, not that one), NBA players and fans have been grumbling about the new sleeved jerseys for months. This season, Brown Bears women’s basketball finished with a solid overall record of 10-18, getting one more W (and one fewer L) than they did last season. Of course, the most important ballin’ has yet to come: the Harlem Globetrotters will be making a pit stop in continuing their “Fans Rule” World Tour in Providence on March 28th. I feel faint. 

If all this talk about ball(s) is revving up your creative engines, you’re not alone. It’s tough to study for your History of Ancient Greece midterm when all you can think about is how much you want to express yourself and your love for the game, and we certainly can’t spend all of our time waiting around and hoping that Shaquille O’Neal will guest-curate the next show at the RISD Museum.

Alas, if you’re feeling inspired by the saffron glow of Spalding, whip out your painting palette splattered with all of the colors of Dennis Rodman’s hair, and check out these artists who have been in your size 23, Shaq Attaq shoes, after the JUMPKazaam!

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