RSS Feed

Paper + People is a blog about the Smith College Museum of Art’s collection of over 18,000 prints, drawings, and photographs. Here you will find a diverse array of posts written by museum staff, students, scholars, and other paper enthusiasts about anything pertaining to the collection.

Any works you see featured here are available to view by appointment.

  • Thursday, July 27, 2017

    Welcome, Shanice!

    Hey everyone! My name is Shanice Bailey, and I'm the new Brown Post-Baccalaureate Curatorial Fellow. I'll be taking over for Colleen McDermott, and I'm joined by Charlotte Hecht and Abby Moon, the Post-Baccalaureate Fellows in Museum Marketing & Communications and Museum Registration.

    As Colleen's successor, I'll be in charge of the Student Picks program and this blog. However, unlike previous fellows, my work won't be restricted to the Cunningham Center. SCMA is in a period of growth and transition, and like the Museum, this position is set to undergo some major changes. I'll be working across collections with all of the Museum's curators (including Emma Chubb, the inaugural Charlotte Feng Ford '83 Curator of Contemporary Art) in a larger capacity and you'll see these developments reflected here on the blog. It's a very exciting time at the Museum, and I'll be using this platform to give our audience some insight into this process and the work of our post-bac cohort.

    Lorna Simpson. American, 1961-. half learned from Details. 1996. photogravure with silkscreen text on Somerset 300 lb. paper. Purchased with the Elizabeth Halsey Dock, class of 1933, Fund and the Carol Ramsey Chandler Fund. SC 2012:6-18.

    During my time at Smith I majored in American Studies with a focus on visual culture and digital media. I received a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, which gave me the opportunity to conduct an independent research project on the work of black creatives during the AIDS Crisis. I'm most interested in modern and contemporary art, and in work by black and queer artists in particular. That being said, I look forward to integrating my interests into the content I develop for this blog and broadening my technical and art historical knowledge by working with SCMA's vast collection. As a first-generation citizen and college student I'm passionate about issues of representation and accessibility within arts institutions and I hope to use this platform to broaden the Museum's reach within the greater Smith and Five College community. One of my goals for the blog is to have a greater diversity of voices in order to make space for a variety of perspectives on the collection and provide more opportunities for student engagement. I'll be sharing an open call for submissions to Paper + People when the semester starts, so keep an eye on this page for updates!


  • Friday, June 16, 2017

    On View: The Hilary Tolman, class of 1987, Collection of Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

    Shin'ichi Nakazawa. Japanese, born 1956. Ratio - VIII, ca. 2006. Etching printed in color with gold leaf on medium thick, moderately textured, white paper. Gift of The Tolman Collection, Tokyo, in honor of Hilary Tolman, class of 1987, on the occasion of her 20th reunion. 2007:10-10

    In honor of the thirtieth reunion of the class of 1987, selections from The Hilary Tolman Collection--a landmark gift of Japanese prints from the 1950s to the present day--are currently on view in the Christ Gallery. Featuring works. from thirty different artists, this exhibition spans a wide variety of styles and subject matter within the realm of Japanese printmaking. 

    Wako Shuji. Japanese, born 1953. Fuji Over Letter Under Seas, 1998. Lithograph printed in color on paper. Gift of The Tolman Collection, Tokyo, in honor of Hilary Tolman, class of 1987, on the occasion of her 20th reunion. 2007:10-20

    The exhibition will only be on view until July 23, so come see it while you still can!

    Hiromitsu Takahashi. Japanese, born 1959. Juzu, 2001. Stencil printed in color on paper. Gift of The Tolman Collection, Tokyo, in honor of Hilary Tolman, class of 1987, on the occasion of her 20th reunion. 2007:10-19


  • Friday, June 9, 2017

    The Modern Machine

    The Smith College Museum of Art is dedicated to bringing out works on paper into the main galleries, where all visitors can see them. Since works on paper are more sensitive to light than other mediums, SCMA has installed special Works on Paper cabinets throughout the galleries for the display of prints, drawings and photographs. Today’s post is part of a series about the current installations of the Works on Paper cabinets, which will remain on view through summer 2017. 

    Charles Sheeler. American, 1883 - 1965. Drive Wheels. 1939. Gelatin silver print .Gift of Dorothy C. Miller (Mrs. Holger Cahill), class of 1925. SC 1978:34

    Charles Sheeler’s paintings and photographs of machinery were quintessential depictions of the American industrial age. Though they span a variety of time periods, the selected photographs in this cabinet—one of which is by Sheeler—capture a fascination with the aesthetics of power. Absent of their human architects and operators, these machines stand alone in their photographs. These artists found beauty in the functionality of these new machines, capturing fixed images of these inherently dynamic mechanisms.


    Imogen Cunningham. American, 1883 - 1976. Fageol Ventilators. 1934. Gelatin silver print mounted on paperboard. Purchased. SC 1976:19-9

    Cunningham and Noskowiak both depict their respective industrial sites as objects of physical beauty, drawing attention to the straight, grid-like towers of Fageol Ventilators and the rolling curves of Machinery.  Close-cropped and silhouetted against empty skies, the photographs are absent of any indication as to what purpose these machines actually serve.

    Sonya Noskowiak. American born Germany, 1900-1975. Machinery. n.d. Vintage gelatin silver print. Gift of Nicole Moretti Ungar, class of 1982, and Jon Ungar. SC 2006:56-37


    Ruth Gray. American, 20th century. Study of Sculpture in Front of Ford Building at World's Fair. 1939. Gelatin silver print. Purchased. SC 1939:13-1


    The statue in the photograph on the right conveys the concept of machinery rather than the reality—abstracting its forms into bold curves and threaded towers. It is a massive, futuristic visualization of the power of technology, displayed at the World’s Fair, one of the most popular tourist attractions of its generation.


    William M. Rittase. American, 1887-1968. Industrial Collage. 1930's. Vintage gelatin silver print. Purchased with the fund in honor of Charles Chetham. SC 2010:41-2

    Upon initial comparison, the Ritasse photograph seems like a simple image of a factory. However, he uses multiple exposures to superimpose images of a moving wheel and smokestacks upon one another. Ritasse takes the precision and attention to detail seen in this genre of photography and twists it to the surreal, giving this “collage” an uncanny feel.