(Image: Click on thumbnail for fullsize image. Detail from Noche Crist holiday card to Prentiss Taylor; ca. 1962. Prentiss Taylor papers; 1885-1991. Collection of the Archives of American Art.)
“Season’s Greetings,” an exhibition from the Archives of American Art, features holiday cards made by artists, many of whose works are in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In this gem of a show, you can view cards created by Helen Frankenthaler (a collage from newspapers of the time), Robert Indiana (yes, it spells LOVE), and Alexander Calder, whose witty “Halo Everybody” would bring a bit of cheer to anybody’s–if not everybody’s–mantel. There’s even a postcard from John Lennon and Yoko Ono of the Statue of Liberty sent to Joseph Cornell with the inscription: “Happy XMAS war is over.”
The exhibition shows us a side of artists we don’t always see–sometimes playful and often teetering on whimsy. Check out Edward F. Dickerson’s card from the late 1950s, complete with a recipe for mulled wine, as well as the charming early drawing by Saul Steinberg sent to Dorothy Miller, MoMA’s renowned first curator. Don’t miss Demi and Arturo Rodríguez’s riff on Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles,” with a certain yuletide visitor in attendance.
On Saturday, December 12, from 1:00 to 3:00, meet local artist Ed Bisese, who will describe how he makes his own cards, then try your hand at creating your own. And for those of you who can’t make it or are “greening up” your Christmas in a different way, check out the Archives’ website to personalize one of the cards in the exhibition to send as an e-card of your very own.
This article originally appeared on the American Art Museum’s blog Eye Level.
Posted: 7 December 2009