Showing posts with label TAKE ME TO THE WATER. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TAKE ME TO THE WATER. Show all posts

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Warhol Missing Link?

DISCOVERIES IN THE ART WORLD COME ABOUT IN A MYRIAD OF WAYS. Sometimes new insight opens up after years and years of hard work and sometimes it comes about by new technology, like a scientific imaging device which may reveal an unknown new image underneath a long known painting.

And sometimes, it comes about on nothing more than a hunch. Yep, a hunch. And that’s why I want to tell you all a story. What I am about to tell you is interesting, to say the least. And potentially, a small piece of undiscovered art history.

About a month ago, recent Grammy nominee, longtime American folk art and popular culture expert Jim Linderman tossed out a nugget on his blog Dull Tool Dim Bulb which proposed an interesting theory: what IF Andy Warhol, one of the greatest, most original creative thinkers and artist’s of the 20th century, had actually been influenced very early in life by a simple children’s tracing book put out by the Heinz Company? His theory just may have provided an important piece of source material that any doctorate student would have given his eye tooth for as a departure point for his/her thesis.

It was just a “what if” theory proposed by Linderman, but this “what if” is starting to get some traction. Like an episode of CSI, here is how this discovery is playing out:

The Heinz Company, (makers of ketchup and other products) and headquartered in Pittsburg, PA, put out a children’s sales promotional booklet in 1927 complete with tracing paper, encouraging kids to actually trace Heinz products (see above). Linderman, who found an original book at an antique shop a few years ago, actually remembered that Andy Warhol was from Pittsburg. Hmm-m? Noting that the tracings (done by an anonymous child), were remarkable similar to Warhol soup cans of the early 1960s, Linderman double checked the year Warhol was born. Whoa!?? Warhol was born in Pittsburg in 1928, one year after the booklets came out. Could it be possible that young Andy, as a small child, actually used one of these booklets to trace Heinz canned products?

I quote Linderman here: The images here come from the Heinz book number 6, so the series was well established and local Pittsburgh residents would have surely picked up the premium, which was free, for their children to play with. Although not as famous as his Campbell’s images, Warhol did produce art with the Heinz logo, just like the branding experts at H. J. Heinz apparently hoped he one day would! As the similarities are quite striking, and the location and dates too much of a coincidence to ignore, I believe Mr. Warhol may have played with books from the series and remembered it some 40 years later when he began using similar (in fact, nearly identical) images in his work. I am not speculating that Mr. Warhol traced this copy, as thousands of children would have had the book, but he clearly would have had access to another copy.”

Another blog picked up on this interesting “Warhol missing link” here.

Linderman shared with me an email he just received from Matt Wrbican, an archivist from the Andy Warhol Museum who wrote to Linderman this email— dated Jan 7, 2010:

“That’s an interesting theory. To my knowledge, neither of Warhol’s brothers has ever mentioned such a book being in the family’s possession. We’ve had them speak at the museum on many occasions over the past 15 years, and they have shared memories of Andy playing with newspaper comics (somehow projecting the image on a wall), entering a contest by carving a bar of Ivory soap into an elephant shape, winning a prize for the best flower garden in elementary school, getting a camera when he was about 8 years old (and converting a root cellar into his darkroom), breaking his leg, etc., etc, but not a Heinz coloring book. I’ve written to a Warhola family member to see if they have a recollection of this having been in the family’s possession, and will let you know if he has a positive response.”

If you are an art historian—what do you think? If you read this blog, what do you think? I think it is quite possible. But we may never know for sure—or will we?

Let’s hear your thoughts... and stay tuned.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Southern Evangelical Baptisms

Take Me to the Water from Dust-to-Digital on Vimeo.

MANY OF YOU WILL REMEMBER FROM AN EARLIER POST (April 27), the incredible immersion baptism photos shared by author/collector Jim Linderman in his book, Take Me To the Water. Well, now Jim and others at Dust-to-Digital have produced this video about the book and music CD. It’s really well done— and now you can preview some of the authentic and rare music that is available when you purchase the book. Of course, the bonus with this video are the vintage and rare historic river baptisms, just as it was filmed 50 to 75 years ago. It’s just rare and incredible footage.

You can buy the book/CD on Amazon just by clicking here. This is truly a collector’s edition. I have the book and accompanying CD— and I treasure it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography

(Above) Cover of the book/CD: Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890 – 1950

(Above) River baptism, location unknown; c. 1920s.
Click for larger view.
(Above) Baptism in stream, location unknown; c. 1900s.
Click for larger view.
(Above) Baptism in pond, location unknown; c. 1920s.
Click for larger view.

FOR MOST OF HIS LIFE, COLLECTOR JIM LINDERMAN has searched high and low for authentic things—unique and special objects that define the artistic culture of the American experience. From folk art to popular culture, from pulp fiction to Delta Blues— Jim is a walking authority on so many things American they are too numerous to mention. One thing is certain— his collecting interests are for things that have fallen through the cracks, those things lost and forgotten—the box of material under the table at the flea market booth. If it wasn’t for dedicated collectors like Jim Linderman— so many important objects about our culture would have surely been lost to time and indifference.

TAKE ME TO THE WATER: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890 – 1950
is Linderman’s first book. The 96-page hardcover book (8.75 x 6 inches) has 75 sepia photograph reproductions from 1890-1950 and is accompanied by a CD of rare gospel and folk recordings from original 78-RPM records (1924-1940). It features recordings of artists like Washington Phillips, Carter Family, Tennessee Mountaineers, and lesser known and rare groups like the Belmont Silvertone Jubilee Singers, a vocal quartet in 1939. Included as well are rare vocal recordings of sermons and preaching which highlight the fervor leading up to the moment of cleansing one’s soul in immersion baptism. Certainly, allowing oneself to lie backwards into deep river water for the washing away of sin would be a powerful moment in anyone’s life.

is another gem in the renowned publishing record of Dust-to-Digital, the brainchild and passion of 2009 Grammy winner Lance Ledbetter, who is an expert in music of American vernacular musical field recordings, specifically bluegrass, gospel and Delta blues. Linderman’s collection of immersion baptism photographs is extensive and was recently gifted to the International Center of Photography in New York. The original 78-RPM records from which this CD was made came from the collections of Joe Bussard, Steven Lance Ledbetter, Frank Mare and Roger Misiewicz. As a bonus, the book is beautifully designed and art directed by John Hubbard and Rob Millis.

Writer Luc Sante wrote this in the introduction, which I think sums up my feelings quite well:
“Whether you have ever actually experienced a baptism or not, whether you are a believer or not, these pictures and the music that accompanies them transmit all the emotional information: the excitement and the serenity, the fellowship and the warmth, the wind and the water ... You would have to have a heart of tin not to recognize this as one of the happiest collections of archival photographs ever assembled.”

I firmly believe that this will be one of those rare books that, in a few years, you end up saying to yourself: “I wish I had bought that.” If you are interested in vernacular photography, history, sociology, religion, great authentic gospel music or just great books, this book/CD compilation is a must for your collection. Buy it while you can.

Jim Linderman maintains a most interesting blog about the most amazing things from his collection—a site he calls Dull Tool Dim Bulb,” the only curse words his father ever uttered. I love it, and read it everyday. Check it out!
Take Me to the Water will be released May 26, 2009, and you can pre-order it now on Amazon. Just click above!

And, for you audiophiles,
here are the track listings on the CD:

1. Baptize Me (Rev. J. M. Gates)
2. Denomination Blues part 1 (Washington Phillips)
3. John the Baptist (Rev. Moses Mason)
4. Bathe in That Beautiful Pool (Dock Walsh)
5. On My Way to Canaan’s Land (Carter Family)
6. Old Time Baptism part I (Rev. R. M. Massey)
7. Old Time Baptism part II (Rev. R. M. Massey)
8. Go Wash in the Beautiful Stream (Southern Wonders Quartet)
9. I’ll Be Washed (Carolina Tar Heels)
10. Wash You, Make You Clean (Elder J. E. Burch)
11. Baptist Shout (Frank Jenkins of Da Costa Woltz’s Southern Broadcasters)
12. At The River (Tennessee Mountaineers)
13. Wade in de Water (Empire Jubilee Quartet)
14. Baptism at Burning Bush (Rev. Nathan Smith's Burning Bush Sunday School Pupils)
15. Sister Lucy Lee (Bill Boyd and His Cowboy Ramblers)
16. Wade in the Water and Be Baptized (Belmont Silvertone Jubilee Singers)
17. I’m Going Down to Jordan (Ernest Thompson)
18. Go Wash in Jordan Seven Times (Rev. J. C. Burnett)
19. Wade in the Water (Birmingham Jubilee Singers)
20. Goin’ Down to the River of Jordan (J. E. Mainer’s Mountaineers)
21. Baptism by Water, and Baptism by the Holy Ghost (Elder J. E. Burch)
22. Go Wash in the Beautiful Stream (Moses Mason)
23. Wade in the Water (Sunset Four Jubilee Singers)
24. Down To Jordan (Ernest Stoneman's Dixie Mountaineers)
25. Take Me to the Water (Rev. E. D. Campbell)

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