Exhibit: Composing a City: What's Your Landscape?
By: Education Program Gottesman Libraries
Published: 07/02/2018
Uploaded: 07/03/2018
Uploaded by: Education Program Gottesman Libraries
Pockets: Gottesman Libraries Archive, Gottesman Libraries Exhibitions, Gottesman Libraries' Education Program
Tags: Arthur Wesley Dow, city, Edwin Ziegfeld, Frederico Castellon, Oft Gallery, urban landscape

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Description/Abstract: Exhibit: Composing a City: What's Your Landscape?

"Composing a City" consists of selected pieces from the Teachers College Archive. These pieces taken from the Students of Arthur Welsey Dow, Ziegfeld Collection of International Children's Art, and Frederico Castellon Memorial Print collections depict scenes of urban life.

Urban populations contribute to a city’s aesthetic and identity by providing an eclectic combination of elements based on social, cultural, political, and economic needs. Although the elements that outline identity of a city may change, the need for organization or balance makes its landscape a composition, a concept that was spread by the former head of Teachers College art department, Arthur Dow. Dow published the influential book “Composition” in 1899, stressing harmonization by manipulating line, color, and tonal relationships within a composition. The book was not only used by Teachers College students at the turn of the 20th century, but across the nation due to the widespread influence of Teachers College, especially among American modernist painters.

City identities are often represented by their landscapes. Consider the iconic skylines of New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco, where each landscape contains different arrangements of line, color, and tonal representation that reflect their unique identities. Harmony within a city is represented in these compositions of landscapes, but there is more to be seen between the lines. According to Dow’s theory on composition, harmony is achieved in composition when it is counterbalanced by disharmonies. Cultural disharmonies such as low socioeconomic status can bring negative outcomes including overcrowding, lack of resources, and high mortality rates. This exhibit explores the balances, identities and relationships between landscapes and the life within.

When looking at the different artworks, think about how each artist organized and balanced certain elements to compose a landscape. Which pieces provide a sense of harmony or balance to your lifestyle and personality? What’s your landscape?

For more information see the rhizr Offit Gallery Summer 2018.

Where: Offit Gallery, Third Floor
When: mid June through August