Friday, February 6, 2015

How the Experts Build a Snow Man

A black and white photograph showing a tall snow sculpture of a short man blowing on an oversized horn.In 1951, Popular Science featured Dartmouth students under the headline “How the Experts Build a Snow Man.” That year's Winter Carnival snow sculpture was the Alpendoodler, an odd little man blowing an enormous alpenhorn. The sculpture was formed with wire mesh and birch logs covered with slush.

The unfinished sculpture surrounded by scaffolding.The sculpture surrounded by scaffolding.

Since the 1920s, snow sculptures on the Green have served as focal points for Winter Carnival. Each year Dartmouth students have puzzled, schemed, designed and built wondrous sculptures. They vary from the absurd to the sublime. There are feats of engineering that leave you awed, whimsy that makes you laugh, special effects to thrill, and even a Guinness World Record. We currently have some our favorite “Center of the Green” snow sculptures from 1924 to 1987 on exhibit to celebrate the artistry and expertise of Dartmouth’s snowman builders.

Th sculpture surrounded by scaffolding.

Come into Rauner before this year's sculpture melts to take a look!  The exhibit will run through March 1st.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Invisible Cities

An ink drawing a seated artist in front of a wall covered in other illustrations.Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities has inspired countless artists and intellectuals with its whimsical descriptions of imaginary cities. In his famous text, Calvino poses a fictional dialogue between 13th-century Venetian merchant Marco Polo and Emperor Kublai Khan and intersperses it between fifty-five brief prose poems describing the extraordinary and mysterious cities Marco Polo visited during his travels. Calvino stresses the constant flux between reality and fantasy and describes how “cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”

At Rauner, we have an Arion Press edition of Invisible Cities with twelve illustrations by Wayne Thiebaud. Thiebaud’s drawings are meant to be invisible until the reader takes the action of turning the page. To realize this concept, the book was designed with the drawings printed on clear plastic in different ink colors, each matching the color of the following sheet. The images are revealed only when the transparent sheet is turned back onto the preceding page, a white sheet with printed text. This allows the drawing and the words to be read simultaneously.

To see Rauner’s Arion Press edition of Invisible Cities, ask for Presses A712cal.