Thursday, March 24, 2011

Glimpses of Madison

Not surprisingly, it was cold and rainy in Madison, too. Trying to stay dry, we visited the art department at the University, and saw a lot of student work in the hallways. Most of it was what you might expect -- charcoals, collages, serigraphs, and lithographs on a range of subjects. My eye (of course) gravitated to the works that resonated with current politics in Wisconsin.

Stencil artwork of a high speed train, the Wisconsin outline, and a red prohibited symbol
Among a set of stencil works was this commentary on the governor's decision to turn down federal money for high-speed rail.

The posted graphic design assignments were quite nice -- identity work and environmental graphics, mostly. But there were also some broadsides displaying typefaces designed by students. The professor asked them to do their final presentations using the words from their favorite protest sign from the Capitol protests.

Poster reading Fox News will lie about this
Font name: Fading Beauty.

Sign reading Your cuts make us all bleed
Font name: Odjit Regular

Sign reading Scott, we should be friends with benefits
Font name: Carolina

Sign reading Walker, you're not my type. The type is made from nails
Font name: Nailed Regular

Handwritten sign reading Janitors - please do not clean this room
I liked this sign, which was attached to one of the art classroom doors.

A short visit to Memorial Library made it clear there are a lot of books in Madison. It's one of those libraries that keep the books in stacks, where two floors of shelves fit into each story, and the stairs between are narrow, metal structures, just wide enough for one person.

Red-lettered sign reading Phone for emergency use only with graffiti saying The invisible phone
There is an elevator, of course. This old painted sign still proclaims the presence of a phone that's not needed in the age of the cell phone. Note the bit of grafitti at lower right.

Shelves of books
Wandering through the stacks, my eye fell on these two shelves of books by a writer named Katharine Tynan. There were dozens of titles that, judging from their spines, were published in the late 19th or early 20th century. Checking the Wikipedia, I see that Tynan was an Irish writer who published over a hundred books, and was part of literary circles that included Hopkins and Yeats. But I've never heard of her.

Close up of books showing illustrated spines
The spines are charming. I will have to look into her work -- it sounds like a few are available on Project Gutenberg.

Title page reading The Handsome Quaker with author byline as described
Because The Handsome Quaker was such an interesting title, I chose that one to look at more closely, and noted the small words beneath the author's name: (Mrs. Hinkson). Can't think of too many authors today who would list there name in that fashion today.

Large window with pro-union signs in every pane
We visited the Capitol for just a little while, and spotted this window on the way in.

Large sign on an easel with long list of prohibited items
At the metal detectors, I was amused and a bit horrified by this sign that prohibits everything from balloons to easels, such as the one the sign is sitting on. And it's good to know that snakes aren't allowed unless they're service animals.

Things were quiet in the Capitol, as far as I could see. We were too early for the Solidarity Singalong, which was going to start at noon. There were signs about cuts to libraries. And one man sat against a stone pillar with a sign saying he was conducting a hunger strike (day 18).

No sign of tape damage, not surprisingly. As I had just read in Madison's Isthmus paper, it's looking like the damage estimates weren't just inflated, they were completely fabricated. A local stone contractor brought in by the paper to inspect the building had this to say about it:

The painter's tape used to affix signs left "little or no residue" anywhere. The worst problem he saw was some residue where media had taped cords to the floor, but even this was easily removed with simple cleaning agents.

"There's no damage to the stone," says Arndt, who has been back in the building several times since, verifying this finding. He says the [Department of Administration] official who showed him around agrees even the lower cost estimate is "completely ridiculous and politically inspired."

1 comment:

Blythe Woolston said...

Well, I'd like to write a book that would justify the use of Fading Beauty as the cover font.

Even if I've heard of Tynan (there might have been a glancing blow in Irish Lit, I imagine), I've certainly never read any of her books. Haroun?

And I read the sign before I scrolled down. I also wondered at the service a snake might be put to--maybe help for the smelling impaired? I'd like to assign imagine an engineering class the task of designing a harness for a service snake.