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Flash Exhibits in Library Special Collections

The UCLA Library Special Collections Flash Exhibit Program features in-house exhibits that are typically on display for less than two weeks.

WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing, 1976-1981 - On Exhibit: July 10-16, 2017

Flash Exhibit by Jade Finlinson and Kelly Besser

image of flash exhibit case featuring Wet Magazine

image of flash exhibit case shelf 2 featuring Wet Magazine

With its distinctive graphic sensibility, absurdist humor, and deadpan dedication to “bathing culture,” Leonard Koren’s WET magazine embodied a postmodern aesthetic that influenced later pop culture publications like Spy and Ray Gun and inspired the creation of the NYC punk magazine, Dry.

WET featured interviews and reviews of avant-garde and New Wave artists, and contributors like photographers Herb Ritts and Matthew Ralston, graphic designers April Greiman and Tom Ingalls, and cartoonist Matt Groening, It was also packed with advertisements for Los Angeles retailers and event venues that show a snapshot of the city’s art and fashion scenes in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Venice-based artist and designer Leonard Koren launched WET in 1976, an extension of his work creating “bath events” and “unusual bath environments” that began while earning a Master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from UCLA in 1972. Koren ceased publication of WET after a five-year run, but continued to create work dedicated to bathing, including a history of his signature magazine titled Making Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.

These display items are examples from a near-complete run of the magazine and related ephemera acquired as part of the Lewis MacAdams Papers (Collection 2289). MacAdams was an editor at WET from 1979-1981.

Memory Serves: The Japanese American Research Project - On Exhibit: June 5-June 17, 2017

Flash exhibit by Gaku Uchino

Image of flash exhibit case of Japanese American Research Project re Nisei

The Japanese American Research Project (JARP) was founded in 1960 by Shigeo Wakamatsu, President of the Japanese American Citizens League. The initial three objectives of this project were to conduct intergenerational surveys, publicize Japanese American history, and collect historical community documentation.

The collection consists of extensive materials related to first, second, and third generation Japanese Americans between 1893 and 1973. This collection contains individual and family papers, hundreds of oral history tapes, records of Japanese associations, surveys, photographs, art work, and publications. These materials are available at UCLA Library Special Collections as part of the Yuji Ichioka Japanese American Research Project Collection of Material about Japanese in the United States (Collection 2010)

Oil painting of Topaz Internment Camp 1945

Oil painting of Topaz internment camp (1945)Watercolor painting of Heart Mountain

 Watercolor of Heart Mountain internment camp (1942)

Copy of Nisei in Uniform

Nisei in Uniform

U.S. government transcripts concerning Japanese American loyalty (1942)

U.S. government transcripts concerning Japanese American loyalty (1942) 

Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out : On exhibit May 29-June 3, 2017

Flash Exhibit by Ashley Andalon-Venegas and Samantha Cordona, Class of 2017

Image of Huxley exhibit main caption

Flash exhibit case of Huxley

To view more images and content from this exhibit, please visit the corresponding blog post.

The Kurosawan Influence Behind Star Wars : On exhibit May 15-20, 2017

Flash exhibit by Jeannie Ma, LSC Public Services Graduating Senior 2017

image of flash exhibit case showing Star Wars and Kurosawa projects

When filmmaker George Lucas created Star Wars, he was inspired by many visual storytellers, including Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. This exhibit gathers materials in Library Special Collections which illustrate some thematic and aesthetic influences on Star Wars. Scenes from Kurosawa's projects are shown next to imagery from Star Wars to reveal obvious parallels.

image of exhibit case

Please visit this flash exhibit's corresponding blog post.

Marie Taglioni's Dancing Game : On Exhibit May 1-6, 2017

Flash Exhibit by Octavio Olvera and Genie Guerard

A recent acquisition for Special Collections that complements both its collection of toy and movable books, and its extensive dance archives, which includes the papers of modern dance pioneers Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis.

Movable parts appeared in scientific books as early as the sixteenth century, but were not conceived as entertainment for children until the mid-eighteenth century. The toy trade became increasingly important as the children's market grew in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The harlequinade was invented around 1765 by London bookseller Robert Sayer. Named after theatrical pantomimes featuring the harlequin in a leading role, these were composed of a single sheet of paper with illustrations on flaps that open to reveal another picture below. There were also juvenile drama sheets, printed sheets of scenery and characters out of which children created their own miniature theaters, the earliest of which date to about 1810. Around the same time the London firm of S. and J. Fuller invented the paper doll. These cutout figures were often accompanied by stories in verse.

“Dancing Game” consists of a hand colored, engraved and stipple mannequin of Marie Taglioni and six hand-colored engraved costumes, with backs and fronts glued together at the edges. Marie Taglioni (1804-1884) was one of the most celebrated ballerinas of the romantic ballet. The six costumes depict her most famous roles, danced in Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, and at the Theatre de l’Academie Royale de Musique of the Paris Opera Ballet: La Belle au Bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty); Nathalia;

La Tentation; Guillaumme Tell; La Silphide; and Le Dieu et la Bayadere. 

The Morgan Camera Shop: On Exhibit April 17-22, 2017

Flash Exhibit by Processing Archivist, Kelly Kress

Main Image of Morgan Camera Shop Flash Exhibit

​While driving or walking down Sunset Boulevard east of Vine, you may have noticed the distinctive orange and brown signage for the Morgan Camera Shop. Though closed for some time now, the shop opened at 6262 Sunset Boulevard in 1938 and was a fixture in the neighborhood for over 50 years. (A previous location, known as Sunset Camera, had occupied a storefront since 1934 across the street at 6305 Sunset.)

Owned and operated by Gilbert Morgan, the shop sold cameras, film, lenses, and other photo-related gear and supplies, as well as books and magazines catering to professional photographers and hobbyists. It also operated as a salon and photographic exhibition space. Morgan focused on Leica cameras and the field of “miniature photography,” which at the time referred to the use of small, compact cameras such as those manufactured by Leica.

Image of top shelf of Morgan Camera exhibit

Morgan had strong ties to the photography community – his brother was Willard Morgan, and his sister-in-law Barbara Morgan, who were both well-known photographers based in New York City when Gilbert Morgan opened his shop. Willard Morgan worked for Leica and was instrumental in bringing the 35mm camera to the United States. Correspondence from the 1930s-1940s indicates Gilbert relied heavily on his brother Willard for advice, both business and technical. 

Above: Gilbert Morgan, left

During processing of the Barbara and Willard Morgan papers, I found this small cache of photographs and ephemera related to the Morgan Camera Shop.  In addition to the correspondence, materials include photographs, advertisements, and several editions of Morgan Camera News, the shop’s official monthly publication. Copies of Morgan Camera News date from 1934 to 1974 and are an entertaining mix of practical information and slightly gossipy photography-related news – not entirely out of place given the Hollywood location and clientele. Photos depict the interior of the shop during its 1940s heyday: shelves well stocked with cameras, chemicals, and rolls of film, as well as a celebrity patron or two.   

The Morgan Camera Shop closed in the early 2000s. But the signage remains, a reminder of a bygone era, both for Los Angeles and the photography industry. And the archival material remains as evidence of a once thriving creative community and the local business it supported.

Image of bottom shelf of Morgan Camera Shop flash exhibit

To see photographs of some of the individual items from this Flash Exhibit, please visit  the Library Special Collections blog post: The Morgan Camera Shop.

In Memoriam : Marta Becket, 1924-2017 - On Exhibit: March 27-March 31

Exhibit by Genie Guerard and Octavio Olvera

Exhibit case of Martha Becket

Marta Becket was born in New York City, then moved with her mother to Pennsylvania at age six and then to Philadelphia. Throughout her childhood she studied ballet, piano and art. Returning to New York at age twelve, she studied interpretive dance and classic ballet until the Depression hit, when her mother pushed her to develop a nightclub act rather than finish high school. She was in the corps de ballet at Radio City Music Hall, and during the 1940s and 50s, performed on Broadway, modeled and took on freelance art commissions. She also illustrated books by Balanchine and Walter Terry on ballet.

Frustrated with “too many artistic compromises and greedy producers,” Marta created a one-woman show and took it on the road with her husband-manager, Tom Williams. While on tour in 1964, a flat tire led them to Death Valley, where she discovered a collection of buildings, including a hotel, and Corkhill Hill, an abandoned social hall built by the Pacific Borax Company, a mining company. She envisioned a theatre where she would dance and perform, which she did for the next forty years. In her words, “I found my ship out here in the desert when I was 43.”

Honoring the town’s old name, Amargosa (a variation of the Spanish word for “bitter”) she renamed and revived the buildings as the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel. Her works have been described as vaudevillian, ballet mime, and assemblages of brief dramatic and comedic pieces. She wrote the songs, dialogue, sewed the costumes and painted the sets, which she performed every Monday, Friday and Saturday whether there was a full house or not. In fact, it was always a full house because she painted an audience on the walls to keep her company when no one else showed up.

In 1981, the Amargosa Opera House was named to the National Register of Historic Places. In the mid-1980s, Tom and Marta divorced, by which time her close friend Tom Willett joined Marta on stage until he passed in 2005. Marta bid her audience farewell with a final performance on February 12, 2012, at age 87. 

Martha Becket's ballet slippers

The Special Conversational Interaction Work of Dr. Gail Jefferson: The Fantastic Subtlety of Everyday Exquisite Events | On Exhibit: March 6-11, 2017

Image of Gail Jefferson flash exhibit

By Fiona Eustace with assistance from Kelly Besser.

Gail Jefferson (1938-2002), a leading scholar of Conversation Analysis, developed transcription standards for use in this field. Jefferson earned her BA in Dance at UCLA and PhD in Social Sciences at UC Irvine. Inspired by Harold Garfinkel’s Ethnomethodology, Conversation Analysis was developed by UCLA Sociologist Harvey Sacks along with Jefferson and UCLA Sociology Professor Emanuel Schegloff as co-founders.

Conversation Analysis is an approach to the study of social interaction, embracing both verbal and non-verbal conduct of mundane interactions. Jefferson’s work specifically examines overlapping exchanges, laughter, and other interactional phenomena in daily conversation.

When Jefferson died in February 2008, her husband, Albert Stuulen, created an archive of her extensive research—a wide range of working notes, draft and published papers, annotated transcripts, and correspondence.

The Jefferson collection distinguishes her research of interaction as endlessly contingent, focusing on the machineries through which interaction is constructed and how they are deployed in the moment-by-moment shaping and re-shaping of interaction.

This flash exhibit includes insight into Jefferson’s annotative transcription methods, individual developments in Conversation Analysis, and collaborative work with Harvey Sacks. As seen in this exhibit, she applied her transcript methods and research in transcriptions of the O.J. Simpson Case, Richard Nixon’s Watergate Tapes, and the RFK assassination.

The Gail Jefferson Papers (Collection 2319) will be available soon for research.