APG News

Ed Westcott, a Singular Eye at the Dawn of the Atomic Age, Dies at 97

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Ed Westcott chronicled the work done at Oak Ridge. Here, in one of his best-known photographs, from 1944, women sat at their stations in the calutron, where uranium isotopes were separated. CreditEd Westcott/United States Department of Energy, Oak Ridge

Ed Westcott, a photographer who documented life in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the secret city where uranium was enriched as part of the Manhattan Project to develop the atom bomb during World War II, died on March 29 at his daughter’s home in Oak Ridge, where he also still lived. He was 97.

Read Richard Sandomir’s 


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Harley Cowan joins the APG

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A Cathedral of Science

The APG is pleased to announce the acceptance of Harley Cowan into the Guild. His large format series taken in 2017 of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Washington is an important addition to the APG archives and documents the exterior and interior of Reactor B, the world’s first full-scale nuclear reactor which produced plutonium for the nuclear bombs detonated in Trinity, New Mexico, and Nagasaki, Japan.

Harley grew up in Richland, Washington next to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and combined with his experience in architectural heritage documentation and preservation work with the Library of Congress has produced an intimate record of American nuclear industry and infrastructure.

More of Harley’s work can be found at https://www.harleycowan.com/

Image: The loading face of B Reactor (1944), from A Cathedral of Science, Manhattan Project National Historical Park, Washington (2017)

Invisible Colors: The Arts of the Atomic Age by Gabrielle Decamous

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Invisible Colors jacketInvisible Colors The Arts of the Atomic Age is a monumental work by Gabriele Decamous published by MIT Press that surveys the ways by which art, worldwide, can help make visible what has long been in obscurity – the effects of radioactivity, the lives of radiation-impacted survivors, and the politics of the nuclear age.

Decamous’ fine-tuned radar for finding nuclear art throughout the globe makes this volume a landmark collection of nuclear imagery that explores atomic-inspired art from Marie Curie to the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Chernobyl disaster, the still-unfolding triple meltdowns of Fukushima, and a wide array of other atomic events that have marked our deep, brief, everlasting nuclear history.

Decamous looks at the “Radium Literature” based on the work and life of Marie Curie; “A-Bomb literature” by Hibakusha (bomb survivor) artists from Nagasaki and Hiroshima; responses to the bombings by Western artists and writers; art from the irradiated landscapes of the Cold War—nuclear test sites and uranium mines, mainly in the Pacific and some African nations; and nuclear accidents in Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island. She finds that the artistic voices of the East are often drowned out by those of the West. Hibakusha art and Japanese photographs of the bombing are little known in the West and were censored; poetry from the Marshall Islands and Moruroa is also largely unknown; Western theatrical and cinematic works focus on heroic scientists, military men, and the atomic mushroom cloud rather than the aftermath of the bombings.

Emphasizing art by artists who were present at these nuclear events—the “global Hibakusha”—rather than those reacting at a distance, Decamous puts Eastern and Western art in dialogue, analyzing the aesthetics and the ethics of nuclear representation.

Black Mist Burnt Country

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https://blackmistburntcountry.com.au/

The exhibition will be officially launched on 27 September 2016 at National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney marking the 60th anniversary of the first British atomic test at Maralinga. It is scheduled to tour ten metropolitan and regional public galleries in four states until 2019.

Taranaki, Hugh-RamageTaranaki, Hugh Ramage

On 27 September 1956 the British exploded an atomic bomb on Pitjantjatjara land in the southern part of the Great Victoria Desert of South Australia. The place would become known as Maralinga. It was the first of seven British atomic tests at Maralinga in 1956 and 1957. These were accompanied by over 600 so called ‘minor trials’ until 1963, which caused additional longterm contamination with highly toxic substances such as plutonium and beryllium.

The Maralinga tests were indeed not the first the British Government conducted on Australian territory. Three atomic devices were detonated in the Montebello archipelago off the coast of Western Australia and further two in Emu Field, about 250 km north of Maralinga. Yet it was the term Maralinga, which means ‘thunder’ in the now-extinct Garik Aboriginal language of the Northern Territory, which gave this dark part of Australian history its iconic name.

Atomic testing in Australia resulted in the forced removal of its original inhabitants, the Anangu Pitjantjatjara people, and their exposure, as well as that of military and civil personnel to radiation. The test program caused radioactive fall-out across the Australian continent and resulted in the  desecration and devastation of Aboriginal country.

Black Mist Burnt Country is a national touring exhibition concerned with the British atomic tests in Australia in the 1950s and ‘60s. It revisits the events and locations through the artworks of Indigenous and non-Indigenous contemporary artists across the mediums of painting, print-making, sculpture, photography, video and new media.

The works in the exhibition collectively span a period of seven decades, from the first atomic test in Hiroshima and the post-WW II era, through the times of anti-nuclear protest in the late 1970s and early 1980s to the present day.

Mary Kavanagh: Daughters of Uranium

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March 2, 2019 – April 28, 2019

Mary Kavanagh: Daughters of Uranium  solo exhibition at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery explores the legacy of the atomic age from the perspective of the sentient body and intergenerational trauma. While considering the ideological apparatus that has surrounded nuclearism since its inception, Mary Kavanagh’s new work has emerged from a longstanding interest in the body as a site of memory, violence, and inscription. Daughters of Uranium is a title redolent of both archaic chemical science and of generations born into an uncertain future. Citing the radioactive decay chain of Uranium 235, widely known for its use in the first atomic bomb, the elements in Uranium’s family tree are referred to as “daughters.” Kavanagh’s exhibition considers Promethean technologies in relation to accelerated environmental degradation and renewed global interest in nuclear armament. Cinematic projection, works on paper, artifacts, and a provocative series of structures using light, glass, sound, and lead are conceptualized as chapters that combine personal and political narratives organized around central themes and historic periods.

Co-curated by Christina Cuthbertson and Lindsey Sharman. Co-organized with the Founders’ Gallery. An exhibition publication with essays by Peter Van Wyck and Jayne Wilkinson will be launched in 2020.

https://www.saag.ca/art/exhibitions/0738-mary-kavanagh-%7C-daughters-of-uranium

BOMBHEAD

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BOMBHEAD is a thematic exhibition organized by guest curator John O’Brian that explores the emergence and impact of the nuclear age as represented by artists and their art. Strongly associated with obliteration and destruction, nuclear technologies have had a profound cultural and ecological impact since their development in the mid-20th century.

Encompassing the pre- and postwar period from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 to the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011, BOMBHEAD brings together paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, photographs, film and video that deal with this often dark subject matter. The exhibition will address some of the most pressing issues of the postwar era. What has been the role of art in producing an image of the bomb and nuclear energy? Have nuclear art and images heightened or lessened anxieties about the atomic threat, or have they done both simultaneously? How should different expressive approaches to nuclear risk be understood? The themes explored in this exhibition will strongly resonate with the works on view in Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, which reflect Murakami’s own reckoning with the nuclear age.

Artists in the exhibition include: Carl Beam, Henry Busse, Blaine Campbell, Bruce Conner, Gregory Coyes, Robert Del Tredici, Wang Du, Harold Edgerton, Gathie Falk, Robert Filliou, Richard Finnie, Betty Goodwin, Adolph Gottlieb, Richard Harrington, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Robert Keziere, Roy Kiyooka, Bob Light and John Houston, Ishiuchi Miyako, Carel Moiseiwitsch, Andrea Pinheiro, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Ruwedel, John Scott, Erin Siddall, Nancy Spero and Barbara Todd.

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It is two minutes to midnight

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May 11 – May 19, 2018

Opening Reception: May 11, 5 – 8PM

In partnership with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Weinberg/Newton Gallery presents a unique virtual reality experience by Ellen Sandor and (art)n artists Diana Torres, Azadeh Gholizadeh, and Chris Kemp. This VR was inspired by Martyl and produced in collaboration with Carolina Cruz-Neira and The Emerging Analytic Center at University of Arkansas at Little Rock. It Is Two Minutes to Midnight highlights recent heightened threats of nuclear warfare, growing tensions between nations, and climate change alongside scientific discoveries, like CRISPR genomic editing, that could improve healthcare and have other applications.

Ellen Sandor and (art)n artists Diana Torres, Azadeh Gholizadeh, and Chris Kemp in collaboration with Carolina Cruz-Neira

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Terry Ownby presents at Geomedia 2017

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Dr. Terry Ownby, Associate Professor of Photo Media at Idaho State University, presented a paper at the Geomedia 2017 international conference held at Karlstad University in Sweden. Ownby’s paper investigated the intersection of photographic, cartographic, and remote sensing methodologies used in the creation of his on-going nuclear photography series, “Hidden in Plain View: Human Contact with Nuclear Missiles.” The photographic series interrogates the interaction between tourists and citizens recreating and living within the boundaries of a U.S. National Park Service unit, which itself is within the boundaries of America’s first and still active Minuteman missile complex.

      Spaces of the In-Between, An Interdisciplinary International Conference   Karlstad, SWEDEN, 9-12 May 2017

From Trinity to Fukushima and Beyond : New Approaches to Nuclear Culture and the Nuclear Arts in the 20th and 21st Century

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This is the site of the world’s first nuclear explosion.  It occurred on July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m. Mountain War Time on the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range of the White Sands Proving Ground in the Jornada del Muerto desert in New Mexico.  The 20 kiloton “Trinity” explosion was the birth of the Atomic Age.

Peter Goin: This is the site of the world’s first nuclear explosion. It occurred on July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m. Mountain War Time on the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range of the White Sands Proving Ground in the Jornada del Muerto desert in New Mexico. The 20 kiloton “Trinity” explosion was the birth of the Atomic Age.

Graduate and Emerging Scholars Symposium From Trinity to Fukushima and Beyond

Saturday March 10, 2016 University of Montreal

Organizing Committee : Amandine Davre, Livia Monnet, Suzanne Paquet, Mathieu Li-Goyette.

For information on the conference contact Livia Monnet

rodica-livia.monnet@umontreal.ca

Conference keynote speaker Robert Del Tredici is a photographer and writer whose first encounter with the nuclear age occurred while documenting the 1979 reactor melt-down at Three Mile Island. He next travelled to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to meet and photograph survivors of the first atomic bombs. This was preparation for a six- year endeavour to document all twelve of the H-bomb factories throughout the United States. Along the way, he interviewed nuclear pioneers, atomic workers, radiation victims, and activists. He then tracked the Soviet Bomb, the attempted cleanup of the US nuclear weapons complex, Canadian uranium mines, and the site of the world’s oldest and largest uranium refinery, Port Hope, Ontario. He has published five books of photographs and text on the nuclear age.

His keynote presentation at the Nuclear Arts Conference will explore the concept of the Nuclear Uncanny — those shape-shifting, fleeting, everlasting, invisible, contradictory materials, energies, perceptions, and anxieties that permeate the nuclear age yet continually evade our grasp.  Del Tredici believes that the Nuclear Uncanny can be best captured in art.

 

Recent debates on the Anthropocene have proposed July 16, 1945 – the date of the Trinity nuclear test conducted in the Jornada del Muerto desert in New Mexico – as the official beginning of this human-induced geologic era. The Nuclear Age has produced a rich archive of nuclear-themed works and representations spanning all genres – post-apocalyptic dystopia, fantasy, horror, comedy, mystery fiction — and all media platforms, from the visual arts, literature, cinema, and television to comics, graphic novels, manga, and video games.

This graduate-and-emerging-scholars symposium proposes to examine some of the productions and mutations of the nuclear arts and cultures in the 20th and 21 centuries. The primary objective of the symposium is to establish a transnational network of young researchers and emerging scholars (MA, doctoral and postdoctoral students, junior scholars) working on the nuclear arts and nuclear culture in the US, Japan, India, France, UK, Germany, Australia, South and North Korea, China, Russia and elsewhere. The symposium also seeks to explore new approaches, theories, and methodologies for the analysis, interpretation, and reimagining of the global nuclear ecology in the arts and in popular culture – in particular in the current, post-Fukushima context when the danger of other nuclear accidents, and of nuclear proliferation in Asia seems imminent.