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His museum more than meets that goal. Its catalogue shows it to be the place to go for the art of both American frontier artists. For example, the museum has A dash for the timber. This oil on canvas made Remington a major painter, in 1889. The museum also has The fall of the cowboy. Two cowboys with their horses about to pass through gate rails, under a gray sky, in a wintry landscape, are painted so close in tones that you know a way of life's in its twilight years. Also, the museum has The outlaw. The bronze freezes in time the realistic folds in the rider's hat and his shifting weight against his pitching horse.
The catalogue also shows the museum to be the place to go for American drawings, paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures and watercolors. The staff sees as landmark additions American Indian symbols by painter Marsden Hartley and Barber shop, Bass rocks #2, Blips and ifs, Chinatown, and Egg beater #2 by lithographer and painter Stuart Davis. John Singer Sargent's portrait of Alice Vanderbilt Shepard, too, is seen as a catch. It contrasts the girl's carefully worked face with the thinly painted rest. Who can forget the brilliant white with blue and pink in her jacket and folds of her blouse?
Pride of ownership also goes out to sculptures by Alexander Calder and David Smith. There's Lunar landscape by Louise Nevelson, on painted wood. It goes out also to photographs. In fact, the museum's photography collection now swells at over 250,000 objects. For example, there's Berthoud by Robert Adams. There's Great gallery, Horseshoe Canyon, Utah, by Linda Connor. There's Music - a sequence of 10 cloud photographs by Alfred Stieglitz.
There are even daguerreotypes by Josiah Hawes and Albert Southworth. Two women posed with a chair has quite a range of clear tones, because of an extra layer of silver having been electroplated to copper plate. The smallest detail in their lace collars is caught. The light from the ceiling skylight also catches both women, in a Rembrandt-like highlighting.
Patricia Junker et al have come up with nicely arranged illustrations and clearly thought out write-ups for each item in the exhibition. AN AMERICAN COLLECTION's a keeper. It works well, too, with Junker's JOHN STEUART CURRY: INVENTING THE MIDDLE WEST and WINSLOW HOMER: ARTIST AND ANGLER.
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But if you need light, useful advice about writing in cyberspace, or quick reminders about using numbers correctly, office etiquette, or brush-ups on grammar and writing, and have a laugh in the process, this book is for you. I highly recommend it.
O'Conner's books (Woe Is I, Words Fail Me, and now, You Send Me) remind me of an editor I work with who is a pun a minute. She can't stop herself and every conversation with her takes such twists and turns that the less articulate are left several sentences behind. If I didn't know that editor, I'd think that O'Conner and Kellerman had to have spent hours creating her more painful plays on words for some of their chapter and section titles:
Grammar a la Modem
Lurk Before You Leap
A Click and a Promise
Help for the Whomless
And on and on and on. I suspect it just spills out of them, fed by their obvious exuberance for their work.
But all of these little plays are wrapped around very helpful bits of logical suggestions and advice delivered in a conversational style. While ostensibly meant to deal with the horrific onslaught of wretched writing that shows up in
our e-mail, much of the book's advice can be applied to other writing. The team also reminds us of the need for accuracy in numbers and other facts, pointing out the difficulties so many people have with noticing what should be obvious exaggerations or faulty understanding of numbers.
O'Conner and her husband-coauthor divide this book into three sections:
The Virtual Mensch, which examines protocol issues--when to use e-mail, the need for subject lines, choice of e-mail names, keeping the reader in mind and more.
Alpha Mail, which focuses more closely on better writing (with such advice as divide long sentences into shorter ones, break the message into paragraphs); eliminating cliches, which includes a list of cliches followed by an authors' comment, e.g., acid test (Give it an F), diamond in the rough (cubic zirconium),
draw a blank (so fill it in), easier said than done (Then say it); the need for the writer to re-read an e-mail before sending it, and other topics.
Words of Passage, which takes the authors right back to their real issue,
language. Among other topics, they take us through easy lessons on it/its/it's/
and who/whom, subject-verb agreement and punctuation.
This book is a handy addition to the bookshelf of any editor or writer interested in how the language is or should be used.
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