Text-Mining the “Needy Artist”

February 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

The phrase “needy artist” popped up in my research on Mary E. Hutchinson’s early career.  I first noticed it in historic (1932) New York Times articles reporting on new open-air art marts such as the Washington Square Sidewalk Show sponsored by an association of needy artists.  By text-mining the New York Times from 1910-1943 via ProQuest, I found that the “needy artist” spiked dramatically in 1932-1933 and then receded into the background of the New Deal art programs it helped to create.

Mary E. Hutchinson (1934)For Hutchinson, the figure of the “needy artist” opened up new forums such as the Washington Square Sidewalk Show and cooperative galleries run by artists themselves in a destabilized art market before FDR initiated the New Deal.


Recently Located – Hutchinson Paintings

February 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

This past week the owner of two portraits of Joanna by Mary E. Hutchinson contacted me through this blog.  To see the paintings visit my digital catalog of Hutchinson’s work at http://meh.omeka.net .

Mary E. Hutchinson (1934)I knew about the existence of one of the paintings from this photograph of Hutchinson exhibiting at the 1934 Washington Square Sidewalk show in New York.  The portrait of Joanna [in checkered shirt] is shown immediately above Hutchinson.  However, the second portrait of Joanna [with pillow] is a completely new find!

The model is Joanna Lanza who shared her life with Hutchinson from 1931-1935.  Hutchinson painted multiple portraits of Joanna and her many sisters during this time.

The Queens of the Bowery

February 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

Last week I gave a paper titled “Simone de Beauvoir and the Queens of the Bowery” at the third annual Emory University Studies in Sexualities Graduate Conference.  In the paper, I engage the history of “gender” as analytic vocabulary through this historic postcard (1945) of the Queens of the Bowery who performed at Sammy’s Bowery Follies in New York.

I am very interested in knowing if anyone else has encountered other historic images or information about Sammy’s Bowery Follies or the Queens of the Bowery!

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