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Why is art history important, anyway?

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I occasionally get asked, “Why is art history important, anyway?” And frankly, I’m sometimes embarrassed to say that I don’t always have a great answer. Art history probably never saved lives, it didn’t cure cancer, and it hasn’t sent a man to the moon, but it does change the world.

I forget that most Americans carry around masterpieces of art history in our pockets. I’m talking about your iPhone, not your pocket lent. But given the right setting, I’m sure that could be a piece of art, too. While scrolling through our instagram feeds we don’t really think about the fact that we wouldn’t have the iPhone if we didn’t have Johnny Ive, and we wouldn’t have Johnny Ive if we didn’t have Dieter Rams, and we probably wouldn’t have Dieter Rams if we didn’t have the Bauhaus school, and we wouldn’t have the Bauhaus School if we didn’t have Walter Gropius, and I can make this list go on, but I’ll spare you.

I believe art history is important to anyone with even the mildest of interest in the appearance of the world around them. It’s no less important than shutter speeds or the latest lighting technique, and it’s an integral part of the modern artistic process. When a profession relies on your sense of sight (and vision), art history should somewhere become part of your profession as well.

We live in a world where everything is a remix, genuine creativity is next to impossible, and what we think of as creativity certainly doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Many things wouldn’t be as we know them if they didn’t have the inspiration of great history behind them.

NYC, PetaPixel, and more

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 It’s been a crazy couple of weeks here at Retracing America!

I made a quick last minute trip up to NYC and took a look at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Walker Evans archive, which houses a number of letters that were written between Robert Frank and Walker Evans while Frank was on the road. The archive also houses the original Guggenheim Fellowship manuscript which was written in Evans’s hand. I wish I could share the letters and entire experience with everyone, but The Met said you’d have to use your imagination or make an appointment of your own.

We’ve also been featured on a couple more blogs!
http://www.undiscoveredamerica.org/2014/07/29/kickstarter-retracing-america/
http://petapixel.com/2014/07/18/photographer-looks-retrace-footsteps-robert-frank-americans/

My biggest thanks again to everyone who has already contributed! Please continue to help spread the word, share the videos, and help make some awesome photos! Just a few dollars can really make a difference. We have 20 days to go!

GO TO KICKSTARTER

Staff Pick!

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It’s been an exciting first couple of days around here! We’re up to a little over $800 and counting, and, as you can tell from the email above, Retracing America will be featured as one of Kickstarter’s staff picks! This means that the project will see the front page of Kickstarter if it has a high enough popularity ranking!

We’ve also been featured on our first blog! The cool folks from over at GlobeIn.com, who bring together creatives from all over the world, have listed us in their “20 Photographers [who] Want to Show us Their World!” Check it out here: http://bit.ly/1p1lnwW

This project can’t happen without your support. If you’re able, please go to the page and back as soon as you can. Your cards won’t be charged until the project is successfully funded on the end date. And my greatest thanks again to those who have already contributed!

Tomorrow’s the day!

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We’re dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s here, because tomorrow’s the big day! We’ll be pushing the big green button, and Retracing America will go live on Kickstarter. If you’d like to catch a preview of the campaign before it’s live, feel free to visit http://kck.st/1madvor.

Continuing to help spread the word and generate as much buzz as possible will be the biggest challenge. Sharing the project on social media as soon as it launches will be one of the biggest contributions you can make. Getting people talking as soon as the project gets going is crucial to having a successful campaign with longevity. If a kickstarter gets to 60% funded, it has a 98% probability of success. This campaign won’t work without you, and I couldn’t me more thankful to those who have already contributed.