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Colder than Ithaca

Celebrate winter’s chill with a display in Olin Library of landscapes colder than Ithaca: Iceland and the far North Atlantic.

Two concurrent exhibitions on display through late March offer a glimpse of the vast range of Old Norse-Icelandic studies:

  • Góð bók er gulli betri” (“A Good Book Is More Valuable Than Gold”) focuses on reading and scholarship from the Fiske Icelandic Collection – one of the most important repositories for the study of the Nordic world during the Viking Age as well as modern Iceland. Two exhibition cases are located across from the circulation desk on Olin’s main floor.
  • World of the West Norse” contemplates the rapid expansion of the Norse presence in Europe during the Middle Ages, which marked one of the great cultural shifts in European history. This display of maps, illustrations and captions is located directly outside Olin’s Department of Maps and Media in Olin Library, down the stairs from the café.




Spectacular birds

The Lab of Ornithology’s birds of paradise website features HD videos, images, sounds, interactive features and classroom tools for teachers.

Tretter, by a nose

Five broken noses later, JC Tretter ’13 remains committed to an NFL career. The Big Red offensive tackle was sidelined for the Jan. 26 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., after a training camp mishap “moved my nose across my face,” Tretter said.

Surgery repositioned Tretter’s nose. “I have had much worse,” said the ILR student, referring to a torn meniscus repaired in his sophomore year.

He resumed training Jan. 29 and went to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind., where officials from all 32 NFL teams watch 300 elite football players perform before the 2013 NFL Draft, April 25-27, at Radio City Music Hall.

Tretter hopes the Indianapolis event makes up for being idled during the Mobile showcase. Missing the Senior Bowl “was a huge missed opportunity. Every team wanted to see me play against higher competition,” Tretter said.

If he isn’t drafted this spring, Tretter said, “I will look to jump on with a team as an undrafted free agent.”

– Mary Catt, ILR School

Chordially yours

The Chordials co-ed a cappella group won first place in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinals Feb. 16, the group’s first appearance in nine years. Watch the Chordials’ winning set:

Rare birds

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has collected the first known video documentation of one of the world’s rarest birds on its tundra breeding grounds in Chukotka, Russia. Lab videographer Gerrit Vyn captured footage of the first moments when spoon-billed sandpiper chicks venture away from their nest. The spoon-billed sandpiper population has plummeted to about 100 breeding pairs, and the species could be extinct within a decade.

Bloomberg extols tech campus

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg included a shout-out to the Cornell NYC Tech campus in his final State of the City address.

“On Roosevelt Island, we’ve set the stage for Cornell University to build an entirely new applied science and engineering campus, maybe the most exciting economic development project our city has ever undertaken,” Bloomberg said.

Long String theory

Sound and performance artist Ellen Fullman will be in residence at Cornell with her Long String Instrument for a series of events Feb. 18-24 in Milstein Hall.

Developed by Fullman in 1981, the Long String Instrument is an installation of dozens of wires, 50 feet or longer, played by fingers coated with rosin to produce organ-like overtones. Her work demonstrates the physical and mathematical roots of musical intervals.

Fullman begins the instrument’s installation Feb. 14 in the Milstein Hall dome.

‘Enigmatic’ artist dies

Acclaimed minimalist painter, illustrator and sculptor Richard Artschwager ’44 died in Albany, N.Y., Feb. 9 at age 89, five days after a Whitney Museum of American Art career retrospective, Richard Artschwager!, closed.

Despite his interest in art, Artschwager studied mathematics and chemistry at Cornell. He was drafted into the Army in 1944, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and finished his degree in 1948.

The Whitney’s catalog of the exhibition notes:

“For nearly 60 years, Richard Artschwager (b. 1923) has undertaken an unrelenting investigation of art’s ability to mediate contemporary experience and perception. Although his work, which includes sculpture, painting, prints and drawing, is often characterized as having elements of Pop Art, Minimalism and Conceptual Art, his practice defies easy categorization and his oeuvre is not entirely understood. In Richard Artschwager! the breadth of the artist’s idealistic, diverse work and unconventional materials, such as Formica, rubberized hair and Celotex, is fully illustrated and explored for the first time.”

According to the Whitney website: “Richard Artschwager’s first solo exhibition was in 1965 at the age of 42 at Leo Castelli Gallery. Since then his work has been shown throughout the world … This exhibition is a comprehensive review of Artschwager’s remarkable creative exploration of the mediums of sculpture, painting and drawing and the first retrospective exhibition of Artschwager’s work since one organized at the Whitney in 1988.”

The Artschwager retrospective opens at the UCLA Hammer Museum in June.

Love is in the air

And it’s given an infographic treatment by Big Red Love Stories.

Union ephemera

A blackball box, a hoodwink and other glimpses of union-related history from the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives are on display in Catherwood Library.

Known in the archives world as “realia” – 3-D objects from real life – the Kheel selections span the 1800s to the 1970s.

Highlights from the exhibition include:

A wooden blackball box, or communal ballot box; a leather hoodwink used as a blindfold in initiation rituals; a switch lock used on railroads to direct trains; a seal press for the Molders Union No. 107 of Auburn, N.Y.; badges displaying ranks and positions of railroad employees; a watch fob from a railroad uniform; and mourning badges worn in remembrance of co-workers.

Also displayed are the lyrics of a 1975 song, “Look for the Union Label,” sung by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union Chorus, which urged Americans to buy union-made products:

Look for the union label
when you are buying that coat, dress or blouse.
Remember somewhere our union’s sewing,
our wages going to feed the kids, and run the house.
We work hard, but who’s complaining?
Thanks to the I.L.G. we’re paying our way!
So always look for the union label, it says we’re able to make it in the U.S.A.!

 — Mary Catt, ILR School

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