We recently did some work with the R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport, Louisiana. This, we have found to our delight, is a remarkable collection of American and European painting, sculpture, decorative art, vintage graphic art and vintage books (historical and illustrative), with an emphasis upon historical and individual recognition and exploration.
Making this even more exciting, is the importance to me of Shreveport as my means of getting started with the special magic of modern music. How so? In the 1950s, Winnipeg winters were super-cold, and they were good for one thing—jacking the 50,000 Watt power of Shreveport radio station KWKH! Hunkered down with frost and ice an inch thick on the window pane, I stumbled upon that bundle of elemental cool, flowing out like a supernova in a dark void. One Saturday night I heard a guy named Elvis Presley on a live show called “Louisiana Hayride.” That same night, as always, the many hours of country/western programming was followed by a show of blues recordings by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, as presented by DJ, Frank “Gatemouth” Page.
The grounds of the Norton Gallery consist of a glowing forest and a dazzling azalea garden.
A KWKH moment fortuitously captured Almost too good to be true!
Radio Novak c.1935; Anonymous; 39 1/4″ x 24 1/2″;A-,L
To pull together the art story and the radio music story, we’ll bring to you some of our vintage graphics pertaining to the days when radio was amazing!
Here it’s the phenomenon of beaming in the night, embraced by an industrial design that rocks!
Philips c.1950; Anonymous; 48” x 33”; B+, L
Another night visit by heaven-sent artistry.
TSF Ergos c. 1938;Francois Belry; 46 3/8″ x 31 1/2″; A,L
A shining face broadcasting something so new you can’t let it go!
Rayon d’ Or 1898;Pal; 40″ x 32″; A-,L
Fit for an art gallery— magic in the air!
Radio Vitus 1928; Libis Libiszewski ; 12″x 9 5/8″; A,P,Plate from Pan
A radio day untouched by KWKH–but thrilling to excellence just the same and in the spirit of the R.W. Norton treasures.
Dominique 1928; Anonymous; 12″x 9 5/8″; A,P,Plate from Pan
Maybe not Howlin’ Wolf fan club material, but clearly a searcher for something special with a view to that smashing museum-level radio console.
Deso Radio 1949; Pierre Monnerat; 50 ¼” x 35 ½”; A-, P
Here, our most recent find in the radio sphere. Tons of exciting music definitely was a major pay-off for folks in those days.
Reflecting upon pushing the envelope is the key outcome of the great Norton Gallery. Their major show at this time brings forward a collection of very dramatic military posters, inducing considerations about modern-day mass conflicts.