Fourteen color photographic prints by Christina Patoski, depicting front-lawn and front-porch holiday displays (primarily Christmas) in various U.S. cities.
Scope and Contents:
The fourteen photographs in this group are Cibachrome prints from 35mm. Kodachrome slides, documenting front-lawn and front-porch holiday displays (primarily Christmas) in various U.S. cities, including a variety of economic, ethnic, and regional groups, architectural genres, and decorating styles, documenting a "unique seasonal custom found only in America." Several images suggest attempts to broaden the cultural/religious basis of the celebration, combining Jewish traditions with the Christmas decorating tradition. Cities documented are Denver, Fort Worth, Minneapolis, Sun Valley (Idaho), Manhattan and Brooklyn, N.Y., Corpus Christi, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans, and Santa Fe.
The Cibachrome prints are horizontal on 16" x 20" paper, with 22" x 28" mats, except for "Holiday Spectacular," which was used on an introductory panel in ta national Museum of American History exhibition, without a mat.
Collection is unarranged.
Biographical / Historical:
Photographer, documentary producer, and journalist, Christina Patoski began photographing front-lawn and front-porch Christmas displays in 1973, in Fort Worth, Texas, beginning with a house on Diaz Street in the Como neighborhood. She called the photograph "Red Extravaganza," and it inspired her to photograph other houses. Driving up and down Fort Worth Streets at Christmastime with her saxophonist husband Johnny Reno, she worked exclusively at night. Concentrating at first on the most elaborate displays, she later sought simpler, more personal decorations, and became more discriminating. She repeated in many areas of the country as part of an ongoing project spread over many years. She is interested in documenting "unusual" elements of popular culture within a variety of topical fields.
She told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "I've seen so much, that for me to stop and take a photo now, it has to be something special… I've noticed, though, that there are a lot of houses decorated this year. And to me, that indicates a sense of optimism… when people decorate, there's a sense of good feeling."
Her photographic technique is simple, employing two fifteen-year-old 35mm cameras and low-speed Kodachrome film, using commercial processing. She has been photographing since she was a child, when her father encouraged her. Graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism, she spent several years in Minneapolis as a dancer, choreographer, and television editor. She returned to Fort Worth in 1976 to work in television news, but since 1979 has been a free-lance writer, radio reporter (contributing to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered), and a producer and writer.
She is interested in documenting unusual elements of popular culture (what she calls "weirdness"), such as her Texas Monthly story, illustrated with her portraits, on Texas women with "big" hair. She maintains files on longhorn steer, pyromaniacs, tornadoes, and cheerleading, and considers herself a "Margaret Mead of popular culture."
Jackie Koszczuk and Janet Tyson, "A Sense of the festive: Photographer captures home-grown Christmas Art," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Section E, December 25, 1993, pp. 1, 4.
Collection donated by Christina Patoski, December 14, 1994.
Collection is open for research use onsite by appointment. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
Christina Patoski retains copyright. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Christianity and other religions -- Judaism -- Holiday decorations -- 1970-2000 Search this
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: email@example.com.
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.
Society of Independent Artists (New York, N.Y.) Search this
179 Pages (Transcript)
1979 January 16-1980 October 22
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Allan Rohan Crite conducted 1979 January 16-1980 October 22, by Robert F. Brown for the Archives of American Art. Also participating in the interview is Crite's assistant, Susan Thompson.
Crite describes his family background and his youth in Boston. He gives great detail about his childhood interest in art and the art classes he took as a child, sharing drawings he did then with the interviewer. He remembers his art education at the Museum of Fine Arts School and involvement with the Society of Independent Artists. Crite discusses his ideas about the Episcopal church, his religious beliefs, and his interest in the liturgy and spirituals in his artwork. He recounts his engagement in the Navy, participation in the WPA, and work with the Rambusch Company. Crite describes paintings he did of street life in black communities of Boston in the 1930s, a series of portraits, and paintings he did to illustrate spirituals and the Episcopal liturgy. He speaks about race relations and explains his motivations for an educational project in progress entitled, "The Cultural Heritage of the United States: a Rediscovery," promoting a multicultural view of American history. The last segment of the interview includes Susan Thompson, a fabric artist and close friend collaborating with Crite on projects mostly of a religious nature, including vestments and altar cloths.
Biographical / Historical:
Allan Rohan Crite (1910-2007) was a painter and illustrator from Boston, Massachusetts.
Originally recorded on 4 sound tape reels. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 7 hr., 8 min.
This interview is part of the Archives' Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.