Martyl

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“It seems like artists and architects draw on napkins when they get ideas. I said, ‘Well, obviously from what you tell me the clock should be on the world.’ He said, ‘That’s terrific!’ What all these high-powered thinkers were trying to figure out, in two seconds, I said, ‘Put a clock on the world,’ and that’s how that happened. Artists like to be asked to do things, but not enough are.” 

Minutes to Midnight: original cover design for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1947. Courtesy of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.  

From New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts.         

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Martyl (1917–2013) was both a celebrated landscape artist and the renowned designer of the iconic Doomsday Clock (1947), commissioned by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, University of Chicago. Being an artist member of a scientific culture, Martyl is without predecessors for bridging a gap between the two creative spheres. In the 1960s, she created early experimental “synaptic” artworks she produced with Mylar that merged artistic processes with scientific themes.  

Martyl’s works are in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum, Illinois State Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, and St. Louis Art Museum, with more than 100 solo exhibitions at Printworks Gallery in Chicago and others throughout the United States. Martyl was married to nuclear physicist Alexander Langsdorf Jr. and had two daughters, Suzanne and Alexandra, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. A native of Missouri and longtime resident of Illinois, Martyl preserved the landmark home and studio of modernist architect Paul Schweikher in Schaumburg, Illinois, where she continued to reside and work until her death on March 26, 2013. 

Sangre de Christo Mountains I, 1975, Martyl 

18 ½” x25” Ink on French transfer paper 

From the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection  Digital photograph by James Prinz Photography 

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Betty Friedan (1921–2006), American writer, activist, and feminist, born in Peoria, Illinois. Friedan was a leading figure of the women’s movement in the United States and the author of The Feminine Mystique (1963) in which she declared,  

“The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.” 

“Betty Friedan opening at the Whitney Museum,” 1969,

by Garry Winogrand, 

12 3⁄8" × 18½" modern gelatin silver print. From “15 Big Shots Portfolio.” 

From the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection, Digital photograph by James Prinz Photography 

KEYWORDS

Doomsday Clock, Mylar, landscape painting , drawing, PHSColograms