Center for Latter-day Saint Arts

On This Day...

A DAILY FACTOID OF OUR ART HISTORY

Jun 1

Woman's Exponent, a semi-monthly newspaper owned and published by and for LDS women was first issued on this day (1872). Poetry, fiction, humor, and articles on theology, Women's Suffrage, and other contemporary issues filled its pages from 1872-1914.

Read More
Glen Nelson
May 22

Western film Bad Bascomb was released on this day (1946). A notorious outlaw and his partner join a Mormon wagon train heading for Utah, but along they way Bascomb befriends a little girl, played by Margaret O'Brien. This western film from MGM earned earned more than three million dollars at the box office.

Read More
Glen Nelson
May 17

The Manti Utah Temple was dedicated on this day (1875). It included murals by Minera Teichert. Revered for her Western Americana and religious paintings--her 42 murals from the Book of Mormon are particularly cherished now--her work was not well-known during her lifetime and was only embraced after centenary exhibitions of her birth brought the paintings to a wider audience. "Minerva Teichert's Manti Temple Murals," by Doris R. Dant, BYU Studies Quarterly, Vol. 38, Issue 3, 1999.

Read More
Glen Nelson
May 12

On this day (1935) the Church of the Air broadcasted President Heber J. Grant's General Conference address to sixty-eight radio stations throughout the United States and Canada. At the time, it was the largest audience he had ever spoken to. Today, millions of people will watch or listen to General Conference by broadcast. - Mormon Cinema: Origins to 1952 by Randy Astle (Mormon Arts Center, 2018) pp. 411

Read More
Glen Nelson
May 10

Franz M. Johnansen (1928) has been called "the founder of the LDS contemporary art movement that expresses spiritual belief through the human form." His sculptures can be seen on the exteriors of the Church History Museum, West Temple, the Harold B. Lee Library and the Washington DC Temple.

Read More
Glen Nelson
May 9

George Edward Anderson, photographer, author of Birth of Mormonism in Pictures, died on this day (1928). A traveling photographer, Anderson documented rural settles and, most famously, early historical sites.

Read More
Glen Nelson
May 8

The Utah Shakespeare Festival received a Tony Award (Outstanding Regional Theatre) on this day (2000), 39 years after Fred C. Adams founded the Cedar City, Utah institution. The Festival now draws 100,000 patrons each year for its season of 300 performances in three theatres over a period of 16 weeks.

Read More
Glen Nelson
May 6

Living Scriptures was incorporated on this day (1974). Jared F. Brown and Seldon O. Young created the venture to produce animated stories from LDS scriptures and Church history. Using telemarking sales techniques but involving creatives that included Orson Scott Card, Lex de Azevedo, Kurt Bestor, and W. Cleon Skousen, the ever-morphing entity became a ubiquitous presence in the era's Mormon identity, particularly regarding children and their first experiences with the scriptures.

Read More
Glen Nelson
May 4

James Joyce's sprawling novel of allusions and wordplay, Finnegans Wake, was published on this day (1939). In its innumerable puns and parodies, Mormonism appears multiple times, including this: "usking queasy quizzers of his ruful continence, his childlinen scarf to encourage his obsequies where he'd check their debths in that mormon's thames" (197.35-36; 199.1) "The Mormons at The Wake," by L. L. Lee, James Joyce Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Summer, 1973)

Read More
Glen Nelson
May 1

WPA artist Carlos John Anderson was born on this day (1904). An "American Scene" artist who studied at the New York Art Students League, the Julian Academy and the Ecole des Beaux Art, his works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum, Princeton University, the Brookland Museum, the National Museum of America Art, Asheville Art Museum, the Springville Museum of Art and the Utah State Fine Arts Collection.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Apr. 25

Emilline B. Wells, whose Salt Lake City obituary called her the state's foremost woman, died on this day (1921). A proponent of women's rights, Wells was a poet, editor, journalist, General Relief Society President, and was the first Utah woman to receive an honorary degree (BYU). She wrote, "I believe in women, especially thinking women."

Read More
Glen Nelson
Apr. 24

The last gallery exhibition of works by Ultra Violet (Isabelle Collin Dufresne) before her death takes place on this day (2014) at the Dillon Gallery in New York. Author of Famous for 15 Minutes: My Years with Andy Warhol, artist of pop and spiritual works after her conversion to the LDS faith, the film actress and muse died two months later.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Apr. 23

Salt Lake City residents awaken on this day (1925) to discover that Saltair, their beloved amusement park on the Great Salt Lake, had been destroyed by fire the day before. Completed in 1893 and one of the first amusement parks in America, Saltair was the Coney Island of Utah...albeit a Church-co-owned and operated courting venue. Saltair was built again, and then again.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Apr. 22

The New York World's Fair opened on this day (1964) and ran for two sixth-month seasons, ending October 17, 1965. The was a seminal moment for taking the gospel message to the world. In the Mormon Pavilion, Christus, a copy of a statue by Bertel Thordvaldsen, was first displayed at the Fair, as was the premiere of the film, Man's Search for Happiness, and a large-scale mock up of the façade of the Salt Lake Temple. "Elder Perry: Mormon Pavilion at 1964 World's Fair Had Impact," by R. Scott Lloyd, lds.org, September 22, 2014.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Apr. 21

Brandon Sanderson's first published novel appears on this day (2005) while still a BYU student. It was Elantris, a speculative fiction about a cursed city. The series set in the universe of Cosmere followed. The sprawling series of books has been published in 35 languages.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Apr. 19

John Ford's western cinematic masterpiece, Wagon Master, premiered on this day (1950). The film that Ford called his personal favorite, it tells the story of a pacifist Mormon wagon trail traveling to Utah's San Juan River. The journey is a sympathetic retelling of the historic Hole in the Rock expedition of 1879-80.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Apr. 17

Pianist Grant Johannesen gives his debut piano recital at the New York Times Hall on this day (1944), the first of many acclaimed concerts from this Salt Lake City native. Of his performance, critic Paul Bowles wrote in the Herald Tribune, “…the important thing to note…is that he knows how to make the piano sound interesting all the time.” Herald Tribune, see Grant Johannesen: Journey of an American Pianist, Univ. of Utah Press, 2007, pp. 27-28.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Apr. 15

LeConte Stewart was born on this day (1891). His unromanticized landscapes of his native Utah, particularly rural Utah, remain influential to contemporary artists. Stewart taught at the University of Utah for nearly 20 years, and died at the age of 99, having exhibited his paintings, drawings, and prints at museums of Utah.

Read More
Glen Nelson
Apr. 14

On this day (1993), playwright Tony Kushner won the Pulitzer Prize for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, the first of his two-part play. Heavily influenced by LDS theology and set in the era of AIDS, the play ends with the following: Stage Directions: And then in a shower of unearthly white light, spreading great opalescent gray-silver wings, the angel descends into the room and floats above the bed. Angel: Greetings Prophet; The Great Work begins: The Messenger has arrived. (3.7.46-47)

Read More
Glen Nelson
Apr. 12

Parley P. Pratt--poet, author, publisher, apostle, explorer, diarist, and missionary--was born on this day (1807). His "A Dialogue between Joseph Smith and the Devil" (1844) is one of the earliest works of Mormon fiction. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt... (1874) was published posthumously and remains one of the most-read Mormon texts of the era.

Read More
Glen Nelson