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Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolution Revolution

As we stand on the cusp of 2013, perhaps you are pondering what your New Year's resolutions should be. And don't say "exercise more." That one has been done a million times over, and I think we all know deep down that we'll be back to our old habits after the first few weeks of the year, so why don't we choose something more fun to resolve that is actually attainable? Here are a few options, inspired by items from the collections of the Archives of American Art:

1. Resolve to visit our National Parks

Josef Albers postcard to Marcel Breuer, 1938 or 1939
Marcel Breuer papers, Archives of American Art
Here the artist Josef Albers has modified a postcard from Great Smoky Mountains National Park to wish his friend Marcel Breuer a happy New Year. Take a tip from Albers and pay a visit to one of our fine National Parks this year - if you live in the United States, chances are you have one within an hour's drive of your house. And if not, you can always browse through fabulous vintage photos of the Parks in the Smithsonian Collections Search Center.

2. Resolve to have hope

Conrado Massaguer New Year’s greeting to Abril Lamarque, 1933
Abril Lamarque papers, Archives of American Art
Cartoonist Conrado Massaguer sent this wish for "a better 1933" to his friend and fellow cartoonist Abril Lamarque, and illustrated it with a prosperous-looking gentleman in spats (perhaps a self-portrait). No doubt money was tight for the two artists during the Depression, but Massaguer signs the card "broke but hopeful." Unlike a certain diamond that bears its name, hope doesn't cost anything, and it might even cure depression.

3. Resolve to let loose a little
Colin de Land and Pat Place at a party, not after 2000 Nov. 30 / unidentified photographer.
Colin de Land collection, Archives of American Art
This photo was taken at a Halloween party, but it looks to me like art dealer Colin de Land had a New Year's reveler in mind when he put together his costume. Surely if we all resolved to let our hair down once in a while there would be fewer pinched nerves and anxiety attacks in the world. So put on a wig and some wacky glasses every now and then and party like it's 1999.

Happy New Year from all of us at the Smithsonian Collections Blog!

-Bettina Smith, Archives of American Art

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