Annelise Ream posted an article
On the evening of Thursday, May 19, 2016, ARLIS/NA New York and METRO members met at Rhizome to learn about its digital preservation initiatives. Located at 231 Bowery, Rhizome is an affiliate in residence at thesee more
On the evening of Thursday, May 19, 2016, ARLIS/NA New York and METRO members met at Rhizome to learn about its digital preservation initiatives. Located at 231 Bowery, Rhizome is an affiliate in residence at the New Museum and an anchor tenant of NEW INC, New Museum’s arts and technology incubator. Rhizome was founded in 1996 and is a leading international organization dedicated to the creation, presentation, and preservation of new media art. Central to its digital preservation program is the creation of free, open-source tools to preserve legacy materials and the dynamic web.
Rhizome’s executive director Zachary Kaplan welcomed the group and made opening remarks before passing the mic to artistic director Michael Connor. In his presentation, Connor introduced the group to a number of tools developed to maintain Rhizome’s digital collections platform ArtBase. Tools discussed included: Emulation as a Service, a cloud-based emulation framework; oldweb.today, a tool connecting legacy browsers to web archives; and webrecorder.io, a platform for dynamic web archiving.
Connor illustrated why emulation tools are necessary to digital preservation by showing examples of art Rhizome presents. “Bomb Iraq,” a work Corey Arcangel built using Macintosh TV—a product Apple produced briefly in the early 1990s—demonstrated how the Emulation as a Service tool allows viewers to interact both with the work and aspects of the hard drive on which it was built. Connor presented a work Theresa Duncan originally created as an interactive CD-ROM narrated by David Sedaris, which Rhizome has made fully accessible online.
Connor demonstrated the value of oldweb.today using Alexei Shulgin’s Form Art Competition. The Form website is still accessible via modern web browsers. However, when viewing the site through oldweb.today, users can see how the project originally appeared on Netscape 3.0 in 1997. Created by the Jodi collective using Google Earth, Geo Goo, shows how artists are using commercial applications as a medium and illustrates the importance of preserving the original software environment in order to fully access and comprehend new media art.
Perhaps the most exciting new tool Conner presented was webrecorder.io, a free platform for hi-fidelity, symmetric web archiving. The tool is intended to make web archiving accessible to anyone by providing a secure and easy to use archive-as-you-browse interface. Eventually, webrecorder.io will allow individuals and organizations to easily build an archive of web content pertinent to their collections. In the meantime, users are invited to test the platform in its beta version, which can be found at https://webrecorder.io
Indeed, these types of archival tools are critical to Rhizome’s core mission. Nevertheless, even those who deal primarily with physical collections should be grateful to tech savvy Rhizome for developing these digital preservation tools and making them openly accessible to all.
Annelise Ream, Creative Director, Keith Haring Foundation
Amelia Catalano posted an article
On Thursday, February 18, 2016, ARLIS/NA New York members were treated to a tour of the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Library and the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives, located on the second floor of 380 2nd Avenue. Members were...see more
On Thursday, February 18, 2016, ARLIS/NA New York members were treated to a tour of the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Library and the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives, located on the second floor of 380 2nd Avenue. Members were greeted with light refreshments and complimentary buttons with imagery taken from the newly renovated SVA Library website.
After members had assembled, the group made its way to a computer lab where Library Director Robert Lobe introduced the SVA Library Staff and gave a brief history of the SVA and Library. Caitlin Kilgallen, Associate Library Director, then reported on the library’s newly opened Library West, an extension of the main SVA Library. The space was created to better serve the school’s west side campus and, like the location at 380 2nd Ave., features alumni and student work in its decor.
A demonstration and explanation of the development of the new SVA website followed. Phoebe Stein, Digital Services Librarian, and ARLIS/NA New York Member-at-large for Membership, explained that the website features art by SVA alumna, Donica Ida, and was conceived with end user experience in mind.
From there, the group moved to the SVA archive space where Archivist Beth Kleber discussed the history of the SVA Archives and its collection policies. Members were shown some of the archives' highlights; these included original works by SVA alumni and faculty, such as the Design Study Center and Archives' namesake, Milton Glaser.
Next stop on the tour was the SVA Visual Resource Center. Visual Resources Curator Lorraine Gerety discussed the library’s move away from slides and towards a more digitally oriented operation. The group was also given information regarding the center’s frequency of use and patronage, which centers around the SVA faculty.
The last leg of the tour took members into the stacks of the library. The group made its way past the newly installed study tables, complete with imbedded reading lights. Managing Cataloging Technician Eric Ingram explained the development of the SVA’s comic book/graphic novel/manga collection, unique in the fact that it is a circulating collection of this size and type. Mr. Ingram also spoke about the significance of the collection to the history of the SVA, a school known for developing and producing many prominent comic artists.
The tour concluded with closing remarks by Director Lobe, a look at the new book and rare book collection, and an invitation to explore the Library further at the members’ leisure.
See our Facebook page for more photos from the event.
Amelia Catalano, Laboratory Technician, Pratt Institute
Emily Walz posted an article
On May 9, ARLIS/NY members met at the Frick Collection for a tour of the current exhibition, Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture. The group was led to the Oval Room, where Adam Eaker, one of the...see more
On May 9, ARLIS/NY members met at the Frick Collection for a tour of the current exhibition, Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture. The group was led to the Oval Room, where Adam Eaker, one of the exhibition’s co-curators, gave a brief tour of some of the exhibition’s highlights. Although, unfortunately, no photography was allowed in the exhibit.
One of the features of the tour was a pair of portraits Van Dyck painted of the artist Frans Snyders and his wife, Margareta de Vos. These early portraits, commissioned by Snyders, allude to the confidence the older painter had in Van Dyck, who was only about 20 years old at the time. Snyders and his wife are both dressed in lavish black fabrics with intricate lace details – clothing that signified their wealth and allowed Van Dyck to show off his skill as a painter. Directly across from these paintings is the portrait of Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio, in which Van Dyck again seized the opportunity to showcase his skills through his sitter’s opulent dress. The rich red of the cardinal’s robes and the ornate lace detail show both Titian’s influence on Van Dyck and his ultimate goal of becoming Titian’s “heir,” despite his lack of Italian heritage.
The portraits of both the cardinal and Snyders demonstrate Van Dyck’s preference for posing his non-royal subjects in casual, less traditional ways. In the Frans Snyders portrait, the subject’s body is in a relaxed pose, and his overcoat is draped on the back of the chair he leans against. In the Cardinal Bentivoglio portrait, the pose is even more striking, especially in comparison to how cardinals were typically portrayed: he is hatless, exposing his receding hairline, and he is gazing out of the frame as though someone or something has captured his attention.
In the East Gallery, royal portraits stand in contrast to the casual nature of the Snyders portrait and the portrait of the cardinal. Queen Henrietta Maria with Jeffrey Hudson is a formal, full-length portrait of the Queen in hunting dress with her companion, who many tour-goers were surprised to learn was actually a dwarf rather than a small child. Interestingly, both of these features help place the painting within the framework of traditional English portraiture.
On the opposite wall, portraits of Van Dyck’s wife and other contemporaries further solidify the formal-informal dichotomy: the subjects of these portraits are casually posed, laughing, smiling, and one subject is even showing his teeth. The casual style of these portraits proved so popular that eventually royals were requesting their portraits look like Van Dyck’s.
After the tour, members were treated to light snacks and drinks in the Frick Art Reference Library where reference librarian, Suz Massen, gave a brief history of the library.
Emily Walz, Associate Librarian, Christie's
Suz Massen posted an article
Thursday, September 24, 2015, New York City was graced with the presence of Pope Francis. It was also the day that several ARLIS/NA New York members visited Material ConneXion (MC), an industrial materials...see more
Thursday, September 24, 2015, New York City was graced with the presence of Pope Francis. It was also the day that several ARLIS/NA New York members visited Material ConneXion (MC), an industrial materials library located in the Time-Life Building at Rockefeller Center. Its parent company Sandow focuses on products and services that are driven by innovation and design. MC is a subscription library that has branches in several countries around the world. Members pay a fee to access its extensive database of materials and its onsite library where samples can be touched and examined. MC acts as liaison between designers and companies that manufacture pioneering materials. New materials are investigated by a staff of material scientists, and library candidates are presented at monthly meetings to determine if they are in or if they are out. There are more than 7,500 materials listed in MC database and more than forty new materials are considered each month for inclusion in the library.
Jacquelyn Wilson, Business Development Manager–Academic Access, gave an introduction and tour of MC’s headquarters. She discussed how MC supports academic design programs by having a subscription model specific to schools that allows students to access its on-site library, as well as its database. In addition to a conversation about access, she described the organization of the library. Materials are given numbers that represent their manufacturers. They are arranged by categories such as ceramics, polymers, naturals, and glass. MC has a special category for materials that use groundbreaking processes in their manufacturing.
ARLIS/NA members were allowed to roam free in the library to discover materials of interest. Leather made from a stomach of an animal, mosaic tiles made from recycled skateboards, and a squishy polymer that contains no liquid are examples of what can be found.
Suz Massen, Chief of Public Services, Frick Art Reference Library
Esta Goldin posted an article
On September 12, 2015, intrepid ARLISans ventured forth to Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing District of New York City, for an inaugural visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art,see more
On September 12, 2015, intrepid ARLISans ventured forth to Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing District of New York City, for an inaugural visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art, Frances Mulhall Achilles Library. Farris Wahbeh, Director of Research Resources, and Ivy Blackman, Library Manager, graciously hosted the visit.
The recently opened Renzo Piano designed museum building overlooks the Hudson River and the High Line. It integrates the water, park, and industrial structures that anchor the neighborhood. The building's large, sheltered public space and entry that brings in light recreate and revitalize the area. The design and execution of the museum are coincident with the Whitney’s dedication to twentieth-century and contemporary art. The reinstallation of its collections shows it off to great advantage.
The library has two reading rooms, one largely for curatorial staff in the museum building and a shared space on West 26th Street. As of September, the library has been open for four months in its new locations. The staff is delighted to have more space than they have ever had with room to grow the collection, particularly artist files and reference. The library is non-circulating. Appointments can be made for individual use a week in advance.
Farris has undertaken writing a strategic plan for Research Resources. This area includes archives, reference, periodicals, documentation, records management, and special collections. These are the early days of the plan's evolution and transformation. Farris is creating a road map characterized by thinking in larger aggregate terms. The challenges are many: developing a digital strategy, initiating tech workflows, addressing infrastructure, ongoing integration, interoperability, and fostering collaborative projects. Owing to the uniqueness of the Whitney, there is a need to develop its own methods, including piloting a program to institute procedures. Consideration also must be given to the evolving nature of the scholarly record, access to content, progress in technology, standards and research, the expanding borders of creativity, and housing new forms of it. Farris’s program is an ambitious one. As it unfolds, others may find value in learning how it is progressing. For many, similar questions are being asked. The value in visiting the new Whitney library was hearing about its path of reinvention and how its staff is taking up the challenge.
The sixth floor view from the library of the Hudson River is spectacular.
Esta Goldin, Archivist, Huntington Town Archives
Chantal Sulkow posted an article
On August 13, 2015, New York chapter members of ARLIS/NA gathered on The Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) library terrace in the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building for drinks and nibbles. While the evening was a wonderful...see more
On August 13, 2015, New York chapter members of ARLIS/NA gathered on The Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) library terrace in the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building for drinks and nibbles. While the evening was a wonderful opportunity for friends and colleagues to have a drink, chat and reconnect, the New York chapter was fortunate to welcome a number of newcomers to the group. As the sun set and the summer night cooled, we appreciated the remarkably gorgeous views of midtown Manhattan and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden where indie-pop band Lower Dens played below. We also enjoyed a marvelous close-up view of the elaborate gothic detailing of St. Thomas’ Church, MoMA’s next-door neighbor.
Janis Ekdahl, New York Chapter Chair and Bard Graduate Center Acquisitions Librarian, took a few minutes to announce some exciting upcoming events. We have scheduled a tour at the Whitney Museum's new space in the Renzo Piano building on the morning of Saturday, September 12, and a tour of Material ConneXion on Thursday, September 24. Tony White, Associate Chief Librarian at The Thomas J. Watson Library, announced the 2015 Contemporary Artists' Books Conference at PS1 on September 18 and 19 (The New York Chapter of ARLIS/ NA is a proud sponsor of this event!). See our events page for more information. The Board is also seeking venues for the annual meeting in October and the holiday party at the end of the year. If you know of suitable locations please let us know.
See our Facebook page for more photos from the event.
Janis Ekdahl posted an article
On Saturday, June 6, an adventurous group of New York chapter members gathered on the East End of Long Island for a richly rewarding day visiting three very distinct arts institutions.see more
On Saturday, June 6, an adventurous group of New York chapter members gathered on the East End of Long Island for a richly rewarding day visiting three very distinct arts institutions.
The day began at the stunning Parrish Art Museum designed by Herzog and de Meuron Architects in 2012. The seemingly understated building, like the museum’s permanent collection, is reflective of Long Island’s landscape and heritage. Signature works by American artists such as William Merritt Chase, Fairfield Porter, Cindy Sherman and April Gornick form the core of the museum’s permanent collection to which we were affectionately introduced by our docent Felicias Wetter. We navigated the temporary exhibition, Chuck Close: Photographs, by ourselves, admiring fifty years of Close’s innovative photographic practice ranging from monumentally scaled Polaroids to intimately scaled daguerreotypes.
After a leisurely al fresco lunch on the patio of the Parrish Museum’s Café, we drove a short distance to the Watermill Center--Robert Wilson’s influential laboratory for the performing arts. This strikingly austere building, completed a decade ago, was designed to function as an incubator for “young artists to work, learn, create and grow with each other.” Deb Verhoff and Clifford Allen, the Center’s librarian and archivist, described the challenges and rewards they face in documenting the work of an internationally renowned living artist. An informal wine and cheese reception capped our visit and provided a welcome opportunity for additional conversation and networking. Julie Mellby has posted a fuller description of the Watermill Center with photos of Wilson’s eclectic object collection on the Princeton Library’s Graphic Arts Collection website.
The day ended at the intimate Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton. Created by the artist in a former Baptist church in 1983, the installation traces 20 years of Flavin’s work—beginning when he started working exclusively with fluorescent fixtures and tubes. The Institute is supported in perpetuity by the Dia Art Foundation and was an appropriate venue in which to conclude our art filled day and bid farewell to a wonderful cohort of ARLIS colleagues and friends.
Janis Ekdahl, Librarian, Bard Graduate Center
Amy Ballmer posted an article
On January 13, 2015, ARLIS/NY was hosted by Billy Parrott and Jay Vissers of the NYPL Picture Collection. This...see more
On January 13, 2015, ARLIS/NY was hosted by Billy Parrott and Jay Vissers of the NYPL Picture Collection. This incredible circulating and reference collection of over 1 million images is celebrating its centennial this year and is heavily used by artists, designers working in fashion, theater, and film, as well as cartoonists, historians and any person who needs a photo or illustration of any thing. Approximately 4,000 pictures are added monthly, clipped from books and magazines. Each picture is given a Library of Congress subject heading and filed in the corresponding folder. Cataloging the images is not a simple task because despite all that may be going on in a picture only one subject heading can be assigned. A new subject heading/folder is created once there are fifteen pictures that same subject heading. Every image is labeled with its Library of Congress Subject Heading, the source of the image (which helps patrons identify copyright status of the picture they are viewing), and an NYPL ownership stamp. Sixty items from the Picture Collection can be checked out at a time although many patrons choose to capture the images onsite using their own personal cameras.
The librarians working with the collection are important guides for researchers. People come in with an idea of what they want to see (pictures of morgues, take out containers from the 1970s, shopping bags, piano movers) and the Picture Collection staff guide them to the appropriate folders. Librarians keep a spreadsheet of what patrons ask for and have created bookmarks with subject headings for popular requests such as the Victorian Era, the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to the physical collection, more than 38,000 images have been digitized and are part of the NYPL Digital Gallery. An exhibition celebrating the Collection’s centennial is in the works as well.
The Picture Collection is open Monday-Saturday, check the website for details.
Amy Ballmer, Associate Professor, Assistant Head of Research & Instructional Services, at the Fashion Institute of Technology, State University of New York
Suz Massen posted an article
On November 24, 2014, twelve ARLIS/NY members had the opportunity to visit the Google offices in New York City, located in the Chelsea neighborhood. Participants were given a tour of the unique environment Google creates for its employees. The space includes interior...see more
On November 24, 2014, twelve ARLIS/NY members had the opportunity to visit the Google offices in New York City, located in the Chelsea neighborhood. Participants were given a tour of the unique environment Google creates for its employees. The space includes interior design elements specific to New York, such as conference rooms that look like subway cars and signage inspired by the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority. Food is distributed every 150 feet and an ample gaming room provides a place to relax when not at work. The spectacle of the tour was followed by a Google Hangout with Piotr Adamczyk, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute. The mission of the Institute is to make “important cultural material available and accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it to educate and inspire future generations.” Two of its major endeavors are the Art Project and World Wonders Project. Participants were able to ask questions about the Institute to learn about its current and upcoming initiatives.
Sumitra Duncan posted an article
On Tuesday, September 23, 2014, members of ARLIS/NY attended a launch event for The Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) first digital-only publication, Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914, held at MoMA Library. This event featured...see more
On Tuesday, September 23, 2014, members of ARLIS/NY attended a launch event for The Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) first digital-only publication, Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914, held at MoMA Library. This event featured a demonstration of the e-book and discussion with the editor, Anne Umland, the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA. The event was followed by a reception on the library terrace.
Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914 is the first monographic e-book to be allowed by the Estate of Pablo Picasso. At 350 pages, the publication serves as an in-depth study of 15 objects made by Picasso between 1912-1914, a period in which the artist engaged in cross-medium studio practice with cardboard, sheet metal, drawing, painting, photography, and assemblages. The e-book took three years to prepare, longer than originally anticipated. As the tenth volume in the series Studies in Modern Art, the publication includes 300 unique high-resolution images, videos, essays, documentation, and detailed conservation notes on materials used by Picasso during this period.
Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914 is available for purchase as an iPad application from the Apple store or as an interactive enhanced PDF via the MoMA store. There are not many differences between the iPad app and the enhanced PDF, although the zoom functionality only exists within the app. MoMA is not planning to update the app regularly, as it is considered a complete publication at this time.
At the launch event, librarians were encouraged to provide access to the e-book, in enhanced PDF form, to their respective patrons. The author noted that future negotiations with library e-book providers, such as OverDrive and 3M Cloud Library, will address the issue of having to flatten the enhanced PDF in order to provide distribution via their established platforms. Several concerns were brought up during the discussion, such as digital rights management (DRM) protections and long-term preservation and access to the e-book. Once the enhanced PDF is downloaded, it’s a “whole” publication in perpetuity, however, MoMA will have to go back and renew the term of license for 287 of the images after a five year period. Additionally, preserving and providing for continued access to the iPad app poses another complex challenge to art libraries that seek to add this title to their collections.
Many of us grapple with the shifting perception of digital publications versus their print counterparts. What does a digital platform allow for that a printed book does not? Does it offer archival, visual or textural advantages? With the publication of Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914, MoMA has demonstrated a commitment to contributing a fresh perspective on Pablo Picasso, one that represents immersive and collaborative digital scholarship in an ever-advancing and evolving publishing landscape.
by Sumitra Duncan, NYARC Web Archiving Program Coordinator
Ross Day posted an articleNearly two dozen ARLIS/NY members gathered on Thursday, June 19, 2014, for a lively presentation and conversation about the Artnet Price Database, hosted by Heidi Haas of The Morgan Library & Museum. The program, introduced by Heidi... see more Nearly two dozen ARLIS/NY members gathered on Thursday, June 19, 2014, for a lively presentation and conversation about the Artnet Price Database, hosted by Heidi Haas of The Morgan Library & Museum. The program, introduced by Heidi Lee-Komaromi, Director of Strategic Partnerships, was presented by Jordan Quitko, Senior Manager of Client Services. Jordan first spoke briefly about other Artnet subscription products, such as “Market Alerts,” “Analytic Reports” (formerly “Market Reports”), and the newly introduced global Artnet News website, before concentrating on the Price Database.
Artnet’s Price Database (“PDb”) boasts more than eight million art auction results records dating from as early as 1985. PDb includes records for more than 1,600 auction houses and 300,000 artists. (By the way, a user can check the date coverage of any given auction house by searching the house by a single-year date range, working backwards until he or she hit zero results.) Artnet gallery information is not included in the Price Database, since sale prices are not public, legal record.
From the beginning of the presentation, Jordan opened the floor to the attendees for their comments, complaints, and suggestions. Artnet’s pricing structure, and its relationship to users’ expectations and usage came up for early discussion.
Artnet charges subscribers per search. One search can comprise up to 100 results, with additional results charged as additional searches in units of 100 results. Multiple charges based on a single search may put a premium for subscribers on filtering their search parameters and on checking the number of results (by using the optional “Check Results” feature) before viewing the outcome of their searches.
One recommendation during the presentation for reducing unwanted results was to limit a search by sale date with the current date as the end date, eliminating results for lots in sales not yet held. Search results by artist default sort by lot number. A user can elect to sort (ascending or descending) by price, work date, or sale date. Another point of note is that when searched a single artist might appear multiple times in the drop-down menu depending on collaborations with other artists. For now, separate searches must be made for each of the collaborations listed in the menu.
Jordan pointed out an interesting no-cost workaround to find recent auction sales results for an artist in Artnet without using the Price Database. An artist search of Artnet using the search box at the top of the webpage (rather than within the Price Database) will pull up all entries for the artist. Clicking on the artist’s name in any entry that appears will direct a user to his or her home page. Click “Auction Results” and then “Recent Auctions,” and you will see a webpage for sales within the last thirty days. Auction houses in Artnet’s “Auction House Partnership Program” will display auction information, including sale and house, estimate and hammer price. Results from non-participating members will only display the artist, title, and medium.
Toward the end and just before the sumptuous reception, Jordan asked the participants what features they would like to see in future upgrades to Artnet. Suggestions ranged from hot-linked auction sale names (to capture other lots in the same sale) to more ways to distinguish saved searches from each other.
Ross Day, Collection Development Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Lily Pregill posted an articleOn Friday, July 11, 2014, members of ARLIS/NY participated in a day trip to New Haven, CT, to explore the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Yale Center for British Art. This trip gave... see more On Friday, July 11, 2014, members of ARLIS/NY participated in a day trip to New Haven, CT, to explore the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Yale Center for British Art. This trip gave members a chance to experience collections outside of the New York metropolitan area. Its focus was archives, and exhibition planning and design.
Sandra Markham, Archivist, at the Beinecke gave attendees an introduction to the library and its collections, giving particular attention to the way materials are acquired. The Beinecke is Yale University’s principal repository for literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books. Sandra pulled many items held at the library that relate to art and artists for participants to examine. A highlight was items from the Alfred Stieglitz/Georgia O'Keeffe Archive.
Elisabeth Fairman, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Yale Center for British Art, toured attendees through her exhibition “Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower”: Artists’ Books and the Natural World. She described the process of developing the exhibition over several years and discussed her interpretation of the term “artists’ books” as it relates to the exhibition, which includes objects created by self-taught naturalists and artists from the sixteenth century to the present. It specifically looks at the intersections of artistic and scientific interest. Participants wandered around the galleries examining the “cabinet of curiosity” display cases created for the exhibition.
The day finished with a reception sponsored by the Center for British Art, as well as visits to its Reference Library and Archives, and the study room that provides access to the Prints & Drawings and Rare Books & Manuscripts collections.
Suz Massen, Chief, Public Services, Frick Art Reference Library
Image: ARLIS/NY members (L to R) Janis Ekdahl, Suz Massen, Jared Ash, Leigh Hallingby, and Faith Pleasanton outside the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Janis Ekdahl posted an articleOn June 12, 2014, nine ARLIS/NY members and guests gathered at the Bard Graduate Center (BGC) for an illuminating tour of Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture. Following a... see more On June 12, 2014, nine ARLIS/NY members and guests gathered at the Bard Graduate Center (BGC) for an illuminating tour of Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture. Following a welcome by BGC’s Chief Librarian Heather Topcik the group toured this engaging exhibition with gallery educator Tracy Grosner. She introduced Waterweavers by explaining that the curator, José Roco, had selected works that explore the confluence—metaphorically and literally—of the image of the river with the act of weaving. Colombia is a country in which waterways have historically been the only means of transportation and communication between communities; weaving is a traditional craft technique that continues to be central to Colombian artists, designers and craftsmen. Throughout the Waterweavers exhibition the river was used as a conceptual device to explore the intersections of design, craft, and art in Colombian culture.
Works in the exhibition that were of particular interest to the ARLIS/NY group included Olga de Amaral’s dramatic fiber pieces, David Consuegra’s indigenously-inspired graphic work, Alberto Barayas’ poignant projects Hebario de plantas artificiales (Herbarium of Artificial Plants) and Proyecto del árbol de caucho (Rubber Tree Project), and Jorge Lizarazo’s eye-catching bead-clad canoe. Equally engaging were Susana Mejía’s paper and fiber exploration Color Amazonia, Barayas’ disturbing video Rio, and Monika Bravo’s floor-to-ceiling digital video Weaving Time. The immersive environments on the gallery’s upper floors were surrounded and complemented by craft-inspired pieces of a more domestic nature: colorful Corocora stools made with a traditional spiral-basket-weaving technique, massive chairs constructed of bamboo, and hanging lamps woven from recycled plastic bottles.
A few members extended the evening’s tour with a quick visit to BGC’s small Focus Gallery where a related exhibition, Carrying Coca: 1,500 Years of Andean Chuspas, featured items from the American Museum of Natural History textile collection.
Following the Waterweavers tour the group migrated down West 86th Street to the BGC Library for a festive reception on the top floor overlooking the Upper West Side. In addition to informal socializing, the group enjoyed seeing and handling the wonderful collection of contemporary Colombian artists’ books, which the Library recently purchased to complement the Waterweavers exhibition.
Janis Ekdahl, Acquisitions Librarian, Bard Graduate Center Library