Archivists at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection are currently processing the papers of Robert L. Van Nice and blogging about the process. Robert L. Van Nice undertook an extensive architectural survey of Hagia Sophia between 1937 and 1985. His collection includes fieldwork materials, architectural drawings, and photographs, and some of these have been digitized and posted to the blog.
Samip Mallick, President of the Board of Directors of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) and Director of the Ranganathan Center for Digital Information was recently interviewed on WBAI New York’s Asia Pacific Forum. SAADA is a resource that is free and available to the public. Mallick discussed the archive’s efforts to document and preserve the history of South Asian Americans, the vision behind the archive, and some stories behind the collections. An MP3 of the interview is available.
The New York Public Library has released the first in a series of free iPad applications which will highlight various aspects of the library’s collections and services. The series is called Biblion: The Boundless Library and the first app showcases the library’s 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair holdings. As the Apple iTunes description of Biblion: World’s Fair states:
In this free app you will hold documents, images, films, audio, and essays directly from the collections right in your hands.
Lantern slides that belonged to the University of Chicago Visual Resources Center were donated to Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Project, which was featured in a recent New York Times article.
Mr. Gates has combined a former candy store, a single-family house and a duplex across the street into a site of artistic and community change for a neighborhood that has suffered years of blight and cultural neglect. The installation is an entry in a growing art movement to create “hybridized” arts spaces that serve multiple functions, taking inspiration from installations in Houston and Los Angeles, as well as in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood in a community center called the Experimental Station.
An exhibition of documents at Rome’s State Archives throws vivid light on his tumultuous life here at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries.
…He had frequent brushes with the police, got into trouble for throwing a plate of cooked artichokes in the face of a waiter in a tavern, and made a hole in the ceiling of his rented studio, so that his huge paintings would fit inside. His landlady sued, so he and a friend pelted her window with stones.
To explore an interactive sample of the documents, see the recent article from BBC News.
Before embarking on a research trip, you might prepare to photograph materials in libraries and archives. It can be difficult to capture quality images of archival materials, especially in low-light situations. A recent guest post on ProfHacker details one way of stabilizing a digital camera, which includes using a clamp, articulated arm and wired camera remote as a sort of portable copy stand.
Keep in mind that some of the processes advocated in the article will not be allowed in all archives or libraries. Check with archives, museums or libraries before your visit to ask about policies; most will have specific requirements for equipment used in reading rooms. If you have questions about cameras or other photography best practices, please contact the VRC.
Via Derivative Image.
University of Chicago’s Theaster Gates currently has an installation in the Milwaukee Art Museum titled To Speculate Darkly: Theaster Gates and Dave the Potter. During Fall 2009, the Art History Department’s lantern slide collection was relocated to Gates’ Dorchester Project house for “reuse as performance material, research and speculation.” Part of that reuse includes the To Speculate Darkly installation, with the glass ceiling entrance as pictured above. For more information about the installation, see this article recently published by the Wisconsin Gazette.
In 2006, the Met, MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Frick Collection teamed up to create NYARC: the New York Art Resources Consortium, a system which unites the resources and libraries of these institutions and makes them more accessible to both scholars and the general public. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NYARC seeks to extend library and archive resources, services, and programming to a wider audience, and to facilitate collaboration between leading art research institutions.
Through NYARC’s website you can access the 800,000-record ARCADE database, which serves as a cohesive online source for the combined holdings of the Frick, MoMA, and the Brooklyn Museum. There is also a portal for WATSONLINE, the online catalog for the Museum of Modern Art. Finally, links to news posts alert you to current projects like the JSTOR Auction Catalog Pilot Project and new holdings in the NYARC museums.
To view the New York Times’ profile of NYARC, refer to this article from March 14th, 2010.
This blog post was contributed by student staff member Emilia Mickevicius.
The Frick Collection has recently released two databases that focus on provenance of artworks. The Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America helps researchers locate primary source material about American collectors, dealers, agents and advisors, and the repositories that hold those records. The Archives include collectors who purchased American art, but also antiquities and non-Western art. The Montias Database of 17th Century Dutch Art Inventories provides detailed information on ownership of works of art during the Dutch Golden Age. It was compiled by late Yale University Professor John Michael Montias, and contains information from 1,280 inventories of goods (paintings, prints, sculpture, furniture, etc.) owned by people living in 17th century Amsterdam.