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Archive for the 'Modern – Contemporary' Category

Imaging the Imagists at the Smart Museum


The Smart Museum of Art received a grant from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation to greatly expand access and preservation of its collection of Chicago Imagist works on paper. The Smart was able to mount, conserve, and/or photograph 437 works, add 407 new images to their online collections database, expand 51 artwork texts (which can be now viewed in the online catalog records) and interview 3 artists.

The interviews with artists Barbara Rossi, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum are available online through the Smart’s Vimeo channel (and also on an iPad in the Joan and Robert Feitler Gallery for Contemporary Art through August 2014).

To view the newly added images in the Smart’s collections website, the best way to search is by artist name. After completing the grant work, the following Imagist artists are represented on their website:

Roger Brown, Art Green, Philip Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Suellen Rocca, Barbara Rossi, Karl Wirsum, Don Baum, and the Hairy Who.

If you’re in the area, be sure to visit the current exhibition at the Smart, State of Mind and sister show Bridging California and Chicago which features Chicago Imagist works.

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Princeton’s Campus Art Website


Princeton University holds a stellar collection of modern sculpture by artists such as Alexander Calder, Frank Gehry, Sol LeWitt, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, and Louis Comfort Tiffany to name only a few. These works are installed on Princeton’s campus, and the Princeton University Art Museum recently launched a new mobile website called Campus Art to facilitate users who wish to explore their outdoor works in situ.

The website explains the goal of the web project:

Campus Art at Princeton enhances the educational and visceral experience of art and sculpture on campus for students, the local community, and visitors alike. Visitors can hear the voices of Museum curators and experts involved behind the scenes, including fabricators, installers, conservators, and photographers. For some of the works, architects and historians contextualize the art in relation to surrounding architecture and University history. Users can browse a light box of images or take walking tours using an interactive map divided into five campus neighborhoods. As new works are installed and new perspectives added, the site will continue to evolve.

The website allows users to browse through thumbnails of installation photography, by artist name, or by “neighborhood” (the five different geographic areas of Princeton’s campus). The record for each artwork in the collection includes robust data about the work, some historical context, a map of its location, and an audio file of a curator narrating something significant about the work.

For more information, explore Princeton’s Campus Art project.

Via ArtDaily

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Sixty Inches From Center—Chicago Arts Archive


Sixty Inches From Center is a not-for-profit organization that documents and engages visual arts in Chicago, and they feature a lot of the documentary material they capture and create on their website, the Chicago Arts Archive.

In addition to providing a lot of news and blog content about upcoming arts events in Chicago, they also include “video, audio, photography, editorial essays, and interviews to document artists and arts events that exist outside of the city’s mainstream cultural institutions.”

For more information, check out the Chicago Arts Archive by Sixty Inches From Center.

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DOCUMERICA Photos from the 1970s

Albuquerque Speedway Park, One of Three Stock Car Race Tracks in Albuquerque

In the early 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency hired more than 70 freelance photographers to take pictures of life in the United States as it intersected with the environment for the Project DOCUMERICA (1971–77). The National Archives has digitized more than 15,000 images from the project, and they are available online via NARA’s online catalog or though a Flickr collection that is much easier to browse.

You can browse by image topic, location, or photographer—and that’s where things start to get really interesting. Photographers hired for the project include Danny Lyon (AB ’63) and photojournalist John H. White (born 1945) who worked for the Chicago Defender and was recently laid off from the Chicago Sun Times along with the rest of their staff photographers.

Because the project was funded by the federal government, there are no copyright restrictions on the images, and users can download 300 dpi original size files from the Flickr collection. For more information and to explore the collection, visit Flickr and the National Archives.

Via Peta Pixel

Image: Danny Lyon. Albuquerque Speedway Park, One of Three Stock Car Race Tracks in Albuquerque, May 1972. 412-DA-2825. Still Picture Records Section, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-S), National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, 20740-6001.

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Rauschenberg Research Project


SFMOMA recently launched a new web module, the Rauschenberg Research Project, which presents more than 85 works by the artist along with related contextual and archival materials. SFMOMA holds the premier collection of Rauschenberg’s work, spanning his career from 1949–98, including combines, sculptures, paintings, photographs, prints, and works on paper.

Each artwork record includes robust cataloging data based on up-t0-date research by SFMOMA, multiple views of the object with conservation notes, contextual essays on the object’s creation and life, and ownership, exhibition, and publication histories. There are also links to related archival materials including interview videos, curatorial documents and museum files, and related artworks.

Users have the option to download content from the website, including images that are of suitable size and quality for PowerPoint presentations and PDFs of the work catalog records and the contextual essay, as well as the option to download all available materials in a zipped folder.

The project was developed by SFMOMA in conjunction with the Getty’s Online Scholarly Catalog Initiative and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

For more information and to explore the online collection, check out the Rauschenberg Research Project.

Via ArtDaily and Iris (The Getty).

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The Chicagoan Digital Archive

During the Jazz Age, The Chicagoan magazine was published as a rip-off of the New Yorker, but for the Second City set. Although its writing was less-than-stellar, the magazine covers and interior illustrations were more than. Neil Harris, Preston & Sterling Morton Professor Emeritus of History and of Art History began researching the magazine in the late 1980s when he stumbled across it in the Regenstein library, and now a near-complete run is digitally available through the University of Chicago Library in The Chicagoan digital archive. The magazine’s run can be browsed on the web by date or by volume, and is also full-text searchable. In 2008, Harris published a book about the magazine, which folded in 1935, called The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age.


For more information, check out The Chicagoan digital archive and Harris’ book The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age.

Via Chicago Reader

Image: The Chicagoan, June 14, 1926 (vol. 1, no. 1), cover. Copyright The Quigley Publishing Company, a Division of QP Media, Inc.

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AFRICOBRA in Chicago (and in LUNA)


Tomorrow, the Philosophy show of the three-part AFRICOBRA in Chicago exhibition opens at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. AFRICOBRA in Chicago presents three current and upcoming shows in Chicago take a deserved look at the Black Arts Movement in Chicago and the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AFRICOBRA), which was founded in 1968 by a group of Chicago artists. The three parts of the AFRICOBRA in Chicago exhibition are as follows:

  • Prologue, South Side Community Art Center, May 10–July 7, 2013 (curated by UChicago students)
  • Philosophy, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, June 28–August 7, 2013 (curated by Rebecca Zorach)
  • Art and Impact, DuSable Museum, July 26–September 29, 2013

Many works from the exhibitions are from the collection of the South Side Community Art Center. The VRC is proud to include over 350 images from the SSCAC publicly in our online LUNA database.

For more information about the exhibits, visit the AFRICOBRA in Chicago website.

Via UChicago News

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The Artists’ Books Showcase


The Manuscript, Archive, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) at Emory University has recently launched an online exhibit for their extensive collection of artists’ books called The Artists’ Books Showcase. The website features a gallery of images of artists’ books photographed by the artists themselves as well as essay content about the works, including techniques and contextual information. A section of the website features artists books made by Emory undergraduate students.

For more information and to explore the online exhibit, visit the Artists’ Books Showcase.

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Map of Overpass Art in Chicago

Just in time for this great weather, Curbed Chicago and the Chicago Public Art Group have created a Google Map identifying great examples of public art underneath Chicago’s overpasses. The map includes several murals that are in Hyde Park, so happy exploring!


For more information about public art resources, see our post about the Public Art Archive.

Via Curbed

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A Van Gogh Research Round-Up


With the conclusion of an eight-year long research project, Vincent van Gogh has been in the news quite a bit recently. In 2005, the van Gogh museum teamed up with Shell and the Netherland’s Cultural Heritage Agency to research the materials, tools, techniques, and working processes of the artist. The website for the research project, Van Gogh’s Studio Practice, describes contains blog posts about how the researchers approached their work and describes the aims of their research. The results of the project were not earth-shattering, but the small surprises they discovered do deepen our understanding of van Gogh’s works and his psyche. The most talked about new discovery is the fact that The Bedroom was originally painted with violet walls, but since the red pigment of the paint faded, we know the work as having blue walls.

The new exhibition at the van Gogh Museum benefits from results of this lengthy research project, and is called Van Gogh at Work (May 1, 2013–January 12, 2014). The show will contain 200 works by van Gogh as well as some contemporary artists, as well as archival materials such as letters, sketchbooks, and the artist’s palette and paint tubes. The show will also include a digital re-creation of The Bedroom to show how it would have looked with the original violet walls.


The Van Gogh Museum also has a web portal for van Gogh’s letters (written and received) that contains facsimiles, transcriptions, and detailed object information of some 900 letters and 25 miscellaneous loose sheets or drafts. You can browse the collection by period, correspondent, place, or limit your results to letters that contain sketches. Simple and advanced search features are also available. The website also contains a wealth of contextual essays, biographical information, and research tools including the publication history of van Gogh’s letters, a chronology, and detailed bibliographies of the individual letters. A few years ago, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam released an app called Yours, Vincent: The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, which contains digitized versions of van Gogh’s letters, sketches, and paintings as well as audio and video contextual clips.

Via ArtNews and the New York Times. For more information about van Gogh’s archival presence, visit Vincent van Gogh, The Letters or the Yours, Vincent app. You can always stop by the VRC to check it out, too!

Image: Vincent van Gogh. Self-portrait with a Straw Hat (verso: The Potato Peeler), probably 1887. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 67.187.70a. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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