Project CHART has recently launched a website for the Brooklyn Visual Heritage project, which will eventually contain more than 13,000 historic photographs and images from the collections of the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Public Library. The Brooklyn Visual Heritage digital library is hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library and the Pratt Institute’s School of Information and Library Science collaborated on the project as well.
One of the primary goals for the BVH website is “focusing on the digitization of historic images of Brooklyn and making them easily accessible to a broad and diverse audience.” In addition to searching across institutions or limiting your search to a specific institution, the website also provides access to discrete archival collections and thematic groups. While enlarged images are available for viewing on the website, they all bear a digital watermark (there is an option to purchase images without watermarks). The three-year-long project, nearing the final stages, was developed through an IMLS grant.
For more information, and to explore the collections, visit Brooklyn Visual Heritage.
A collaborative website—The Story of the Beautiful: Freer, Whistler, and Their Points of Contact—between the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Wayne State University presents a virtual tour of James McNeil Whistler (1834–1903)’s Peacock Room. Users are given the option to visit the room as it existed in London in 1876 or as it appeared after Charles Lang Freer moved the room to Detroit and reassembled it there in 1908. In addition to panning through the 3D interior space of the room, users can click on individual objects for more information as well as supplementary content including maps, timelines, and archival material from the Charles Lang Freer Papers. The team behind the website describes their project:
The site thus functions both as a digital archive and as an immersive virtual environment in which users can explore the room, learn about the objects it has contained, and see how the places and faces associated with the room contributed to its history. Anchored by the two virtual tours, the site offers users a deeply contextualized way to navigate the collections: some 400 digital objects, among them the room itself, the objects it has contained, as well as archival materials such as photographs, bills of sale, and correspondence.
In addition to exploring the Peacock Room virtually, users can browse the obects in the collection and digitized content from the archives separately. For more information, visit the website.
In 1913, a landmark exhibition—the International Exhibition of Modern Art—also known as the Armory Show toured the country, first in New York at the 69th Regiment Armory (February 17–March 15), in Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago (March 24–April 16), and Boston, at the Copley Society (April 23–May 14). For the first time ever, European modern and avant-garde artists such Brancusi, Duchamp, Matisse, and Picass were exhibited to the US public. And while New York and Boston each had presentations of the exhibition, Chicago was the only venue to exhibit the works in a fine art museum. And in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Armory Show, there are new web resources that explore the development, installation, and reception of the
The Art Institute of Chicago has a web module about their presentation of the Armory Show, including background information about the individuals responsible for bring the Armory Show to the US, in situ gallery installation photographs mapped onto present day gallery spaces at the museum, PDFs of the original exhibition catalog, and other contextual information.
The Archives of American Art at he Smithsonian Institute has a timeline of the Armory Show, “The Story in Primary Sources,” that presents digitized documents pertaining to the watershed exhibition in chronological order. The project description describes how the various primary source materials provide context for the exhibition:
Together the letters, sales records, printed ephemera, and personal diaries paint a picture of the Armory Show that is as dynamic as the stunning diversity of works on display.
Both websites also include detailed bibliographic information for further research. For more information, explore the Art Institute’s website or the Archives of American Art’s website.
The Archigram Group emerged in UK during the early 1960s, and while many of their projects from 1961–74 went unbuilt, they extended a significant international infuence. The Archigram Archival Project is a digital collection of the work by Archigram that is freely available online for viewing and study. Hosted by the University of Westminster, the database contains images and contextual information, linking together alternate versions created for the same project. The website describes the scope of the project:
Almost 10,000 items are included in this archive, including digital versions of drawings, collages, paintings, photographs, magazines, articles, slides and multi-media material, accompanied by original texts by Archigram wherever these are available. Around half of these items belong to the 202 projects currently listed and given project numbers by Dennis Crompton in the Archigram Archives. The rest are supporting and contextual material such as letters, photos, texts and additional projects provided by the depositors.
The AAP focuses on the main Archigram period of 1961-1974, but includes all the projects, both before and after these dates, which have been included in the project list of the Archigram Archives at the time of doing the project. The main omissions from the Archigram Archival Project website are the films, television programmes and audio-visual material which for technical or copyright reasons cannot be included at this stage. Some projects and project material have been lost over the years; both we and Archigram members would welcome approaches from anyone holding material or copies of material which is not included here.
For more information, visit the Archigram Archival Project or the Archigram website.
Via Deep Focus
The Museum of Modern Art has opened the MoMA PS1 Archives to the public. The collection contains more than 300 linear feet, representing the entire history of the art space, from its opening in 1971 to the present (PS1 merged with MoMA in 1999). The majority of the material pertains to exhibition and press records, but the project description notes:
The records provide extensive documentary evidence of an institution that was in the vanguard of nonprofit spaces and at the heart of the 1970s and 1980s New York art world—and that continues to be a vital center for the exploration and exhibition of contemporary art today. Documentation of particular historical significance in the Archives includes records of the institution’s founding and growth in the early 1970s; exhibition and curatorial records for nearly 900 exhibitions and events over 35 years; materials documenting the National and International Studio Program and the publications program; and records of founder and former director Alanna Heiss.
In addition to the finding aids for the nine series of records, there are several web resources including a chronology, a publication history, an artists index, and a complete exhibition history. Several of these resources are cross-referenced for greater utility to researchers.
The MoMA PS1 Archives can be consulted by appointment at the MoMA Archives reading room at MoMA QNS, open Mondays, 11 am–5 pm.
For more information, visit the project website and the finding aids.
Image: “Exterior View of P.S. 1,” photograph by Jonathan Dent, 1976. MoMA PS1 Archives, VIII.I.8. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.
Local blog Chicagoist recently posted about a Flickr set that UIC posted of the Chicago Aerial Photo Services Collection. You can check out the Flickr set, or explore the entire digital collection hosted by UIC. They describe the project:
The Chicago Aerial Photo Services (CAPS) collection has a number of aerial photographs from 1929 through the late 1940s. Primarily the photographs are of the Chicago area though there are some images from other areas of the state. They provide detailed images of both urban areas as well as countryside that would become suburbs in the future.
UIC’s digital collections also hosts several other collections pertaining to Chicago architecture, including the C. William Brubaker Collection of mid-to-late 20th century color photographs. For more information, visit the Chicago Aerial Photo Services (CAPS) collection or the C. William Brubaker Collection.
The Museum of Modern Art recently launched a website for the Complete Prints & Books of Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010), who was best known for her sculpture but focused on printmaking throughout her career, often using it as a tool for her creative process. In 1990, Bourgeois donated the full archive of her printed work to MoMA, about 3,500 sheets. The new website so far contains about 400 images, but will eventually grow to contain all all 3,500 prints and will serve as the definitive scholarly work on Bourgeois, highlighting the relationships between the artist’s prints, drawings, and sculptures.
The feature-rich website, which is largely organized by theme and technique, allows users to zoom in on works, save works to a folder, and compare works in a new feature that allows users to view two related works side-by-side. The website also includes robust data about the works, including commentary, publication information, and background information on Bourgeois’ projects.
The website also allows users to download the catalogue The Prints of Louise Bourgeois in its entirety, which was published by MoMA in 1994. For more information and to explore the collection, visit Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books
The Henry Moore Foundation recently launched an online catalog of Moore’s artwork, beginning with works owned by the Foundation. The catalog is searchable by genre, including drawings, graphics, sculptures, tapestries, and textiles as well as by thematic categories such as mother and child and reclining figures.
Users can download an enlarged image at 72 dpi, which will project well in CWAC classrooms.
For more information, visit the online catalog of Henry Moore Artworks.
The Medici Archive Project has recently launched its BIA Digital Platform which allows users to search and view digitized material from the Medici Archive, which is housed in the Archivio di Stato di Firenze. In addition to viewing archival documents, users can enter transcriptions, provide feedback, exchange comments, and participate in digital humanities projects. From the project’s website:
The Medici Granducal Archival Collection (Mediceo del Principato)–among the most exhaustive and complete court archives of early modern Europe–is one of the most frequently consulted collections at the Archivio di Stato di Firenze. Over the past fifteen years, the Medici Archive Project has been using computing technologies to facilitate scholarly research on this collection. With BIA’s launch, the Medici Archive Project will double its online text content and it will inaugurate a new digital imaging function by putting online 120,000 digitized documents—a number that will continue to grow. Additionally, BIA will enable community sourcing with new applications for online manuscript transcription and its online forums for scholarly discussion. Scholars anywhere in the world will now transcribe, edit, and comment on archival material in the database, collaborating in real time and making use of the forums to share expertise and knowledge.
The Medici Archive was established in 1569, and the material, which consists primarily of letters, takes up nearly 1 mile of shelf space. In order to search the BIA digital platform, you must register for a free account. After registering for a free account, you also can save documents and search terms pertaining to your research.
For more information, visit the Medici Archive Project or explore the collection’s highlights pertaining to topics such as Women Artists and Women Patrons of the Arts or Cabinet of Curiosities.
Vivian Maier (1926–2009) moved to Chicago in 1956 and though she worked as a nanny to support herself, she spent her spare time taking photographs and making films. Her work was largely unknown during her lifetime, as the more than 10,000 negatives she made were kept hid:
Maier’s massive body of work would come to light when in 2007 her work was discovered at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side. From there, it would eventually impact the world over and change the life of the man who championed her work and brought it to the public eye, John Maloof.
While Maloof and his team were cataloging her work, they maintained an image-heavy website dedicated to her life and work, and the Chicago Cultural Center mounted an exhibition “Finding Vivian Maier: Chicago Street Photographer” (7 January–3 April 2011), which garnered a lot of public interest in Chicago’s “nanny photographer”.
Authors Richard Cahan and Michael Williams released a new book of Vivian Maier’s photographs last month called Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows. In addition to providing context for the artist’s life, the book publishes 275 of her photographs. To celebrate, After-Words New and Used Books in downtown Chicago is hosting a book signing party on Thursday, November 29 at 6:30.