Blogging for an art Tourist

Normally I wouldn’t plug anything I had written elsewhere but in the case of an internship I completed during this past summer at The Frick Collection’s Art Reference Library in New York City I had such a good time researching there and with my mentors that I just have to link it. The Library is part of a consortium with two other libraries in the area, MOMA’s and Brooklyn Museum’s called NYARC (stands for New York Art Resources Consortium). Many times consortium’s are created to alleviate the pressures and often costs associated with subscriptions etc used to service researcher needs by any single institute. What’s so cool about this particular one is that NYARC links the individual library catalogs so we the public can do a search across all three. Maybe this kind of grouping wouldn’t necessarily be a thrill in other consortium’s but for an art historian, this grouping is a powerhouse between older auction and exhibit catalogs to the most up to date, artists books, projects like archiving early internet websites for auction houses, and a the kind of broad collection which allows for a Modernist researcher to trace antecedents of a particular artist or movement.

So, this internship was pretty exciting in that it was mostly an educational one. Instead of the typical ones where the exchange was on-the-job work from me to gain experience, at the Frick the internship program was largely built to give us opportunities to hear from professionals about their job trajectories, touring other important institutions and galleries as well as generally given time to understand how a library works in conjunction with a museum. One of the tasks I was given was to consider the relationship of the consortium especially in light of outreach through its parent site, NYARC.org. The reason for this was to understand how the collections amplify each other for the public as well as the usability of the parent site itself. Studying collection strengths allowed me to get a sense of what might get highlighted in a blog post, appeal to researchers as well as creatively apply materials available to a research question. In this case it was the height of tourist season in the City and I kept thinking about how as an artist I make pilgrimages to certain works or places where art was inspired. Trekking to MOMA to see their collection of Industrial Design works like Alvar Aalto’s bent plywood chairs or Inges’ Comtesse d’Haussonville at The Frick Collection then there’s the in-situ viewings like trying to see the angle Georgia O’Keeffe saw when she was painting “Radiator Building” in 1927. Obviously a Library intern should not be making any kind of statement about works of art cared for and studied by the institutions themselves as that remains in the domain of the curatorial staff amongst others, but thinking about this kind of research and tourism from a book perspective I decided to write on the topic of guidebooks as they pertain to traveling and research for the artist or collector. Under the superior mentorship of Suz Massen I completed the following article for NYARC.org: Following Art through Guidebooks, and More.

 

 

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Place with artist David Linneweh

There are many crowd-sourcing options now to sort of gather the troops and fund your ideas. It’s very exciting to me and I hope spurs more people towards involving others in projects which will either directly benefit them or simply support inventive ideas which otherwise would remain in the think-bank of a creative’s head.

I am not a wealthy person, I’m not sure I could actually qualify as middle class even but the occasional $10 towards an interesting idea is well worth it to me. I already give to the charities that are dear to my heart, but this kind of giving is a bit more like an alternative way to be active in my world, especially connecting me to places and people I live nowhere nearby.

refurbished landscrape -kansas -david linneweh

Refurbished Landscrape (kansas) – by David Linneweh

Artist David Linneweh’s Kickstart project:  Remembering Place -artist David Linneweh’s exhibition project 2013 is for an exhibit of his work juxtaposed with the input and collaboration of backers, all to explore ‘Place’. I like this idea alot. It’s a smart way to draw people into the work through more than just familiarity with the scenes he has explored of his own volition. In the same way, Dear Photograph allows us to retrace our footsteps, Linneweh is trying to build a show where the backer to his project considers their sense of place, be they artist or not.

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ReVision: Zines and Collage, an exhibit

ReVision: Zines and Collage (catalog cover 2013 by Katie Blake)

ReVision: Zines and Collage (catalog cover 2013 by Katie Blake)

During my internship at Barnard College Library this semester I had the pleasure of working specifically with their zine collection. Jenna Freedman is the guardian angel of this collection and taught me some cataloging to work through (partially) older records as well as renewed my love affair with the world of the handmade book.

Because my background includes both artists books and zines, not to mention collage (I’m writing my thesis on contemporary American collage), Jenna asked if I might like to work on an exhibit of collage in zines

I can tell you it has been a lovely experience to peruse this collection, something I highly recommend to anybody who has the ability to come on in to this library. I wish I had more time to work through all the zines, as this is a treasure trove of collage works alone, not to mention the written importance housed here. Never the less I decided because this is for many zinesters a call to reconsider the zine as a visual object -to title the exhibit ReVision: Zines and Collage. While the examples I have included represent a very very small number, I hope they are as exciting to you as they have been for me when considering collage.

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Animating your old collages

After I tried to build a gif for an internship, I thought it would be fun to create one from collage drafts I had been working on months ago. I had considered this idea last year..actually I was thinking this would be a fun thing to do for any collage artists. After talking with another artist about her collages, something struck me about what she said. She had a hard time with the medium because there were so many options possible; the very thing that I like best about working in collage. 
picasion.comI often take photographs of my collages as I work on drafts of them. I never really thought of using them for any other purpose than to remember what phases of them looked like in case I changed my mind. A gif I think is a fun way to use those ‘throw away’ images for something.

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Gif that zine

gif creator Just made this wee gif today for the Barnard Zine library Collection. It isn’t as small as I wanted but it’s only my second attempt so I might try editing down the pictures to see whether I can make it look more like dancing ..or stomping? One of the librarians here said it looks closer to a sort of tapping.  So! give it a shot! Make a gif! Animate a little something in your life.
gif creator

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Shakila, cutting a path to my collage heart

Untitled-VIII by Shakila 2011

Untitled-VIII by Shakila, 2011

I do not normally talk up a single collage artist but today while searching for names of female collagers… sigh, she popped up…This previously unknown to me wonder, only known by her first name, Shakila, she is a collage artist from India. Here is a quote describing her approach from News Blaze’s article, “India: Shakila’s Genius on Paper,”: “While her earlier works have been more pastoral in nature, with vibrant images of baskets of vegetables, domestic animals and mud houses, Shakila’s recent creations portray a darker side of life. In ‘Untitled 12′ there are birds soaring towards an unknown destination full of hope, while ‘Untitled 2007′ gives the artist’s take on terror and violence – it shows a man shown selling eggs that are mistaken for bombs.

Some collages also reflect women living in distress and coping with conflict and violence. She says, “I may not read newspapers but I hear about women suffering, being harassed by people. I depict them as women and as mothers.”

Untitled by Shakila, 2010

Untitled by Shakila, 2010

I am only sorry she is not closer by so I can see these sometime mural sized collages in person. She’s quite a talent and I look forward to watching her work from afar. I can only hope she continues to be encouraged, purchased and supported in her country.

Some articles about her: “Shakila Scissorhands” by Tehelka.com ; “Shakila” by Contemporary Art of Bengal; “Her World, Her Art” by The Telegraph; “Shakila, Queen of Collage” by Baruna Bhattacharji

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Oh Outsider, come in, come in!

The Outsider Art Fair is this weekend if you happen to be in New York City-land. The enchanting, clogged city which opens its arms to marginalized many. I adore that.

Outsider Art, Art Brut, Raw Art…once in awhile called Folk Art but that isn’t really what they mean. Built like a typical art show fair is here in NYC; if you’ve never been.. you’ll walk inside a large open building where galleries get a sort of booth, which looks a lot more like a set of walls than the kind you’d see at the State fair. They fill their spaces with works by the likes of new comers, mind blowers and greats like Cornbread Anderson, Della Wells, Martin Ramirez, et al. Sponsored by the lovely advocates like American Folk Art Museum and the American Visionary Art Museum, this is your chance to see the work in person, close up. There are a myriad of reasons why this kind of art is up my alley, not the least of which is the physical reaction to work that I know has been done by that person, mistakes and all. They definitely touched it, worked on it, obsessed over it. There is a tactile quality in this work that is like unconsciously lining your body up to Barnett Newman paintings.

Highly suggest you go if not to the Fair, check out their Program of talks!

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