Thinking about “Folk Art”

This post was sparked by an essay that caught my eye while reading Radical cataloging: Essays at the front, edited by K. R. Roberto (I highly recommend it if cataloging, description, and/or metadata is your thing). The article that intrigued me was a chapter by Joan M. Benedetti, a re-edit of an article that originally appeared in a 2000 issue of Art Documentation, entitled “Words, words, words: Folk art terminology- Why it (still) matters.” Benedetti talks about the mess of issues surrounding terminology like folk art and outsider art. It reminded me of the work of Sanford Berman and Hope Olson. Both Berman and Olson’s seminal works, Prejudices and antipathies: A tract on the LC subject heads concerning people and The power to name: Representation in library catalogs, discuss the biases, and with this power, in the language of the Library of Congress controlled vocabularies. While some time has passed since these works were initially published, 1971 and 1996, librarians are still challenging problems in the language of controlled vocabularies (see Emily Drabinski’s 2013 article “Queering the catalog: Queer theory and the politics of correction”).

Matthew Arient’s Angel by Howard Finster, 1987

 

Before digging into Benedetti’s essay and issues surrounding folk art terminology, I want to present brief definitions of terms that are helpful to think of in the context of this discussion. Definitions have been taken from The Getty Thesaurus for Art and Architecture.

Folk art: Art and crafts that are produced in culturally cohesive communities or contexts, and guided by traditional rules or procedures. It includes paintings, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, and other art forms. It is generally distinct from “naive art,” which is created by those without formal training, but not necessarily within a cohesive cultural community. It is also distinct from “outsider art,” which usually refers specifically to art created or collected according to a philosophy of avoidance of traditional training.

Outsider art: Refers to art created or collected according to a philosophy of avoidance of the conventional fine art tradition. The concept generally refers to art that fits the ideal described by Jean Dubuffet, who posited that art should be inventive, non-conformist, unprocessed, spontaneous, insulated from all social and cultural influences, “brut,” created without thought of financial gain or public recognition, and based upon autonomous inspiration, in direct contrast to the stereotypes of the traditional or official artistic culture. Dubuffet sought such art in the work of psychiatric patients and other insulated individuals. It is generally distinct from “naive art,” which is created by those without formal training, but not necessarily in accordance with the principles described above. It is also typically distinct from “folk art,” which is made according to the rules and traditions of a particular culture.

Naive art: Refers to art created by non-professional artists or artisans who have not had formal training and are often self-taught. It typically displays the artist’s poor grasp of anatomy and lacks mastery of conventional perspective and other hallmarks of trained artists. It includes painting, sculpture, embroidery, quilts, toys, ships’ figureheads, decoys, painted targets, and other objects, and often refers to such objects created specifically in 19th- and 20th-century Europe and North America. It is generally distinguished from “outsider art,” which includes the more extravagant psychotic drawings and other art created or collected according to a philosophy of the avoidance of, rather than simply a lack of, traditional training. It is also usually distinct from “folk art,” which is created according to specific cultural traditions.

Fine art: Genre including physical objects that are that are meant to be perceived primarily through the sense of sight, are of high quality, requiring refined skill in creation, and typically using the media of painting, drawing, or sculpture. It may also refer to architecture and design. Although there is overlap, fine art is generally distinguished from other art forms based on the media, extent of skill, and the level of formal training required. It is distinct from “decorative art” in that the fine arts are art in which the aesthetic or intellectual expression is more prominent than the utilitarian purpose. It is distinct from “crafts,” which are handiworks of media such as ceramics, glass, needlework, or any medium other than painting, drawing, sculpture, or architecture. It is also distinct from “commercial art,” which is created to serve commerce such as in advertisements or illustration.

The Getty Thesaurus of Art and Architecture gives distinct definitions for folk, outsider, and naive art, clearly delineating them as not synonyms to one another. However, these words are still often used interchangeably. This is also not an exhaustive list of terms that are used to describe art of this similar, yet variant nature, but just three I chose to highlight.

Man with a Plow by Bill Traylor, 1939-1942

Folk art, outsider art, and naive art are terms used by individuals in a position of privilege within the institution of fine art to describe the work created by individuals outside of this institution. A dichotomy between those with the power to name and those without, between those who point out this “other” and those who are this “other,” is always problematic. General acceptance of what constitutes fine art is rooted in Western, Eurocentric practice and thought. The land of outsider art, as posited by museum professional Kenneth L. Ames, is largely populated by “minority, marginalized, and unempowered people. (Ames, 1994, p. 255).

Navajo Rug, 1890-1900

Benedetti discusses problems with the overuse of “folk” as a designator for such a wide variety of works. She draws a distinction between items that are created by “culturally cohesive communities” with utilitarian value, such as a Navajo rug, and items created from a “personal consciousness,” which are often idiosyncratic and often “functioning in opposition to any community context,” such as the works of artist Howard Finster (Benedetti, 1987, p. 4). Oftentimes though, both of these types of works would fall under the same category of “folk art.”

The concepts behind folk art terminology is not so simple and further evaluation for nuances, biases, and clarification would be beneficial. Both Benedetti and Ames present issues with the terminology that garners future consideration, thought, and study by scholars, librarians, and anyone with an interest in the power of language.

References

Ames, K.L. (1994). Outside outsider art. In M. D. Hall & E. W. Metcalf, Jr. (Eds.) The Artist outsider: creativity and boundaries of culture (p. 253-271). Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Benedetti, J.M. (2000). Words, words, words: Folk art terminology- Why it (still) matters. Art Documentation, 19(1), 14-21.

Benedetti, J. M. (2003). Folk art terminology revisited: Why it (still) matters. In K. R. Robert (Ed.), Radical cataloging: Essays at the front (p. 112-125). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

Library & Archives Intern (paid) at Toledo Museum of Art

Toledo, OH
POSITION: LIBRARY & ARCHIVES INTERN (Paid)
AVAILABILITY: SUMMER 2018

WHO WE ARE: Since our founding in 1901, the Toledo Museum of Art has earned a global reputation for the quality of our collection, our innovative and extensive education programs, and our architecturally significant campus. More than 30,000 works of art represent American and European painting, the history of art in glass, ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works, Asian and African art, medieval art, sculpture, decorative arts, graphic arts, and modern and contemporary art.

To accommodate the ever growing collection and demand for art education, the Museum campus has grown exponentially since its founding. From its humble first exhibition space in two rented rooms, the Museum has grown to cover approximately 36 acres with six buildings.

Thanks to the benevolence of its founders, as well as the continued support of its members, the Toledo Museum of Art remains a privately-endowed, non-profit institution and opens its collection to the public—free of charge—six days a week, 309 days a year. We are closed on Mondays and major holidays.

AREAS OF INTERESTS: Library & Information Studies, Archives

SUMMARY: This internship provides students with direct experience processing museum archival material. The internship will focus on our Facilities Plans inventory project. The student will assist with processing and inventorying of blueprints and other physical plans in this archival collection. Responsibilities will include arranging records, data entry and assisting with the creation of catalog records and a finding aid for the collection. Other responsibilities may include assisting with other archival request or projects at they may arise or the intern may have interest in.

RELATIONSHIPS: Mentorship from the Head Librarian and other library and archives staff; participation in library & archives staff meetings.

EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE & COMPETENCIES: Active college enrollment status at the graduate level preferred; library and information science, archives, or related concentration/major; coursework or experience in archival processing or description preferred; comfort working independently; computer savvy and proficient in Microsoft Office and related software; extreme attention to detail; innovative and self-motivated.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: Standard office work environment with related phone, computer and printer noise; position requires ability to lift boxes and retrieve material as needed and the ability to leverage technology including computer, printer and phone systems; the person in this position may be required to communicate with public and staff who have inquiries and must be able to exchange accurate information in these situations.

The Toledo Museum of Art provides equal opportunity for employment and promotion to all qualified employees and applicants. No person shall be discriminated against in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other status or condition protected by applicable federal or state statutes. The Museum is committed to maintaining an environment in which all employees are treated equitably and given the opportunity to achieve their full potential in the workplace.

Apply through link: http://www.toledomuseum.org/about/jobs-volunteer/employment/

Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Home Grown Curatorial Fellowship

National Museum of Mexican Art/DuSable Museum of African American History – Chicago, IL
$38,000 a year – Full-time, Temporary
Job Summary

Through a generous three year grant awarded by the Ford and Walton Family Foundations the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) and the DuSable Museum for African American History (DuSable), two museums that have successfully trained and provided sustained employment for curators and arts administrators, will implement its inaugural Home Grown Curatorial Fellowship program for graduate students of color or whom identify as ALAANA (African, Latino(a), Asian, Arab, Native American). Fellowships will provide candidates with an opportunity to learn, engage, and be mentored by curatorial and museum professionals who are leaders in first voice organizations.

The National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) and the DuSable Museum of African American History (DuSable) seeks two enthusiastic and capable graduate or post-graduate students to gain intensive training and mentorship in the field of curatorial and archiving studies by working alongside Visual Arts and Permanent Collections curators at NMMA and Archivist & Special Collections Librarians at DuSable. Each institution will host one fellow per year, over a 12 month period. Qualified applicants will be invited to indicate their preference for fellowship assignment.

The Home Grown Fellows will participate in their respective institutions’ special projects, including external workshops and artistic programs that advance the missions of the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) and DuSable Museum of African American History (DuSable), promote and support creative leadership and support the joint mission to build a foundation for students of color to gain access to leadership positions in all museums. Fellows may have the opportunity to study, research and examine collections, organize thematic exhibitions related to African American and Mexican history, culture or particular genres and assist in the preparation, documentation and organization of past, present and future exhibitions.

Each Home Grown Fellow will have the opportunity to select a mentor, who may be different from their supervisor. Fellows will also undertake an independent capstone project in consultation with their supervising curator, archivist librarian and institution mentor.

Each fellow will have the opportunity to interact with one another, NMMA and DuSable through exhibition openings, staff/departmental meetings, networking events, workshops and internal discussions that build relationships and foster a community of intellectual scholarly engagement.

Fellowship Period

Fellowships are 12 months in length, May 2018 through May 2019 . All fellowships must take place and capstone project completed within this 12 month period.

Fellowship Eligibility

All applicants must meet the following requirements to be considered for a Home Grown Fellowship, in addition to NMMA and DuSable institutional requirements.

Be currently enrolled in the last year of graduate school and/or hold a recent (earned in the last 2-3 years) graduate degree in library science (MLS, MLIS, MIS, MS), art history or museum studies from an ALA accredited school
Successful candidates must be able to provide proof of eligibility to work in the United States
Have a demonstrated interest in museum and exhibition administration and/or archives administration and management, museum studies, art history, anthropology, Latin American and/or African American studies, or archaeology
Located within a 400 mile radius of Chicago, IL
APPLICATION PROCEDURES

All applicants applying for the Home Grown Fellowship at National Museum of Mexican Art must submit the following:

Cover letter stating their interest in the fellowship. Applicants must indicate their choice of host institution
Full curriculum vitae of education, professional experience, honors, awards and publications
Official copy of graduate transcript, with graduation date or anticipated date of graduation and copy of classes currently enrolled in if applicable
A statement, not to exceed 1,500 characters, specifying your areas of research/interests.
If candidates are applying to National Museum of Mexican Art as host institution, please include the following in your statement:

Your relationship to NMMA, Mexican Art or culture
Relevant experience related to your curatorial and/or archival proposed project
The importance of this fellowship to their future career and what they hope to learn from the experience.
If candidates are applying to DuSable as host institution, please include the following in your statement:

their interest in African American history and archival collections
what they can contribute to the host repositories
their experience with electronic media and social networking tools
their view on the importance of increasing diversity in the archival profession
what they hope to learn from the experience
the importance of this fellowship to their future career
Contact information for three people who will provide recommendation letters (at least one academic and one professional), none of whom are current NMMA or DuSable employees. Once you have submitted your recommenders’ names, titles and email addresses, they will receive emailed instructions for uploading their recommendation letters online.
To be considered for the Home Grown Fellowship, all candidates must complete the application and follow all application procedures.

The 2018/2019 Home Grown Application can be found here https://goo.gl/forms/Oflj4CcfA3mPX8El2

The deadline for all application materials, including letters of recommendation, is February 19, 2018, by 11:59 pm CST . Fellowship decisions will be announced by April 2, 2018.

Responsibilities and Duties

Fellows should apply to the institution whose job description best suits your career path.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MEXICAN ART

JOB DESCRIPTION

POSITION TITLE: Home Grown Fellow

REPORTS TO: Director of Visual Art’s/Chief Curator, Registrar, Permanent Collection Curator or Associate Curator

POSITION FUNCTION: To aid the Visual Arts Director, Registrar, Permanent Collection Curator and Associate Curator in tasks related to the care, preservation, documentation and presentation of artworks at NMMA. There will be light maintenance tasks pertaining to art installation or gallery preparation.Fellows will take field trips throughout and beyond the Chicago-area to conferences and to visit other first-voice museums. Finally, Fellows will be required to keep a log of their experiences and progress throughout the fellowship.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Assists in cataloguing preparing and packing of Permanent Collection
Assists in the preparation, documentation and/or organization of past, present and future exhibitions
Assists in creating/updating exhibition and artist files
Assists in conducting research to label and interpret artwork as well as catalogs objects and updates computerized museum records
Assists in the care and presentation of artwork in the Museum’s collection, both in storage and on display within as well as outside of the Museum and throughout the Museum’s website
Complete program Capstone Project within the 12 month Fellowship appointment
MANDATORY JOB QUALIFICATIONS:

Have a demonstrated interest in museum and exhibition administration and/or archives administration and management, museum studies, art history, anthropology, Latin American studies, or archaeology
Have interest in documenting and caring for art and historical artifacts
Strong knowledge of Mexican or Mexican American history/culture and command of the Spanish language both written and spoken
Excellent verbal and written communication skills and public speaking
Must be highly organized, detail-oriented, and able to multi-task
Ability to work well in a fast-paced team environment, as well as independently, and adapt to flexible hours as necessary
Ability to handle art objects carefully
Ability to accurately capture images of artwork on a large bed scanner, easel and backdrop
Lift 40 lbs and climb ladders
Excellent computer skills (Mac preferred)
Experienced in Filemaker Pro and Photoshop
DuSable Museum of African American History

Job Description

POSITION TITLE: Home Grown Fellow

REPORTS TO: Archivist and Special Collections Librarian and Manager of Education

POSITION FUNCTION: To aid the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian and Manager of Education in tasks related to the care, documentation and presentation of art works, artifacts and archival materials at the DuSable Museum of African American History.

FELLOWSHIP DESCRIPTION

During the immersion training program, fellows will receive training in arrangement, description, preservation, reference, and outreach for collections of African American artwork, artifact and archival materials. Fellows may have the opportunity to process collections and create EAD and EAC-CPF finding aids and will learn to appropriately utilize Library of Congress Subject Headings to provide access points to African American materials in print, video, and electronic resources. Fellows will attend lectures presented by Mexican American and African American scholars and representatives from other Mexican American and African American museums and archival repositories. The purpose of these lectures is for fellows to gain a deeper understanding of African American history. Fellows will also take field trips throughout and beyond the Chicago-area.

Fellowship Responsibilities:

Fellows will be required to organize a public program/community outreach event(s) (lecture, exhibit, etc.), and implement social media or other online resources while in residency at their host institution. They will also be expected to give presentations on their education and career choice to other students at the high school (and undergraduate levels) and will be required to submit for panel participation, papers, and posters at professional conferences such as Black Caucus of the American Library Association/American Library Association (BCALA/ALA), Society of American Archivists (SAA), Midwest Archives Council (MAC), and other related conferences. Finally, Fellows will be required to keep a log of their experiences and progress throughout the fellowship.

MANDATORY JOB QUALIFICATIONS:

Have a demonstrated ability and relevant coursework in museum and exhibition administration and/or archives administration and management, museum studies, art history, anthropology, or archaeology with a focus on African American/Black/Afro Caribbean studies
Have interest in documenting and caring for art and historical artifacts
Strong knowledge of African American history/culture
Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Must be highly organized, detail-oriented, and able to multi-task
Ability to work well in a fast-paced team environment, as well as independently, and adapt to flexible hours as necessary
Ability to handle art objects, artifacts and archives carefully
Ability to accurately capture images of artwork on a large bed scanner, easel and backdrop
Excellent computer skills
Benefits

Each fellow will receive an annual salary of $38,000, plus fringe benefits and an allocated fellowship research allowance to be used solely for travel related to fellowship assignments, conferences and museum visits arranged after acceptance into fellowship program.

Fellows should be prepared to relocate to the Chicago area at the time of Fellowship, without additional financial compensation, and are required to live in the Chicago area for the tenure of the Fellowship.

Job Types: Full-time, Temporary

Salary: $38,000.00 /year

Required education:

Master’s

Required language:

Spanish

Librarian/Archivist – Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM

General Job Description
The Bartlett Librarian & Archivist will collaborate to develop collections to meet the needs of patrons, catalog and process collections/acquisitions using standard library and archival accessioning techniques; provide services to researchers; develop and maintain finding aids; identify library or archival materials needing repair and conservation; ensure use of proper preservation techniques; manage circulation and shelve materials; expand online access and prepare collections for web-based use; handle library budget; write reports; serve on Museum committees, and perform any other functions necessary to the operation of a special collections library.

Responsibilities
Work collaboratively and proactively to acquire and organize materials to support the mission of the Museum of International Folk Art and the Bartlett Library, the work of Museum staff, and the interests of researchers in folk art.

Process incoming and backlogged materials by accessioning them into the main collection. Processing includes organizing, cataloging or indexing the materials (including analytic cataloging of periodical or archival sources), and conducting necessary conservation practices; re-housing materials in as necessary; creating an inventory; and preparing collection guides.

Assist researchers by explaining library and archival policy, conducting reference interviews, identifying and retrieving research materials (including interlibrary loans), training patrons in specialized research procedures (including using online databases), photocopying documents, and monitoring researchers.

Answer online and e-mail requests by searching for the materials, producing required reproductions, corresponding with researchers, collecting authorizations, managing contracts and payments as necessary, and mailing materials.

Provide collaborative support to the museum curators in museum exhibit research and preparation. Work with the museum staff in developing library exhibits that highlight the archival collection, and to provide special library programs to enhance Museum exhibits and events.

Maintain online catalogs and databases, and expand digitization projects.

Handle budgeting, ordering, and fund-raising to support library functions; work with financial staff and Director to adhere to financial requirements.

Collaborate with staff in setting policy determining library resource preservation practices, reproduction and usage fees, research use of the collections, and copyright issues.

Process gift books by identifying those relevant to the collection and cataloging them; encourage appropriate donations through correspondence with donors and potential donors.

Supervise student interns, part-time employees, and volunteers in various library and archival tasks.

Handle daily library duties including circulation, answering visitor’s reference questions, shelving books, maintaining stack and archival areas, and ordering supplies.

Update Library policy and procedure documents in collaboration with Museum and Department of Cultural Affairs staff.

Requirements

§  Experience managing a library with hands-on skill in collection development, cataloging and processing materials, organizing materials for finding and use (including circulating, shelving, and cleaning), maintaining an ILS or CMS, sustaining library functions on a limited budget (including grant-writing)

§  Demonstrated expertise in research skills and reference services

§  Experience working in archives, including collection organization, preservation, online migration, maintenance and digitization of collections; use of nationally accepted standards, tools, and best practices for archival description and processing

§  MLS from an ALA-accredited institution

§  Demonstrated ability to manage budgets, and follow institutional ethics and guidelines

§  Familiarity with copyright issues relevant to museums, libraries, and archives

§  Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills

§  Evidence of effective, collaborative work with professional colleagues.

 Preferred

§  Evidence of learning new skills and technologies quickly and effectively

§  Prior experience in library marketing, programming, and training

§  Experience supervising interns and volunteers, and working with docents and donors

§  Proficiency in multiple foreign languages

§  Coursework in archival management

§  Coursework in folklore, ethnography, anthropology, and/or sociology

§  Demonstrated interest in world cultures, and/or folk art

For consideration, please submit a cover letter and electronic resume to Aurelia Gomez, Deputy Director of the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, aurelia.gomez@state.nm.us.

All interested parties are required to apply online with the State of New Mexico Personnel NEOGOV website, to be considered for the position:
https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/newmexico/jobs/1955213/librarian-archivist-dca-4513?keywords=librarian&pagetype=jobOpportunitiesJobs

Summer Internship: Academic Library Intern at Interlochen Center for the Arts

Interlochen Center for the Arts is looking to hire an Academic Library Intern for the 2018 camp season.

The dates of the agreement 6/11/18-8/7/18 and the stipend for the entire duration of the agreement is $1,600. Shared dorm room housing is provided for the dates contracted (early arrival/late stay requests, if space is available, will be paid in full by the employee). All meals are included with your agreement- breakfast, lunch, and dinner when the cafeteria is open.

Major Responsibilities: This is a great internship opportunity for someone interested in librarianship as a career. This position serves the needs of the Interlochen Arts Camp by helping to provide campers, faculty, and staff with resources to support their arts specialty and personal interests while on campus.

  • Duties include circulation, shelving, book processing, and implementing summer programs.
  • This position also requires the ability to assist library patrons of various ages and interests with finding information by utilizing a variety of databases and the catalog.
  • Other responsibilities may include summer projects ranging from collections management to work on the library website Qualifications
  • Applicants currently in an MLS program are preferred.
  • Applicants must possess excellent customer service skills, proficiency with technology, attentiveness to detail, and a willingness to participate in a team environment.
  • Experience with Mac OS and applications is desirable.

To apply go to http://careers.interlochen.org/summerjobs

Required documents for application are: cover letter/letter of interest, resume, and a current listing of three references. You can additionally upload these documents during the submission of the application process by selecting “Apply and continue to upload documents” button. Please upload your documents in a pdf format.

Alt-Career Spotlight: Hannah Barton, Art Researcher at Artifex Press

This series of interviews feature individuals who have received their MLIS/MSIS, but do not currently hold positions solely dedicated to art librarianship. Some may work in libraries and have an interest or duties related to art librarianship, while others use their information science skills in fields outside of the traditional library setting.

What is the name of the employer/institution you work for?
I am an art researcher, working with Artifex Press, a publisher of digital catalogues raisonnés.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and your current position?
I received my Bachelor’s in Art History from Lewis & Clark College and two years later moved to New York to attend the dual-degree Art History and Library Science Master’s program at Pratt Institute. While receiving my MS and MLIS, I held internships with the New York Art Resources Consortium at the Frick and Museum of Modern Art Libraries, followed by an internship at the Whitney Museum of American Art Library. In my last year at Pratt I was hired by Artifex Press as a Research Assistant on their Jim Dine catalogue raisonné. After the Dine catalogue was published, I began my first solo project of editing the Tim Hawkinson catalogue, which was published in 2015 but remains an ongoing project as the artist continues to create new work. Over the last three years I have also been editing the Lucas Samaras: Boxes catalogue raisonné, which was published to our subscribers at the end of 2017 and will require ongoing research and upkeep.

What brought you to your current position?
After interning at several art libraries in New York, I realized that perhaps a traditional library was no longer where I wanted to work. The job posting for my first position at Artifex Press asked that the applicant be very familiar with library research as well as content standards for art and art history, which for me was the perfect opportunity — I got to put my MLIS to use while researching art!

What does a typical work day look like for you?
Catalogue raisonné research is so vast that I rarely have a “typical” day, though most days involve a lot of emailing — contacting institution owners of works, venues of previous exhibitions, galleries that hold works, etc. During various points in the research process, I also spend a lot of time in art libraries conducting research. The most recent catalogue I’ve been working on includes over 350 publication citations, and I had to track each and every one of those down. And on special days, I get to look at art! I was recently able to travel to Los Angeles to look at a Samaras box owned by a public institution. Our digital catalogue platform allows us to include a variety of multimedia content, and with the Samaras catalogue we have chosen to create short videos of a selection of works, so that the viewer can see how the boxes function with all of their component parts. Going to view the work in person is essential to get a grasp of the intricacies of these works in order to better film them and give the viewer the full understanding of their content.

Do you stay involved in the field of art librarianship and if so, how?
Unfortunately, I have sort of lost touch with the field of art librarianship, aside from utilizing it for my own research needs. I keep up with things peripherally, as I attended ARLIS in New Orleans last year and still have many friends in the field. Art Librarians are some of Artifex Press’s most coveted users, as our catalogues are produced to help with research in the field.

Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box in terms of career options! I went into library school with the direct aim of working in an art library, but I found a job that actually better catered to my interests without really knowing it at first. Traditionally, catalogue raisonné editors and researchers have been art historians and scholars, and while I would consider myself an art historian, I never would have thought I would be editing catalogues raisonnés. I got into the field through my research abilities and my interest in the organization of information, and by sticking around long enough I developed the skills to tackle these projects on my own.

What are some of the current challenges you see in your field or the art/information science field?
One of the main challenges in the field of digital CR creation is convincing users that digital is better than analog for this medium. I completely understand the hesitancy by many to embrace purely digital publications, and I am also guilty of oftentimes preferring analog to digital, being able to hold the book in my hands and flip through the pages, having a physical object to collect and archive. But in the case of catalogues raisonnés, I am now a firm believer that digital is better. Catalogues raisonnés in analog form are already out of date by the time they are printed. Artworks have a life of their own once they leave the artist; they can be infinitely exhibited and cited or illustrated in various publications, as well as can change hands from collector to collector. Once a CR is printed, the history of each object included in the publication can no longer be updated in the completed publication, but with a digital catalogue, the history of each artwork remains current as it can be continually updated. Convincing users that digital is better also comes with the challenge of assuring them that the data will be safe and accessible far into the future. Artifex Press has been working with top art libraries and digital archives to maintain a strategy for permanently archiving the data we are creating.

Tell us something fun about yourself! What do you do in your spare time?
When I’m not working, I try to be outside as much as possible. I love traveling and exploring, even if that just means a quick day trip to somewhere nearby. And when the weather doesn’t cooperate, I’m experimenting with new creative endeavors. I am currently re-learning how to use a sewing machine and I plan to try and make some of my own clothes this year…we’ll see how that goes.

Assistant Librarian & Archivist – Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

The Wadsworth Atheneum, the oldest continually operating public art museum in the United States, was founded by Daniel Wadsworth in 1842. Today the collection exceeds 50,000 works of art, spanning more than 5,000 years. The Wadsworth Atheneum has always been a resource for the local community, as we work to welcome new and existing audiences.

Reporting to the Head of Library and Archives, the Assistant Librarian and Archivist performs a wide-range of tasks associated with the physical and intellectual organization of the Auerbach Art Library and Museum Archives. The Assistant Librarian and Archivist provides reference and research assistance to the museum’s staff, docents, external patrons and community partners. The primary responsibilities include cataloging, organizing, processing and preserving library and historical resources, preparing guides and finding aides, reference services, and participation in all aspects of library and archival work.

The regular work schedule for this position is Tuesday through Saturday.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

Education and Experience

·         Bachelor’s Degree in art history, history or studio art; and Master of Library Science from an ALA-accredited institution with coursework or concentration in archives management.

·         Three (3) years’ experience in an art library, museum, or academic library, cataloging (both original and copy cataloging) and fielding reference questions. Plus, one (1) to two (2) years’ experience in archival management and special collections required.

 Skills and Abilities

·         Knowledge of current archival description standards, including experience in creating finding aids, and knowledge of MARC21 cataloging formats.

·         Proficiency with integrated library systems and database management systems.

·         Ability to inventory and assess collections and deaccession resources when appropriate.

·         Understanding of appropriate preservation practices for rare books and other special collections materials.

·         Reading knowledge of art historical French and/or German desirable.

·         Superior verbal and written skills; and dedication to providing excellent customer service.

·         Strong attention to detail and excellent organizational skills.

·         Ability to respond quickly to unexpected challenges and shifting priorities.

·         Aptitude in MS Office programs including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

 HOW TO APPLY:
Interested candidates should send their resume, cover letter, and salary requirements to:

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Attn: HR Department
600 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103
Or Email HR@wadsworthatheneum.org

 Deadline for applications: Position will remain posted until filled.
 The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Digital Art Preservation: An annotated bibliography

This past Fall, I took a course in my MLIS program (Wayne State University) called Digital Curation and Preservation. As the title states, this course focused on the curation lifecycle and preservation processes for born-digital materials. Some of the work we did was directly related to libraries, but I also ended up learning techniques and practices for best preserving my own digital files (e.g. digital photos). The final project for this class had each student creating an annotated bibliography on a topic related to digital preservation, either solo or with a group. I chose to focus on digital art preservation and more specifically on articles that discussed documentation practices related to digital art preservation.

I wanted to share my annotated bibliography for anyone who may be interested in doing some reading on digital art preservation. It got me thinking about best practices for creating metadata and documentation that would best assist with the recreation of digital artworks in the future, past their own technological obsolescence. I was also interested in thinking about the contention that can exist between an artist and an institution (e.g. museum) in regards to preservation. Some artworks weren’t meant to last forever and their ephemerality is part of the artists’ intention. My bibliography isn’t even close to being an exhaustive list of resources related to the topic, but in what I read, I noticed a lack of connection between digital preservation as viewed through a librarian/information science lens and digital preservation as approached by those working directly in art institutions, like museums and galleries. I found it pretty interesting to think about and want to further explore these thoughts in the future.

Preventing Lost (Art) History: Problems and Practices of Documentation in Digital Art Preservation

Librarian (Public Services & Cataloging) – Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM

DEPARTMENT: IAIA LIBRARY
CLASSIFICATION: EXEMPT, ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONAL
REPORTS TO: LIBRARY DIRECTOR
SUPERVISES: NONE (HOWEVER DOES OVERSEE ASSIGNED STUDENT WORKERS)
LAST UPDATED: NOVEMBER 2017
DEADLINE: January 15, 2018

POSITION SUMMARY

Reporting to the Library Director, the incumbent provides a wide range of library services. The incumbent’s main responsibilities include public service, cataloging, and teaching information literacy to the students. Other responsibilities include the processing of new material and supervising job duties conducted by work-study students. The library uses OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services and this position is responsible for overseeing cataloging and circulation management in the system. Support IAIA’s mission, vision and core values.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS

·         Work a 40 hour week that includes a weekly schedule working MondayThursday evenings from 4:30-9pm.

·         Perform a wide range of public service functions, which include but is not limited to the following responsibilities:
o Provide reference and circulation assistance to library patrons.
o Collaborate with faculty to provide library instruction.
o Teach and assist student, faculty, and staff based on their research needs.
o Troubleshoot technology problems for patrons using the library’s public computers.

·         Perform a wide range of cataloging and collection management functions, which include but is not limited to the following responsibilities:
o Identify, evaluate, and select appropriate organization of materials.
o Update and maintain catalog and circulation records and policies in the integrated library system (ILS).
o Catalog and classify a variety of materials including print, audiovisual, and special format materials using copy cataloging and original cataloging.
o Serve as liaison to Libros Consortium to resolve technical issues with the ILS.
o Collaborate with other staff for collection development.

·         Perform a range duties related to the oversight and direction of Student Workers assigned to the
Library, which include but is not limited to the following responsibilities:
o Provide evening library supervision and reference services.
o Train student workers in library procedures, collection organization, and circulation.

·         Community and Professional Involvement objectives:
o Maintain membership in and participate in professional organizations
o Participate in library staff meetings and IAIA community meetings and events
o Keep abreast of library trends
o Complete other duties/project as assigned or needed

 REQUIRED EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:

Must have a Master’s degree in Library Science from an ALA accredited University and at least one (1) year of professional experience with a background in cataloging. PREFERED: Information literacy instruction experience and reference experience.

REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES

·         Knowledge and experience applying cataloging standards such as AACR2/RDA, LCSH, MARC21 format, and LCC or Dewey Classification.

·         Demonstrated communications and interpersonal skills, which includes strong writing, oral, and
organizational skills.

·         Ability to teach information literacy in a variety of capacities both online and in the classroom.

·         Ability to be accessible and available to students and faculty.

·         Ability to provide presentations.

·         Ability to collaborate effectively and efficiently across several organizational levels.

·         Ability to interpret and comply with library and IAIA policies and procedures.

·         Effectively respond to and/or interact with others, which includes creating rapport/trust with students and establishing effective/positive work relationships with staff and faculty.

·         Adhere to appropriate standards of conduct and ethics, including confidentiality, integrity and honesty; follows directives.

·         Exhibit ability to adapt to changing work environments.

·         Cooperate and work respectfully with others.

·         Participate in pro-active problem solving, perform job duties, and participate in meetings as
required.

 PREFERED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES

·         Experience with OCLC Connexion

·         Experience managing digital collections

·         Knowledge of copyright

·         Knowledge of non-MARC metadata standards, such as Dublin Core or MODS

·         Knowledge of assessment?

 WORKING CONDITIONS

·         Ability to read and interpret basic to complex data/information/guidelines/ procedures related to integrated library/catalog systems, research, and academic-related data/information.

·         Ability to present the library- or catalog-related information in a public forum.

·         Ability to effectively utilize applicable computer systems and/or applications.

·         Ability to meet the essential work hour requirements during regular semesters.

·         A job evaluation of this position will include an assessment of performance results based on the essential functions.

·         Occasional travel for meetings, conferences, and other events using personal or company vehicle.

·         Management has the right to revise this job description at any time, with or without notice.

·         This job description does not list all the duties of this position.

·         The job description is not a contract for employment.

 HOW TO APPLY:
Email cover letter and resume to: https://iaia.edu/about/employment/

Mail: IAIA HR, 83 Avan Nu Po Rd, SF, NM 87508;
FAX: (505) 424-0505

Native Preference applies. Please submit CIB/Tribal Enrollment if claiming preference.

The Practice and Problems of Digital Art History

I’ve written about the digital humanities (DH) before, posting a brief introduction to some DH tools, classes, and resources. In this post I want to focus specifically on the practice of DH in the field of art history. DH can bring a lot to field, but the practice of digital art history is also not without its challenges. The field of art history entered the digital world when the switch from teaching with slides to teaching with digital images occurred, but academia has pushed further into the digital realm with the increasing ubiquity of researching, publishing, and pursuing scholarship in digital environments (Zorich, 2013).

Not isolated to the field of art history is the reverence for the print publication. Print publishing is currently still the marker by which professors are evaluated for tenure and advancement, Deviating from this model could negatively affect chances for such (Zorich, 2013). Digital projects also present problems in their evaluation. As of yet, there are no general rules or guidelines on how to evaluate the merit of digital scholarship projects in academia. Difficulties also present themselves in the very visual nature of the art history field. Digital image analysis methods are not nearly as straightforward as digital text analysis. (Drucker, 2013 ). Text analysis using digital methods forms a major part of DH scholarship, providing research based on a distant reading of texts (Drucker, 2013 ) Digital methods for image analysis are still “far from being able to imitate human abilities of perception and analysis” (Drucker, 2013, p. 8).

Despite the challenges of digital art history, it is still very much a worthy field to pursue. One way art history faculty can dabble in digital art history, without the pressure and problems associated with doing so in their own research, is by bringing DH methods into the classroom (J. Schell, personal communication, December 4, 2017). The difficulty in evaluating projects still exists, how does a professor grade a digital project versus the standard term paper, but the stakes are lower (J. Schell, personal communication, December 4, 2017). DH in art history offers different ways for students to engage with the material, build skills, and spark their interest in cultural heritage in a different new way (J. Schell, personal communication, December 4, 2017).

Scalar, Omeka, and WordPress are popular tools that are used for creating digital collections and presenting digital exhibits. ImagePlot and ImageJ can be used for analyzing large sets of images. The type of digital tool used really depends on what type of question is being asked. Text analysis can be incorporated into art history studies, too. MALLETT and Voyant are two tools used for text analysis. It could be an interesting project to analyze the papers or letters from an artist’s personal archive. These are just tiny handful of digital tools that can be incorporated into art history scholarship and add meaning to the field.

So, where does the library and the art librarian fit into this? Subject specialists and liasons to art history departments may choose to explore these tools on their own and bring them to their faculty and students as seen fit. If a college has a department or librarian dedicated to DH, the art librarian can create connections between these departments and their own. Librarians have long been champions and purveyors of new technology.. I think even in departments that may be hesitant to move into digital art history territory, the art librarian can bring some simple DH tools into the practice in a way that suitably fits the environment. Creating digital exhibits is a great way to being work with digital scholarship, without using overly complicated tools or needing complex tech skills.

Lastly, I’d like to share some neat digital art history projects I found via the Frick Art Reference Library Digital Art History Lab.

Mapping Art Markets in Europe
Vincent Van Gogh The Letters
UCLA Rome Lab

Drucker, J. (2013). Is there a “digital” art history?. Visual Resources, 29(1-2),           5-13. DOI: 10.1080/01973762.2013.761106

Zorich, D. M. (2013). Digital art history: A community assessment. Visual               Resources, 29(1-2), 14-21. DOI: 10.108010973762.2013.761108