Discovering art through fiction

I think it’s safe to say that here at ArLiSNAP, we all love art and we all love books. This month I ran into a couple of art/book intersections I found really fascinating. The first is a great post by Scott Indrisek on artsy where 18 artists share books that have inspired them.

This is a fun, kind of back-door way to find artists you might connect with. I found myself clicking through to see the work of artists who like the same books as me. Artist Shara Hughes shares my love for Eckhart Tolle’s mind-bending spiritual book A New Earth, and her collage-like, colorful paintings really appeal to me.

Kevin Wilson’s novel The Family Fang is a book I often put on my staff picks shelf when I worked at a public library. It chronicles the misadventures of a dysfunctional family in which the parents use their children as props in public art performances. Turns out this is one of provocative painter Betty Tompkin’s “favorite novels about art.”

Check out the list: do you see any of your own favorite titles mentioned here?

The second art/book intersection I noticed this month is Sara Baume’s novel A Line Made by Walking. Baume takes the title from Richard Long’s 1967 photograph of the same name, showing, as you might expect, a line he made by walking:

A Line Made by Walking 1967 Richard Long born 1945 Purchased 1976 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P07149

 

But Baume’s use of specific art works is hardly limited to the novel’s title. The book centers on Frankie, a young artist floundering in a disorienting depression. Almost as if she’s planting markers in the ground, Frankie periodically “tests herself”, describing art works related to a particular subject. As she pulls her beloved, late grandmother’s bicycle out of a shed:

Works about Sheds, I test myself: Cornelia Parker, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View. In 1991 the Banbury Army School of Ammunition agreed to blow up a perfectly ordinary garden shed at the artist’s request…

These are real works of art with real historical context, that somehow Baume deftly fits into the life and thoughts of her fictional character. I didn’t immediately recognize the artist Cornelia Parker by name, but the description of Cold Dark Matter reminded me of a work I’d seen at the ICA Boston. A quick Google search surfaced the piece: Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson), which I then read about at length.

Cornelia Parker, Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson), 1999. Charcoal, wire, pins, and nails, 144 × 60 × 72 inches (365.8 × 152.4 × 182.9 cm). Gift of Barbara Lee, The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. © Cornelia Parker

Baume includes an index of artworks, listed by chapter, at the end of the novel. Many I’ve studied (Vito Acconci’s Following Piece, Tracy Emin’s My Bed), some I’ve seen (Christian Marclay’s The Clock), but most were new to me. This was such a unique way to encounter art; because I was deeply involved with the character and her struggles, I cared about the specific works of art that had affected her and were now helping her find her way. I often stopped to look things up, such as Wolfgang Laib’s Milkstones, which I find indescribably moving. These sculptures many have left me cold, had I discovered them without Baume leading me there.

 

I leave you with this short video showing Laib’s meditative creative process, and a very strong recommendation to read A Line Made by Walking this summer!

 

A peek inside the art inventory project at the Boston Public Library

At the Boston Public Library, we’re undertaking an item-level inventory of over 320,000 original art works. That’s a lot of art:

Item by item, we are developing descriptive metadata for each object in the Print Collection using content and vocabulary standards defined by the project. One of the ways we help to preserve the materials is to (carefully!) remove prints from old mats. Here’s a quick look at how we un-mat:

1. Observe the print trapped in its sad old mat.IMG_2152

 

2. Open the window mat and tell the print that you love it and it’s going to be okay.IMG_2153

 

3. With a very sharp knife, carefully cut along the adhesive hinges.IMG_2155

 

4. Set the print free! Well, actually, put it in an acid-free folder and label it. Include any ephemera that may have been lurking beneath.IMG_2157

A Bit of Holiday Reading

If you’re like me, you’re working over the holidays. Beyond my few in-office days this week, I’ve got a handful of volunteer projects to complete or plan before the new year, some conference presentations to start on (hello pie charts!), and multiple folders of PDFs to read on my desktop. I might even spend a few hours tweaking the ArLiSNAP redesign! (More about this later.)

If you’re not like me, you’re probably visiting with family and friends, flipping the channels on the TV, sleeping in, and otherwise loafing. Lucky you. But you might still want to catch up on your reading, do something professional-development-related, or polish off a personal project. With most regularly-publishing websites on a hiatus until the end of the year, allow me to recommend some media archives to check out if you want to keep your head in librarian-land:

Long-Forms

The Digitization Age: Mass Culture is Quality Culture. An overview of EU digitization initiatives and their impact on cultural access. (PDF)

A Season of Life in the LAC. A speech by the relatively new head of cultural heritage in Canada, Guy Berthiaume, discussing the pitiful state of our priorities challenges and opportunities we face.

An interview with Sarah Thornton, author of a new book of collected interviews with artists. Full disclosure: I got both of her books from the library and couldn’t get into either of them. But you might succeed where I have failed!

A history of the war between Amazon and the book industry.

Do we really need a Whole Foods of contemporary art? And does commercialization ever equate to democratization?

Listen/Watch

Circulating Ideas: A podcast series interviewing librarians, including a DAM expert and the director of the DPLA.

You can use your ARLIS/NA membership to access the webinar recording on library advocacy from a few weeks back.

Twitter!

Librarian Twitter Chats

VRA / ARLIS members on Twitter

I’ve only recently become a convert to Twitter, and have found it surprisingly great for networking. I didn’t take my LIS in Toronto, although I work here now, so it’s been pretty good for meeting colleagues and filling the support gap where my classmates might’ve been. I’ve been following public chats like #critlib, #SLAtalk, and #snapRT, and looking for good art-related conversations as well. (Feel free to suggest some if you know of any.) Most of these chats will be suspended over the holidays, but it’s a good time to go back and read older discussions on topics of interest (especially if someone was nice enough to storify them!).

Eye Candy

The Tate put a ton of artists’ archival content online.

The Public Domain Class of 2015. Several artists entering the public domain, including Kandinsky, Mondrian, and Munch.

And, when you’re in the midst of holiday-related stress, don’t forget you can punch a Monet.

Books of the Heart

books-of-the-heart

Pictured above are the current contents of the Crouch Fine Arts Library’s display at Baylor University Library in Waco, Texas. For the month of February 2014, a small but eclectic group of selections from the Baylor Artist Book Collection pertaining to *LOVE* in its varied manifestations engages viewers with themes as diverse as the playful revision of Shakespearian dialogue in r&j: the txt message edition to more jaded reflections in Heart Assortment: A Bittersweet Sampler. 

Many academic libraries have artist book collections of various sizes and scopes. Some institutions collect regionally, thematically, or structurally, while others prefer a mix of all types and kinds. Collection scale, of course, depends heavily on the acquisitions budget. Art librarians have found artist books to be interesting objects for display within their libraries and useful tools for developing interdisciplinary relationships with faculty and students.  The Baylor Artist Book Collection is often requested for art department classes, but is also requested by professors from other departments. An emerging trend at Baylor is engagement by students in the Medical Humanities program.

For more information on the collection see http://www.researchguides.baylor.edu/heartbooks.

What other ways are artist book collections used in libraries? Do you or would you collect artist books in your role as an art librarian? Why do you think these types of collections are popular in an increasingly digital age?

 

Seeking Fashion Photographer(s) for the ARLIS/NA Conference!

Are you a fashion blogger or photographer, or have always wanted to give it a try? Do you have an appreciation for librarian style in particular? Will you be at the 2013 ARLIS/NA conference in Pasadena?

If you answered “yes” to these, consider volunteering as an ARLIS correspondent to Librarian Wardrobe!

Our own Heather Koopmans has discussed the idea with the contributors at LW, and would like to find 1-2 individuals who are willing to help spread the word of ARLISian style. You must be:

  • planning to attend the ARLIS/NA conference in Pasadena
  • willing to share a photo and short bio of yourself on LW
  • comfortable with approaching ARLIS attendees to obtain their photo and a few other necessary details (no candid pics)
  • able to collect at least five photos at the conference

If you’re interested, please contact Heather at hkoopman (at) scad (dot) edu, and she’ll put you in touch with Librarian Wardrobe.

Thanks for considering!

What-Are-You-Reading Wednesdays

Happy middle of the week, ArLiSNAPpers!

Many thanks to all of our contributors and job-hunting aficionados. I hope you new or soon-to-be graduates are taking heart from the steady flow of the amazing career opportunities that flow through here.

Now, let’s get a discussion going on this blog. We’ll start with something simple.

What are you reading?

Have you read something recently that’s influenced your work or study interests? What’s your bookshelf look like? Come across any great new articles?

Let us know! Comment here, post an instagram photo of your growing “to read” list, or just tweet us @arlisnap.

Book As Sculpture Exhibition at Dodd Research Center

A cool exhibition at the Dodd Research Center highlights works created by students in a first year studio foundation art class.  Here’s the word from the Dodd’s blog:

Given as an assignment to a first year studio foundation art class, students were challenged to consider the function of the book and encouraged to rethink its form as sculptural object. Additionally, the students were inspired by viewing some of the diverse forms of one-of-a- kind and limited edition artists’ books housed at the Dodd Research Center…

Through a series of transformative gestures and repetitive actions such as folding, cutting, scoring, curling, punching, incising and shredding, the function of book as object of information is transformed into structure, sculpture. These repetitive acts, to the point of exaggeration, have created new and startling physical shapes that we take notice of first. For some of the creators, the book’s title helped prompt an action informing us of the book’s potential content.  For others, a singular process took shape without considering the book’s original intention. Irony, wit, poetic reference, and obsessive gesture push the book’s singular recognizable form into a new physical shape. Some of the pages turn, but the text is not the text of legibility. Others offer the viewer a window into the process of alteration.

Book As Sculpture Exhibition
Through April 30, 2011,
Monday-Friday 10-4
Dodd Research Center
John P. McDonald Reading Room
University of Connecticut
405 Babbidge Road, Unit 1205
Storrs, CT 06269-1205

(h/t: Fresh Pickin’s)

NEA Newsletter Call for News!

Attention archivists, students, and repositories in the New England area:

The NEA newsletter is currently seeking articles about your activities and accomplishments for the July 2011 issue of the NEA newsletter. The newsletter relies entirely on entries from members, so please share your news with the archives community!

Past entries have included announcements about newly processed collections, new acquisitions, renovations and expansions, grants received, project updates, exhibit openings, student activities, photographs from collections, and internship opportunities. However, anything of interest to the archives community is welcome!

You can also add an item to our calendar of upcoming events (events, workshops, meetings, conferences, symposia, etc). Please limit your news item to around 150 words, or your calendar entry to around 25 words, and be sure to include your repository name, location, and a phone number or email address at the end of the piece.

The NEA will appreciate the time and thought you put into your writing!!

Send submissions by 05/16/2011 to:

Michael Dello Iacono
Records Manager
Suffolk University
Moakley Archive and Institute
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108
617.305.6255
www.suffolk.edu/archive

Library Student Journal Volunteer Opportunities

Apply to work on Library Student Journal!

Library Student Journal is an international, open-access, peer-reviewed journal that is entirely student-run and student-written. Working for Library Student Journal is a way to be actively involved in supporting student research and open-access scholarly publishing. Besides the benefit of building your resume, you will learn about the workings of academic publishing and be exposed to a wide range of interesting student research. All LSJ staff members also have the opportunity (though not the obligation) to contribute to the blog.

All positions are voluntary, and work is done using the Open Journal Systems online interface, or via email. Because we review and publish articles on a rolling basis, the time commitment is variable, but it averages 10-12 hours/month. As this is a student publication, all staff must be currently enrolled in an LIS degree program.

To apply for any LSJ position, please send a cover letter and resume/CV to the Editor in Chief at librarystudentjournal [at] gmail.com. The name of the position you’re interested in should be part of the subject line. Priority will be given to applications received by March 20.

The following positions are currently available:

Editorial Review Board
LSJ seeks to publish the best papers from library and information science students worldwide, and to serve as a forum for discussion of LIS education, training, career paths, and future trends.  Editorial Review Board members play a crucial role in this process by reviewing several articles a semester for the journal and helping the editor when a reviewer is needed in a pinch.  LSJ replies on the experience of these members to evaluate quality research and maintain the high standards of the journal. Doctoral students in LIS fields are preferred for this position. LSJ is seeking 2-3 Editorial Review Board members.

Layout Editor
The layout editor will create HTML documents for the online publication of journal articles, using established templates and documentation, based on Microsoft Word documents that have been peer-reviewed and edited. These documents will be translated into printable PDF versions.  After this process, the layout editor will enter metadata into the online publication system (a Dublin Core-based scheme), edit the author-supplied abstract or create a new one as appropriate, and select subject terms from a controlled vocabulary to enable searching and browsing. LSJ is seeking 3 Layout Editors.

Section Editor
Section Editors guide manuscripts submitted to the Articles section of the journal through the peer-review process. Section Editors choose suitable reviewers for each paper then use the completed reviews to inform their acceptance decision. In the process, Section Editors work closely with authors of submitted manuscripts to revise their work to an acceptable standard, based on reviewer comments and their own revision requests. LSJ is seeking 2 Section Editors.

Copyeditor
Copyeditors work with authors of accepted manuscripts to improve the style, grammar, and organization of their papers. A successful copyeditor has an excellent eye for detail, an ability to see the big picture, and the ability to communicate revision requests to authors in a respectful manner. LSJ is seeking 2 copyeditors.

Proofreader
Proofreaders review copy edited manuscripts for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and proper LSJ format. A successful proofreader will have an excellent eye for detail. LSJ is seeking 3 proofreaders.

Marketing Manager
This is a new position. The person hired as LSJ’s new Marketing Manager will have the opportunity to shape and define the position and will work closely with the Editor in Chief, the Publisher, and the Webmasters to contribute substantively to LSJ’s content, image, and future. The Marketing Manager will be responsible for generating awareness and excitement about LSJ in the larger LIS community through building connections, enhancing LSJ’s presence on social media sites, helping to generate blog content, and participating in long-term planning. This is an essential position and thus will involve a commensurately greater time commitment. Applicants who can commit to at least a year in the position will be given priority.

Peer Reviewer

We need as many reviewers as possible representing as many different areas of LIS as possible!  Reviewers serve as referees in the peer-review process for articles and give valuable input on article submissions. They help editors decide whether to accept or reject a submission, and they give authors feedback on how to improve articles to make them publication-ready.