Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘museums’

SMK_talk

On May 5th, Merete Sanderhoff, curator and senior advisor at the National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst), presented “Sharing is Caring” (you can see her slides here) at the Artstor offices for a group of professionals in the arts and cultural heritage fields, as well as members of the American Friends of SMK. We took the opportunity to do a brief interview.

Artstor: The SMK is working towards releasing its digitized collections into the Public Domain. How does that fit in with the museum’s mission?

MS: The museum is a public institution, and we see ourselves not as the owners but as stewards of our collections. We believe these collections are for everyone, so making them freely available very naturally aligned with our mission.

It’s also a way to show the breadth and depth of our collection, instead of just the canon. The Rijksmuseum provided a great example: they have gone the farthest in making their public domain materials free and providing the tools to work with them, and today everything they have online is being seen and used. It’s the Long Tail in action—the more obscure works get much fewer views than the peak, but together the views of the lesser-known works add up to much more than for the canon.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

To celebrate Artstor’s collaboration with the RISD Museum, our friends at the museum graciously created a lightning-tour of their encyclopedic collection in the Digital Library through twenty notable objects. Part one focuses on decorative and utilitarian artifacts, and part two on artworks.

 

Unknown artist (Greek); Aphrodite; 2nd century. Image © Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

Unknown artist (Greek); Aphrodite; 2nd century. Image © Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

Aphrodite

This bronze figure of Aphrodite, now green from oxidation, once would have been a warm brown. To heighten a sense of naturalism, the eyes and hair ribbon were inlaid with silver and the lips with copper. In the 4th century BCE, the first nude image of Aphrodite was sculpted, breaking a long tradition of depicting Greek goddesses clothed. It was fitting, however, that the goddess of love and beauty was the first to be portrayed in this new way. The motif became so popular that hundreds of such images of Aphrodite survive from ancient Greece and Rome, where they adorned homes, gardens, and sanctuaries. Exceedingly rare today, bronze examples like this one must have been prized possessions of wealthy patrons.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

To celebrate Artstor’s collaboration with the RISD Museum, our friends at the museum graciously created a lightning-tour of their encyclopedic collection in the Digital Library through twenty notable objects. Part one focuses on decorative and utilitarian artifacts, and part two on artworks.

Egyptian; Paint box, 1302-1070 BCE. Image © Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

Egyptian; Paint box, 1302-1070 BCE. Image © Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

Paint Box

Only a handful of paint boxes survive from ancient Egypt, and this one is particularly unique in being made of ceramic and bearing a sliding lid with a grip whimsically decorated with a genet, an animal related to the mongoose.

The stylized papyrus thickets represent the genet’s habitat of tall grasses and shrubs. Featuring a hollow well for water and brush storage, the box contains seven pigment cakes of yellow ochre, Egyptian blue (a synthetic pigment composed of silica, copper, and calcium), calcium carbonate (white), hematite (dark red), hematite mixed with calcium carbonate (lighter red), and two charcoal blacks. Painters used these same pigments to decorate statuary and the walls of temples and tombs.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

LESSING_ART_1039490423

Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, 1503-1506, Musée du Louvre. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

In 2012, 150,000 people signed a petition asking the Louvre to return Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to its “home city” of Florence, Italy. Not surprisingly, the Louvre declined. The Mona Lisa has done its share of traveling in the past 500 years, and more often than not it has proven nerve racking.

Before we get to the travel stories, let’s look at Florence’s claim. Leonardo da Vinci did start painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 in the Italian city, but in 1516 he was invited by King François I to work in France, and scholars believe he finished the painting there, and there it has remained. After Leonardo’s death, the king bought the Mona Lisa and exhibited it at the Palace of Fontainebleau, its home for more than 100 years, until Louis XIV took it to the Palace of Versailles. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Visitors viewing display cases and Bird Dome, Hall of the Birds of the World, 1927, American Museum of Natural History, Photographer: H. S. Rice. Image and original data provided by Library, American Museum of Natural History

Visitors viewing display cases and Bird Dome, Hall of the Birds of the World, 1927, American Museum of Natural History, Photographer: H. S. Rice. Image and original data provided by Library, American Museum of Natural History

Visiting the Museum of Natural History was high on my list of priorities on my first trip to New York City. This was in big part due to its mention in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye—even if, to be honest, I didn’t quite remember the role it played in the book.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Rollie McKenna, photographer | Installing the exhibition, "The Graphic Work of Edvard Munch." | February 6, 1957 through March 3, 1957 | Photographic Archive; The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York | © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Bono, Oslo

Rollie McKenna, photographer | Installing the exhibition, “The Graphic Work of Edvard Munch.” | February 6, 1957 through March 3, 1957 | Photographic Archive; The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York | © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Bono, Oslo

If you read a review or article about an interesting museum exhibition you missed you can usually find images of the featured artworks. But have you ever wondered how the works were presented, where they were placed? Which pieces were shown together, and in what order? You’re not alone – exhibition design is central in museology, also known as museum studies, which asks how to present exhibitions that engage and enlighten the viewer. It’s also of interest to curators, art historians, and even artists, who often want to see what effect context has on artworks.

The Artstor Digital Library has tens of thousands of exhibition documentation images ranging from the late 19th century to the present from major American institutions. Some of the photographs, as you can see in this post, even show the artworks being installed. Dig into the collections listed below to find many more gems.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Christine Kuan interviews Maria Ann Conelli, Executive Director of the American Folk Art Museum

 

CK: What’s special about the American Folk Art Museum?

MAC: The American Folk Art Museum is the only museum in the United States dedicated to traditional folk art as well as creative expressions of contemporary self-taught artists; it is home to one of the world’s premier collections dating from the eighteenth century to the present.

Henry Darger, Child-Headed Whiplash-Tail Blengins, Blengiglom-enean Island

CK: Many more people are interested in folk art today, why do you think that is?

MAC: I think that folk art and the art of the self-taught have an inherent accessibility people can relate to. What is amazing is that the art is made by individuals with no formal artistic or academic training who nevertheless have the need to articulate their passion to create. The result is these astounding works that speak to a broad and varied audience.

Artist unidentified, Witch on a Broomstick Whirligig

CK: What’s your favorite work in the collection?

MAC: That’s like asking a parent which child is her favorite.

CK: Why did the Museum decide to make digital images of the collection available in the Artstor Digital Library?

MAC: A large part of the museum’s focus is on education. We take great pride in our educational website, www.folkartrevealed.org, through which teachers have access to museum-generated lesson plans for grades K through 12. One of the exciting aspects about our collaboration with Artstor is that it allows us to reach a collegiate audience in ways that were not available to us before. It also allows us to share very high-resolution image files of thousands of objects in the museum’s collection that offer important details, such as stitching in textiles and signatures on paintings—details that are crucial to the study and preservation of folk art for generations to come. Providing high-resolution images to teachers, scholars, and students is extremely important to us—we want the works in our collection to be shared with as large an audience as possible.

Ammi Phillips, Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog

CK: How is your museum taking advantage of digital technologies?

MAC: We are using the Internet more and more to reach a larger audience and stay in touch with those who may not be able to actually visit the museum. Digital photography, because of its ease of use, makes it possible for us to share the collection with people around the globe, and social media outlets allow us to offer behind-the-scenes looks at the museum. Through the museum’s main and educational websites, as well as Facebook and Twitter, we are able to engage audiences around the world by sharing archival and installation information that we were not able to provide in the past.

Artist unidentified, Chevron Doll Quilt

CK: What’s the biggest challenge facing American museums [or your museum] today?

MAC: I think all museums are grappling with how to attract and engage a younger audience. We have a teen docent program that we’re all really proud of—our museum educators teach high school students how to serve as gallery guides to their peers. It’s a huge time commitment for the students and our educators, but I think it’s valuable for the participants to develop not just visual literacy but also writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills. The museum’s online presence can be a great introduction to the art, especially for younger audiences—but I think they know that the “real thing” is so much more interesting.

Read Full Post »