Art in context: installation photography
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.
Click on any image to view the slide show and to read the full captions.
Baltimore Museum of Art Archives – nearly 100 photographs of exhibition installations, including archival photographs of works from the permanent collection and from the celebrated Cone Collection.
University of Chicago: Renaissance Society – nearly 2,400 images by contemporary artists, many of them installation documentation.
Franklin Furnace Archives – 11,000 images and documentation of events, including performance art, site–specific works, and other time–based ephemeral arts, from the institution’s first two decades.
Larry Qualls Archive – 100,000 contemporary art exhibitions in New York City in the last quarter of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, including many of the works in situ.
The Museum of Modern Art Archives Exhibition Installation Photographs – 16,700 images documenting major exhibitions held at the museum from 1929 up to 2000.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation – 5,500 installation views spanning from the 1990’s to the present.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Exhibition Installation Photographs – 8,000 images of special exhibition installation views from 1970 to 2008.
The Mattress Factory (upcoming) – 12,000 images documenting installations exhibited at the museum since its opening in 1977.
New Museum of Contemporary Art Collection – 6,000 images documenting installations from the museum since its opening in 1977.