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April 6, 2015

A vision, a board, and a plan: an interview with Elizabeth Barlow Rogers

 

Artstor has recently released more than 1,100 photographs of Central Park from the Foundation for Landscape Studies in the Digital Library. We celebrated the occasion by speaking with Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, who founded the organization in 2005 and serves as its president.

Ms. Rogers is a pivotal figure in the history of Central Park. She was appointed the Park’s administrator in 1979, charged with overseeing all aspects of daily operations. She was instrumental in founding the Central Park Conservancy in 1980, and she guided the Park’s extraordinary restoration. Rogers led the Conservancy as president until 1996, and she is now a life trustee. Her influence extends far beyond New York City, and she is frequently consulted by groups in other cities and countries desiring to form park conservancies modeled on the one for Central Park.

After stepping down from the presidency of the Central Park Conservancy, Rogers founded the Cityscape Institute. She subsequently created the Garden History and Landscape Studies curriculum at the Bard Graduate Center in 2002. She is the author of several books, including The Forests and Wetlands of New York City (1971), Rebuilding Central Park: A Management and Restoration Plan (1987), Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History (2001), Writing the Garden: A Literary Conversation Across Two Centuries (2011), and Learning Las Vegas: Portrait of a Northern New Mexican Place (2013).

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April 6, 2015

The flowers of Delmarva

This post has been updated to include new information about Artstor’s public collections, formerly made available on Shared Shelf Commons.
Franklin C. Daiber, Peony. UD Library: Franklin C. Daiber Botanical Collection

Franklin C. Daiber, Peony. UD Library: Franklin C. Daiber Botanical Collection

The Delmarva Peninsula gets its name from the three states it’s a part of: DELaware, MARyland, and VirginiA. You could say Delmarva is technically an island, since you have to cross one of five bridges (one of them being the 20-mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel) to get across the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, but since the canal is man-made it’s still considered a peninsula.

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April 2, 2015

Hopping through cultures: the rabbit in art

Albrecht Dürer, Hare (A Young Hare), 1502, Graphische Sammlung Albertina. Image and original data: Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Albrecht Dürer, Hare (A Young Hare), 1502, Graphische Sammlung Albertina. Image and original data: Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Easter is around the corner, and with it comes the inevitable barrage of images of the Easter bunny. The strange thing is that the only mentions of rabbits in the Bible are prohibitions against eating them in the Old Testament. So what gives?

The underlying idea is that rabbits are connected to the idea of rebirth—not only do they reproduce prodigiously, at one time they were believed to reproduce asexually. The connection of rabbits to rebirth also occurs in non-Christian societies: The Rabbit in the Moon (instead of our Man in the Moon) is a familiar symbol in Asia, and was part of Aztec legend, tying the idea of rabbits to a “rebirth” every night. But other qualities of rabbits and hares also get highlighted in folklore, including their mischievous side, playing the role of cunning tricksters in Native American and Central African mythologies.

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March 12, 2015

At-risk collections to receive preservation and distribution support from Artstor

artstor_logo_rgb2Artstor announces the first four recipients of a new initiative to preserve and increase the availability of at-risk collections. The selected projects are:

  • The James Cahill Archive of Chinese art (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Excavations and finds in Oaxaca by Judith Zeitlin, 1973 and 1990 (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
  • Ronald M. Bernier Archive, Buddhist initiation rituals in Nepal in the ’70s and ’80s and key historical sites from Myanmar (University of Colorado Boulder)
  • The Mohamed Makiya Archive, Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT’s archive of Iraqi architect and urban planner Mohamed Saleh Makiya (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

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March 10, 2015

Spring has sprung—finally

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1919. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Claude Monet, Water Lilies, 1919. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

After the coldest recorded February in New York City since 1934, spring has finally sprung, and we could not be more relieved.

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February 27, 2015

In the news: #thatdress

Georges Lepape (illustrator); Paul Poiret (costume designer), "Les Jardins de Versailles - Costume de Paul Poiret dans le goût Louis XIV", 1913. Image and catalog data provided by Allan T. Kohl, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Lepape: © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, Poiret: © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Georges Lepape (illustrator); Paul Poiret (costume designer), “Les Jardins de Versailles – Costume de Paul Poiret dans le goût Louis XIV”, 1913. Image and catalog data provided by Allan T. Kohl, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Lepape: © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, Poiret: © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

A poorly taken photograph of a dress and the simple question “what color is it?” spread all over social media and was picked up by several news outlets. Some people in our office saw black and blue, others white and gold, but we all agreed—enough is enough with #thatdress! The Artstor Digital Library offers you thousands of more interesting dresses from collections like Museum at FIT, Gazette du Bon Ton (Minneapolis College of Art and Design), The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Brooklyn Museum Costumes.

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February 23, 2015

The secret names of Italian Renaissance artists

Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo), Angel Playing a Lute, 1521, Galleria degli Uffizi. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com; (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo), Angel Playing a Lute; detail, 1521, Galleria degli Uffizi. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com; scalarchives.com; (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.

Have you ever wondered why you rarely see the names of the greats from the Italian Renaissance reoccur in art history?  Why do we not see more than one artist with names such as Ghirlandaio, Masaccio, or Tintoretto? It’s because a lot of these were not really names, they were nicknames! Some, like Verrocchio (“true eye”), were flattering, while others, like Guercino (“squinter”), not so much.

Here’s a list of some of the most memorable names from the Renaissance and what they really mean:

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February 19, 2015

On this day: Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Goat!

Various authors including Lambert le Tort, Alexandre de Bernai (de Paris), and others, Romance of Alexander; Folio #: fol. 130r, 1338-1344. Image and original data provided by the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

Various authors including Lambert le Tort, Alexandre de Bernai (de Paris), and others, Romance of Alexander; Folio #: fol. 130r, 1338-1344. Image and original data provided by the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Lunar New Year! The Chinese Year of the Goat begins February 19, 2015 and lasts through March 5, 2015.

You might see references to this being the year of the sheep, or even of the ram. This stems from the fact that the Chinese use one character (yang in Mandarin) for these three different horned animals, but it seems that the goat is the prefered choice by the majority of Chinese people.

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February 18, 2015

Roy Lichtenstein Foundation awards $75,000 to Artstor

Photographer D. James Dee and his archive

Photographer D. James Dee and his archive

The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has awarded $75,000 to Artstor in support of the James Dee Archives project. The Archives are composed of approximately 250,000 slides, transparencies, negatives, and photographs documenting contemporary art in New York City over the last four decades, and Artstor is digitizing and maintaining the archive for use in research and education. The gift will support the processing of the collection, developing crowdsourcing software for collaborative cataloging, and the outreach to galleries and individuals who would be helpful in interpreting the images.

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February 4, 2015

The infinite variety of artists’ books

Sandra Rowe, Snake, 1991. Bucknell University: Artists' Books Collection

Sandra Rowe, Snake, 1991. Bucknell University: Artists’ Books Collection

Whether you consider illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages the beginning, or you start with William Blake’s self-published books of poetry in the 18th century, artists have been making books for centuries. But as Toni Sant recounts in his book Franklin Furnace and the Spirit of the Avant-garde, the term “artists’ books” is fairly recent. It only appeared in 1973 as the title of an exhibition at Moore College, and it wasn’t until 1980 that the Library of Congress adopted the term in its list of established subjects.

This delay might stem from the infinite variety of forms that artists’ books take, sometimes pushing our understanding of what a book is to unexpected extremes.

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