The search for the Northwest passage, an arctic maritime route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, drove European exploration of the North for hundreds of years. The search was exceedingly treacherous–pack ice, the floating ice covering the sea, made arctic waters impassable throughout most of the year and explorers perished in harsh conditions–but the danger and beauty of the unknown North enchanted an adventure-hungry public. Artists were similarly enamored, creating resplendent paintings that represented a sublime view of an Arctic that has gradually crumbled (or more accurately, melted) over the past century as global warming wreaks havoc on the icy seas.
Catherine Tedford, the director of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University, curates the Street Art Graphics collection, undeniably one of the coolest resources in Artstor’s public collections. Here she shares the history of street stickers and of her amazing collection.
History of the collection and the Street Art Graphics digital archive
In the last thirty years, urban art has evolved dramatically from the spray-painted graffiti that peppered subway stations, back alleys, and train yards. Today, new forms of visual communication are created in public spaces, often attracting viewers in more contemplative and/or interactive ways. Street art stickers, or simply “stickers,” have emerged as a vehicle for self-expression and as an effective way to engage passersby. Stickers may be used to “tag” or claim a space and make it temporarily one’s own, to sell products or services, to announce events, to publicize blogs or other social media sites, or to offer social commentary and political critique. As one of the most democratic art forms, stickers can be created and distributed easily, quickly, cheaply, and widely. D.I.Y. artists create one-of-a-kind drawings or multiple stencils and screenprints on free USPS stickers or “Hello-My-Name-Is” labels. Other artists upload more elaborate designs to online sticker companies that mass produce hundreds or thousands of stickers at a time. A range of rhetorical strategies can be found in their work, from humor and charm to rebellion and resistance. Representing a diverse array of voices and perspectives, stickers offer a spirited “ground up” alternative to an often “top down” media-saturated environment.
Hearing the call from Artstor teachers for sample lesson plans, we revisited some favorite lessons from our teaching days and borrowed from JSTOR Daily and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s School and Teacher Program. The results, covering a variety of subject areas and grade levels, can be found in Artstor’s Teaching Resources.
In in the vast, global virtual museum of the Artstor Digital Library, women are rising to the top. Our recent use statistics reveal that portraits and likenesses of the fairer sex (your interpretation…) dominate. The subject of women prevailed among the top 20 hits, with, you guessed it, Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, c. 1505, his serene queen, as number one (more than 12,000 views), followed closely by the Venus of Willendorf, c. 30,000-25,000 B.C.E., and Manet’s Olympia, 1863, each a distinctive icon of a particular era.
Among our fine and plentiful selections from the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Warhol’s silkscreens of Marilyn, 1967, arguably the modern Mona Lisa, topped the charts, prevailing over favorites by Pieter Bruegel I, Caspar David Friedrich, Jan van Eyck and Hans Holbein the Younger. At MoMA, another version, the Gold Marilyn Monroe, 1962, figured among the top ten, and its shimmering ground recalls so many Byzantine and early Italian Madonnas, like Giotto’s Ognissanti Madonna, c. 1310, one of the most frequented images across all of our collections.
Editor’s note: this post has been updated to reflect changes to Artstor’s platform.
This fall, the New Hampshire Institute of Art published a first selection of 22 images from its Thom Adams Photograph Collection in Artstor’s public collections. The collection, a gift from 2011, includes around 300 original photographic prints by world class photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries belonging to collector, photographer, and New Hampshire resident Thomas L. Adams. The collection is being released in batches as it gets digitized, cataloged, and cleared for publication.
The Thom Adams Photograph Collection is made up largely of works that explore lifestyles, customs, and human relationships through portraiture, figurative studies, documentary photography, and street photography. Photographers represented in the collection include Annie Leibovitz, Todd Webb, George Platt Lynes, and Steve McCurry, as well as many lesser known artists.
The Larry Qualls Archive of Contemporary Art surveys almost three decades of work exhibited in the New York area from 1988-2012. In this post, we consider the personalities and forces that dominated the art world in the 2000s. See also the 1980s and the 1990s.
The beginning of the 21st century was an especially auspicious time for the global arts community. While New York retained its place as a cultural capital, its standing in the world seemed buffeted by larger forces.
The Larry Qualls Archive of Contemporary Art surveys almost three decades of work exhibited in the New York area from 1988-2012. In this post, we consider the personalities and forces that dominated the art world in the 1990s. See also the 1980s and the 2000s.
As curator Gary Carrion-Murayari pointed out, the 1990s had a large influence on how we see art today. “Some of the artists who were doing things that were shocking then, we take for granted now.”
It was a turbulent time, as major institutions were upended. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union. A stock market crash set off a recession keenly felt in the art market. New York gallery owner Mary Boone, named “The New Queen of the Art Scene” in the eighties, reflected on the downturn in 1992. “Value in everything is being questioned,” she said. “The psychology in the 80’s was excess; in the 90’s, it’s about conservation.”
The Larry Qualls Archive of Contemporary Art surveys almost three decades of work exhibited in the New York area from 1988-2012. In this post, we consider the personalities and forces that dominated the art world in the 1980s. See also the 1990s and the 2000s.
Quall’s collection opens during the hurly-burly of the 1980s, the era of Reaganomics and Wall Street’s “greed is good,” and the rise of AIDS. It was also a time when the booming stock market transformed street artists into superstars.
According to a 1985 Illustrated London News poll of artists and critics, Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas was voted the world’s greatest painting.
Let’s take a close look at the painting, its history, and the emotions it elicits to pinpoint why.
Artstor and Larry Qualls have released approximately 32,000 images of contemporary art exhibited in the New York area in the past three decades. This release joins the more than 100,000 images already available in the Larry Qualls Archive, making it our largest survey of contemporary art, and completes the collection in the Digital Library.