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February 15, 2013

In the news: Meteorite strikes Russia

Unknown, French | Comet | ca. 1900 | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Unknown, French | Comet | ca. 1900 | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Debris from a meteor streaked through the sky in western Siberia early this morning, causing a boom that damaged a large number of buildings, mainly in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Some 1,000 people were reportedly hurt, mostly as a result of glass shattering when the meteor entered the atmosphere.

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February 9, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Snake!

Kitagawa Utamaro | Rat Snake with Dayflower Plant | January 1788 | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Kitagawa Utamaro | Rat Snake with Dayflower Plant | January 1788 | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Happy Lunar New Year! The Chinese Year of the Snake begins February 10, 2013 and lasts through January 30, 2014.

The traditional Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements; the year begins with the night of the first new moon of the lunar New Year and ends on the 15th day. The Chinese zodiac follows a 12-year cycle that relates each year to an animal and its attributes. People born under the snake sign are considered wise, thoughtful, and calculating (although the negative connotations of the snake also present some problems, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal).

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January 29, 2013

Black History Month and Artstor

Jacob Lawrence | The Migration of the Negro Panel no. 3 | 1940 – 1941 |Image and original data provided by The Museum of Modern Art. © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jacob Lawrence | The Migration of the Negro, panel no. 3 | 1940 – 1941 |Image and original data provided by The Museum of Modern Art. © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

This year, we mark Black History month with a summary of some of the excellent resources available in the Artstor Digital Library that focus on the lives and many achievements of African Americans.

Collections

Unidentified | African American woman and sweet peas | ca. 1920 | George Eastman House; eastmanhouse.org

Unidentified | African American woman and sweet peas | ca. 1920 | George Eastman House; eastmanhouse.org

Panos Pictures The independent photo agency specializes in documentary images of critical social issues, including thousands of images from the United States, many of them tackling issues affecting the lives of African Americans.

Milton Rogovin: Social Documentary Photographs Rogovin began his first photographic series in 1958 documenting African-American store front churches in Buffalo, NY, and would go on to record many other topics surrounding the black community.

Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery (Scripps College) The Gallery includes the Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection, which has a special focus on art by women and African-Americans, including Elizabeth Catlett, Samella Lewis, Faith Ringgold, and Alison Saar.

Romare Bearden Foundation Artstor includes nearly 1,000 images of Bearden’s work. These works represent the breadth of Bearden’s enormous output, from his early paintings executed in a range of styles to his pioneering collage work, which highlights his unique combination of painting and collage materials drawn from popular sources. Throughout, Bearden’s art displays his deep engagement with the African American community and the Civil Rights movement.

Mott-Warsh Collection With over 200 images of work by artists of the African Diaspora focusing on art produced after 1940, the Mott-Warsh Collection contains work by more than 125 artists working in a range of styles and media, including painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, mixed-media, and sculpture. The Collection includes major figures and underrepresented artists alike, such as Jacob Lawrence, Ron Adams, Faith Ringgold, Richard Yarde, Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Howardena Pindell, and Whitfield Lovell.

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January 25, 2013

How the Artstor Digital Library weathered the storm

John Marin | Hurricane | 1944 | Image © Indianapolis Museum of Art; imamuseum.org | © 2008 Estate of John Marin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Marin | Hurricane | 1944 | Image © Indianapolis Museum of Art; imamuseum.org | © 2008 Estate of John Marin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

By Mary Finer, Project Coordinator

Artstor is in the goal-setting time of the year, and expanding our disaster recovery efforts is high on the Technology department’s list—especially after last year. We’re in pretty good shape though. While sites such as Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post were down during “Superstorm” Sandy, the Artstor Digital Library remained accessible.

Artstor has servers in Manhattan and Denver, and each location has backups of each other in case disaster strikes. In New York our servers are at 60 Hudson Street, a.k.a. “the Hub,” a 1.8 million square foot facility where the Internet’s transatlantic cable lands. It used to be the center of Western Union’s telegraph network when it was built in the late 1920s, and is now the Grand Central Station of the Internet.

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January 25, 2013

Documentary photographer Carolyn Drake speaks about her work

For over twenty years, Panos Pictures has been using photography to communicate critical social issues and stories beyond the mainstream media landscape to new and diverse audiences. More than 30,000 of their images of contemporary global affairs are currently available in the Artstor Digital Library.

In this Panos-produced video, Carolyn Drake shares the devastating backstory behind her seemingly-neutral photograph of light switches in Tajikistan.

Search the Digital Library for Carolyn Drake and electrical switches to see the image, or just for her name to find more than 1,000 of her poignant photographs.
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You may also be interested in: Documentary photographer Stephan Vanfleteren speaks about his work

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January 23, 2013

President Barack Obama Visual Iconography

ObamaSiteScreenshot
In 2008, as part of its extensive collection of political Americana, the Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections began building a collection of publicity and memorabilia documenting Obama’s campaign and election. Fittingly released at the beginning of Barack Obama’s second term in office, the Library has begun making these historic materials from the president’s first inauguration available free to everyone in Artstor’s public collections.

The materials provide a unique visual iconography of the election of America’s first Black president, offering a teaching and research resource for understanding modern campaign strategies, political mobilization, and the representation of American politics through various media markets.

Artstor’s public collections are openly available and fully searchable to anyone–with or without an Artstor subscription. They are shared by institutions that subscribe to JSTOR Forum, Artstor’s web-based service for cataloging and managing digital collections.

This post has been updated to include new information about Artstor’s public collections, formerly made available on Shared Shelf Commons.

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January 2, 2013

In the news: Pharaoh Ramesses III was murdered (3,200 years ago)

Nina de Garis Davies | Ramesses III and Prince Amenherkhepeshef before Hathor, Tomb of Amenherkhepeshef | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Nina de Garis Davies | Ramesses III and Prince Amenherkhepeshef before Hathor, Tomb of Amenherkhepeshef | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A mystery from nearly 3,200 years ago has been solved: Conspirators murdered Egyptian king Ramesses III by cutting his throat, according to a recent study in the British Medical Journal. Furthermore, the investigation suggests that one of his sons was involved in the murder.

The fate of the second Pharaoh of the 20th dynasty was long the subject of debate among historians after the discovery of papyrus trial documents revealed that members of his harem had made an attempt on his life as part of a palace coup in 1155 BC.

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December 10, 2012

Happy Hanukkah!

Jewish | Chanukkah lamp (menorah), with birds |end 18th cent. | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Jewish | Chanukkah lamp (menorah), with birds |end 18th cent. | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Happy Hanukkah! The eight-day festival that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev. Artstor offers many resources to mark the holiday.

Among the traditions surrounding the festival, possibly the most striking is the nightly lighting of the menorah. And indeed, a search for menorah leads to more than 100 magnificent images, such as photographs of the holy necropolis Beth She’arim in Israel from Sites and Photos, which includes a carved menorah from the Byzantine era, and dozens of images from Art, Archaeology and Architecture (Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives), ranging from a coin depicting a menorah from 1st century BCE to dazzling menorahs from the 20th century.

Two coins; left: coin of Antigonus last Hasmonean king of Israel, with menorah; right: coin of John Hyrcanus II, with inscription in wreath | 1st cent. BCE | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

Two coins; left: coin of Antigonus last Hasmonean king of Israel, with menorah; right: coin of John Hyrcanus II, with inscription in wreath | 1st cent. BCE | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.; artres.com

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December 4, 2012

In the news: Countdown for the “Mayan apocalypse”

Mesoamerican | Polychrome vase | Kerr Archive; mayavase.com

Mesoamerican | Polychrome vase | Kerr Archive; mayavase.com

As you’ve probably heard, people across the world have been worrying that the world will end on December 21, 2012, influenced by some recent interpretations of Popol Vuh, a 16th-century narrative about the origins, traditions, and history of the Maya nation. Thankfully, NASA scientists recently debunked this and other apocalyptic predictions.

But don’t let the fact that the world is not about to end damper your interest in Mayan artifacts! The Artstor Digital Library features more  than 500 fascinating photographs of Pre-Columbian artifacts from Justin Kerr and Barbara Kerr that shouldn’t be missed. The collection consists of still and rollout photographs of vases, plates, and bowls from the various cultures of Mesoamerica. The rollouts—which show the entire surface of an object in a single frame—were made by photographer Justin Kerr with a camera he designed and built. The objects in the collection depict a variety of everyday Mayan activities and religious concepts, and stem from archaeological sites, museums, and collections throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, the United States, Canada, and Europe. View the collection here.

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November 21, 2012

Paris through Alberto Giacometti’s eyes

Alberto Giacometti | Untitled, illustration 31, in the book Paris sans fin; 1969 | Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco | Art © Alberto Giacometti Estate/Licensed by VAGA and ARS, New York, NY | This work of art is protected by copyright and/or related rights and may not be reproduced in any manner, except as permitted under the ARTstor Digital Library Terms and Conditions of Use, without the prior express written authorization of VAGA, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2820, New York, NY 10118. Tel.: 212-736-6666; Fax: 212-736-6767; Email: info@vagarights.com.

Alberto Giacometti moved from his native Switzerland to Paris as a young man in 1922 and lived there almost uninterruptedly until his death in 1966. He fell in love with the city and enjoyed wandering through its streets aimlessly, relishing the unexpected adventures that would ensue, like meeting fellow flâneurs such as Jean-Paul Sartre or Samuel Beckett, or even being struck by a car – an accident that led him to walk with a cane for years afterwards, but one that he credited as a positive turning point in his life.

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