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December 21, 2010

Season’s Greetings, New York Style!

The Artstor staff wishes you happy holidays with some extraordinary images of our hometown of New York City during the holiday season stemming back to the 19th century. For example, the crowds of shoppers in D. Rellam’s print from 1874, “Holiday Greens–A Scene in Washington Market, New York” 1 are recognizable today. While the market was razed in the early 1970s, the image echoes the crowds in the popular Union Square Holiday Market, where many of us will be shopping this month.

D. Rellam, “Holiday Greens--A Scene in Washington Market, New York” (1874). Image provided by Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

The eternal hustle and bustle of the holidays in our metropolis is captured in abstract form in New Yorkers Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner’s “Christmas Card for Ray and Charles Eames” (1946) 2.

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, “Christmas Card for Ray and Charles Eames” (1946). Image provided by Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States (Library of Congress). © 2009 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Another timeless image that many of us in New York recognize is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Angel Tree” (18th-19th century) 3, which was first exhibited in 1957 and has since become an annual tradition.

“Christmas Tree with Neapolitan Crèche; Angel Tree,” 18th-19th century.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Loretta Hines Howard, 1964 (64.164.1-.167). Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Inge Morath, “Ice skaters at Christmas Show on Madison Avenue,” (1958). Image and original data provided by Magnum Photos. ©Inge Morath/MAGNUM PHOTOS

The audience in Inge Morath’s three photographs of “Ice skaters at Christmas Show on Madison Avenue” (1958) 4 radiates an innocence that unexpectedly reappears decades later in Erich Hartmann’s “World Financial Center; Christmas lights” (1990)4. Meanwhile, Susan Meisela’s series of Santa Claus photos (1976-1977) 4 portray the grit that we all know and—most of the time—love in the city, as does Nan Goldin’s “Sharon with the Christmas Tree, New York City” (1990) 5.

Susan Meiselas, “New York City, 1977.” Image and original data provided by Magnum Photos. ©Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos

Season’s Greetings, wherever you are! We invite you to search the Artstor Digital Library for more holiday images from around the world, including places as far-flung as Cuba, Lebanon, Hungary, and Cambodia.

[1] Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Collection
[2] Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States (Library of Congress)
[3] The Metropolitan Museum of Art
[4] Magnum Photos
[5] Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Collection

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December 10, 2010

Artstor Travel Awards 2011

While the digital age is opening up new ways of using images of the world’s cultural heritage in teaching and scholarship, there is no substitute for engaging with original works and sites or primary source material, or for attending conferences with colleagues. In recognition of this need, Artstor is providing five travel awards in the amount of $1,500 each (to be used by December 31, 2012) to help support the educational and scholarly activities—such as flying to a conference—of graduate students, scholars, curators, educators, and librarians in any field.

To be considered for an award, applicants must create and submit an Artstor image group (or a series of image groups) and a single accompanying essay that creatively and compellingly demonstrates why the image group(s) is useful for teaching, research, or scholarship. These submissions will help us better understand the uses that scholars and teachers are making of the Artstor Digital Library’s content and tools and will provide insight into how we can better serve the educational community. The five winning submissions will be determined by Artstor staff. Please note that this award is not intended to sponsor new photography for the Artstor Digital Library.

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December 10, 2010

Artstor and Avery Library Awarded IMLS National Leadership Grant

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a three-year National Leadership grant to Artstor and The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. The funds will be used to support the new Built Works Registry (BWR), a community-generated data resource for architectural works and the built environment. BWR will be available to scholars and catalogers from academic and cultural heritage organizations worldwide. BWR data will also be contributed to the Getty Vocabulary Program’s planned Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA). See the BWR press release.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. For more information about the 2010 National Leadership Grants, go to the IMLS website.

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November 10, 2010

Ten Questions for Judy Chicago

Judy Chicago images; see image credits below

Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1974-1979, © Judy Chicago Photo © Donald Woodman, | Judy Chicago, Turn Over a New Leaf (from Resolutions: A Stitch in Time), 2000, © Judy Chicago Photo © Donald Woodman, | Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman, Bones of Treblinka (from the Holocaust Project), 1988, © Judy Chicago,

Judy Chicago is an artist, author, and educator whose work has significantly transformed the traditional art historical canon. She and her husband, photographer Donald Woodman, have collaborated throughout their marriage of twenty-five years in art projects and team teaching at such institutions as Western Kentucky University, Cal Poly Pomona, and Vanderbilt University. Through the Flower, a nonprofit Feminist art organization founded by Chicago in 1978 and based in New Mexico, serves the general public and especially K-12 schools by creating educational programs dedicated to communicating the importance of art and its power in countering the erasure of women’s achievements.

Judy Chicago image; see image credits below

Judy Chicago, The Creation (from the Birth Project), 1984, © Judy Chicago,

CK: From the seminal work The Dinner Party (1979) to the present, do you think the art world has changed?

JC: Since the time I created The Dinner Party there have been many changes in the art world, which has become globalized. Women and artists of color are free to openly address issues of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation in their work, which was not true when I was young. Moreover, there is no dominant style but rather a plethora of approaches to art-making, along with a wide range of media, all of which is to be celebrated. At the same time, in terms of the major museums, permanent collections continue to be only 3-5% women and only 2.5% of commercial solo art publications are devoted to women. This institutional resistance is what I set out change many decades ago.

CK: Many well-known artists today are women. How has your work as artist, photographer, and educator impacted the recognition and preservation of women’s achievements?

JC: Obviously, The Dinner Party, which traveled to sixteen venues in six countries and three continents to a viewing audience of over one million people, helped to educate many viewers about women’s achievements. Its permanent housing in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum is extending its reach, as people are coming to see it from all over the world. In addition to The Dinner Party, my other collaborative projects (the Birth Project, 1980-85; the Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light, 1985-1993, created with Donald Woodman; and Resolutions: A Stitch in Time,1994-2000) helped to bring women’s experiences and perspectives into the art discourse. And over the course of its three decades of existence, Through the Flower has done exhibitions and programming aimed at highlighting women’s achievements in the arts.

CK: Are there challenges today that women artists face today that were not issues in the past?

JC: This is a difficult question for me to answer, given where I am in my career. However, from my perspective, the greatest challenge is that, as stated by the pioneering women’s historian Gerda Lerner, “women don’t know what women before them thought or taught” (and I would add created). Consequently, instead of being able to build upon the achievements of their predecessors, women artists are caught in the same cycle of repetition that The Dinner Party recounts.

CK: In recent years, “feminism” has taken on a wide spectrum of meanings both positive and negative. What does “feminism” mean to you?

JC: The definition of feminism is not a personal choice; it is a philosophy that dates back two hundred years or more, specifically to Mary Wollstonecraft’s famous tract “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” published in 1792. Since that time, there have been many feminist theories, all of which advocate the political, social and economic equality of the sexes. Successive waves of feminist movements have attempted to achieve such equality in the face of fierce resistance because sexual equality would upend the structure of power on the planet.

CK: What do you think has been the greatest accomplishment to date of Through the Flower?

JC: Through the Flower has survived over the course of more than thirty years with little support from traditional funding sources and very few grants. Instead, it has been sustained by individuals who believed in my work and the goals of Through the Flower, thereby demonstrating the power of the individual to contribute to social change. I believe that this is an important model for alternative arts organizations, particularly those aimed at enlarging the art dialogue. Over this time, Through the Flower has provided a framework for my collaborative art-making which—in addition to producing works of art—empowered many of the participants. Moreover, given its modest staff and funding base, Through the Flower has managed to accomplish many significant goals. For more information, go to

CK: Judy, you and Frances Borzello just published the book Frida Kahlo: Face to Face. Many conversations are focused on the so-called “death” of scholarly art publishing. What do you think is the future of print art publications?

JC: I hope that print art publications never end, because there is no digital version that is even close to providing the pleasure of the printed page in terms of images and text. That said, I believe that text-based print books will be replaced by digital forms. But fine art printing will survive because I cannot imagine a reader getting the same satisfaction viewing Frida Kahlo: Face to Face online as they will by holding this large format, sumptuously illustrated book in their hands and turning the pages to discover the many beautiful images and reading the texts.

CK: You continue to exhibit and your works continue to attract large audiences. What do you hope viewers come away with from your current show, Surveying Judy Chicago: 1970-2010?

JC: Surveying Judy Chicago: 1970-2010 at ACA Gallery, New York, from October 14 through December 4, 2010 is intended to provide a glimpse into my overall body of art. Although I am gratified by the attention The Dinner Party brought me, it is my abiding hope that one day it will be seen as only one work in a large and varied oeuvre. Hopefully the ACA show will be a step towards the achievement of this goal.

CK: You’ve contributed 367 images of your works to the ARTstor Digital Library and they’ve just gone live. Why did you decide to make your images available to educational and scholarly users via ARTstor?

JC: I wanted to make my images available via ARTstor because I recognize its crucial role in providing images to teachers and professors. My study of history taught me that many women artists have been erased from history and one of my goals has been to overcome that erasure—for myself, for the 1038 women represented in The Dinner Party, along with the countless women artists Through the Flower has exhibited and honored. I am deeply appreciative that ARTstor has accepted this gift and hope that it will prove useful.

CK: Has the digital medium impacted your work?

JC: The digital medium has definitely impacted both my work and my career. For example, several of my recent lithographs (from Retrospective in a Box, seven prints surveying my career) combine digital imagery with traditional lithography. The Internet has provided a means of sharing my work with a worldwide audience through my website, And Through the Flower’s K-12 Dinner Party Curriculum is available online as a series of free, downloadable pdf files. These are just a few examples of the many ways in which the digital medium is transforming our lives.

CK: What inspires you to continue working and collaborating with other artists?

JC: I have always worked both individually and collaboratively. Some projects are best realized by one’s own hand while others require the participation of people with different skills. As to what inspires me? An ongoing passion for art, something that I’ve had since I was a child.

Judy Chicago’s current exhibition, Surveying Judy Chicago: 1970-2010, is on view from October 14, 2010 to December 4, 2010 at ACA Gallery, 529 20th Street, 5th Floor in New York City.

Judy Chicago and Frances Borzello’s new book, Face to Face: Frida Kahlo is published by Prestel and launched with a lecture and book signing at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Chicago will be doing book events around the country with an English book tour to follow in June, 2011.

Learn more about the Judy Chicago Collection in the ARTstor Digital Library.
View the Judy Chicago Collection in the ARTstor Digital Library.

To learn more about Judy Chicago, go to

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October 4, 2010

Artstor Joins National Digital Stewardship Alliance as Founding Member

Artstor is pleased to serve as a founding member of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) along with 50 other prominent organizations. As an outgrowth of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), the NDSA is headed by the Library of Congress as “a collaborative effort among government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to preserve a distributed national digital collection for the benefit of citizens now and in the future.”

Artstor was invited to join the NDSA as the recipient of a grant through the NDIIPP program in 2007. The Library of Congress recognizes Artstor for advancing the understanding of the management of born-digital still images by encouraging its contributing photographers to use embedded metadata as a means of packaging and delivering their content. In fulfillment of the original grant, Artstor advocates the use of existing metadata structures and tools for embedding metadata and has developed an application for extracting metadata — Artstor’s Embedded Metadata Extraction Tool (EMET). EMET is an open-source software tool that will be freely available for download as a stand-alone application by December 2010. EMET will facilitate the life-cycle management of digital images and their incorporation into external databases and applications.

As a member of the NDSA, Artstor will participate in two working groups:

  • Standards and Practices: Developing, following, and promoting effective methods for selecting, organizing, preserving, and serving digital content.
  • Infrastructure: Developing and maintaining tools for curation and preservation, and providing storage, hosting, migration, or similar services for the long-term preservation of digital content.

Johanna Bauman, Senior Production Manager, will represent Artstor in the Standards and Practices working group. Continuing the work already begun as part of the NDIIPP grant, Bauman will bring her experience to bear in collaborating with the photographers and institutions who are sharing their images in the Artstor Digital Library. William Ying, Chief Information Officer, will participate in the Infrastructure working group. Ying has years of expertise overseeing and building the architecture of the Digital Library and is now spearheading the development of Shared Shelf, a web-based image management software service. Both the Artstor Digital Library and Shared Shelf are major infrastructure projects that will further enhance the ability of institutions to curate, share, and preserve digital content.

Artstor looks forward to continuing its work with the Library of Congress and the NDSA partners to advance the standards and practices of the digital preservation.

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May 13, 2010

Artstor Travel Award Winners 2010

Congratulations to the five winners of Artstor Travel Awards 2010! The following winners will receive $1,500 each to be used for their own teaching and research travel needs over the course of the next year.*

Travel Award 2010 Winners

Sara Nair James
Professor of Art History, Mary Baldwin College
A course with no book? Artstor to the rescue!

Lois Kuyper-Rushing
Associate Librarian and Head, Carter Music Resources Center,
Louisiana State University Libraries
Music Iconography and Artstor

Katherine E. Manthorne
Professor of Art of the United States, Latin America, and Their Cross-Currents, 1750-1950, Art History Program, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York
Sweet Fortunes: Sugar, Race, Art and Patronage in the Americas, 1750-1950

Kristina Richardson
Assistant Professor of Islamic History, Queens College, The City University of New York
Imagining Disability through Christian and Muslim Bodies

Steven Wills
Coordinator, Wachovia Education Resource Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Proportion and Perspective

Artstor received nearly 150 fascinating submissions, which had us absolutely transfixed over the past month as we reviewed all of the essays and accompanying image groups. Through these wonderful submissions we learned about how users are finding, using, and re-thinking the images in the Digital Library. The essays revealed the creative and interdisciplinary ways that scholars, curators, educators, and students at universities, community colleges, museums, and libraries are integrating Artstor image collections into their teaching and research in a broad range of topics: musicology, geometry, film studies, the Berlin Wall, disability studies, food and cuisine, Southeast Asian studies, medieval pilgrimage roads, Gothic architecture, Native American weaving techniques, drawing methods with pen and ink, European fashion design, Renaissance literature, history of slavery, Progressive Era reforms, daguerreotype conservation, library cataloging practices, and much more.

In reviewing the submissions, we learned a great deal about how users discover the images they want to work with, how they organize that content, and how they use image groups for teaching, publishing, and research to find non-digital research materials. A number of the projects also described iterative search strategies that were employed in constructing image groups, reminding us that Artstor must continue to improve access and search in the Digital Library because users want to discover images based on the language of their discipline or area of interest.

It was extremely difficult for us to select five winners from the nearly 150 submissions from around the world due to exceptional quality of so many essays and image groups. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the Artstor Travel Awards 2010. We believe that the value of our learning from the community through this program and our supporting the research and teaching activities of our users is vital to the Artstor mission. Therefore, we will be offering the Travel Award program on an ongoing annual basis.

We look forward to your continued feedback and participation in the Artstor endeavor to share and promote image collections for educational and scholarly purposes.

The Artstor Staff

*All winning essays are posted on the Artstor public website. Digital photos and commentary about how the awards have been used will be included when those materials become available.

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April 10, 2010

Teaching with Artstor: Proportion and perspective for K-12

Yona Friedman, Spatial City, project Perspective, 1958-59

Yona Friedman, Spatial City, project Perspective, 1958-59. © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Proportion and Perspective
Steven Wills, Coordinator, Wachovia Education Resource Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art 

This image group is meant to supplement a lesson in a middle-school math class that deals with measurement and proportion — usually in the context of geometry. There are several purposes of the image group, specifically:

  • to help visual learners see how the concepts discussed in class can be applied;
  • to help answer the question: “Why do we have to learn this?” (A frequent question in a math class); and
  • to help show the connections between math and science and math and art, thus helping to build an interdisciplinary approach to teaching.
Constantinople, Christ the Saviour in Chora, Vault; Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple; detail of Joachim, Anne, Mary, High Priest Zacharias, and the Holy of Holies, c. 1310-21. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
Catena (Vincenzo di Biagio), The Adoration of the Shepherds, probably after 1520. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Diagram Demonstrating Filippo Brunelleschi’s Perspective Technique from a Lost Painting of the Battistero di San Giovanni. Image and original data provided by SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.;;; (c) 2006, SCALA, Florence/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
Albrecht Altdorfer, Saint Sebastian Altar; Christ before Caiphas, c. 1509-1516. Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y.
Albrecht Durer, Madonna with the Monkey, circa 1498
Albrecht Durer, Madonna with the Monkey, circa 1498. The Illustrated Bartsch

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February 4, 2010

Artstor Travel Awards 2010

The Artstor Travel Awards program will provide five research travel awards in the amount of $1,500 each to support educational and scholarly activities. While the digital age is opening up new approaches and techniques for using images of the world’s cultural heritage as evidence in teaching and scholarship, there is no substitute for engagement with original works and sites, for research in archives that hold primary source material, or for attending conferences with colleagues engaged with similar issues. In recognition of this need, Artstor will provide five research travel awards in the amount of $1,500 each (to be used by September 1, 2011) to help support the educational and scholarly activities of graduate students, scholars, curators, educators, and librarians in any field in the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences.

To be considered for a research travel award, applicants must create and submit an Artstor image group (or a series of image groups) and a single accompanying essay that creatively and compellingly demonstrates why the image group(s) is useful for teaching, research, or scholarship. The five winning submissions will be determined by Artstor staff. These submissions will help Artstor to understand better the uses that scholars and teachers are making of Artstor’s content and tools and will provide us with insights into how we can continue to improve our efforts to serve the educational community.

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July 23, 2009

Artstor celebrates the life and work of James Conlon

Artstor celebrates the life and work of James Conlon, Director of the Visual Media Center at Columbia University, who passed away suddenly on July 17, 2009 at the young age of 37. He was a wonderful friend, colleague, and champion for the use of new technologies to enable the documentation and study of cultural heritage sites and monuments.

In 2008, Conlon contributed his personal collection of digital photographs of art, architecture, and sites throughout Mali and Yemen to the Artstor Digital Library to enable students and scholars around the world to teach and study with his images. He was about to embark on an Artstor-sponsored campaign this summer to photograph the Dogon region in Mali, West Africa. Together with Susan Vogel, Professor of African Art and Architecture at Columbia University, and other experts, they were to create approximately 200 QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) panoramas of important sites and architecture on the sandstone Cliffs of Bandiagara, which were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1989. In addition, the team was to capture the cultural landscape of the region through approximately 1,200 still digital photographs of the core towns and significant areas on the Bandiagara escarpment, ranging from ritual dances and other ceremonies to the practices connected with the design and use of individual works of art. Unfortunately, this campaign is now on hold until further arrangements may be made.

Conlon studied the social history of the Near East at the University of Rochester and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University. He also completed a post-graduate certificate in the Conservation of Archaeological Sites and Historic Buildings from Columbia University. At Columbia, he explored the potential of new media to facilitate the interpretation and conservation of the built environment. He eventually became the Director of the Visual Media Center at Columbia and participated in several important projects to document major monuments around the globe. We at Artstor had the pleasure of working with a generous, knowledgeable, and kind expert. Artstor will preserve and share Conlon’s beautiful collection of photographs with you now and for many years to come.

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April 25, 2008

Society of Architectural Historians Architectural Visual Resources Network

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has received a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop the SAH Architecture Visual Resource Network (SAH AVRN) a dynamic online library of architectural and landscape images for research and teaching.

To develop content for SAH AVRN, SAH is collaborating with scholars and librarians from partner institutions, initially MIT, Brown University and the University of Virginia to contribute images and metadata to SAH AVRN, a shared resource that will be widely available. Initially images will be contributed to SAH AVRN by scholars at the same three institutions who have agreed to share thousands of their own images that were taken for research and pedagogical purposes. To develop the technology for this online resource, SAH is working closely with Artstor, building upon the existing Artstor platform for storage, retrieval, viewing and presentation of images, and to develop tools to be used in conjunction with SAH AVRN.

For a full description of the SAH AVRN project, please visit

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