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Blog Category: Highlights

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

Last year, we marked Black History month with a summary of some of the excellent resources on Black History available in the Artstor Digital Library, including many collections that cover African art and culture. This year, we expand the list to include a variety of additional resources that focus on the lives and achievements of African Americans in particular.

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

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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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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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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October 12, 2012

Restless spirits and hungry mouths

English | Apocalypse; Folio #: fol. 021r | c. 1250-1260 | Image and original data provided by the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

Tradition holds that on Halloween the walls between the worlds of the living and the dead weaken and spirits walk the earth. More recently, the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer combined this concept with the medieval motif of the hellmouth. In the show, the hellmouth is a weak place between dimensions that attracts demons and other supernatural creatures. If it were ever to open it would signal the end of the world. Suitably inspired, we ventured to explore the theme in the ARTstor Digital Library. A simple keyword search for hellmouth led us to an array of spooky artworks dating from the 11th century to the 17th century.

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October 5, 2012

Vanitas: a very literal nature morte

It’s October, which gives us a great excuse to feature a spooky post featuring skulls! Specifically, their appearance in the still lifes known as Vanitas.

Herman Henstenburgh, 1667 – 1726 | Vanitas Still Life | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Vanitas depict objects that remind us of our mortality and the transience of earthly pleasures. Popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, particularly in Northern Europe and the Netherlands, the genre continues to inspire artists to the present day – the Artstor Digital Library includes four terrific examples of Andy Warhol’s Skulls from the Baltimore Museum of Art, and you’ve most likely heard of Damien Hirst’s “For the love of God,” a diamond-encrusted platinum skull reputed to be the world’s most expensive art piece.

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April 25, 2012

Celebrate Mother’s Day with Artstor

Edward S. Curtis | Assiniboin Mother And Child, 1896-1926 | George Eastman House, eastmanhouse.org

Happy Mother’s Day! The holiday is celebrated in May in dozens of countries around the world. In honor of mothers everywhere, we have assembled our favorite mother and child images from the Digital Library spanning a wide variety of cultures and eras.

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April 25, 2012

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

Harry Clifford Fassett | Woman standing in front of thatched hut belonging to Johnnie Toga, a chief, Neifau village, Vavau Island, Tonga Islands, 1899-1900 | Image and data from National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

May is the month to celebrate the heritage of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The cultures, history, religion, architecture, and art of the continent of Asia are well represented in the ARTstor Digital Library, and you can find a full guide in our ARTstor Is… Asian Studies post; resources for Asian-Pacific content are also plentiful, but scattered throughout many collections and require a little more diligence.

Vanuatu; Malakula Island, Mbotgote | Helmet Mask, 19th-20th century | Image and data from: The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A quick way to find content in the Digital Library from a specific country is by going to the Browse area in the lower left corner of the search page and clicking Geography. Considering that Asia-Pacific encompasses the Pacific islands of Melanesia (Fiji, New Caledonia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu), Micronesia (Guam, Kiribati, Marianas, Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Wake Island), and Polynesia (American Samoa and Samoa, Cook Islands, Easter Island, French Polynesia, Hawaiian Islands, Midway Island, New Zealand, Rotumas, Tonga, and Tuvalu), this might be a little time consuming, so here are some hints:

The main repositories of Asian-Pacific images in ARTstor include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which features art and artifacts from many of the regions listed above, the Peabody Museum of Natural History (Yale University), which has archaeological and ethnographic objects, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Harvard University), which has anthropological objects, and Magnum Photos, which includes contemporary photographs of New Guinea by Burt Glinn and Philip Jones Griffiths, of the Marshall Islands by Chris Steele-Perkins, Samoa by Alex Webb, the Cook Islands by Trent Parke, and Easter Island by Thomas Hoepker.

Solomon Islands | Kundu players at Mapiri for dukduk dance | Yale University: Peabody Museum of Natural History

Also of note is Cook’s Voyages to the South Seas (Natural History Museum, London), which includes 1,600 images of botanical and zoological illustrations associated with Captain James Cook’s expeditions to the South Pacific in the 18th century, and Thomas K. Seligman: Photographs of Liberia, New Guinea, Melanesia and the Tuareg people which, as its title states, includes field photography of New Guinea and Melanesia. Also fruitful, The Native American Art and Culture (National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution) includes a dozen fascinating photographs of Fiji in 1900 by Charles Haskins Townsend, and the Fowler Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art Collection, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Smith College Museum of Artall include art and artifacts from different cultures in Asia Pacific.

Johann Georg Adam Forster | Rufous Night Heron, 1774 | Image and original data provided by Natural History Museum, London

And don’t miss Teaching with ARTstor: Re-historicizing Contemporary Pacific Island Art by Marion Cadora, a graduate student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Enjoy the celebrations and don’t forget to visit the Library of Congress’ official Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month site!

Polynesian | Easter Island (Rapa Nui); view of unfinished moai statues on slopes of Rano Raraku volcano | 10th-12th cent. | Image and original data provided by Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives/ART RESOURCE, N.Y. artres.com / artres.com

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April 2, 2012

April is Jazz Appreciation Month!

Jean Dubuffet. Grand Jazz Band (New Orleans), 1944. Image and original data provided by the The Museum of Modern Art. © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Happy Jazz Appreciation Month! While the attributes of jazz are difficult to describe without getting technical, the key element that ties together its many sub-genres, from swing to bebop to avant-garde, is improvisation—or as Louis Armstrong put it, “Jazz is music that’s never played the same way once.”

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January 26, 2012

Artstor Is… Black History

Black History Month is observed every February in the United States and Canada. What better time to remind our readers of the many excellent resources on the topic available in the Artstor Digital Library?

Jacob Lawrence, American, 1917-2000 | In the North the Negro had better educational facilities | The Museum of Modern Art | © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Black history:

Image of the Black in Western Art A systematic investigation of how people of African descent have been perceived and represented in Western art spanning nearly 5,000 years.

Magnum Photos: Contemporary Photojournalism Some of the most celebrated and recognizable photographs of the 20th century and contemporary life, documenting an astounding range of subjects, including hundreds of major figures and events in contemporary black history.

Eugene James Martin Vibrant abstract works by African American artist Eugene James Martin, including paintings on canvas, mixed media collages, and pencil and pen and ink drawings.

The Schlesinger History of Women in America Collection Professional and amateur photographs documenting the full spectrum of activities and experiences of American women in the 19th and 20th centuries, including a significant amount of portraits of African American women.

Smithsonian American Art Museum Works of art spanning over 300 years of American art history, including selections from a collection of more than 2,000 works by African American artists.

Jacob Lawrence | In the North the Negro had better educational facilities; The Migration of the Negro panel no. 58, 1940-41 | The Museum of Modern Art | © 2008 Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Johannes Segogela, Apartheid's Funeral, Sculpture, 1994. Fowler Museum (University of California, Los Angeles)
James Conlon, Photographer | Dogon Dance of the masks (2008) | Sangha (Dogon Region), Mali
Bruce Davidson | Gordon Parks, 1970 | Image and original data provided by Magnum Photos | ©Bruce Davidson / Magnum Photos
Unknown Artist | Frederick Douglass, ca. 1855 | Image and Data from The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Eugene James Martin | Untitled, 1980 | Image and original data provided by Suzanne Fredericq | © 2008 Estate of Eugene James Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

African art and culture:

Richard F. Brush Art Gallery (St. Lawrence University) West African textiles from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, and Cape Verde.

Herbert Cole: African Art, Architecture, and Culture (University of California, Santa Barbara) Field photography of African art, architecture, sites, and culture from Nigeria, Ghana, the Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Kenya, as well as photographs of African objects in private collections around the world.

James Conlon: Mali and Yemen Sites and Architecture Images of sites and architecture in Djenné, Mopti, Bamako, Segou, and the Dogon Region in Mali.

Fowler Museum (University of California, Los Angeles) The arts of many African nations, including Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The museum also has significant holdings of African diaspora arts from Brazil, Haiti, and Suriname.

Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University Images of African art, such as textiles, costumes, basket and beadwork, weapons, tools, and ritual objects.

Christopher Roy: African Art and Field Photography Images of West African art and culture, including ceremonial objects and documentation of their social context, use, and manufacture from the rural villages and towns of the Bobo, Bwa, Fulani, Lobi, Mossi, and Nuna peoples in West Africa—primarily in Burkina Faso, but also in Ghana, Nigeria, and Niger.

Thomas K. Seligman: Photographs of Liberia, New Guinea, Melanesia, and the Tuareg people Images of the Tuareg people, a nomadic people of the Sahara who live in countries such as Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso, as well as photographs of sites and people in Liberia, New Guinea, and Melanesia.

James Conlon, Photographer | Dogon Dance of the masks (2008) | Sangha (Dogon Region), Mali

For more teaching ideas, visit the Digital Library and click on “Teaching Resources,” where you can search for image groups that include Art History Topic: African Art and Interdisciplinary Topics: African and African-American Studies, as well as a case study, “Sweet Fortunes: Sugar, Race, Art and Patronage in the Americas” by Katherine E. Manthorne, The City University of New York. Also, visit Artstor’s Subject Guides page to download a guide to African and African-American Studies in Artstor.

New: Artstor and Black History Month, featuring additional resources!

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