Art Libraries

The collection is off the wall

The Paris Review: Revisited in which writers look back on a work of art

Revisited is a series in which writers look back on a work of art they first encountered long ago.
Alan Watts, Bonnie Nadzam, Emma Straub,Max Porter, Sloane Crosley and others look back on a work of art they first encountered long ago. From Revisited | The Paris Review

Librarian Did It Because "Everyone Was Doing It"

College Librarian in China Admits He Replaced Art With Fakes from ABC News.

A former chief librarian at a Chinese university admitted in court Tuesday to stealing more than 140 paintings by grandmasters in a gallery under his watch and replacing them with fakes he painted himself.

For two years up until 2006, Xiao Yuan substituted famous works including landscapes and calligraphies in a gallery within the library of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts.

He told the court in his defense that the practice appeared to be rampant and the handling of such paintings was not secure. He said he noticed fakes already hanging in the gallery on his first day on the job. Later, after he replaced some of the remaining masters with his own fakes, he was surprised when he noticed his fake paintings were being substituted with even more fakes.

And In Further News, Boston Art Has Been Found

...right in the library. Misfiled.

The items were found during an eight-week search of the stacks. Fourteen library workers searched through 180,000 of the print stacks’ 320,000 items — about 60 percent of the inventory, the statement said.

Amy Ryan is still resigning as President of the Library.

Google Art Project - Chrome Web Store

Art Project masterpieces from Google Cultural Institute in your browser tabs
Breathe a little culture into your day! Discover a beautiful artwork from the Google Art Project each time you open a new tab in Chrome.

With this extension, you’ll see masterpieces from Van Gogh, Degas, Monet and other iconic artists from museums around the world in every new Chrome tab. The artwork is refreshed every day, or change the settings to see a new image every time you open a new tab.

From Google Art Project - Chrome Web Store

In South Florida, A Lover and Donor of Unique Books

It all started with his work as a library volunteer. From The Sun Sentinel:

For Arthur Jaffe, books weren't just to be read. They were to be treasured as works of art. Jaffe, who donated a lot of money and his vast collection of hand-crafted books to Florida Atlantic University, died Sunday. He was 93.

Though he passed away this week, his legacy will live on through the Arthur and Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts at FAU's Wimberly Library, where he spent 13 years as curator before retiring in 2011. The collection has grown from Jaffe's original donation of 2,800 handmade books to 12,000 today.

The Jaffe collection includes children's pop-ups, wood cuts and lithographs. There are several versions of the Bible, classics like "Moby Dick" and "Hamlet," and more unusual volumes, such as "Ghost Diary" by Maureen Cummins, a rare book made of glass. Even after retiring in 2011, he continued to visit the center on a regular basis. In 2012, he launched a project that seemed unusual for the book arts center: a documentary on the tattoos of FAU students.

"Here was a 91-year-old looking at all these tattooed kids and saying, 'they're all walking books,'" Cutrone said. "Sometimes you think of older people as being set in their ways, but that was not Arthur. He was willing to see the other side of things."

Artist Draws His Impression of 99 Branches of the Toronto Library

From August through October of last year, 25-year-old artist and geographer Daniel Rotsztain boarded buses, trains, streetcars and his bike with an inky pen in hand and plenty of paper. His goal was to capture the city’s bastions of books by drawing each one of them in a “homey, but blue print style”— a feat he sometimes conquered amidst scorching heat and drizzling rain.

The project was born out of a conversation Rotsztain had with friends about their favourite library branches. "It’s a love letter to the library,” he told The Toronto Star. It is hard to just wander randomly, but to have this quest oriented me well to explore every corner of every borough of the city.”

He is releasing the images on his website and is eagerly anticipating drawing the 100th library to open in the Scarborough Centre area this spring.

Hat tip to Steven Cohen Library Stuff.

Seven Library Myths...BUSTED!

From our friends Libraries as Incubators via The Huffington Post:

#1: Libraries are quiet spaces--all the time, everywhere
#2: Book clubs are snooze-fests
#3: Library craft activities are old-fashioned, boring, or for kids only
#4: Libraries are about books--and that's it
#5 Libraries are boring
#6 Libraries are for nerds
#7 Libraries are for little kids

Follow @IArtLibraries on twitter for more inspiration from Erinn Batykefer and Laura Damon-Moore and their team. Here's the website.

Zinesters Take Over a New York City F Train (Peacefully), Will Move on Today to Staten Island Ferry

From The New York Times:

The two-day event, called the MTA Zine Residency, had been organized by a librarian and an archivist at the Barnard College library, which they said has the largest circulating collection of zines in an academic library. After producing zines on the F train, the group was planning to reconvene Monday on the Staten Island Ferry to put the finishing touches on their creations. The organizers of the residency said they hoped that the participants would sell or donate copies of their completed zines to the Barnard collection.

Jenna Freedman, the zine librarian at Barnard, said that the relative quiet and lack of phone and Internet connections made the subway a natural place to compose zines.

“There really is a pleasure to writing while you’re in motion,” she said. “I’ve always felt that time is most my own.”

Marks of Genius at The Morgan Library & Museum

In a New York Times review by William Grimes, entitled "A History of Awesome in One Room", the JP Morgan Library's new exhibit from Oxford's Bodleian Library is described as featuring "some of the loftiest texts ever recorded"; the poetry of Sappho, the Magna Carta, the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, Euclid’s Elements, Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Shelley's Frankenstein and an illustrated score by Felix Mendelssohn.

"Marks of Genius” works hard at its theme. Stephen Hebron, the Bodleian’s curator of the exhibition, carefully traces the changing meanings of genius since antiquity in a concise but wide-ranging catalog essay. The exhibit runs through mid-September at The Morgan Library.

Inside the Metropolitan Opera's Library

Here's an insiders glimpse inside this special music library.

There is always more going on at the Metropolitan Opera House than meets the eye: wig fittings, dance rehearsals, orchestral rehearsals. One particularly busy corner of the Met can be found by descending two stories below the stage level to the music library. Met 2nd violinist Sarah Vonsattel recently visited the library and spoke with Chief Librarian Robert Sutherland and Assistant Librarian Melissa Robason.

When I ask Assistant Librarian Melissa Robason to describe a typical day at the Met, she laughs and replies, “I don’t think you can say there’s a ‘typical’ day, because every day is different and changing.” Chief Librarian Robert Sutherland adds, “The only thing that’s typical about any given day is that usually the day is clobbered by about 9:45am. Then we are just simply trying to stay alive and cover all the bases until about 3, at which point we tend to focus on what we really need to do, which is getting things ready for tonight, tomorrow, next week, next month, next season, the season after.”

New Book: Visual Tour Of America's Most Fascinating Public Libraries

Via Fast Company: In 1994, photographer Robert Dawson began an odds-and-ends project. Whenever he traveled, he'd take pictures of public libraries. Then, a handful of years ago, he started taking trips across the United States just for the libraries--like the shed that served a one-person county in Nebraska, or the Texas library that housed a "petroleum room" with all sorts of George Bush-themed collectibles. He documented everything from a library found in a suburban strip mall to the the air-conditioned institution that functioned more like a refugee camp in sweltering Detroit July.

All told, Dawson journeyed through 48 states, fascinated and inspired by the common role libraries played in society. Libraries, he found, didn't only serve as a refuge for the poor who didn't have any place else to go, but gateways that opened up all corners of the world to anyone inquisitive enough to take a stroll among the shelves. The result is his new book: The Public Library, A Photographic Essay, published by Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 978-1-61689-217-3. The book includes 150 photos, plus essays by Bill Moyers, Ann Patchett, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver, and many more.

Nice slideshow on the author's website.

Boston Public Library...in Lego!

Stop by Boston's Central Library in Copley Square by April 5 to see this Lego masterpiece before it moves to its permanent home at the Legoland Discovery Center in Somerville.

The model is a result of the BPL winning a contest sponsored by Lego. It received more votes than any other landmark in the city.

Librarians, Get Yer FREE Copies Here!!

Who could refuse? Workman Publishing, via Early Word is offering a FREE COPY of a new book by Chip Kidd, GO, an introduction to graphic design for kids, but also a wonderful primer for adults. Be one of the first 50 librarians or instructors to respond!

Discarded Books as Photo Project...and then...Book

Do you ever feel sentimental about weeded books? Then this one's for you. (The NYT recommends that you view it full screen).

While books may not necessarily make for a better reading experience (ed. but it's ok to have a preference one way or the other), they are superior as subject matter for a photo project. (I defy you, dear reader, to find a loving portrait of a Nook.)

To wit, witness Kerry Mansfield’s “Expired,” a twenty-page photo series whose substance is the physicality of discarded and withdrawn library books. She brings the lens in close, showing worn edges and torn covers and photographing the ephemera of the library experience: the check-out cards and the paper pockets they went into

Dance @ Your Library

for your Monday entertainment... Britain's Cascade Dance Company at the Tunbridge Wells Library in "Big Dance Library Project", recorded in the summer of 2012.

“The Quiet Volume,” Stealth Performance piece at New York University’s Bobst Library

From The New York Times Arts Beat:

What is the sound of two heads reading?

On Tuesday, in a hushed sixth-floor reading room in New York University’s Bobst Library packed with students cramming for final exams, the answer might have seemed to be: nothing much.

But for three pairs of readers scattered among the laptop-laden tables, wearing special headphones hooked up to iPod Nanos and shuffling through a pile of suspiciously literary books, the act of reading was transformed into a strange — and sometimes very loud — drama of turning pages, pointing fingers and eerily drifting thoughts.

“The first thing you notice is that for a place dedicated to silence, there’s not really that much silence at all,” a British-accented voice whispered into the readers’ ears. “After a while you start to think that it might be better considered as a place dedicated to the collection of sounds.”

The readers, who had signed up in advance, were both the audience and the stars of “The Quiet Volume,” a 55-minute stealth performance piece by the British artists Ant Hampton and Tim Etchells being staged through Sunday by Performance Space 122 as part of the PEN World Voices Festival. (The piece, which also comes in a Spanish-language version, is also running at the Schomburg Center in Harlem.)

“The whole thing made you think about the nature of your sensory experience while reading, the relationship between the voice in your head and the words on the page,” said Jessica Harris, a graduate student who had just finished performing the piece with a friend.

Stop the Whitewash!! Artist Decries Removal of Her Mural at San Francisco Branch Library

An artist who helped paint the community-created Victor Jara mural on Bernal Heights Branch Library today asserted her rights to 90-day notice prior to destruction of the mural so that she may have an opportunity to remove it. Story from Indy Media.

Nora Roman, whose name is listed on the mural as one of the artists, sent a letter to the City Librarian Luis Herrera and other San Francisco officials asserting her rights under the California Art Preservation Act (CAPA).

CAPA provisions include a requirement that the owner of a work of art that is to be destroyed must give 90 days notice to the artist so that he or she may remove the work. No such notice had been given to Ms. Roman as of yesterday, October 2, the date the City Librarian announced that the mural would be painted out in two days, October 4. He spoke in the Bernal Heights Branch, during one of 11 previously-scheduled meetings citywide to discuss with the public the library’s open hours for the next five years.

Peter Warfield, Executive Director of Library Users Association, said it appeared that the library had made no effort to locate Ms. Roman, to offer her, as one of the artists, an opportunity to remove the mural. “Even though Nora Roman’s name is on the side of the mural as one of the artists, the library did not bother to let her know what it planned for the mural – namely complete destruction followed by replacement with something that leaves out any reference to the most important elements of the existing mural,” he said.

Mr. Warfield said the planned replacement gives an unexplained “financial fee” of $16,800 to the Friends of SFPL, where no such fee was involved in an original refreshment plan previously approved by the Library Commission in 2009.

New Use for An Old Friend, the Date Stamp

From Colossal: I can’t remember the last time I saw the actual use of a rubber date stamp, most libraries exchanged them for fancy barcodes and other digital systems a decade ago. 

But Italian artist Federico Pietrella who lives and works in Berlin has a fantastic use for them in his paintings made from thousands of densely stamped ink dates. In his enormous ink artworks Pietrella always stamps the current date, thus each of his pieces contains a clear timeline of the days he worked on it, often spanning two months. You can see much more on his website and watch a brief interview with artist courtesy of Deutsche Welle. (via visual news)

The Sketchbook Project. of the Brooklyn Art Library

A Home for Sketchbooks of the World
For $25, any doodler, student, parent, graphic designer, architect (like Ms. Sumayang) or would-be artist with an idea can fill a 32-page sketchbook and add it to the collection. Some, like Ms. Sumayang, drop in; others sign up online. “I thought, ‘Why not?’ ” Ms. Sumayang said on a recent visit. “It’s down the road.”

For six years, the Sketchbook Project has been offering intimate glimpses into the imaginations of its worldwide contributors. Steven Peterman, a printmaker, and Shane Zucker, a Web developer, founded the project in Atlanta in 2006. They moved it to Brooklyn in 2009: first to Red Hook, then to Williamsburg in late 2010.

Rare Engraving by Paul Revere Found in RI

Rare Paul Revere print found inside book by Brown University librarian.

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