The art exhibitions of small galleries, society clubs, and associations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries chronicle the emergence of New York City as a metropolis destined to be a global center for the international art market. Ephemeral exhibition catalogs, checklists, and pamphlets from this period document artistic movements, artists of the period, economic markets, and social and cultural history. The materials from eleven galleries, clubs, and associations that have played a pivotal role in the history of art and New York City have been digitized from the collections of the Frick Art Reference Library and the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives and are now available to researchers worldwide. Spanning the period from 1875 to 1922, this initial collection serves as the foundation for a more comprehensive project to document the New York City art scene at the turn of the 20th century.
After spending the past six months processing the Art & Project/Depot VBVR Gift as Project Cataloger to the MoMA Library it seems timely to report on the venerable cache of materials. These materials are incorporated to the library collection as a gift from Adriaan van Ravesteijn, co-founder of the preeminent gallery for Conceptual Art in Amsterdam, Art & Project, which ceased operations in 2001 after 30 years of programming. The Art & Project/Depot VBVR Gift arrived at the library summer 2010, with materials reflecting relationships with the artists represented in the gallery program, including materials ranging from rare exhibition catalogs and artists’ books to monographs and ephemera.
Australia is about as far from New York as one can travel. However, the three NYARC libraries have a small but important collection of materials about Australian art that brings the country from down under to the United States. In May and June 2011, the Frick Art Reference Library acquired 150 Australian exhibition catalogs. The majority of these catalogs are not widely available, with the Frick being the only library in the United States to own copies of some of the titles. Added to works about Aboriginal and post-WWII Australian art at the libraries of the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Frick’s recent acquisition helps to form a high-quality consortial collection related to art in Australia.