The second phase of a two-year collaborative project to document the New York City art scene at the turn of the 20th century by digitizing exhibition catalogs held at the Frick Art Reference Library and the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives has been completed. The materials are now available to researchers worldwide through Arcade. Phase II of this digital collection, “Documenting the Gilded Age: New York City Exhibitions at the Turn of the 20th Century” has been made possible by a grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO).
This holiday season, the Brooklyn Museum Library is pleased have one of its collections channeled through the holiday window display of Henri Bendel at 721 5th Ave. (at 56th St.). The display features mannequins wearing garments inspired by the Bendel Fashion Sketch Collection, held in the Brooklyn Museum Library’s Special Collections.
The fall has been a whirlwind of activities related to the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition entitled Materializing "Six Years": Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art that opened here on September 14th and will continue into mid-February. The exhibition is devoted to examining the defining impact Lucy R. Lippard’s groundbreaking book Six Yearshad on the emergent conceptual art movement.
As the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) intern for 2012, I am fortunate to be spending time at all three New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) libraries. The Frick Art Reference Library and those of the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) share many attributes. One of these is the important role that collecting expeditions played in increasing the holdings of each institution. Interestingly, in the early twentieth century these libraries supported major expeditions that were led by women. These bold travelers came from a variety of backgrounds and socioeconomic classes and were ahead of their time.
Gowanus. DUMBO. Red Hook. Bed-Stuy. These Brooklyn neighborhoods, among others, represent the borough’s notable status as a thriving hotbed of arts and cultural production. At the Brooklyn Museum, highlighting the work of Brooklyn-based artists ranges from a series of exhibitions known as Raw/Cooked to documentation in the Library and Archives. Moreover, we are making previously hidden information on Brooklyn art accessible in the Library and Archives, with the support of a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
The recently completed NYARC digitization project “Documenting the Gilded Age: New York City Exhibitions at the Turn of the 20th Century,” was the product of a collaboration between the Frick Art Reference Library and the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archive. Like many collaborative digital projects, “Documenting Gilded Age” exposed both the challenges and unique opportunities that come from transforming physical items – in this case rare, ephemeral exhibition catalogs – into digital form.
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.
I was recently offered the opportunity to explore the collection of the Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives and write about it. Delighted, I approached the collection and said, “Where do I start?” This was a surprisingly difficult question; there was just so much to see! Overwhelmed, I sat down and thought about what the library was all about. I’ve learned that the main purpose of a museum’s library is to support its collection. So I was not surprised to discover that The Wilbour Library of Egyptology (a section of the Brooklyn Museum’s Libraries and Archives) is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world, as the Museum’s Egyptology collection is one of the largest and finest in the world. The Museum has been acquiring Egyptian art since the turn of the twentieth century and acquired a large collection assembled by Charles Edwin Wilbour, whose personal library also formed the core of The Wilbour Library. After learning this, I decided that The Wilbour Library was the place to begin. However, with close to 50,000 volumes, this did not make the task any less daunting.