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.
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.
My colleague Lauren Adelman stopped by the reference desk a while back. What do you have on murals, she asked. I knew this would be interesting. Lauren works with MoMA’s Community and Access Programs, partnering with organizations involved with the criminal justice system. This is part of her broader work as New York Director of Artistic Noise. I was right: she was working with young men at the Bronx Residential Center to create a mural for their main entryway.
Processing the acquisitions on the Special Collections shelf is always a highlight of my week, especially when I know we’re expecting mail from Printed Matter or a book artist has been by to visit recently. I approach the task knowing that strange and beautiful books of all shapes and sizes await me, and that processing will most likely not entail the usual rote click-click-click through, a cog in the wheel of acquisitions procedure, as the majority of the artist’s books we acquire are not in OCLC's WorldCat, a world-wide catalog of library catalogs, and require a unique new record to be generated.
I have the privilege and challenge of working with artists and other collaborators to produce artist's books for The Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art. These limited-edition publications are intended to explore the art of the book as they benefit and shed light on MoMA’s research collections. Upon seeing the most recent publication in the MoMA Library, Lily Pregill of the New York Art Resources Consortium asked me to write about The Library Council’s most recent book, The Island of Rota by the neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks, the designer Ted Muehling, and the photographer Abelardo Morell, published in November, 2010. While I was very happy that this book had moved through the best of audiences (art librarians), I had to think twice when she asked me to write something that had not already appeared in our prospectus. The online prospectus is something like an expanded announcement, with a summary of the contributions and intentions of the artist as well as a detailed description of the physical qualities of the book.
While I usually have artist books on-the-brain to some degree, they’ve been on my mind more than usual lately, as I prepare a presentation to Brooklyn Museum interns and staff in early April highlighting recent acquisitions to Brooklyn’s artists' books collection. I’d like to take the opportunity to share a few of these with our readers here at the NYARC.org blog.
Right now the display cases at the Brooklyn Museum Libraries contain a selection of our holdings of artists’ books from the Women’s Studio Workshop. These books complement the exhibition entitled “Hand, Voice & Vision: Artists’ Books from Women’s Studio Workshop” being held at the Grolier Club from December 8, 2010 through February 5, 2011.