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Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web

Victor Hugo, Vianden Seen through a Spider Web, 1871. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.; artres.com

Some stories we’ve been reading this month:

  • Georges Seurat placed dots on a canvas to depict park-goers lounging along the Seine in 1884. The technique was known as pointillism, and it seemed new at the time. We now come to find out it was really 38,000 years old.
  • African American activist and sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois directed the creation of more than 60 hand-drawn charts, graphs, and maps that visualized data on the state of black life in America in 1900. They look amazing.

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Artstor has recently made available images of commercial art, canonical works, and thousands of personal Polaroids from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Artstor’s Damian Shand speaks to Michael Hermann, the Foundation’s director of licensing, about the collection.

Damian Shand: 35,000 images from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts have just been made available in the Artstor Digital Library. What were the origins of the collection and how difficult was it to bring all the material together for digitization?

Michael Hermann: When Warhol passed away in 1987, he left his extensive inventory of artwork to the Foundation. In order to get such a large, complicated collection cataloged, archived, photographed and digitized, the Foundation embarked on what turned out to be an ongoing 30-year project. The endeavor has been time-consuming and expensive, but as stewards of Warhol’s legacy, we feel it was necessary. Traditional means were used to document the collection while adapting to technological advancements where necessary. In the case of the 28,000 photographs now available on the Artstor Digital Library, we used a crowd-sourcing model. The original 28,000 Warhol photographs were donated to over 180 college and university museums and galleries who in turn documented the artworks and sent the high-resolution digital images back to us.

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks at the TCA meeting, 1957. Courtesy of the Tuskegee University Archives, P.H. Polk Collection, 2017.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks at the TCA meeting, 1957. Courtesy of the Tuskegee University Archives, P.H. Polk Collection, 2017.

Tuskegee University Archives recently released new recordings from the Tuskegee Civic Association records that feature prominent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. These speeches, addressing the Tuskegee community, fill in historical gaps to illuminate the relationships between leaders and their constituents.

The collection was digitized from reel-to-reel tape under the care of university archivist Dana Chandler and made available through funding by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Council of Independent Colleges. The recordings are freely available to listen to on Shared Shelf Commons.

Artstor staff members Evan Towle and Karyn Anonia spoke with Chandler about his work.

ET: First, can you speak a little about your history with the Archives at Tuskegee?

DC: I’m in my eleventh year. I’d first visited in 1972—my parents brought us down here to see Carver’s laboratory, and I fell in love with the place then. I did not ever expect to work here. The opportunity kind of fell into my lap, and I have been able to, I think, develop the Archives into a viable place for researchers to come from the US and all around the world to work on the materials to fill in some blanks that have been evident for a long time about the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the history of Tuskegee as a whole, as well as the work of African Americans, how successful they really were during the time of Jim Crow Laws and laws of segregation.

When you think about Tuskegee, you think about George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington. You think about the Tuskegee Airmen, and maybe something called the Syphilis Study, which did not happen here on the campus. But it is much more than those things. The first Extension Agent to the US Federal Government came from Tuskegee—not just the first black agent, but the first Extension Agent came from Tuskegee University—the first African American Hospital in Alabama; the first school to offer a four-year degree in nursing in Alabama; the first African American woman to win a gold medal at the Olympics, Alice Coachman Davis, went to Tuskegee. And believe me, I could go on and on ad nauseam about the stuff that’s here.

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Michael Hermann, Director of Licensing at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, explains how the Foundation’s collections in the Artstor Digital Library provide a comprehensive view of Warhol’s cultural impact–as well as insight into his personal life.

Thirty years after his death, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) remains one of the most influential figures in contemporary art and culture. Warhol’s life and work continue to inspire creative thinkers worldwide thanks to his enduring imagery, his artfully cultivated celebrity, and the ongoing research of dedicated scholars. His impact as an artist is far deeper and greater than soup cans and his prescient observation that “everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” His omnivorous curiosity resulted in an enormous body of work that spanned every available medium and most importantly contributed to the collapse of boundaries between high and low culture. The extensive Andy Warhol Foundation collections available on Artstor provide a thorough presentation of the prolific artist’s works in one place for the first time through more than 35,000* images inclusive of paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, and photography spanning four decades.

The turbulent 1960s ignited an impressive and wildly prolific time in Warhol’s life which saw the production of many of Warhol’s most iconic works, including Campbell Soup Cans, Marilyn Monroes, Dollar Signs, Disasters, Brillo Boxes and Coca Cola Bottles. These familiar works are supplemented by a wide-ranging presentation of the provocative and ground-breaking works Warhol continued to create until his untimely death in 1987. Continue Reading »

Artstor and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts have released more than 35,000* images of Warhol’s work in the Artstor Digital Library in two extensive collections–Warhol’s Oeuvre and the Photographic Legacy Project.

This extensive launch provides a thorough presentation of the prolific artist’s works in one place for the first time, inclusive of paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, and photography spanning four decades. The Oeuvre collection provides a comprehensive view of the artist’s output, starting with the early work he created during the 1950s as an award-winning commercial artist working for clients such as Columbia Records and Tiffany & Co., through to many of his most iconic images, including Campbell Soup Cans, Marilyn Monroes, Dollar Signs, Disasters, Brillo Boxes and Coca Cola Bottles.
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In our previous post I introduced our new Principles and Elements of Design resource (which you can find in Teaching Resources under Studio Art) and spoke about the elements of design; in this post, we look at the principles.

As with the series of Elements of Design image groups, each of these includes an explanatory essay with helpful links to further reading. It bears repeating here that my approach is but one of many; since an image group can be copied and then altered as needed, we thought it might serve as a valuable starting point for studio teachers.  

Once students can identify the elements of design, the next step is articulating how those elements support different principles of design. Seeing an element and being able to say how it functions in a composition requires an understanding of the principles of design. Continue Reading »

One of the most daunting challenges I faced teaching in a high school art program was developing a common language to articulate the principles and elements of design. Helping students hone those communication skills made critique easier but took a lot of time up front. When our faculty began to use the same terminology across the curriculum, students developed a comfort level with those terms and began using them more naturally in discussing their own work and the projects of their peers and heroes from the art world.

Long before I knew I was going to be building resources for teachers in Artstor, I was gathering images to help my own students “see and say” what they noticed in a work of art. My goal was to get them to articulate what principles were in effect and what elements supported those principles. After about ten years, I had a pretty robust image group to use for each. When I came to Artstor, I was determined to make ten functional groups of fewer than 24 images that other teachers could use to highlight specific elements or principles. I added favorites that colleagues suggested and included term definitions. Now, with Artstor’s alliance with JSTOR, I can also include further reading about teaching Art and Design. These groups can be found in Teaching Resources under Studio Art. My approach is but one of many; since an image group can be copied and then altered as needed, we thought it might serve as a valuable starting point for studio teachers.   Continue Reading »