Rollie McKenna, photographer | Installing the exhibition, “The Graphic Work of Edvard Munch.” | February 6, 1957 through March 3, 1957 | Photographic Archive; The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York | © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Bono, Oslo
If you read a review or article about an interesting museum exhibition you missed you can usually find images of the featured artworks. But have you ever wondered how the works were presented, where they were placed? Which pieces were shown together, and in what order? You’re not alone – exhibition design is central in museology, also known as museum studies, which asks how to present exhibitions that engage and enlighten the viewer. It’s also of interest to curators, art historians, and even artists, who often want to see what effect context has on artworks.
The Artstor Digital Library has tens of thousands of exhibition documentation images ranging from the late 19th century to the present from major American institutions. Some of the photographs, as you can see in this post, even show the artworks being installed. Dig into the collections listed below to find many more gems.
Hugo Boss Prize 2010: Hans-Peter Feldmann | May 20 – November 2, 2011 | David Heald, photographer | Photograph : © 2012 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York | Work: © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / BILDKUNST, Bonn
James Rosenquist: A Retrospective | October 17, 2003 – February 4, 2004 | David Heald, photographer | Photograph: © 2012 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York | Work: Art © James Rosenquist / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. This work of art is protected by copyright and/or related rights and may not be reproduced in any manner, except as permitted under the ARTstor Digital Library Terms and Conditions of Use, without the prior express written authorization of VAGA, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2820, New York, NY 10118. Tel.: 212-736-6666; Fax: 212-736-6767; Email: email@example.com.
Anish Kapoor: Memory | October 21, 2009 – March 28, 2010 | David Heald, photographer | Photograph: © 2012 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York | Work: © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London
Installation view of the exhibition, “Projects 39: Georg Herold/Marks Oehlen.” | February 5, 1993 through March 23, 1993 | Katherine Keller, photographer | Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York | Georg Herold – © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Ben Nicholson | Exhibition: Thinking the Unthinkable House; general view | 1996 (exhibition) | Photographer: Tom Van Eynde | Image and original data from The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago | © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London
Marina Abramović: Seven Easy Pieces | November 9 – 15, 2005 | Kathryn Carr, photographer | Photograph: © 2012 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York | Work: © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / BILDKUNST, Bonn
Baltimore Museum of Art, photography | Installing Artwork, The Baltimore Museum of Art | Circa 1950 | Baltimore Museum of Art: Archives
The Josephine Mercy Heathcote and Heathcote Foundation Gallery; Gallery 509 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art\ |Image and data from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Arms and Armor Court | The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Image and data from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Gilbert Stuart” (October 21, 2004-January 16, 2005) | The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Exhibition Installation Photographs | Image and data from: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Click on any image to view the slide show and to read the full captions.
Baltimore Museum of Art Archives – nearly 100 photographs of exhibition installations, including archival photographs of works from the permanent collection and from the celebrated Cone Collection.
University of Chicago: Renaissance Society – nearly 2,400 images by contemporary artists, many of them installation documentation.
Franklin Furnace Archives – 11,000 images and documentation of events, including performance art, site–specific works, and other time–based ephemeral arts, from the institution’s first two decades.
Larry Qualls Archive – 100,000 contemporary art exhibitions in New York City in the last quarter of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, including many of the works in situ.
The Museum of Modern Art Archives Exhibition Installation Photographs – 16,700 images documenting major exhibitions held at the museum from 1929 up to 2000.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation – 5,500 installation views spanning from the 1990’s to the present.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Exhibition Installation Photographs – 8,000 images of special exhibition installation views from 1970 to 2008.
The Mattress Factory (upcoming) – 12,000 images documenting installations exhibited at the museum since its opening in 1977.
New Museum of Contemporary Art Collection – 6,000 images documenting installations from the museum since its opening in 1977.