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Archive for the ‘Shared Shelf Commons’ Category

Catherine Tedford, the director of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University, curates the Street Art Graphics collection, undeniably one of the coolest resources in Shared Shelf Commons. Here she shares the history of street stickers and of her amazing collection.

All images courtesy of Catherine Tedford, Richard F. Brush Art Gallery, St. Lawrence University

All images courtesy of Catherine Tedford, Richard F. Brush Art Gallery, St. Lawrence University

History of the collection and the Street Art Graphics digital archive

In the last thirty years, urban art has evolved dramatically from the spray-painted graffiti that peppered subway stations, back alleys, and train yards. Today, new forms of visual communication are created in public spaces, often attracting viewers in more contemplative and/or interactive ways. Street art stickers, or simply “stickers,” have emerged as a vehicle for self-expression and as an effective way to engage passersby. Stickers may be used to “tag” or claim a space and make it temporarily one’s own, to sell products or services, to announce events, to publicize blogs or other social media sites, or to offer social commentary and political critique. As one of the most democratic art forms, stickers can be created and distributed easily, quickly, cheaply, and widely. D.I.Y. artists create one-of-a-kind drawings or multiple stencils and screenprints on free USPS stickers or “Hello-My-Name-Is” labels. Other artists upload more elaborate designs to online sticker companies that mass produce hundreds or thousands of stickers at a time. A range of rhetorical strategies can be found in their work, from humor and charm to rebellion and resistance. Representing a diverse array of voices and perspectives, stickers offer a spirited “ground up” alternative to an often “top down” media-saturated environment.

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Constantine Manos, Watching the dance, Olympos, Karpathos

Constantine Manos, Watching the dance, Olympos, Karpathos, 1960s. Thomas L. Adams, Jr. Photographic Collection, Teti Library, New Hampshire Institute of Art

This fall, the New Hampshire Institute of Art published a first selection of 22 images from its Thom Adams Photograph Collection on Shared Shelf Commons. The collection, a gift from 2011, includes around 300 original photographic prints by world class photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries belonging to collector, photographer, and New Hampshire resident Thomas L. Adams. The collection is being released in batches as it gets digitized, cataloged, and cleared for publication.

The Thom Adams Photograph Collection is made up largely of works that explore lifestyles, customs, and human relationships through portraiture, figurative studies, documentary photography, and street photography. Photographers represented in the collection include Annie Leibovitz, Todd Webb, George Platt Lynes, and Steve McCurry, as well as many lesser known artists.

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Donkey-Elephant Display Base, ca. 1956

Donkey-Elephant Display Base, ca. 1956. Cornell University Library, Rare & Manuscript Collections, Susan H. Douglas Political Americana Collection

Take a deep breath, the presidential debates are finally over. But brace yourselves, we still have a couple of weeks of campaigning left until the actual elections. Why the negative tone? Well, the Washington Post reported that “59 percent of Americans are sick and tired of the election”–and that was way back in July! And we’re not just sick and tired, we’re also stressed: in a more recent poll by the American Psychological Association, 52 percent of American adults said the upcoming election is a significant source of stress.

Can we interest you in a tour of more innocent days from Cornell University’s Political Americana Collection in Shared Shelf Commons? Days in which campaigns featured such lighthearted items as songs like “Grant is the Man,” promoting Ulysses S. Grant, or “Let’s O-K, I-K-E,” about Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower.

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We invited Stanton Belford, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Martin Methodist College, to tell us about his three Marine Biology collections in Shared Shelf Commons: Red Sea, Trinidad, and Key Largo.

Bearded fireworm

Bearded fireworm (Hermodice carunculata). From the Martin Methodist College Marine Biology Collection: Trinidad

Before describing the marine biology digital collections, I would like to mention I first became interested in marine science thanks to my high school teacher, who allowed us to experience informal science education with the reefs as our classroom. Here I saw a kaleidoscope of colors bursting through the ocean’s blue: corals, fishes, invertebrates, all hidden underwater, just waiting for my eager eyes to discover them.

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Photo by Natali Wiseman

Photo by Natali Wiseman

Traci Timmons, Librarian at the Seattle Art Museum, shares with us the story of the completion of their first digital collection.

The Seattle Art Museum only began issuing its annual reports digitally in 2007. Prior to that, for 74 years, if you needed to find something, you had to locate the printed reports and skim through them to find what you were looking for. If you had a good idea about the approximate time period for your inquiry, you might only have to pull one or two reports. If you had no idea about an approximate date, you may have had to block out your afternoon. (more…)

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MedievalPortland_Logo_Color
Anne McClanan, Professor of Medieval Art History at Portland State University and one of the winners of the Artstor Digital Humanities Awards, introduces us to Medieval Portland and describes the impact Shared Shelf has had on the project.

Medieval Portland? We hope our project’s silly name is just perplexing enough to make people want to learn more—who wouldn’t assume there is no medieval Portland?

When I moved to Oregon after years of medieval art history graduate training at more resource-intensive places, Harvard and Johns Hopkins, I worried whether I’d be able to continue the teaching grounded in first-hand observation and investigation of works of art that I think is central to the practice of art history. I plunged into the task of trying to figure out what medieval material was here, and gradually discovered several hundred items in collections across the Portland area (the number varies depending on how generously we want to define “medieval,” and we often reach into the early modern period).

Running since 2005, our site has gone through several iterations, but by far the biggest change has been our recent transition to Shared Shelf. Our Shared Shelf collection’s defining feature is that Medieval Portland presents original research pursued by students alongside that by advanced scholars. The students doing the research are from across my university, for I teach the course as a community based learning senior capstone within Portland State University’s nationally-recognized University Studies program. The Medieval Portland capstone provides students opportunities to critically engage with the past as well as to then produce resources that allow these objects to become better known and understood to the wider community. The capstone students soon realize that history isn’t an edifice to be committed to memory, but instead is an act of inquiry into the meaning of the past.

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John Reps, Monpazier

John Reps, Monpazier, 1951 (founded 1284)

In the 13th century, southwestern France gave birth to several hundred new planned towns, partly to replace villages destroyed in the Albigensian Crusades and partly to revivify a stagnating economy and tame areas of wilderness¹. Some were designed as fortress communities, while others were laid out as simple agricultural villages. The great majority, however, had a different function. Known as bastides, they were created as market towns with the aim of concentrating the population in secure places for ease of administration while returning a profit to their sponsors. Their founders were the great feudal lords of the region: kings, dukes, counts, and viscounts.

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