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Black iceberg. 1909. Image provided by Cornell University.

Black iceberg. 1909. Image provided by Cornell University.

Cornell’s Historic Glacial Images of Alaska and Greenland archive is a magnificent photographic assemblage of Arctic expeditions undertaken by Cornell faculty in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The majority of photographs document sweeping views of glaciers, their boundaries, and coordinates. Others portray explorers crossing the Arctic terrain by boat, foot, sled, and train, revealing the human effort involved in traversing the Arctic for scientific purposes. These expeditions sought to research the development and behavior of glaciers from a scientific perspective during a period in history when public interest in the Arctic surged. Today, the images in this archive have become a locus for interdisciplinary research.

Artstor’s Megan O’Hearn sat down with Cornell faculty members Matthew Pritchard, associate professor of geophysics, and Aaron Sachs, associate professor of history, to learn about their collaborative approaches to understanding and illustrating the process and impact of global warming using this incredible archive.

Meg O’Hearn: Can you give us a quick history of Cornell’s Historic Glacial Images of Alaska and Greenland archive?

Matthew Pritchard: The photographs are part of the Cornell archives and are particularly related to two Cornell faculty members. One is Ralph Stockman Tarr, who became a faculty member starting in 1892, and the other is one of his students who eventually became a faculty member, Oscar Von Engeln. The collection is an assemblage from different expeditions made by various Cornell faculty and students between 1896 and 1911. All those photographs were in the archives with the rest of the documents from these two people, but we weren’t aware of them until an Emeritus faculty in our department was cleaning his office and brought us a box of glass plates that had not been included in that collection.

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Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture, Installation view; 2014. Image and original data contributed by Bard Graduate Center Gallery

Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture, Installation view; 2014. Image and original data contributed by Bard Graduate Center Gallery

To mark the release of 2,600 images from Bard Graduate Center Gallery in the Artstor Digital Library, Bard’s curatorial team discusses the institute’s history and the importance of its Gallery exhibitions for expanding conventional notions of the art historical canon.

Bard Graduate Center Gallery is recognized nationally and internationally for groundbreaking exhibitions that highlight new scholarship in the fields of decorative arts, design history, and material culture. These feature rarely seen objects, drawings – including architectural renderings – and other exceptional works of art. Our research-driven interpretation materials provide visitors with in-depth labels and contextual photographs, and we translate curatorial thinking into display strategies that incorporate new media and film. As a non-collecting institution, our exhibitions are loan-based, drawing on a range of public and private collections around the world, and are celebrated for introducing the public to work that has never before been on view, or that is seldom exhibited in New York for reasons of rarity, accessibility, or condition. Located on West 86th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the Gallery occupies three stories of a landmarked townhouse, creating an intimate environment for engaging with stimulating ideas and objects, from the simplest artifacts of everyday life to the most extraordinary and exquisite artistic creations.

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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:

Thomas Hope: Regency Designer, Installation view; 2008. Image and original data contributed by Bard Graduate Center Gallery

Thomas Hope: Regency Designer, Installation view; 2008. Image and original data contributed by Bard Graduate Center Gallery

Artstor and Bard Graduate Center have released approximately 2,600 exhibition installation photographs in the Artstor Digital Library.

Bard Graduate Center is an academic unit of Bard College that offers advanced degrees in decorative arts, design history, and material culture. Founded in 1993 in New York City, it is comprised of its MA and PhD programs, Gallery, and acclaimed Research Institute. Located in a six story townhouse half a block from Central Park, the Gallery is an intimate environment for viewing loan exhibitions curated by the Center’s faculty, staff, students, or specialized curatorial consultants, frequently in collaboration with renowned institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the New-York Historical Society.

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William Blake; Pity; ca. 1795. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

William Blake; Pity; ca. 1795. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

William Blake is perhaps the most famous artist born out of the British Romantic period, mostly known for his writing, paintings, and printmaking. But much like Vincent Van Gogh and Henry Darger after him, Blake was largely unrecognized during his lifetime and was mostly seen by the art community as an amateur. And while his published poetry and his illustrations of those poems are wholly original works, Blake spent the majority of his career drawing and painting scenes from fictional stories written by other authors—such as Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, and Dante.

In fact, it might be said that Blake spent a lot of his time working on what we now call “fan art.”

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To celebrate the recent addition of nearly 500 images from SFMOMA’s permanent collection to the Artstor Digital Library, Nancy Minty, Artstor’s collections editor, examines more than 80 years of a pioneering institution.

Since 2009, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has partnered with Artstor to bring highlights of its collection to our community. The full collection of SFMOMA includes approximately 30,000 works of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture and design, and media arts. It represents artists from the early 20th century onwards, spanning Henri Matisse and Meret Oppenheim in the first decades, through Louise Bourgeois, Dorothea Lange, and Richard Diebenkorn at the century’s midpoint, and on to Sol Lewitt, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra in its later years. Most recently, iconoclasts like Doris Salcedo, Marilyn Minter, and Ai Weiwei have led the collection into the new century Continue Reading »

Artstor Analog

Amidst the boom in our increasingly digital lives, people are returning to analog objects. For the first time ever, sales of vinyl records have outstripped digital sales, with more than 3 million LP sales reported in 2016, and in what Publishers Weekly calls “digital fatigue,” ebook sales have plateaued. Although fatigue might not be the correct term here; according to a recent study, children–who presumably haven’t been using digital products for very long–prefer paper books to screens.

With this in mind, Artstor is proud to introduce a new service: Artstor Analog. Now your library or institution can get the same 2 million high-quality images in the Digital Library that you trust and depend on as photo slides. As a bonus, the Artstor Digital Library’s 2,000 QTVR files will be made available as fully rotatable dioramas. Among its many benefits, Artstor Analog offers the perfect solution for locations that have spotty or unreliable access to wifi.

Artstor Analog is delivered in approximately 15,000 carousel trays of 140 slides each. Because of shipping restrictions, this offer is only available in the continental United States and Canada. Please note that Artstor Analog is currently not compatible with the Offline Image Viewer.