Friday, November 20, 2015

Theo Jansen's Strandbeests

Theo Jansen is a Dutch artist who, in 1990, began creating kinetic sculptures out of recycled materials (PVC, plastic bottles, etc.). These animated sculptures take on the form of beach creatures in his series of "Strandbeests," which will be exhibited in the United States at the Peabody Essex Museum.

"In 2015, the Peabody Essex Museum kicks off the first U.S. tour featuring Theo Jansen's famed kinetic sculptures. Dynamic and interdisciplinary, Jansen's Strandbeests (beach animals) blur the lines between art and science, sculpture and performance. The exhibition will celebrate the thrill of the Strandbeests' unique locomotion as well as the processes that have driven their evolutionary development on the Dutch seacoast. The exhibition will premiere at PEM in Fall 2015, then travel to Chicago and San Francisco."

Monday, October 12, 2015

Free Online Art Books from The Art Canada Institute

The Art Canada Institute has made their collection of books about artists available online. Their collection includes nineteenth-century artists like the photographer William Nottman and painter Paul Kane and twentieth-century artists Emily Carr and Kathleen Munn.  Indigenous artist Pitseolak Ashoona is represented as well. The books can be read online or downloaded as ebooks. 
Emily Carr, Totem Walk at Sitka, 1907
Watercolour on paper, 38.5 x 38.5 cm
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Each book includes the artist's life history, key works (which can be downloaded as presentation-level quality images), critical significance, and which museums hold examples of their work.

Pitseolak Ashoona, Legend of the Woman Who Turned into a Narwhal, c. 1974
Coloured felt-tip pen on paper, 66 x 50.7 cm
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
The Art Canada Institute is "a non-profit research organization based at Massey College, University of Toronto. Founded in 2012, the ACI is the only national institution whose mandate is to promote the study of an inclusive multi-vocal Canadian art history to as broad an audience as possible, in both English and French, within Canada and internationally. The ACI works with more than 50 of Canada’s leading art historians, curators, and visual culture experts who are dedicated to the creation of authoritative original content on the people, themes, and topics that have defined Canadian art history."

Monday, September 21, 2015

What Jane Saw

A professor from the English Department at the University of Texas, Austin, has recreated in digital form an exhibit that Jane Austen visited in 1813 in London.  Janine Barchas, whose most recent book is about Jane Austen, used a contemporary published list of the paintings included in a memorial exhibition of Joshua Reynolds to create "What Jane Saw."

Viewers can click on each painting in the exhibit to see a larger version and a catalog entry about the painting, including its current whereabouts and sources for further reading.

The project is really enjoyable and well-designed--a great example of the so-called "Digital Humanities"!  A second recreation of an exhibition seen in London by Jane Austen in 1796 at the "Shakespeare Museum" will soon be added to "What Jane Saw."

Friday, May 1, 2015

Preservation 101: Preservation Basics for Paper and Media Collections

The NEDCC (Northeast Document Conservation Center) announces a newly revised and expanded version of Preservation 101: Preservation Basics for Paper and Media Collections, the "free online textbook that provides a basic introduction to the concepts and standards used to build an effective preservation program, and includes discussion of preservation policies, building and environment, care and handling of collection materials, reformatting, emergency preparedness, and conservation practices."

This newly revised edition includes expanded information on caring for audiovisual collections, digital preservation and copyright, and emergency management. The textbook includes activities and readings designed to aid institutions and private individuals performing their own preservation planning. The Preservation 101 course has a long history as an authoritative and succinct reference for professionals, students, and individuals.

The online textbook can be used as a self-guided workshop on preservation techniques and principles.  The NEDCC also offers instructor-led Preservation 101 workshops throughout the year.