Archive for October, 2011

Occupy Wall Street occupies NYC museums

October 24, 2011

On October 20th, Occupy Museums, with the approval of Occupy Wall Street’s Art and Culture Group, took on 3 New York City art museums (MoMA, the Frick and the New Museum) as a protest to the “intense commercialization and co-optation of art.” Their manifesto states that the “artists of the 99%” will no  longer accept the “equation of art with capital” and the cultural authority of leading museums — “Temples of Cultural Elitism” — which have turned “beloved institutions into corrupt ratings agencies or investment banking houses-stamping their authority and approval on flimsy corporate art and fraudulent deals.” Occupy Wall Street has inspired campaigns other than Occupy Museums: Occupy Writers which is backed by authors such as Salman Rushdie, Ann Patchett, Alice Walker, Lemony Snicket, Margaret Atwood and Barbara Ehrenreich, and Occupennial, another Occupy Wall Street art group, which has offered their support and endorsement of the Occupy Museums actions on the 20th.
To read the full manifesto, go to Paddy Johnson’s blog (Art Fag City).
To read more about Occupy Museums Oct. 20th event, go to ARTINFO’s blogs by Kyla Chayka, Paul McLean and Ben Davis; Huffington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, Art Fag City.

Walters Art Museum going online

October 17, 2011

The Walters Art Museum is now making 10,000 of its 30,000 works available online. The digitization project, funded by NEA and NEH grants, is intended to make the entire collection available online. According to the Baltimore Sun, “the effort will put the Walters at the forefront of the emerging technology of online museums and make it one of the few institutions in the world that allows virtual visitors to explore almost every artwork it owns.” The museum maintains that their collection is in the public domain and can therefore make their high-resolution images available through a Creative Commons license. This position mirrors the Walters’ free admission policy as well. The online catalog comes with detailed information about the works, the ability to zoom and create folders. (source: Baltimore Sun, October 4, 2011)

Frick Photoarchive available online

October 13, 2011

Scholars can now look forward to accessing the Photoarchive of the Frick Art Reference Library online.  With help from the NEH and the Henry Luce Foundation, the Frick has just released a beta version of its digital image archive containing 15,000 works of art and research documentation for 125,000 works of art. The archive is accessible at You can access the Frick Reference Library collection through their online catalog FRESCO.
Established to facilitate object-oriented research, the Photoarchive is a study collection of more than one million photographic reproductions of works of art from the fourth to the mid-twentieth century by artists trained in the Western tradition.  To read more about the online Photoarchive, go to the Frick press release.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology now in ARTstor

October 7, 2011

Moche stirrup spout vessel in form of human head

ARTstor Digital Library has collaborated with the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University to share more than 3,300 images of Pre-Columbian, African, Native North American, and Oceanic objects from the museum’s permanent collection. Through this collaboration, ARTstor will distribute a total of approximately 154,000 images from the Museum’s collection and approximately 44,000 digital images of the Carnegie Institution of Washington Photographs of Mayan Excavations documenting archaeological excavations throughout Central America. The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University is the oldest museum devoted to anthropology in the United States and holds a permanent collection of millions of objects documenting the history of human culture throughout the Americas, Africa, Oceania, Asia, and Europe.

Collection spotlight: Wellcome images

October 7, 2011

Wellcome Images: 2000 Years of Human Culture is “one of the world’s richest and most unique collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science.” The Wellcome Collection, established by Sir Henry Wellcome to explore the connections between medicine, life and art, provide digital access to their visual materials through Wellcome Images. They currently have 40,000 high-quality digital images available. This database offers an amazing assortment of unusual and diverse material, from historical images to Tibetan Buddhist paintings, ancient Sanskrit manuscripts written on palm leaves or medical teaching devices (such as the eye defect teaching model shown here).

Supreme Court reviewing challenges to public domain protection

October 7, 2011

On October 4th, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the  Golan v. Holder case — a case challenging the 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act. This act significantly limited the public domain when it restored the copyrights in the United States of many foreign works that previously had been freely available. Major works such as Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ and Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ lost their public-domain status as a result of this act. In a New York Times editorial, Peter Decherney, professor of film studies at the University of Pennsylvania, argues that the U.S. Congress went too far in 1994 and that the effects of this act on artists, filmmakers and students has been very damaging. To read the complete editorial, click here.
For more on Golan v. Holder, listen to Professor Edward Lee (IIT Chicago, Kent College of Law) on the Oyez Project or read these articles and discussions in the Chronicle of Higher Education, October 5, 2011 and May 29, 2011.

European Film Gateway

October 7, 2011

Billed as “your single access point to films, images and texts from selected collections of 16 film archives across Europe,” the European Film Gateway (EFG) is a newly developed online portal that provides access to European film archives and cinémathèques. EFG currently contains over 26,000 videos, 515,000 images and 10,200 textual documents. To date, 18 collections are available, including Cinecittà Luce, Cinémathèque française, Cineteca di Bologna, COLLATE, Deutsches Filminstitut, Filmarchiv Austria and Národní filmový archiv.