Friday, May 4, 2007

The Museum of Modern Art Archives & ARTstor Digitization Collaboration

The Museum of Modern Art and ARTstor are pleased to announce their collaboration to digitize and catalogue 23,000 black and white photographs of installation views of past Museum exhibitions. The Museum of Modern Art began documenting its exhibitions with installation photography beginning with its 1929 inaugural exhibition, Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat, van Gogh. The Museum has documented over 70% of its exhibition history with installation photography. A sampling of the landmark exhibitions included in the project are, Machine Art, 1934, Cubism and Abstract Art, 1936, Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, 1937, Bauhaus: 1919-1928, 1938, the Good Design exhibition series, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, The Family of Man, 1955, 16 Americans, 1959-1960, Dada, Surrealism and their Heritage, 1968, Information, 1970, Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective, 1980, Primitivism in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern, 1984-85, Vienna 1900: Art, Architecture and Design, 1986, Henri Matisse: A Retrospective, 1992-93, and Jackson Pollock, 1999.

Installation view of the exhibition "Machine Art."

The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

March 5, 1934 through April 29, 1934.

Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art

Archives, New York. [IN34.2]

ARTstor will scan the photographs and create high-resolution gray scale TIFF files. The TIFF files will reside with the Museum’s Department of Imaging Services, who will then duplicate images upon request for reproduction. Additionally, three sizes of jpegs files for each image will be delivered to the Museum on hard drives, which will then be linked to the Museum Archives Image Database, MAID.

ARTstor will catalogue the photographs using existing item level documentation for each print. A style sheet has been prepared that will be used to normalize the catalogue entries for both the ARTstor and MAID databases.

Upon completion of the project, the scans and catalogue entries created by ARTstor will be augmented to the existing digitally-born installation views created by the Museum’s Department of Imaging Services of exhibitions mounted since 2000 and currently posted to MAID; this will make it possible to access all installation photography in one database.

MAID is available to the public only in the Museum Archives Reading Room. Users have the ability to print images from MAID, including item level documentation and copyright information. Searching by keyword is available on MAID. By using keyword searching, digital surrogates from different Museum Archives records groups can be accessed together. Researchers may order digital images from the Museum’s representatives, SCALA/Art Resource, by supplying the appropriate MAID catalogue number. The application and data server for MAID is iSeries-DB2 400 and the web server for MAID is iSeries Apache.

ARTstor in turn will be licensed to post low-resolution images of the installation views onto their database; from there, the images can then be accessed and downloaded at 72dpi for noncommercial use by subscribers to ARTstor.

Thomas D. Grischkowsky
Archives Specialist
Museum Archives
The Museum of Modern Art

Originally published November 10, 2006


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