Sunday, February 25, 2018

E-Journal Session at ARLIS/NA 2018

Tomorrow morning at 9:45am (i.e., Mon., Feb. 26, 2018), I'm chairing a panel session at the 2018 annual conference of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA). The conference is in NYC this year. When I first started my librarian career (over 20 years ago, if you can believe it), I quickly joined ARLIS/NA and made it one of my primary professional organizations, and I've never regretted it. Some of the people I met 20 years ago are still friends and colleagues. At one point I was Chair of their Web Advisory Group, when the organization and its website was still more home-grown rather than professionally managed as it is today. I also served as President of the Southeast Chapter at one point too. But as things evolved in my life and career (PhD work, in other words), I had to pull away from the organization for a while. This is my first time back at the group's national conferences in a long time, and I'm looking forward to a few of the informative sessions and reconnecting with colleagues and friends.

The round-table panel session I'm chairing is entitled "Born-digital and Other E-journals in Art History: Crossing Boundaries Among Art Historians, Editors, and Librarians," and my co-chair is Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at Seton Hall University, and Founding Editor of Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide. We have four speakers who are going to give brief presentations on specific topics, and then it's open-forum with the audience from whom we hope to hear comments, questions, and recommendations for improvement in the publication and dissemination of electronic journals in art history. Here is the full description of the panel and information on our speakers:

E-journals have existed for about three decades. They were pioneered by the sciences and social sciences, but for various reasons, some more valid than others, the arts and humanities were slower to catch on. In the field of art history, in particular, a major retardant was the need to establish protocols governing permissions and licenses for reproducing high-quality color images in perpetuity on the internet.

Today, the e-publishing of art history journals has become an accepted practice, yet it is certainly not the standard. Key challenges remain: how to adapt traditional print journals to digital formats, and how to take full advantage of the possibilities the digital medium has to offer; how to index and archive e-journals, and how to fund them, especially open-access journals that are born digital.

This round-table brings together art historians, editors, and librarians involved in different aspects of journal e-publishing. Interactive in format, the session will address questions about content, format, access, archiving, and new possibilities in the digital publishing realm. The session will begin with short presentations by the panelists about their experiences in e-publishing, highlighting lessons learned and future challenges to be addressed. The second half of the panel will open the floor to the audience for comments, questions, ideas, and information sharing, so a larger cooperative experience can be shared by all.

Elizabeth L. Block (Metropolitan Museum of Art): “The Art History Journal Unbound: An Editor’s Perspective on an Evolving Readership”
Martina Droth (Yale Center for British Art): “Creating a Born-digital Journal for Art History: Objectives, Challenges, and Lessons”
Alexandra Provo (New York University): “Indexing for Access: How Librarians Can Help Situate E-journals Online”
Isabel L. Taube (Rutgers University): “Preservation Management in E-journals: What Are We Doing to Fix Links and Archive Resources and Are We Doing Enough?”

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Art in 17th-Century Life: Robert Nanteuil

At work we have been incredibly busy preparing for a new exhibition opening tomorrow in Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. The show is entitled "Art in Life: Engravings by Robert Nanteuil (c. 1623-1678) from the Frederick Paul Keppel Collection," and was curated by students in the MA program in Art History at Columbia, under the guidance of the MA director Frédérique Baumgartner and the Curator of Art Properties (yours truly). This is the first time that the MA program has partnered with Art Properties to utilize art from the permanent collection for an exhibition, thus giving the students an opportunity to curate an exhibition. It has been a lot of work to do this for all involved, including everything from selecting the prints, digitizing them, conserving one, mounting and matting them, and so on, not to mention all the work we've done environmentally, including retrofitting display cases, installing new LED lighting, and constructing faux walls. The short-term work, however, is going to benefit all in the long run, as this is the beginning of what we hope will be a recurring annual exhibition curated by a new student group each year. Below is a view of one of the cases showcasing some of the prints on display.

Nanteuil grew up in Reims, France, where he trained as an engraver. He settled in Paris in 1646-47 and soon established himself as portraitist to the court of King Louis XIV, the famous Sun King, eventually rising to the position of Designer and Engraver to the King. Over the course of his career Nanteuil made over 230 painstakingly realistic portraits, most of which were ad vivum (taken from life). Many of the prints went through multiple states and editions with altered backgrounds. Most are traditional window-style framed portraits as you see in the installation view here. However, a few show individuals in particular settings. The 1659 print of Cardinal Jules Mazarin (1602-1661) at the top of this post is taken from a portrait by Pierre Mignard, rather than life, but Nanteuil depicts him seated in his palace with his kunstkammer of scientific instruments and gallery of ancient and modern sculpture behind him. Among the prints in the exhibition this one is one of my favorites, even if it is atypical of Nanteuil's style. Rather than a straight-on portrait, the print contextualizes Mazarin as a connoisseur and collector, and arguably foreshadows depictions of over famous collectors over time, most notably Charles Willson Peale's The Artist in His Museum, 1822 (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts).

These prints were owned by Frederick Paul Keppel, a former dean of Columbia College and son of the NYC print dealer Frederick Keppel. In 1947, 184 of the Nanteuil prints were donated to Avery Library by F.P. Keppel's widow, and for this exhibition the students selected 16 to showcase, arranged in 4 cases with various themes. The exhibition is open to all 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, until May 18, 2018. There is also an online exhibition: