Friday Find: Billy Al Bengston and Ed Ruscha

Progress on our rare book cataloging project is slow but steady. Tucked in among some 19th century American

The catalog is bound in sand paper and screws. Title is pink flocking.

The catalog is bound in sand paper and screws. Title is pink flocking.

bill title pagelandscape titles was this exhibition catalog of Billy Al Bengston’s exhibition at LACMA in 1968. The catalog itself is a work of art. Designed by Ed Ruscha it is what we call today an artist’s book. The exhibition itself was designed by Frank Gehry. This was a powerhouse! Produced in a run of 2500 the catalogs are bound in sandpaper (100 grit on the front board and 50 for the back) and button head screws bind the work. It begs to be touched!

For a first hand account of the landmark exhibition check out this interview with Bengston and Gehry.

New Focus Exhibit Now on View

Though it was hard to say goodbye the the gorgeous photography of the travel albums DotyArchive_Portait004_forwebexhibit we are happy to announce the next library and archives focus exhibit. Through a Director’s Eyes: The collection of Robert “Mac” Doty is on view now through March 20,
2015 in the lower level library corridor.  The exhibit presents a small selection of the material presented to the Museum by the Doty family. Doty’s papers are open to researchers and include correspondence, original works of art including three serigraphs by Richard Anuskiewicz, a print by Neil Welliver, photographs and research files.

Doty committed himself to developing the photography collection at the Currier. He was instrumental in facilitating acquisitions from notable artists such as Lotte Jacobi and Paul Strand and along with his papers the library received over 1500 books from his personal library.  Two early volumes by the photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn are on view along with two snapshots of Doty taken by Coburn._MG_7708

The personal papers of Mr. Doty complement the Director’s Records produced during his tenure. All material is open for research. To learn  more about Doty’s Director’s Records check out the finding aid.

The exhibit is open even when the _MG_7679library is closed so make your way downstairs and check it out!

Last Chance for travel photography exhibit

By this time next week the beautiful albums in our exhibit A Naval Officer’s Albums: Travel Photogrophay in the 19th-Century will be back in storage.  Be sure to check them out before Monday and of course come back to see our next installation; highlights from the collection of former Currier Museum of Art Director Robert “Mac” Doty.  The exhibit will focus on his insightful and visionary work in developing the fine art photography collection here at the Currier. The installation will include a few objects from the permanent collection with connections to Doty, either acquired under his leadership or donated to the colleciton by the artist in his honor.

Our first exhibit goes live!

It has been months in the making but we’re thrilled to announce that the next exhibit in our new gallery space is open! As you may know we launched a formal exhibition program for the library and archives with a collaborative project this pjapan_case_testast spring with Boston based artist Andrew Witkin. We had a great time working with Andrew and now have two beautiful new display cases to show for it. We’ve filled them up with some gorgeous objects and hope you’ll come by and check them out. The current exhibit of photo-albums compiled by a Navy Admiral during his deployments will give you a taste of travel if you aren’t lucky enough to be hitting the road this summer. Learn more about the exhibit of 19th century travel photography albums here and let us know what you think!

Here we go!

2014-04-04 16.43.26About 6 months ago I privately committed to cataloging one rare book a week from the collection.  With this post I officially make public my intent with the additional intent to post particularly interesting (or devastating) cases here. My best estimate puts the total un-cataloged volumes in the collection at 300 and under cataloged titles at about the same.

To get things started I present this gem which I stumbled across purely accidentally in my hunt for a Miró portfolio for a researcher which I thought I’d seen some months ago. Tucked in under the portfolio was a tissue wrapped volume with the title The Grandeur of the Gorges labeled in pencil. As a librarian in an Art Museum I’m always on the look out for titles which may support curatorial research and I thought perhaps this title would prove valuable to some ongoing regional White Mountains research. We have gorges in New Hampshire! In fact The Grandeur of the Gorges by Donald Mennie was published in 1926 (our copy is the second edition published in 1932)  and contains 50 plates of the Yangtze Kiang in China. 12 plates are hand-colored. Coincidentally a volunteer and I are working on a library exhibition centered around a collection of late 19th and early 20th century travel photo albums from a Navy Rear Admiral. Many of the photographs he collected were of the Chinese landscape. Perhaps we will find some Mennie images in his albums!

The Grandeur of the Gorges followed several earlier publications by Mennie documenting the Chinese landscape.  He was born in Scotland and according to the limited sources available about his life he died in an internment camp in Japan in 1944.  Research as to the provenance for this volume is ongoing and I will share details as I come across them.




Currier Art Reference Library and Archives awarded VRAF grant!

We are exciting to announce we have officially begun work on our Bulletins Digitization Project thanks to the generosity of the Visual Resources Association Foundation Project Grant. And congratulations to our colleagues at Cleveland for their award!