Modern Art History Research at Home
Learn from home with these resources from MoMA’s Archives, Library, and Research Collections (ALRC), along with tools from other institutions.
Jun 29, 2020
As we head into a strange new socially distanced kind of summer, scholars, curators, students, and others are discovering new ways to learn, research, and grow from home. Below are some resources that we in MoMA’s Archives, Library, and Research Collections (ALRC) have found useful and exciting. Some are platforms that have temporarily lifted access restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis; others are rich digital resources that have always been just a click away. Happy researching!
UCLA International Digital Ephemera Project
UCLA’s International Digital Ephemera Project (IDEP) presents digital ephemera—everything from protest posters to postcards, cell phone videos to newspaper advertisements—with the aim of broadening our historical record past the mainstream media. The ephemera is gathered with global partners like the Lalish Center in Kurdistan and the Palestinian Museum, and includes content from Armenia, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, and South Africa.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Thomas J. Watson Library Digital Collections
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a wide variety of resources digitized and freely available, from fashion plates from the Costume Institute to early photography trade manuals. Their MetPublications site also includes nearly 600 books with full text online.
Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library
The Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL) documents performance practices across the Americas from the 1970s till now. The library includes a significant, wide-ranging collection of performance video—almost 900 hours’ worth—but also artist profiles, interviews, bibliographies, and more.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division
Many items from the Schomburg Library’s collection of rare books, documents, and other materials relating to Afro-American and African diaspora culture are digitized. The Schomburg Center also offers a wide range of cataloged periodicals on the global Black experience from the Americas, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and elsewhere. Researchers can retrieve the full text of articles of many articles with a valid New York Public Library card. They also offer a library guide that helps users access many others, including digitized versions of periodicals like The Crisis, Black Enterprise, Ebony, Jet, Vibe and others available via Google Books.
Digital Library of the Caribbean
The Digital Library of the Caribbean provides access to 2.6 million pages of Caribbean cultural, historical, and research materials held in archives, libraries, and private collections, including newspapers, official documents, ecological and economic data, maps, histories, travel accounts, literature, poetry, and musical scores.
International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Documents of Latin American and Latino Art
Documents of 20th-Century Latin American and Latino Art, the International Center for Arts of the Americas (ICAA)’s signature project, provides free, open access to over 10,000 historical documents—correspondence, manifestos, essays, and lectures—on the development of modern and contemporary art in Latin America and among Latinx populations in the US.
Frick Art Reference Library at Home
The Frick Collection’s library (which is partnered with MoMA through the New York Art Resources Consortium) has over 20,000 resources available online, including digitized books, pamphlets, journals, and more.
Asia Art Archive
The Asia Art Archive is a growing collection of letters, photographs, video, and ephemera surrounding recent art in Asia, with the aim of enriching and adding nuance to the dominant art history narrative. Since 2010, AAA has been digitizing these vital resources and making them freely available on their website.
El Museo del Barrio
The website for El Museo del Barrio, a New York museum specializing in Latin American and Caribbean art, now includes a digital archive of their exhibition catalogues from the past 50 years.
Independent Voices is a digital archive of alternative press newspapers, magazines, and journals from the latter half of the 20th century, including those produced by feminists, campus radicals, antiwar activists, Black Power advocates, LGBT activists, and more.
UbuWeb, founded by poet Kenneth Goldsmith in 1996, is one of the Internet’s largest repositories of avant-garde art. It includes archives of concrete, visual, and sound poetry, film and sound art, and papers on performance and Conceptual art.
Monoskop is a wiki and digital archive of the recent arts and humanities, with a particular focus on the arts of Eastern and Central Europe. The site’s directory of avant-garde and modernist magazines is a particularly useful resource.
Since its founding 1976, Franklin Furnace’s mission has been to promote and preserve avant-garde and ephemeral art, especially works that are vulnerable due to cultural bias, institutional neglect, or their political content. Their website includes event and moving-image archives with information about every performance, installation, exhibition, or benefit the organization ever presented.
Library Stack aggregates a wide array of digitally born art, architecture, design, and critical theory publications into one open-access database. Publications are indexed with Library of Congress–controlled vocabularies, but also more informal keywords that allow users to browse under categories like “Labor and Technology” and “Black Lives Matter.”
The Roulette Intermedium concert venue has been a center for innovative performance, new music, and experimental art since its founding in 1978. Their digital archive features recordings of over 4,000 concerts, along with hundreds of other audio and video recordings, photos, programs, posters, and other ephemera.
The online platform of L’Internationale, a confederation of seven major European modern and contemporary art institutions, includes commissioned texts, visual essays, and a robust online library with publications on critical theory, postcolonial studies, geopolitics, and more.
Now Is the Time to Read Photography Books
On the occasion of National Photography Month, a curator looks back at some of MoMA’s classic photo publications.
May 27, 2020
Are Museums the Research and Development Labs of Society?
Explore topics from AI to angels with this selection from MoMA’s R&D Salons.
Paola Antonelli, Theano Siaraferas
May 8, 2020