Call for Articles | Art and Art History Libraries

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on April 7, 2015

From H-ArtHist:

Art and Art History Libraries
2016 Issue of Perspective: La Revue de l’INHA

Proposals due by 15 June 2015; finished papers due by 1 June 2016

The next special issue of Perspective (the journal of the Institut national d’histoire de l’art) will focus on topics relating to art and art-history libraries and their specificity as bibliographic, artistic, and documentary resources. We will examine these places, which make information pertaining to our discipline available to artists and researchers, while at the same time endeavoring to conserve their collections of texts and images. This double purpose requires examining the practices and profiles of users, the way in which people visit these institutions, either by consulting the images in reading rooms or websites (consultation of reproductions as opposed to reading monographs, digital access to works, etc.), and also a study of their collections: in addition to books and magazines, art libraries also preserve prints, photographs, manuscripts, artist books, etc.

The interest of such a project for an art-historical review lies partly in the difficulty in defining the exact scope of an art library. However, the planned reopening by the INHA in 2016 of the Salle Labrouste, which will house one of the most important art libraries in the world in terms of its number of volumes, its symbolic importance, and its accessibility, offers a unique opportunity for a collective historical and aesthetic reflection on the forms and ambitions of these collections of art and knowledge, past and present. Nevertheless, this issue will not be limited exclusively to the example of the INHA. On the contrary, consistent with the editorial philosophy of Perspective,
the volume will contain articles that cover a historical range in their study of art libraries in general and present the most innovative studies from an international standpoint. At the same time, we aim to publish original papers on the place of the library in the work of artists and architects.

We would like to suggest several potentially interesting paths, without excluding others: issues related to the conservation and dissemination of ephemera and small publications such as invitation cards, almanacs, booklets, announcements, etc.; the study of exceptional bibliophiles such as, for example, Doucet, Wyder, and Oechslin; the correlation between library holdings and research topics (the Mesnil collection given to the Warburg Institute and research projects at University College, London in the 2000s); the study of art libraries during wartime similar to research on artworks plundered during such extreme periods; evaluation of the losses and gains following the merger of disparate collections originally belonging to art schools, museums, universities (for example, the INHA Library); the particular fate of iconographic documentation (Bildarchiv Foto Marburg); the recent foundation of specialized research centers with libraries created from scratch like the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal; and also the inclusion of various media resources, including recordings, such as oral archives at the British Library (artists’ interviews) or performance videos in the Kandinsky Library of the Centre Georges Pompidou. Finally, projects are certainly needed from the perspective of the history of art education, on specialized establishments for art craftsmen such as the Bibliotheque Forney and the Ratti Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, without neglecting the opportunity offered by digital technology in new ways of disseminating collections.

The proposals could range from a synthetic short article focusing on a specific aspect of the art library, or on relations between art and the library in a given period and in a particular geographic area (25,000 characters), to a detailed and multidisciplinary study of a moment in art library history, or even the problematization of their absence in time and space (45,000 characters).

The intention of this call for papers is not to cover all possible topics exhaustively: all proposals are welcome. However, within the framework of an art-historical review dedicated to recent international research in the field, we wish to emphasize historical and aesthetic approaches, rather than research relevant to library studies proper. Projects in whatever language—Perspective takes responsibility for translations—will be reviewed by the scientific committee consisting of Laurent Baridon, Ewa Bobrowska, Anne-Élisabeth Buxtorf, Penelope Curtis, Godehard Janzig, Thomas Kirchner, Rémi Labrusse, Anne Lafont, Johanne Lamoureux, Antoinette Le Normand-Romain, Michel Melot, Pierre-Michel Menger, Philippe Saunier, Jean-Claude Schmitt, Valérie Sueur-Hermel, Veerle Thielemans and Bernard Vouilloux.

Please submit your proposals (2000–3000 character summary and a 2–3 line biography) to revue-perspective@inha.fr up to and including June 15, 2015. Full texts of accepted contributions will need to be sent by June 1, 2016.


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