Location: Multiple Locations
Dates: Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters
Why do we catalogue collections? What goes into writing a catalogue? In the Fall of 2016, students in Virginia Anderson’s seminar on collecting (AS.389.358) responded to these questions.
Each student wrote a catalogue essay on a group of eight to ten works of modern and contemporary art, drawn from Connie Caplan’s important Baltimore-area collection. By working with this collection – which includes painting, sculpture and photography from the Abstract Expressionist, Minimalist, and Arte Povera movements – the students could study their assigned objects intently, familiarizing themselves with the works individually and as part of the broader archive of the collection, over the course of several visits.
In between seminar readings that included psychological, sociological, economic, and historical perspectives on collecting as a practice, students researched their objects, and met with museum curators and conservators in Baltimore and New York to learn about the ongoing study and care of modern and contemporary artworks. Students also considered the format, scope, and design of art catalogues, evaluating their function and audience, establishing the standards by which they sought to produce their own publication.
In the end, the class generated a 90-page book, published in the spring of 2017, that included research and photography for 106 objects.