Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Art in America Annual Guide, Museums, Galleries, Artists

The Art in America annual Guide to Galleries, Museums and Artists is an indispensable resource for artists, collectors and researchers.

At its heart this annual August issue of the magazine is a directory of galleries and museums. These are listed alphabetically first by state and then by city. There are abbreviations that distinguish whether a space is a gallery, university gallery, nonprofit exhibition space, corporate consultant, a private dealer, or a print dealer. Every entry provides contact information, hours of operation and the name of a director. This resource is made even more useful by an index of the names of artists that each gallery, dealer or museum represents. There is also an index for category of art space.

Near the beginning of the guide there is a small directory of auction houses. At the end there is an additional directory of art schools by region. Finally there is also page dedicated to obituaries of noted artists.

This resource opens with a section previewing museum shows all across the United States listed by month. This is followed by a section summarizing the most noteworthy auction sales of the preceding art season. The guide also functions as a visual reference since many galleries, dealers and art schools place color advertisements in the publication.

We keep the latest issue of the Guide at hand for ready reference. Back issues are incorporated in our bound run of Art in America housed in the Magazines and Newspaper Center on the Library’s Fifth floor. These back issues provide a chronology of the art scene in the United States and can provide a history of an artist’s exhibition and galleries.

Most of the information in this Guide can be found online. However, using the print directory allows one to browse the wider scope of the field of selling and exhibiting art that can be the stimulus to further online research.

One benefit of your San Francisco Public Library library card is that the Art in America Guide to Galleries, Museums and Artists is available to you for viewing or download through our collection of subscription databases. From the online catalog entry for Art in America there is one for Art in America online. From here, follow the link for “Full text options” where you can find full text of the magazine (including the annual Guide) in two databases: Academic Search Complete and MasterFILE premier. In these databases you can choose the year and month of the issue. The Guide to Galleries, Museums and Artists in the August issue.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sports and Recreation - An Overview

Books on Sports and Recreation are assigned the Dewey Decimal numbers 793 to 799. Here is a summary of the classification of these subjects:

793 - Indoor Games and Amusements (including social dance and entertaining)
794 - Indoor Games of Skill (billiards, board games)
795 - Games of Chance (casinos, cards, lottery, backgammon, pinball, bingo, mahjong)
796- Athletic and Outdoor Sports and Games (competitive sports and outdoor recreation)
797 - Aquatic and Air Sports (swimming, sailing, ballooning, hang gliding)
798 - Equestrian Sports and Animal Racing (think running horses )
799 - Fishing, Hunting, Shooting

There has long been popular interest in books on all forms of recreation, books written for the competitor, the coach and the fan.

For the armchair reader there are classic works by authors like David Halberstam and John Feinstein. Boxing is a subject that has produced classic writing by authors like A. J. Liebling and Joyce Carol Oates.

We have a continuous demand for chess books -- there are classics in this subject that always go out and that our neighborhood players consult as references. Our gambling collection also circulates well. There are many books written to help the gambler develop a winning edge.

We have books on every manner of martial art, a subject that also proves very popular in San Francisco. Running books are very popular in our community as are books on hiking, cycling and camping. (Some hiking books are classified as travel books instead of recreation).

The vicissitudes of the Dewey Decimal system and our Library’s cataloging methods cause some related books to be found in other Main Library departments. All sports biography since 1995 has been classed in the general biography (“B”) section. Running and swimming are usually our subject, but some books in this subject also are assigned to the physical fitness area (Dewey number 613.7). Similarly other forms of exercise and fitness like yoga, calisthenics, stretching, pilates, chigong, aerobics and strength training find their way into that section.

The subjects of competitive and team sports are also known for their histories of players and franchises, and especially for the mountains of statistics that document these histories and invite comparisons across seasons and eras. Library patrons used to rely very heavily upon their public library for very heavy reference encyclopedias to supply them with their statistical fix. Annual directories from the Sporting News used to be essential resources to stay up to date.

Today there are more historical and current sport statistics than the sports fan of 20 years ago could have ever imagined. The quantity of depth of statistics have also increased vastly. Websites for the individual sports leagues, for the sports media, as well as the wiki-like Sports Reference network provide up-to-date scores, standings and statistics.

Our department’s Delicious Reference page provides links to a number of these statistical websites.

The 1910 San Francisco Seals from the Reach Official American League Base Ball Guide - source: Google Books

Trivia questions:

Who had the first at bat in San Francisco Giants history - what did he do?

Who had the first hit as a San Francisco Giant?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Top Twelve Most Borrowed Sports and Recreation Books of the Past Year

Here is a list of the top circulating sports and recreation books in our department since July 2010:

1) Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009).

The story of a group of super endurance runners of the Tarahumara people in Mexico. Impetus for the new barefoot running movement.

2) Hardcourt Confidential: Tales from Twenty Years in Pro Tennis Trenches by Patrick McEnroe with Peter Bodo (Hyperion, 2010).

An opinionated account by John McEnroe's brother about the past few decades in the professional tennis world.

3) Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine by George Dohrmann (Balantine Books, 2010).

A Sports Illustrated reporter follows a group of 9 and 10 year old basketball prospects until they reach college age to expose the corrupt atmosphere pervading prep basketball.

4) Baseball for Dummies by Joe Morgan with Richard Lally (Wiley, 2005).

A primer written by a Hall of Famer and broadcaster for new fans.

5) Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case against the Bowl Championship Series by Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan (Gotham Books, 2010).

An expose and polemic against college football’s bowl and ranking system.

6) Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports are Played and Games are Won by Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim (Crown Pub., 2011).

Another Sports Illustrated reporter takes a “freakonomics” approach to debunk much of sport’s conventional wisdom.

7) Ball Four: My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Big Leagues (World Pub. Co., 1970).

A well-written and entertaining memoir filled with humorous antics, written before free agency altered the game. Considered a classic of baseball literature.

8) Daniels' Running Formula by Jack Daniels (Human Kinetics, 2005).

Takes a scientific approach to the subject of training for runners.

9) Giants: What I Learned about Life from Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry by Pat Summerall and Michael Levin (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010).

A retired football player and sports broadcaster finds valuable life lessons in his experiences with his NFL coaches.

10) Rise of a Dynasty: The '57 Celtics, the First Banner, and the Dawning of a New America by Bill Reynolds (New American Library, 2010).

Retells the Boston Celtics rise to a major force in the NBA with their game changing rookie center, Bill Russell.

11) Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills by Craig Luebben (Mountaineers Books, 2004).

Teaches the techniques of climbing through detailed instructions and illustrations.

12) No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 by Graham Bowley (Harper, 2010).

A New York Times reporter retells the events that led to the death of 11 climbers on the world’s second highest mountain located between Pakistan and China.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Dictionary of Artists' Models

In 1989, this Guerrilla Girls poster ran on the sides of New York City buses bringing public scrutiny to the "art world’s" discriminatory practices. Screaming from the shadows of the Julian Schnabels, Robert Longos and other men of the 80s art scene, the Guerrilla Girls forwarded their agenda by issuing report cards that graded museums and galleries based on their inclusion of female and minority artists. The Guerrilla Girls’ work was a powerful criticism of the institutionalized acceptance of women as models and art subjects, above being acknowledged as artists in their own right.

A recent viewing of this poster lead me to wonder, if the work of female artists before the 1980s were non-existent or rarely displayed in the museums, do we at least have documentation of those women who stare out at us from canvas and stone?

To this end, the library owns a first-of-its-kind reference work, The Dictionary of Artists’ Models (published in 2001, and yes, it is hard to believe that such a reference work was not created earlier), a book that the editor states was “born out of a frustration with the paucity of the available research on individuals, male and female who have lent their faces and figures to so many works in Western art.” The volume includes biographical information on a wide range of artists’ models represented in Western art, from professional to non-professional, male and female, represented in various media, intentionally excluding only sitters who posed for portraits of physical likeness and personal aggrandizement. The editor acknowledges the work cannot be comprehensive, but sees its “real value … in its role as a springboard for further research into the work of artist’ models, and their significant and too long neglected contribution to art and art history.”

Models are listed alphabetically by most commonly known name (cross-referenced under alternatives, married names and pseudonyms). Each entry contains a biographical paragraph, a list of artworks most associated with the model, a brief bibliography, and an interpretive essay. According to the editor, ‘the primary aim of the essays is to present an overview of each model’s career, to discuss their contribution to particular works of art, and to illuminate the socio-historical circumstances of their lives and the modeling experience.’ The ‘Index of Artists and Works’ in the back of the volume serves as the necessary bridge to the models’ entries.

While The Dictionary does not have a feminist agenda, nor does it focus solely on female models, it does include the ‘model as artist in her own right’ connection as a common element among many entries (other common scenarios are model as family member or spouse; model as professional; and model as prostitute or mistress). Countless times throughout, one reads statements such as that a model had ‘studied art at,’ ‘became interested in drawing when,’ or ‘was raised in a family of artists.’’ For such individuals, and especially for women, modeling might be their only opportunity to gain formal artistic training through watching the artist at work. In line with the Guerrilla Girls premise, this book also documents several female artists, such as Elizabeth Siddal (pictured below), who were well known as artists within their lifetime, but due to lack of museum ownership and promotion over time became known primarily as models.

In addition to documenting the lives and contributions of models, The Dictionary also offers several short essays on artistic modeling, including one on its the rise as a profession, its representation within literature, the changing popularity of ethnic models, as well as one essay on models as artists.

Beata Beatrix (ca. 1864-1870) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, image source: Tate Collection

Dictionary of Artists' Models, edited by Jill Berk Jiminez; associate editor, Joanna Banham (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001).

The library also owns the following related works, suggested (by The Dictionary) as general reading on the subject:

Artists & Models: An Exhibition of Photographs, Letters, and other Documents from the Collections of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution (The Archives, 1975).

Painted Ladies; Models of the Great Artists by Muriel Segal (Stein and Day, 1972)

Kiki's Paris : Artists and Lovers 1900-1930 by Billy Klüver and Julie Martin (Abrams, 1989).

The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood by Jan Marsh (St. Martin's Press, 1985).

Imagination's Chamber: Artists and their Studios
by Michael Peppiatt and Alice Bellony-Rewald (Little Brown, 1982).

The Artist and the Studio in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries by Ronnie L. Zakon (Cleveland Museum of Art, 1978).