Monday, May 31, 2010

MoMA's Flickr Photostream: Marina Abramović's The Artist is Present

Until recently I was unaware that the Museum of Modern Art has a Flickr photostream.  Then I found myself there, completely rapt, poring over Marco Anelli's portraits of audience members taken as they sat with Marina Abramović at her epic performance, The Artist is Present.  These powerful images convey the intensity of this experience, which moves many participants to tears.  As you can see from the images, this grueling experience also has brought Abramović to tears on more than one occasion.  Today is the last day that Abramović will perform at the MoMA, where for six days a week since March 14th she has been seated on a wooden chair for more than seven hours a day with no breaks whatsoever.  I look forward to reading about her account of the experience after it's over.

The majority of visitors are members of the public at large (a fascinating variety of people), but Abramović's performance has also brought visits from many art world luminaries, as well as famous musicians, actors, and writers.  It's fun to play "spot the celebrity" -- sprinkled throughout the Flickr set of over a thousand photos you will find images of Antony Gormley, Lou Reed, Isabella Rossellini, Matthew Barney, Christiane Amanpour, Rufus Wainwright, Sean Kelly, Sharon Stone, Tehching Hsieh, Andre Serrano, Kim Catrall, Joan Jonas, Marisa Tomei, Björk, and many others.  Because I'm sentimental, my personal favorite is Ulay, who showed up to sit with Abramović at the opening reception.  This is the first time the former couple have “performed” together since their final piece in 1988, where they each walked over 1,200 miles from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China and met in the middle to bid each other farewell.

Quite honestly, there is not a lot of prior content that would have drawn me and many others to the MoMA's Flickr photostream.  I hope the success of this series will encourage them to share more exhibition images with us in the future.

Not coincidentally, the VRC has recently added a number of images documenting Abramović's body of work beginning in the 1970s.  These images are available to all faculty and students at the University of Colorado -- see our Web site for information about accessing our collection.

Image: animalvegetable, Marina Abramovic / The Artist is Present (detail), 2010, available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Looking for avante-garde video and audio pieces?  Try UbuWeb , a "completely independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts."  UbuWeb is an entity which makes its content freely available for noncommercial and educational use.  The site includes works by art-world heavy hitters and lesser known creators.  Spend a little time poking around the site and you will be rewarded with all sorts of interesting content.

The philosophy behind UbuWeb is admirable -- from the Web site: "Freed from profit-making constraints or cumbersome fabrication considerations, information can literally "be free": on UbuWeb, we give it away and have been doing so since 1996. We publish in full color for pennies. We receive submissions Monday morning and publish them Monday afternoon. UbuWeb's work never goes 'out of print.' UbuWeb is a never-ending work in progress: many hands are continually building it on many platforms.

"UbuWeb has no need for money, funding or backers. Our web space is provided by an alliance of interests sympathetic to our vision. Donors with an excess of bandwidth contribute to our cause. All labour and editorial work is voluntary; no money changes hands. Totally independent from institutional support, UbuWeb is free from academic bureaucracy and its attendant infighting, which often results in compromised solutions; we have no one to please but ourselves."

Image: Bruce Nauman, Still from Pinch Neck | Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square, 1967-68.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Check Your Facebook Privacy Settings with's Facebook Privacy Scanner

You would have to be pretty unplugged to have not heard all of the recent buzz about privacy issues with Facebook. If you're like me, you enjoy the benefits that Facebook offers for staying connected with friends and family. Sharing news, photos, opinions, links, Scrabble games, etc. is great, but I don't wish to share these with the entire world. Figuring out how to control Facebook's baroque privacy settings is not straightforward -- some say intentionally so.

This is why I love's Facebook privacy scanner. It's a free utility that you install by simply dragging a bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar. Next, visit your Facebook privacy settings and click on the bookmarklet. The application scans your privacy settings relating to your status updates, personal information, tags, contacts, and applications. In moments it displays a report on your account at the top of the page.

Items flagged with "caution" or "insecure" are accompanied by links to the particular settings pages where you make adjustments to shore up security. Visit the links, tweak the settings, and go back and re-scan your account to check the success of your adjustments. Couldn't be easier.

The site notes that they are currently developing privacy scans for photos, which the scanner utility does not yet check. They also caution that Firefox currently has some compatibility issues that they are investigating, so for the moment it is best to use Internet Explorer, Safari, or Chrome.

If you are concerned about your privacy but not ready to cancel your Facebook account, give this application a try and tell your friends. Then connect with us at the Art and Art History Visual Resource Center's Facebook page. There we feature feeds from this blog and other information about our facility, which provides and facilitates access to images, imaging, and related information resources.

Monday, May 17, 2010

New! Export ARTstor Image Groups to PowerPoint

Good news: ARTstor has announced that all users can now export image groups directly to PowerPoint, a feature that was launched in beta last fall and at the time available only to those with Instructor Privileges.   From ARTstor's Help documentation:

"Please check all technical requirements before using this feature, including adding ARTstor as a trusted site or disabling popup blockers, and saving the file to an accessible location; you must also have PowerPoint 2007 or later to use the file.
  1. Log into your ARTstor account and open an image group containing 100 or fewer images.
  2. Above the image group thumbnails, towards the right side of the screen you will see the export to PowerPoint button (image:Download_ppt.png). Click this.
  3. A window will appear telling you how many images you can download in the current 120 day period. Click Yes. You will then be asked to accept the Terms & Conditions of Use for the group of ARTstor images you are downloading. Click Accept.
  4. A new window will appear with a progress bar as your PowerPoint 2007 presentation file is generated. This may take several minutes, depending on the group size.
  5. If prompted to open or save, choose to SAVE the file to your computer. Once you have saved the .pptx file you can open and edit it using Microsoft PowerPoint 2007.
Each image will appear on its own slide, with the image data in the notes field below each slide. When in presentation mode, each image will also be hyperlinked to the original image in ARTstor, which you can open to enlarge, pan and rotate online."

In addition to this new feature, ARTstor has also enhanced the functionality in notes and has implemented a few other updates.  See their announcement for details.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Images from the Spring 2010 BFA Show

The VRC has posted some photos from the opening of the Spring 2010 BFA exhibition: Image from The Art of the Future TODAY. You can find them at the Visual Resources, Art and Art History, CU-Boulder group.  At the moment they appear at the beginning of the group's images, but if you visit the group page after other images have been added, they can be found with the search term "20100423". Our stellar VRC student employee Sarah Derosier tooks photos on our behalf at the opening -- thanks, Sarah!

If you are a current or former student or faculty member and you have a Flickr account (or would like to create a Flickr account and participate), please consider joining the Visual Resources, Art and Art History, CU-Boulder group and staying in touch with the department visually.  Images might depict your creative work and interests, your research and scholarship (e.g., photographs from your travels), or departmental activities and facilities (e.g., show openings, the new Visual Arts Complex, etc.). Show us what you're up to!  We would also like to see some more images of this show opening, so bring 'em on.

For those who may be interested in the VRC's visual documentation of other recent events related to the Department of Art and Art History at CU-Boulder, the sets we have created on our Flickr account can be found here.

Congratulations to BFA graduates Brent Bishop, Yolanda Chichester, Elissa Eaton, Jon Geiger, Virginia Kester-Meyer, Eli Lichtenstein, Chris Lovejoy, Dillon O'Kelley, Mary Recchia, Jake Reed, Evan Rocco, and Maya Weinstein!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Guide by Kevin Purdy: Clean Up Your Photo Collection with Free Tools

Is your personal digital image collection a mess?  Disorganized folders?  Duplicate Photos?  Personally,  I spend every working day of my life ensuring that the VRC's digital image collection is managed as well as it can be, but I'll admit here that my personal images have not received the same care and attention.  That's why I am happy to see  Kevin Purdy's helpful guide posted over at lifehacker: Clean Up Your Photo Collection with Free Tools.  While the focus is on the Windows environment, he offers Mac alternatives in each section.  Full of references to useful tools, this article is a good reminder that digital resources need to be organized for optimal access and management.  Another good reminder: back up, back up, back up!

Image: DavidDMuir, Photo a Day Mosaic for June 2007, available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License

Sunday, May 2, 2010

40,000 More Images of the Built Environment Available at CU-Boulder

Great news from CU-Boulder's University Libraries!  With the purchase of 40,000 Archivision images and their immediate availability to our campus within ARTstor as Institutional Collections, the built-environment  materials available through CU-Digital Library collections have almost doubled.  In Art and Architecture librarian Meredith Kahn's words from her recent e-mail announcement:

"The University Libraries is proud to announce the purchase of 40,000 digital images of the built environment.  These high-quality images cover a range of geographic areas and time periods, and were shot by a professional architectural photographer from the firm Archivision, a major provider of architectural images.  Architecture, landscape architecture, gardens and parks, important historical sites, cityscapes, selected works of public art, and architectural drawings and plans are included in the collection."

While many were involved in this process, it was the hard work especially of Meredith Kahn and Lynn Lickteig, Director of the College of Architecture and Planning's Visual Resource Center, which made this happen.  Thank you, Meredith and Lynn!

The collections comprising the  CU-Digital Library offer many high quality images of architecture and other built works to members of the University of Colorado community.  Of particular note, the College of Architecture and Planning houses over 45,000 images of "contemporary and historical architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and related disciplines, including fine arts."  Their special Colorado Architecture collection, which is available to anyone in the world, provides "over 450 Colorado sites and structures, including those which are significant because they have received awards from professional design and planning associations or because they appear on state and national registers of historic places."