Venice: a library Lovely

I had a lovely chat with warm and welcoming Erica, who has been with the Biennale Archives since 1993. Her role includes cataloguing, the title exchange program, and managing the editorial archive for Venice Biennale publications. 

She was kind enough to take a time away from the (lets face it- ubiquitous, never-ending, Sisyphean) cataloguing at hand to take me through some of their processes. I loved that her desk and cataloguing tasks were here, in an open plan office situated on the library floor (albeit in one of the many nooks of the library), streaming natural light upon her work. All too often cataloguing is a backroom, ghettoised task. Out here, you can at least be pestered by curious art library bloggers and other reprobates.

Accession or perish. Erica's on the case.

Sidney Nolan on the shelves at the Venice Biennale's Historical Archive of Contemporary Arts

Nolan, in fine company

Funsters at the Venice Biennale: Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts

The Funsters 

Venice: Australia Council in the Card Catalogues.

Venice Biennale: Warhol and Ozco

I am an dreadful sucker for a card catalogue. As objects I find them fetishistically glorious (as long as I don't need to catalogue with them). Within this one I found some Warhol, and some Ozco.

Venice Biennale: card catalogues in the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts

Venice Biennale: Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts

Once housed in a Venetian palace, the Venice Biennale's Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts opened this Library facility deep in the Biennale's Central Pavilion (located in the sprawling Giardini) in 2010. Slashed with vivid red, the bold sprawl of this space aggregates many nooks, mezzanines and this breathtaking hall of print within which lectures and screenings take place.

Venice Biennale: shelf markers at the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts

Venice Biennale: Library Trolleys

The trolley fetish continues...

Venice Biennale Catalogues: Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts

and now.

Venice : lurking in the arts section

Venice Biennale: on the shelves and in the systems of the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts

The Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts hold over 138 000 titles. They use SBN, the National catalogue system (here is an IFLA conference paper on this library system), and have implemented various call number tweaks. Collection is organised by field (art, film theatre etc) and by name. Identifiers like T (theatre) and S (storia/history) are on the spines. Titles are also arranged by dimensions: over and under 100 pages, then by spine size. Here is a slightly clumsy Google translation to English about ASAC Biennale's (the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts) directives, databases and etc:
"ASACdati is a data base for the unified management of all the information on funds held by the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts Foundation La Biennale di Venezia, and all the activities and events planned by the Foundation from 1895 to the present. Has as its objectives the visibility and accessibility of the collections, continually increasing, and their management and archival organisation, in addition to the collection of news about the Biennale and its manifestations .
ASACdati, as part of the reorganisation of the Archives, was launched in late 2004, in collaboration with 3DEverywhere srl, a spin -off of the Laboratory of Multimedia Technology and Telecommunications Department of Information Engineering (DEI) of the University of Padua, which was conducted through analysis of the different types of data relating to funds, documents and information managed by ASAC.
Emerged from this study are similarities, differences and connections that bear witness to the great variety of objects and data collected. The strong interrelationship between the different funds and events, a characteristic that has always represented the added value of the Biennial and ASAC, has determined so the realisation of a peculiar and rich data base. It may make countless examples of these interrelationships , dates mainly from the fact that the same subjects have had in years had different functions.
The data base management plans made ​​and then the interaction of all funds ASAC and many other bibliographic, cataloging, administrative, historical, scientific and technical related to the world of the Biennale and the arts.
To date [projects] have been carried out cards - along the lines ICCD - for the management of Art Collection; Fund Posters, Foteteca ; Mediatheque; also tabs to manage information about all the events organized by the Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia : Architecture Visual Arts, Cinema, Dance, Music, Theatre . It was thus possible to start the work of inventorying, cataloging and partial digital reproduction of the different documents."
Personally, I prefer my databases "rich and peculiar".

As a non-lending library they aren't stuck with a regular stocktake, but do stocktake their rare collections. Which are impressive. Over 2000 biennale artworks are included dating back to 1895, as well a sizeable collection of photographs documenting the events. Film resources are stored off site on Marghera, on the mainland across from Venice
in a specially controlled facility.

Venice : sculpture folios at the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts

Venice: Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts

Just look! It is pretty great, right?

Journals in Venice: the Biennales Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts

Please excuse the poor images. All life had been squeezed from fine camera at this point. A common symptom of Venice generally/Biennales in particular. Journals look pretty alpha to me.

Venice Biennale: lover of all the art forms

Fellini shelf in the Venice Biennale's Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts

The Venice Biennale's Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts collection closely mirrors the history and development of the Biennale itself. Founded in 1895, until 1930 the Biennale was Fine Arts specific, and so is the Library collection. In 1930, the Biennale event became independent from the local Venetian Government, and became dependant on the National Fascist government. After various allegiances, the Biennale became privatised and independent in 1998. 

In a surprisingly un-fascist turn of events, it was during the 1930s that many of the satellite events were added to the agenda and today the Biennale comprises several distinct festivals in Art, Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Music, and Theatre. The Library and Archives reflect this diverse and behemoth brief. 

Digital access to the old and the rare: Bibliothèque Artistique

The small shoestring-budget team is trying to create digital access to their rare material as much as they possibly can as they continue the Herculean cataloguing task. They regularly utilise other organisations high quality digital collections. 
Books that are already digitised by other projects (NYPL, etc) are furnished with embedded links to that product in the Bibliothèque Artistique's catalogue.
Here is an entry for the title L'ornement des tissus : recueil historique et pratique , utilising the NYPL digital gallery under the "Uniform Resource Locator" tab:
Full description  

Contents A
Title ProperL'ornement des tissus : recueil historique et pratique
First Statement of Responsibilitypar M. Dupont-Auberville ; éd. ss la dir. de M. Bachelin-Deflorenne
Place of Publication, Distribution, etc.Paris : Ducher et Cie , 1877
Collation37 p., [100] pl. : lithographies coul. ; 39,50 cm
NoteTables des planches
Notes explicatives
Une version numérisée de ce livre est disponible sur ne comprend que 49 pl.
SerieArt industriel
Uniform Resource LocatorVoir copie numérique nypl de ce livre ici
Bib. artistique : Magasin 677(09) DUP O R BNot loanableDetails
AuthorsDupont-Auberville , Auguste 
Subject Term
Textiles et tissus -- Motifs

Textiles et tissus -- Histoire

All Bibliotheque Artistique titles with full entries on under the "Uniform Resource Locator" tab. I love how virtually flicks throughout the entire tome as you are checking out its bib details.

Titles not included in other institutional projects are photographed and presented in online albums using Jalbum, and Flickr.

The Jalbum digital projects are divided into albums on subject: painting, sculpture, architecture, drawing, fashion, prints/graphic arts, decorative arts.

Floral Ornament: Bibliothèque Artistique

Out of the ongoing cataloguing work on the rare book collections at the Bibliothèque Artistique came the physical and virtual exhibition "From the Plants to the Ornament". The 19th century collection holds an impressive selection of anthologies of the ornament, of floral decoration. 

The lithographs satisfying this botanical bent are rich and surprisingly vivid, the books servicing the fashion of their times, and the historical appetite of ours.

Bibliothèque Artistique: Brussels, Belgium

The Bibliothèque Artistique is a unique library beast.
Nestled deep within the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles (Royal Academy of Fine Arts Brussels), it's collections have serviced the prestigious art school since 1711.
A strange schism occurred in the 1973 however, when the library was officially absorbed into the public library system of Brussels. It essentially became a regular public library branch, albeit with a particular subject specialisation, and an incredible and uncatalogued rare book collection requiring an immense amount of Serious Library Work. This rare book collection remained the property of the Academy, but remained housed and protected by this Bibliotheque Artistique.
Branch Librarian Christine Feron has been doing an incredible job with this unusual arrangement, juggling the responsibilities of a small public library service, and the daunting task of assessing, cataloguing and digitising their rare holdings, all with a staff of 2. That number includes Christine.

Upon the split, the Library chiefs and representatives of the Academy allocated autonomous care and responsibility of the 19th century collection (over 10,000 titles) to the library staff.
Decision-making and management of the 17th and 18th century collection (about 400 titles) is shared by the Academy and the Library.
The collaboration is working well, and since 2002 Christine and her small team (one other coworker and the occasional intern) have catalogued nearly 5000 titles from the impressive 19th century collection of folios.

Bibliothèque Artistique: Brussels

Bibliothèque Artistique: Brussels

Many great lines, 
Bibliothèque Artistique: Brussels

Bibliothèque Artistique: Brussels

Next up: I visit the Bibliotheque Artistique in Brussels, Belgium.
Servicing the Royal Academy of Fine Arts  here in Brussels since 1711, this collection predates European settlement back home in Australia. Lovely.

School of Visual Arts, NYC: Comics Cabinets

School of Visual Arts, NYC

School of Visual Arts, NYC: Graphic Novels

And some serious colour panels.

School of Visual Arts, NYC

School of Visual Arts: SVA and Milton Glaser Archive

Even. More. Trolleys.

School of Visual Arts: SVA and Milton Glaser Archive

School of Visual Arts: SVA & Milton Glaser Archives

Graphic design. On paper.

School of Visual Arts Archive

The institutional SVA Archive was set up concurrently with the Milton Glaser Archive, so Beth and her colleague Zacahry Sachs are generally as busy as two archive/library staff can be. Which is, you know, pretty busy. They were also investigating new archival management systems such as CollectiveAccess  (I love that system), as well as preparing to move the physical collection, so I am pretty happy they took the time to meet with me. Full points and gold stars.

Getting into the physical archive was great. Beth had innovated, and made best use of a small and less than ideal space.
There is no formal climate control, but they have housed them uniquely.
Working with an awnings company, Beth helped create these canvas housings for the shelving units.

Rubber backed canvas and waterproof zips provide an environment within the room that is light and dust and waterproof.

School of Visual Arts: SVA & Milton Glaser Archives

Beth Kleber, chief archivist, has had an extraordinary role in the set up (from the ground up) of an institutional archive.
A librarian (with postgrad archive training via NYU's dynamite archive program) here in the SVA's Visual Arts Library for over 5 years, Beth returned from baby-making hiatus and was set to the task of archive genesis.

It was borne from the longterm friendship between SVA founder and chairman Silas Rhodes and legendary designer Milton Glaser (responsible for, among many other things the iconic I ♥ NY campaign and logo).
Mr Glaser wanted to create an archive of his work at the SVA. At this point there was no archive of any kind at SVA. While the school was figuring out where to put such a wonderful thing, Beth worked directly with Milton Glaser, in his studio.
This took a few years.

What an extraordinary boon for an archival collection. Beth worked through his effects, with him, to decide what to donate, and was able to speak with the creator himself on the significance of each item. Apparently no small task: Milton Glaser kept everything- every note, every napkin scrawled with ideas, plus all the original art and printed material. Beth gleefully referred to that time as her "Milton Glaser University" years. All info was dutifully databased as she went, but I am quite sure she herself is probably the most important Milton Glaser resource in the collection/basically anywhere.
As it turned out, almost all the material ended up at SVA. The Milton Glaser Archive, with its antecedent Milton Glaser Collection was soon fortified by several other significant collections, such as Chermayeff & Geismar Collection (a firm that pioneered the abstract corporate logo), and the Henry Wolf Collection. Many of the designers included have a history with the school, usually through their excellent teaching program.
See list of the Glaser Archive holdings here.

School of Visual Arts, NYC