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Tag: Smithsonian American Art Museum / National Portrait Gallery Library

Clouds come to the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library

Cover of Cumulus artists' book
Cover of Cumulus artists’ book

Through the generosity of a donor (who is also on the staff of the Smithsonian Libraries!), the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG Library) is pleased to announce a new addition to its artists’ book collection: Cumulus by Thomas Parker Williams.

Hansel and Gretel at the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library

Hansel and Gretel: A Shadow Theatre Book
Hansel and Gretel: A Shadow Theatre Book

Through the generosity of an artists’ book enthusiast (and a member of the Smithsonian Libraries staff), the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library has recently acquired a copy of a new book depicting scenes from a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale: Hansel and Gretel: A Shadow Theatre Book.

This Friday: Wikipedia Loves Libraries Editathon at the Smithsonian!

Join us for a Wikipedia Loves Libraries Editathon at the Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery Library, focusing on American Artists at the World’s Columbian Exposition. This event will include new editor training, an afternoon Editathon, and an evening happy hour. No experience necessary–technical or subject!

Field of Vision: Artists Books in the Smithsonian Libraries

Tim Vermeulen and exhibit “Field of Vision”

This summer, three of the Smithsonian Libraries art libraries, the Hirshhorn Library (HMSG), the African Art Library (AfA), and the American Art Library/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG) have hosted an intern through the Katzenberger Foundation Art History Internship Program. Each library has a collection of artists’ books and has been working to provide better access and exploring ways that the collections may be used. This year, under the coordination of Anna Brooke (HMSG) in partnership with Janet Stanley (AfA) and Doug Litts (AA/PG), the Smithsonian Libraries welcomed Tim Vermeulen from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

Labor in America


Preamble and Declaration of Principles of the Knights of Labor of America
Preamble and Declaration of Principles of the Knights of Labor of America

In 1894, Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday in September, was officially established and signed into law by President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) to recognize the contribution of American workers. The day is usually associated with trade unionism and its historic appeals for the right to organize in the workplace, the eight hour workday, the five day work week, workman’s compensation, the abolishment of night work without compensation, equal pay for equal work, and the abolishment of child labor. These hard fought for rights which are currently viewed as given conditions in the workplace were won through the organizational skills and spilled blood of labor leaders and the rank and file  The Smithsonian houses many volumes dealing with labor history; the following monographs are located in the American Art/National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG).

Recently added artists’ book at the AA/PG Library

Dos mujeres
Artists’ book Dos Mujeres

The American Art  Museum/National Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library has close to two hundred artists’ books in its collection, many of which have been featured here in past blog posts. However, this collection continues to grow and new books are selectively added. Many come through donations, but others are purchased to support the collection’s theme of “American Lives, American Stories.” Most of the works in the artists’ book collection feature American book artists and have biographical elements or touch upon the American experience.

Interview with book artist Robin Price

Slurring at Bottom, four versions of Jim Lee’s page. Photo provided by Robin Price

Anything that comes into being by way of human creativity and artistic expression often includes imperfections. Sometimes the flaws are so subtle that they go unnoticed by everyone but the perfectionistic artist laboring over their creation. The process of making art, especially artists’ books, requires a great deal of emphasis on attention to detail (if you ask almost any book artist); there are many opportunities for mistakes along the way. Slurring at Bottom: A Printer’s Book of Errors (2001), was conceived by book artist and publisher Robin Price.