ARLIS/NA 2017 and ‘Fountain at 100’

How am I still standing? I can’t seem to stop taking on new projects.

I dove straight into this semester with almost no break from the fall semester, which was filled with just as much work. It does seem, however, that my work is becoming progressively more aligned with my personal interests. I’ve paid my dues, so to speak, and now I’m getting to pursue some long-term projects. I’m especially excited to get started on my data visualization project in my Digital Humanities course, which will involve a fairly extensive perpetually-beta network graph focusing on the legacy of Marcel Duchamp. I’m also independently pursuing a podcast/blog called Schematics that will include interviews with–and profiles of–MFA students and their related events. My network graph proposal was just approved for my final project and my first podcast interview is coming up next week, so I’ll be posting more about these projects as they develop.

Before really starting these projects, I attended the annual ARLIS/NA conference in New Orleans earlier this month. As I previously mentioned, I had the opportunity to coordinate and moderate the meeting for the Graphic Novels Special Interest Group. We had a discussion about a potential name change for the group so that we could be more inclusive. The group seemed fairly receptive to the idea, so the group’s Co-Coordinator and I are in talks about how to proceed. We also discussed the possibility of creating an annual “Top 10 Graphic Novels” list for the benefit of librarians who want to start or strengthen their institutions’ collections but aren’t sure where to begin. We just developed a small “task force,” so I hope to get the ball rolling on this. We’re thinking about a retroactive 2016 list first, since the end of 2017 is pretty far off. I think this could be a really great way for the group to reach out to the greater community. We also had three really great presentations by Caitlin McGurk (Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum & Library), Chris Harter (Amistad Research Center), and Aime’ Lohmeyer (New Orleans Public Library) with two members of the New Orleans Comics and Zine Fest (NOCAZ). I wish we had more time to follow-up with discussion, but I’m glad we got to hear from such a diverse group of librarians to talk about their unique collections/projects.

Me standing in front of my poster presentation at ARLIS/NA 2017.

Putting up our poster presentation at ARLIS/NA 2017

As the former President of the Society of Art Librarianship Students (check out the SALS Facebook page here), I also co-presented a poster called “Reciprocal Relationships: Student Organizations and Professionals” with Kendra Werst, the current President. We detailed the extensive activity of our group in the past year and a half, providing ideas for both students and professionals to pursue similar activities. We invited conference attendees to contribute their own ideas to our poster, which we’ve compiled into a Google Doc where members can continue to add their own ideas (we’ll also be presenting this at VRA’s upcoming annual conference, so we hope to add even more). We got some really fantastic feedback so I hope it helps facilitate more student-professional collaborations. I spent the rest of the conference popping around from session to session. I was also overjoyed to reunite with so many folks I met at last year’s conference, especially since so many of us have relocated in the past year. As the recipient of this year’s William C Bunce Travel Award, I’ve provided a little more information about my experience at the conference in the upcoming ARLIS/NA Midstates newsletter (the newsletter will be posted on the Midstates website soon). Honestly, I think that formulating my pages of notes from the conference sessions into a single blog post would take more time than I can afford right now.

Me presenting to the public by Marcel Duchamp's 'Fountain'

My Noon Talk presentation for “Out of the Box: The Legacy of the Readymade”

In other news, I also co-curated a special installation at the Eskenazi Museum of Art called Fountain at 100–featuring works by Marcel Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, Man Ray, Louise Nevelson, Lucas Samaras–in celebration of the centennial of Duchamp’s Fountain (check out the museum’s blog post about Fountain at 100 here). We are one of three museums in the world to have a complete set of the 1964 edition of Duchamp’s readymades, so it really was a privilege to be so involved in this project. Having grown up in Philadelphia and frequented the Duchamp collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art throughout my time at Temple University, I would have never thought I’d have the opportunity to co-curate his work. Only three years ago I was fresh out of college and working as a waiter at my parents’ restaurant; I can’t describe how humbled I am by this opportunity. In conjunction with the installation, I was interviewed by the local radio station WFIU (I cringe at hearing my own voice, but you can listen to the interview here), and I presented a public Noon Talk called “Out of the Box: The Legacy of the Readymade,” which focused on the concept of curation-as-art-making. I was highly influenced by Elena Filipovic’s recent publication On the Apparently Marginal Activities of Marcel Duchamp (2016), but I honed in on the variety of concepts for which readymades and assemblages became vessels in the works of Cornell, Nevelson, and Samaras.

I think I’ll end here because I have a lot ahead of me this weekend (and this semester, really). I could keep writing but this post would just dissolve into a stream of consciousness.