A First-Time Attendee’s Experience

In February, a call went out on the ArLiSNAP blog for first-time attendees of the ARLIS/NA conference to blog about their experience in Boston. This post is in response to that call.

I received my MLIS degree from Kent State University last summer, and am currently working towards an MA in Art History. I wanted to attend the conference to meet people and learn about the type of research that is required in this field. Of course, I accomplished so much more. Armed with my ArLiSNAP Conference Survival Guide brochure, a packed schedule, and a folder full of resumes, I arrived at the Boston World Trade Center on Friday evening open to any and all experiences. Thankfully, I was paired with very gracious conference mentor, Kim Collins, who went out of her way to introduce me to people and include me in conversations. Of course, not everyone in Boston was a stranger to me – I saw the familiar faces of the librarians of my local ARLIS/NA Ohio Valley Chapter, and also ran into Tom Hill, the art librarian from my undergraduate institute. It was also exciting to finally match faces to names of people I have only encountered via ARLIS-L.

I went to several impressive sessions and took an amazing amount of notes. I am now incredibly exhausted, and have a steno pad full of things to google, items to discuss with my advisor, and people to contact, but I am thrilled to take it all in. I especially enjoyed Sunday’s Teaching Art Research. Not only were the presenters phenomenal, but the concluding Q&A led to a great discussion. It was great to see, in action, how scholarship is an ongoing conversation facilitated by an organization.

It is very stressful to be working on a thesis while also job hunting in this market, but attending the conference has restored my enthusiasm for the field. Unsurprisingly, Art Librarians are incredibly nice, friendly, and fashionable. I had so many amazing conversations with librarians from all across the country, many at different stages in their careers. It is reassuring to see how the path to art librarianship can be circuitous, but ultimately fulfilling. Even with career challenges such as budget cuts or tech issues, the passion for the field was evident. I am honored to be included in this community, and look forward to seeing everyone in Minneapolis. Thank you.

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High concept – Museum And Gallery – Boston Phoenix

High concept – Museum And Gallery – Boston Phoenix.

“Artadia Boston” | Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St, Boston | Through April 25

“Modeling Devotion” | Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 280 the Fenway, Boston | Through May 23

The stars of the “Artadia Boston” exhibit at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Mills Gallery are Raúl González’s manic-Injun drawings. Pelado is a close-up of the orange face of a fellow with a giant green bull’s-eye eye and blood dripping down his calligraphically rendered hair. Weapons we will use against you! Part 1 is a row of spindly, cartoony, Philip Guston–like orange arms wielding a club, knife, axes, broken bottle, and so on. A purposely flickering scratchy old-timey animation that González made with Len White shows a cartoon Indian’s face shot full of holes, with real smoke seeming to pour out.

This Somerville artist draws with ink and paint and old coffee and who knows what else to produce big, bright, sharply rendered, super-catchy images. He even creates stains and seeming corrections that make the drawings appear nostalgically antique. The racist stereotypes and jaunty cartoon violence call up a legacy of war and oppression between Native Americans and, well, Americans. This stops you short, but at the same time, as drawings, they’re lots of fun.

That said, the real news here is that the Artadia show, which features seven local artists who won grants last August from the New York–based non-profit Artadia, confirms that the officially sanctioned style of Boston art is not what González is doing. It’s conceptualism. Other types of art get made here — techno inventions, cartoony escapades, rapturous pattern and decoration — but when it comes to our big local round-ups, like this show or the Institute of Contemporary Art’s biennial Foster Prize, conceptualism wins hands down. (The significant exception is the DeCordova Sculpture Park + Museum’s 2010 Biennial.)

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Tattoo Art at MFA and ICA

Skin deep

Mexican girly pinups, Japanese heroes in tattoo-themed shows

By Sebastian Smee Globe Staff / April 16, 2010

Just 10 years ago, Superior Court Judge Barbara Rouse overturned a ban on   tattooing that had been in effect in Massachusetts since the 1960s. “Tattooing is an ancient art form which has been practiced in virtually every culture,’’ she wrote in her judgment. Tattoos “demonstrate commitment to other persons, to institutions, to religious beliefs, and to political and personal beliefs.’’

The first statement’s true. The second is only part of the story.

There’s no doubt that permanently inscribing images and words into one’s skin qualifies as an act of commitment. Just ask Johnny “Winona Forever’’ Depp. But sometimes tattooing evolves and blossoms into something more than just a declaration of identity. It becomes art.

Acknowledging this, two of Boston’s prestigious art institutions — the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art — have just opened exhibitions dedicated to the art of tattooing…

DR. LAKRA At: Institute of Contemporary Art, through Sept. 6. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

UNDER THE SKIN: Tattoos in Japanese Prints At: Museum of Fine Arts, through Jan. 2. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

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Exhibitors & Artists’ Books

This year’s exhibits promise to be especially exciting.  We have forty-six exhibitors registered representing art book publishers, antiquarian booksellers, database venders and library service firms.  It will be a rich spectrum of resources and vendors who provide important support to ARLIS and critical services to the art library community.  Please make time to visit as many as you are able, you will be rewarded.  A complete list of exhibitors is at: www.arlisna.org/boston2010/ExhibitorList.pdf

Fort Point Flora and Fauna by Laura Davidson

The Exhibition Hall will be open:

Saturday April 24, 10am – 6pm (11:30-1 closed for lunch)

Sunday April 25, 9:30am – 4:30pm (12:30-2 closed for lunch).

We have a wonderful complement of book artists and their representatives this year.

  • Bill and Vicki Stewart of Vamp & Tramp will be exhibiting their extensive selection of artist books.
  • Laura Russell of 23 Sandy Gallery, Portland, OR will present her book works and the works of book artists her gallery represents.
  • Laura Davidson is a nationally recognized Boston book artist who will show her works; her Fort Point Flora and Fauna is a “not to be missed” of the conference.
  • Howard Karno Books always presents some exceptional book works from Latin America.
  • Karen Hanmer is a Chicago binder, book and installation artist who will display a full range of her works.

As a special attraction the Boston book artist and printmaker Annie Silverman will be demonstrating bookmaking methods in the Exhibition Hall.

Also in the Exhibition Hall will be poster sessions, a membership table, a Web 2.0 Tech demo and a number of coffee breaks.

We look forward to seeing everyone in the Exhibition Hall and promise a worthwhile time for all.

Richard McElroy


Exhibits Coordinator

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(AR)Tea Party

The ARLIS (Ar)Tea Party will take place in the Harborview Ballroom of the World Trade Center, adjacent to the Seaport Hotel, April 24th, 9-11 pm.  Hundreds of ARLIS members will be present, enjoying cocktails, desserts and each others company. More than a dozen contemporary artists will join the party and will also be exhibiting their work throughout the room. There will be video, sound, and performance artists, animation, and installations. All of the artists are truly excited to be a part of this unique event, some are showing brand new work. They have told me how much they look forward to talking with art librarians and vendors about new media art.  Please be sure to join us, don’t miss out on this one night exhibition and cocktail party.

The following is a brief description about the participating artists. Some are well known and exhibit internationally and some are emerging artists with promising careers ahead. Thematically, all the artists are actively contributing to the contemporary art discourse and participate in prominent art and music school environments, including the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts College of Art, MIT, The Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and Berklee College of Music, Boston.

  • Performance artist and founder of Mobius Artists Group, Marilyn Arsem creates site specific, often spontaneous, performances.
  • You will be greeted at the entrance by Stephanie Cardon’s interactive installation “Echo’s Chamber”.
  • Animator and teacher, Joel Frenzer will be sharing not only his own work, but that of other prominent New England animation artists. More of Joel’s work can be viewed here.
  • Barbara Gallucci will be exhibiting some of her soft chairs which will be part of her upcoming show at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in the Fall of 2010.
  • Artist and writer, Nate Harrison is currently writing his dissertation on art and copyright law. His work involves “the intersection of intellectual property, cultural production and the formation of creative processes in electronic media”.
  • Carla Herrera-Prats, a recent participant at the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York, often works with the classification and cataloging of cultural and economic transactions.
  • Wendy Jacobs, associate professor of visual arts in the Department of Architecture at MIT will exhibit a video of her site-based work involving a tightrope.
  • Multi media artist Sarah Peck will simultaneously be having her MFA Thesis Exhibition at the Tufts University Art Gallery.
  • Multimedia artist Daniel Phillips works with photography, animation, installation, video, plus drawing, painting, and sculpture. He will be sharing new work with us regarding his current project within an abandoned paper mill. Daniel is represented by the Judi Rotenberg Gallery, Boston
  • Master musician, sound artist, and chair of the Brass Department at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Tom Plsek will be giving private trombone concerts to participants through a device attached to the bell of his instrument. Subtle, spontaneous, always beautiful, the experience of listening to live music that only you can hear is amazing.
  • Bob Raymond: Multimedia artist, photographer, and member of Mobius, Bob has been participating in, and documenting, performance and experimental art since the 1980’s.
  • Australian performance artist Tony Schwensen will be joining us via Skype from Quebec. Tony is funny, direct, and intensely passionate about the preservation and access of digital media.
  • Mary Ellen Strom and Ann Carlson, video artist and choreographer, respectively, will exhibit their piece Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore, which involves a movement and vocal performance with four New York attorneys.

Please contact me if you have any questions. Rachel Resnik, Allison Benedetti, Ann Whiteside, and I look forward to introducing you to all of the artists and to seeing you at the event.


Darin Murphy


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North Bennet Street School

On Friday, April 23, from 11-12, ARLIS/NA conference attendees are welcome to attend a free tour of one of the oldest crafts schools in the country.  The School is located in Boston’s historic North End neighborhood; those attending the North End food tour on Friday morning will be well located to attend.  The North Bennet Street School (www.nbss.org) was incorporated in 1885 in Boston’s North End as North Bennet Street Industrial School.  The School offers full-time courses in Bookbinding, Cabinet and Furniture Making,Carpentry and Preservation Carpentry, Jewelry Making and Repair, Locksmithing, Piano Technology and Violin Making and Repair. In each program, highly skilled instructors teach students in small classes, sharing their knowledge and talent. Students graduate with the proficiency of well qualified professionals in their chosen trade or craft.

We will have a guide leaving from the hotel at 10:30 to escort those interested from there.  If you are interested in attending, please let me know; there will also be a flyer and sign-up sheet available at the registration desk.

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Getting Around Boston

Getting Around Boston

Boston is one of the most “walkable” cities in America.  It is also among the most difficult to drive in. The historic (that is unplanned) streets are narrow and filled with impatient and, um exuberant, drivers. So…if you’re not going by foot, go by T.  The T is the metropolitan Boston transit authority and runs subways–the oldest subway system in America–buses, and ferries.  The Seaport Hotel is on the T’s newest line, the Silver Line, which offers easy access to and from Logan Airport as well as connections to the other subway lines (Red, Green, Blue, and Orange.)  Buses connect with subway lines.  Fares are by Charlie Card or Charlie Ticket, to which money can be added at vending machines. Charlie is the hapless T traveler in the Kingston Trio song, who, under a complicated former fare structure was unable to get off a train.  Things are simpler now: basic fare is $2 and transfers do not require additional fare.

Blank Charlie cards are included in the registration packets, along with a map that includes the T map.  Signage has improved considerably in recent years and information about what site is at what stop is often posted in stations.

The organization WalkBoston provides some great walking maps for exploring different areas of Boston, such as the Avenue of the Arts, Beacon Hill, the South End, as well as Harvard University across the river in Cambridge.  The maps are available on their website, http://www.walkboston.org/.

Urban Adventures (http://www.urbanadventours.com/) offers bike tours of Boston.  And the Seaport Hotel offers complimentary bikes and helmets to guests.

Taxis are usually available at the Seaport Hotel; if not, just ask the doorman to call one for you.  It is usually fairly easy to hail a cab on the streets of Boston.

For those of you willing to brave driving to explore areas outside of Boston, car rentals are available at the Seaport Hotel, and there are ZipCars in the Seaport district.

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