Volunteering, Sessions, Convocation & Icebreaker Welcome Party!
Friday began very early with volunteering for Shhh…Silent Auction! at 7am. Several of us were tasked with setting up the items for the silent auction which would open later that morning for bidding. The number of donations far surpassed what the Silent Auction Committee expected and, I believe, numbered between 70 and 80 lots! Many of the lots were donated by ARLIS and VRA chapters, and there were some pretty good themes that made if fun to unwrap and display items. Patricia McRae Baley (aka Empress Patti) ran the show, busily showing us how to assemble lots, display items, and match bid sheets.
After my volunteering stint, I headed over to the New Members Breakfast and then to catch some Case Studies, including an interesting presentation by Anna Fishaut on “Rethinking Reference.”
The Opening Plenary – Works and Fair Use was packed. Jule Sigall, Associate General Counsel for Microsoft offered his take on the place of copyright and fair use in an increasingly digital world. Sigall explained both sides of the debate around Orphaned Works, which I suspect artist/librarians in the audience may feel conflicted about. He encouraged library and information professionals to take an active role in educating the public about copyright and fair use.
Following the Opening Plenary, I grabbed an amazing Indian buffet lunch at Bombay Bistro with a few fellow art librarians before heading back for more packed sessions.
Agricultural metaphors abounded in the session Beyond the Silos of the LAMs which focused on collaboration between libraries, museums & archives. Michael Fox of the Minnesota Historical Society outlined some challenges to integration which include the obvious technical hurdles (differing standards and descriptive practices) in addition to differences in organizational cultural, professional norms, and management practices. To the surprise (and dismay?) of many audience members, Fox declared that “a single catalog will never happen” and held that the semantic web is not a sustainable option.
Martha Mahard discussed necessity of convergence because “on the internet nobody cares if you are a library, archives, or museum!”
In Inside Out: Examining Studio Artists’ Perceptions, Representations, and Actual Use of the Fine Arts Library, Anna Simon discussed the findings from her library usage study, which surveyed 200 art students at various points in their education. The surprising results of this study were how heavily art students relied on their peers and professors for information over librarians. She recommended that professors and students take an active role in promoting the library to art students. Henry Pisciotta presented on the works of artists who engage directly with libraries in their artistic processes–creating conceptual works that comment on libraries as institutions.
The annual Convocation Ceremony honored both ARLIS/NA and VRA members this year. After Convocation, buses brought us to the Walker Art Center for the much anticipated Icebreaker Welcome Party. I somehow convinced my roommate to run through the snow (without coats) to see the sculpture garden before the sun set. I absolutely love the pop-goodness of Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The cherry was much glossier than I’d expected (iced perhaps?) and the contrast with the snow was just brilliant.
I was ecstatic to have a chance to roam the Walker Art Center which is a shrine to many of my favorite contemporary artists. I basked in the presence of works that I’d previously only seen in print and on screen. Most memorable were works by Kiki Smith, Mike Kelley, Kara Walker, William Eggleston, and Armando Andrade Tuleda.
I appreciated pairings of recent works by contemporary artists with modernist and minimalist works. The installation of Midnight Party was quite striking, and the works really held their own in a sea of white space. In contrast, smaller galleries such as Kabinett, offered warmer and more intimate glimpses of smaller works like prints and photographs.
Next Up: Saturday adventures, including more sessions, meetings, and Veg*n dinner…
-Emily Hunter, 2011 Caroline Backlund Award recipient