Samuel Duncan

At the ARLIS/NA 2018 Annual Meeting convocation and awards ceremony, Paul Chan, keynote speaker, introduced the Society to files, a sly riff on our definition of “artist files” that comments on how digital files are elemental parts of an artist’s creative output.

Badlands Unlimited, publisher of this series of digital objects, states, “A file is the work before the work. It is the ‘score’ that directs the printer, video projector, or speaker to create the expression that is experienced. And as such, artist files hold considerable value and potential in contemporary culture. They are works in their own right that illuminate the minds of some of the most compelling artists working today. ”

Selection of Paul Chan “Artist Files”

I’m so excited to see artist files recently appear as a Library of Congress genre and form heading. I think it does a nice job of pulling together authoritative sources to help define artist files. I particuarly like the succinct scope note, which does not attempt to supply an exhaustive list of formats that might be in an artist file (which I think is impossible!).

Thank you Sherman Clarke and the ARLIS/NA LC GFT Working Group/Cataloging Advisory Committee for facilitating this record. Please discuss!

SIG Members at the 2018 Annual Meeting at the New York Public Library Picture Collection

Thirty-three SIG members met at the New York Public Library Picture Collection reading room to discuss a number of topics. One of the outcomes of the meeting was approval of an updated mission statement, which now has been updated on The SIG thanks Vinny Rutigliano for presenting on the NYPL artist files collection.

So I was giving a tour of the library to the Fort Worth Library’s new director, Manya Shorr, when I stumbled across an anomaly in our artist files collection: a file on Peru-based artist Eduardo Moll. Our collection is peppered with examples like this that reach back to the 1960s when were collecting material on international artists. Now we focus more tightly on U.S.-based artists. I’ll bet many artist files collections have similar surprises, which, after all, is a characteristic that make artist files so interesting. This folded sheet was the only item in the file. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, is the only institution with holdings in WorldCat. Coincidentally, Sherman Clark shares that Moll passed away in January.

Miami Museum of Modern Art Presents “Dry Points” by Eduardo Moll