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Posts from the Art & Architecture Collection

Fulbrighter at the Library: Fotis Flevotomos Studies the Connection Between Art and Vision

Fotis Flevotomos, still frame from the video "Looking for a Face"I first met Fotis Flevotomos in June 2011. He had come to New York from Greece to speak on his creative process at The New York Public Library's Low Vision and Blindness Resource Fair. An experienced artist, he was able to do so many things with ease—produce art; pack, transport, and display art; speak articulately about his work as a panelist; and even find a reasonably-priced place to stay in midtown 

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Hands-On Art History: The Treasures of the Pamphlet Files

Since the NYPL Art & Architecture Pamphlet Files have recently been updated, it is a good time to revisit this great resource. These files contain ephemeral material relating to over 4,200 art galleries, museums, auction houses and art events that are for the most part from the New York City area but also with substantial files from all over the United States, Europe, Central and South America. There is material from the late 19th century to the present, including many items that may well be the only 

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Meet the Scholar: Melissa Forstrom

Melissa ForstromMuseums. They are great. From Museum of Mathematics to Museum of Glass, there's so much to see and to learn about these topics in our shared history. Whenever I visit a new town or country, I am always eager to check out their local or national museums; they offer a glimpse of their cultural histories, identities and accomplishments.

However, some exhibitions can also showcase contested and controversial materials. Take for example the

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Art Guide: Socially Conscious Art

"I think it's a responsibility for any artist to protect freedom of expression and to use any way to extend this power." Ai Weiwei, "Ai Weiwei 'Does Not Feel Powerful'"BBC, October 13, 2011.

Ai Weiwei was commenting on being named the most powerful person in the art world in 2011 by

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Seeing with the Senses: A Celebration of Art for Those with Low Vision and Blindness

“Seeing with the Senses,” iPad drawing © 2013 Fotis FlevotomosThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney and the Guggenheim present "Seeing with the Senses"—an afternoon of art-making workshops, verbal description and touch tours for those with low vision or 

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Art and Low Vision: The Sound of Monet’s Weeping Willow Series

Hear the audio version of this blog post. Narration: Kevin Gillins. Music performed by La Capella Reial de Catalunya; Le Concert des Nations; conductor: Jordi Savall.

I am looking at Monet's Weeping Willow series and want to describe these works to people who cannot see. I think music, with its sensual and dramatic language will most elegantly convey the power of these works.

In 1791, Mozart composed in Vienna parts of what is now known as the Requiem Mass in D Minor (K. 626). 

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Leon Dabo’s Notebook: An Interview with Frank Goss

In 1955, the artist Leon Dabo (d. 1960) donated a thin manuscript volume to The New York Public Library. Prolific during his time, Dabo is perhaps best known as a muralist and landscape painter. Dabo also spent many years in New York, and was involved with organizing the artistic community, including a part in shaping the 1913 Armory Show. Seemingly an address book, the volume Dabo donated also contains a handful of small sketches. Looked at as a whole the pages provide information about his social life and artistic 

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Drawing on the iPad: Washington Square Park (Video)

Washington Square Park, Manhattan, iPad drawing ©2012 Fotis Flevotomos on Vimeo.

On October 25, 2012, we posted "Drawing on the iPad," a brief introduction to digital drawing for people with or without vision loss. The present video is an example of the playback feature of the Brushes app.

But in reality it's a lot more than that. 

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Art and Low Vision: The Artist’s Eyes

In his very first email to me, Michael Marmor, professor and past chair of ophthalmology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, wrote: Your point that your view is original and valid on its own is important. I try to teach students that low vision or color “blindness” are not necessarily faulty vision... they are “different” vision. And may in some ways be better, or at least just as valid, depending on what you are trying to do. You have more of an “impressionist” view of a distant landscape than others with perfect vision — it's not 

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Drawing on the iPad

The room of the Art and Architecture Collection, NYPL, iPad drawing © 2012 Fotis FlevotomosAs a visiting artist at the NYPL, I felt the need from the very beginning of my stay in New York City to explore the library visually by making drawings of it on my iPad. The library’s landmark building at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street caught my attention immediately. In the room of the Art and Architecture Collection, the reddish light coming from the reflections of the floor, the wood and the books was one of my 

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Tell Me More: How Can I Find Out About This Sculpture?

A recent question at the reference desk was how to find more about the sculpture of the large button threaded with a needle that stands in the Garment District of New York City at 7th Avenue and 39th Street. This query reminded me of a previous

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Comics at NYPL: A Research Guide

This week the New York Comic Con is in town! From October 13 through 16, the New York Comic Con will be held in the Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan. This annual convention is dedicated to comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, toys, video games, movies, and television!

At NYPL, we also celebrate comics and comic books. From the first issue of Captain America to

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Books for the Birds

Last week I read about artist Walter Kitundu's San Francisco International Airport installation, "Bay Area Bird Encounters." This work combines music, art, and natural history in an interactive mural with accompanying xylophone benches, and I do wish that I could visit it. Reading about it reminded me of Abby Glassenberg's Handmade Crafternoon appearance last month, and how inspiring birds in art 

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Fashion History at Your Fingertips: Celebrate at the Library on April 5, 2011!

Oxford University Press has launched its award-winning database, the Berg Fashion Library, and I'm so happy to have at my fingertips this comprehensive online resource that offers integrated text, image, and journal content on world dress and fashion. From the history of the corset to the beads of Mauritania, this database has it all, and I'm guessing that there are lots of you out there who will love the Berg Fashion Library too.  If you want to 

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Examination: Visionaire Unpacking Party

The New York Public Library has recently acquired the complete run of Visionaire, a contemporary art and fashion publication, which incorporates multi-media and three-dimensional materials including cosmetics, perfumes in glass vials, vinyl records, starch-based "flavor strips," textiles, and various plastics with text and images.

The Visionaire acquisition includes 53 issues with each possible variation to comprise over 66 total volumes. The 

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A Tour of the Stacks

On Sunday, December 5, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building was the site of the 2010 Holiday Open House, the Library's annual thank-you celebration for donors at the Friends level ($40) or above. Besides enjoying building-wide party fun, attendees were offered a rare opportunity to glimpse a part of the Library that is normally hidden from public view: the building's central stacks 

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St. Clare, Patron Saint of Embroiderers

I recently learned, while reading the Summer 1966 issue of Embroidery, that embroiderers have their own patron saint.  She's St. Clare of Assisi, an Italian contemplative known for her hand-sewn altar cloths as well as for her extremely austere way of life.  In 1966, the members of the Embroiderers' Guild, an impressive English organization responsible for the publication of Embroidery, embarked on a shared project inspired by the saint as part of the Guild's 

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Tell me more: What is happening in this painting?

Recently, a reader asked me how to find out what the painting Lotus Lilies by Charles Courtney Curran was all about. All the reader knew was that the Terra Foundation for American Art owned this painting, as well as several others by Curran.  This type of query is popular for art works located in New York City museums. When an artist 

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An Exquisite Handmade Crafternoon with Julia Rothman: Sept. 18th!

Do you want to play a game called Exquisite Corpse?  Don’t worry, there’s nothing ghoulish about it; it’s a collaborative art game that was invented by the surrealists.  And it was this game that inspired illustrator and pattern designer Julia Rothman and her colleagues Jenny Volvovski and Matt Lamothe to collaborate with one hundred artists on

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A Natalie Chanin-Inspired Booklist.

If you were one of the seventy lovely people who attended our last Handmade Crafternoon (in May—eegads, so long ago!), then you know already what a wonderful time it was.  Natalie Chanin encouraged us all to take up needle and thread and make sustainable fashions entirely by hand from the humblest scraps of soft cotton jersey.  She filled the afternoon with stories, practical advice, and enthusiasm, and Maura and I couldn't have imagined a better way to wind up our spring series.  And of 

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