Re-liberating the Act of Reading

BY Katrina Kufer / May 11 2017 / 14:12 PM

The digitalisation of art institution libraries now comes cost free, for the user

Re-liberating the Act of Reading
Image courtesy Guggenheim, New York
Inside cover of Picasso and the War Years 1937-1945 by Steven A Nash

As art trends increasingly revolve around the online realm, institutions are following suit into digital modernity.

In 2011, New York’s Solomon R Guggenheim Museum was the first museum to start digitalising its publications (at a nominal fee), with its very first being Maurizio Cattelan: All. Featuring new books as well as creating e-versions of out-of-print editions, it was a major step in resource accessibility. After half a decade, it has now made 200 additional art publications available for download and in ePub formats for free. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Getty Museum (Los Angeles) and LA County Museum of Art (Los Angeles) are also examples of institutions offering free access to art books online, with 1611, 300+ and 205 titles respectively.

A broad, plugged-in public can now access publications on artists such as Jenny Holzer, Kandinsky, Lichtenstein, alongside surveys of contemporary art history, Aztec and African relics, photography and much more. As the list goes on and the databases continue to grow, museums are demonstrating that they are not only keeping up with the digital landscape, but assert that real, long format publications still stand strong in an age of rapid internet reading and informational snapshots.

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