thebrainscoop:

wedoscience:

Students at the Field Museum showing off the myrmecological diversity of the museum’s insect collections.
Photo by James Waters.

This. Blog. Is. Fantastic. 
I’m pretty vocal about my personal feelings in regards to how scientists themselves are presented and represented, not only in the media but also to students and one another.
When I was at Science Online last month I spoke to many people from a variety of backgrounds and we shared stories - sometimes painfully awkward stories - on how we’re approached to participate in print or media interviews. One chemist shared with me how she’s frequently asked to put on a white lab coat - even when the interview is in her office - and that once they get to her lab she’s asked to mix up vials of brightly-colored liquids, or create smoking beakers, in order to fulfill this misrepresentation we’ve created of what a chemist looks like.
While I totally understand there is a time and place for lab safety and that such wardrobe is often times required to fulfill those protocols, more often than not we’re perpetuating a stereotype which is largely unrealistic. A Google image search of the word “scientist”  results in rows and rows of white people in lab coats, mostly men, inappropriately holding pipettes or peering into those beakers with unnaturally colored liquids.
If we can’t relate to that image - if we’re not white, or men, or aspiring to peer at unnaturally colored liquids in beakers - then we can’t hope to diversify our own field. That image is a barrier and exists as another point of inaccessibility to what is inherently natural to all of us, and that is a general inquisitiveness about our world. 
Follow this blog. Submit an image of your own. Let’s change the face of science. 

thebrainscoop:

wedoscience:

Students at the Field Museum showing off the myrmecological diversity of the museum’s insect collections.

Photo by James Waters.

This. Blog. Is. Fantastic. 

I’m pretty vocal about my personal feelings in regards to how scientists themselves are presented and represented, not only in the media but also to students and one another.

When I was at Science Online last month I spoke to many people from a variety of backgrounds and we shared stories - sometimes painfully awkward stories - on how we’re approached to participate in print or media interviews. One chemist shared with me how she’s frequently asked to put on a white lab coat - even when the interview is in her office - and that once they get to her lab she’s asked to mix up vials of brightly-colored liquids, or create smoking beakers, in order to fulfill this misrepresentation we’ve created of what a chemist looks like.

While I totally understand there is a time and place for lab safety and that such wardrobe is often times required to fulfill those protocols, more often than not we’re perpetuating a stereotype which is largely unrealistic. A Google image search of the word “scientist”  results in rows and rows of white people in lab coats, mostly men, inappropriately holding pipettes or peering into those beakers with unnaturally colored liquids.

If we can’t relate to that image - if we’re not white, or men, or aspiring to peer at unnaturally colored liquids in beakers - then we can’t hope to diversify our own field. That image is a barrier and exists as another point of inaccessibility to what is inherently natural to all of us, and that is a general inquisitiveness about our world. 

Follow this blog. Submit an image of your own. Let’s change the face of science. 

amamblog:

Staff Spotlight: What do museum registrars do?
To many people, a registrar is someone who signs you up for college courses. In a museum, the job title takes on a different meaning—one critical to nearly everything the institution does. Museum Registrar Lucille Stiger and Assistant Registrar Selina Bartlett are responsible for the physical care of the AMAM collection of more than 14,000 objects. They maintain a database of museum objects, including details of condition, as well as exhibition and publication history. They keep images of each work, and respond to requests for reproduction rights. Registrars also track and record the whereabouts of each object, whether in storage, on display, in conservation, or on loan to another institution. Registrars also act as couriers, safeguarding works as they travel.
Objects from the AMAM collection are highly sought after by museum exhibition organizers around the world. While many more loan requests are turned down than can be granted, the AMAM is lending a number of important paintings in 2013–14. One is Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Self-Portrait as a Soldier, which Bartlett couriered to Bonn in November for the exhibition The Avant-Gardes at War. It will also go to London’s National Portrait Gallery for the exhibition, The Great War in Portraits, commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I. When such works go out, the museum registrar often takes on the important role of courier before, during, and after the transit. Condition reports are made at each of four points along the path: prior to crating, when the work is uncrated at its destination, when it is taken off display, and when it returns to the AMAM.
“Basically our job is to ensure that the shipment gets handled properly,” said Stiger. The journey begins as works are packed into custom-made crates and a registrar or curator will ride with the shipment in a truck to the airport in either Chicago or New York (Cleveland cannot accommodate large cargo planes). In the cargo area, he or she oversees loading of the artwork onto the plane. For example, Stiger has had to insist that a museum crate not be packed on the same pallet as a container carrying liquid. If the destination is international, there can be a long wait standing in a cargo area while clearing customs. “You never know what’s going to happen,” said Bartlett, who always packs granola bars and an apple just in case.
“You have to have a lot of stamina,” said Stiger, who has been at the AMAM 18 years and has accompanied artworks to Australia, England, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, and within the United States. In October, Stiger traveled to Tokyo with a painting by Alfred Sisley, The Loing Canal at Moret. It was one of four AMAM works—the others were denied—requested for the exhibition Impressionists at Waterside that will travel to three Japanese museums.
Couriers do not discuss their travel plans, as shipment times and contents are confidential. Bartlett made two stops on her November courier mission to Germany. After seeing the Kirchner delivered securely to the museum in Bonn, she traveled by train to Augsburg, where she oversaw the uncrating of a 1918 work by Paul Klee for the recent exhibition Paul Klee—The Myth of Flight.
When an exhibition concludes and the aircraft finally touches down on domestic soil, “you’ve still got that long truck ride of six or eight hours from Chicago or New York,” says Bartlett. “It often takes more than 24 hours of constant travel to get home.”
Despite the risk of damage or theft, most museums loan works of art—it’s essential to their mission. AMAM loans are carefully considered in terms of the importance of the proposed exhibition and the contribution the work would make. Decisions are made, sometimes years in advance, by the museum director, relevant curator, and registrar.
Once a request is granted, it is the registrar who goes to work in planning for any needed conservation, having a crate made if needed, and escorting the shipment. Far from a paid vacation, courier work is a necessary—and sometimes grueling—part of the museum registrar’s job description. 

amamblog:

Staff Spotlight: What do museum registrars do?

To many people, a registrar is someone who signs you up for college courses. In a museum, the job title takes on a different meaning—one critical to nearly everything the institution does. Museum Registrar Lucille Stiger and Assistant Registrar Selina Bartlett are responsible for the physical care of the AMAM collection of more than 14,000 objects. They maintain a database of museum objects, including details of condition, as well as exhibition and publication history. They keep images of each work, and respond to requests for reproduction rights. Registrars also track and record the whereabouts of each object, whether in storage, on display, in conservation, or on loan to another institution. Registrars also act as couriers, safeguarding works as they travel.

Objects from the AMAM collection are highly sought after by museum exhibition organizers around the world. While many more loan requests are turned down than can be granted, the AMAM is lending a number of important paintings in 2013–14. One is Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Self-Portrait as a Soldier, which Bartlett couriered to Bonn in November for the exhibition The Avant-Gardes at War. It will also go to London’s National Portrait Gallery for the exhibition, The Great War in Portraits, commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I. When such works go out, the museum registrar often takes on the important role of courier before, during, and after the transit. Condition reports are made at each of four points along the path: prior to crating, when the work is uncrated at its destination, when it is taken off display, and when it returns to the AMAM.

“Basically our job is to ensure that the shipment gets handled properly,” said Stiger. The journey begins as works are packed into custom-made crates and a registrar or curator will ride with the shipment in a truck to the airport in either Chicago or New York (Cleveland cannot accommodate large cargo planes). In the cargo area, he or she oversees loading of the artwork onto the plane. For example, Stiger has had to insist that a museum crate not be packed on the same pallet as a container carrying liquid. If the destination is international, there can be a long wait standing in a cargo area while clearing customs. “You never know what’s going to happen,” said Bartlett, who always packs granola bars and an apple just in case.

“You have to have a lot of stamina,” said Stiger, who has been at the AMAM 18 years and has accompanied artworks to Australia, England, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, and within the United States. In October, Stiger traveled to Tokyo with a painting by Alfred Sisley, The Loing Canal at Moret. It was one of four AMAM works—the others were denied—requested for the exhibition Impressionists at Waterside that will travel to three Japanese museums.

Couriers do not discuss their travel plans, as shipment times and contents are confidential. Bartlett made two stops on her November courier mission to Germany. After seeing the Kirchner delivered securely to the museum in Bonn, she traveled by train to Augsburg, where she oversaw the uncrating of a 1918 work by Paul Klee for the recent exhibition Paul Klee—The Myth of Flight.

When an exhibition concludes and the aircraft finally touches down on domestic soil, “you’ve still got that long truck ride of six or eight hours from Chicago or New York,” says Bartlett. “It often takes more than 24 hours of constant travel to get home.”

Despite the risk of damage or theft, most museums loan works of art—it’s essential to their mission. AMAM loans are carefully considered in terms of the importance of the proposed exhibition and the contribution the work would make. Decisions are made, sometimes years in advance, by the museum director, relevant curator, and registrar.

Once a request is granted, it is the registrar who goes to work in planning for any needed conservation, having a crate made if needed, and escorting the shipment. Far from a paid vacation, courier work is a necessary—and sometimes grueling—part of the museum registrar’s job description. 

i-am-a-wallflower asked: I will probably be applying to grad school by the end of next year. Do you happen to know of any programs that are more practice based instead of research based? Is there a way to search for them specifically instead of meticulously going through each programs' requirements separately? I am ADD and horrible at writing papers or theses. I don't want to go into research with my career, more so physical or museum work. Any thoughts? Thank you! Love your blog!

caravaggista:

Great question! Unfortunately, I don’t know that such a tool exists yet. I’d recommend investing in CAA’s Directories of Graduate Programs, which

describe curricula, class size, faculty specializations, admission and degree requirements, library and studio facilities, opportunities for fellowships and assistantships, and more.” 

The Directories are only available for purchase. You can buy them in PDF format or print format ($21 for the Curatorial & Museum Studies one, $29 for the art history one + shipping for the print version). There’s also a Conservation & Historic Preservation directory but it’s only available to purchase in E-Book format for $18. While you would still have to look through each program individually by reading the book, you can at least buy the guide(s) that suit your interests and search for programs & view their requirements all in one place.

While I don’t know for sure, I suspect that art history-specific programs that also have a “curatorial track” embedded into the art history PhD require just as much writing & coursework as not being in the curatorial track. That certainly is the case at my institution, where a curatorial student has to take 1.5 years of coursework, pass their major exam, and write their dissertation. The only difference is that curatorial students also have to complete 2 internships, each at least a semester in length. Just a guess that this is also the case at other programs whose structure is similar to my program.

Therefore, I would recommend looking for programs that are specific to museum studies and/or curatorial studies. Check out both of CAA’s Curatorial & Museum Studies Graduate Program Directory and the Conservation one, because I bet you’ll find the perfect fit!

Good luck! Keep me posted! :)

I’d suggest a Museum studies degree, not an Art History one with a Curatorial track which would still have far more papers. Essentially, look to see if the brunt of the focus is on doing, pre-professional or professional courses. 

For example: my current degree is museum studies. At my university, that’s like saying I am an Art History BA with less electives — which are museum studies requirements/distributions, AND two internships. In other words, all the work the Art History degree has (same base requirements) and then some. 

I suggest looking at Museum Education, actually! Curatorial work has lots of research and writing in general, but Education is A.) broader research, and B.) has a lot of hands-on and direct interactions! I love all of the education experiences I have had, and it’s great if you like or enjoy physicality. Why? You interact with people constantly. Often times you make things with students/class groups/visitors. You don’t have to be an amazing artist, but you’ll certainly make things and be able to explain your knowledge to others. You will also have to come up with ways for other people to learn things about a museum, ways which are not based on making research papers. It is less about straight academia, and more about teaching and education. Educators do have to research and know their stuff, but there’s more interaction with the audience, visitors, etc. Touring, docenting, teaching is often more kinetic and hands on. I think that would suit nicely! Education is very important.

I think a few Museum studies programs are also optional thesis MA programs.

((As an aside: I’m hoping to hear back from Caravaggista’s program soon! Just have to wait a little bit longer until March!)

Can anyone identify the character in the upper left line? I’m translating a 20th c. Japanese comic style manuscript. I’ve got: ”清國事「?」太沽天津激戰“ This is about the battle at Tianjin, during the Chinese Boxer Rebellion. For whatever reason, I’m stumped on that one character. 
Any thoughts? (And no, this is not helping me with homework.)
— Asianhistory mod. 
 

Can anyone identify the character in the upper left line? I’m translating a 20th c. Japanese comic style manuscript. I’ve got: 國事「?」太沽天津激戰“ This is about the battle at Tianjin, during the Chinese Boxer Rebellion. For whatever reason, I’m stumped on that one character.

Any thoughts? (And no, this is not helping me with homework.)

— Asianhistory mod.

 

museumnerd:

Attn: artsquare!

artmonia:

OMG who stole my ads?“, a series created by artist Etienne Lavie, who imagine what the streets of Paris could look like if all ads were replaced with masterpieces of classical painting.

I don’t really have too many things tied to my name that would draw up eyebrows (I’ve been cleaning up my online footprints, and deleting adorable, but embarrassingly junior high MySpace photos), but I would have to say this post is by far the most embarrassing:

I had such high hopes for Google+ in 2011. Didn’t we all?

Everything else seems to be standard fare. My LinkedIn which is never quite up-to-date is up, you can find my twitter, this blog, the interview I had with Museum minute, my family friendly (and mostly unused) Facebook, my CV (which is altered for the internet, and now clickable as a googlesite at the top of my blog’s page. Tell me if you think the dates are readable, I need to update it!), my barren Academia.edu (sorry to those who googled me today, I’ve yet to figure the website out like I have LinkedIn), and some other nice woman’s Pinterest. 

In other news, I had a wonderful time visiting Phoenix Art Museum today for a private talk with collectors in the Asian Ceramics collection. And I’m hopeful that my pings on Academia.edu are finding me elsewhere on the internet (and looking because I applied to graduate school). 

I’ve also recently been offered an interview at one of the 7 schools I applied to. :) 

explore-blog:

The president of Northwestern University predicts online education in 1934:

The university of twenty-five years from now will be a different looking place, says President Scott of Northwestern. Instead of concentrating faculty and students around a campus, they will “commute” by air, and the university will be surrounded by airports and hangars. The course will be carried on, to a large extent, by radio and pictures. Facsimile broadcasting and television will enlarge greatly the range of a library; and research may be carried on by scholars at great distances.

Also see similarly prescient predictions from Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. 

explore-blog:

The president of Northwestern University predicts online education in 1934:

The university of twenty-five years from now will be a different looking place, says President Scott of Northwestern. Instead of concentrating faculty and students around a campus, they will “commute” by air, and the university will be surrounded by airports and hangars. The course will be carried on, to a large extent, by radio and pictures. Facsimile broadcasting and television will enlarge greatly the range of a library; and research may be carried on by scholars at great distances.

Also see similarly prescient predictions from Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke

恭喜发财!

Belated happy Lunar New Year’s! This is the year of the Horse, and I think I’ll be queuing up horse paintings and images for Asian History. 

lacma:

Guess what you’re doing this Saturday? Museums-Free-For-All! http://bit.ly/1hSLwdz

lacma:

Guess what you’re doing this Saturday? Museums-Free-For-All! http://bit.ly/1hSLwdz

That Ain’t Art (Inquiry): How Museums are Failing to Explain Approaching Their Art.
The problem with art is that we haven’t been explaining it properly. When my family members cautiously cast a glance my way expectantly for an explanation when they come across a piece they just don’t “get” in a museum, I inevitably get the question: Is that art?
Museums know this. That isn’t art! is a common exclamation, and more often than not we shrug our shoulders. If we’re lucky, there’s a defense of art. If we’re unlucky, art world connoisseurs will simply scoff. Plebians, they might think privately. Knowledge of art is assuming the persona of being cultured, being given access to something that is more than a necessity, an intellectual luxury. And we seem to think this is not only a common question, but one with an acceptable answer. “Is this art?” is rather straightforwards. Yes, the logic goes, it is. Visitors are often left to make a quick logical deduction that goes something like this: It doesn’t look like art, but it is in a museum, therefore it’s art, probably. Maybe I just don’t get it. 
But for lack of a better way of putting it, this is a truly terrible question and line of thinking, and an even more lazy response (or lack thereof) from museums. Let me explain: when my family asks if something is art, they want a definitive answer. Yes, or No? This seems like a reasonable thing to ask until you replace art with anything else. 
Imagine asking a scientist: “Am I biology?” 
Go outside. Look up. “Is that astronomy?”
Go to your local grocery store. Buy something. Ask the cashier: “Is this economics?” 
It seems silly, doesn’t it? Asking a yes/no question halts the thought process and discussion, and worst of all, stunts the learning that could be done. A single person is not the whole of biology any more than one piece in a museum is the whole of art. A person can be studied with biology, and is constantly going through biological processes, but we would never declare ourselves to be the science. Biology is the study of life. Astronomy the study of space. Economics the study of consuming goods and services.
Art boiled down is creation. This is simultaneously the most broad and precise definition I can think of; a thing must be created to be art, and that thing can be movement, story, experience, emotion, craft, design, painting… just about anything you can think of. This unsettles many people. To them, I say: Not all art is good, or even worth talking about. Art is even worth being unsettled over. 
But most importantly, Art is the world in which we exist, and museums should be making us realize that. I don’t mean that we are always going to be sitting beside obvious paintings and famous sculptures. I also don’t mean contemporary art is always easily understandable or even has a point all the time. I simply mean that humanity has created the world around us, and these creations are art just as much as a painting on the wall might be. Your laptop has a design and designer just as much as your public art installation has had.
Asking if something is art is a redundant question, one that museums may do well to move away from. Justifying an art definition is a complex undertaking that often ends on a breakdown of agreements and understanding on both sides. Asking how, and why, is a better way to engage both sides of the conversation. Move past arguing whether or not something in your museum is art, and instead pose real questions, ones that must be thought about seriously, and without condescension to be answered: 
Why was this made?
What is it made of?
How is it created?
Who created it? What made it possible to create?
Does it have a purpose? Is it functional? Emotional? Religious? Psychological? Decorative?
Where did it come from? 
When was it made?
What does it convey? How does it make you feel? Is it beautiful? Ugly? 
How long will it last?
What does this creation mean for us?
Art museums should not tell people their holdings are art because they are museums. Objects in museums are art because they were created, just as the building itself is art, and the clothes of the people inside are art. What separates what’s on the walls from what’s on a tourist’s back is not whether or not something is art. When we move past faulty logic and the justification of surroundings to define a concept, we are thrust into a much more interesting and immediate discussion of works of art. By the logic of assuming art is creation, we are exposed to more art outside of museums than in them; and we should question that accordingly. 

Don’t let your visitors believe art is a yes or no question. 

That Ain’t Art (Inquiry): How Museums are Failing to Explain Approaching Their Art.

The problem with art is that we haven’t been explaining it properly. When my family members cautiously cast a glance my way expectantly for an explanation when they come across a piece they just don’t “get” in a museum, I inevitably get the question: Is that art?

Museums know this. That isn’t art! is a common exclamation, and more often than not we shrug our shoulders. If we’re lucky, there’s a defense of art. If we’re unlucky, art world connoisseurs will simply scoff. Plebians, they might think privately. Knowledge of art is assuming the persona of being cultured, being given access to something that is more than a necessity, an intellectual luxury. And we seem to think this is not only a common question, but one with an acceptable answer. “Is this art?” is rather straightforwards. Yes, the logic goes, it is. Visitors are often left to make a quick logical deduction that goes something like this: It doesn’t look like art, but it is in a museum, therefore it’s art, probably. Maybe I just don’t get it. 

But for lack of a better way of putting it, this is a truly terrible question and line of thinking, and an even more lazy response (or lack thereof) from museums. Let me explain: when my family asks if something is art, they want a definitive answer. Yes, or No? This seems like a reasonable thing to ask until you replace art with anything else. 

Imagine asking a scientist: “Am I biology?” 

Go outside. Look up. “Is that astronomy?”

Go to your local grocery store. Buy something. Ask the cashier: “Is this economics?” 

It seems silly, doesn’t it? Asking a yes/no question halts the thought process and discussion, and worst of all, stunts the learning that could be done. A single person is not the whole of biology any more than one piece in a museum is the whole of art. A person can be studied with biology, and is constantly going through biological processes, but we would never declare ourselves to be the science. Biology is the study of life. Astronomy the study of space. Economics the study of consuming goods and services.

Art boiled down is creation. This is simultaneously the most broad and precise definition I can think of; a thing must be created to be art, and that thing can be movement, story, experience, emotion, craft, design, painting… just about anything you can think of. This unsettles many people. To them, I say: Not all art is good, or even worth talking about. Art is even worth being unsettled over. 

But most importantly, Art is the world in which we exist, and museums should be making us realize that. I don’t mean that we are always going to be sitting beside obvious paintings and famous sculptures. I also don’t mean contemporary art is always easily understandable or even has a point all the time. I simply mean that humanity has created the world around us, and these creations are art just as much as a painting on the wall might be. Your laptop has a design and designer just as much as your public art installation has had.

Asking if something is art is a redundant question, one that museums may do well to move away from. Justifying an art definition is a complex undertaking that often ends on a breakdown of agreements and understanding on both sides. Asking how, and why, is a better way to engage both sides of the conversation. Move past arguing whether or not something in your museum is art, and instead pose real questions, ones that must be thought about seriously, and without condescension to be answered: 

  • Why was this made?
  • What is it made of?
  • How is it created?
  • Who created it? What made it possible to create?
  • Does it have a purpose? Is it functional? Emotional? Religious? Psychological? Decorative?
  • Where did it come from? 
  • When was it made?
  • What does it convey? How does it make you feel? Is it beautiful? Ugly? 
  • How long will it last?
  • What does this creation mean for us?

Art museums should not tell people their holdings are art because they are museums. Objects in museums are art because they were created, just as the building itself is art, and the clothes of the people inside are art. What separates what’s on the walls from what’s on a tourist’s back is not whether or not something is art. When we move past faulty logic and the justification of surroundings to define a concept, we are thrust into a much more interesting and immediate discussion of works of art. By the logic of assuming art is creation, we are exposed to more art outside of museums than in them; and we should question that accordingly. 

Don’t let your visitors believe art is a yes or no question.