Permanent Collection

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I’ve done a little repair work (finessing? is that a better word?) to the links for the image collections, so they should be functioning better now.

The link is now fixed, but all of the links to CONTENTdm collections need further refinement.  That bit of tweaking should happen fairly shortly, but you can access the image collections from the gallery web page at

a few vinyl toys

Dianne Drayse-Alonso brought some students from Ogdensburg Free Academy at the tail end of the spring semester to see some of the toys from the SLU Permanent Collection.  The students were making plushes and thinking about how artists view the relation between commercial and fine art.

and gloomy bear

and gloomy bear

Pilot project #3: West African textile collection

This project has been the most complex of the three pilot projects we’ve initiated in the last 18 months.  Some of the steps included professional photography and on-site interviews, and the next step will be to incorporate this digital online collection into various courses at SLU, including fine arts and those in African Studies.

Step #1

For two days in June 2008, Matt Bogosian ’02 and his crew came to campus to photograph the West African textiles, assisted by Jose’ Domingo ’09, Tsewang Lama ’11, and Kevin Carvill ’11.  The gallery was turned into a photo studio, and we borrowed John Larrance’s genie lift to have the textiles photographed from above.

Step #2

In July 2008, Stanzi McGlynn ’10 met with Christopher Roy to discuss the history and meaning of the textiles.  The interview was recorded and later transcribed.  After Stanzi’s study abroad in Kenya in the spring of 2009, she will work this summer to add sections of the transcription to the CONTENTdm digital collection.  We plan to include portions of the interview to the online collection in the form of sound files.

Step #3

During the academic year 2008-09, Gallery ninjas Arline Wolfe and Carole Mathey have been cataloging and properly housing the textiles.

Step #4 and beyond

The textiles will be presented in an exhibition at the Gallery in the fall of 2009.  In the meantime, faculty and students can use the digital collection as a starting point to conduct their research.  Writing assignments will be designed to include short essays for exhibition text panels and as longer research papers.  From here on, Obiora Udechukwu in Fine Arts will be our primary source of expertise.

The Rickey sculpture is perfect on a bright, winter day.

Cluster of Four Cubes, by George Rickey

Cluster of Four Cubes, by George Rickey


Cluster of Four Cubes (detail)

Cluster of Four Cubes (detail)

Holland Cotter writes in his New York Times article Why University Museums Matter (02.19.09) that “at least one good idea seems to be gaining ground. In a bleak economy, when our big public museums threaten to sink under budget-busting excesses, the university museum offers a model for small, intensely researched, collection-based, convention-challenging exhibitions that could get museums through a bumpy present and carry them, lighter and brighter, into the future.”

This past week, Brandeis announced its intention to close the Rose Art Museum and sell its entire collection of art objects and artifacts.  The American Association of Museums, the College Art Association, and the Association of College and University Museums and Galleries have responded with statements protesting this decision.  You can also read more at the Culture Grrl blog.

As part of SLU’s Techfest 2009, Bart Harloe (University Librarian), Rhonda Courtney (Library Assistant), and Cathy Tedford (Gallery Director) will present a session on What’s Fair with Digital Images?  A list of references is available on SLU’s Digital Collections Web site.

Specific images from the Gallery’s CONTENTdm Web site will be presented, including:

A selection of 63 Vietnam War-era photographs from the United States and Vietnam that are part of the University’s Permanent Collection will also be presented, as well as a larger selection of 211 photographs from the Permanent Collection.

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