"New Research on Monuments in Mexico: Location and Meaning"
Dr. Stacie Widdifield, Professor or Art History at University of Arizona
Dr. Stacie Widdifield, Professor of Art History at the University of Arizona is an expert on 19th century Mexican art. Her lecture focused primarily on two monuments, both depicting Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, a key conspirator and supporter of the Mexican War of Independence. Widdifield related the significance and difference of these statues by analyzing their context, the vernacular conventions and the iconography employed for speaking to the public through monuments.
The first monument of Josefa is located in Mexico City and dated 1900. It is located in a park along the Paseo de la Reforma within the historic and commercial zone of the city center, and is situated among a collection of monuments, all of which portray men. This work of Josefa is unique not only because it is the only monument of a woman in the collection, it is indeed the first public monument in Mexico to represent an actual woman as herself and not as an allegory. Josefa’s actions as a political conspirator lead her out of the traditional female sphere of home and family and into the traditional male sphere of public and politics. As a result, this monument incorporates both masculine and feminine characteristics. The artist seems to suggest that, through Josefa’s support of the struggle for independence, she became a man, or at least more masculine. While Josefa is depicted in her monument as a proper, conventional woman, she is swathed in loose robes that de-emphasize her feminine figure. Her facial features are virilized to denote the virtues she possessed, such as bravery and patriotism, that were traditionally considered masculine. The sculptor chose to present an aged Josefa, suggesting her wisdom, and she is placed in a chair, indicating her intelligence and authority. Feminine design elements are incorporated into the monument which, in contrast serve to emphasize the masculinity of Josefa’s image. Details of her broach and lace shawl are exquisitely portrayed, and her chair is placed on a pillar embellished with additional feminine decorative elements. The pillar supporting the statue is low, placing Josefa in close physical proximity to the viewer. This portrayal of Josefa is approachable to the public.
The second monument of Josefa, dated 1810, is located near her home in Santiago de Querétaro in the Plazas de Armas. The representation is similar to that of the Column of Independence in Mexico City; it is a fairly typical feminine allegory of victory with a torch. However, unlike the previous monument of Josefa, this likeness is a completely feminine representation. She is portrayed as a strong, lovely young woman. Her attire reveals ample physical virtues, suggesting fertility. Yet while this Josefa is young and desirable, she is unattainable. She is poised atop a tall pedestal, elevating her far from the public’s reach, as if to suggest that this lovely, fertile, virtuous woman must never be touched. Josefa’s femininity is further enhanced by the juxtoposition with the pedestal which, in this instance, is masculine – square and mostly unadorned.
The design elements of these two monuments were far from coincidental. Each was intentionally employed to project specific values and characteristics related to the subject being portrayed; but Widdifield’s examination revealed far more. The physical context of the works, the various design elements employed within the monuments, and conventional attitudes regarding women in the public sphere, reveal contradictions within the culture and time period regarding patriotism, democracy and the traditional role of women.
Sandra Ley, Librarian
University of San Diego
New Paradigms in Image Services: Competing Administrative Models
(In the program it was listed as: “New Digital Initiative at UA School of Art”)
Presented by Gilda Santana, Director, Visual Resources Center, University of Arizona
Gilda’s presentation evolved from a series of discussions she had with university art librarian, Paula Wolfe, concerning an assessment of the Visual Resource Center’s image resources and the extent and effectiveness of the services that the VRC can offer. The VRC, a local resource in the School of Art at the University of Arizona, consists of about 350,000 slides and shares access with the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture to 65,000 digital images in IMAGEN (a database of art and architecture of the western world from prehistory to contemporary art). The facility is operated by one Full-Time Librarian, one part-time librarian and from two and five student employees and supports the teaching, research and study needs of faculty and students within the School of Art and the College of Fine Arts. Collection development is based on curricular needs primarily in support of the division of Art History, the largest user group.
The project started with a question: How can we (the VRC and the university library), while functioning as separate entities, combine resources and services to the benefit of the users? Three models were defined: 1) maintain the current structure, 2) transfer the collection to the library or 3) create a bridge.
Each of these models was considered in terms of sustainability, copyright and Fair Use, user access, preservation and storage, maintaining industry best practice, funding and technical infrastructure and support.
The pros and cons of each model were considered. To maintain the current model would be to continue offering a specialized collection to a limited number of users. This collection would be richer in the context of the arts but narrower in subject scope. The drawbacks are that the administrative and technical control is limited to a few already over-taxed individuals. The limited staff is not equipped to deal with the demand, and the work-flow stagnates because of lack of human resources.
In transferring the collection to the library the collection would merge into the established library systems, which would allow integration with other media and open the resource to a larger audience. This merger could also have the effect of homogenizing a scholarly resource. Can the library’s existing repository accommodate discipline-specific documentation like the VRA core standards to facilitate data migration and interoperability? Is the library ready and willing to accommodate the idiosyncrasies inherent in the documentation of image records? This approach would offer an opportunity to collaborate with new resources; and servicing the university community and state with these unique resources is part of the new library philosophy. There needs to be a unifying organization that provides access to these resources and that is the library.
The third model is building a bridge or collaboration. What are the possibilities for collaboration with other campus technology support systems—systems that may be available to the VRC and not the library? Can the library handle production of 600-1000 digital images for each course? Would a digital imaging service be available to the VRC at a reasonable fee?
Eileen Fry, Visual Resources Curator at Indiana University says that libraries have a great understanding of online text collections and archival image-oriented collections but not with purely didactic surrogate collections, and little or no experience with the all too “bumpy classroom technology ride.” Librarians are often still text-oriented. Those without a visual resources background don’t quite understand the nature of images but are waking up to the fact that the new crop of students are motivated through visual learning and we need to adapt to their expectations and learning styles.
In conclusion, Gilda said that her intention is, at least for the present, to keep the status quo. Because the future is still unclear Gilda will continue exploring possible collaboration with all the resources available at the university.
Lise Hawkos, Visual Resources Curator
School of Art, Arizona State University
“Lies and Archives: Fact and Fiction in the Artful Career of Lon Megargee”
Professor Betsy Fahlman, Arizona State University
Arizona State University Professor Betsy Fahlman received her 15 minutes of fame thanks to a dead, philandering, drunk cowboy named Lon Megargee. Professor Fahlman said she would “never work on cowboy art,” yet bought a comical print, Cowboy’s Saturday Night for fun to send to East Coast friends. She later found that Megargee was the artist. What started as a 15-page essay evolved into a biography and making Professor Fahlman an expert on Lon Megargee.
Professor Fuhlman led us through 50 years of the cowboy artist’s colorful life. Megargee’s works of open spaces, western landscapes, adventures, herds of cattle and buffalo, pioneers, galloping horses, and cowboys and Indians, represented some of the most powerful stereotypes of the West. Though raised in the East, Megargee re-invented himself as the quintessential cowboy, perhaps the first Marlboro Man.
From 1910-1911 Megargee painted throughout the west working from photographs. When Arizona became a state in 1912, Governor Hunt declared it would be “Art Galore” for the Capitol building and Megargee was commissioned to paint 15 murals representing Arizona life including the state’s symbols of copper, cotton, climate, cattle, and citrus.
His work continued into the 1930’s and 40’s— mainly commercial work for the Santa Fe Railway, A-1 Beer, the Stetson Hat Company and pulp magazines such as Adventure and Western Story Magazine. Megargee died in 1960; however, his western themes continue to be the standard recipe for Western novels, movies, and tourist attractions.
Susan Poorbaugh, Librarian
Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe
Panel Session: Collection Development
Spanish Language Collection Development for Art Collections.
Sandra Cowan, Reference Librarian,
Thomas Branigan Memorial Library
Las Cruces, NM
Drawing on her experiences working in a library in a community with a significant Spanish-speaking population, Sandra Cowan spoke about resources for acquiring Spanish language art books.
Audience members were quite interested to hear about her attendance at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) in Mexico. This annual gathering is held in late November, and ALA partners with FIL to support attendance by ALA members by offering free registration, three nights in a hotel, and book discounts (see the ALA web site for application information).
To learn about Spanish language art book titles, librarians can consult distributors and vendors, review sources, publisher catalogs, book fairs, and bookstores.
Vendors include Baker & Taylor and Brodart Espanol. Baker & Taylor makes an effort to supply a large percentage of the books shown at FIL. Brodart carries items that have been reviewed with a school and public library focus. Other vendors include Lectorum (a large New York bookstore), Independent Publishers Group, Latin American Book Source, Ediciones Universal, Astran, Iberbook, and LibrosLatinos.
Reviews can be found through Criticas (http://www.criticasmagazine.com/), an online English language guide to Spanish language titles, and through publishers’ web sites. Publishers with significant art and architecture titles include:
- Artes de Mexico
- Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes/CONACULTA
- Fondo de Cultura Economica
- Santillana (from Spain)
In addition to FIL, there are book fairs in Spain, Argentina, and in the U.S. (Miami Book Fair International). Sandra suggests buying books at the book fairs because of potential difficulty in ordering later.
And of course, there are bookstores. Sandra’s suggestions include:
Collection Development for Contemporary Art: Connecting with Resources Through News Aggregators.
Bethany Sewell, Access Services Librarian
University of Denver
As she worked on her Master’s thesis in Art History, Bethany Sewell pondered the question regarding contemporary art, “How do we determine what materials will end up being important?”
We have resources like art history textbooks to offer information about how those determinations have been made in the past, but collecting contemporary art resources presents some complications. For example, “contemporary” doesn’t refer to a well-defined time period. Many contemporary art materials are primary sources such as exhibition catalogs or very small pieces. There may be difficulties in collecting retrospectively because of the ephemeral nature of some materials. Quoting from the book Contemporary Art Documentation in Fine Arts Libraries, Bethany noted that in the past, publication of a monograph about an artist was seen as certification of that artist’s importance, but this is not necessarily true now.
However, as Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Blink: The power of thinking without thinking, we are all trained professionals and can trust our own instincts. So how do we stay aware of new artists and new works of art? One possibility is to make use of news aggregators such as Bloglines – http://bloglines.com – which allow you to subscribe to and view RSS feeds from many art-related sources. Bethany provided attendees with lists of many resources in the form of web sites, blogs, and RSS feeds for keeping current.
Journals (you may need to have a subscription to the online journal to be able to get RSS feeds)
Museum and gallery news
http://www.ucpress.edu (includes an RSS feed) University of California Press: Art
Art and artists blogs
Gifts to the Academic Library: The good, the bad and the really ugly.
Nancy Pistorius, Collection Management Librarian, University of New Mexico
In her collection management work, Nancy Pistorius has interacted with many donors wishing to clear out their bookshelves or basements and make well-intentioned gifts to the library. The formerly large staff devoted to this effort has been reduced over the years, so donations of less-than-desirable materials present a problem.
Desirable donations (the “good”) can include items such as first editions, rare books, manuscript collections, books of regional interest, and books that meet the academic needs of the specific institution.
Less desirable items (the “bad”) include outdated textbooks, popular magazines, trade paperbacks, and books in poor or damaged condition.
And as for the “really ugly”, we were surprised to hear that Nancy’s library has received donations of materials such as free mail-order catalogs, financial prospectus reports, ads, flyers, and newsletters.
In order to avoid having to deal with these types of gifts, library collection development policies should include gift and donations policies, ideally giving the library the option of selling materials not added to the collection . This prompted a related discussion about the problems associated with Friends of the Library book sales, which require storage and handling of materials, as well as time and physical demands on the staff.
In a particularly difficult case, Nancy had a series of contacts with a donor of those “really ugly” materials. She discussed the goals and academic needs of the library, outlined the types of materials appropriate for their collection, and indicated what the library would and would not do in terms of acknowledgement of gifts. Ultimately, the appropriate materials were acknowledged, but the non-academic materials were not counted and acknowledged individually.
Her advice includes:
- Establish good communication with donors.
- Keep Administration involved in communications with donors.
- Keep a positive tone (but being firm so that staff time isn’t spent sorting junk).
- Educate donors about library goals.
- Look at large gifts at a donor’s home.
- Have on hand a list of second-hand book dealers as an alternative in case you don’t end up accepting the gift.
Carolyn Leigh, Tucson, AZ
(Judith Rice-Jones was unable to giver her presentation)
Carolyn Leigh, a Tucson book artist, spoke about how she became interested in book arts, showed examples of her work, and spoke about resources for collecting these often one-of-a-kind items.
Carolyn described herself as a painter who uses books as her canvas. She became interested in this art a couple of years ago, took a bookbinding course, and became involved with Paperworks, a group of paper and book artists in Tucson.
Believing that artists’ books should be collected by both museums and libraries, she likes the idea of the potentially larger access offered by libraries. She encouraged librarians to make their collections easily available to book artists, who might sometimes find it intimidating to request access. When asked about artists’ preferences for display of their materials, she suggested displaying books open so that certain pages can be seen, and suggested that items be rotated on and off display periodically to keep the displays fresh.
Sources for purchasing artists’ books include Vamp and Tramp Booksellers http://www.vampandtramp.com/ and the Bookarts.com web site http://bookarts.com . A good source of information about book arts is The Bonefolder: An E-journal for the Bookbinder and Book Artist (free online at http://www.philobiblon.com/bonefolder/ ).
Lisa Blankensip, Librarian
University of Northern Colorado
Re-Building the Past on Tucson’s West Side
Speakers: Michael J Riley, Head of Public Programs and Associate Curator, Arizona State Museum.
David Wald-Hopkins, Managing Principal, Burns Wald-Hopkins Architects.
Deborah Shelton, Director, Arizona Historical Society.
The Arizona State Museum and Arizona Historical Society are jointly engaged with the City of Tucson in planning for the relocation of major cultural attractions to the city’s west side as part of the Rio Nuevo district.
Located on the edge of the Santa Cruz River, the Rio Nuevo district is a unique place. First populated by Native Americans, the area demonstrates the earliest evidence of agriculture in the United States. It is also the earliest site of Spanish settlement in the United States. Agriculture was supported by the once flowing Santa Cruz River. An additional surrounding marshy area also provided another water source for the early inhabitants. Acequias, ditches to control water flow, are in evidence for irrigation. Pre-1900, the water table was a few feet below the surface.
Native American Ruins and burial sites are in evidence. When the Spanish controlled the area in the 1700s, a mission was established on the Mission Road which came from the south. The road eventually became Mission Lane and bordered the wall of the Mission San Agustin complex. The complex included a Convento, Chapel, foundry, other buildings, and a large garden. The Convento was a two story structure with grain storage on the 2nd floor. By the 1820s the Chapel was already falling apart and by 1850 it was in very bad shape. By the 1950s the adobe was melting into the ground. The area was used as a clay pit and source for materials for constructing buildings around Tucson. The site eventually became a trash dump and ultimately a landfill. At present the area is 62 acres of wasteland.
An important aspect about this site is its adjacency to Tucson’s downtown. It is also adjacent to an area of Mexican Barrios and shrines. Descendants living in the area continue to have ties to Mexico. The area is a juxtaposition of cultures in both time and place. It is a narrowly delimited area of historic and cultural significance, which remains entirely in past memories, photographs, architectural and archaeological remains.
A Proposition was passed through the State Legislature to establish the Rio Nuevo Development District with tax money for ten years with various funding extensions. To date, considerable planning has been in progress including permits, mayoral and city council approval. In preparation for the building projects, reclamation is taking place. The site is going through a remediation process to decompose the landfill and make the area a better building site.
The Arizona State Museum has, like many museums, been experiencing low attendance. This has been primarily due to limited parking in the U of A area as well as limitations on exhibitions and education programs due to the age of the current facility and its poor infrastructure. The plan is to relocate galleries and educational programs to a new facility in the Rio Nuevo District while retaining the research program on the University campus.
The Museum will have new opportunities to serve great numbers of the public with a state of the art facility and programs and simultaneously establish a presence in the Rio Nuevo district. Additionally, there will be opportunities to collaborate with other organizations and groups in the Tucson area. The new facilities to be constructed will double existing gallery space, provide for an expansion to the gift store and other aspects of the educational and interpretive programs. It is hoped that programs will extend beyond the building into the outdoor areas of the site. This will enable university research programs to more fully contribute beyond the campus boundaries.
The Arizona Historical Society is looking forward to relocating into a new building of 12,000 square feet in the Rio Nuevo district in addition to gaining a presence in downtown Tucson. Years ago the museum sponsored fiestas and festivals in its current area. However, due to construction, open event spaces no longer exist. The new facility will give the Museum an opportunity to reconnect to the community as well as providing state of the art exhibition and storage spaces for its over 3 million items: documents, photographs, objects, etc. and collections that continues to grow. Environmental controls are needed for preservation of artifacts in the collections. New space will enable more interpretation for public displays that will, hopefully, extend beyond the building into festival space for performances and celebrations. Major goals are to meet community expectations, to maintain integrity of the site, and to make a place for people to use.
The Arizona State Museum and Arizona Historical Society and a new Science Center will provide the nexus for the Cultural Plaza. The Cultural Plaza will be a site for outdoor activities, vendors, and events.
MISSION SAN AGUSTIN COMPLEX
Many aspects of reconstructing the Convento and Chapel are still under discussion. Questions have been raised regarding authenticity and how to go about reconstructing the past. It was calculated that 300,000-400,000 adobes would be needed for the project. Also, there was a desire to make longer lasting adobes for the construction but to have samples of authentic adobes on the site for visitors to examine. Much debate has surrounded the reconstruction of Mission San Agustin. This includes: where the granary was located, uses of an existing rock foundation, locations of the blacksmith and foundry as well as other work areas in the Spanish settlement. Discussion also includes whether to bring back water to the area since the water table is now 150 feet below the surface. To address these many issues, an unprecedented project team of architects, archaeologists, and interpretative planners was recruited for interpretation and reconstruction.
The Mission Garden reconstruction project will provide opportunities for collaboration between the Museum and communities in the area. It is hoped this will provide an opportunity for partnering with members of the community and local organizations since nearby neighborhoods are mostly low income. Garden projects will engage the community in after school programs for children, provide gardening opportunities, address at risk youth through special programs, and maintain a heritage nursery of plants used by Native Americans and Spanish settlers. This will be an opportunity to restore lost heritage and expand the cultural mosaic of Tucson.
OTHER FEATURES of the district
The Origin Center will provide a performance site with power and water available. This will be an outdoor area for events ranging from storytelling to fiestas to special programs. Additionally, there will be dedicated outdoor interpretive sites, dedicated festival areas, an agricultural area, and an archaeological area. The latter will need excavation but will be left as it is for the present. The hope is to reconstruct a native pit house.
Landscape plans show the relationship to the existing neighborhood with a transitional buildup to the museum structures as well as interfacing with the surrounding neighborhoods.
Parking will be available under the cultural plaza with additional parking to be established in nearby areas. A new street car system from downtown and going to the north end of the site is also in the planning. This will strengthen connections to downtown and revitalize that area as well.
Nancy Pistorius, Librarian
University of New Mexico
Panel: Library Instruction for Art and Art History Students
The focus of this panel was on the ever changing information climate and thus the need for new approaches to instruction, resources, and assessment. Peggy Keeran, Arts and Humanities Reference Librarian at the University of Denver, began this panel discussion in a presentation called, “Expanding Instruction in an Ever Expanding Universe” where she described the teaching mission and support for instruction at DU inspired by a new writing program. With this in mind the library has undertaken an ambitious endeavor to reach all students at all points of their academic careers. A user focused approach employing chunks of instructional information has been developed that can be used and re-used in a variety of ways. This allows for development of instruction to be collaborative among librarians and yet remain sustainable and also flexible for future use. Two such examples of these developments are the research guides and tutorials. Research guides are on a content management system so that the resource descriptions are seamlessly incorporated into new guides as needed. Online tutorials were also created on a modular system and consist of units of systematically increasing higher levels of competencies. Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of education objectives, these modules can be arranged and assessed according to the users’ needs.
Next, Tom Grieves, Reference Librarian/Fine Arts Bibliographer at Arizona State University discussed many of the new and emerging technologies and websites. Not only should librarians be aware of these new technologies because of their affect on how users view information and cultivate information finding habits, but also because they provide new interesting resources when doing library instruction and reference. Some of the reviewed websites and technologies are as follows:
- The Wikipedia is a collaboratively generated resource that has been controversial especially amongst librarians because the authorship can be considered questionable. Despite the stigma, this source can be very helpful when you need a quick answer, which can be easily verified thorough traditional sources when needed and the information is generally correct. Another wiki reviewed was the Hayden Reference Wiki, which provides solutions to hard to find answers.
- Blogs like ARTSJournal.com are one way to find information. However, one must keep in mind that they are subjective judgments of authors with varying expertise. There is not enough time to keep up with these; they can be very easily managed on My Yahoo.com. This is a great portal to maintain your favorite blogs and daily news. It is very easy to add to and to read.
- Social bookmarking allows for resource sharing and collaborative categorization and organization of online information by use of tags. Some concerns are of the possibility of standardizing a shared vocabulary. This does, however, seem to happen over time. Two of these sites are flickr.com which catalogs users’ personal images and del.icio.us which catalogs webpages. Grieves found del.icio.us especially helpful as it is a way to discover websites of similar content. The steve.museum project catalogs art images, but there is not much there yet.
Greives also reported on citeulike.org which he found very useful as a discovery tool although there may be some copyright issues. Yotophoto.com searches for images and photographs and one nice feature is that you could search by color. Finally, onlinenewspapers.com was highly recommended as this resource accesses online newspapers across the world no matter how large or small.
Jeanne Brown, Head of the Architecture Studies Library at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas reiterated that “change is in the air,” in her presentation. Librarians are now more than ever becoming teachers if they hadn’t been already! Brown has been active in the ACRL’s initiative on setting standards in information literacy and she reported on integrating student information competencies into library services that are discipline specific. As a result of ACRL’s findings, Brown had the opportunity to chair the core information competencies for design students. Beginning with basic competencies and continuing through more intermediate and advanced competencies, an emphasis was placed on developing systematic instruction programs that address all levels. Brown noted that there are many challenges to this approach, such as getting library time in upper level and graduate classes. Some suggestions are to focus on topic based tools that can be integrated into syllabi. In doing this the librarians work in collaboration with faculty to focus on what faculty have not already noted in class.
Librarian, University of Denver