Paintings and computers

August 1st, 2011 by Chao Chen

There are “dramatically higher similarities between Van Gogh and Pollock than between Van Gogh and painters such as Monet and Renoir, who conventional art criticism would think more closely related to Van Gogh’s oeuvre than Pollock’s is.”  That’s what I read today in the latest The Economist, (July 30th-August 5th, 2011).  Lior Shamir, a computer scientist at Lawrence Technological University, analyzied 57 images by each of the nine painters—Salvador Dalí, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, Vasily Kandinsky, Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Mark Rothko and Vincent van Gogh.  Dr. Shamir has just published his paper in the journal,  Leonardo.

The Power of Placement

July 29th, 2011 by Chao Chen


With great pleasure, I gave a few art and foreign literature books, from my personal collection, to a graduate student today. She can certainly use these titles in her study, research, work, and leisure reading.  This makes us both very happy.  One of the books is entitled “The Art and Power of Placement“. Indeed, the power of placement, from a librarian’s shelf to that of a budding scholar’s.


Newhouse, Victoria. Art and the Power of Placementbookcover
New York, N.Y. : Monacelli Press, 2005.
Tisch Oversize: N4395 .N49 2005


Where and how an artwork is presented can enhance it or detract from it, or even alter its meaning. Depending on the display, painting and sculpture can denote a religious, political, decorative, or educational significance, as well as aesthetic and commercial value. Just how powerful the effect of placement can be is demonstrated in this book by in-depth case studies and comparisons of art installations around the world and from antiquity to the present, all richly illustrated. Not limited to museums, Newhouse branches out to explore noteworthy displays of art in commercial galleries and in private homes and gardens, as well as in a number of unusual venues. She concludes with some guidelines for display that apply as much to the hanging of a picture in a private interior as to the installation of a museum show.–From publisher description.

Old Boston Photographs

July 29th, 2011 by Chao Chen

The Old Boston Collection, a series of late 19th century photographs of historic Boston sites, was rediscovered by the Boston Public Library in 2007.

Recently, the Library has digitized, and made available on Flickr,  113 of these images. Among them, there are items such as a print of Benjamin Franklin’s house on Milk Street and a photograph of the Old State House from 1898.

Related post, Boston Chinatown.

Chinatown, Boston

July 28th, 2011 by Chao Chen

Every now and then, a student is interested in looking at Chinatown in Boston for architectural history classes.

The following sources could guide us through a virtual journey back to the initial settlement by those Chinese merchants and students in the late 1870s in the same locale.

A Chinatown Banquet dvd icon (Tisch Media Center: FDV4056)
Videos: Perceptions of Chinatown (4:19) ; The Chinese Exclusion Act (3:57) ; Landfill, immigration & transportation (3:04) ; History lessons (1:25) ; Early Chinatown (5:35) ; Occupation: Laundryman (3:40) ; Family associations (4:25) ; It dates back that far (6:35) — About “A Chinatown Banquet” — Boston Chinatown: Historical context and overview ; Street interviews.

Watch it onYouTube.

Chinese in Boston, 1870-1965 (Tisch Bookstacks: E184.C5 C4445 2008)

Chinese Historical Society of New England.

More sources on the buildings:

book cover Buildings of Massachusetts: Metrop olitan Boston/ edited by Keith N. Morgan; principal authors, Richard M. Candee … [et al.]; photography by Peter Vanderwarker with additional photographs by Antonina Smith.
Oversize & Ref: NA735.B7 B85 2009

The research guide:  Built in Boston.

Info in Exhibition Catalogs

July 15th, 2011 by Chao Chen

Exhibition and museum catalogues are uniquely valuable sources, which may include:

  • Fundamental data on each work of art;
  • Official images of the artworks;
  • Curatorial statements/essays;
  • essays by art critics/historians;
  • list of scholarly publications on the art,
  • sometimes, artists’ interviews,
  • and more.
  • Here is an example from Tisch library: book cover

    TRANSactions: Contemporary Latin American and Latino Art / essay by Stephanie Hanor; catalogue entries by Spring deBoer … [et al.]; preface by Hugh M. Davies.  Oversize: N6538.H58 T73 2006

    ** You can search, further, by these art critics/historians in the catalogues, for more works on the the same topic and/or other related topics, and responses and comments.