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Art & Art History

Artist Listings

Sources for Researching Modern and Contemporary Artists

Monographs and Catalogues Raisonnés: There are monographs on artists, and then there are Catalogues Raisonnés. Monographs can be comprehensive and cover a large portion of an artist's work, or publish deep research within a narrow scope. Catalogues Raisonnés cover the artist's entire oeuvre (body of work). There is typically a comprehensive list of all works, and many if not most works are illustrated. When searching for these texts, use raisonne as an added keyword (not a title).

Exhibition Catalogs: Another quality book publication is the exhibition catalog. These complement museum exhibitions and are published by museums, often in conjunction with centers, foundations, and larger publishers. Art reproductions in texts are expensive and can present a large hurdle to individual scholars. The backing of museums and foundations with the scholarship of museum curators and guest scholars leads to a combination of beautiful illustrations and rigorous scholarship.

Biennials (Biennale): Many of these guest-curated exhibitions have websites and/or accompanying texts available. Biennials often focus on new, up and coming artists, in addition to more established individuals. Examples include the Berlin Biennial, Venice Biennale, Site Santa Fe, Manifesta, and the Sao Paulo Biennial.

Artist Files: Many art museums and archives develop collections of artist files about the artists represented in their collections. These files typically contain smaller, less durable and often "unpublished" primary source materials about an artist and their work. You may find exhibition announcements or small catalogs, press releases, newspaper clippings, brochures, etc.