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MoMA

LIBRARY COLLECTIONS FAQ

For information about specific library resources, and how to find those resources in DADABASE, the library catalogue or through other finding tools, please see below.

For questions about library collections that are not included here, please email library@moma.org, call (212) 708-9433, or fax (212) 333-1122.


Q. What is an Archive Pamphlet File? How do I find them?

A. The library's Archive Pamphlet Files are brief paper (not digital) files on MoMA exhibitions. They may contain clippings, press releases or other ephemera. They are located at the QNS Library.

To find Archives Pamphlet Files, search by keyword for archives pamphlet file and relevant terms. Example: archives pamphlet file automobiles.

Please note: Archives Pamphlet Files on topics and individuals are held by the Archives. Small files on exhibitions are held by the library. For substantive primary source material on MoMA exhibitions, consult the Museum Archives, in particular the Exhibition Files of the Museum of Modern Art.

Q. What is an Artist File? How do I find them?

A. The library’s Artist Files, numbering over 80,000, may contain exhibition announcements, press releases, clippings, brochures, small exhibition catalog, or checklists, as well as invitations or other ephemera. Most artist exhibition catalogs are not in the artist files; rather, they are cataloged individually in DADABASE.

The library also has other types of files on artists, all cataloged individually in DADABASE: Photo Bio Files, Franklin Furnace Artist Files, PAD/D Files, Artists' Space Artist Files, and (coming soon) Drawing Center Artist Files.

To see if an artist has a file, search DADABASE by keyword for file and the artist’s name. Example: adrian piper file.

These are paper files (not digital). They are located at the QNS Library. A microfiche version of the files, made in the early 1980s, is available at the Manhattan Library, at several research libraries, or through the publisher, Chadwyck-Healey.

Q. How do I find artists’ books?

A. To view the entire collection (there are over 10,000!), do an advanced search by subject (artists books) and limit the search further by material type (artists books).

To find works by author or publisher, or on a particular topic, do an advanced search by Any Field (using relevant terms) and limit the search further by material type (artists books). Example: alphabet.

To find works published in one or a range of years, do an advanced search by subject (artists books) and limit the search further by year. Results can be sorted by date.

Q. How do I find auction catalogs?

A. For individual auction catalogs, search by date of sale in the form yyyymmdd (date of sale search is available in the right menu bar of the advanced search page).

Examples:

19910108 refers to January 8, 1991
19990518 refers to March 18, 1999
195003 refers to March 1 through March 30, 1950

To find auction catalogs related to an estate or collector, or for a specific genre, movement, medium, or object type, search Arcade by keyword for auction catalogs and add keywords. Examples: auction catalogs rewald.

To limit results to MoMA, do an advanced search in Arcade and limit the search further by collection (Auction Catalogs) and location (MoMA Queens).

To find auction results, use auction research databases such as Artnet, Artfact Pro, Artprice, Gordon’s Photography Prices Database, and Gordon’s Print Prices. Most require on-site use.

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Q. Does the library have audiovisual materials? How do I find them?

A. The library collects LP, cassette, video, diskette, CD, DVD, and other non-print media.

To find audiovisual materials, do an advanced search and limit the search further by material type.

Q. How do I find catalogs raisonnés in DADABASE?

A. To find a catalogue raisonné (a comprehensive catalog of works by an artist, sometimes limited to one medium, such as prints or painting), search by keyword for the artist’s name and the phrase catalogues raisonne*. Example: catalogues raisonne* miro joan.

Q. What electronic resources does the library have?

A. In addition to DADABASE, the library's online catalog, several other electronic resources are available for on-site use. Major sources include:

  • MoMA Installation Photographs. Approximately 3,500 images comprehensively documenting major exhibitions from 1929 through 1955
  • MoMA Architecture and Design Collection. Images of approximately 6,200 works
  • MoMA Exhibition Chronology, 1929–present
  • Periodical indexes: Art Abstracts, ArtBibliographies Modern, Avery Index, Jstor, FIAF Index to Film and TV Periodicals, selected Ebsco Electronic Journals, and more
  • Auction results indexes: Artfact, ArtInfo, Artnet, Artprice, and Gordon's Print and Photography Prices
  • ARTstor image database
  • WorldCat union catalog
  • General reference sources such as the Grove Dictionary of Art Online

Q. Does the library have MoMA exhibition catalogs and other Museum publications?

A. Yes. The library maintains a complete set of MoMA publications, including exhibition catalogs, magazines, annual reports, gallery brochures, many checklists, and press releases. Most are cataloged individually in DADABASE and are available in the Manhattan Library reading room. Electronic materials include:

See also MoMA Research FAQ.

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Q. What is the Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection?

A. The Franklin Furnace Archive was founded by Martha Wilson in 1976 as an archive of artist's books, as well as an exhibition and performance space. Its mission regarding artists' books was:

To collect twentieth-century art in book form and related materials published internationally; to inclusively catalog and preserve art in book form; to make accessible and interpret the importance of the permanent collection through computerizing the catalog of the collection, mounting traveling, historical and thematic exhibitions which utilize aspects of the permanent collection; and to mount installations; to publish; to administer education programs; to undertake unforeseen projects consistent with the impulse that produced the works in the permanent collection, such as performance art.

Through 1994, programs included multi-media installations and performance art presentations by emerging artists, including Laurie Anderson, Eric Bogosian, William Wegman, and many others; an archive of artists' books, periodicals, postcards, soundworks, manifestoes and broadsides; a literary program for elementary and high school students; an internship program for college students; travelling shows of artists' books; historical and thematic exhibitions of published work by artists; and a reference library on various fields of avant-garde expression.

Following the sale of the archive to the MoMA library in 1994, Franklin Furnace continued to operate as an alternative artists' space, mounting installations and presenting performances through February 1997. To learn about the current activities of Franklin Furnace, please visit franklinfurnace.org. The portion of the archive at the library comprises artists' books, bookworks, book objects, artists' magazines, soundworks, and mail art (all cataloged in DADABASE).

The archive also includes related materials such as books, exhibition catalogs, ephemera, sound recordings, photographic portraits of artists, performance documentation, and newsletters. In addition, the archive contains documentary materials generated by Franklin Furnace, such as exhibition planning records and correspondence, published checklists and catalogs, and records relating to acquisitions.

To find artists’ books in the original Franklin Furnace Artists’ Books Collection (over 3,700 items), do an advanced search in Any Field for franklin furnace collection and limit by Material Type (artists books). .

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Q. What is the Latin American Bibliography?

A. The Latin American Bibliography lists over 15,000 volumes of literature on Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino art held by the library of The Museum of Modern Art. This subset of the library's catalog (DADABASE) is continuously updated.

The strength of the Museum's collection lies in its exhibition catalogs and artists’ monographs. For those books and catalogs dealing with a number of international artists or art movements, the bibliography is limited to catalogs with significant content devoted to Latin American, Caribbean, and/or U.S. Latino artists. Please note that the library’s substantial holdings of serials, files, and artists' books concerning Latin America are not specified in the bibliography.

Q. How can I access The Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Archive?

A. The Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Archive is maintained by the Architecture and Design Study Center. Researchers are advised to start with the publications listed below. These include photographic reproductions of all the architectural drawings by Mies van der Rohe in the possession of the Archive, as well as catalog entries describing each drawing, print, and collage. If the project was built, these volumes contain one or more photographs, and in some cases, photographs of models. The first six volumes cover the German period, while the remaining fourteen volumes are devoted to the American work. The set may be consulted at the library.

Q. What periodicals does the library have? How do I find them?

A. The collection includes over 4,000 periodical titles dating from the nineteenth century. Approximately 300 of these are current subscriptions. Most print periodicals are located at the MoMA QNS Library. Some periodicals are digitized; most of these are limited to on-site use. For a list of approximately 800 periodicals about modern art, search DADABASE by keyword for modern art periodicals.

For a periodical with a known title, search periodicals by title in Arcade. Example: revolution surrealiste.

For periodicals on a specific topic, search periodicals in Arcade by subject. Or do an advanced search in DADABASE by subject and include the word periodicals. Example: african periodicals.

For periodicals in particular languages, do an advanced search and limit search further by language. To search for multiple languages, ctrl + click on list items.

Q. Are periodical articles in DADABASE? How do I find articles?

A. Periodical titles and holdings are listed in DADABASE, but not periodical articles or their citations. E-journals, full-text periodical databases, and periodical indexes are listed in DADABASE. Please note that most are accessible only on site.

To find periodical articles, use full-text periodical databases and periodical indexes.

For index entries lacking digital content, note the citation, including author, article title, journal title, volume, number, publication date, and page numbers.

Example:

David Joselit. “Navigating the New Territory: Art, Avatars, and the Contemporary Mediascape.” Artforum International, v. 43, n. 10, Summer 2005, p. 276–279.

This citation describes an article by Joselit in a journal named Artforum International, which was published in the Summer issue of 2005.

Next find out if the library has the issue corresponding to the citation: search DADABASE by title for Artforum International. Alternatively, search periodicals in Arcade for the title Artforum International. Results may include print and/or electronic versions.

Example:

Latest Received: May 2011 v.50 no.1
Location: MoMA Queens Reading Room
Library Has: v.20:no.9(1982:June)–

This means that the QNS Library has issues of Artforum International from June 1982 through May 2011, and they are located in the reading room.

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Q. What is a periodical index? What indexes does the library have?

A. A periodical index lists each article found in a selected number of journals for a specific time period. Indexes may refer to print and/or digital materials. Citation-only indexes lack digital content. They are searchable by author, title, subject date, and other criteria.

Indexes available on site include Art Full Text, ArtBibliographies Modern, Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, Jstor, and FIAF Index to Film and TV Periodicals.

Q. What is the Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D) Archive? How do I find PAD/D materials?

A. Political Art Documentation/Distribution, an artists' collective conceived by critic Lucy Lippard in 1979, was active through 1988. Its archive was organized by colleagues Barbara Moore and Mimi Smith and was donated to the library in 1989. PAD/D's stated goal was:

To provide artists with an organized relationship to society, to demonstrate the political effectiveness of image making, and to provide a framework within which progressive artists can discuss and develop alternatives to the mainstream art system.

The Archive focuses on 1979–90, with some material dating from the early 1960s. The collection is composed of two sections: files and posters. Files are organized by names of persons, groups, and exhibition spaces as well as by topics and PAD/D administrative categories. The files are cataloged individually in DADABASE.

The poster collection includes works relating to ACT UP, Allen Kruger, Coalition for a People's Alternative in 1980, Dona Ann McAdams, Elizabeth Kulas, Greg Sholette, Guerrilla Girls, Heresies, Jerry Kearns, Keith Haring, PAD/D, Printed Matter, Terminal New York, War Resisters League, Yoko Ono and John Lennon, and others.

For a brief history of PAD/D, see The Museum of Modern Art Library Bulletin, n.86, Winter 1993/94.

To find PAD/D materials, search by keyword for political art documentation distribution (the collection has 2,700 items). To find works on a particular topic or group, or to find posters, add keywords. Example: political art documentation distribution poster peace.

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Q. What is a Subject File? How do I find them?

A. The library's Subject Files, numbering approximately 4,000, briefly document institutions and topics through announcements and clippings. Subject Files are frozen as of 1998. These are paper files not available in digital form. To see if there are additional materials on your topic, search DADABASE by subject, or ask a librarian for assistance. Subject files are located at the QNS Library.

To find Subject Files, search by keyword for subject file and relevant terms. Example: subject file thefts.

Q. What is a Video Organization File? How do I find them?

A. This collection of over 800 files documents institutions devoted to television and video art during the 1970s through 1990s. Files may include announcements, screening schedules, newsletters, and other print (not digital) ephemera.

To find Video Organization Files, search DADABASE by keyword for video organization files festival.

Updated October 2011

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