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The resources featured on this page will help you identify secondary and tertiary sources related to the image that you have selected.
Keep in mind - Creative works are produced within specific historical, cultural, social and intellectual contexts. The more you know about the contexts of a specific work, the better you'll be able to analyze it. Approach your research as a means for providing information to readers that will help them understand, analyze, or evaluate the image.
Getting Started with Subject Encyclopedias
Subject encyclopedias, handbooks and overviews are scholarly, tertiary works written by experts on a variety of topics. The articles are typically longer and more detailed than those found in general encyclopedias. The background information provides a good starting point as you begin the research process. These resources can help you with:
- Understanding the scope of a topic
- Suggesting ideas for narrowing a topic
- Identifying key concepts, terms, dates and names
- Listing subject areas related to a topic
- Recommending sources for further exploration
In Collins Library, the print reference collection is located on the first floor, and most of the online reference collection is available in one of the database collections listed on this page. Use Primo to identify subject encyclopedias in either format; or ask a librarian for recommendations.
Oxford Reference Art & Architecture
Oxford Art Online
Covers biographies, criticism, country surveys, artistic styles and movements, art forms, subject matter and iconography, and techniques. Note: Limit of 3 simultaneous users.
Start with these subject encyclopedias and branch out as needed.
Encyclopedia of African American Artists by
Call Number: N6538.N5 J44 2009 Print Books
Publication Date: 2009
Contains sixty-six alphabetically arranged entries that profile African-American artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and briefly describes their lives and accomplishments.
Encyclopedia of African American Culture and History by
Call Number: Click on title above for online access
Publication Date: 2005
Covers all aspects of the African-American experience from 1619 to the present day. Using biographies, historical essays, and thematic pieces, many written by foremost scholars, it addresses a wide array of subjects in over 2,300 articles to define in one source the cultural roots, participation in American life, and current condition of the African-American community..
The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art by
Call Number: Click title above for online access
Publication Date: 2011
Deals with all aspects of American art and architecture from Native American art to Colonial art to contemporary American art. There are articles on all subject areas in American fine art including: biographies of major artists, architects and patrons, architecture, painting, new media, photography, sculpture, installation art, performance art, new media art, art education, and more.
Encyclopedia of Race and Racism by
Call Number: Click title above for online access
Publication Date: 2013
Examines the anthropological, sociological, historical, economic, and scientific theories of race and racism in the modem era. Delves into the historic origins of ideas of race and racism and explores their social and scientific consequences. Includes biographies of significant theorists, as well as political and social leaders and notorious racists.
The Dictionary of Art by
Call Number: N31 .D5 1996 Reference
Publication Date: 2003
A resource for both art and cultural studies, the Dictionary serves as a unique guide to all the visual arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, drawing, printmaking, as well as the decorative arts. Providing depth as well as breadth, The Dictionary of Art examines important art forms and key issues of design, taste, function, and patronage, illuminating them in light of the cultural context in which they developed.
Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Culture by
Call Number: E169.12 .E49 2001 Reference
Publication Date: 2001
Acknowledging that diversity is the fundamental feature of American culture, this volume is organized around a keen awareness of race, gender, class and space and with over 1,200 alphabetically-arranged entries. Spanning 'the American century' from the end of World War II to the present day, the encyclopedia provides insightful and stimulating coverage of all aspects of that culture.
Online Reference Collections
Not sure where to look? Each of these online collections will introduce you to a wealth of dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Provides full text online access to Gale electronic books, including encyclopedias and other reference resources.
Oxford African American Studies Center
A comprehensive collection of full-text materials focusing on the lives and events which have shaped African and African American history and culture.
Note: Access is limited to 3 simultaneous users.
Provides full text access to hundreds of Oxford reference titles, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks.
The social sciences platform for SAGE and CQ Press books, reference materials and other content.
Presents thought-provoking and sophisticated content about contemporary art, and is a go-to place to learn first-hand from the artists of our time. Includes videos, interviews, images and more.
Art 21: art in the twenty-first century
Call Number: Click on the title above for online access
This award-winning PBS television series presents diverse artists, taking viewers into artists' studios, homes, and communities to provide an intimate view of their lives, work, creative processes, and sources of inspiration.
Black Is a Color by
Call Number: N6538.N5 Z3313 2005 Print Books
Publication Date: 2006
Proposes a new approach to contemporary art and its history through the practice of Black American artists from the Harlem Renaissance to today. Combining a historical study with probing critical analysis, this book depicts an America marked indelibly by its slavery past, out of which Afro-American contemporary artists have been able to build a singular and engaged body of work to protest against the cultural and political consequences of racial discrimination.
General Primo Search Tips
- Use the pull-down scoping options to search Collins, Summit and Articles OR Collins and Summit, OR just Collins.
- Use quotes to search for "exact titles".
- Use the filters on the right side to quickly narrow your search.
- Sign in with your Puget Sound username and password to gain access to online resources and request items from other libraries.
Exhibition catalogues can be valuable resources for learning more about a particular artist and their work. These collections often include a mixture of primary and secondary sources such as: Artists' statements; Essays about the artists' work; Artists' biographies including exhibition and award history; Images of the artists' work.
For less well known artists, these catalogues may be one of the few sources of information available about their work.
How to Find:
- Search Primo using the artist's name and the phrase "exhibition catalogs"
Glenn Ligon: America by
Call Number: N6537.L535 A4 2011 Print Books
Publication Date: 2011-04-26
Created in close collaboration with the artist, this book surveys twenty-five years of Ligon's art, including paintings, sculptural installations, prints, and drawings. Essays examine his working methods in depth and situate his output within a broad cultural context, while lavish new photography highlights the formal subtlety of his art.
There are several databases from which to choose when you are seeking secondary sources. For this assignment, most of you will want to start your search by looking at Art Full Text or a newspaper database (for items like exhibition reviews and commentary on the artist/work) or the Arts & Humanities Database (scholarly work in art and cultural studies, among other areas).
Art Full Text
Includes coverage of scholarly work on new artists, contemporary art, exhibition reviews, and feminist criticism.
Arts & Humanities Database
Covers scholarly work in Art, Architecture, Design, History, Philosophy, Music, Literature, Theatre and Cultural Studies.
ARTbibliographies Modern (ABM)
This bibliography covers the study of modern and contemporary art, including fine art, digital art, crafts, design and photography.
America: History & Life
U.S. and Canadian history from prehistory to the present.
New York Times Historical Newspaper
Includes full page images of the New York Daily Times (1851-1857) and the New York Times (1857-2012).
New York Times (nytimes.com)
Full and unlimited access to all of the content on The New York Times web site. Users must register and log in.
Search the most recent U.S. news content, featuring newspapers, newswires, blogs, and news sites in active full-text format. Includes the Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times.