Friday, January 18, 2008

Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy working with time

Have you seen our video collection before? We have both DVD and VHS videos on art, architecture, design and crafts. One of our most popular videos is Rivers and Tides : Andy Goldsworthy working with time. Goldsworthy is a Scotland-based sculptor who works with natural materials like tree branches, rocks, leaves and ice. Most of his sculptures are ephemeral, like nature herself. Watching him work is immensely relaxing and inspiring. I think people love this video because Goldsworthy's methods shed light on life itself. He reminds us that each day, each hour, each minute is important and should not be taken for granted. At the same time, despite our best efforts to shape the world around us, in the end, things just take their natural course. Ice melts, leaves scatter, branches break. It might seem futile to build something just to watch it disappear, but it is through futile acts that one finds the beauty of creation and the everyday.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Making copies at the library

If you've ever tried to make copies here at the library, you know that our equipment shall we say it...a little outdated. Here on the 3rd floor of Mid-Manhattan Library, we have three black and white copiers and one color copier. One of our copiers, the one located near the ladies restroom, accepts bills and change. The other copiers require a copy card, which you may purchase here at the library. This is the tricky part: the copy cards must be purchased with cash, and you must first insert a one dollar bill to purchase the copy card. We know this is weird, but you can get singles for your Jacksons at the Picture Collection circulation desk. The card itself costs 30 cents, but your copiers will be cheaper -- 15 cents each with a copy card as opposed to 20 cents each when you use cash.

If you need to make lots and lots of copies, you also have the option of checking out books and bringing them to Kinko's or Staples. The closest Kinko's is located at 58 West 40th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, along Bryant Park and is open 24 hours a day. Their phone number is 212-921-1060. The closest Staples is located at 1065 Sixth Avenue at 40th Street and is open Monday through Friday from 7am to 9pm, Saturday 9am to 6pm and Sunday 11am to 7pm. Their phone number is 212-997-4446. If you want to make copies from a reference book, you may check out most reference books with proper identification for a duration of two hours. You may not check out reference books overnight and there are no exceptions, no matter how hard you bat your eyelashes at us or how much chocolate you lavish on us.

You also have the option of taking digital photos of the book pages. Please keep in mind, however, that you are responsible for researching and adhering to intellectual property laws governing the reproduction of books and images. Personal or educational use is usually allowed, but commercial use is usually not allowed.

One final tip about using our copiers: please plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time to make copies. We often have lines at the copiers during the hour before closing. You are allowed to bring materials to other floors in the building to make copies, but you must bring the materials back to the third floor when you are finished. Our color copier is the only one in the building.

We realize that it's not easy to make copies here. The Art Collection and Picture Collection have heard your suggestions (pay with copies with credit cards, more color copiers, more paper sizes, cheaper copies) and we will try to get them heard whenever plans for new equipment are being considered.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Renew your creativity

Every artist gets stuck at times. We have books here at the library that can help you get back on track (or off track?). The most popular one is Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way: a spiritual path to higher creativity. Now, normally anything with the word "spiritual" in it makes me run the other way, but the persistent popularity of this book makes me think that there must be something to it. We have many other books by Cameron including How to Avoid Making Art (or anything else you enjoy), which is a humorous look at the process of making art.

I'm not an artist but have thought about reading "The Artist's Way" just to see what it's all about. I imagine that it's something like Rhonda Byrne's The Secret, but for artists (I haven't read this book, either -- you got me). If you like books like these, you can explore the many books or videos -- art and non-art related -- that we have cataloged with the subject Self actualization (Psychology).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oscar Wilde Bookshop turns 40!

On Tuesday, November 27, the Oscar Wilde Bookshop, the world's oldest gay and lesbian book store, will be offering 40% off any book price $40 or less. This offer is being extended for in-store and telephone purchases. I highly recommend the graphic novel Fun Home: a Family Tragicomic by Allison Bechdel to anyone and everyone. If you've never read a graphic novel before but have been meaning to do so, this is a great place to start. The bookstore is selling it for $13.95, so if my math is correct, you can buy it for $8.37 plus tax.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Design flaws in Frank Gehry's Stata Center at MIT

MIT Strata Center
Originally uploaded by Sydneyhuang
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is suing architect Frank Gehry over serious design flaws. According to the New York Times article "MIT Sues Architect Frank Gehry,"

"The school asserts that the center, completed in spring 2004, has persistent leaks, drainage problems and mold growing on its brick exterior. It says accumulations of snow and ice have fallen dangerously from window boxes and other areas of its roofs, blocking emergency exits and causing damage."

Looks like the Los Angeles firm didn't take into account that in Boston, it's not always sunny like in Southern California (and Bilbao?).

Unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me that there are engineering problems in Gehry's building because Gehry doesn't know how to use a computer(!) Whimsical creations of the mind are all well and good on paper, but when people will be using the buildings, you better really look at the structural features.

Maybe Gehry needs to brush up on his Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) basics. He can come to the Mid-Manhattan Library and use the entire set of the Kaplan architectural exam preparation books. (The current year's edition is for reference only, and past years' editions can be brought home.) He can also check out the books we have on construction in the 690s.

Tonight at the library: Slide lecture on Georges Seurat's drawings

Wednesday, Nov 7 — 6:30 PM on the 6th floor

The Museum of Modern Art @ the Library presents: "Georges Seurat: The Drawings," with Jennifer Kantanic.

Georges Seurat's mysterious and luminous works on paper played a crucial role in his short, vibrant career. This slide lecture will feature a comprehensive overview of the art and life of Georges Seurat (1859-1891).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Art librarians save the day!

There is an article in the New York Times about the recovery of the stolen painting "Tres Personajes" by the Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo. One Person's Trash is Another Person's Lost Masterpiece is the title of the article.

Yes indeedy, Elizabeth Gibson found the painting and then a friend went to the library and checked out a bunch of books on the artist. The lost and found painting was on the cover. The article doesn't say which library her friend checked the books out from, but it is likely the Mid-Manhattan Library.

Then an art librarian at the Frick advanced the plot further by referring Gibson to a nearby gallery specializing in Latin-American Art. Go librarians!