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Museum at Work

May 18 – July 15, 2009
USF Contemporary Art Museum, East Gallery

What do museums do behind closed doors? Visit CAM this summer when the museum opens its doors to the public to see the process for photographing and documenting the collection. View works in the collection as they are transported to the gallery and photographed. Get a closer look at newly photographed objects on display in the lobby and explore the online collection as new images are added. Interact with staff, students and volunteers as they conduct all aspects of the program including object photography, museum documentation, database management and digital photo file editing, in the open gallery.

Press Release

St. Petersburg Times Review

Find out more about the exhibited works and explore the USFCAM online collection here.
The Museum at Work portfolio on the Collection website will take you directly to the works currently on display.

For additional online research resources, see the links below.
Follow the progress of the project in the journal at the bottom of this page
and in the Museum at Work blog.

Learn more about works on display in the gallery and in the
USFCAM collection using these other websites

Learn about Artists
Modern and contemporary artists and art…
Art cyclopedia
Artists | USF Graphicstudio | Institute for Research in Art

Learn more about Fine Art Prints
International Fine Print Dealers Association, print basics
Printmaking | Crown Point Press
Pace Prints | Print Shop
The London Original Print Fair, about prints
National Gallery of Art Gemini G.E.L. Catalogue Raisonné glossary
Education | USF Graphicstudio | Institute for Research in Art, Glossary of Terms

Learn about Contemporary Art
Tate Collection: British art and international modern and contemporary art
MoMA | Research Resources
Guggenheim Collections
Centre Pompidou
National Gallery of Art – The Collection
Art History Resources on the Web: Contemporary Art
Oxford Art Online (on campus full access courtesy of USF subscription)


Museum at Work Project Journal

Week of July 13, 2009
The open gallery, photographic studio portion of the Museum at Work project is now coming to a close. We had anticipated being able to photograph 600 to 800 works, but exceeded these expectations by documenting over 900 objects. Six directed study interns and 11 volunteers from the University and community participated in and contributed to the success of the project. The Museum at Work project now shifts into the postproduction phase in which digital images will be edited, linked to the database and made available on the Collection website. Look on the Collection page and see the Museum at Work portfolio. There you will find records for all the works that were photographed this summer. As they are edited and linked, we will be adding images to this portfolio through the end of the year until all photographs taken during the project are available on the website.

Week of June 29, 2009
This week, we were able to photograph everything we had planned, including the Larry Clark Tulsa portfolio and Propagation Hazard. In addition, we documented photographs by John Pfahl and Alfred Eisenstaedt. We have made substantial progress in the project and have now completed photography for a total of 670 works. Next week, we plan to photograph gelatin silver prints by Berenice Abbott, Todd Webb, and Leopold Hugo, along with a group of celebrity portraits by Philippe Halsman, and works by R.B. Kitaj. As the project comes to a close, we will document a small number of prints by a variety of artists allowing us to complete the documentation of their work. Artists in this group include Lowell Nesbitt, Howard Hodgkin, Theodoros Stamos and Allan D'Arcangelo.

Week of June 22, 2009
This week, we completed photography for the framed works that we wished to document for the project. The majority of the week was dedicated to preparing the studio for the transition to documenting unframed works. First, we rearranged the studio to photograph a three-dimensional object —Lynda Benglis' sculpture Torso. We then tested lighting and equipment for photographing the unframed prints and photographs in the collection. We were able to document 65 objects, including Kristin Capp's photographs of a Hutterite community as well as Ralph Gibson's Days at Sea portfolio. We were not able to photograph Larry Clark's Tulsa portfolio during this week's session, but will start with this next week. We also plan to photograph the Propagation Hazard folio by David Bradshaw and William Burroughs, gelatin silver prints by Alfred Eisenstaedt and lithographs by Oskar Kokoschka.

Week of June 15, 2009
This week, a total of 189 framed works were photographed.  In addition to completing the planned photography for the week, we were also able to document Ansel Adams' gelatin silver print The Grand Tetons an the Snake River,  linocut prints by Alex Katz and the Sonnet Suites by Graphicstudio's founding director, Donald Saff. We also documented offset lithographs associated with the Art in the News project including work by participants Matthew Barney, Keith Edmier, Leslie Lerner, Allan McCollum, Mariko Mori, Mark Mothersbaugh, Lucy Orta, Ed Paschke, Lorna Simpson, The Art Guys, William Wegman, and Andrea Zittel.  Next week we will be setting up and testing lighting for photography of works that are not framed. Highlights of the work to be photographed include Larry Clark's Tulsa Portfolio, Ralph Gibson's Days At Sea Portfolio, a series of gelatin silver prints by Kristin Capp and a print by Louisa Chase. We also plan to photograph a ceramic piece by Lynda Benglis.

Week of June 8, 2009
A total of 100 works were photographed this week.  In addition to completing the planned photography for the week, we were also able to document five cirkut camera images produced by Oscar Bailey at Graphicstudio, a lithograph by Otto Dix, the Reverend Howard Finster’s Self Portrait painting on wood, and recent acquisitions from Phillip Toledano’s Portraits of Gamers.  Next week, we will continue documenting photographs in the collection including gelatin silver prints by Margaret Bourke-White, Elliott Erwitt, Lee Friedlander, Lewis Hine, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Minor White. We also anticipate documenting a series of photo etchings by Eduardo Paolozzi from The Conditional Probability Machine Folio.

Week of June 1, 2009
This week, a total of 110 framed works were photographed.  As planned, the Truisms series was documented, along with the Unite suite and The New York Collection for Stockholm Portfolio.  In addition, we were able to photograph a series of ink rubbings by Ann Parker and Avon Neal, a lithographic print by Marc Chagall, the Men at Home series by Michael Glier, and Robert Rauschenberg's Light, from 7 Characters Suite.  Bruce Lauritzen's mixed media work of  a photo documentation of Christo's Running Fence, which includes a portion of the actual fence, was also photographed.  Next week, we will finish photographing the framed prints in the collection and move on to the framed photographs.  Works that will be documented include an inkless intaglio by Josef Albers, the Documenta Folio, Super Realism by various artists, mixed media works by Larry Bell, a woodcut by Donald Judd, silkscreen prints by Victor Vasarely, and master printer William Weege's Zodiac series.

Week of May 25, 2009
This week 52 large-scale prints were photographed. As planned, this group included works by Larry Bell, Jules Olitski, Robert Rauschengerg and Janaina Tschape. In addition, we were able to photograph Fiona Foley's Wild Times Call series and the Iron Butterfly portfolio by Nicholas Krushenick. Next week we will continue to focus on framed prints including lithographs from the Truisms series by Jenny Holzer and Le Corbusier's Unite suite. We will also photograph The New York Collection for Stockholm Portfolio, which will be the next group of work to be displayed in the museum lobby.

Student interns and volunteers have posted initial entries on their Museum at Work blog, which went live on Thursday May 28. Follow the blog at

Week of May 18, 2009
A total of 28 large-scale paintings and prints were photographed this week, including works by L.C. Armstrong, Michael Glier, Hiram Williams and Theo Wujcik.  Early Graphicstudio prints by Philip Pearlstein and James Rosenquist were also documented. Next week we will continue to focus on large-scale prints, including a newly acquired Larry Bell Vapor Drawing, prints by Jules Olitski, Robert Rauschenberg's Crops suite and a large-scale cibachrome print by Janaina Tschape.  

On Monday May 18, five of the interns and volunteers met with Peter and Shannon to discuss the submission process and deadline for the Museum at Work blog. Watch this exhibition page for a link to the blog, coming soon.  

Week of May 11, 2009
The final preparations for the public opening of the Museum at Work project were completed this week. Peter Foe, student interns and volunteers set up the photography studio in the East Gallery and completed test photography.  A suite of four prints, Four on Plexiglas, was photographed in the gallery studio and installed in the lobby as the first of a rotating display of recently photographed work. Digital images for the suite have been edited, linked to the database and uploaded to the Collection website. Layout and design for the Museum at Work exhibitions page was also completed. Next week, large-scale paintings will be photographed and documented. Workstations have been set up so museum staff, student interns and volunteers can complete all project tasks in the open gallery.   
A mandatory meeting for 15 interns and volunteers was held on Monday May 11. The participants come from both the university and community, and represent a diverse range of concentrations and interests including fine arts, library science, anthropology and history.