NEW YORK.-The New Museum of Contemporary Art announced today that it has transferred its Library to New York University Libraries, creating a partnership between two downtown institutions. The transfer will facilitate research opportunities for scholars of modern and contemporary art by making the New Museum Library’s holdings, which consists of artist monographs, exhibition catalogues, periodicals, and artist archives spanning the post World War II period to the present, more widely available.
The New Museum Library is one of the seminal libraries of Post War Art, and its holdings are a significant complement to New York University’s collections in Modern and Contemporary Art housed at both the Institute of Fine Arts and in the University’s central Bobst Library, including the Fales Library and the Fales Downtown Collection, which documents the downtown New York art, performance, and literary scene from 1975 to the present. The transfer will enable the New Museum Library holdings to be expertly catalogued and conserved as part of a full service library in perpetuity, and will allow it to be accessible to scholars.
"This presents an incredible opportunity for us to collaborate with NYU Libraries to secure a proper home for the New Museum Library holdings so that we can jointly promote the study of Modern and Contemporary Art to as wide an audience as possible," said Lisa Phillips, New Museum Henry Luce III Director. "As a downtown New York institution, we are thrilled that this library will primarily remain downtown, and that it will be available to students and scholars of Modern and Contemporary Art at one of the country’s leading universities as well as continue to be available for research by our own staff."
NYU Dean of the Libraries Carol Mandel said, "The NYU Library system is very excited to be part of the perfect solution to house and make widely available the library collection that the New Museum built and sustained for so many years. Our resources will continue to preserve a valuable collection, and we are delighted to be in partnership with one of our sister downtown institutions."
The books from the New Museum Library will retain their identity within the larger NYU Library system, with the provenance of each volume marked and listed in the online record. Researchers and artists will have renewed access to the important volumes from the New Museum Library, and curators and researchers from the New Museum will be able to access the entire holdings of NYU’s library system. In addition, NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts will create an internship designated as the New Museum Graduate Fellow to assist with programs of the new Resource Center at the New Museum’s building at 235 Bowery, scheduled to open in 2007.
The New Museum Library began in 1985 when the New Museum was given the holdings of The SoHo Center Library. In 1986, the New Museum Library received additional donations and bequests that brought the collection to approximately 20,000 volumes. A Library Publications Exchange Program created in 1987 allowed for the ongoing exchange of exhibition catalogues with 180 contemporary international museums and galleries. Important parts of this library collection include hard to find small press artist catalogues and gallery exhibition brochures from across the country; the core library collection of The Soho Center for Visual Arts; pieces from the Lucy Lippard Archive; an unusual collection of artist manifestos; and a wide array of small press art magazines. The New Museum Library functioned from 1986 to 1992 as a free, non-lending art reference library with an open stacks policy. In 1992, the New Museum Library closed and has been inaccessible to the public since then.
The catalogue of the New Museum Library will be connected electronically to the Museum’s new Resource Center, which will have access to the digital catalogue of the NYU Library system. The Resource Center will also feature a reading room with current books, catalogs, and periodicals on contemporary art from around the world, which will be transferred annually to NYU Libraries, enabling the New Museum to purchase and share current material with the public with the knowledge that it will be provided with long term preservation.
Mariët Westermann, director of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU’s graduate program and advanced research institute in art history, noted, "The New Museum collection will be an invaluable new resource to faculty and graduate students at the Institute of Fine Arts. Over the past two decades, contemporary art has become one of the leading fields of art history, at the Institute as in the discipline at large. Serious scholarship in the field requires research in the types of catalogues, monographs, and periodicals, many now hard to find, that the New Museum collected so well. We also look forward to extending and deepening the connections between the Institute and the New Museum through the new graduate internship we have created at the Museum."