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Roy Lichtenstein Foundation grant supports new archives of 250,000 images of contemporary art from N.Y.
James Dee with an Artstor staff member. Photo: Marin Watts.


NEW YORK, NY.- The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has awarded $75,000 to Artstor in support of the James Dee Archives project. The Archives are composed of approximately 250,000 slides, transparencies, negatives, and photographs documenting contemporary art in New York City over the last four decades, and Artstor is digitizing and maintaining the archive for use in research and education. The gift will support the processing of the collection, developing crowdsourcing software for collaborative cataloging, and the outreach to galleries and individuals who would be helpful in interpreting the images.

"The James Dee Archives project is an invaluable resource, one of the most comprehensive documentations of contemporary art in New York City over the last four decades," said Jack Cowart, Executive Director of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. "It relates to our own Harry Shunk and Shunk-Kender Photography Collection of 200,000 photographs of prominent artists, which the Foundation recently gifted to five major institutions. While the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation doesn’t usually make grants, the Board and staff felt the James Dee project merited an exception given its broad relevance and art historical importance. We also hoped our support would reward Artstor for its initiative while encouraging other funders to join this ambitious project."

"Artstor is very grateful for the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation's support," said James Shulman, President of Artstor. "We believe that the lessons learned in rescuing, processing, and maintaining this analogue archive will be important for the community. We very much hope that by documenting this process, we will establish some best practices that can be used by Artstor and others when preserving other one-of-a-kind at risk image collections."

D. James Dee, aka the SoHo Photographer, spent almost 40 years documenting contemporary art in New York City, in particular during SoHo’s art boom in the 1980s. He worked for such pivotal galleries as Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Paula Cooper Gallery, Holly Solomon Gallery, OK Harris, and artists such as Donald Judd, Brice Marden, Jeff Koons, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Gober, Hannah Wilke, Tauba Auerbach, Glenn Ligon, Rudolf Stingel, Sherrie Levine, Andy Warhol, and many others.

Dee’s archives came with one major piece missing: slide labels. Despite the considerable challenges in identifying, scanning, and cataloging such a vast archive, Artstor recognizes the value of the collection for researchers and historians and plans to collaborate with museum and gallery officials, scholars, and librarians to identify the artworks and installations.

Artstor is a non-profit initiative, founded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with a mission to use digital technology to enhance scholarship, teaching, and learning in the arts and associated fields.

Artstor assembles and makes available the Artstor Digital Library, an aggregation of over 1.8 million images from more than 200 museums, photo archives, artists and artists’ estates, libraries, and individual scholars, covering subject matter from prehistory to the present; and Shared Shelf, a Web-based cataloging and image management software service that allows institutions to catalog, edit, store, preserve, and share local collections. Artstor also collaborates with other institutions to offer a number of services, many of them free, including serving as a hub for the Digital Public Library of America, providing Images for Academic Publishing (IAP), and hosting the Built Works Registry.






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