Reference Books of the Month: Art Books

Greg Borman, a current Gleeson Library | Geschke Center intern, wrote this post.

The three titles detailed below represent the kinds of art-related print reference books that the Gleeson library holds. These can be found near the reference desk on the library’s first floor.

Further information about the Gleeson library’s art reference materials, including online databases, can be found at our art reference webpage.

RawVisionThe creators of Raw Vision journal have published Raw Vision Outsider Art Sourcebook. Raw Vision focuses on a genre of art alternately known as “art brut,” “naïve art,” or “visionary art.” Outsider artists typically have no formal art training, and, whether due to socioeconomic status, mental illness, or other factors, are unable or unwilling to participate in the mainstream art world. The Sourcebook features 50 profiles of artists in a section titled “Classic Outsiders.” Biographical information, along with details about each artist’s influences and thematic concerns, is included in each profile, along with a list of institutions that collect their work. Another major element of Raw Vision Outsider Art Sourcebook is its “Visionary Environments” section. This section covers unique creations known as “environments,” which fall somewhere between sculpture and architecture. Sections that provide information about galleries and museums around the world that collect outsider art are also included, as are publications and websites that cover the genre. (Call Number: N 7432.5 .A78 R39 2002)

ContempWomenArtistsContemporary Women Artists
, edited by Laurie Collier Hillstrom and Kevin Hillstrom, includes a preface written by prominent writer and activist Lucy Lippard. In the preface, Lippard notes that an international feminist art movement aided the increase of women participants in the art world during the 1970s. Lippard adds that not all of the artists represented in this resource have identified themselves as feminists, and indeed a number of the artists included were active before the term was in currency. Contemporary Women Artists includes over 350 entries covering 700-plus pages that detail the lives and careers of 20th century artists. There are also over 200 images of the artists and their work. A number of art specialists have contributed succinctly written essays that provide key biographical and career insights. The entries also include basic biographical information such as birth and death dates, education, career highlights, and awards received. Exhibition histories of individuals are also listed, as are public collections that house their works. (Call Number: N 8354 .C66 1999)

PostBiblicalSaintsThe result of extensive research carried out by author Mercedes Rochelle, Post-Biblical Saints Art Index offers the opportunity to search religious artworks by their subjects. The main section of the book features over 200 pages of alphabetically listed saint names accompanied by details about their title, lineage, priestly order, and martyrdom. Under each saint’s name, there is also a listing of artworks that they appear in, with information about where the work is held or reproduced in print. A “Directory” section provides addresses of locations (museums, churches, libraries, etc.) where the works in the index can be found.  Additionally, a smaller “Index of Attributes and Events” section provides access to the subjects covered in the works of art that are listed under the saint names. (Call Number: N 8079.5 .R63 1994)

Of course, there is plenty of art to see in the San Francisco Bay Area, and here are some places to view work that relates to the reference books covered here.

The A440 gallery in downtown San Francisco features work by a number of outsider artists. Click here for more information.

Squeak Carnwath, a prominent Bay Area woman artist who has taught at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and California College of the Arts, has an exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California that runs through late August.

Finally, the Legion of Honor in San Francisco has in its collection a number of works with religious themes.

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