MAKING HISTORY A PROFITABLE THING
The Bettmann Archive and Corbis
Founded during the late Weimar Republic in Berlin and continued in New York after 1935, the Dr. Otto Bettmann picture archive evolved from a one-man business into the leading picture provider for historical reproductions. Today, the Bettmann Archive is less renown for the quality of its holdings, but rather for the development of an efficient storage and searching system, which was the result of numerous experiments with images and text. Photography played both a role as an archival object and as a finding aid. Bought in 1995 by Corbis, the Bettmann Archive is now preserved—alongside a number of other historical agency holdings—in a former mine in Pennsylvania, which has been repurposed for long-term archiving and which is managed by the company Iron Mountain.
OF PICTURES AND BUILDINGS
Walter Müller-Wulckow‘s Working Materials for the ‘Blue Books’‚ on ‘Contemporary Architecture’ at the Landesmuseum Oldenburg
Between 1925 and 1932, Robert Langewiesche Publishing produced—within the series of the Blaue Bücher (Blue Books)—four bestselling books on contemporary architecture. The author was the art historian and architecture expert Walter Müller-Wulckow (1886–1974). The books distinguished themselves from other publications of the time by their particularly broad perspective on the dawn of modernism and were rediscovered during the critical scrutiny of the canonisation of the Neues Bauen movement. The extensive estate of Müller-Wulckow that is held at the Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte in Oldenburg provides new insights into the history of the books. The estate has now been inventoried and shown in exhibitions in Oldenburg, Berlin, and Breslau, as well as published in a catalogue that is rich in content and detail. The processing of the estate was carried out from 2012 to 2014 by Andreas Rothaus and this author within the context of an externally funded project.
EXPANSION INTO SHARED SPACES
Manifesting a Culture of Interdepartmental Collaborations in Architectural Structures at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Teamwork and communication between curators, exhibition technicians, registrars, and conservators are invaluable in the preservation of media art installations. Furthermore, engaging artists in these discussions may be among the greatest contributions contemporary art museums can make to the future care and legacy of these works of art. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has been committed to such interdepartmental collaborations for some time. With the expansion of the museum scheduled to open in 2016, two zones of physical working spaces have been conceived and designed to reflect, affirm, and advance these practices of staging, documenting, and conserving installations. A series of adjacent and shared spaces—a black box studio, a media conservation studio, and technical workrooms—can be seen as the architectural analog for the activities of expert teams of media conservators, exhibition technicians, curators, registrars, and artists. With the design of these new spaces, the museum is responding to the needs of its rapidly growing media arts collection, and honours its commitment to artists and rich interdisciplinary modes of operating in the building’s architecture itself.
The Faces of the Deutsches Kunstarchiv
Archives are places of both remembering and forgetting. On the one hand, they are established with the goal of protecting the cultural heritage of our society from loss, thereby providing objects a prolonged existence; on the other hand, the ‘saved’ documents linger in the depths of the vaults, where, removed from public focus, they are liable to remain unnoticed. Various paths lead from the bowels of obscurity to the surface of visibility. This article illustrates some possible emersion routes for the many portrait photographs in the Deutsches Kunstarchiv.
FRONT 14/18—THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN 3D
The Making of a Photography Exhibition
How does one convey World War I to today ‚s audience? In its image, film and sound archives, the LWL-Medienzentrum für Westfalen in Münster holds stereo photographs made by two front-line soldiers. These materials have now been inventoried, and a selection has been published in a book and is shown in a travelling exhibition. In the book, the image pairs were separated and the margins adjusted to fully bring out the three-dimensional effect with the use of 3D glasses. In the first venue of the exhibition in the Henrichshütte Hattingen mine, a theatrically staged presentation enhances the ominous look-and-feel of the images. Reinforced by film clips and music, the pictures were transformed into large format, red-green anaglyphs to make them more accessible to visitors in the form of a communal experience. This article contextualizes the image holdings, discusses the conceptual decisions, and outlines the planning and implementation of this elaborate project.