May 17, 2021

Collect, Study, Disseminate: Getty Research Institute Launches African American Art History Initiative and Will Acquire Archive of Los Angeles Artist Betye Saar

From the Getty Research Institute:

Today, the Getty Research Institute (GRI) announced the establishment of the African American Art History Initiative with the acquisition of the archive of world-renowned artist Betye Saar (American, b. 1926).

The African American Art History Initiative is an ambitious program to establish the Getty Research Institute as a major center for the study of African American art history.

In addition to acquiring archives and related original sources, the initiative will establish a dedicated curatorship in African American Art History, a bibliographer with a specialty in the subject, annual research graduate and post-graduate fellowships, a program to conduct oral histories of notable African American artists, scholars, critics, collectors and art dealers, and partnerships with other institutions to digitize existing archival collections and collaborate on joint conferences, publications, and research projects. The Getty is starting the project with an initial $5M allocation and will be raising additional funds as the project develops.

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Archives play a central role at the GRI, which collects archives of artists, scholars, curators, and other cultural figures and makes them accessible to researchers all over the world. The GRI’s unique collecting strategies and holdings allow researchers to make connections across disciplines and eras. Archives at the GRI are extensively catalogued and digitized, and archival research at the Getty often leads to or supports publications and exhibitions at the Getty and elsewhere.

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The GRI is also partnering with historically black colleges and universities to help those institutions maximize the research potential of their holdings through digitization and increased scholarly access.

“The Getty Trust’s decision to develop a digital archive will provide scholars, researchers, teachers, students, curators and collectors—anyone passionate about the study of African American artists—easy access to primary reference material in some of the world’s great artists. Spelman College has just launched the Atlanta University Center collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies, thanks to the generosity of the Walton Family Foundation.  We look forward to partnering with the Getty Trust in the course of establishing the collective, as our students become familiar with some of the country’s leading archival resources in the field of African American Art History,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College.

Much More in the Complete Announcement from GRI

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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