Friday, June 26, 2009

'Out-of' Space and the Gallery as Galaxy

by Barbara Cardinale

If I had to choose a single word to describe week six, it would be 'space.' As a current student assistant for the USF Tampa Library's Special Collections department, I understand how space complications may arise due to limited room for collections and work. Each week, I dedicate five to seven hours assisting Pat Tuttle, the Special Collections department's book processor and shelf organizer. I have been working with Pat for only a month now, and thus far we have moved three collections in order to create more space for all of the new book acquisitions. Often, Pat says, "we are getting more books in, but I have no idea where we are going to put them!"

This week at CAM I really felt as though I was working in a Special Collections department. After all, a museum's collection could be considered a "special collection" in library terms. Not to mention the grant funding agency in Washington, D.C. that focuses on museums and libraries called the Institute of Museum and Library Services. For more information about, IMLS, go to:

I mention IMLS because they afforded me a scholarship and grant called the ALSTARS which stands for Academic Librarians for Tomorrow's Academic Researchers. For more information as to what the ALSTARS is about, please go to:

So space is on my mind, as fellow interns, volunteers, Peter, Shannon and I prepared for the auditors' visit on Friday, June 19th. We had to to pull and showcase eight different works from the 2007-2008 fiscal year because the University is interested in whether or not these works are present within CAM's collection. The pieces varied in size and format; the largest of the works, and the most difficult to pull from the collection was Robert Gelinas' Untitled acrylic on canvas (that, interestingly, is date unknown.) It took five people and two ladders to move the piece from its location. Once it was on our level, it took us ten minutes to decide where it should be placed for the time being. We had to move and adjust other art works and a photo-stand on the ground level in order for the required works to be displayed. A table that was already in the room needed to be free of all items so a piece of foam core could be set on it to display five additional works. These included Robert Mangold's Untitled, from Four x Four x Four (1990), two other Untitled pieces, one by Gustavo Rivera (ca. 1990) and the other by Mikhail Ivanov (1990), and two polacolor photographs by Andy Warhol titled Carolina Herrera (1978) and Cabage Patch Doll (1984-1985). Another large print was displayed, Larry Bell's Vapor Drawing (1981), but it was on the ground level so it was easy to get to and didn't need to be moved.

I can't begin to describe how excited I was to browse through The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts gift of 106 photographs and 50 gelatin silver prints from the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program. As a lover of contemporary theory, Andy Warhol's art is the pinnacle of contemporary thought and movements, as Warhol is to me one of the most famous prognosticators of the ever evolving question, "what is art?" For more on CAM's collection of Andy Warhol photographs, go to:

Although CAM's vault is designed to house art works and not display them such as Graphicstudio's vault, it is because CAM's gallery is the space for art-- a roomy space for the artist stars. I feel like I am standing on a blue moon, as I have been fortunate to see CAM's collection rotate like the planets in the sky.

Bringing Art to You

by Enaam Alnaggar 

This week, we moved some medium-sized framed works. These were among the last few framed works to be photographed, as we would be moving on to cataloging other kinds of artwork in the next week. The pieces that interested me the most were those included in the “Art in the News” series. This series contains 12 works, each created by a different artist for the newspaper medium. Each piece was released in The Tampa Tribune once a month from January to December. A year-long exhibit showcasing these pieces was held at CAM throughout 1999. All of the works were very interesting and thought-provoking, but my favorites include those by Mariko Mori (who studied at Bunka Fashion College!), William Wegman, and Allan McCollum. I think that the “Art in the News” series was a great way of bringing art out of the museum and, literally, to the mainstream’s doorstep, coffee table, and office desk, hopefully generating a great deal of interest in contemporary art.

For more information on the “Art in the News” exhibit and to see small images of the works, please visit:

The page includes short bios of each artist and links where you can find even more information.  

Here is a link to a Youtube video of Mori's 2007 exhibit at the Groninger Museum:

You can probably very easily find other info and lists of each artist’s works in Wikipedia, as well. Plugging an artist’s name into Google Images will bring up tons of images of their works and often links to articles, interviews, and even blog posts reviewing that artist’s career. I encourage you to explore!

New photos have been uploaded to the Flickr account, so be sure to check them out. In our new layout, our Flickr account can be accessed from the “Photos” link, located in the top navigation bar. Clicking “Press” will take you to a recent article published in a local newspaper about the Museum at Work exhibit.

See you next week and thanks for reading!


by Ashley Rand

Museum at Work this week was a little more laid back than usual. On Monday, WUSF news came in and did a brief interview with Peter. During the interview, we had some visitors walking through the exhibit with questions regarding the project; perfect opportunity for us to let the public know what we were up to this summer. While Peter was being interviewed, Shannon and all of us interns were getting the paper work and art work set up for the day's shooting. This entails us taking measurements of the work, getting the line up ready, and placing hangers on the wall. The interview slightly took away from our normal photographing routine in the morning, however, after we took a break for lunch, we managed to come back and get the days work done and put away before 5:00 PM. Starting next week we will begin to photograph unframed prints. It will be interesting to see how we set up for this kind of work. I'm sure the first day will be a little rough with getting the lights situated, but by the second day we should have a routine down. As of last Wednesday, we had more than 300 pieces of work photographed; this means the Museum at Work project is making great progress.

The Photography Realm

by Barbara Cardinale

We are over half way into the semester, with less than 600 pieces left to photograph.  During week five I was able to learn more about the photography realm of the project.  I was really intrigued by the Oscar Bailley works, not only because they were shot on USF property and produced at Graphicstudio, but also because of the interesting way in which the photographic prints were created.  My favorite piece by Bailley was titled Ed Ruscha because of the way in which the photograph was taken.  I learned that there are two different types of cameras that capture a panoramic view.  A cirkut camera takes a 360 degree shot, whereas a banquet camera only takes an 180 degree photograph.  Ed Rushca was taken with a a cirkut camera.  What is so unique about this technique is that the lens of the camera and the film in the camera run in the opposite direction of one other to create the wide panoramic picture.  The lens and film run slow, so artist Ed Ruscha is seen multiple times in the picture, sometimes in full form, and in between him are ghost-like images of himself moving down the line of the image.  As he moved, he displayed a different book that he wrote, one by one as he walked.  Words can't really capture the magnificence of this piece, but I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to see it and learn about this amazing, photographic technique.  

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fan-girl Like Excitement

by Jasmine Rippy


Starting to feel confident in our abilities since we are given room to perform more independently. Also getting to know the vault more intimately as I know what goes where.




Photographed The New York Collection for Stockholm!! Serra, Nam June Paik, SOL LeWitt, and Lichtenstein; it was amazing. Though they were small works, and the photographing went pretty quick, they were all about the same size and therefore the hanging set up didn’t need changing between.  I was able to get some sketching done in between shots of some of the work. There were definitely some works I would like to revisit once the cataloguing is done. Even more impressive to me, than being able to sketch from some of these works, has to be the fangirl-like excitement I get from holding in my hands a work made by my creative idols and hanging it on the wall. Yes, I am a dork like that!




Pretty uneventful for me today, as I came in late and missed all the photographing. Just shows how important it is in your intern experience to be there, available and willing, even if there isn’t something happening at the moment because something will eventually. And if you aren’t there to experience it, you just miss out. In the end, it’s not about the grade; it’s not about a degree requirement; it’s not about the institution getting slave labor; it’s all about what YOU are able to get out of it. 

We did have some oddball pieces this week to photograph though, so I did learn some nifty tricks from Peter about dealing with transparent and reflective works.

Must Remember Sketch Book

by Jasmine Rippy




First day of week two I am holding a Chuck Close and multiple Robert Rauschenberg’s…. not at the same time of course. I wonder how many more days will start like this – I love this job!




Being exposed to so many inspiring works of art on a daily basis overwhelms me at times, and I find myself wishing for a studio break during the day. I had to be reminded to move away from in front of the work after it had been hung so it could be photographed – I just stood there, staring….




More on multiples: Verdea Chryssa, untitled from Chinatown Portfolio. Imagery of Chinese characters over and over – I enjoyed these, I have had the concepts of multiples, repetition, and habit swimming in my head recently - must remember to bring sketchbook with me to the museum.

The Exhibition has Opened!!!

by Jasmine Rippy 

We are all on display now just like some of CAM's art collection since the doors finally opened to the public. It has been a busy first week filed with anxiety, first times, tons of amazing art and a lot of hard work! 

Most of the week I have been on a learning curve just figuring out how to do stuff and how not to do stuff, especially while handling artwork. I have learned to slow down considerably while working and I am feeling as though I am getting better at just being aware of the artwork and myself. It is unbelievable how much one touch from even a gloved hand can affect an object, let alone the possibilities when moving it to and from the collection vault. So far, we have moved mostly paintings, all varying in size from 15-20 feet to three feet, both tall and wide. 

We also went to Graphicstudio this week to pick up a piece that was getting a little face lift.  We had the opportunity to look on as they worked the piece and we were given a mini-tour of the atelier, while Peter was checking out some of the other works. We had a chance to see the printing presses and even some studio rats at work. Again, like CAM, this place is totally underrated; the works dripping from their walls is but a whisper of what they do (and have done) there. It, too, is a treasure to Tampa.

At the end of the day, we looked on as the images are loaded to the database and assigned their accession numbers so they can later be attached to their data files. I know this is just a peek into the non-physical side to museum work, as I am sure after all of the photographs have been taken we will soon begin cataloguing them.  This will allow us get to know the computer database, Embark, quite well.

The Individual Museum

by Barbara Cardinale

I was excited during week four when Shannon asked me to help her locate art works in Embark for the up-and-coming Foundation Annual Review.  I was capable of tagging the pieces required by the auditors, which enabled me to learn a bit more about the documentation software's layout and commands.  For this particular search, I focused on finding the items by artist sort name.  This brings up the object record, or a constellation of information related specifically to the art piece.  For a couple of pieces from the Warhol Foundation, I searched by accession number simply because they are unique and I was curious if it would work.  One interesting fact I learned is that each piece of art contains a credit line which is similar to a bibliographic citation.  The credit line is assigned to each work of art to designate who or where it came from.  For instance, if CAM purchased a work of art from a gallery, the credit line is: MUSEUM PURCHASE, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA COLLECTION.

Shannon also explained to me that unlike libraries, museums are more flexible when it comes to organizing their holdings.  There are no set universal standards, such as the Library of Congress subject headings that are used for monographic record holdings in certain libraries (mainly academic or governmental).  Rather, each museum may designate a particular organizational structure that best suits that institution.  This means that accession numbers will vary, along with how the holdings are organized.  Staff may also be assigned various jobs, depending on the size of the museum.  So, for instance, although Shannon is designated as the registrar, she also works alongside the Curator of the Collection, Peter Foe, and Chief Preparator, Vince Kral.  Since I am interested in specializing in archival work, I may want to consider working for a large museum, although I am not opposed to collaborating with others to get work completed.  

Next week, I hope to continue to work with Embark and that I have the opportunity to learn more about the photography aspect of documenting.  I was happy when Peter wanted to explain to me what a Color Strip’s purpose serves when he is photographing artworks.  Its primarily used to help him adjust the lighting of the photograph once it is uploaded onto the computer.  Apart from the photography, I anticipate working with Enaam and Sarah to make our blog more unique, but structured, as Peter made a few suggestions for it to appear more pristine.  Now, I wait for Thursday…

Museum Explorers

by Sarah Crocker

It's been difficult to pursue my interest in studying a guest's experience at the exhibition.  Visitor traffic has been low here, which is certainly expected for summer, but definitely not what I was hoping for.  There have been a few guests, but whenever they've been here, I've been working on something and couldn't talk to them, or I've been back in the collections vault with the other volunteers and interns.  I did get to talk to Shannon about my ideas for a bit, and she confirmed a lot of my expectations – some of the people who visit are eager to ask questions and talk with staff, but most are content to quietly explore the museum on their own. 

My guess is that a lot of the people who visit the museum come here with a sort of pre-loaded mindset: they expect to come into a hushed environment, walk around, look at a few static pieces of artwork, and then leave.  An exhibition like Museum at Work certainly deviates from this expectation, with its capacity for interaction and questioning.  Of course, talking to workers in the museum is difficult when they are, well, working.  This is a rather significant roadblock.  Lots more to think about....

Otherwise, Enaam and I have been working on redesigning the blog and making it a little more user-friendly.  To be fair, the great majority of the credit belongs to Enaam, who has the actual design know-how to make this work, while my contributions have been more along the lines of “look at all the pretty colors!”  Despite my lack of knowledge, it's been a ton of fun coming up with a design and I'm really excited about the new look.  Hopefully we'll be able to work all of the kinks out and get it launched sometime soon!

Measure by Measure

by Ashley Rand

As the Museum at Work project continues, I learn more each week. This week especially allowed me to be more hands on because I was the only intern present on Monday. This enabled me to learn how to handle different situations, such as how to hang artwork on the wall. Normally, we have two to three people working each day, so helpers tend to work in the same area in which they feel comfortable. I absolutely hate using a tape measure, because of the fact that I'm horrible with numbers. However, after spending the entire day measuring, I now feel extremely comfortable. I not only learned how to measure the artwork, but also how to measure for accurate wall hanging. I was intimidated at first, because of all the numbers and adding and subtracting, but it now seems easy to me. In order to hang up a piece of work you need three main measurements: the height of the entire piece that you divide in half, from which you then subtract the distance of the hanger to the top of the piece, and after this, you add 60. The resulting measurement of this equation becomes the point where you place the hook on the wall. This way, each work will be centered at 60 inches, which is a good height for people to view the work. Once all those measurements are done, you measure the distance between hangers for the distance between each hook. I never realized how long it could take to make sure every piece is hung at the exact same level. It is quite interesting that no matter how big or small the piece is, with this formula they will be hung exactly even to each other.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How to Handle Art Handling

by Ashley Rand

This week was quite eventful at CAM. We managed to get a lot of artwork photographed, and learned new ways of taking those pictures. First off, we had difficulty photographing Robert Rauschenberg’s piece Light, from 7 Characters Suite, 1982 because the piece is enclosed in plexiglas for mounting and framing purposes. Once the piece was hung on the wall, a mirror that is part of the piece did not appear as a mirror, so we reflected light onto it with foam core. However, this created a glare on the overall piece, although the mirror was now visible. As a result, we carefully took it off the wall and unscrewed the plexiglas covering. This enabled us to put the piece back up to photograph it with the white foam core reflecting light onto the mirror only. Once the photographs were shot, we made sure to carefully place the plex back onto the artwork.

Another issue we faced this week was dealing with LeCorbusier’s Unite Series. As we were checking the accession numbers on each piece, we realized that there was a problem with a couple of the numbers. So, we had to conduct research to allow us to be able to fix the mistake. This process took awhile, as we searched the internet for the Unite Series. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to match since each site said and showed something different. The next step was to then go into the collection vault and look at the artist’s folder. These folders contain the documentation sheets and the information regarding the series. After reading the documentation sheets we were able to label them correctly. In all, I never realized how much time and effort it would take to fix such errors. I now see why it is important to consider all of the steps it takes when dealing with artwork. I couldn't imagine what the museum would be like if we had to do this every time we photographed something.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Blogging Hurdles

by Barbara Cardinale

I spent the entirety of week three working on the blog, as Peter, Shannon, fellow bloggers, and I were eager to go live. There were some humps I had to hurdle over, such as deciding exactly how much I was to edit the blogs, since it related to what type of content we were anticipating to post. Yet, there was no reason to turn mountains into mole hills, as I met with Peter and fellow bloggers to discuss what exactly we all had in mind for our posts. I uploaded bloggers' biographies, and Sarah helped me figure out how to link each biography to the right side bar of this page. We also added a link to Enaam's flickr account. Additionally, I uploaded a photograph of CAM taken by Peter as our trademark for the blog. Lastly, Sarah, Enaam and I looked over the first posts one last time and, presto; we were in business!

Now that the technicalities of the blog have been resolved, I hope to spend more of next week engaging in the initial exhibition project. Until then...

Rainy Day at the Museum

by Enaam Alnaggar

Today was a lighter day in terms of physical work. During the first half of the day, the other volunteers and I moved some artwork out of the vault for photographing. Jasmine reviewed the process of setting up wall hooks again, which was helpful, because she clarified a couple of important things for me, such as how to do the measurements properly. It was a good way to refresh my memory. My least favorite task of the day was hanging the artwork on the wall hooks. I was a little worried that the hanging wire wouldn’t catch onto the hook and I’d drop the artwork, but fortunately, all went well. Things were a little quiet in between photo shoots, so I took a couple of new pictures for our Flickr page.

Later, Peter took a few interns with him to set up an art installation at a corporate site downtown. While he was away, Barbara, Sarah, and I worked on getting the blog up and running. If you take a look at the side bar, you’ll notice links to our individual biographies and our Flickr page, which will be updated with new pictures regularly, so be sure to check back!

When the others returned, we took care of a few more things and headed out. It was a bit of a slower day than last week, but I’ll put the blame on the gloomy weather and the huge downpour we had around noon. Rain always makes people a little sleepy, right?

Up Close and Personal

by Ashley Rand

This week was simply amazing. I was able to look at Roy Lichtenstein’s prints in person. Although we weren't documenting the Brushstroke Figures series, Peter and Shannon pulled each print out in the vault so we could look at them. I was in shock! I have never had the experience of seeing his work up close and personal like that before. It was amazing to see the details and layers used in each piece to create the final project. I could have sat there all day admiring his work. However, we had to move on and get the day's work photographed.

We mainly documented works by Robert Rauschenberg. His work is abstract and simply amazing as well. The main piece was Chinese Summerhall, which he created while traveling and taking photographs. He took over fifty rolls of film with 12 exposures on each, and then narrowed them down to make a collage. He included street scenes, markets, store windows, and everyday life. It was executed beautifully, and flowed together as if you were walking through a day in China. To see it up close gives it so much more beauty than from afar.