Library staff recommendation: 500 Chairs: Celebrating Traditional and Innovative Designs

500 Chairs: Celebrating Traditional and Innovative Designs
New York : Lark Books, c2008.
Greenfield Open Stacks 749.32 F586h 2008

This book exhibits a wide range of one of my favorite everyday objects, the chair. There is something very personal and quietly beautiful in a chair and this book captures 500 different takes on this very common object. Some of the artists and craftspeople whose work is depicted include former UArts ceramics shop supervisor and Philadelphia ceramicist Hope Rovelto, and visiting artist lecturer (2009) Matthias Pliessnig. From more traditional styles to Craig Nutt’s “Celery Chair with Peppers, Carrots & Snow Peas” (pg. 292), or my favorite, Bobby Hansson’s “Chair for Bored Housewife” (pg. 110), 500 Chairs is sure to please.

Recommended by Casey Murphy

Digital Resource of the Week: Artists’ Books from Reed Library

Reed College Library has a wonderful online exhibition and essay about artists’ books. Pulling items from their Special Collections, the exhibition includes works by artists such as William Kentridge, Gerlovin and Gerlovina, and Xu Bing. The collection contains excellent examples of modern book arts and provides page by page viewing of most items.


Tobacco Project by Xu Bing
Tobacco Project by Xu Bing

You can browse the collection by four main sections: livre d’artist (deluxe edition prints), avant garde, conceptualist, or contemporary. Or, chose to explore by artist. When Reed does not have an artist’s work online, they link to external websites about the artist.

The University Libraries also has a book arts collection with over 400 items available for students and faculty to view.


Music and … — A Note on Our Underrecognized Journals

by Geoff Belforti, UArts Music Library

Collaborative and interdisciplinary by nature, music is a socially powerful and adaptable art form. The ubiquity of Anglo-American popular music testifies to its functionality as a reinforcement mechanism for communal belonging and individual identity. Music is readily co-opted by religious and political movements, as aural landscape for personal reflection, and as continuity stream for dance and cinema. That music tends to “show up” in the mix became the inevitable observation when we tried to find a peg upon which to hang a discussion about some of our best—but too little appreciated—scholarly journals. Far more current, and often more provocative than what we find in droller books, the journal literature provided by the University Libraries can lean toward the genuinely juicy and be as unpredictable as the wandering scholars who pause to polish and parade their pearls therein. Because the UArts Music Library subscribes to the print version, some of these journals are also available online.

By way of undisguised self-promotion, herewith is a random sampling of articles from the Music Library’s periodicals on music and … —

— dance anthropology

Yearbook for Traditional MusicGiurchescu, Anca and Speranţa Rădulescu. “Music, dance, and behaviour in a new form of expressive culture: the Romanian manea,” Yearbook for Traditional Music 43 (2011), 2-36. (ML26 .I63 v. 43 2011 – the call number is for the bound issues in the Music Library.)

This article from the venerable Yearbook for Traditional Music traces the roots, influences, and transformations of a highly popular form of Roma protest music in Romania known as manea. Originating in Ottoman aristocratic music of the early 19th century, in the 1960’s the manea first became a genre of protest music, with gypsy musicians (mostly from poor communities and neighborhoods around the southeastern Danube) lamenting their plight as a marginalized people in Romania. By incorporating musical elements from genres as diverse and disparate as hip-hop, disco, pop, techno, and house music, as well as pan-Balkan and Arabic-Turkish music, manea has somewhat paradoxically come to appeal to everyone from lower class Romanian audiences to the nouveaux riches of the country.  Read the full article to find out how manea has adapted so well to modern society and remained a powerful form of protest.

— landscape design

Leonardo Music JournalFowler, Michael. “Transmediating a Japanese garden through spatial sound design,” Leonardo Music Journal 21 (2012), 43-49. (ML1 .L46 v. 21 2012)

Inspired in part by John Cage’s composition Ryoanji (a recording is available on CD6786 in the UArts Music Library), the artist Michael Fowler, writing for the Leonardo Music Journal, has developed schemata for “transmediating” landscape and sound at the ancient Sesshutei garden-temple complex at Joei-ji, Yamaguchi, Japan. The garden was originally designed and planted by a 15th-century Zen Buddhist painter and priest, who modeled it after one of his most famous paintings—one that playfully distorts viewers’ senses of scale and perception. Taking cues from Sesshu’s design, Fowler employs methods developed by the mathematicians Georgy Voronoy and Boris Delaunay to map the layout of the garden. He then transforms recordings from nature (of bird song, running water) combined with those of traditional instruments (rin, or singing bowl; mokugyo, or woodblock; and daiko drums) into a sound installation that complements—diagrammatically emulates—Sesshu’s original garden design.



–evolutionary psychology

Music PerceptionVuoskoski,  Jonna, et al. “Who enjoys listening to sad music and why?” Music Perception 29 (2012), 311-315. (ML3830 .M765 v. 29 2012) Thoroughly superficial assumptions pervade whatever understanding most of us have regarding so-called “happy” and “sad” music. Most discussions founder on the shores of cultural indoctrination. Here, in the journal Music Perception, several researchers from Finland and Australia attempt a more deeply analytical approach to this deceptively puzzling issue. Contrary to feelings of increased sadness elicited by certain life events, the psychologists found that those participants who self-identify as appreciators of “sad” music were more like to report feelings of “peacefulness”, “wonder”, and “nostalgia” after hearing selected musical compositions. They further discovered that certain personality traits typically associated with “positive” emotions correlate with the enjoyment of sad music. As is the case with much of the burgeoning field of music psychology, the proposals concluding this article are worth the effort it takes to monitor journal literature such as this, where extraordinary developments in a host of disciplines are often first presented.

Digital Resource of the Week: Getty Research Institute’s Digital Collections

The Getty Research Institute (GRI) works collaboratively with the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation.

Sketchbook of Pompeii by Sir William Gell (1830)
Sketchbook of Pompeii by Sir William Gell (1830)


The Getty Research Institute‘s mission “is dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts.” To meet this goal, the Institute has many digital collections, including images of art, architecture, photography, and primary sources such as artists’ letters.

The GRI’s digital collections can be searched a variety of ways. For example, search by medium to discover drawings or photographs. Search by subject to limit to Latin America or Modernism.

The Institute also has a Photo Study Collection of about a million of its photographs available online. The Collection acts as a reference tool for studying antiquities and Western art.

At the end of this month, GRI will launch the Getty Research Portal, “a free online search platform providing global access to digitized art history texts in the public domain.” These digitized art books will provide easy access to critical scholarship. Stay tuned to learn more!

El Lissitzky (1923) "Schaumachinerie" (Show machinery)
El Lissitzky (1923) "Schaumachinerie" (Show machinery)