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ARTH 374 - Art Now!

Research tips and resources for Prof. McGuire's ARTH374 - Art Now! course.

Begin Your Research

This guide introduces you to a range of strategies and resources for conducting research on contemporary artists. 

  • Find Background Information: Where to find general or background information on your artist and their work.
  • Find Books and Exhibition Catalogs - Exhibition catalogs can be excellent sources for understanding how an artist's work has been exhibited, whether solo or with other artists. See how to find them at Mason or from other local university libraries.
  • Find Research Articles - Scholarly articles, exhibition reviews, and news sources are critical to understanding how an artist, theory, or subject have been discussed and contextualized with other artists and ideas.
  • Write & Cite - Learn about tools and support for managing your citations and citing images
  • Get Help - Talk directly with the Art Librarian or set up an appointment for one-on-one support!

Research Strategies

  • Start broad, then focus.
    • It's unusual for entire books to be written about a single work of art. Start by searching with an artists' name to find any books or exhibit catalogs containing their work.
    • If you're finding too many results, try adding terms related to a medium, or a specific exhibition title.
  • Read around your artist.
    • Look for books that generally discuss a movement or issue associated with your artist (e.g., minimalism, feminist art).
    • These sources may reference your artist or put their work into context with other artists or events. Check the book's chapter listing, index, or list of images to see if your artist is included.
  • Go straight to the source.
    • Does the artist have a website or are they represented by a gallery? What museums have work from your artist? Artist websites and museum/gallery sites often include "Press" sections or bibliographies which reference any publications or 
  • Search wide!
    • Use sources like Worldcat or Google Books to identify books or articles that talk about your artist and artwork. Then, search in Mason Libraries' catalog (or use Interlibrary Loan) to get a copy of that book or article.

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