Category Archives: Art & Design

New Books: Modern Memoir

The SVA library has added a selection of new memoirs to its collection. Writers, musicians and comedians share their personal experience and observations through this timeless form of writing. Sometimes called a “tell-all” or “auto-biography,” memoir helps an author give shape to their life through writing, while allowing an audience to experience the singular life of another person. Some recent additions to our collection include:

41NSFN39qtL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_M Train by Patti Smith: Legendary artist Patti Smith creates a “road map” of her life in this new memoir. Travelling between New York, Mexico, Berlin, and Michigan, we follow the artist and her thoughts via notebook entries written over the course of decades. From the personal to the societal, Smith’s reflections offer a portrait of both the artist and the times in which she lives.




Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein: Before Carrie Brownstein created the popular TV series Portlandia, she was famous for her songwriting, singular guitar style and feminist activism in the bands Sleater-Kinney and Excuse 17. Part of a 1990s wave of female musicians that relentlessly demanded space for both themselves and other women in the music industry (and elsewhere), Brownstein recounts the years that led from the riot grrrl scene of the Pacific Northwest to being named one of Rolling Stone’s most underappreciated guitarists of all-time.


Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon: Musician, visual artist, and fashion icon, Kim Gordon is best known as a founding member of the band Sonic Youth. Concurrent to the band’s three decades of prolific touring and recording, Gordon maintained solo projects in a full-spectrum of creative mediums. Girl in a Band examines her creative life, relationship to motherhood and marriage, and the fluid nature of identity.



RIP, Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid, the groundbreaking Iraqi-born British architect, died on Thursday, March 31st in Miami at the age of 65.

Visit our display at the front of the library to learn more about her career, her designs, and her legacy.


Amazing SVA Alumni Graphic Novels arrived in the library today, NO April Fools joke! 

Shawn Martinbrough, Thief of Thieves, Image Comics



Joe Flood, Science Comics: Dinosaurs, FirstSecond Books (​I​llustrator)


Meredith Gran, Marceline Gone Adrift, KaBOOM! Comics


Leslie Stein, Bright Eyed at Midnight, Fantagraphics 


James Jean, Fables Covers: The art of James Jean (new edition), Vertigo

Alex Juhasz, The Little Prince, production designer, and illustrator

Trial Databases: Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Wear Daily & Women’s Magazine Archive

The SVA Library is re-trialing the Harper’s Bazaar Archive, the Women’s Wear Daily Archive, and the Women’s Magazine Archive from Proquest’s Fashion Studies package. These trials will be active through April 30th, and can be accessed from our A-Z Databases page. We previously trialed these databases in December 2015.


About Harper’s Bazaar:

The Harper’s Bazaar Archive is a comprehensive, searchable archive of every page, advertisement, and cover of every issue of Harper’s Bazaar from its first appearance in 1867 to the current month. Reproduced in high-resolution color page images and supported by fully searchable text and indexing, this resource provides access to a chronicle of 20th century American and international fashion, culture, and society, supporting researchers by offering a cultural lens into the modern era.

*Please note in the initial release of this database, coverage extends from 2015 back to 1969, and partial coverage from 1962. The full run of the magazine back to 1867 will be digitized sometime in 2016.

About Women’s Wear Daily:

A comprehensive archive of Women’s Wear Daily, from the first issue in 1910 to material from within the last twelve months, reproduced in high-resolution images. Every page, article, advertisement and cover has been included, with searchable text and indexing. The Women’s Wear Daily Archive preserves one of the fashion industry’s most influential reads. Key moments in the history of the industry, as well as major designers, brands, retailers and advertisers are all covered in this publication of record.

About Women’s Magazine Archive:

An archival research resource comprising the full backfiles of leading women’s interest consumer magazines. Titles are scanned from cover to cover in high-resolution color and feature detailed article-level indexing. Coverage ranges from the late-19th century through to 2005 and these key primary sources permit the examination of the events, trends, and attitudes of this period. Among the research fields served by this material are gender studies, social history, economics/marketing, media, fashion, politics, and popular culture.

New: Surf Book

Surf Book (cover)The SVA library has added Surf Book to its collection, a selection of images and text created by photographer Michael Halsband (SVA 1980) in collaboration with surfer and surf advocate Joel Tudor. Over the course of five years they traveled between surf communities around the world documenting key figures—including the waves, leis and landscapes—of contemporary surf culture. The collection of portraits is accompanied with text by Tudor describing the influence each has had on him and the culture at large. In the publisher’s description, Halsband likens the development of this project as kindred to touring with the Rolling Stones:

Having graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 1980, he became the official photographer for the Rolling Stones’ “Tattoo You” tour. He became a friend and confidante of both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who counted on him to relay the vibe of their program… This “surf journey,” as Halsband calls it, “has been life changing. If I put in some hierarchy, I’d say without hesitation that it’s been as interesting as touring with the Stones.”

You can find Surf Book on the new book shelf at the Main Library. For more photobooks on surf culture, you can also check out Surf Site Tin Type by Joni Sternbach, a collection of contemporary portraits created using the traditional tintype method, and A Golden Age: Surfing’s Revolutionary 1960s and ’70s by John Witzig.

Photograph by Michael Halsband.

Photograph by Michael Halsband.

New Books: Art Communities

NYSThe SVA library recently added two new books that focus on two different but sympathetic mid-twentieth century art movements: the New York School and Black Mountain College. Although only one of the two operated as an actual school (Black Mountain 1933-1957), both embraced interdisciplinary approaches to art-making within communities and often through collaboration. Poetry, painting, dance, music—all mediums were tantamount and all were called upon to explore the lived experience of a post-World War II society. Both movements are known not only for their associated visual artists, but also their notable poets.

New York School Painters & Poets: Neon in Daylight by Jenni Quilter is comprised of 320 fully-illustrated pages of rare ephemera, film stills, photographs, interviews, recollections, poetry, paintings, and more. To turn its pages is to take a tour through a carefully selected archive of highlights from this charged and generative time. Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Philip Guston, John Ashbery, Alice Notley, Frank O’Hara, and Anne Waldman are just a few of the many artists included in this new publication.

BMCLeap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 features over 50 essays on this pioneering experiment in education. Located outside of Asheville in rural North Carolina, Black Mountain College put the creative process at the center of all learning. Today the list of students is as impressive as the list of instructors—artists and poets like Cy Twombly, Robert Creeley, Ruth Asawa, Elaine de Kooning, and Robert Rauschenberg studied with teachers like Josef and Anni Albers, Charles Olson, John Cage, M. C. Richards, Merce Cunningham, and Willem de Kooning. (De Kooning being just one example of Black Mountain’s direct overlap with the New York School.) The education experience was reciprocal: instructors also learned from students, creative collaborations developed between them, and many students even went on to teach at the school. Each essay in Look Before You Leap focuses on a different element of the whole: students, instructors, campus life, learning, from topics like “The Formation of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company” to “Building Autonomy, Creating Community: The Farm and Work Program at Black Mountain College” and “Textures of the South: Roland Hayes and Integration at Black Mountain College.”

Find both these titles on the new book shelf in the SVA Main Library!

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (a birthday picture for Hermine), 1952. Solar print, 28x22 inches.

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (a birthday picture for Hermine), 1952. Solar print, 28×22 inches. From Look Before You Leap: Black Mountain College, p. 315.


Philip Guston and Bill Berkson, Negative, 1973. From New York School: Painters & Poets, p. 270.

Philip Guston and Bill Berkson, Negative, 1973. From New York School Painters & Poets: Neon in Daylight, p. 270.

2016 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

AF_Mark_2.svgThe third annual Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon will happen in NYC on Saturday, March 5th. The all-day event is one of nearly 150 that will take place worldwide. This initiative aims to generate coverage of women and the arts on Wikipedia and encourage female editorship. In 2015, over 1500 participants at more than 75 events around the world created nearly 400 new pages and edited 500 existing articles. The event is open to the public and everyone is welcome to participate.

The day will include a panel discussion, tutorials for the beginner Wikipedian, ongoing editing support, reference materials, childcare, and refreshments. The organizers advise participants to bring a laptop, power cord, and ideas for entries. (They also encourage the “editing-averse” to stop by to show their support!)

What: 2016 Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
When: Saturday, March 5th – Panel at 10am, Editing from 11am-5pm
Where: Education and Research Building at The Museum of Modern Art, 4 West 54 Street

Capacity is limited so participants will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis. RSVP to attend and to register for childcare on their Event Brite page. Questions? Email