UCB Libraries

ARTS 3017: Art as Social Practice

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  • Biographies
  • Books & Exhibition Catalogs
  • Articles & Magazines
  • Images
  • Cite

Your Assignment

You are all required to give a ten-minute presentation and turn in a 5-page research paper for this course. Your presentations should include biographical information

Finding Biographies

Reference sources such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are a great tool to get acquainted with many topics quickly and often contain artist biographies.
They will give you a basic overview of a person's life and often include a bibliography, which will point you to the best sources for developing a strong grasp of the subject
Sources for Biographies

Oxford Art Online

Includes extensive biographies on artists and other encyclopedia entries. If your artist is well known and established, they will probably have a biography here.


Marquis Who's Who on the Web

Includes Who's Who in American Art. A great source for the basic info on American Artists, includes lists of exhibitions, museums that have collected the artist, and contact information.


Biography index

Brings together articles in magazines of a biographical nature.



Its extensive nature and frequent updating make Wikipedia one of the only places for information about some obscure and current artists.



Go on to finding books and exhibition catalogs >>


Your Assignment

You will need to provide a survey of the artists work, including the materials used, any current projects they can find

Finding Books

Well known artists will often be the subject of a book. More obscure or very recent artist may not have an entire book written about them, but they may be included in a book or exhibition of many artists.
Library Catalogs


Chinook is the catalog for books and other materials owned by the CU Libraries. Articles are not in Chinook


Contemporary Artists Index

When you search by artist it will list all the catalogs that include them. A great source for hard-to-find artists. Search for the books you find in Chinook or Worldcat.


Google Books

Allows you to search within a book for content. This is important for contemporary artists as they might be mentioned in Biennals or Exhibition Catalogs, but not be a main focus of the book. Once you find a book, check our library to see if we own that book.



Worldcat will search most American libraries and some foreign libraries. If there is a book published on your artist or group you would find it here. You can request books via Interlibrary Loan (ILL), there will be a link in the Worldcat to "Request from ILLiad."


Go on to Finding Articles and Magazines >>


Your Assignment

Your presentations should include excerpts from critical essays, as well as explain the following

Content: what the artists work is about (individual works of art as their practice as a whole)
Context: where is the piece made and is there a historical or place-based context surrounding the artists work? 

Finding Articles & News

Finding articles in journals & magazines requires using an Index, which brings together the individual titles from multiple magazines and makes them searchable. Indexes are often focused on a specific subject. Articles are not in Chinook.

Article Indexes
ArtBibliographies Modern
Covers both scholarly and popular art magazines. You can find interviews, articles, exhibition reviews and more here.


ProQuest newspapers

Get articles from 500 newspapers covering mostly the last 30 years. A great sources for exhibition reviews.



A full-text archive of important scholarly publications in the humanities and social sciences. It covers far fewer journals and so is best used when you need to be able to search the full-text of articles. It often lacks the most recent five years of a journal.


Finding Blogs


Blogs can be a great source for reactions, images, and info. Use Google Blog Search.



Does your paper intersect with topics beyond Art?


Check out all our databases organized by subject here.



Accessing Resources from Off Campus
In order to use the databases listed below (and any other licensed resources provided by the library), you MUST download, install, and run VPN software. For more information about VPN, please see the library's page on Off Campus Access.



Go on to Finding Images >>


Your Assignment

Your presentations should include as many samples of the artists work as appropriate (digital images)

Finding Images

Images are important to both illustrate your points and as primary sources to be analysed. Using high-quality images and finding details can be vital to performing a visual analysis.


Images are key to a successful presentation. Using high quality images that capture exactly what you are talking about make presentations both more engaging and more enlightening.


Do not use images that pixellate at large sizes, it will distract from your presentation and hinder appreciation of the art you are presenting.


Use our How do I Find Images Guide for many more image resources.

Image Databases


Over one million images of visual and material culture, ARTstor is the best resource for finding high-quality images of art. Best used for more mainstream architects.


CU Digital Library

Images digitized by the University Library and Visual Resources centers. The architecture and planning collection contains 100,000 images.


Google Image Search

Use advanced search options to limit to large size image.



A place to find crowd-sourced images of buildings, parks, and landscapes.


Creative Commons

From here you can search many different online image resources (such as Flickr or Google) for pictures you can freely use, change, or re-mix.


Go on to citing your sources >>


Your Assignments

You'll need to cite your sources both in-text and with a bibliography.

Automate your Bibliography

There are several programs available that allow you to save citations you find on the web and automaticaly generate bibliographies. Using them at the outset of your research means you won't have to go back. These are huge time savers!
Citation Managers


A web-based citation management tool that allows you to save citations and retrieve them later using "Find it at CU" buttons. Citations from most databases can be easily exported directly to RefWorks. It also creates and formats bibliographies automatically using the citations you store in it.



A Firefox plugin that easily captures citations from library catalogs and article databases. Integrates with Microsoft Word and OpenOffice to generate bibliographies, footnotes, and in-text citations. Allows annotation and the generation of annotated bibliographies



Stand alone software that allows you to organize your citations, add pdf's, and annotate. Integrates with word processing software.


Have a strange source you're not sure how to cite? Check out our MLA Style Quick Guide [PDF] or the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.