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LMLAG Tate Visit

by on February 5, 2010

It was a busy day at Tate Britain, with throngs of art lovers and tourists braving the rain. We were met by Jane Bramwell (Head of Tate Library, Archive and Collection Access) who gave us a brief introduction to the collection and the role of the library and archives within the gallery.  The library reflects the collection policy of the Tate as a whole and contains many unique items, as well as an impressive array of exhibition catalogues, periodicals and ephemera.  We then got the chance to head backstage and see the closed access stores.

A personal highlight was the Artist’s Books collection.  It includes pioneering bookworks such as Edward Ruscha’s ‘Every building on the Sunset Strip’ and works that develop simple themes such as Sol Lewitt’s ‘Lines in two directions and in five colors on five colors with all their combinations’ which does exactly what it describes in the title.  Some of the books were more personal or playful, charting personal journeys, using unusual formal devices or materials, or being just plain odd, such as Jonathan Ward’s ‘Official nursery book for child prodigies and celestial beings’.

There is also a fascinationg collection of correspondence in the archives, with some of the more visually arresting examples adorning the walls of the reading room.

Hopefully the major development of Tate Britain (to open in November) will result in more space for their ever growing collection

For more information please visit:
http://www.tate.org.uk/research/researchservices/library/

Nicholas Brown, The Courtauld Institute  of Art Book Library

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