This post was originally published on February 17, 2012 as “65 Guggenheim Exhibition Catalogs Online.” Since that time, the museum has added a considerable number of new catalogs, including works from Calder, Munch, Klimt, and others. Enjoy! ~Erinn

The Guggenheim Museum in New York has many exciting digital and preservation initiatives, including the ambitious Variable Media Initiative, which works to preserve media-based and performance art works in the museum’s permanent collection.  In terms of easy access no matter where you live, though, the latest Guggenheim digitization effort is even more exciting: Earlier this year, the Museum made 109 landmark exhibition catalogues available for free online in multiple easily-accessible formats.

This is particularly good news for librarians and artists who want exhibition-specific information on an artist or movement– information which can sometimes be difficult to find outside of large academic collections because exhibition catalogues have relatively small print runs and are sold for a limited time, usually in museum stores.

Yet an art catalogue is a rich resource.  It presents the critical and aesthetic underpinnings of an exhibition and can reveal the curator’s particular interpretation of an artist’s work. If you weren’t alive in 1946 to see the Guggenheim’s Wassily Kandinsky Memorial Exhibition, the exhibition catalogue is the next best thing.

Exhibition catalogues are also startlingly beautiful and feature thoughtful design and reproductions of artworks along with critical essays by art historians and curators– a bonus for anyone looking for visual inspiration.

There are two options for accessing the Guggenheim’s digitized art catalogues online:

Visit the Guggenheim website

  • At www.guggenheim.org, find the menu bar under the word GUGGENHEIM and hover over the Exhibitions tab. A drop-down menu will appear below.
  • Choose Publications.  You will be re-directed to the Publications page.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and choose From the Archives to access museum titles dating back to 1937. From here you can browse all archived publications, or search for a particular title.
  • When you find something you’d like to read, click the title, and then click the gray Read Catalogue Online button with the glasses icon beneath the title.

Visit the Internet Archive

You can also find the Guggenheim’s catalogues on the Internet Archive, which offers a more user-friendly reading interface for the titles and is a bit easier to search and navigate.

  • At www.archive.org, use the search box at the top of the page to search for Guggenheim Museum (leave the media drop-down set to All Media Types). Choose The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum from the results page.
  • From here, you can browse the entire collection, as on the Guggenheim website, or you can search for topics by keyword.
  • Once you find a title you’d like to view, click on the title.  You will be re-directed to a page that has useful metadata, reviews, and other information, as well as viewing options.
  • Find the View the Book menu in the lefthand sidebar.  Choose Read Online.

Here’s an example of what you’ll see if you click the Read Online option for Kandinsky’s Point and Line to Plane:

The View the Book sidebar on Archive.org is also where you can download e-book versions of the Guggenheim catalogues in EPUB, PDF, Kindle, and several other formats which can be easily loaded onto your e-reader.  And since these are publicly available documents, there’s no fee, and no rush to read them before the due date!

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