Ten years ago, the Archives of American Art launched its blog with Stolen Moment, a reflection on Florence Arquin’s photograph of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera kissing on the scaffolding in the Detroit Institute of Arts as he painted his murals there. In the years since, 222 posts contributed by Archives staff, interns, and guest authors have illuminated milestones in the Archives’ history along with serious and silly features on our collections. We have explored the contributions of the Monuments Men and Women in World War II, discovered personal stories of the Harlem Renaissance, and learned about the experiences of Japanese American artists who were imprisoned in incarceration camps in the United States. We have offered Halloween costume advice, cuddles with artists’ cats, and marveled at fantastic facial hair. Look back at our first decade of blog posts and subscribe to be with us through the next decade of fascinating discoveries.
—Kate Haw, director of the Archives of American Art
A Decade of Blog Posts
In celebration of our December 1 anniversary, we have plumbed the depths of our blog archives to highlight the most popular post of each year from the last ten. As you will see, some have sustained a readership well beyond their publication date. Thank you to all of the writers who have contributed their words and ideas to the Archives of American Blog over the last decade—and without whom there would be no blog—and, especially, thank you to our amazing readers, many of you were here from the very beginning.
—Elizabeth Botten, editor Archives of American Art Blog
2009–2010 | Halloween Costume Guide: Archives Style
Our first most popular post, published in the blog’s first year, is full of archives-inspired Halloween costume ideas. Whether you want something as simple as a pair of bunny ears or as elaborate the suite worn by the “Original Rhinestone Cowboy,” Loy Bowlin, we’ve got you covered.
Read it: Halloween Costume Guide: Archives Style by Mary Savig
2010–2011 | Leo Castelli Gallery Records
While the Leo Castelli Gallery Records were donated in 2007, it took several years to fully process this large collection of 215 linear feet. Researcher anticipation for access to the records was high, so it is no surprise that this piece, written on the occasion of the collection being open for research, was our most read post in 2011.
Read it: Leo Castelli Gallery Records by Sarah Haug
2011–2012 | Who’s that Lady?
We like to think of every month as Women’s History Month—not to mention Black History Month, National American Indian Heritage Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, LGBTQ Pride Month, and National Hispanic Heritage month—but in March of 2012 we thought it fitting to highlight some of the amazing women artists and gallerists in our collections.
Read it: Who’s that Lady? By Mary Savig
2012–2013 | Artists of the Harlem Renaissance
One of our most enduring posts, which not only highlighted some of the richest collections in the Archives but also the milestone of their digitization and increased accessibility.
Read it: Artists of the Harlem Renaissance by Erin Kinhart
The story of one of the most fortuitous partnerships in the history of art was not between two artists, but two curators whose alliance helped aid in the recovery of Nazi-looted artworks at the end of World War II.
Read it: Artful Collaborators: James J. Rorimer and Rose Valland by Rihoko Ueno
2014–2015 | The Real Monuments Men and Women
Hollywood threw a little stardust our way in 2014 with the release of George Clooney’s film, The Monuments Men. While the film is a loose adaptation of historical events, the characters are based on several Monuments Men whose real-life accomplishments are documented in the Archives’ collections.
Read it: The Real Monuments Men and Women by Bettina Smith
Hildreth Meière’s papers are rich in motion picture film, with more than eighty short films documenting her travels around the world. She was a participant in the 1939–1940 New York World’s Fair and also filmed several of the pavilions in Kodachrome with her handheld camera. While guest author Sally Stokes reflects that there are many home movies of the Fair available online, she had “longed to experience and examine Meière’s own moving images as a means of access to the artist’s eye.”
Read it: An Artist’s Home Movies: Hildreth Meière and the New York World’s Fair by Sally Stokes
2016–2017 | Purrfect Matches
In support of the exhibition, Before Internet Cats: Feline Finds from the Archives of American Art, Archives staff brought in photographs of their own cats to twin with images from the show. We not only discovered some uncanny likenesses but also that our colleagues are very creative when naming their cats.
Read it: Purrfect Matches by Archives of American Art Staff
2017–2018 | Studio and Culinary Artists: Recipes from the Archives
Menu planning may not be at the top of your mind when you think of archives, but our most popular post from 2017–2018 offers recipes—including vegetarian fare—suitable for a multi-course dinner party.
Read it: Studio and Culinary Artists: Recipes from the Archives by Tiffany Camusci
2018–2019 | Monuments Men Inside the Mines
Answering some frequently asked questions about the salt mines where the Nazis stored looted and stolen art, this post about the critical work of the Monuments Men, which continues today, remains one of our most read.
Read it: Monuments Men Inside the Mines by Rihoko Ueno
2018–2019 Bonus Post | Henry Tanner's Judas: The Lost Disciple
Finally, a bonus post about a lost painting which was discovered by flipping a photographic image, because who doesn’t like a little Art History CSI?
Read it: Henry Tanner's Judas: The Lost Disciple by Jeffrey Richmond-Moll
Kate Haw is the director of the Archives of American Art
Elizabeth Botten is a reference specialist at the Archives of American Art and editor of the Archives of American Art Blog
With thanks to the staff of the Archives of American Art and the authors of the pieces linked to in this post: Stephanie Ashley, Elizabeth Botten, Tiffany Camusci, Susan Cary, Sarah Haug, Erin Kinhart, Jeffrey Richmond-Moll, Mary Savig, Bettina Smith, Jennifer Snyder, Sally Stokes, and Rihoko Ueno