Artifex Press: Less is More

Recently I went to the NYARC annual meeting. One of the most interesting presentations was Artifex Press. 

Artifex Press is a new company dedicated to the production of digital catalogues raisonnés. Currently, their first two catalogues: Chuck Close: Paintings, 1967-present, and Jim Dine: Sculpture, 1983-present are available online for limited free subscriptions. 

From the site, these are the following advantages of Digital Raisonne collection: 

  • Discover updated, current information.
  • Search and sort information using a variety of criteria.
  • Access catalogues through any web-enabled device. 
  • Create a personalized login.
  • Choose between multiple views for ease of search.
  • View multiple images per artwork, as well video and other multimedia.
  • Search within a given catalogue or across the entire Artifex Press library.

I was impressed with the smart choices the team made in database building, especially limiting front end metadata after user testing. First each catalogue is it’s own database and has categories that pertain to that artist’s work, making it most beneficial to the user. Eventually if they want to the Raisonnes could be linked because they are stored together on a larger linked database. But for now as they launch, they want to just provide the best Raisonne per artist. Each image has rich metadata on the back in for inventory and other administrative tasks, but now it’s kept clean, rich and user friendly.  

Chuck Close: Paintings, 1967-Present is a searchable, sortable web publication that will be periodically updated as new information becomes available.

Another interesting point, is that the images are uploaded at print, best resolution quality but then downsized; they are anticipating better screen technology and don’t want to have to go back and re-upload. 

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