Art (CFA)

Collection Selector

Ruth Thomas


Mugar Memorial Library

General Purpose of the Collection

The Art collection supports the School of Visual Arts in the College of Fine Arts. Materials collected focus on art education, graphic design, drawing, photography, typography, and selected living contemporary artists. Technical books on aspects of studio work, theories of design, and pictorial organization are collected selectively. Career-related material for advertising design, illustration, photography, and typography are acquired selectively as are materials on professional development.

The School of Visual Arts is a professional school offering a program of studio training in art education, drawing, painting, sculpture, and two- and three-dimensional design combined with liberal arts studies; electives in printmaking, glassblowing, ceramics and photography are available. It offers the BFA degree in art education, graphic design, painting, and sculpture; a minor in printmaking; and the MFA degree in art education, graphic design, sculpture, and studio teaching. It also offers a Boston University Online Master of Arts in Art Education. The faculty is composed of practicing professional artists.

The Art collection also is a resource for the Boston University Art Gallery jointly operated by the School of Visual Arts in the College of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History.

Scope of Coverage

Languages collected (primary and selective) or excluded
English is the primary language of materials collected for the art program. Occasionally, materials in other languages, usually Western European publications in the area of graphic design, are acquired.
Geographical areas covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, publication sources, or both, and specific areas excluded, as appropriate
United States and Western Europe are the primary areas covered. Materials are mainly from American and Western European publishers.
Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movements or schools, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
Material acquired covers Western art from antiquity through the twentieth century.
Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
Current material is collected almost exclusively, the only exceptions being replacements of missing publications of significance or works requested by faculty.

General Subject Boundaries and Library Locations

The subject scope of this collection is determined by the Library of Congress classifications:

  • N : Visual Arts–General, including Art Education
  • NB : Sculpture
  • NC : Illustration, Design, Drawing
  • ND : Painting
  • NE : Printing
  • NK : Decorative Arts, Applied Arts
  • NX : Arts in General
  • TR 15 : History of Photography
  • TR 140 : Biographies of Individual Photographers
  • TR 640-654 : Artistic Photography
  • Z 1201-4980.A-.Z : National Bibliography
  • Z 6514.A77 : Arts Bibliography
  • Z 8001-8999 : Personal Bibliography

Collected selectively:

  • TR 1-12 : Photography, periodicals, congresses, collections, directories

Not Collected:

  • TR 250-835 : Photography, technical

All materials are located in Mugar Memorial Library.

Related subjects and Interdisciplinary Relationships

The Art Selector consults with selectors in the following subject areas:

Art History
The Art History Selector acquires materials relevant to all aspects of the history of art and is consulted for acquisitions of works dealing with contemporary art and artists.
The Education Selector acquires materials appropriate for pre-K through grade 12 including selective collection of illustrated juvenile literature.

Types of Materials

Books, catalogues raisonnés, exhibition catalogues, and reference works, including bibliographies, directories, encyclopedias, and indexes and abstracts.
Collected Selectively
Periodicals and electronic resources.
Not Collected
Art objects, juvenile literature, loose prints and photographs, proceedings, recordings, and textbooks.

Other On-Campus or Local Resources

The Visual Arts Resource Library, located at 855 Commonwealth Avenue in the College of Fine Arts, “is a non-circulating collection of books, exhibition catalogues, directories, magazines, slides, and sound recordings available for SVA students and faculty.” It also houses copies of the Karl Fortess Audio Archive of 269 interviews with American artists. “All original Fortess recordings as well as digital transfers of many of the interviews are held at Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.”

The Visual Resources Center is a University-wide resource housed and administered by the Art History Department. The comprehensive collection consists of over 500,000 35mm slides of art historical images and a Cumulus database consisting of 30,000 digital images keyed to the curriculum of the Art History Department. In addition, there is a large core collection of architecture, sculpture, painting, Greek and Roman architecture, Asian art, and contemporary art images. The Center also houses a number of art-related videos and dvds that are placed on course reserve for viewing in the Center. Access is limited to the Boston University community.

The Boston University Photographic Resource Center‘s Aaron Siskind Library, located at 602 Commonwealth Avenue, currently houses over 4,000 books on photography and 40 periodicals. Its collection does not circulate. The PRC also maintains a gallery. It is a not-for-profit organization that provides a range of programs and services to the arts community.