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Rhode Island School of Design

Artists' Writings: Dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauri

A resource guide to artists' writings and writing an artist statement

Online dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias

library.risd.edu > A-Z Databases

Oxford Art Online
Oxford Art is a comprehensive and authoritative guide with extensive surveys, artist’s biographies, and in-depth articles on the history of art.

Oxford English Dictionary Online
The OED traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international and English language sources. Each entry includes a pronunciation key, variant spellings, etymology, quotations, & date chart.
 

Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus
This thesaurus provides terminology about the objects, concepts, artists, and places important to various disciplines that specialize in these subjects - begin with a combined scope note and term search.

Reference books

For additional facts, definitions, interviews, guides to practice, and references to further sources, consult these Reference books. The Reference Collection is located on the 1st floor of the library.

Interviews & Artists' Statements
Feedback : the Video Data Bank catalog of video art and artist interviews

Feedback offers essays on the history of media arts, the Video Data Bank, video activism, experimental performance art, and the On Art and Artists Collection. It includes 325 frame grabs and stills from some of the collection's most important pieces and outlines the styles and directions taken by artists throughout the entire history of video art. Also search their website: Video Data Bank

Twentieth-century artists on art: an index to writings, statements, and interviews by artists, architects, and designers
An international index to artist writings which covers 5,000 artists

Terminology & Essays
Artspeak :a guide to contemporary ideas, movements, and buzzwords, 1945 to the Present

Artspeak includes more than 115 entries explain the who, what, when, and where of art since 1945. Entries discuss specific art movements, concepts, as well as describing various media and approaches to art-making.

Encyclopedia of aesthetics

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics surveys the full breadth of critical thought on art, culture, and society–from classical philosophy to contemporary critical theory – Featuring 600 original articles, it is a comprehensive survey of major concepts, thinkers, and debates about the meaning, uses, and value of all the arts.

Modern arts criticism: a biographical & critical guide to painters, sculptors, photographers & architects from the beginning of the modern era to the present
M.A.C. includes examples of artist statements from all phases of an artist's career. At the end of each entry a Further Reading section lists supplemental writings by the artist.

Research assistance

Guided Research: meeting with a RISD Art Librarian

Librarians are available to help you research your topic. Make an appointment at the Research Help Desk, either in person, by email or by phone. This meeting will help you clarify your ideas, provide ways to approach your topic, and identify key terms, resources, and search strategies to help get you started and save time.

A meeting with a librarian usually last 15-20 minutes. You are always welcome to make follow-up appointments.