Monthly Archives: January 2012

Felix Candela: A Symposium



Columbia University

501 Schermerhorn Hall

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Free and open to the public


In conjunction with the exhibition Felix Candela, the Wallach Art Gallery and the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library present a symposium on his life and work. 

Félix Candela is regarded as one the greatest Spanish architects of the 20th century. He is celebrated for his feats of architectural engineering that transform concrete into visual poetry with his structural design based on hyperbolic paraboloid geometric form.

Barry Bergdoll, curator of Architecture & Design, Museum of Modern Art, will introduce the symposium and our keynote speaker Professor David Billington of Princeton University will present Felix Candela, engineer, builder and structural artist. his presentation will be followed by two panel discussions. The first, moderated by Angela Giral, former Avery Librarian, will focus on the relationship between politics and architecture.  The second panel moderated by Professor Mary McLeod, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) will take up the discussion of Candela’s legacy. Closing remarks and presentation of the exhibition will be delivered by Professor Juan Ignacio del Cueto, of UNAM, Mexico.

Additional speakers and program details.

Exhibition opening and reception immediately following.



Virtual Reality, VSim, and the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893: Is There Hope for the Technically Challenged


Lisa Snyder (Associate Director of the Experiential Technologies Center, UCLA) specializes in the use of interactive virtual reality environments to study and teach about historic urban environments. For the Israel Antiquities Authority, she created a three-dimensional interactive digital reconstruction of the Temple Mount complex, and, more recently, she’s developed a computer simulation of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Dr. Snyder’s pioneering work with real-time visual simulation technology provides unprecedented opportunities for experiential interpretation of and innovative pedagogy involving cultural heritage sites. Based on extensive archaeological and historical research, her highly detailed computer reconstructions allow users to explore built environments that no longer exist. Snyder is currently working with a team of programmers on an NEH-funded project to develop a new software interface (VSim) to facilitate educational use of three-dimensional computer models.


Co-sponsored by Columbia University Libraries Digital Humanities Center, the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Teaching Center.




Please check out our online calendar for our Spring hours.

We welcome Cathryn Miller, a student at the Rutgers Library School, who will be handling Saturday reference hours from 1-5 pm. She will begin on Sat. Jan. 28. There will be no "in-person" reference on Jan. 21.

On Sundays we are switching to online reference assistance ("Ask A Librarian") Or, please email your reference queries to us.

Good luck during the new semester! 

Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library Acquires the Edgar A. Tafel Archive

NEW YORK, January 17, 2012 –

The Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library is pleased to announce the donation of the architectural archives and research files of architect and historian Edgar Tafel, as well as a $100,000 gift to support the processing, preservation, and presentation of the collection. The donation was made by the Edgar A. Tafel Living Trust as part of its mission to support architectural education.

See the complete press release.

Avery Library open on MLK


Please note that Avery Library will be open on Monday, January 16th with the following exceptions:
Avery Classics, Drawings & Archives, Art Properties, Avery Index and Bibliographic Services will be closed.

We will operate with minimal public service staff levels to accommodate researchers for the day.

See our hours.

Contemporary Chinese Art Books at Avery Library

Here is a brief selection of contemporary Chinese art books recently acquired at Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library:


Wu Hung with the assistance of Peggy Wang, editors.

Contemporary Chinese art : primary documents.

New York : Museum of Modern Art ; Durham, N.C. : Distributed by Duke University Press, c2010.

Avery Fine Arts N7344 C763


Despite the liveliness and creativity of avant-garde Chinese art in the post-Mao era and its prominence in the world of international contemporary art, until now there has been no systematic introduction in any Western language.  Contemporary Chinese Art remedies this problem by bringing together selected primary texts in English translation covering the development of avant-garde Chinese art from 1976 until 2006.  This volume focuses on art from mainland China, while also encompassing the activities of mainland artists residing overseas, since artists who emigrated in the 1980s and 1990s were often key participants in the early avant-garde movements and have continued to interact with the mainland art world. These documents include the manifestos of avant-garde groups, prefaces to important exhibitions, writings by representative artists, important critical and analytical essays, and even some official documents.

 Jerome Silbergeld and Dora C.Y. Ching, editors.

ARTiculations : undefining Chinese contemporary art.  

Princeton, N.J. : P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art, Dept. of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University : Distributed by Princeton University Press, c2010.

Avery Fine Arts N6538 Ar78


What does it mean to say that some of the best Chinese contemporary art is made in America, by Americans?  Through words and images, this book challenges the artificial and narrowly conceived definitions of Chinese contemporary art that dominate current discussion, revealing the great diversity of Chinese art today and showing just how complex and uncertain the labels "contemporary," "Chinese," and "American" have become.  This volume features contributions from six artists and seven scholars who participated in a 2009 symposium held in conjunction with the Princeton University Art Museum exhibition Outside In: Chinese x American x Contemporary Art.  These ethnically Chinese and non-Chinese artists work or have worked in America–indeed, all of them are U.S. citizens–but they are steeped in Chinese artistic traditions in terms of style, subject matter, and philosophical outlook. Here they discuss their art and careers with rare depth and candor, addressing diversity, ethnicity, identity, and other issues.  The academic contributors bring a variety of perspectives–Chinese and American, art historical and political–to bear on the common, limiting practice of classifying such art and artists as "Chinese," "American," or "Chinese American."  Revealing and celebrating the fluidity of who can be considered a Chinese artist and what Chinese art might be, these artists and scholars broaden and enrich our understanding of Chinese contemporary art.

Mary Bittner Wiseman, Liu Yuedi, editors.

Subversive strategies in contemporary Chinese art.

Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2011

Avery-LC N7345.6 S83 2011


Subversive Strategies paves the way for the rebirth of a Chinese aesthetics adequate to the art whose sheer energy and imaginative power is subverting the ideas through which western and Chinese critics think about art.  The first collection of essays by American and Chinese philosophers and art historians, Subversive Strategies begins by showing how the art reflects current crises and is working them out through bodies gendered and political.  These essays raise the question of Chinese identity in a global world and note a blurring of the boundary between art and everyday life.

 Hsingyuan Tsao and Roger T. Ames, editors.
Xu Bing and contemporary Chinese art : cultural and philosophical reflections.
Albany : State University of New York Press, c2011.
Fine Arts Offsite N7349 .X8 2011


How Chinese is contemporary Chinese art?  Treasured by collectors, critics, and art world cognoscenti, this art developed within an avant-garde that looked West to find a language to strike out against government control.  Traditionally, Chinese artistic expression has been related to the structure and function of the Chinese language and the assumptions of Chinese natural cosmology.  Is contemporary Chinese art rooted in these traditions or is it an example of cultural self-colonization?  Contributors to this volume address this question, going beyond the more obvious political and social commentaries on contemporary Chinese art to find resonances between contemporary artistic ideas and the indigenous sources of Chinese cultural self-understanding.  Focusing in particular on the acclaimed artist Xu Bing, this book explores how he and his peers have navigated between two different cultural sites to establish a third place, a place from which to appropriate Western ideas and use them to address centuries-old Chinese cultural issues within a Chinese cultural discourse.