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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32714

Title: Towards a Definition of Visual Artists’ Archives: Vera Frenkel’s Archives as a Case Study
Authors: Furness, Amy Louise
Advisor: Craig, Barbara
Department: Information Studies
Keywords: artists' archives
archival studies
Vera Frenkel
artists' studios
Issue Date: 21-Aug-2012
Abstract: This dissertation is an exploratory case study of the archives of Canadian artist Vera Frenkel and their acquisition by Queen’s University Archives in Kingston, Ontario. The research seeks to understand, through empirical investigation, the many factors that shape the artist’s recordkeeping and archives in the personal sphere and contribute to the nature of the eventual archival fonds in the institution. The foundation for the research includes the literatures of archival studies, life narrative, and art. Vera Frenkel’s interdisciplinary art work reflects a deep engagement with questions of truth and fiction. As an aspect of this theme, records and archives play a role in several of her works, often being revealed as problematic sources of evidence. Fundamental to the artist’s approach to interdisciplinarity is a complex layering of elements that builds uncertainty in the viewer. Given these aspects of Frenkel’s work, research that elicits the artist’s testimony about her archives must be able to accommodate a degree of ambiguity in the construction of that testimony. In a series of in situ interviews with the artist in her studio, the author investigated Frenkel’s recordkeeping habits and their relationship to her creative practice. As a data source, these interviews were supplemented by the artist’s photographs and hand-drawn maps of the studio. The author also investigated the processes entailed by archival transfer, examining the extant Vera Frenkel fonds at Queen’s University Archives and interviewing Heather Home, the archivist responsible for the acquisition. Both the personal and institutional spheres were taken into consideration as essential contributors to the nature of Frenkel’s archives as a complex cultural artifact. The research argues for the central role of archives in the acquisition and preservation of contemporary art. It contributes a foundation for understanding the nature of visual artists’ archives.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32714
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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