This issue’s Digital Dialogues turns to the digital catalogue raisonné as a case study encounter between a traditional genre of art-historical publication and digital technology. The growing number of these projects, together with the expanding range of tools to build them, suggest that, far from displacing this genre, digital technology is amplifying it. We ask, what kinds of American art do digital catalogues raisonnés (CRs) support? In comparison to hard-copy formats, are digital CRs more able or willing to engage with ongoing developments in American art history—for example, by promoting more inclusive, networked, and hybrid definitions of “America/n”; rethinking the limitations, gaps, and silences of archives and scholarship; decolonizing art collection practices and institutions; recognizing artists working in non-traditional media; or advancing global research in American art? What questions or issues of funding and labor do digital CRs raise, and are practices changing to meet them?
To explore these questions, we invited informal, shorter pieces reflecting on the development of digital catalogues raisonnés, what this work entails, and what role these publications play as the field of American art history develops. In response, Patricia Hills, Marci Kwon, Adam Duncan Harris, Susanna Temkin, and Cecilia de Torres offer insights into the affordances and challenges of building monographic digital CRs in academic and museum contexts. Lisa Weiß and Christina Weyl outline the structure and technical workflow needed to build digital CRs using purpose-built software (Navigating.art) and open-source tools (Quire). In pointing to the tradition of CRs for print publishers, evidenced most recently in the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Highpoint Editions: A History & Catalogue, 2001–2021, Weyl expands our notion of the catalogue raisonné genre, as does Emily Voelker, who proposes how these projects can foster a networked conception of art and its history.
This section’s contributors represent a range of artists, tools, and approaches to the digital CR, but all highlight advantages of digital CRs over traditional printed volumes. Implicitly, they raise the question: if a printed catalogue raisonné is one thing, might the digital catalogue raisonné be something besides just its online version? How might the digital, in Voelker’s words, “[enable] a reimagining of the genre itself”?
Patricia Hills, “My Advocacy for the Digital Catalogue Raisonné”
Marci Kwon, “Naming Martin Wong”
Adam Duncan Harris, “Genesis of the Carl Rungius Catalogue Raisonné”
Susanna Temkin and Cecilia de Torres, “A Conversation on the Joaquín Torres-García Catalogue Raisonné”
Lisa Weiß, “More than Just a Database: The Endless Possibilities of Digital Catalogues Raisonné”
Christina Weyl, review of Highpoint Editions: A History & Catalogue, 2001–2021
Emily Voelker, “Digital-Born Catalogues Raisonnés and Networked Art Histories”
Cite this article: Jennifer Way and Tracy Stuber, “Section Theme: Digital Catalogues Raisonnés,” Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art 9, no. 1 (Spring 2023), https://doi.org/10.24926/24716839.17222.
About the Author(s): Jennifer Way and Tracy Stuber are the Digital Dialogues editors of Panorama