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  • Who's Who in American Art: Official Museum Directory, American Art Directory

    Update as of March 2011: The following reviews are for the 2008 editions of all three books, but all three continue to be published, the 2011 editions are currently in print, and the links at the end of each review take you to the current editions of each publication.

    Who's Who in American Art, 28th Edition, 2008, published by Marquis Who's Who is the best reference available for quick concise biographical information on nearly 11,000 contemporary visual arts personalities from the United States, Canada, and Mexico including artists, critics, architects, consultants, designers, editors, curators, administrators, librarians, historians, collectors, conservators, educators, dealers and more. Nearly 300 names appear for first time in this edition.

    Perhaps the best part about Who's Who in American Art, 2008 is that individuals do not pay to get in-- they earn the right to be included by filling out applications and getting accepted. It's not about money; it's about career accomplishments. No pay-to-play here, or in other words, you won't find any listings for artists who have more money than they do talent. Either you make the grade based on your own merits, or your apply all over again for the next edition.

    Facts you'll find in typical entries include the individual's date and place of birth; education and training; works in public collections; commissions and exhibitions; memberships in art societies; museums holding the artist's work; professional positions; honors and awards; books and articles by and about the artist; mediums in which the artist works; dealers and representatives (for artists); and mailing address or other contact information. Listings are alphabetically by name, and cross-indexed at the rear of the book by state, and also by profession, type of art, or discipline. A cumulative Necrology at the back of the book lists all former Who's Who in American Art individuals who have passed away between 1953 and 2007. (Researchers-- if you don't find an artist listed in the biographical section of the book, always check the Necrology. If you find the name listed, that means a previous edition will have the biographical information you're looking for.)

    Who's Who in American Art, 2008 is one of the first references I check when I'm appraising art by a contemporary American artist, particularly if I'm trying to locate that artist in order to find out information about current selling prices. The book is also useful for anyone who is trying to find information about what galleries or dealers currently represent an artist or show that artist's work.

    New to Who's Who in American Art, 2008 this year is the "Artist's Gallery," 150 pages illustrating approximately 500 works of art by Who's Who artists. Each illustration includes the title, medium, and dimensions of the art, as well as the artist's name, phone number, website, email address, and representing galleries. So not only do you have an example of the work to compare with the art you're researching, but you also have more contact information than you'll find in typical artist biographical listings contained in the book. Who's Who in American Art tips the scales at $297 (discounts sometimes available), but it's required for any comprehensive art reference library. If you can't afford one, make sure you can access it through a local public library, museum, college or university in your area.

    Who's Who in American Art, 28th Edition, 2007. Marquis Who's Who, New Providence, NJ, 2008, hardbound, 8 3/4 by 11 1/4 inches, 1,550 pages plus 147 pages of color illustrations, $297.00. Available from Marquis Who's Who, 890 Mountain Avenue, Suite 300, New Providence, NJ 07974 or call toll-free 1-800-473-7020 or order directly from the Marquis Who's Who website.

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    The Official Museum Directory, 38th Edition, 2008, published by National Register Publishing in conjunction with the American Association of Museums, is the number one reference book for locating for essential information about the American museum community. The book contains key data for more than 10,500 museums operating in 87 fields including art museums, historical society museums, historic sites and houses, and specialized museums such as those devoted to toys and dolls, scouting, religion, comedy, electricity, mining, logging and lumber, money and numismatics, whaling, woodcarving, and musical instruments, to mention just a few. Museum listings include phone and mail contact information, email addresses, websites, hours of operation and admission prices, names of key personnel, collecting specialties, research specialties, publications, activities, exhibits, and more.

    The directory is invaluable for museum professionals, curators, appraisers, scholars, historians, and educators, as well as for dealers and collectors who have to research, donate, buy or sell specialized types of art, antiques and collectibles. Museums are listed alphabetically by state, and then by city within each state. Four additional indexes at the rear of the book make finding those museums, museum personnel, or research facilities that fit your needs even easier. Also alphabetical, they cross-reference by name of institution, key personnel at all institutions, institutions by category, and institutions by collection. In the art business (as well as in related antiques, collectibles, and artifacts businesses), knowledge means money, and having access to the entire American museum community at your fingertips cannot be underestimated.

    At the rear of the The Official Museum Directory, you'll find a comprehensive directory of resources, products, and services for museums-- equally useful to serious dealers and collectors-- including display products, archival products, appraisers, auction houses, shippers, packers, design firms, website designers, photographers, security equipment, and much more. The directory is an essential part of any working art reference library. Make sure that you have access to one, either through a public or private library, museum, college or university in your area. If you can't locate a copy, speak with local libraries or educational institutions in your area about ordering one.

    The Official Museum Directory, 38th Edition, 2007 edited by Eileen Fanning. National Register Publishing, New Providence, NJ, 2008, softbound, 8 1/4 by 11 7/8 inches, 282 pages and 332 pages, $297. Available from National Register Publishing, 890 Mountain Avenue, Suite 300, New Providence, NJ 07974 or call toll-free 1-800-423-7020 or order directly from the Marquis Who's Who and National Register Publishing website.

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    The American Art Directory, 61st Edition, 2007-2008, first published in 1898 as the American Art Annual, is a required reference for art museums, libraries, arts organizations, art schools, and corporations with art holdings. The book, basically an art almanac, profiles over 5,000 museums, arts organizations, art schools, and libraries in the United States, Canada, and abroad. The "Art Information" section, for example, contains names and basic contact information for newspaper and magazine art editors and critics, art magazines, art scholarships and fellowships, state directors and supervisors of art education, and more. Entries are cross-indexed at the rear of the book by subject, personnel, and organization. Dealers and collectors will find The American Art Directory particularly useful for basic art research, information about corporate art collections, locating local and regional agencies that put together travelling exhibitions, and contact information for local or regional arts councils that may want to co-sponsor art exhibitions or events. The American Art Directory is also a great reference for students thinking about applying to art school.

    The American Art Directory, 61st Edition, 2007-2008 edited by Eileen Fanning. National Register Publishing, New Providence, NJ, 2001, hardbound, 8 3/4 by 11 1/8 inches, 967 pages, $275. Available from National Register Publishing, 890 Mountain Avenue, Suite 300, New Providence, NJ 07974 or call toll-free 1-800-423-7020 or order directly from the Marquis Who's Who and National Register Publishing website.

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