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Guide to the Program for Art on Film Records, 1951-1999, undated
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative History
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Records
    Date (inclusive): 1951-1999, undated (bulk 1984-1997)
    Number: IA20008
    Creator/Collector: Program for Art on Film (New York, N.Y.)
    Physical Description: 118.8 linear feet
    The Getty Research Institute
    Institutional Records and Archives
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Records include correspondence, memoranda, printed matter, minutes, financial and legal documents, films, CD-ROMs, slides, and ephemera produced and collected by the Program for Art on Film, 1951-1999 and undated. Included in the collection are records created and collected by the Program for Art on Film. Among the records created by the Program are correspondence, publications and related correspondence and memoranda, and films. Also included in the records are interviews with filmmakers, in both audio cassette and transcript format, information on two symposia organized by the Program, and records of the Advisory and Managing Committees. Materials collected by the Program include subject files, primarily on art historical topics and film-related topics; information on filmmakers, art historians and artists; brochures and catalogs from film production and distribution companies; information (catalogs, press releases, brochures) on art-related film festivals, both domestic and international; and published materials.
    Request Materials: To access physical materials at the Getty, go to the library catalog record  for this collection and click "Request an Item." Click here for general library access policy . See the Administrative Information section of this finding aid for access restrictions specific to the records described below. Please note, some of the records may be stored off site; advanced notice is required for access to these materials.
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Administrative History

    The Program for Art on Film was founded in 1984 as a joint venture between the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a pilot project that would eventually become independent from its founding institutions. The Program's purpose was to define issues, develop programs, and disseminate information that would support the effective production and use of moving-image media that contribute to a better understanding and appreciation of the visual arts.
    From 1984, the Getty Trust, through a joint venture with the Metropolitan Museum, subsidized the development of the Art on Screen Database and the Program's other projects. The Trust's support made it possible for the Program to offer a range of services to the field for free or at minimal cost during this productive development period under the joint venture, which concluded in June of 1994. From July 1994 through June 1996, the Program was based at Columbia University.
    The Program was then established as an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. In 1996 the Program affiliated with the Pratt Institute and moved its offices to the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) building, on the Institute's main campus in Brooklyn, New York. Some of the resulting programs enabled by this new joint venture were the Art on Screen and Architecture on Screen festivals.
    The Program's first Executive Director was Karl Katz (1984-1992). Wendy Stein served as Program Manager and Nadine Covert served as Special Consultant, Critical Inventory during the same period. In 1992, Covert was named Manager of the Program. Joan Shigekawa served as Coordinator, Production Laboratory, from 1986 to 1990. When the Program moved to Columbia University in 1994, Covert was named Director, and served in this position until 1998, when the program was discontinued.
    During its lifetime, the Program's activities included a constellation of complementary services: compiling and maintaining the Art on Screen Database (also known as the Critical Inventory); publishing Art on Screen, the newsletter of film and video on the visual arts; developing filmographies, handbooks, and other publications; reviewing and evaluating moving-image productions on art and architecture; presenting workshops and seminars for educators and museum professionals; and distributing a series of short films and videos involving collaborations between art scholars and filmmakers, produced as part of the Program's earlier Production Laboratory experiment.
    Among the reference works produced by the Program were: the Art on Film Database, begun in 1984; Films and Videos on Photography, in collaboration with the Direction des Musées de France, Ministry of Culture and Communication, Paris, in both English and French editions; Art on Screen: A Directory of Films and Videos about the Visual Arts (G.K. Hall & Co., 1992); Art on Screen, a newsletter of the visual arts, and Close-Ups, the Art on Film Database Service supplement of reviews and recommended film titles; Architecture on Screen (G.K. Hall & Co., 1994); Art Museums and Media (1994), a report of survey results; and The Art on Screen Handbook: Practical Guidelines for Using and Producing Films, Videos and Interactive Programs about Art (1994).
    The Art on Screen Database provided a unique critical inventory of more than 26,000 international film, video, and multimedia productions. The scope of the database included fine arts, architecture, photography, archaeology, decorative arts, design, costume, crafts, folk arts, and related topics such as aesthetics and creativity. The database was ranked among the top three databases by the Consortium of College and University Media Centers. It appeared in electronic form in 1995 as Art on Screen on CD-ROM (G.K. Hall/Macmillan). [Adapted from Nadine Covert, "Milestones: Activities and Accomplishments"]

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    The records in accessions 2004.IA.14, 2008.IA.08, and 2011.IA.08, subject to review for permanently closed information, are open to qualified researchers. Requests for access will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
    The following types of records are permanently closed: records containing personal information, records that compromise security or operations, legal communications, legal work product, and records related to donors. The J. Paul Getty Trust reserves the right to restrict access to any records held by the Institutional Archives.

    Restrictions on Use

    Contact Rights and Reproductions   at the Getty Research Institute for copyright information and permission to publish.

    Preferred Citation

    [Cite the item and series (as appropriate)], Records, 1951-1999 and undated (bulk 1984-1997), Program for Art on Film. Institutional Archives, Research Library, Getty Research Institute, Finding aid no. IA20008.

    Acquisition Information

    These records originated in accession no. 2004.IA.14. The collection was shipped from the New York Public Library (original box numbers 1-73D) and a storage facility in Long Island City, New York (original box numbers 74-126B). The records arrived in almost no apparent order.
    Additional materials was transferred by Nadine Covert in relation to the Art on Screen database. The records were accessioned as accession no. 2008.IA.08. A set of the final version of the Art on Film/Film on Art videos was accessioned as 2011.IA.08.

    Processing History

    A preliminary inventory was begun in 2004 by Phil Curtis; in 2005 Sue Luftschein completed the bulk of the inventory and encoded this finding aid as a preliminary inventory. No physical processing, beyond reboxing into acid-free record storage boxes, has been undertaken. Any arrangement provided below is purely intellectual.
    [Throughout the entire collection are repeated cases of multiple copies of materials that will need to be weeded, particularly publications.]

    Technical Requirements

    Films, video and audio tapes require viewing and listening devices.

    Separated Materials

    The Program amassed a large collection of books, videos, magazines, journals, CD-ROMs, and other printed materials. The books appear to be primarily reference materials; many are out of date. Many of the films seem to have been part of a lending library, possibly at Columbia University, when the program was housed there. Some of the films are commercially produced and distributed; others are duplicates; and still others have no provenance. The catalogs are primarily reference guides for films and videos. The magazines and journals are concerned exclusively with film; they are partial runs of journals dedicated to film, or individual issues of journals devoted to film. The CD-ROMs are generally art historical in nature. The slides are representations of computer art from Siggraph '88. The printed materials include film programs and schedules, course materials, brochures, and miscellaneous materials. The vast majority of this series is eligible for weeding. The remaining records provide no contextual information for how these publications were used by the Program. The remainder of these published materials are generally concerned with art and art historical topics.
    The items are in the process of being separated from the collection and transfered to the Getty Research Library, where they will be more accessible to researchers. Until this process has been completed, please contact the Institutional Archives for a detailed list of these associated materials.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Records consist of correspondence, letters, press releases, clippings, articles, memos, notes, reports, photographs, films, magazines, journals, CD-ROMs, audio cassettes, slides, financial documents, legal documents, curriculum vitae, catalogs, brochures, inventories, books, posters, minutes, surveys, and transcripts created and collected by the Program for Art on Film, 1951-1999 and undated. Included in the collection are records created by the Program for Art on Film (publications and films), and a large collection of records collected by the Program.
    The records created by the Program describe the development, production, promotion and distribution of Art on Film projects. The Program for Art on Film produced a number of reference works that are included or mentioned in the records, such as the Art on Film Database, begun in 1984; Art on Screen: A Directory of Films and Videos about the Visual Arts (G.K. Hall & Co., 1992); Art Museums and Media (1994); and The Art on Screen Handbook: Practical Guidelines for Using and Producing Films, Videos and Interactive Programs about Art (1994). The Program's Production Laboratory produced 14 films for its Art on Film/Film on Art series, many of which received awards and all of which are described and included in the records. Among the filmmakers, artists and art historians who collaborated on some of these films are Philip Haas, David Hockney and Ernst Gombrich. The records also describe the day-to-day administrative management of the Program through strategic planning reports and advisory and managing committee meeting minutes, information on the Program's joint ventures with the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University and Pratt Institute. The Program's work on symposia, conferences, and educational outreach activities is documented in the records describing Art on Screen and Architecture on Screen, Art on Film, and screenings of its films. The activities of the Production Laboratory are also documented in the records, and can be found throughout all the subseries.
    The records also include materials collected by the Program, such as informational materials (in the form of press releases, brochures and catalogs) on national and international companies and organizations that produce and distribute films on art; individual films (both feature and documentary) that take as subject artists or art; and conferences that screen films on art. The "people files" document filmmakers, art historians, and other individuals with interest in film and/or the arts; some of the individuals represented in the records served as evaluators for the Program's publications (including its films). The Program collected a variety of material on national and international film festivals that screen films about art; these are represented in the records primarily by brochures and catalogs. The "subject files" represent material used for research. These records primarily describe artists, films, organizations, art historical time periods and movements. Lastly, the Program collected posters for films (both art and non-art related); these are included in the records.


    These records are organized in two series:
    Series I. Program for Art on Film and Production Laboratory records, 1971-1999;
    Series II. Records collected by the Program for Art on Film, 1951-1998.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Art and motion pictures
    Art in motion pictures
    Documentary films--Production and direction
    Motion pictures--Distribution
    Motion pictures--Production and direction

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Clippings (information artifacts)
    Color slides
    Magazines (periodicals)
    Motion pictures
    Motion pictures (visual works)
    Press releases
    Short subjects
    Surveys (documents)


    Columbia University
    Gombrich, E. H. (Ernst Hans), 1909-2001
    Haas, Philip
    Hockney, David
    J. Paul Getty Trust
    Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
    Pratt Institute