Written by Jeff Nash

The University of Michigan Department of the History of Art Visual Resources Collections is pleased to announce that we are currently digitizing Professor Kirkpatrick’s slide collection. The Modern Art Interfile is a contribution of 11,469 slides both taken and collected by Professor Emerita and former History of Art department chair Diane M. Kirkpatrick. Her field of interest is contemporary art, and her collection’s fantastic breadth and depth reflects that interest. With this digitization effort, we intend to enrich the resources of contemporary art images available to University of Michigan students, faculty, and staff.

Professor Kirkpatrick’s collection, the Modern Art Interfile, spans four decades of exhibitions and gallery showings.  The locations these slides were shot in range from museums and galleries in London, Paris, and New York to Washington D.C.; Chicago; and Ft. Worth, Texas. Through her collection, we are able to follow Professor Emerita Kirkpatrick around the country to annual College Art meetings and across the ocean to teach summer courses in London.  The pieces depicted range from sculptures and paintings to prints and photographs.

The Modern Art Interfile’s breadth is enhanced through the eyes of multiple photographers. The collection includes pieces shot by former students as well as other former professors. However, it is easy to pick apart which are taken by Kirkpatrick herself: she often takes multiple views or details of the same piece from different perspectives. This gives the viewer a dimension not normally found in exhibition catalogs.

Depth is not taken out of consideration, either. Although many artists are covered with a few images each, 44 artists have a representation of over 50 slides in the collection. Artists that are particularly well-covered range from Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi to African-American painter Romare Bearden. The majority of the artists with a strong representation of slides have an American background and are predominantly painters or sculptors.

Professor Kirkpatrick was also able to capture installations as they were exhibited. Many of the installations captured no longer exist in their original form. These kind of rare gems are numerous throughout the Modern Art Interfile. The digitization of the Modern Art Interfile will enrich the research endeavors of University of Michigan History of Art students for years to come.


To view the images click here to enter our online catalog.