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Grove Art: Letter from the Editor

I am delighted to join Oxford University Press as the editor of Grove Art Online, a resource I have used and admired since I first began differentiating Bonnard from Bernard in my undergraduate art history courses. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with our accomplished Editor in Chief, Nicola Courtright, and the members of the outstanding team at Oxford University Press who have built Jane Turner’s important dictionary into the dynamic digital resource of Grove Art Online. I join Grove after four years with JSTOR, the scholarly research platform, where I managed their list of journals in art and architecture while cultivating an affinity for extravagant wallpaper, art nouveau ad design, unusual architecture, and annotated auction catalogs.

I begin this role at an interesting time both for Grove and for digital academic art publishing. Much work still remains in order to transition core art history resources to an online environment, and this effort cannot be undertaken in isolation by a few institutions and publishers. Advancing technology offers a great deal of opportunity, but we need to work together – from small library digitization projects to major commercial databases – to make sure these efforts are interconnected and the information is not isolated in siloed resources. I am eager to collaborate with other art resources and the library community to enhance their digital projects, just as I hope to enrich Grove Art Online by partnering with others.

Grove Art Online comprises the research of over 7,000 scholars across nearly four decades. With our dedicated expansion and updating initiatives, this resource will serve generations to come. I hope to internationalize and diversify Grove’s coverage, and I am eager to hear from scholars and librarians about the priorities most important to them. Please contact me at oxfordarteditor@oup.com with suggestions for themes, new articles, revisions, or general site recommendations. The art community built Grove, and its members remain the best compass to guide its expansion.

I hope also to find ways to make Grove more accessible to those who will benefit from its outstanding breadth of information. After all, art is inclusive. While at JSTOR, I studied the usage of journals across their diverse subscriber base, and I was startled by the amount of usage that art journals received from purely technical or scientific institutions. But this should not have been a surprise. Art is for everyone, and good scholarship about art should be, too. Whether you are logging in from the National Gallery, from NASA headquarters, or from your couch, Grove Art Online can teach you something interesting.

In a 1969 interview, the illustrator Rockwell Kent voiced an open-minded view of art that echoes my own outlook: “I like people to use their own judgment about things. Have in your house the pictures and books that you love regardless of whether people think they’re fine and good or worthwhile. Let them reflect yourself, whatever yourself is.” I close, then, with something I love: a recent exhibition of Rose Frantzen’s Portrait of Maquoketa at the Figge Art Museum in my hometown in Iowa. A forest of suspended panels spanned the museum’s third-floor gallery, capturing the landscape and residents of the small town of Maquoketa, Iowa. The vivid paintings form a stunning installation while offering an eloquent meditation on perspective and community.

Alodie Larson
Editor, Grove Art Online
July 2013

Portrait of Maquoketa

(Photograph of Portrait of Maquoketa included with permission from the artist.)


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