I S K O

edited by Birger Hjørland and Claudio Gnoli

 

Art studies and knowledge organization

by Anders Ørom

This is a reprint of an article published in 2003, see colophon.

Table of contents:
1. Introduction
2. Knowledge organization and the domain of art studies
3. The art institution and the scholarly domain of art studies
4. Knowledge organization at three 'levels' in the art institution
5. A brief historical sketch of some aspects of the art institution and of some conceptions of art relevant to KO
6. Paradigms in art history and art scholarship
    6.1 Cultural history and the iconographic paradigm (6.1.1: The iconographical paradigm and the three 'levels' of KO);
    6.2 The stylistic paradigm (6.2.1: The stylistic paradigm and the three 'levels' of KO);
    6.3 The "traditional" paradigms, LCC and DDC;
    6.4 The materialistic paradigm (6.4.1: The materialistic paradigm and the three 'levels' of KO)
7. Changes in the domain of art history and art scholarship
    7.1 A brief sketch of some ‘new’ art history approaches
8. Art and Architecture Thesaurus
9. Conclusion
References
Colophon

Abstract:
The article is an analysis of some aspects of knowledge organization in the domain of the arts, especially visual art. The analysis indicates that different socially and historically embedded discourses on art, including pre-paradigmatic studies and scholarly paradigms pervade knowledge organization in the art institution at three levels, respectively: (1) Art exhibitions, (2) Primary and tertiary document types (printed, audio-visual, and multimedia documents), and (3) Classification systems, bibliographies, and thesauri. The article presents three paradigms in art scholarship (iconographic, stylistic and materialistic) and analyses in which way and to what extent these paradigms are integrated in the taxonomies of the LCC, the DDC, the UDC and the Soviet LBC classification systems. The article also treats the relationship among paradigms, principles for exhibiting works of art, ways of conceptualizing and organising the content in documents on art history, and LIS knowledge organization systems. It is concluded that the UDC, in particular, is well suited for representation of knowledge produced in the contexts of pre-paradigmatic, iconological, and stylistic studies. But documents by the so-called “New” art scholars drawing on interdisciplinary studies and representing “new” approaches and paradigms break with the taxonomies on art in the “classical” hierarchical, universal classification systems. A step towards a solution of problems caused by this “break” is a polyhierarchical thesaurus as the Art and Architecture Thesaurus.

[top of entry]

1. Introduction

This article analyses some aspects of → knowledge organization in the domain of visual art with special emphasis on painting. The article starts with a brief review of literature on knowledge organization in the domain of art studies. Related to the review I present some general ideas of knowledge organization. Next to that the article introduces a distinction among three levels of knowledge organization in the art institution. These three levels are articulated in respectively: (1) Art exhibitions, (2) Primary and tertiary document types (printed, audio-visual, and multimedia documents), and (3) Classification systems, bibliographies, thesauri (and other secondary document types). My basic assumption is that historically determined discourses on art and paradigms in art scholarship pervade all three levels of knowledge organization, though there are differences from level to level. In order to demonstrate the ways in which the discourses and paradigms – or approaches – pervade knowledge organization in the art institution I make a brief historical sketch of the history of the art institution, I present three paradigms in art scholarship (the iconographic, the stylistic and the materialist), I analyse the classes on art in three universal classification systems: the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) and the Soviet Library-Bibliographical Classification (LBC). Finally, I discuss some difficulties in knowledge representation caused by the ‘new’ art history with its alternative approaches or paradigms that are conflicting with the ‘natural’ way of understanding and conceptualising art represented in both art exhibition practice, art scholarship and library and information science (LIS) knowledge organization.

[top of entry]

2. Knowledge organization and the domain of art studies

This brief review of literature on knowledge organization in the domain of art studies, focuses on analysis of classification systems for literature and other materials on art in an historical and scholarly context. The emphasis excludes the growing literature on knowledge representation and organization of images. Special attention is paid to analysis and reflections on historical factors influencing the conceptions of the classification systems and the conceptual structures in the scholarly domain, versus general classification theory and universal classification systems. Related to the latter, of interest is the influence of scholarly paradigms in the domain on the conceptual structures of classification systems. The review covers only the last three decades and takes the special issue of ARLIS/NA: Library Classification Systems and the Visual Arts as a starting point (Bostick and Mandel 1975; Clarke 1976; Schimansky 1976).

Analysis of the relationship between knowledge organization and art studies in the 1970s focused foremost on the needs of users within their professional contexts as art scholars, creative artists or others. The research aimed to enhance the knowledge organization systems. Bostick and Mandel underline that the classification systems depend on the conceptions and practices of the scholars and the users in the domain:

Art research is characterized by an abundance of methodologies, and our classification systems can only be as systematic as our authors and our readers. (Bostick and Mandel 1976, 1)

This means that the classification system for literature on the arts is understood in a domain context. What influence the classification system are on the one hand the publications and the use (including information seeking) in the domain. Clarke also expresses the importance of art scholarship for classification. In dealing with universal classification systems she calls the attention to a basic problem, namely a kind of contradiction between the classifiers and the art scholars:

The two library schemes mentioned above [LCC and DDC] were not specifically developed by art historians but by classifiers, and they especially reflect the schemes for other disciplines in their respective systems. Therefore, the Art classification scheme in DDC is heavily dependent on Dewey’s general division of knowledge as reflected in his entire scheme; and the LC schemes for specific types of art such as printmaking, following the general scheme for Art which in turn is similar to the schemes for other disciplines. (Clarke 1976, 3)

The core problem identified is that the overall structure of LCC and DDC as reflected in the construction of respectively the classes N and 700 in some aspects “contradict” the conceptual structures in the art domain. In the context of literature on art history there is no general contradiction between classifiers and art scholars due to the historical character of the (classical) art studies:

Art historical research, like all historical research, is based on the coordinates of geography and chronology (space and time). These coordinates underlie the concept of “style” and determine the contexts of works of art. The classification scheme usually chooses either geography or chronology as an initial structure and modifies it with the other coordinate. (Bostick and Mandel 1976, 2)

On the other hand Bostick and Mandel find the division by medium in the LCC problematic because the users in general are interested in the works of an artist whether these works are in different media or not, and works on for instance futurism that comprises artistic expressions in a wider range of media. Such works on individual authors and periods, styles or artistic movements are separated by the classification schemes. The division according to media is also seen as problematic in the separation of decorative arts from fine arts because some historical movements as for instance rococo and art nouveau to a high degree have found their expressions in the decorative arts.

In the context of this article it is interesting that Bostick and Mandel point to the specific needs of a scholar of iconography whose interests cross the special subjects section (Bostick and Mandel 1976, 3). Iconography (or the iconograhic paradigm) is one of the classical paradigms in the domain (cf. section 6.1). The two authors express that a user who is a scholar in iconography has special needs specific for the paradigm to which he belongs. Schimansky (1976) emphasizes a typical feature in art scholarship and in the humanities in general: the development of new concepts, the changes in the scholarly framework. analyzing the Metropolitan Museum of Art Library Classification Systems she writes:

New art terms make it imperative to replace the outdated terms in the classification, and recent art movements and techniques require the enlarging of some sections. (Schimansky 1976, 5)

In the 1980s there seems to have been little focus on the aspects and problems I am dealing with. An article of Molholt and Petersen (1993) refers to the special issue of ARLIS/NA and has its main focus on the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) as a bridging mechanism between the manifestations of visual arts and the different organizations (museums, libraries) that serve the viewers of art. To some extent this article represents a shift in focus from the organization of documents on art to the representation and organization of images in electronic image bases. But the article treats as well the construction of this thesaurus and its hermeneutic horizon. The AAT “represents a view of the world, an aggregate view of experts, but a view nonetheless” (Molholt and Petersen 1993, 31). From the experience that there has been no need for changing the original structure of the AAT during a decade they conclude that: “This may suggest that there is a commonly agreed way, for purposes of description, to talk/think about visual art, a pathway if you will” (Molholt and Petersen 1993, 32). The implicit idea seems to be that the different groups of art scholars who have contributed to the thesaurus have an integrated common conception of the scholarly domain of the art studies.

Among many other aspects of art librarianship Wyngaard (1993) deals with classification. She analyzes some differences and similarities between the DDC and the LCC at a general level. One aspect analyzed is the implicit concept of art as it can be seen in the main classes 700 and N. DDC distinguishes between useful arts (600) and fine arts (700). LCC includes the majority of the visual arts in class N while it “excludes” aesthetics from this class. Another aspect is the criteria for the major divisions. Both classification systems describe the class painting by subject (of the painting such as portrait), time period, technique, style, nationality and a combination of these (Wyngaard 1993, 9-10). Her analysis does not go into further details with this.

Roberto Ferrari (1999) analyzes and compares the DDC and the LCC systems mutually and with four alternate classification systems developed by special art and design libraries. The analysis focuses on the functional and pragmatic aspects of the use of these classification systems in art libraries. That both the DDC and the LCC are to general for special art libraries has caused the need for alternate systems. Ferrari points to the historical origin of universal classifications systems and the four alternate classification systems for art and design libraries in his explanation of some features: medium versus history/ethnicity.

One must keep in mind that art movements such as “Renaissance” and “Rococo” were terms being used for the first time in the late-nineteenth century academe. Hence for early classification systems such as DDC, LCC, and the first of the three alternate classifications systems discussed here [the Toledo Museum of Art Library classification system], the focus was on medium. (Ferrari 1999, 91)

Ferrari explains historically why the main division of the classes on art in the DDC and the LCC is by media and not by time (movements, style). Ferrari and Molholt and Petersen (1993) are used as a starting point to present general and universal systems of knowledge organization as products or “reflections” of historically developed concepts and conceptual structures. Concepts from different historical periods — and different points of view — are woven together in classification schemes and other systems of knowledge organization. In this sense classification schemes are products of “bricolage” processes in which they have been marked by certain worldviews, conceptions from different stages in the history of the art institution and different scholarly or scientific paradigms. The term bricolage is one of the key concepts in the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss’ The Savage Mind (La pensée sauvage). Bricolage is the work of the mythical artist — of the bricoleur whose

materials are […] the debris of culture, the language and the traditions of the tribe, the myths and beliefs of that tribe, the outer world and all it contains, but all of this is available only in its preconstrained state. (Lévi-Strauss 1969, 511)

Bricolage is generally defined in anthropology and sociology as: “a composite construction made out of bits and pieces (similar to a collage), this term is used to describe how texts are made out of bits and pieces of culture, history, language, and others texts”. In this meaning classification systems are products of a bricolage process. Their apparently logical taxonomies “hide” that they are products of such processes.

According to Pauline Rafferty, and relevant to the problem stated by Clarke, the worldview inherent in general and universal classification systems can be analyzed at the level of the main classes and the general principles. Pauline Rafferty writes:

Method, order and objectivity, which carry with them the connotations of ‘science’, are achieved in the general library classification scheme through the rational structures and conventions of Main Classes which assert forms of logical taxonomy, and through artificially constructed symbols which bear with them connotations of algebraic languages. These taxonomies are the product of rational, and often pragmatic and functionalist worldviews. (Rafferty 2001, 181)

In this analysis, there is a difference between the worldviews and paradigms that are “reflected” in the universal classification systems and the taxonomies as described by Rafferty, above. In fact, there is a kind of a contradiction between the bricolage of worldviews and paradigms on the one side and the rational worldviews structuring the formal side of the taxonomy on the other side. The apparently logical taxonomies are constructed on the basis of rather heterogeneous conceptual structures that are results of bricolage processes.

[top of entry]

3. The art institution and the scholarly domain of art studies

The points of departure and the perspectives of this article can briefly be sketched as follows.

When dealing with art, there is a difference between the art institution and the scholarly domain of art studies/art history. The concept of the art institution has two components. One is the whole range of persons (artists, art critics, art historians etc.), their activities (creating art, organizing expositions etc.), and the special institutions in which these activities are taking place (academies of art, art museums, art editorials etc.). Further, there are the (historically determined and competing) social and aesthetic values underlying and governing these activities.

The scholarly domain of art studies is an integrating part of the art institution. Hence, this domain should be analyzed both in the context of the art institution and as a scholarly domain. This analysis of knowledge organization dealing with art draws on both of these interrelated contexts. The context of the art institution is treated rather briefly, partly as a historical sketch, partly as a description of art exhibitions as a level of knowledge organization.

This analysis of knowledge organization in the context of the scholarly domain of art studies takes as a starting point, Hjørland (2002). Hjørland states that → domain analysis should always include three or four of eleven approaches. Of the eleven approaches, this article concentrates on (a) historical studies of the domain (the historical study of categories, concepts, contexts and knowledge organization), (b) analysis of discourses, symbol systems and “technical language”, and to a lesser extent (c) document and genre analysis (histories of art) and (d) some indexing. A special emphasis is put on the incongruity between the “traditional” and the “new” art history.

[top of entry]

4. Knowledge organization at three ‘levels’ in the art institution

Exhibitions of works of art are integrating parts of the art institution. When works of art are presented and situated in contexts, they become a kind of knowledge organization which takes place as an institutional practice. This will be called the institutional level of knowledge organization. There are two other levels in the scholarly domain of art: presentation of the subject matter in publications on art and the level of knowledge organization as it is normally understood in LIS.

The three levels are ‘articulated’ in respectively:

  • Art exhibitions: the works of art are exhibited in museums, in art galleries, in virtual museums, and in pictorial databases according to specific criteria or codes.
  • Document types (printed, audio-visual, and multimedia documents): the content of the documents is arranged according to (rather) specific patterns for presentation and understanding (primary and tertiary document types).
  • Classification systems, bibliographies, → thesauri (and other secondary document types). At this level both the works of art (cf. Iconclass) and the documents are organized.

This article concentrates on exhibitions in, or arranged by, art museums. Other types of exhibitions (such as sales exhibitions) are created according to other criteria than those based on art scholarship. In general the physical and virtual exhibitions of the permanent collections in the art museums are arranged in more traditional ways. Much experimentation with the organization and presentation of art works has taken place in the field of temporary exhibitions.

One general assumption is that historically determined discourses on art pervade all three levels of knowledge organization. New discourses are first seen in exhibition practices of temporary exhibitions and in primary document types. Later, these discourses penetrate the tertiary documents and the knowledge representation systems. Though there has been a profound theoretical discussion and a radical change in art scholarship during the last three decades, most popular documents on art are still conceived according to the “natural” understanding of art with focus on the individual artist treated in a biographical and stylistic context. This “natural” understanding of the art is the combined product of pre-paradigmatic ideas from the Renaissance and the stylistic paradigm.

The social and institutional practices of exhibiting works of art, the codes of presentation in different documents types, and the classification systems are mutually interrelated and marked by social values, worldviews, scholarly paradigms and pre-paradigms. Some examples are given in sections 6.1-6.2 and 6.4.

Figure 1

[top of entry]

5. A brief historical sketch of some aspects of the art institution and of some conceptions of art relevant to knowledge organization

Though the modern concept of art is defined by Baumgarten and Kant in the Age of Enlightenment it is relevant to go back to the Renaissance in order to trace some conceptions and document types that are still important today. It is generally agreed that one of the pioneers of art history and art criticism is Giorgio Vasari whose Lives of the Painters (Le vite, 1550-68) introduces a new era. In Lives of the Painters there are two basic conceptions. One is the biographical treatment of the individual artist, the other is the idea of the cycle of cultural ages. Vasari focussed on the genius and the achievement of the individual. The basic narrative structure in these ‘vite’ is the story of the artist’s life (as indicated in the title) related to the artist’s works of art. Today the most common document types in the art domain treat individual artists (biographies, monographs). According to the idea of the cycle the Renaissance was a revival of the antiquity and a new peak in the history of culture. In other words: Vasari saw the High Renaissance as superior to antiquity. This conception of the Renaissance as the period of highest excellence is still found in standard books on art history and in some classification schemes where it is ‘reflected’ in the vast hierarchy of subdivisions.

In 1664 the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris became a centralised institution that developed a doctrine for the theory and practice of painting. One central element in this doctrine was the hierarchy of motives. The most valuable motive was the human being, i.e. biblical and mythological motives, next to that in importance came the portrait followed by the landscape, living animals and at the bottom of the hierarchy still life was placed. This taxonomy, in fact an axiology, as well as a number of conceptual distinctions can be traced in the bricolages of today’s classification schemes. Among those conceptual distinctions deriving from pre-paradigmatic studies of art are drawing versus colour, the different styles and schools of painting (later developed by the stylistic paradigm), the idea of connoisseurship, and Roger de Piles’ system for valuation of paintings consisting of four categories: composition, design, colouring and expression.

The history of knowledge organization from the Renaissance and onwards shows how the arts and the study of art have been conceived in a universal knowledge context. In The Advancement of Learning (1605) Francis Bacon was not especially aware of the visual arts. Bacon’s atlas of the human learning is based on the division of man’s understanding:

The parts of human learning have reference to the three parts of man’s understanding, which is the seat of learning: history to his memory, poesy to his imagination, and philosophy to his reason. (Bacon 1965, 69)

In the sections on history the history of visual art (in the modern sense) is not mentioned. And in his treatment of ‘poesy’ Bacon writes that “Poesy is a part of learning in measure of words” (Bacon 1965, 82). Some art forms are categorized under mixed mathematics: music and architecture.

It is well known that d’Alembert based his system of human knowledge in the Preliminary discourse to the encyclopedia of Diderot (originally published 1751) on a revised version of Bacon’s atlas. With Locke’s theory of knowledge as the foundation d’Alembert revised the order of the three parts of human learning. Philosophical notions are “formed by the combination of primitive ideas” (Alembert 1995, 36). Poetry is another kind of “reflective knowledge”:

It consists of the ideas which we create for ourselves by imagining and putting together beings similar to those which are the object of our direct ideas. (Alembert 1995, 37)

From d’Alembert’s point of view poetry presupposes a more advanced mental operation than philosophy. And this is the reason why d’Alembert revises Bacon’s order of the faculties of human understanding and the system of human knowledge: history, philosophy and poetry. Concerning the arts there is a radical difference between Bacon and d’Alembert. D’Alembert’s category of poetry brings together literary kinds/genres, music, architecture, painting, sculpture and engraving. The subdivision of this category is based on whether the form of art ‘speaks’ to the senses, to the imagination or to both.

Painting and Sculpture ought to be placed at the head of that knowledge which consists of imitation, because it is in those arts above all that imitation best approximates the objects represented and speaks most directly to the senses. Architecture, that art which is born of necessity and perfected by luxury, can be added to those two. […] Poetry, which comes after Painting and Sculpture, and which imitates merely by means of words disposed according to a harmony agreeable to the ear, speaks to the imagination rather than to the senses. […] Finally, music, which speaks simultaneously to the imagination and to the senses, holds the last place in the order of imitation – […]. (Alembert 1995, 37-38)

D’Alembert’s analysis and subdivision of the category of poetry is essential to the categorization of the arts in modern classification systems from Dewey and onwards.

Vasari’s Renaissance conception of the historical cycle was radically changed in the Age of Enlightenment. In the Preliminary discourse to the encyclopedia of Diderot the second part is an analysis of “the progress of the mind” from the Renaissance to d’Alembert’s age, the Age of Enlightenment, and this means that the idea of the cycle was substituted by the notion of evolution.

In the years following the revolution in 1789 France had a key position in the development of modern museums. The intention was to save and communicate the ‘monuments’ of the arts, the science and the reason. When the Louvre opened as an art museum for the people in 1793 the exhibition was organized according to chronological and geographical — instead of aesthetic — principles. These new principles of organization were expressions of the ideas of evolutionism and nationalism. The aim was to give the visitors an image of the progressive grandeur of the culture and especially of the national culture. These principles have since been the most influential not only in museums exhibitions but also in historical treatments of the arts, and in classification systems.

At the end of the Age of Enlightenment some of the main principles relevant to knowledge organization in the art institution were on the one hand the idea that the art forms belong to the same category, the division of the art forms according to epistemological principles, the idea of evolution and the idea of nationalism. Melvil Dewey used these principles in the first edition of his Classification and Subject Index. Dewey incorporates new art forms (landscape gardening, photography and amusements) but the basic division corresponds with d’Alembert’s. Dewey placed literature in separate class following fine arts but this was in accordance with the principles used by d’Alembert. Dewey uses divisions in historical epochs (ancient and oriental, medieval and modern) and in national schools of painting (Flemish and Dutch schools, French, Italian), and literature is basically divided according to nations and languages. Besides these principles inherited from the Age of Enlightenment some earlier principles and concepts are used by Dewey as for instance color (752), portrait (757), landscape (758) and biography of fine arts (927). In other words: Dewey’s epoch making Classification and Subject Index is constructed as a bricolage system on the basis of concepts and categories belonging to different historical epochs.

[top of entry]

6. Paradigms in art history and art scholarship

The first edition of Dewey’s Classification and Subject Index was first and foremost marked by pre-paradigmatic studies of the arts and of philosophical theory of knowledge organization including Bacon and d’Alembert (Gabriele Muñiz 2003).

The ‘traditional’ art history paradigms were developed from the late Nineteenth century to the Sixties of the Twentieth century. These paradigms can analytically be divided in two main traditions.

[top of entry]

6.1 Cultural history and the iconographic paradigm

The first paradigm is developed within the tradition of cultural history going back to the Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt (1818-97). Burckhardt aimed at describing the panorama of a whole age and “within this panorama he set the visual arts at or near the centre of the defining characteristics of an age” (Fernie 1995, 14). The originally German scholar Erwin Panofsky created his iconographical paradigm in the tradition of cultural history. The iconographic analysis (which included a stylistic analysis) aims at the interpretation of the intrinsic and symbolical meaning of images. The interpretation of this intrinsic meaning is based on the study of contemporary philosophy and literature. For instance, Poussin’s painting Et in Arcadia ego is interpreted as an expression of the idea of death around 1640. The focus of this iconographic paradigm is allegorical and symbolic in meaning. Panofsky studied the Renaissance and the Baroque period. Works of art from these periods have a privileged status for the scholars belonging to this paradigm. In general, the art-historical tradition for cultural history (E.H. Gombrich) and iconography focuses on high culture.

Figure 2: Poussin's Et in Arcadia ego (Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

The research object of the iconographic paradigm is the meaning of the works of art. In general, the meaning is interpreted in the cultural context of the work — it means the intertextuality of the works of art includes other cultural expressions.

[top of entry]

6.1.1 The iconographical paradigm and the three ‘levels’ of knowledge organization

Some recent exhibitions at Statens Museum for Kunst (The Danish National Gallery) have been organized according to themes. It is the case in the temporary exhibition The avant-garde in Danish and European Art 1909-1919. The ‘Introduction’ states:

This exhibition does not aim to go into the specifics on how the works belong under the headings of Futurism, Cubism, or Expressionism. Instead, it wishes to draw attention to how many artists represented address the same subjects – subjects which are all associated with modern life and existence. (Aagesen et al. 2002, 7)

In this exhibition as well as in Symbolism in Danish and European painting 1870-1910 the exposed works of art are presented in a cultural context and interpreted in the exhibition catalogues and guides. The thematic principle is overriding. In Symbolism in Danish and European painting 1870-1910 there are five themes: The Beauty and the Death, The Greatness of Man and Nature, Silence till the Death, Eros and Melancholy, and The Prophets of Beauty. The painter’s nationality, the art form and the date of the exhibited works are subordinated to the themes. The avant-garde and Symbolism in Danish and European painting 1870-1910 are in a way the iconographical paradigm put into exhibition practice.

In the monograph by Læssøe (2000) the main structure of the presentation is historical but each of the seven chapters contains iconographic interpretations of works by individual artists. These interpretations draw on literary, philosophical, pictorial, biographical and historical sources. To a certain extent Læssøe (2000) represents the iconographical paradigm. But he goes one step beyond it because the historical reception of the works of art is an essential aspect of the analyses. Anyway the important thing is that the themes and the interpretations of the works are the organising principles.

In classification systems, bibliographies, and thesauri we do not usually find themes and iconographic interpretations at the higher levels in the taxonomies. But before making a brief analysis of this aspect the conceptions of art and some general characteristics of the art classes in the LCC and the DDC are presented.

Class N in the LCC covers the visual arts with the exclusion of some decorative art forms as for instance ceramics and photography and with the exclusion of some aspects of primitive art and folk art. It means that the underlying understanding of art in the LCC is closer to the ‘traditional paradigms’ than the DDC. In the class ‘visual arts’ the LCC has almost no features that can be related to the iconographical paradigm. In the class ND, painting, the main divisions are General, History, Study and teaching, General Works, Special Subjects, Techniques and materials, Examination and conservation of painting, Watercolor painting, Mural painting, and Illumination of manuscripts and books. The subclass Special subjects (1288-1460) is divided according to the late Renaissance hierarchy of motives: Human figure, Portraits, Landscape Painting, Marine painting, Animals, Birds, Sports. Hunting, fishing, Still life, Flowers. Fruit. Trees, and Other subjects. The point of view of this subdivision is ‘positivistic’ without marked linguistic references to the terminology of the iconographical paradigm.

Class 700 (The arts. Fine and decorative arts) in DDC does not conceive of the arts in accordance with the ‘traditional’ paradigms in art history in the way that the class is not limited to a body of works that is considered to be of great cultural importance and aesthetic value. Instead the class comprises a wide range of fine and decorative arts. The understanding underlying the class does not distinguish between art and craft.

In class 700 the DDC has incorporated the terminology of the iconographical paradigm in some subclasses as for instance 704.9 Iconography and collections of writings, and in the classes 753-758 Specific subjects (Iconography) comprising Abstraction, symbolism, allegory, mythology, legend, and Religion and religious symbolism. At a lower level the terminology of the iconographical paradigm forms an integral part of the bricolage of the DDC.

Though I am not going to make an analysis of the UDC I will point out that class 7.04 covers “Subjects for artistic representation. Iconography. Iconology”. The subdivision of this class combines terminology from the iconographic paradigm with categories of motives (subjects).

[top of entry]

6.2 The stylistic paradigm

The stylistic paradigm is established around 1870 and later on developed by Heinrich Wölfflin (1864-1945). Like the presentation of the other paradigms this presentation treats the stylistic paradigm as an “Idealtypus” in Max Weber’s sense. It means that the presentation cultivates the typical features of the paradigms without discussion to what extent scholarly works belonging to the paradigm deal with interpretations of the works of art.

Wölfflin “considered that laws governed the ways in which forms changed through time” (Fernie 1995, 15). Based on stylistic characteristics (for instance linear versus painterly and plane versus recession) Wölfflin grouped works into related categories. This meant that the analysis of style became the basic and defining method of the stylistic paradigm in art history and the object was the → works of art belonging to high culture. In a more specific sense the object of the stylistic paradigm is the formal aspect of the work of art (style, composition, way of painting and the like), the stylistic features. The aim of the stylistic analysis is to describe, categorize, compare and systematize these stylistic features in order to determine a sequence of historical styles. It means that the overriding principle in knowledge organization — whether in art exhibitions, art histories or systems of knowledge organization — is the historical sequence of styles. As a consequence of the focus on styles the intertextuality is limited to works of art, i.e. the history of art is conceived of as an autonomous history. The content analysis, i.e. the meaning of the works of art is beyond the horizon of this paradigm. The way works of art are analyzed and organized in taxonomies is similar to Linné’s principles in Systema Naturae in which the forms of the nature in the animal kingdom, the vegetable kingdom and the mineral kingdom are analyzed systematically and grouped in families, species and so on (Paludan-Müller 1996).

[top of entry]

6.2.1 The stylistic paradigm and the three ‘levels’ of knowledge organization

The traditional way of organising exhibitions in art museums follows the principles of the Louvre exhibition in 1793 as they are developed by the stylistic paradigm. The works of art are presented in a historical sequence where style follows style generally within a regional or national context. The exhibition of the permanent collection at the Danish National Gallery, Statens Museum for Kunst, is an example of this.

Janson (1995) treats the history of art in line with the principles of the stylistic paradigm. With focus on Western art Janson traces the roots of Western art back prehistoric times and follows the evolution of the art forms in ancient Egypt, ancient Near East, classical Greece and so on. The chapters covering the period from 1050 to around 1900 have stylistic terms in the titles and some of the structural principles are divisions in art forms and nation or regions.

Romanesque art
   Architecture
   Sculpture
   Painting
Gothic art
   Architecture
   Sculpture
   Painting
….
The baroque in France and England
The Rococo
   France
   England
   Germany and Austria
   Italy

Neoclassicism and Romanticism
   …
   Painting
   Sculpture
   Architecture
   Decorative arts
   Photography

(Janson 1995, 306-387; 588-617; 638-701)

The chapters on the Twentieth century do not use the stylistic terms but names of historical periods: “Before World War I”, “Between the Wars”, “Since World War II” as subdivisions under the main division in art forms (painting, sculpture, architecture, photography). The individual chapters are subdivided in styles and ‘isms’. Some structural elements in the part treating Twentieth century painting before World War illustrate this.

Expressionism: The Fauves
   Matisse
   Rouault
German Expressionism
   Heckel
   Nolde
   Kokoschka
   Kandinsky
   …
Abstraction

Analytic cubism
Synthetic cubism
….
(Janson 1995, 761-774)

The taxonomy in Janson (1995) combines historical periods, styles, ‘isms’, art forms, individual artists, regions, and nations.

In the DDC the history of the arts (for instance in class 709: historical and geographic treatment in general, and in class 759: historical and geographic treatment in general in painting) is divided according to centuries, nations and geographical areas like it is in the LCC. But the difference between these two classification systems is that the DDC uses the terminology of the stylistic paradigm as a part of the taxonomic structure while the LCC uses these terms in the alphabetical subdivisions of the basic taxonomy based on centuries. Using the 19th century as an example this can be illustrated. In DDC class 759.01 has the heading: “19th century, 1800-1900”. The description reads:

Including classical revival, romanticism, naturalism, impressionism, luminism, pleinairism, neo-impressionism, pointillism, divisionism, postimpressionism (Dewey 1971, 296).

In the LCC the class ND190-192 covers the painting of the 19th century, and ND192.A-Z the special aspects and movements of the century, for instance Impressionist painting and Romantic painting. In the LCC the principle of subdivision — or the taxonomy at the level analyzed — is alphabetic (though this principle is not consequently used, an exception is medieval painting). On the contrary the DDC uses the taxonomy of the stylistic paradigm, i.e. the historical sequence of styles in the same way as Janson’s History of art.

In the LCC the subclass on the history of art (ND49-813) is based on a combination of terms from general history (ancient, medieval, and modern with some subdivisions as for instance early Christian and Renaissance) and centuries.

In class 7: “The arts. Recreation. Entertainment. Sport” the UDC has subdivisions (7.03) in which the terminology of the stylistic paradigm is consequently used for the artistic periods, phases, schools, stiles and influences from the medieval period to the “Transition between Expressionism and abstract art” (Universal Decimal Classification 1993, 853). This means that the UDC is far more based on the stylistic paradigm than the DDC and the LCC.

[top of entry]

6.3 The “traditional” paradigms, LCC and DDC

The conclusion concerning the influence of the iconographical and the stylistic paradigms on the main classes of art in the taxonomies of the two classification systems is that none of these paradigms forms an integrating in the taxonomy of the LCC, while both paradigms to a certain degree are integrated terminologically in the DDC. In the taxonomies of both classification systems crucial parts are based on pre-paradigmatic concepts and conceptions of art studies (as well as on document types, technical procedures, materials and general geographical and historical divisions).

The opposite is the case with the UDC in which essential parts of the taxonomy on art are based on the two “traditional” paradigms. This leads to the conclusion that the UDC taxonomy has a more scholarly foundation than the DDC and the LCC.

These two ‘traditional’ art history paradigms have been criticized during the last three decades for a number of reasons. Among these reasons is that the continuity of art is taken for granted, a continuity starting in ancient Greece, including the visual use of classical myths, continuing with the narratives and symbols of Christianity and going up till contemporary art. The two paradigms are as well criticized for cultivating a canon of art and for defining art as fine art meaning a body of works considered to be of great cultural importance and aesthetic value. The body of fine art consists of painting, drawing and sculpture (plus architecture and photography). Other characteristics of the ‘traditional’ paradigms are that they understand the stylistic features and the meanings of works of art and art history as fixed structures, or to put it another way: they have an essentialist conception of art.

[top of entry]

6.4 The materialistic paradigm

A third paradigm in — or approach to — art history is materialistic and is generally known as the social history of art. This paradigm was developed in the 1940s and 1950s by among others Arnold Hauser (1892-1978). The paradigm is based on “the Marxist thesis that the economic base conditions the cultural superstructure and that as a result styles vary according to the character of the dominant class” (Fernie 1995, 18). Within this paradigm the social functions of art and the sociology of art are studied. In comparison with the two (main) ‘traditional’ paradigms the materialistic approach has had rather limited influence on art scholarship in general. In general the materialist paradigm draws on Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ writings on literature and art though the basic ideas have been interpreted differently in Eastern and Western Europe up till the beginning of the Nineties. The works of art are considered as integrated elements in the historical and social context. It means that the materialist conception of art is opposed to the general Western idea of the autonomous art. The materialist paradigm aims at analyzing the meaning and the function of art in the context of material, social, political and ideological structures (at the time when the works of art were created). This paradigm does not understand the evolution of the art as being continuous. Changes in the power and class structure cause changes in and ruptures with the artistic tradition.

[top of entry]

6.4.1 The materialistic paradigm and the three ‘levels’ of knowledge organization

The materialistic paradigm is not often used as a basis for organising art exhibitions in the Western World. One of the reasons is that the social conception of art is contrary to art understood as autonomous. An exhibition at Randers Kunstmuseum (a provincial Danish art museum) in the 1980s used a painting by the Danish artist Wenzel Tornøe as the focal point. This painting, Syerske, shows a sewing machinist sitting utterly tired and almost sleeping at her sewing machine. The other images exhibited and the text accompanying the exhibition created a social and historical context in which the painting was interpreted as a critique of the female working conditions around year 1900.

Figure 3: Tornoe's Syerske (Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

Arnold Hauser’s The Social History of Art covers the history of art forms including literary genres from prehistoric times to “the film age”. The concept of art is more comprehensive than the one used by Janson. Volume two has the subtitle “Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque” and volume three has the subtitle “Rococo, Classicism and Romanticism”. These subtitles indicate that Hauser uses the terminology of the ‘traditional’ paradigms. But Hauser’s context is radically different from the contexts of the iconographic and the stylistic paradigm. The character of the context can be shown with some excerpts from the contents of volume three.

The dissolution of courtly art
   …
   The new wealth and the bourgeoisie
   The Voltarian ideal of culture
   Watteau

The new reading public
   The English monarchy and the liberal strata of society
   …
   The new periodicals and the middle class reading public
   Literature in the service of politics
   Defoe and Swift
   …
   The Industrial Revolution
   The new ethic for labour
   The ideology of freedom
   Individualism
   …
(Hauser 1968, vol. 3, 34-75)

In Hauser (1962) the art is understood in a context that combines changes in economic, power and class structure, altering worldviews, new strata of the public, the political use of art and interpretations of individual artists as exponents of (new) ideas, social standpoints and artistic qualities. It is emphasized that the art and the different art forms have social functions and that they have to be treated in a social context because they are integrating parts of the society.

In the Soviet universal classification system, → Library-Bibliographical Classification (LBC), the art studies are placed in class Shch: Fine arts, art scholarship (Šc: Kunst. Kunstwissenschaft). The basic taxonomy of the LBC is based on the Marxist conception of nature, society and culture, including the thesis that the economic base conditions the cultural superstructure of the society.


 
Table 1 (Bibliothekarisch-bibliographische Klassifikation: Einführung 1978, 31-42)
 
 The totality of nature,
 society and culture
 A Marxism-Leninism
 The economic base  B Science in general
 S Social sciences in general
 The cultural superstructure  Ch Culture, scholarship, general education (Volksbildung)
Sh Philology, literary scholarship
Shch Fine arts, art scholarship
Y Religion. Atheism
Iu Philosophy, psychology
Ia Universal literature

While the main taxonomies in two North American systems can be interpreted as expressions of philosophical idealism the LBC taxonomy is materialistic. In the DDC and in the LCC the underlying conception of the art is the idea of an autonomous art sphere — meaning among other things that the art does not have social or pedagogical functions. In the LBC the opposite is the case and the art is conceived of as a field of societal practice.

The main class Shch: Fine arts, art scholarship comprises (Shch03-38): History of the art, Visual art, Architecture, Applied art, Sculpture, Painting, Graphic art, Artistic photography, Music and the performing arts, Music, Dance, Theatre, Mass arrangements and popular festivals, Circus, ‘Shows’, and Artistic radio and television emissions. One feature that distinguishes the LBC from the DDC and the LCC is the emphasis put on artistic mass manifestations. Another feature is the aesthetic criterion applied to photography, radio and television emissions.

Selected subclasses in Shch10 visual art that are presented in the figure below can illustrate the character of the taxonomy:

The Marxist-Leninist classical writing on visual art
The methodology of art studies
   Partiality in art scholarship
   Critique on non-Marxist theories
The history of art scholarship and art criticism
   General art scholarship
   Art scholarship in the SSSR
The organization of the scholarly research in the field of the visual art
Artistic education
Bibliography, works of reference
Theory on the visual art
Preservation of works of art. Art museums and art collections
The general history of the visual art
   Visual art in the ‘Urgesellschaft’
   Visual art in the antiquity
   …
   Visual art in the 5th to the 18th century
       …
      Early Renaissance
      High Renaissance
      …
      Visual art in the 19th century
      Visual art in the 20th century (from 1917)

(Bibliothekarisch-bibliographische Klassifikation: Šc Kunst. Kunstwissenschaft 1968, 72-85)

The figure above shows the bias of the point of departure. The standards of art scholarship are derived from the classical writings and the Marxist theory in the domain. Besides that the methodological, institutional, and historical aspects of art scholarship and art criticism are important. The periods used in the classes on the general history of the visual arts are based on the development of the social formations from the “Urgesellschaft” to the communist era after the October Revolution. Terms from the “traditional” paradigms are logically not used. The terms Early Renaissance and High Renaissance do not have the same meanings as in the contexts of the “traditional” paradigms. Following the basic conception there are no classes for individual artists. In short the discourse of the LBC differs fundamentally from the discourses of DDC and LCC. In the LBC the bias is evident to a “Western” eye. But it is more difficult for the same “Western” eye to notice the biases of for instance the DDC and the LCC because their basic points of view seem “natural”, they are integrated parts of our intellectual and conceptual horizon.

[top of entry]

7. Changes in the domain of art history and art scholarship

In the early 1970s, “new” art historians with different theoretic orientations started criticizing the “traditional” paradigms. Criticisms included: the narrowness of the way in which art was defined and studied, the focus on individual artists, the limited scope of methods (analysis of style or iconography), and the concentration on the canonical works of art. In some ways these ”new” art historians were inspired by the social history of art in their “new” art historical practice. In general, they conceive of art in a broader social context including power structures and the relations between artists and public. In this view, the structures of meaning have changed.

The ‘new’ art history represents a dramatically wider field of enquiry involving new methodologies, although ‘old’ art history is still pursued by some academics. The ‘new’ art history employs an interdisciplinary approach which embraces materials far beyond ‘traditional’ art historical sources, and so information has to be sought outside the art library (Korenic 1997, 12).

From the librarian’s point of view the interdisciplinary and the sources for art scholarship are important challenges. And the same goes for knowledge organization. With the decreasing importance of the “old” art history and with the biased point of view in the LBC the taxonomies on art in the “classical” classification systems are out of key with the recent scholarship of the “new” art history. When the object of art studies is redefined in a new interdisciplinary and more complex context the basic conceptual structures — derived from pre-paradigmatic conceptions and to some extent from the “traditional” paradigms — are inadequate. Of course the problems can be handled by the use of faceted classification and refinement of subclasses, but the fundamental problems cannot be solved in a (theoretically) satisfying way by the use of the “classical” classification systems. This is — of course — a part of the background for the development of thesauri.

[top of entry]

7.1 A brief sketch of some ‘new’ art history approaches

The ‘new’ art history ‘paradigms’ include approaches

  • based on semiotics and theories of representation
  • based on gender history with a feminist inclination
  • based on psychoanalysis
  • based on social history and the history of the art institution

One of the basic ideas of the semiotic approach is that each reading of a text or a picture is a re-creating of it, a construction of meaning in an ongoing process. An example is Reading Rembrandt by Mieke Bal (1991). Bal does not see ‘Rembrandt’ as an individual painter but as a ongoing ‘semiotic construction’. In our interpretation of paintings or etchings by Rembrandt we are not able to “isolate” the work of art from all the interpretations. In other words the oeuvre of Rembrandt is inscribed in a textual universe of ongoing interpretations. In another monograph by Mieke Bal Quoting Caravaggio, she analyzes the “dialogue” between contemporary “neo-Baroque” artist and Caravaggio. In this intertextual “dialogue” new meanings are created.

The gender historical approach started with a critique of the exclusion of female artists from the canons of art. In The obstacle race: the fortunes of women painters and their work, Germaine Greer analyzed the social conditions of the women and the functions and values of the art institution that generally caused the exclusion of female artist. The approach based on psychoanalysis aims at exploring the meaning of a picture as being different from what is consciously expressed or stated by the artist. The object shifts from the individual artist to — for instance — the cultural background. Another art scholar, Norman Bryson, has interpreted some paintings by Géricault in the context of the history of masculinity. To a certain extent these interpretations can be seen as inspired by materialistic paradigm and as a continuation and refinement of Arnold Hauser’s work.

The ‘new’ art history is inspired from developments and theories in other domains as for instance history, literature and philosophy. New ways of organising exhibitions in art museums and art galleries are somehow related to the shift in orientation from the ‘traditional’ to the ‘new’ art history. As mentioned is the ‘traditional’ exhibition arranged according to periods in the history of art, styles, artistic movements, regions and nations. The ‘new’ ways of exhibiting works of art include for instance presentations of paintings belonging to different styles and epochs in order to create dialogues and inter-textual relations among these. Generally speaking the works of art are removed from the ‘fixed’ context of ‘traditional’ art history and presented in an ‘open’ context where the meaning of the work is not given in advance, but is derived from the new exhibition context.

The LCC has a subclass, 1158.A-Z, for Painting related to other subjects, this subclass includes for instance psychoanalysis and semiotics. In the DDC the class 701: “Philosophy and theory” gathers “appreciative aspects” (psychology, theory etc.) and “inherent features” (composition, color, form, style etc.). The “appreciative” aspects can be expanded with new theories.

[top of entry]

8. Art and Architecture Thesaurus

The Art and Architecture Thesaurus is “a structured vocabulary of around 125,000 terms, scope notes, and other information for describing fine art, architecture, decorative arts, archival materials and material culture” (Getty Research Institute 2003). As it is indicated in the presentation the Art and Architecture Thesaurus covers far more than the classes on art in the universal classification systems. Though this is evident — given the fact the art classes in the universal classification systems have the whole systems as contexts — it should be emphasized that the coverage seems to be in accordance with the interdisciplinary approaches of the “new” art history “which embraces materials far beyond ‘traditional’ art historical sources” (Korenic 1997, 12).

The → facets in the Art and Architecture Thesaurus are identified and organized “especially to reflect how a work of art is described” (Molholt and Petersen 1993, 32). “The facets of the AAT are organized to proceed from the most abstract concepts through the style or period of the work, the role of creators, the processes and techniques used to fabricate works, the materials with which they are made, to the names of the objects themselves – the most concrete elements of the description. Each facet contains one ore more hierarchies which are arrangements of terms in broader and narrower relationships” (Molholt and Petersen 1993, 32). The seven facets reflecting seven perspectives on the description of a work of art are:

ASSOCIATED CONCEPTS FACET Hierarchy: Associated Concepts
PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES FACET Hierarchies: Attributes and Properties, Conditions and Effects, Design Elements, Color
STYLES AND PERIODS FACET Hierarchy: Styles and Periods
AGENTS FACET Hierarchies: People, Organisations
ACTIVITIES FACET Hierarchies: Disciplines, Functions, Events, Physical Activities, Processes and Techniques
MATERIALS FACET Hierarchy: Materials
OBJECTS FACET Hierarchies: Object Groupings and Systems, Object Genres, Components

(Art and Architecture Thesaurus, http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/vocabularies/aat/about.html#scope)

The coverage of the “Associated Concepts facet” is described as follows:

This facet contains abstract concepts and phenomena that relate to the study and execution of a wide range of human thought and activity, including architecture and art in all media, as well as related disciplines. Also covered here are theoretical and critical concerns, ideologies, attitudes, and social or cultural movements (e.g., beauty, balance, connoisseurship, metaphor, freedom, socialism) (Getty Research Institute 2003)

The examples in brackets point to the bricolage character of the facet. In order to cover the wide range of historical and contemporary concepts, the facets are heterogeneous. Balance is a concept at least going back to Roger de Piles’ Balance de peintres (1708), connoisseurship is a concept developed in the Renaissance, freedom and socialism are rather modern concepts etc. The interdisciplinary approaches to the study of art include for instance: linguistics and related disciplines, museology, science, philosophy, women’s studies, political science, communications, economics, and ethnic studies. In other words concepts from the humanities, the social sciences and science are integrated in the thesaurus. One important aspect of this it that it is possible to include and emphasize the theoretical point of view and the scholarly paradigm in the knowledge representation. This can be illustrated with an example. Griselda Pollock’s monograph Differencing the canon: feminist desire and the writing of art histories (1999) is represented with the terms: feminism and art, woman art historians, psychology, psychoanalysis and feminism. The last terms indicate in a way Griselda Pollock’s approach or paradigm. She is one of the “new” art historians like Mieke Bal. Bal’s monograph Reading “Rembrandt”: beyond the word-image opposition (1991) is represented with the terms: Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669 – Criticism and interpretation, Woman in art, Ut pictora poesis (Aesthetics), Art and literature. The problem in this representation is that Bal’s specific theoretical approach is missing. The general conclusion so far is that the associated concepts facet in Art and Architecture Thesaurus to a certain degree is able to cope with the “new” art history. But it is only to a certain degree.

As a whole Art and Architecture Thesaurus is a very comprehensive work of bricolage that joins concepts from almost all historical phases of the study of art and architecture, concepts from interdisciplinary studies of the domain and concepts from both “traditional” and “new” art history. For instance the facet Styles and periods is based on the scholarship of the stylistic paradigm. The polyhierarchical structure of the Art and Architecture Thesaurus is an advantage in comparison with the “classical” hierarchical classification systems. On the other hand it should be emphasized that the Art and Architecture Thesaurus is an eclectic work in which the basic structure of facets and hierarchies is constructed on the principles of rationality, order and objectivity in the same way as in (Western) universal classification systems. There are two problems in this. The first is that both rationality and objectivity are apparent. Nor the art institution as a social and cultural field neither the scholarly domain of art studies is rational. The other and related problem is that the work of art is conceived of as an object that can be put in different contexts without changing meaning. In other words there seems to be a kind of an “additive” structural thinking in the thesaurus. And this “additive” structural conception is the reason why for instance Bal’s specific theoretical approach is not adequately represented.

[top of entry]

9. Conclusion

The aim of this article was to analyze some aspects of knowledge organization in the domain of the arts, especially visual art. From the rather brief analysis I can draw some conclusions. The analysis indicates that different socially and historically embedded discourses on art, including pre-paradigmatic studies and scholarly paradigms pervade knowledge organization in the art institution at three levels. These three levels are ‘articulated’ in respectively: (1) Art exhibitions, (2) Primary and tertiary document types (printed, audio-visual, and multimedia documents), and (3) Classification systems, bibliographies, thesauri (and other secondary document types). Concerning the general discourse in which art is understood there is a marked (ideological) difference between the Soviet LBC on the one side and the Western classification systems (DDC, LCC and UDC) on the other side. Though the universal classification systems as such are constructed on the basis of (formal) rational and logical structures the analyses of the art classes show that the substantial “layers” “beneath” the rational structures are constructed as “bricolage” works. The systems analyzed, including the sketched analysis of UDC, show that there are significant differences among the four systems both regarding the understanding of art (which is a part of the discourse) and regarding the concepts of the bricolage work. The LCC system is the one that to the less extent includes concepts from the “traditional” paradigms, the iconographic and the stylistic paradigms. Or to put it another way: it is a system in which scholarly conceptions are of minor importance compared to general formal structures. The opposite is the case with UDC in which substantial parts of the taxonomy are constructed on the basis of the “traditional” paradigms. The DDC system can be placed in between. The taxonomy of the LBC is based on the Marxist conception of art and has a less bricolage-like structure, because the “deep” structure is more rational as a result of an overriding theoretical construction. On the other hand this “firm” construction creates “blindness” in the sense that non-Marxist concepts tend to be excluded or “negated”.

Simplified it can be concluded that especially the UDC is well suited for representation of knowledge produced in the contexts of pre-paradigmatic, iconological, and stylistic studies. During the recent three decades the so-called “new” art history or the “new” art scholarship has developed interdisciplinary approaches — or paradigms — that break with both the general discourse on art and the “traditional” paradigms. This means that the “new” art history by introducing new contexts and new theoretical positions breaks with the principles (and practice) of knowledge organization at the three levels. From a LIS knowledge organization point of view the challenge is to be able to represent the documents produced by the “new” art scholars in (theoretically) adequate ways in addition to the representation of the whole historical corpus of documents on art. The central problem is that a hierarchical system based on a “traditional” discourse combined with concepts from the “traditional” paradigms is “conceptually closed”. At a pragmatic level a “polyhierarchical” thesaurus as for instance the Art and Architecture Thesaurus seems to be a step towards a solution of some problems raised by the approaches of the “new” art history. Because the Art and Architecture Thesaurus is a more “open” and more expanded work of bricolage than universal classification systems is it easier to integrate new aspects of art studies in the facet structure. But at a theoretical level the eclecticism and the “additive” conception of conceptual relations mean that the Art and Architecture Thesaurus has a problematic epistemological foundation.

[top of entry]

References

Aagesen, Dorthe, Hanne Abildgaard, Martin Zerland and Rikke Warming. 2002. The avant-garde in Danish and European Art 1909-1919: Exhibition Guide. Copenhagen: Statens Museum for Kunst.

Alembert, Jean Le Rond d'. 1751/1995. Preliminary discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. (Original appeared 1751).

Bacon, Francis. 1605/1965. The Advancement of Learning. London: Dent Everyman’s Library. (Originally published 1605).

Bal, Mieke. 1991. Reading "Rembrandt": Beyond the Word-image Opposition: The Northrop Frye Lectures in Literary Theory. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Bal, Mieke. 1999. Quoting Caravaggio: Contemporary Art, Preposterous History. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Bibliothekarisch-bibliographische Klassifikation: Einführung. 1978. Vol. 1. Berlin: Methodisches Zentrum für wissenschaftliche Bibliotheken.

Bibliothekarisch-bibliographische Klassifikation, Band Šc Kunst. Kunstwissenschaft. (1968). Vol. 21. Berlin: Methodisches Zentrum für wissenschaftliche Bibliotheken.

Bostick, Christina Huemer and Carol Mandel. 1976. “Classification and the Art Library User: Some Theoretical Considerations”. ARLIS/NA Newletter 4, no.4/5: 1-3.

Clarke, S. (1976). “Library Classification in the Arts”. ARLIS/NA Newletter 4(4/5), 3-4.

Dewey, Melvil. 1876. A Classification and subject Index for Cataloguing and Arranging the Books and Pamphlets of a Library. Amherst, Mass.

Dewey, Melvil. 1990. Abridged Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index. Edition 12. Albany, New York: Forest Press.

Fernie, Eric. 1995. Art History and Its Methods: A Critical Anthology. London: Phaidon Press.

Ferrari, Roberto C. 1999. “The Art of Classification: Alternate Classification Systems in Art Libraries”. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 28, no. 2: 73-98.

Gabriele Muñiz, Giovanna. 2003. “La clasificación de la filosofía: el sistema decimal de Dewey a la luz de los sistemas de clasificación de F. Bacon y l’Encyclopedie”. In Tendencias de investigación en organización del conocimiento: Trends in Knowledge Organization Research. Edited by José Antonio Frías and Críspulo Travieso. Salamanca: Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, 183-210.

Getty Research Institute. 2003. Art & Architecture Thesaurus. http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary. Also published as: Petersen, Toni. 1994. Art & architecture thesaurus. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press. 5 vols.

Hansson, Joacim. 1999. Klassifikation, bibliotek och samhälle: En kritisk hermeneutisk studie av ”Klassifikationssystem för svenska bibliotek” (Classification, Library and Society: A Critical Hermeneutic Study of ‘The Swedish Classification System”). Göteborg: Valfrid.

Hauser, Arnold. 1968. The Social History of Art. Vol. 1-4. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. (English original appeared 1951)

Heidmann, Anne. 2003. Organiseringens Kunst – En Analyse af Vidensorganization inden for Kunstinstitutionen. (The Art of Organizing – an Analysis of the Knowledge Organisation within the Art Institution). Aalborg: Danmarks Biblioteksskole. (Unpublished thesis).

Hjørland, Birger. 2002. “Domain Analysis and Information Science: Eleven Approaches – Traditional as well as Innovative”. Journal of Documentation, 58(4) 422-462.

Hjørland, Birger. 2003. “Fundamentals of Knowledge Organization”. In Tendencias de investigación en organización del conocimiento: Trends in Knowledge Organization Research, José Antonio Frías, Críspulo Travieso eds. Salamanca: Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, 83-116. [Modified version published in Knowledge Organization 30, no. 1: 87-111.]

Janson, Horst Waldemar. 1995. History of Art. Fifth edition. Revised and expanded by Anthony F. Janson. New York: Harry N. Abrams.

Korenic, Lyn. 1997. “Inside the Discipline, outside the Paradigm: Keeping Track of the New Art History”. Art Libraries Journal 22 (3) 12-18.

Læssøe, Rolf. 2000. Billedets liv: Syv kapitler om det moderne ikon: Fra Ingres til Bacon. (The life of the image: Seven chapters on the modern icon: From Ingres to Bacon.) Copenhagen: Multivers.

Molholt, Pat and Toni Petersen. 1993. “The Role of the „Art and Architecture Thesaurus“ in Communicating about Visual Art”. Knowledge Organization 20, no. 1: 30-4.

Nørgaard Larsen, Peter. 2000. Symbolism in Danish and European painting, 1870-1910. Copenhagen: Statens Museum for Kunst.

Ørom, Anders. 2003a. "Kunsten at organisere viden om kunsten" (The Art of Organizing Knowledge on the Art). Aalborg: Biblioteksarbejde 65, 61-76.

Ørom, Anders. 2003b. "Paradigmas y visiones del mundo en la organización del conocimiento dentro del campo del arte". In Tendencias de investigación en organización del conocimiento: Trends in Knowledge Organization Research, José Antonio Frías, Críspulo Travieso eds. Salamanca: Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, 233-241.

Paludan-Müller, Carsten. 1996. "Museet i tiden: Erindringsrum og verdensspejl i Museerne ved årtusindskiftet". (The museum in the time: Space of memory and mirror of the world at the turn of the millennium). In Museerne ved årtusindskiftet, edited by Michael Lauenborg and Peter Pentz. Copenhagen: Statens Museumsnævn. Available https://web.archive.org/web/20021117123435/http://guest.kb.dk:80/homes/smn/mustid.htm.

Polster, Joanne F. 1976. “The Crafts and Dewey’s Decimals”. ARLIS/NA Newletter 4, no. 4/5: 8-11.

Rafferty, Pauline. 2001. “The Representation of Knowledge in Library Classification Systems”. Knowledge Organization 28, no. 4: 180-91.

San Segundo Manuel, Rosa. 1996. Sistemas de organización del conocimiento. Madrid: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Boletín Oficial del estado.

Schimansky, Dobrila-Donya. 1976. “The Metropolitan Museum of Art Library Classification System: How It Works”. ARLIS/NA Newletter 4, nos. 4/5: 4-6.

SuperLCCS. 1998. Gale’s Library of Congress Classification Schedules combined with Additions and Changes Through 1998: Classification: Class N, Fine Arts. Washington: Library of Congress.

Universal Decimal Classification: International Medium Edition. Part 1. Systematic tables. (1993) London: BSi Standards.

Vasari, Giorgio. 1943-49. Le vite dei più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architetti. I-IV. (Lives of the most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects). Rome: Rizzoli. (Italian original appeared 1550-68)

Wyngaard, Susan. 1993. “Fine Arts”. In The Humanities and the Library. Nena Couch and Nancy Allen eds. Chicago and London: American Library association, p. 1-44.

[top of entry]

 

Visited Hit Counter by Digits times.


Version 1.0 published 2019-05-21
Article category: KO in specific domains

This article (with the two painting images added) is a reprint of one published in Knowledge Organization, which was a revised and translated version of an article published in Spanish: Ørom (2003b). How to cite it:
Ørom, Anders. 2003. “Knowledge Organization in the domain of Art Studies: History, Transition and Conceptual Changes”. Knowledge Organization 30, no. 3-4: 128-43. Also available in ISKO Encyclopedia of Knowledge Organization, eds. Birger Hjørland and Claudio Gnoli, http://www.isko.org/cyclo/art

©2019 ISKO. All rights reserved.