You can find the strangest things on the USI library’s website. It’s like its own mini museum, without the overpriced gift shop. And if you look into one corner, you can click on the library’s own access to lots of museums and art galleries! It’s the database called ARTstor (find it in the Databases A-Z list.) And let me tell you, it gets pretty dang eclectic in there! Pottery and clothes and paintings and artifacts, they’re all here! It has things that are pretty, strange, from all over the world, all conveniently put together in a set of collections and displays according to time period, or theme. So I have now decided to have my own virtual art day, to bring you the coolest and strangest bits of art from around the world! Time to put on those hipster glasses and get moving!
Right on the front page of the site, there’s a link showing ARTstor’s featured collections that usually have something to do with current events, or have seasonal themes. Or are just new stuff that someone wants to show off, I don’t know. Right now, some of these featured collections include a series of Tibetan and Buddhist art, contemporary architecture with lots of cool squiggles and circles, African art and masks, and Chinese works based around this Chinese New Year, the Year of the Snake. I love these pictures- there’s an amazing Asian style dress with a snake winding from collar to hem! I want it desperately. The collections are full of these cool things, and you should take a peek.
No real theme here. There are just some parts of these collections that I really like and I want to talk about them! There are two pictures by Jerry Kearns in the visual art section called ‘Jack and Jill’, one depicting a hot blonde woman standing on a cross looking thing, looking all cover girl hot, except she has robot legs and giant guns for arms and explosions are coming from behind her like she’s the freaking Terminator. “Jack” looks pretty much the same. I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean, but it’s awesome. Another piece that caught my eye is a strange horned helmet, from around 51 BC, that has two big horns sticking out of the sides. I know it has a purpose and all, but with its two big horns sticking out of it, and a bunch of fancy vines all over it, it looks like something Hagar the Horrible would wear to a garden party, it’s just great.
There are also some great paintings and photographs, including a lot of very strange old timey photographs, like one called Elegy for Moss Land, taken in 1941 by Clarence Laughlin, of what looks like the ghost of an old southern house in a bog while a woman…gives it offerings? If I wanted to buy it online, it goes for over $6000! There’s even a ghost picture called Phantom Man from the Solitary House, also by Laughlin, which has a creepy blob of a person walking by a creepy Hollywood house. Right before that is a picture called Fairyland in Iron and Glass, that I just find so weirdly interesting. It has a slightly creepy but also whimsical quality to it. Also by the apparently awesome Laughlin, by the way. Not into the creepy? Try some other paintings, like a lovely one called Rainy Night, Etaples, which is a slightly impressionistic picture of a rainy street, by Indianapolis native William Edouard Scott. Or, if you’re in that kind of mood, try Large Plane Trees which is very Van Gough. Mainly because it’s by him, so….logical. All this and more can be seen right here in the ARTstor collections!
I really wish I had more space, because there are A LOT of fantastic things about here, like giant African tribal masks, and more old time photographs, murals from streets around the world- there is a ton of art and history here, so give it a look. It’s good for history or humanities projects, art research, pictures for presentations, or just for fun. Adjust those hipster glasses and take a spin, I promise you won’t regret it.