Annotated Bibliography and Data Critique

Annotated Bibliography

Freedman, Kerry. 2003. Teaching Visual Culture: Curriculum, Aesthetics, and the Social Life of Art. New York: Teachers College Press.

This resource discusses the intersection of education and art, emphasizing visual culture and its relation to the culture and social world that we are familiar with. This book is important since it shapes a theory of how education and teaching should be conducted, which in practice, directly influences the future. In the case that we analyze the WALLS collection of art that is given to students to take home and study for an extended amount of time, the teaching practices and the effects that art has on students noted from this book would shed light on why art is so important to education, and how it has enriching qualities for youth. 

“About the Museum.” Williams College Museum of Art,

This website features articles written specifically about works and artists featured at Williams College, and furthermore focuses on the works that Williams is most known for, such as the Prendergast collection. The source, TFOI, or Traditional Fine Arts Organization, works to catalogue (archive!) important museum collections and provide useful resources. In speaking with the Williams College representative, he also noted that the Prendergast collection was something worth taking note of, so this source helps us conduct background research, as well as delve into other aspects of Williams College. 

“Williams College Museum of Art Collection.” Artstor Digital Library,

This article explained the basic history and the different time periods of art that were represented in the WCMA collection. This Webpage was specifically important to our group because it helped our group understand how extensive the William’s College of Art exhibit really was. As it mentions that the collection emphasizes many different types of art, including modern and contemporary art, our group decided to focus in on contemporary and modern art because our entire database was 16,000 works of art. Other than that, this webpage helped our group understand a lot of the history of the WCMA collection. 

“Who We Are.” Williams College Museum of Art,

This website tells the story of the history, mission, and vision of the Williams College museum of art. This resource is important because by gaining insight about the founding and purpose of the collection, our group can narrow down our research question and research in general to correspond more with the purpose and mission of the collection itself. WCMA mentions that “examining the museum’s history provides context for reflection and dialogue.” Our group could possibly delve more into what dialogue and reflection they are referring to and what it could reveal about the history and interaction of each exhibit.  

Stich, Sidra. 1992. Made in U.S.A.: An Americanization in Modern Art, the ’50s & ’60s: Los Angeles: University of California Press.

This book talks about the prolific art that come from the ‘50s and ‘60s that heavily represented American culture. Stich says that the ideas of iconography and innovation towards image presentation came out of the 50’s and 60’s, which is why this time period is important to understanding contemporary art. We can use this information to supplement our research about Williams College since the Williams College collection is largely focused on modern and American works. This source helps us understand the cultural circumstances that these works came from.

Ormiston, Rosalind. 2014. 50 Art Movements You Should Know. Munich: Prestel Verlag.

This book covers art movements that range from impressionism to performance art. It details what kind of features and classifications art movements had. It also offers some insight into what influenced certain styles. This is useful for helping us understand why certain pieces of art featured a certain color or style. As well, as how it represented the era of when it was made. The portion on different types of contemporary art was the most useful. 

Davies, Penelope. 2007. Janson’s History of Art. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

This book is a massive resource for all types of information on art. It goes into detail about certain works as well as brief histories on the eras. This resource helps us better understand the political climate of the time when certain styles or art were created, as well as profiles on big name artists. 

Kleiner, Fred S., Mamiya, Christian J. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth. 

This book is another resource similar to Janson’s but it fills in more information about artists, eras, and categories of art that the other book did not contain. It helps provide a larger scope of what our data will include and perhaps why the people at Williams Art College identified with certain pieces. This resource is great at giving us more in depth details on what your data set includes.

Data Critique

  • What Information is Included
    • Our group will be focusing on the Williams College Museum of Arts data collection. In our dataset, we will be focusing on a lot of different types of artworks. Within those artworks, we will be looking closely at color schemes, the different time periods, and the culture. With this we hope to compare different artworks from one another and to gather answers to our research questions.
  • What you can extrapolate from Data in the set and what you cannot
    • What we can extrapolate from the WMCA data collection is the title of works as well as the maker and period. Not only that but also the earliest and/or latest date it was created. The medium as well as size is also give to us. We are given a complete overview of the art pieces within the Williams College Museum of Art. What’s more is that the data archive also educates us on who provided the artwork to the museum. What we cannot extrapolate from the data in the set is exactly what time was the condition of the time-period when the piece was made. For instance, was the piece in response to war or perhaps to some sort of struggle in the time-period. There is a lack of personal information surrounding the pieces that cannot be inferred from the data set.
  • Data generation Method
    • The data set consists of over 15,000 records, each pertaining to a specific piece of art with mediums ranging from photography to sculpture. Each piece was catalogued with the following content types: the title of the work, the maker or country of origin, and the department, which is usually the WCMA unless the piece is loaned. Each piece is categorized by “classification,” which specifies the category of origin, for example “Eastern” for a Japanese piece or “Ancient” for Mesopotamian. The next categories are period and creation date. Creation date indicates what year, or range of years, the piece was completed in, and the period refers to the historical category of those years, for example “Hellenistic” for a Greek piece from 100-200 BCE. The next two columns reiterate these to possibly help to sort by date. The next content types are “object name” and “medium.” Object name seems to refer to what category a piece might fit into and demonstrates a controlled vocabulary, but still detailed. Multiple descriptors are separated with a | in each entry. Medium and dimensions are easily recorded through observation, and the data even offers the dimensions in both units of measurement. Each data entry is also given a corresponding museum accession number that details its location in the museum, and each accession number corresponds directly to a .jpg image of the piece.
  • Original Sources:
    • The original source of this dataset is the Williams College Museum of Art Collection, and includes art ranging from ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, and Greco-Roman objects, Indian painting, African sculpture, photography, art of the U.S., and international modern and contemporary art. The media present in the art collection include pottery, paintings, portraits, drawings and most of the media used in art to this day. The original sources were acquired through sales or gifts to the Williams College Museum of Art.
  • Ideological effects of the division of data/ What is the dataset’s ontology
    • The dataset’s ontology is separated by the very basic characteristics of any piece of art: time period, artist, medium, culture, title, dimension, etc. This could offer simply a very surface level analysis by any viewer. The ideological effects of the division of data is that people might not see the museum as a single entity but as numerous divisions that may create biases and misinterpretations.  However, this can also help a viewer see connections between artwork within the same category that can lead to revealing the underlying meaning and purpose a certain piece of art or collection of art. This ontology can also help researchers make visuals of the data such as a map of where each artwork was from or a graph detailing the main color palette within a certain cultural collection.
  • If the dataset is the only source what would be left out?
    • Information regarding to the history of the museum and of the works of art is missing from the dataset. Basing our research on only the dataset would limit us in knowledge about how the museum came to be and how it was established, and how it acquired the status it has to this day. It would also not explain to us some programs and projects that the museum has, like the project “WALLS” that lets students take art home from a special collection of original art works. Every semester, students can line up to get a chance to obtain some art for a few months and then return it so another student could obtain a chance at enjoying the art in their dorm room.