The Artist Archives Project at Fales Library

Regina project contributed to creating greater public visibility for artist David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992). Wojnarowicz was a key figure in the New York City downtown art scene from the late 1970s until the early 1990s, who has gained a resurgence in popularity during the last decade.  Wojnarowicz‘s works are especially challenging to categorize because of his use of variable media. For example, a paper mache mask created by the artist may show up in exhibited photographs taken by collaborators, His Super 8mm films, a live performance, or among other objects in changing configurations for multiple installations. To address these challenges and help curators, conservators, and scholars approach these works without access to the artist himself, Wojnarowicz was chosen as the first focus for the Artist Archive Project. The Artist Archive Project, started by Glenn Wharton, Deena Engel, and Marvin J. Taylor has produced a MediaWiki Knowledge base and WordPress website for Wojnarowicz. Regina joined the team in its second year, helping to structure and implement this alternative to the traditional artist database by focusing on the MediaWiki Knowledge Base. Foregoing the traditional database would give the ability to host deep-linking, more accurately representing the complex relationships between Wojnarowicz’s works of art, locations, and people who affected his life. Tasks this summer consisted of creating research content, helping design how content should be expressed on each platform, producing controlled vocabularies, suggesting new forms of data visualization, and mapping out the best user experience for scholars, curators, and conservators.

This project was supported by the Polonsky Digital Humanities Scholars Program (Summer 2016), funded through the generous support of the Polonsky Foundation.

About the Researcher

Regina Harsanyi is a second year MA candidate in Art History at the Institute of Fine Arts-NYU. Her academic writings focus on interwar period artist films, film exhibitions in the museum before 1970, film preservation, and the evolving relationship between archives and museums. She previously worked as an art registrar for Sotheby’s, which sparked her interest in collections management and database technologies.