Gemini G.E.L. Online Catalogue Raisonné, National Gallery of Art HOME SEARCH GUIDE ESSAY GLOSSARY CREDITS


Director's Foreword
Curator's Acknowledgments
Acknowledgments to the Second Edition

Director's Foreword

As the National Gallery of Art has grown, so have the opportunities to present our collection and research to a broader audience through new technologies that grow more efficient and sophisticated every day. Our earliest efforts to cultivate viewers beyond the Gallery's walls were anything but virtual. In the 1940s, they took the form of "paper" catalogues, reproductions, or exhibition loans of art. However, the Gallery began to create educational multimedia in the 1950s when the extension programs department began to disseminate slide collections and other teaching resources without cost to individuals and institutions throughout the country. The development of 16 mm film programs in the 1960s and 1970s expanded this educational commitment through a medium that was even more engaging to a public of all ages and backgrounds. In the middle of the 1980s the first of three image collections on videodisc appeared, offering more efficient storage while making the distribution of our outreach efforts more effective. Two subsequent videodiscs published during the 1990s enjoyed even more success because they used digital color images of more than 9,500 artworks from the permanent collection. In 1995 our Micro Gallery, an interactive computer system available in the West Building, explored new digital possibilities by offering visitors an orientation around the collection while enriching their experience with historical and technical studies that deepened their appreciation of the works. By 1997, our research and development in digital technology enabled the construction of an innovative World Wide Web site to represent the National Gallery. Its electronic pages included a database listing the works of our collection augmented by information about special exhibitions, online studies and tours, as well as many other resources. The emergence of the Internet marked a breakthrough in art education because leading institutions such as the National Gallery were able to offer free, up-to-date, encyclopedic information around the clock at the convenience of the viewer. As of mid-2001, the National Gallery's highly acclaimed Web site serves more than 25,000 remote visitors a day, bringing the celebrated treasures of the museum into millions of homes, offices, and schools each year.

With the launch of our first online catalogue raisonné, documenting the celebrated prints and sculpture produced at Gemini G.E.L. between 1966 and 1996, we begin a new phase in a digital tradition that is well established at the National Gallery of Art. The story of this catalogue begins with the 1978 opening of the National Gallery of Art East Building and the development of a program to collect and exhibit contemporary art, including works on paper, which came to play a pivotal role. One of the seminal events leading to the birth of the contemporary collection was the initial donation in 1981 of 256 prints and sculpture editions by 22 contemporary American artists working at Gemini G.E.L. of Los Angeles. This gift from Sidney B. Felsen and Stanley Grinstein, owners of Gemini, became the foundation for the Gallery's Gemini G.E.L. Archive. Simultaneously, the donation preserved the history of this important workshop and recorded currents of contemporary art by committing one example of each of Gemini's published editions to the National Gallery's collections. The archive collection has now grown to number more than 1,200 works, establishing the Gallery as a primary research center in the field of contemporary graphic art and edition sculpture.

Our deepest thanks go to Sidney B. Felsen and Stanley Grinstein. Their continued generosity and vision have made this catalogue raisonné of Gemini G.E.L. publications a reality. We also celebrate their unflagging commitment to the National Gallery, an attitude that has been critical to the blossoming of our contemporary holdings. For their support of the archive collection, I am also indebted to Elyse Grinstein, Joni Moisant Weyl, and Rosamund Felsen, as well as to all of the artists who have worked at Gemini.

At our own institution, The Circle of the National Gallery of Art deserves tremendous gratitude for funding the image scanning for this catalogue. In addition, there are many individuals who have been key contributors at the National Gallery of Art, Gemini G.E.L., and at other organizations. Their contributions are recognized in the curator's acknowledgments. However, special thanks go to Ruth E. Fine, curator of modern prints and drawings. Twenty years ago, she planted the seed for this volume and has overseen its realization since that time. In addition, among the many who gathered and entered data, Claude L. Elliott deserves special thanks, both as an intern and a department member, for spending two years tirelessly organizing information and collecting images. Building on his contributions, Charles Ritchie, assistant curator of modern prints and drawings, coordinated the organization of the digital information, compiled the accompanying texts, and managed the complex details of bringing the National Gallery's electronic catalogue raisonné to completion. Andrew Robison, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, offered his support throughout this process.

With many beneficial forces coming together at the National Gallery, we enjoy a continually expanding collection of contemporary art and celebrate our growing role as an education and study center for contemporary graphic arts. These eloquent prints and edition sculpture are certain to educate, delight, and enlighten for generations to come as the Gemini G.E.L. Archive continues to play a visible role not only in Washington, but now also on the Internet, expanding through the new horizons provided by this online catalogue.

Earl A. Powell III
National Gallery of Art

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