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What's in the Library: Books

Using Exhibition Catalogues

Can I cite from an EXHIBITION CATALOGUE in a research paper?

Any source used to research an academic paper should be included in the Works Cited List/Bibliography. Be aware, however, that:

  • some instructors may question using a work that is not published by a university press or academic publisher
  • some catalogues are published by art galleries in tandem with popular art press publishers; such as
  • a curator--especially celebrities that work in tandem with an art gallery--might not be seen as appropriately academic; such as:

Despite these issues, in an art and design educational environment it is important to recognize the integrity and scholarly purpose of:

  • art galleries and museums: as a central voice in defining and maintaining artistic, aesthetic, and creative cultural standards
  • curators: as an essential voice in recognizing, interpreting, and understanding visual forms of communication and that their experience in curatorial practice is of equal scholarly value as research conducted in a university environment using scientific methodologies
  • professional juries: as a form of artistic "peer-review"; artists who are selected by jury to exhibit at a gallery or an international art exhibition have achieved a noteworthy level in their creative practice
  • artists: who oftentimes will contribute essays, interviews, or artists' statements for exhibition catalogue publications. Recognizing their  voices as an integral component of the visual experience between viewer, curator, and artwork is a testament to the depth of their creative vision

If you are still uncertain, you can use an exhibition catalogue in a similar manner to reference books, serving as a guide to your topic for sourcing:

  • key writers, theorist, critics, or authors who are experts on your topic, then search these people as authors in a library catalogue to access their own primary sources
  • keywords or subjects that you can use to search for books or peer-reviewed journal articles supporting these concepts