Essay in Perspective
The latest issue of INHA’s journal Perspective is devoted to art history in the U.S., and features a discussion on art history and computing between Anne Helmreich, Johanna Drucker, and myself, guided by Francesca Rose:
Francesca Rose. What do you think is the impact on the field and discipline of art history of empirical approaches and quantitative tools and information at the heart of digital art history projects?
Matthew Lincoln… The catalogue raisonné can be understood as an object of digital scholarship avant la lettre: a volume that structures knowledge by enumerating and categorizing artworks such that the scholar may efficiently locate single objects or gain a synthetic overview of an artist’s oeuvre. Arguments for or against an attribution, or for the location of an artwork within a chronology, rely on the author’s mental model of the artist’s overarching career – a model based on a sense, however tacit, of the numeric distribution of certain features across that oeuvre. In other words, we have always been counting pictures. Now we have a chance to engage with that practice more creatively.