Exhibition, as an event, not its catalog

I wish for a new item type 'Exhibition', referring to the event itself, rather than the catalog published with it.

I don't have a standard citation style to give as an example, and others might be better qualified, such as art historians.

It would need to include the name of the exhibition, the opening and closing dates, the venue, the curator, the artist's or artists' names, etc.

An exhibition is an event, in a fixed location, but otherwise resembles in some respects a broadcast TV program event, for which there is a category.
  • but is it ever cited?
    TV Broadcast are - not least because they can be recorded. But unless someone actually cites an exhibition (including it in the bibliography etc.) there is no need.
    You must have a specific use case in mind?
  • Not sure if it is a citation, but one use would be in compiling a list of an artist's previous exhibitions; for example, for publication in the catalog of an exhibition.

    Zotero would be convenient in other ways to organise this data. For example, I would like to be able to 'grab' a formatted one-line 'citation' of an exhibition to insert in the 'caption' metadata field of a digital image documenting the exhibition.

    But I could not find a Chicago style to cite an exhibition as an event, so perhaps the problem is more fundamental than inventing a new item type for Zotero.
  • I'd see how far you get by just working around things - Presentation would seem to have a lot of the fields you need - not the curator, but everything else.
    And the advantage of not having to follow any citation requirements is that you can just put more in one line (e.g. in Meeting Name you could have:
    "Ars Nouveau in Latin America, curated by J. L. Borges Jr."

    Generally there is some tension between Zotero as a full-function database and Zotero as a research/bibliography manager. Bloating is a serious risk.
  • Thank you for your suggestion. I'd like to avoid another dedicated database for this and I already use Zotero.

    I can get quite close to the 'citation style' I want by using the Title field, not the Meeting Name which you suggested. Also, in the 'Type' field I put 'Exhibition'.

    Then I can make a one-line 'citation' by choosing "Create Bibliography from Selected item...", and using one of the non-'author-date' Chicago styles

    For example, I get:

    “British Photography: Towards a Bigger Picture, curated by Mark Haworth-Booth and Chris Titterington.” Exhibition, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 1987.
  • The need(s) for an 'exhibitions' item, and advice for how to write one, appears in the Style Guide of the American Association of Art Editors:
  • One other comment: although exhibitions themselves (as opposed to their catalogs) may rarely, if ever, be cited in a text, it is common to include chronological listings of historical exhibitions of an artist in a catalog, with particular exhibitions included or excluded for a specific publication on the grounds of brevity/relevance. I think it would be helpful to be able to do this in Zotero (and this may be possible using the workarounds described above).
  • OK that's quite helpful. Bibliographically these look mostly like books - they have an author, a title, and a date (or date range - those will be possible in the future anyway).
    The title is in italics as for monographs. The only thing that's missing is the "traveled to" which would be a bit of a nightmare no matter how its done.
    Still, I doubt there will be much enthusiasm to create an item type just for exhibitions - the citations can be mostly achieved with existing item types and in the larger scheme of things this is quite rare. That said, if were able to think of this as some type of larger category - "Event" maybe - that's useful for a broader range of disciplines that might gain traction.

    E.g. do musicologists ever cite live concerts? How about people in performance or theater studies?
  • edited September 24, 2012

    I am an artist / designer, currently writing my MA dissertation and have found my way to this forum through my need to cite at least 2 exhibitions (so far). I am referring to my own experiences within the exhibition and also to the blurb in the exhibition that describe the art / design (often written by the artist) but isn't necessarily the same as the introductions to the exhibition catalogues. I am not very good at citing as I write essays so rarely and struggle with the writing - let alone the citation. This is why I have trained myself to use Zotero. Zotero has made the whole process of writing a dissertation so much easier and less intimidating and also helped me with the style which has been fantastic. In order to make this as 'foolproof' as possible and reach out to those who struggle with this sort of thing, I therefore think there is a case for having a separate item type listed as 'exhibition'. It would really help others like myself who are unfamiliar with citation styles, rather than having to go through other possibilities and customise them when you are not entirely sure how it should be done properly. If it were programmed it would be much easier. I hope this may help to show a different side to the argument for including exhibitions in the item list.

  • edited May 22, 2014
    It is important in art history to be able to cite an exhibition – and, in fact, it will become increasingly important across many fields because of the explosion of online exhibitions being created on the websites of archival collections. Consequently, online exhibitions are fast becoming a common means of communicating information in history, anthropology, material culture studies, visual and popular culture, etc.

    The requirements for citing these will be somewhat different – for instance, they don't tend to have date ranges, or physical venues.

    They are also ontologically a bit odd: whereas one would normally one would distinguish the exhibition itself from the exhibition catalogue (publication documenting the exhibition), it would seem redundant to produce a catalogue for an online exhibition: the web pages containing the exhibition are at one and the same time both the exhibition itself and its published documentation, a kind of portmanteau digital entity.

    But, just like an ebook or a blog needs to be distinguished from other kinds of surrounding web content, so does an online exhibition.

    By Chicago 8.195, the titles of exhibitions should be italicized. Following Chicago's guidance for both exhibition catalogues and for web content, I believe an entry for an online exhibition entry should look like this:

    [Curator]. [Title of exhibition, in italics], online exhibition. [Publisher or sponsor of web site], [Date of publication]. [url].

    Here is an example of what is wanted:

    Library and Archives Canada, and Andrew Rodger. William James Topley: Reflections on a Capital Photographer, online exhibition. Library and Archives Canada, September 4, 2008. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/topley/045001-2000-e.html?PHPSESSID=5cliks6rj9ealrtm9dpo3b58b7.

    In this case, the item type "Web Page" is of interest for a change, because of the field "Website Type," which can serve for "online exhibition" since the Chicago style outputs this field.

    However, the output does not work out quite right, especially in terms of unwanted quotation marks, lack of ital, and superfluous ital:

    Library and Archives Canada, and Andrew Rodger. “William James Topley: Reflections on a Capital Photographer.” Online exhibition. Library and Archives Canada, September 4, 2008. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/topley/045001-2000-e.html?PHPSESSID=5cliks6rj9ealrtm9dpo3b58b7.

    One can live with the way "Online exhibition" is treated.


    - the exhibition title needs to be in ital rather than quotes
    - the sponsoring website needs to be in Roman rather than ital

    So, by adding the Rich Text Formatting commands for inserting italics to the text in each of these fields, ital is added to the one and removed from the other:

    Library and Archives Canada, and Andrew Rodger. "William James Topley: Reflections on a Capital Photographer." Online exhibition. Library and Archives Canada, September 4, 2008. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/topley/045001-2000-e.html?PHPSESSID=5cliks6rj9ealrtm9dpo3b58b7.

    That leaves the unwanted quotation marks around the exhibition title. Is there a rich text formatting command to negate the addition of these?
  • How far off is presentation item type from what you want? I don't have the means to test this atm.
  • edited May 22, 2014
    Using Presentation and putting the sponsor/publisher in the field for Place, here is the output:

    Library and Archives Canada, and Andrew Rodger. “William James Topley: Reflections on a Capital Photographer.” Online exhibition, Library and Archives Canada, September 4, 2008. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/topley/045001-2000-e.html?PHPSESSID=5cliks6rj9ealrtm9dpo3b58b7.

    So it is not too bad in the second half – saves nuking the ital on sponsoring institution if one can live with all the commas.

    But it has the same problems with the title of the exhibition.

    - also, if viewing the metadata online, one has to put up with an online exhibition being turned into a PowerPoint.
  • I disagree with your reading of the Chicago Manual. I think

    Library and Archives Canada, and Andrew Rodger. “William James Topley: Reflections on a Capital Photographer.” Online exhibition. Library and Archives Canada, September 4, 2008. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/topley/045001-2000-e.html?PHPSESSID=5cliks6rj9ealrtm9dpo3b58b7.

    Looks perfectly reasonable to me within the logic of the Manual.
    Bibliographically this is a work that's part of a larger collection of works (i.e. the Library and Archives Canada page that hosts it) so the quotation marks for the title and italics for the webpage title seem exactly right.

    That titles of physical exhibitions should be in italics when used in a text (8.195) and that exhibition catalogs, which are published like books, should be treated as such, including italicized titles (14.200), both would seem to have little bearing on italicizing the titles of online exhibitions in citations.
  • edited May 22, 2014
    adamsmith, I follow your reasoning and it has its appeal.

    However, in all other cases – books, book chapters, articles of all kinds – Chicago is consistent in carrying over the treatment of titles in running text to those in citations and bibliography. An exception here would be odd.

    Also, if you look again at the Style Guide of the American Association of Art Editors (http://www.artedit.org/styleguide.htm#exhibithist), cited above, you'll see that all exhibitions titles are italicized in the context of a reference list.

    In fact, this is so well-established in the discipline that they don't even feel the need to state it: treating the title of an exhibition otherwise would be completely bizarre to anyone in art history of the broader art world. Look in any major monograph or catalogue by the Met, Moma, Tate, etc, and you will find lists of exhibitions with their titles italicized.
  • OK, fair enough on italics. What I'm not convinced by, though, is that an online exhibition is more like an exhibition than a webpage, which is why I'd follow Chicago's webpage template.
    I don't see it systematically - e.g. an online exhibition can be fully archived permanently, a physical exhibition is almost by definition temporary, even if its longterm - and at least the AAAE doesn't have any example of that.

    The other issue is that AAAE is quite specific that exhibitions are not part of the bibliography -
    listing of an artist’s exhibitions in an artist monograph or exhibition catalogue, usually preceding the bibliography;
    The larger concern, here, is as always the proliferation of item types. We just can't accommodate every form of event/item with its own item type. The threshold for me is explicit mention in either a couple of major journal instruction for authors or in major style guides. I have not seen that for physical exhibitions (as opposed to exhibition catalogs).
  • edited May 28, 2014
    Having done some empirical checking, I've found more exceptions than I expected to the rule I was adamantly defending re exhibition titles needing to be ital ...

    In general, my sense of the distinction between being in quotes and being italicized, is that ital indicates something is an work complete onto itself (e.g. a book, a periodical, a film, a symphony, an artwork), whereas being in quotes indicates that the work is part of larger collection (e.g. an article in a periodical, a chapter in a book, a poem in a collection, etc.).

    A physical art exhibition tends to considered a whole onto itself (more than the sum of its parts) and so the immediate reflex is to italicize it.

    It is true, however, that online exhibitions seem to be 'more blatantly' a part of larger enclosing websites.

    So, lets say, for the moment, that we accept to put the titles of online exhibitions in quotation marks.

    Further, the more I think of it, online, or virtual, exhibitions are 'ontologically' ambiguous: for a physical exhibition, there is a clear distinction between the exhibition itself and its catalogue (however slight or elaborate it may be). But, in the case of an online exhibition, those web pages are at once the exhibition itself and its published documentation!

    And they allow for things that neither a physical exhibition nor an exhibition catalogue allow (permanence, non-located/everywhere at once, infinite resorting of hanging and juxtapositions of works (by the viewer!, changing the frames, etc.).

    In this light, the Web Page type does have its appeal – especially as it has a field for Type of Website – where Online exhibition can be indicated and it is output in by Chicago in a nice way.

    But – fatal but – there is no Publisher field in the Web Page type! And this, unfortunately, makes it inadequate: these exhibitions are often formally produced scholarship from archives, museums, etc. and need complete scholarly documentation, which really requires distinguishing between the title of enclosing website and the entity ultimately responsible for the content.

    Are there plans in the works for adding Publisher to the Web Page type?
Sign In or Register to comment.