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Free resources: Contemporary art and design

Free online resources about art and the art world.

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picture of contemporary art gallery
Cropped version of image by ©Steven Kreuzer on Flickr. Licence for this image


Key resources

Email newsletters and apps are a great way of keeping up with art world news.


Google Scholar
Google's specialist search engine for academic content. Material that is free to read online will have a PDF link, or similar, on the right of the screen. Many articles come in multiple versions, accessed by the small link "All x versions" below each result.  This is worth checking if as alternative versions may be available even if the primary version is not.Note: current students and staff at SIA should access Scholar via the library database guide, in order to link through to resources available on subscription.


The websites of contemporary galleries and contemporary artists are important resources and easily found with Google or a similar search engine.  They are one of the best sources of images of artworks. However it is also worth checking the image resources guide: all the resources there, apart from those listed on the subscription databases tab, are free to view online.


Other resources, A-Z

Please also check the other tabs of this guide, as there is much subject overlap.

Very good website about contemporary art from central and Eastern Europe.


Asia Art Archive
Covers contemporary and near-contemporary Asian art.


Catalogues Raisonnés Database
A guide to catalogues raisonnés, both published and in preparation.  Some of these are free online, though unfortunately it is not possible to search specifically for these.  Worth checking if you are researching a high-profile artists from the last few decades.


College Art Association: list of dissertations completed and in progress
Gives details of PhD dissertations in art history and visual studies from US and Canadian institutions. However please note the dissertations cannot be read via this site.


Contemporary Artists Index
Search for books and exhibition catalogues featuring the work of a particular contemporary artist. 36,000 artists included. The listing of books and catalogues is nowhere near comprehensive, but may be a useful supplementary research tool. Compiled by the Cleveland Institute of Art library.


Courtauld Institute: recently completed PhD theses
List of PHD theses from the last few years: more up-to-date than EThOS. No online access to the theses themselves. For this you will need to contact the Courtauld book library.


Digital art: free resources
Collection of links compiled by the SIA librarians


Dissertations and theses
Global Electronic Theses and Dissertations Search is a search engine for finding free online versions of theses and dissertations from around the world, at both master's and doctoral level. PQDT Open is a smaller collection, with no content not found in Global ETD, but can be easier to search for some topics.
EThOS offers doctoral theses (dissertations) from UK universities, and other degree-awarding institutions in the UK. When searching, check the box Limit search to items available for immediate download... for material you can read on your laptop or other device.


East Art Map
Website about eastern European contemporary artists.


Film and video art
Recommended links to sites giving access to, or contaning information about, film and video art.


Guggenheim Publications
Online catalogues and other publications from the Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum.


I Photo Central
Provides "thousands of web pages for the photography collector, curator and historian". Includes all issues of the E-Photo Newsletter.


Iniva reading lists
Iniva specalises in exhibiting the work of culturally diverse artists.  These bibliographies provide suggestions for reading on various topics.


International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA)
"INCAA members are dedicated to creating, sharing and preserving knowledge needed to conserve modern and contemporary art."


JSTOR is mainly a subscription service, but gives limited free access to the general public. If you find an article you want to read, use the Register & Read service.  You can access 3 articles in each 14-day period. Current SIA students and staff should generally not use the above link, but instead follow the JSTOR link from the library database guide, because that will give access to the SIA subscription. 


Magazines and journals: there are many free online titles, for instance the e-flux journalLeap (for Chinese art), n:paradoxa (for feminist art), Parkett, the Source Photographic Review and Texte zur Kunst. Please note: many journals offer free access to some articles only.  Current SIA students and staff can often access more via the journals guide.


OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks)
Scholarly books, including some important titles about art and art markets.


Aims to provide information about "leading contemporary artists, exhibitions and galleries worldwide" for "an influential global audience."


Primary Information
Books and catalogues relating to 1960s and 1970s conceptual art and performance.


Repositories are often the best starting point for finding free scholarly material.  They are large online collections, created by universities and other institutions, and usually include the most up-to-date research.  Our guide to repositories gives more information, with links to tools for searching many repositories at once.


"Dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts."


!Women Art Revolution
Interviews with 1970s feminist artists and critics, available as both videos and transcripts.