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Researching a contemporary artist: Searching with Summon

Tips for researching the life and work of a contemporary artist

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Related guides


Mark Bradford. Source:
Shim-Boyle, Wikipedia.


Thoroughly researching a contemporary artist or artwork will often involve looking at many sources, including some which will be unconventional in academic terms, such as commercial gallery websites and social media.


However our search engine Summon is still a good place to start.  Search for the artist with quote marks, like this:


If the artist has been known by more than one name, or by variations of the same name, you can search for both together like this:



If searching for a specific artwork, it's usually best to include the artist's name:


If an artwork's title is an unusual phrase unlikely to be used in any other context, you can omit the artist's name:


If the artwork's title is commonly given in more than one language, try both.



These search techniques will work in most other databases and search engines.