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Contemporary Art: Primary Sources

What is a primary source?

A primary source is a document, creative work, or physical object original to the time or the artist under study. Primary sources such as exhibition reviews, news reporting, interviews with an artist (in any media) offer an observer's view. Artist manifestos, artist statements, letters, diaries, sketchbooks and videos of performances are primary sources, offering the unique perspective of the artist.

More Primary Sources

For more primary sources see:

Primary Sources (mostly historical) Guide

Artist Statements

Artist statements are often found in recent exhibition catalogs, on artist websites, in interviews in magazines and newspapers, and on contemporary art blogs and websites. Use the tabs on this guide to suggested resources. See the interview below, from the PBS show ART21, with the artist Lydia Benglis. 

Ask The Arts Librarian

Fannie Ouyang's picture
Fannie Ouyang
Bixler 136
(207) 859-5662
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