For those that don’t know, in one of my posts last spring I offered lunch with the IMA’s director, Max Anderson, in exchange for making a Wikipedia article about one of the IMA’s outdoor sculptures. To make a long story short, 5 people made articles and just last week Max fulfilled his end of the bargain by having lunch with the Wikipedians at Pucks. I joined them and so did Daniel and Despi. The conversation was wide ranging and engaging and the lunch was good, too …. Mmm, Puck’s beet salad and flat bread.
Pictured from right to left are: Max, Aaron (aka The Urbanophile), Jasmine, Christina, and myself. Not pictured here are Jenny and Joelle. While I know that Jenny had a scheduling conflict that day, we never did get a response back from Joelle (where’d you go, Joelle?).
Here’s a list of the articles they created:
I’ve been watching these articles since they were created and noticed each one has been added to by other Wikipedians – even if just a little. The article on Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture has really taken off. It’s started to grow into an article about all of Indiana’s LOVE sculptures, not just the one at the IMA, which of course was the first sculptural version that he made. Wouldn’t it be cool if it became the place for information about that sculpture!
Though I don’t think I’ll be offering lunch with Max anytime soon for making more articles, I do encourage you to make an article about an artwork in the IMA’s collection. Maybe it’s just because I’m a believer in Wikipedia, but I think it’s important work. It could be a student project either at the college or high school level – really, anyone can make an article once you get the hang of it.
Because I’m interested in exploring and developing the idea that Wikipedia articles can serve as a place to document public artworks by hosting images, referencing other published information, and allowing the public to have first-hand involvement in the history and preservation of public art, I started working a while ago with a two other conservators Crista and Daniel to make Wikipedia articles about a few public artworks.
Here’s a list of the articles that we created:
In Wabash, IN
The Lincoln Monument of Wabash, Indiana
In Washington, D.C.
While we found that hosting images can be a little tricky (clearing copyright, etc) there’s clearly a lot that can be achieved through this work. Take for example the Ann Dancing sculpture here in Indy by Julian Opie. While it was installed in January of this year, it had some display issues and was recently taken down for repairs. How do I know this? I found out when someone made an edit to the article. In a matter of days an image was uploaded and links were made to the local newspaper coverage.
I had never been so interested to see an artwork not working. It was an example of history being written almost as it happened!
Who knows what will come of all of this but I believe there’s great potential for Wikipedia to help raise awareness about the preservation of artworks through documentation and keeping an up-to-date history – something that print publications simply can’t do.