LACMA launches online reading room for rare art publications


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is giving the general public an unprecedented peek into its trove of rare and out-of-print art publications through a new mini-site that was officially announced today.

Dubbed the ‘Reading Room,’ the new site is intended to make books, catalogs and other literature available that would otherwise be difficult to access, according to LACMA. The museum said that the site currently features 10 rare art catalogs, including ‘Six More,’ the catalog for LACMA’s 1963 exhibition on L.A. pop; ‘Billy Al Bengston,’ a rare 1968 monograph; and the surveys ‘Late Fifties at the Ferus’ (1968).


Among the features of the site are the ability to browse the publications page by page, perform text searches and download the volumes in PDF format.

Next up will be a series of LACMA catalog tied to the April exhibition ‘Myths, Legends, and Cultural Renewal: Wagner’s Sources,’ which is timed to coincide with the Los Angeles Opera’s presentation of the controversial composer’s Ring cycle.

The enhanced accessibility of the museum’s publications doesn’t mean that they can be copied and repurposed at will. LACMA said that content on the site is limited to non-commercial personal or educational purposes, or for “fair use” as defined by U.S. copyright laws.

LACMA said it will continue to reprint books online and added that it is developing books that are intended to be published exclusively online. The museum said it is working on a prototype electronic catalog drawn from its Southeast Asian collection as part of a Getty-funded online scholarly catalog project.

-- David Ng