Category Archives: NCAD Visual Resources

Goodbye to Ray Harryhausen


Ray Harryhausen, the genius of visual effects, died on May 7th in London at the age of 92. He will be remembered for his cutting-edge stop-motion animation film monsters, which inspired a generation of film makers including Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, George Lucas and Peter Jackson.

Harryhausen was born Raymond Frederick Harryhausen in Los Angeles in 1920, and from an early age he had an interest in dinosaurs and mythical creatures. When he saw the 1933 version of King Kong, he was inspired to pursue a career in film model animation. He built his models by hand, and filmed them one frame at a time, which gave his animated sequences an unparalleled sense of reality.

The Visual Resources Centre at NCAD has one of Harryhausen’s best known films, Jason and the Argonauts, which includes a famous animated sequence involving an army of living skeletons. According to its creator, the sequence took three months to film.  Our library also stocks Tony Dalton’s book The art of Ray Harryhausen, published by Aurum in 2005.

For more information about Ray Harryhausen, see the Guardian’s Harryhausen obituary.

Video art in the NCAD Visual Resources Centre


NCAD Library has a growing collection of DVDs on video art. They include several anthologies of video works by international artists, as well as DVDs by individual artists. The following is a list of some of our most interesting titles. You can find a more comprehensive list here.

Surveying the first decade: Video art and alternative media in the U.S. 1968-1980. F529-F536. An extraordinary two-volume, eight-program series on the history of experimental and independent video in the U.S. It is organised in broad themes such as “Explorations of Presence, Performance, and Audience”, “Investigations of the Phenomenal World: Space, Sound, and Light” or “Gendered Confrontations”, and it includes artists such as Dan Graham, John Baldessari, William Wegman, Bruce Nauman, Joan Jonas, Gary Hill, Bill Viola, Linda Benglis and Martha Rosler. It should be compulsory viewing for anyone interested in video art.

40yearsvideoart.de. D694-D705. This is a project carried out by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, in which a seven-strong jury selected 59 video artworks produced and/or exhibited in Germany from the 1960s to 2004. The collection includes German and international artists such as Joseph Beuys, Marina Abramovic, Richard Wilson, Harun Farocki, Nam June Paik and even Samuel Beckett.

Point of View: an anthology of the moving image. D706-D718. This collection, produced by the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, features eleven leading artists working in film, video, and digital imagery today: Francis Alys, David Claerbout, Douglas Gordon, Gary Hill, Pierre Huyghe, Joan Jonas, Isaac Julien, William Kentridge, Paul McCarthy, Pipilotti Rist, and Anri Sala. Each DVD features a newly-commissioned work; an in-depth interview with the artist conducted by Dan Cameron, senior curator for the New Museum of Contemporary Art, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist of the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, or Richard Meyer, Associate Professor, Department of Art History, University of Southern California; an image library of the artist’s previous work; and bibliographical material.

Hard head: videos by Mounir Fatmi. D789. Mounir Fatmi is a Moroccan artist working in Paris, whose artworks focus on political, religious and current affairs issues. Hard head is a compilation of 8 video works created between 1999 and 2008, which uses playful language inspired by Islamic art, the Koran and European authors such as Artaud and Montesquieu, to blur notions of identity and chronology.

Michael Fortune: An anthology of Others. D958-D965. Michael Fortune is an Irish artist based in rural County Wexford, whose work explores the relationships between the people and circumstances he encounters. In much of his video work the camera remains static, and all evidence of the documenter or narrator is removed.

Bill Viola: Hatsu Yume: Bill Viola is an internationally acclaimed video artist who uses video to explore sensory perception as an avenue to self-knowledge. His works focus on universal human experiences—birth, death, the unfolding of consciousness—and have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism. In Hatsu Yume, Viola fuses a personal observation of Japanese culture with a metaphysical contemplation of life, death and nature, achieved through a symbolic exploration of video’s relation to light and reflection.

Visual Resources in 2012


Happy New Year and welcome to the NCAD VR weblog. 2012 was a very fruitful year for anything related to visual resources for art and design education, both at NCAD and in the world at large. A number of projects expanded the availability of digital images and media for use in education, helping both students and lecturers find the material they need more easily. This post summarises some of those developments of the past year.

The Creative Commons Search: Creative Commons is “a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools”. Their Search allows users to find content that can be freely shared and re-used, through image and media sites such as Europeana, Google Images, Flickr, YouTube, and Wikimedia Commons, from one single interface. CC Search can also be added as a plugin to one’s browser, making the business of finding the right images for a lecture or class project that much easier.

ARTstor Additions: ARTstor continues to expand its digital image content, and has recently focused more on contemporary art and architecture. Among the new collections incorporated into ARTstor in 2012 are the following:

NCAD subscribes to the ARTstor Digital Library. For an introduction to the ARTstor database, see the NCAD Image Libraries  page or contact The Visual Resources Centre in the Library.

BMW Tate Live 2012: Performance Room: Through this project, the Tate Gallery commissioned four artists to perform in Tate Modern’s Performance Room. The performances were broadcast live through the Tate’s YouTube Channel, and are now also available as archive footage to view freely online. The four artists commissioned to perform live in 2012 were Jerome Bel, Pablo Bronstein, Emily Roysdon, and Harrell Fletcher. The series will continue in 2013, starting with Suzanne Lacy’s Silver Action performance on February 3rd between 10 am and 4 pm. By making these events freely available online, Tate Modern is providing an invaluable resource for artists and educators alike.

Google Art Project: This project is a collaboration between Google and 151 museums in 40 countries worldwide, which started in 2011, and expanded considerably in 2012. Using a combination of Google technology and the individual museums’ art expertise, “users can explore a wide range of artworks at brushstroke level detail, take a virtual tour of a museum and even build their own collections to share.” The project is currently making over 30,000 artworks and buildings available, and will continue to grow. Although the images cannot be printed, they can be used for educational purposes. In addition, one thousand project images are now available for download in Wikimedia Commons, and can be used for classroom presentations and assignments.

More Museums Offering Free Digital Images for Education: 2012 saw an expansion in the number of museums worlwide who are opening their collections to the public online by offering high-resolution digital images of thousands of their artworks. These include the Rijksmuseum’s Rijksstudio, which offers high-resolution images of 125,000 artworks from their collection; the Prado Museum’s Online Gallery, which allows access to over 1000 high-resolution images; the British Museum’s Collection Database Search, which provides free access to over 700,000 images of objects from the museum, allowing free downloads for educational use and scholarly publication; the National Gallery of Art’s NGA Images, which “offers more than 22,000 open access digital images up to 3000 pixels each, available free of charge for download and use”; or The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, which has made over 18,000 digital images of artworks in its collection available for download from Wikimedia Commons. Since many of these museums are funded through people’s taxes, these initiatives to share their collections more widely are particularly welcome.

Visual Resources for VISCOM Students


Visual Communication students can find several titles and databases in the Visual Resources Centre which are relevant to your course, including:

DVDs: The Library has a collection of over 2000 DVD titles, including documentaries on all aspects of art and design, as well as feature films. The following titles are particularly relevant for the VISCOM curriculum:

Titles about graphic design and typography

Gary Hustwit: Helvetica (U.K., 2007)

Feature films with title sequences by famous designers such as Saul Bass:

Alfred Hitchcock: North by Northwest (U.S., 1959)
Martin Scorsese: Goodfellas

ARTstor: A vast collection of over one million digital images of all periods of art and design. You can find the NCAD guide to using ARTstor here.

ARTstor has several collections which are relevant to VISCOM, including the Graphic Design and Illustration Collection, which has over 13,000 images, and the Graphic Design collection at MOMA, with over 2,000 images.

NCAD Image Library: Our own local collection of digital images used by NCAD lecturers. You can find a guide to the NCAD Image Library here.

To browse images related to visual communication, select Graphic Design (Visual Communication) from the Classification drop-down list, and click on Find.

New DVDs November 2011


The new titles added to the DVD Library in November are a mixture of classic films, hard-hitting documentaries, and stylish thrillers. This is a selection:

Horror films in the NCAD Visual Resources


Even after Halloween is over, there are those of you who still like a good fright. The Visual Resources Centre has a great -and growing!- collection of horror films, both mainstream blockbusters and more obscure cult films by great horror directors such as Mario Bava and Dario Argento. They are interesting not only for entertainment purposes, but also as great sources of inspiration for costume and set design, cultural studies, and many other subjects. Here is a list of some of our highlights:

New DVDs October 2011


The following is a list of new DVD titles added to the NCAD Library catalogue during the month of October:

New DVDs March 2011


Here are some more DVD titles that have been incorporated into the Library Catalogue during the month of March:

Send us your suggestions by commenting on this post.

No Wave Cinema at the NCAD Library


“No Wave Cinema” was an underground film movement that started in New York in the mid-1970s and early 1980s, characterised by a no-frills, guerrilla/punk approach to filmmaking. Although short lived, it influenced  later film makers such as Jim Jarmusch, Steve Buscemi and Vincet Gallo. “No Wave” has particular relevance to Ireland, because an Irish experimental and documentary film maker, Vivienne Dick, was an active participant in the movement. The NCAD Visual Resources Centre has a copy of  Lux DVD’s Afterimages Volume 4, dedicated to Vivienne Dick [DVD F722].

Other filmmakers involved in the “No Wave Cinema” movement include Amos Poe, Beth B, John Lurie, and James Nares. The Visual Resources Centre is currently exploring the acquisition of DVD copies of films by these artists.

One Million Digital Images Available on ARTstor Mobile


If you are a student at NCAD, you can access over one million images through the ARTstor Digital Library. All you have to do is come to the Visual Resources Centre in the Library to register with ARTstor. Once you have done that, you will be able to access this digital library from any computer in or outside the college. You can browse or search for images, save image groups, and download them individually or as a group for your essays and college projects. To learn more about ARTstor, check our NCAD Image Libraries page. The images are much better quality than what you can find normally online.

In the past week, ARTstor has become available on the following mobile platforms: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. ARTstor Mobile allows you to search, browse and zoom into your image results. Try it and let us know what you think by commenting on this post.