ICSM Innovations in the Arts

: Jackson Pollock     

IC Library Print & Media Resources

Selected Subject Searches

Note: Below are some representative movements in new or experimental art in the 20th century, grouped roughly by medium.  To check if the Library has books or DVDs on a particular artist, first try a Subject search on his or her name (last name first).  If that yields no or too few results, try a Keyword search on the name, first name then last name, in quotation marks.

Avant-garde (Aesthetics)
Avant-garde (Aesthetics)--United States--History--20th century
Arts, Modern--20th century
Arts, Modern--20th century--Philosophy
Arts, Modern--20th century--United States

Modernism (Aesthetics)
Modernism (Art)
Art, Modern
Art, Modern--20th century
Art, Modern--21st century
Art, Abstract
Futurism (Art) 
Constructivism (Art)
Art deco
Expressionism (Art)
Abstract expressionism--United States
Minimal art
Pop art
Fluxus (Group of artists)
Kinetic art
Conceptual art
Installations (Art)
Street art
Found objects (Art)
Body art
Video art 
Computer art
Digital art
Interactive art.
Appropriation (Art)
Mashups (World Wide Web)

Music--20th century--History and criticism
Avant-garde (Music)
Twelve-tone system
Minimal music--History and criticism
Jazz--History and criticism
Rock music--History and criticism
Electronic music--History and criticism
Music and technology
Computer music--History and criticism
Music videos--History and criticism
Rap (Music)--History and criticism

Modernism (Literature)--Great Britain
Modernism (Literature) United States
Literature, Experimental
Experimental fiction--History and criticism
Experimental poetry, American--History and criticism
Stream of consciousness fiction
Surrealism (Literature)
Existentialism in literature
Beat generation
Magic realism (Literature)
Postmodernism (Literature) [including metafiction]
Poetry slams
Comic books, strips, etc.--History and criticism
Graphic novels--History and criticism

Theater--History--20th century
Experimental theater
Experimental drama--History and criticism
Theater of the absurd
Performance art
Street theater
Happening (Art)

Motion pictures--Philosophy
Film criticism
Surrealism in motion pictures
Experimental films--History and criticism
Experimental films--United States
Experimental films--United States--History and criticism
New wave films--France--History
Auteur theory (Motion pictures)
Independent filmmakers--United States

IC Library Databases (Articles)

Recommended Databases

     JSTOR 100% full text (almost), with a very good coverage of the Humanities, including Art, Literature, and Film and Music. There is no Subject searching, so remember to put search phrases in quotation marks: "abstract expressionism" or "theat* of the absurd" (note: in this and most databases the * is a truncation symbol such that theat* will retrieve both theater and theatre).
     JSTOR access to journal articles begins 2-4 years prior to the present--so don't look for any criticism from the last couple of years--but coverage always extends back to the first issue of each journal--in some cases into the 19th century and beyond. This allows you, for instance, to find contemporary reaction to modernism, the avant-garde, or surrealism from the first half of the 20th century. And if you want to target a time period, just set a “Date Range.”  For example, if you want to read about the impact of the surrealist movement as a contemporary phenomenon and not just a chapter in art history, search--surrealism--and put in a date range of 1920-1940.

      General OneFile is the most user friendly of our comprehensive databases--covering virtually any topic from a wide range of disciplinary angles. Use the default Subject search to find an appropriate Subject Heading for your topic and then open the "Subdivisions" link underneath. For example, under “Avant garde” find “Analysis,” “Criticism & Interpretation,” “Ethical aspects,” “History,” and “Social aspects.”  
     If the best available Subdivision is still too broad, open the set of articles and add Keywords in the "Refine Results" slot at the upper left. 
     User Advisory: When viewing any retrieval set in General OneFile, note that you are first viewing only the popular "Magazines" and must click on "Academic Journals" or "News" in the left margin to see those resources.

     ProQuest Research Library : is another comprehensive database with substantial full text.  Use the "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to preview what Subject Headings are available.  Subect searching can be a more efficient way to search than with only Keywords, since it guarantees that the articles retrieved actually be about the Subject--not just use a particular word. 
     Note that to the right of your search results you can limit your retrieval by "Source Type" (including Magazines, Newspapers, Scholarly Journals),  "Document Type," (including Cover Story, Editorial, or Interview), "Document Feature" (including Photographs, Illustrations), and "Location."
     Above each set of articles you retrieve ProQuest will display related Subject searches to help either broaden or narrow your focus.
     User Advisory: ProQuest is fussy about entering Subject searches in the designated search slot. If your subject is a person, enter the name--last name first--in the "Person" slot; if a named group of any kind--Microsoft, the Catholic Church, Radiohead, the New York Mets--enter it in "Co/Org"; if a place enter it in "Location."

      Academic Search Premier  Comprehensive subject coverage with considerable full text.  Note that there is a “Subject Terms” link just above the search boxes, allowing you to search the index of Subject Headings--often a good first stop for more efficient Subject searching whereby you are guaranteed that your topic is indeed a main subject of the articles retrieved.
     A good initial strategy in this database is to search a likely topic in the Subject Terms and when you find it “explode” the term by double clicking it--this brings up a list of related Subject terms.  You can check as many terms as you like before "adding" them to your search by AND-ing or OR-ing them together.  Exploding "Avant garde" brings up a list or related Subject Headings that may prove useful.

    Project Muse , although a smaller database, it complements JSTOR.  LIke JSTOR it provides 100% full text of mostly scholarly journals, but its coverage is entirely current--mainly spanning the last 10-15 years.  Muse offers a basic keyword search (be sure to put the titles of art works in quotation marks).  Once you've retrieved a set of articles you can sort them into broad categories using the Research Area options on the left.  
    Note: Checking the "Articles" box under Content Type before you run a search will eliminate reviews of books about your topic and leave you with just the articles on your topic.

   ARTbibliographies Modern (ABM) : Before you do anything else, select English under the Language limits--if that is all you're comfortable reading. This is a very international database, and unless you set the language limit you'll be inundated with articles in French, Italian, German, Spanish, etc. Otherwise, note there's a limit of "scholarly articles" under "Source Type," and that if you open the drop-down menu for the main search field you can change "anywhere" to "Subject/artist"--which can be helpful in limiting your retrievals to articles about an artist rather than ones that simply mention the name.

     MLA International Bibliography  provides the most complete and fully indexed coverage of articles and books on modern literatures, linguistics, folklore, rhetoric, and composition from 1925 to the present. There is ample full text provided by ProQuest, as well as links to full-text articles in JSTOR and Project Muse. Full text from other IC databases is also readily available via the "GetIt" links below article citations.
     Because books, book chapters/essays, and dissertations will usually not be available full text, you may wish to limit your search to "Journal article" under "Source type."
     "Author's Work" and "Author as Subject" will be especially helpful search fields at finding literary criticism. And for additional search field options either click on "Show more fields," or, for the complete list, open the drop-down menus to the right of the "Anywhere" default for the top three rows of search slots. This list includes both "Literary Influence"--who influenced a particular author you have entered--and "Literary Source"--who was influenced by that particular author.
     If you set up a free "My Research" account with Proquest (top right), you can save all the articles you check, all the searches you want to remember, and set up e-mail or RSS notification for any new articles that match your search terms.

   Music Periodicals Database  If you open up the drop-down menu for either of the top two search slots, you can switch the default "anywhere except full text" to more targeted search fields. In particular, note that you can search for a specific "person" or performing arts "company/organization." This allows you to run a Subject search on individuals and musical groups: John Cage, New York Philharmonic, Rolling Stones.  Whereas a keyword search will retrieve any mention of that word--no matter how fleeting--a Subject search will only return articles that are substantially about that person or group.

     New York Times (1851-2009)  gives access to the full text of the New York Times 1851-2007. Reset the default search of "citation and document text" to "citation and abstract" (since this is a Keyword search of 100% full text, you are likely to generate too many passing mentions of your search terms if you search all the text; first try the more focused "citation and abstract" search and only broaden it to "document text" if you retrieve too few hits). 
     Use the "date range" limits to target the primary sources available here--contemporary/eyewitness reports. Without a date range limit you may retrieve hundreds of articles written decades after the events they discuss. 

     Philosopher's Index : If you want to browse the Subject Headings available here just click on "Indexes" at the very top of the left-hand side of the home page and then choose "Subjects" as your Index.  Among the Subjects available here are "Avant Garde," "Modernism," "Modern Art," "Abstract Art," and "Surrealism."

Where's the Full Text for this Article??

     Few databases offer 100% full text.  Most retrieve a mix of full text articles and article "citations"--article title, author(s), publication info, and usually an "abstract" or one-prargraph summary of the content.  When a citation makes you want the full text, look below it for this icon: 
     Clicking "GETIT" checks if another IC Library database offers the full text of the article--or if the Library has a print subscription to the journal in which the article appeared. 

  • "GETIT" will frequently find the full text in another database and open it in a new window.  
  • If none of our databases can access the full text but we have a print subsciption to the journal, "GETIT" will retrieve the catalog record for the journal so that you can see if the date of the article falls within the date range we have on hand.
  • If full text is not available from any database or from a print subsciption, "GETIT" will provide a link to IC Interlibrary Loan.  Log in (same as your IC e-mail)--and set up your account if you've never used it before.  "GETIT" will have populated the article request form with all the necessary information and you simply submit the request elecrtonically.  Most articles are supplied as digital files and will be sent to you via e-mail when they arrive.

Contact Us

picture of Dr. Brian Saunders

Dr. Brian Saunders

Humanities Librarian
(607) 274-1198

Search Argos

And Don't Just Take My Word for It . . .

   Jennifer Strickland (Fine Arts Librarian) offers  research guides for Art and Film and Kristina Shanton (Music Librarian) offers a research guide for Music.

Online Resources

Un Chien Andalou, Bunuel & Dali, 1928

Reference (log-in required):
Oxford Art Online: Oxford Companion to Music:
Oxford Companion to Theatre and Performance: Avant Garde

Oxford Companion to American Literature: Beat Movement

Web Directory
Open Directory Project:
Web Sites (a very small sample):
  1. Voice of the Shuttle: Art (Modern & Contemporary)  Scroll down to "by artist and/or movement."
  2. Voice of the Shuttle: Film
  3. Voice of the Shuttle: Music: 20th Century
  4. Voice of the Shuttle: Literature: Modern
  5. Voice of the Shuttle: Postmodernism
  • Welcome to the 1913 Armory Show: outstanding site from the University of Virgina that allows you to go on a virtual tour of the International Exhibition of Modern Art.

Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.