Jennifer C Beetem

Art Caregiving + Website Services

Art History | Jennifer C Beetem

Art History

Art history has attracted me from childhood to the present. Focal areas include: printmaking, the intersection of artists’ texts and visual works, modernist artist groups and periodicals, Japanese art, and the Bauhaus school. My ongoing art history learning is wide-ranging across time, place and perspectives.

My favorite research methods are archival research and visualizing through sketches or digital media. I can research with competence in English, German and French and have experience consulting primary sources in archives and special collections in the United States and Germany.

Conferences / Presentations / Papers

Grants / Fellowships / Awards

Georges Vantongerloo sculpture digitization

In graduate school I explored Belgian De Stijl artist George Vantongerloo’s enigmatic mahogany sculpture Construction of Volume Relations (Rapports des Volumes). Photographs of the 1921 sculpture in publications reproduce very few angles and look quite different from one another.

Curious about its volume relations in the round, I built a 3D model guided by reproductions of Vantongerloo’s schematic drawings. Video game artists Izzi Beetem (sibling) and Ben Carnow lighted the scene and textured the model, then I finalized and rendered the scene. The collaboration produced a Quicktime VR “turntable” video with numbered frames that were referenced in my written analysis. The model is now available on Sketchfab and 3D Warehouse.

The original Construction of Volume Relations by Georges Vantongerloo is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This 3D model is presented for free as a transformative use of this artwork. It would be interesting to compare the relations in my model to a digital model created from the original work through photogrammetry. My 3D model is true to the proportions of Vantongerloo’s schematics, but appears more narrow than the original in some photographs and in person. Why?

Bauhaus MA Practicum

Der Austausch Online is an online presentation of my research on the Bauhaus periodical Der Austausch (Interchange, The Exchange). The website presents an annotated digitization of a microfilm reproduction of Der Austausch and contextualizes it with accompanying virtual exhibitions.

Der Austausch was a short run periodical created and crowdfunded by students in Spring and Summer 1919 during the first semester of the new State Bauhaus in Weimar. It was printed on cheap paper at a nearby Weimar printing house R. Wagner Sohn. Der Austausch is more visually and formally aligned with late German Expressionist media than post-De Stijl Bauhaus design

The digitization was created from a microfilm stored at UC-Berkeley. To create the website I learned the open-source online exhibition building software Omeka Classic and created a custom theme that draws on grid-based Bauhaus modes while presenting Der Austausch. Original copies of Der Austausch were consulted at the Getty Research Institute Special Collections and Northwestern University McCormick Library Special Collections. I plan to release a public version of Der Austausch Online after receiving all image permissions.

Thumbnail of Der Austausch Online website, full screen layout Thumbnail of Der Austausch Online website, mobile layout