Could we understand 20th century art, not only by looking at artists and tendencies - but by also examining those moments when the art met its public, that is through, the history of the exhibition?
  Exhibitions can offer rare glimpses of both an aesthetic and a social milieu. The trappings of the exhibition - invitation cards, leaflets and most critically catalogues - embody an invaluable archival resource. They tell us not only about the scope of works on show, but who showed with whom, the graphic style of the day and styles of writing.

  Text by: Iwona Blazwick, Nayia Yiakoumaki; from reprinted catalogue preface of 'This is Tomorrow', Sep 2010 - Mar 2011, Whitechapel Gallery, London; the iconic 1956 TiT exhibition revisited.

The important role of exhibitions

  Exhibitions are for Modern and contemporary art an important, if not the most important media.
  Their structure varies from solo-exhibition to large biennials, their focus may be presenting new art work, comparing different positions, focusing on a specific theme, giving a retrospective overview, accompanied by important texts and surveys. However, the access to exhibitions as an important source of information is very limited if not impossible without digitization.
  Exhibitions show the individual profile of the different types of exhibition venues. A gallery, a museum, a non-profit or collector's venue has its own scope of artists or conceptual focus, of local, national or international relevance . The same for artists, artist estates or curators: The exhibition history is an important part of the individual profile. To know who shows with whom is good to know for each profile, in particular regarding group exhibitions. provides this most valuable insight and makes it easy to explore and discover by cross-linking all information, across decades, borders or barriers, short or long living venues.

  Since the end of the 19th century a number of exhibitions was groundbreaking and influential for the development of the different styles and concepts. See our selection in our blog post Blog Post 'Influential Contemporary Art Exhibitions in the 20th and 21st Century', each with the complete list of participating artists.

No future without the past

: Documenting only exhibition activities of the last 10 years would be most incomplete without the exhibitions of the last decades. Our research projects and reconstructing of exhibition histories is another surplus is offering. More about these projects on our Blog Post blog, category Research and History.
  As venues are coming and going the artist remains for the art world the corner stone and anchor throughout all decades. This was the reason to name our main page artist-info, on which we publish digitized exhibition information since November 1996 on the Internet, based on our database which we started in 1993.

Digitization provides access to this important source of information

  The artist name is the first and most important search string in art research.
  The result search engines are offering is a high number of pages with many match combinations.
  Different to the cloud like result of search engines, documenting artists and their exhibitions with database provides a most efficient access to this important source of information and makes exhibitions and in particular their catalogs searchable, from the end of the 19th century up to the present, worldwide. The center of this relational 1:n documenting structure is the artist master database.
  By cross-linking all the information the profile of artists, exhibition venues, and curators can be researched across decades, different geographic regions, and different types of venues with a mouse click.
  Exhibition catalogs become the first time searchable by the exhibited artists which helps to find artwork and related texts.

New authority file for artists, exhibition venues, curators

  As digitized content is growing securely identifying an artist by the name has become vital.
  Thieme-Becker/Vollmer dictionary, published between 1907 and 1962 in 37 + 6 volumes, provides an unrivaled source for identification and artist biographies of earlier decades and centuries. Based on artwork in auctions another source to identify artists and finding at least short biographical information are databases like
  To identify digitized data the authority files of libraries and archives worldwide summarized on are an important key index. Unfortunately many artist names, exhibition venues, and curators will never have a VIAF Id. is a new and reliable source for artist name authority control, based on the artist's exhibition information and the biographical details published in conjunction with them. This role of and its artist master database, including many hundred alias names, is even more important, as many artist names will never appear in authority control sources connected to (Virtual International Authority File) or LCCN identities (Library of Congress Control Number Authority File).
  To complement an artist's, exhibition venue's, or curator's profile on we are adding whenever possible a Wikipedia and page for more specific information and sources.

Get found, not lost

  Daily, art professionals and art lovers are on our website to research artists, galleries, museums, non-profit and collector's venues and their exhibitions.
Today artists, exhibition venues, and curators have their own website with their current, past and future solo- and group-exhibitions. It is an important testimony of their activities and profile.

The disadvantage of your individual exhibition archive page

- Your exhibition history is hardly found by search engines.
- In most artist-CVs group exhibition details are missing.
- The artist names, exhibition venues and curator names aren't interactive to find out more on them.
- Art professionals and art lovers are searching on a wider scope and your individual page might limit them too much.

Documenting your exhibitions on is advantageous

- In an increasingly digitized world your legacy and individual profile don't get lost in the haystack of search engine results
- To show your focus and concept
- For the individual profile of your exhibition venue
- For positioning among all other exhibition venues
- Cross-linking all information offers new insight
- Regarding the selection of artists
- Regarding the work of curators
- As an artist index of your exhibition catalogues


A - Art exhibitions are since many decades the #1 media to "publish" artwork, to reconsider concepts, and styles, nationally, internationally.
B - Exhibitions outline the profile of artists, galleries, museums, non-profit and collector's venues. They are the basis for the self-understanding, branding, fundraising, and many more
C - These profiles are only understandable in comparison with other profiles.
E - Artists, exhibition venues, and curators are connected among each other through exhibitions and reinforce their profile with them.
F - Exhibition catalogs are an important resource for texts and artwork.
G - In libraries exhibition catalogs can only be searched by exhibition title/subtitle and the text authors, but not by their key content, the exhibited artists – this enables
H - Across all decades the artist name is the key to everything. That's the reason for the name 'artist-info'
I - Never before art historians could research the key information of exhibitions, this is all participating artists. However, exhibitions were and will be most influential. See
J - The relational structure of artists, exhibition venue, curator is used by to cross-reference all information.
K - The common way is one-dimensional: An artist or venue lists the solo- and group-exhibitions like on a piece of paper. No search-engine finds this information.
L - artist-info documents exhibition histories multi-dimensional on an interactive timeline to research with a mouse click the artist, exhibition venue or curator in this time line.
M - Master artist name database: Our database proves to be a new authority file for artist names, based on secure and reliable information of exhibitions. and the many national (DNB-GND, RKD …) or institutional (Getty ULAN® …) authority files will never be able to cover this many names. This is fundamental in digitization for identification.
N – The more digitized content can be reached the more important becomes efficient data research. Search result of search engines is a cloud of combinations of the search string parts. Search result of artist-info's 1:n relational content provides secure and precise results in a professional, art-bound data-environment.
O - Without the artists of exhibitions could never be research across venues and decades before. Although artwork and critical texts are published in catalogs the hard work of curators vanished with the time because of the missing digital access.
P - Thieme-Becker/Vollmer published between 1907 and 1962 in 37 + 6 volumes, is an unrivaled source to look up artists of earlier decades. is based on artwork in auctions and provides a very basic artist-information. is a new pillar for art historian research.
Q - How could this happen / Why is unique: The art world is very much fragmented. Nations concentrate on their cultural heritage, art museums are grouping among each other in favor to strengthen their profile, artists are strategically planning their career to may be having one day a solo exhibition at the MoMA. is documenting exhibitions across all these barriers and borders.