Since 2000, Asia Art Archive (AAA) has been collecting primary and secondary materials surrounding recent art in Asia, with our growing Research and Library Collections containing over 80,000 records.

 

I. ABOUT AAA COLLECTION


Research Collections

Research Collections are developed with partners across the world. These archival projects look to appraise, arrange, digitise, and make accessible groups of material gathered from donated personal collections and focused research projects undertaken by AAA. The intent is not to build an authoritative record of an individual or organisation, but to highlight less documented narratives—in the process enriching and giving nuance to art history. Research Collections are predominantly digitised primary source material, which include photographs, letters, writing, ephemera, and video documentation. To date, our 34 Research Collections contain more than 34,000 records.

Some collections have physical components housed onsite at the AAA Library, as indicated in the cataloguing records. These materials are available to view through appointment via library@aaa.org.hk.

 

 

Library Collection

The Library Collection contains over 21,000 books and exhibition catalogues, 313 serial titles, 2,000 CD/DVDs, and over 10,000 ephemera covering recent art in Asia, from approximately the 1920s to the present. Highlights include catalogues and periodicals from East Asia in the 1980s through the 2000s, as well as non-ISBN independent publications from artists and independent art spaces around Asia. The Collection is built via donation, project outputs, purchase, subscription, and exchange relationships with partner organisations.

The AAA Library welcomes donations within our collecting scope. Please contact library@aaa.org.hk for enquiries.

 

 

II. COLLECTION SCOPE

 
Content Priorities

AAA’s Collection is developed through our research projects and library collection development policy, which in turn stem from AAA’s overarching content priorities. Our content priorities reflect AAA’s areas of interest, including those under-represented in wider art historical discourse. For more, read this “Building Asia Art Archive” series on AAA’s content priorities in relation to our organisational history; our research and work in India; and our China projects and collections.

 

 

Timespan

The earliest collection record goes back to 1923, but the core of the collection lies between the mid-1990s to the 2000s. Instead of trying to locate the various parallel histories of this region on one linear timeline, AAA attempts to identify archives and resources, and addresses them according to local, social, and artistic contexts. AAA began building its collection by documenting the artistic currents of the time. As the organisation has developed, it also collects retrospectively and strategically, with hopes to contextualise contemporaneous cultural production throughout the region.

 

Geographical Coverage

AAA collects materials primarily from and associated with Asia. The association can be contextual or informed by the background of the practitioners involved (e.g., artists from/based in Asia or diasporic artists). It is important to note that AAA takes “Asia” not as a fixed territorial concept, but as a constantly shifting and culturally-entangled notion. AAA also collects materials that go beyond the border, as long as it serves referential purposes to the study of visual arts in Asia—this often comes out of research or programmatic concerns.

 

Format

Materials in both physical and digital formats are collected, according to the respective collection scopes of the Library and Research Collections. These materials include printed matter (e.g., reference book, catalogue, periodical, and brochure), ephemera (e.g., invitation card, clippings), and multimedia (e.g., CD/DVD, born-digital material).

 

Language

Though the predominant language for the cataloguing system is English, AAA recognises the importance of collecting material in its original form and welcomes material written in all languages.

 

III. ACCESSING AAA COLLECTION


Search the Collection

All Collection materials are searchable via the AAA Website, with some material available for online viewing.

 

Visit the AAA Library

The AAA Library in Hong Kong is a free and publicly-accessible reference library. You are welcome to browse through our shelves for the Library Collection, or view primary source material from Research Collections on our workstations. We are open Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 6pm (to find us click here). For any specific access requests, please contact library@aaa.org.hk prior to your visit.

 

Copyright/Restrictions

AAA is the custodian of its Collection, not the copyright owner. For each item we use a rights statement to clearly show the copyright status of any item. While most materials are freely accessible for personal reference and research purposes, they are still under copyright but are accessible online based on partner agreements. Some items are restricted to onsite access due to third-party copyright issues or a donor-assigned access restriction. As an organisation committed to open accessibility, we work with our partners to use Creative Commons where the owner has the right to do so.

As we are not the copyright holder, we are unable to permit re-use for any material that is not under a Creative Commons licence. If you wish to use any part of our Collection beyond research or fair dealing (as defined in the HK copyright ordinance), please contact us at library@aaa.org.hk for further consultation.