5 Questions With…Library Research Grant Recipient Dr. Candice Hamelin

Every year the Getty Foundation awards grants to researchers to visit the Getty Research Institute Library to conduct research with the collections. Some of these grants are also sponsored by the Getty Research Institute Council or by individual members of the Council. In 2019, a total of 56 grants have been awarded to researchers from 13 countries.

Dr. Candice Hamelin, Associate Postdoctoral Fellow from Freie Universität Berlin, received a Council funded grant and visited the library from March to May of this year. She consulted artists’ books and journals made and circulated in the German Democratic Republic in the 1980s. We recently chatted with Candice to learn more about her Getty experience.

Candice Hamelin (left) with Getty Research Institute’s Assistant Curator Isotta Poggi

1. What advice would you give applicants or Library Research Grant recipients based upon your experience at the Library?

I would suggest that applicants and grant recipients make themselves aware of the amount of materials in Special Collections – they can do this by searching the Library Catalog and by contacting library staff to consult with a Reference Librarian – and plan their research visits accordingly. I would also suggest that they bring a sweater: the Special Collections Reading Room is extremely cold!

2. What collections or items did you focus on during your time at the Getty Research Institute Library?

I spent most of my time examining East German artists’ books (there are over one hundred and forty in the Getty Research Institute Library’s Special Collections), the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) collections, self-published magazines, such as Schaden and Entwerter/Oder, and two remarkable portfolios, Foto-Anschlag and Konzeptionelle Fotografie, featuring the work of East German documentary and conceptual photographers as well as action and performance artists.

3. Did you come across any surprising discoveries in the Special Collections during the course of your research?

Yes, I made two surprising discoveries. In 2012, I learned about a speech that Gabriele Muschter gave in East Berlin in the mid-1980s on new tendencies in East German photography and after looking for it for the past seven years I came across it in the DDR collections! I also discovered that Galerie Arkade, an important gallery in East Berlin in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was located on the ground floor of my apartment complex.

4. Because your visit was longer than one month, you were invited by the library to give a presentation during your visit. What was your presentation about? And what was your favorite item to talk about during the presentation?

My presentation addressed the richness of the Getty’s collection. It took place in Special Collections Reading Room and included East German artists’ books, magazines, multiples, and portfolios. My favorite item to talk about was Leussow-Recycling, a wooden briefcase featuring etchings and photographs by Clara Mosch and four glass vials filled with carbonized wood and ashes, traces of one of the group’s actions in 1977. The photographs were printed on paper provided by the Stasi and the official reaction to the object and its contents, which were made available on the East German art market at the time by the Galerie Arkade, led conceptual photographers and artists working with photography to circulate their work, first and foremost, in self-published artists’ magazines.

5. What are your scholarly plans now after completing your research at the Getty?

I will finish writing my book on East German photography and two articles related to my research at the Getty.

Candice’s presentation in the Special Collections Reading Room on May 2, 2019

Visit the Getty Library Research Grants webpage to learn more and to apply for the 2020 calendar year cycle. The application deadline is October 15, 2019.

Visit the Library Catalog to explore the library’s items related to DDR materials and more.

-Sarah Sherman, Manager of Reference and User Engagement

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