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Critical and Curatorial Studies

This guide provides resources on topics related to critical and curatorial studies.

Find Art Books

Search Summon and the Library Catalogue to find print and e-books. 

Books in the call number ranges listed below are located on Levels 3 & 4 of the Music, Art & Architecture Library.

Core Curatorial Studies materials are classed under the N-call number range:

  • N61-72 - Theory. Philosophy. Aesthetics of the visual arts
  • N400-3990 - Art museums, galleries, etc. 
  • N4390-5098 - Exhibitions
  • N5198-5299 - Private collections and collectors 
  • N8350-8356 - Art as a profession. Artists
  • N8554-8585 - Examination and conservation of works of art
  • N8600-8675 - Economics of art

There may also be relevant materials under the general Art and Photography call numbers:

Art books are classed in the N-call number range.

  • N - visual arts
  • NB - sculpture
  • NC - drawing, design, illustration
  • ND - painting
  • NE - print media
  • NK - decorative arts
  • NX - arts in general

     Photography books are classed in the T-call number range. ​

  • TR - photography
  • TT - handicrafts, arts and crafts





Curatorial Studies books may be classed under a variety of other call numbers. Additional call numbers to consider: 

  • E-F - History of the Americas.
    • Materials related to Indigenous art can be found within this call number
  • GN - Anthropology.
    • Additional materials related to Indigenous art can be found here. 
  • GV - Recreation, Leisure.
    • Materials related to dance and performance.
  • LC - Special aspects of education.
    • Materials related to art and social justice, and/or activism.
  • QA - Mathematics.
    • Materials related digital art and new media art. 
  • SB - Plant Culture.
    • Materials related to ecological art and installation art.

Note: some topics are interdisciplinary and may not limited to the call numbers above. 

For more information on how these call numbers are organized, see: 

New Art Books

To browse new art books recently acquired by the Music, Art & Architecture Library, see: New Books & Materials. Search by using: 

(1) the "Restrict to subject" option and selecting "Fine Arts" in the drop down menu.

(2) the "Call number range(s)" option and identifying a specific call number to search (eg., AM, N-NX, ND249, TR).

(3) "More Options" and selecting "Music, Art & Architecture Library." Note: this retrieves new books from all three disciplines.

Subject Headings & Keywords

Listed below is a small selection of curatorial studies subject headings that can be used for keyword searching in the UBC Library Catalogue.

Subject headings can be further broken down by topic, place or gallery, style, etc. as shown below.

By topic:

By place / gallery:

By form / style:

By artist / group:

Click on the links above or browse the UBC Catalogue for other subject headings. A visual example of how to get started is shown below.

Expanding your Search

To find more keywords / search terms, try using the following links to get more suggestions. Type a keyword into the search box and see what alternate or related terms they return to you. Then, try searching these new terms in Summon or the UBC Library Catalogue.

Primary Sources

For a detailed description of what constitutes a primary source, and how to search for primary source materials in UBC Library collections, see the Primary Sources guide.

Select Resources on Curatorship

This is just a small selection of books on the topic of curatorship in UBC Library holdings:

Select Resources on the History of Art Galleries / Art Museums

This is just a small selection of books on the history of art galleries/art museums in UBC Library holdings:

Select Resources on Conservation / Preservation

This is just a small selection of books on the topic of conservation & preservation for the purpose of exhibitions in UBC Library holdings:

Select Resources on Art Gallery / Art Museum Management

This is just a small selection of books on the topic of art gallery and art museum management in UBC Library holdings:

Open Ebook Collections

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A selection of sites with free digital access to Ebooks on the topics of art history & criticism, material culture, conservation and museum studies. 

Books from Other Libraries

If UBC Library doesn't have the book you need, try ordering it through our Interlibrary Loan Service.

Visiting another university library?  Reciprocal Borrowing agreements may allow you to sign out books at that library.

These databases will expand your search beyond UBC Library: