Assistant Librarian for Public Services | April 4, 2016 :
Ralph Baylor, the Assistant Librarian for Public Services at The Frick Art and Reference Library, received his B.A. in Studio Arts from the University of New Mexico, focusing on both drawing and ceramics. During his time in undergrad Ralph became associated with the universities LGBT resources group which at the time was lacking in a research center. Together the team was able to attain that goal, incorporating around seven-hundred books from various departments into its collection. Subsequently, he took a year off before deciding to go back to school in 2011 to receive a dual-masters degree in Art History and Library Science from The Pratt Institute. In addition to his course work Baylor took every opportunity to gain experience interning at institutions including MoMA, The Met, The Frick and Bard. Graduating in the Spring of 2013, Ralph completed his Practicum work at MoMA, in their Latin American Collection and produced his thesis under the guidance of Lisa Banner, in which he discussed 16th C. Spanish Art Treatises emphasizing the work of Francisco Pancheco (1564-1644), artistic master and father-on-law of Diego Velázquez (1599-1660 ).
Ralph began working part-time at The Frick Art and Reference Library in 2014, while also working at the Center for Book Arts and maintaining freelance positions at institutions such as the Hispanic Society. His entrance into the institution coincided with the foundation of the Digital Art History Lab (DAHL). The lab was established in response to the growing field of Digital Art History. Striving to provide Art Historical research and scholarship available digitally, DAHL encompasses all library departments within FARL. The group aims to move the potential of various tools from theory to execution, following some of the examples set by the IFA and MoMA, hosting workshops and making data available to the public. These newer methods have proved to be very appealing thus far to students, recent grads and newer professionals. Some more traditional art historians are being reached through lectures and digital workshops directed specifically to present new tools to users. Ultimately DAHL aspires to one day have a physical, collaborative space to better facilitate the needs of current art historians. The space would ideally include an on staff programmer, computer stations, movable desks, and 3D printers; creating a true art history lab. As usual, funding and space are currently preventing this from becoming a reality but hopefully in time that will change.
Baylor spends about 40% of his time working with special projects, such as DAHL, the remaining is spent preforming reference duties. Though early in his career Ralph thought he would be a cataloguer he stated that he is happiest and at his best when he is working with people through reference services. His biggest piece of advice — be open to approaches from various angles.
Above : Juan van der Hamen, Still Life with Grapes, 1622