Skip to Main Content

Art & Design Research Guide

A guide to art & design resources at UMSL Libraries and on the web.


This guide offers an introduction to Art & Design resources at UMSL Libraries. Use this guide for help with:

  • Searching using Discover@UMSL, the library's main search tool for books, articles, and more
  • Locating reference texts for background information
  • Finding and navigating art & design databases
  • Finding and using images for classwork/research
  • Citations

Please contact a librarian using the online chat or by emailing/scheduling an appointment.

Quick Links

What's New?

African American Artists and the New Deal Art Programs

This book examines the involvement of African American artists in the New Deal art programs of the 1930s. Emphasizing broader issues informed by the uniqueness of Black experience rather than individual artists' works, Mary Ann Calo makes the case that the revolutionary vision of these federal art projects is best understood in the context of access to opportunity, mediated by the reality of racial segregation.

The Political Body

How a constellation of Latin American artists explored the body, power, and emancipation--and expanded the meanings of feminist art.

Miracles and Machines: A Sixteenth-Century Automaton and Its Legend

An abundantly illustrated narrative that draws from the history of art, science, technology, artificial intelligence, psychology, religion, and conservation in telling the extraordinary story of a Renaissance robot that prays.

Picasso: the Self-Portraits

The first book dedicated to Picasso's self-portraits, many held in private collections and published here for the first time.

History of Japanese Art After 1945

A compilation of essays that surveys the development of art in Japan since WWII. The original Japanese work, which has become essential reading for those with an interest in modern and contemporary Japanese art and is a foundational resource for students and researchers, spans a period of 150 years, from the 1850s to the 2010s. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific period and written by a specialist.


Dederer explores the audience's relationship with artists from Michael Jackson to Virginia Woolf, asking: How do we balance our undeniable sense of moral outrage with our equally undeniable love of the work?

What Art Does

In contrast to more conventional definitions of art, What Art Does defends the claim that artworks constitute a class of tool. Like other tools, artworks are objects that have functions and that furnish affordances. However, thanks to the particular social and material facts that underpin the creation of artworks, the functions that artworks have and the affordances they furnish are special. It is thanks to these special functions and affordances that artworks obtain their privileged character and status. Because artworks do things that other tools cannot, we take artworks to be meaning-making objects with something to say.