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Fine Art and Curatorial Practice

A library guide to support studio practice and research in fine art and curatorial studies

Using exhibition catalogues for research

Exhibition catalogues are an important resource for Art History. They provide a record of the items displayed in a museum or gallery show, and they also contain new scholarly insight through the inclusion of thematic essays written by curators and academics.

Exhibition catalogues used to be short and limited, mostly in the form of an unillustrated list of the works (including the title, dimensions, medium and creator). More recently however, these catalogues often take the form of substantial books containing an introduction, essays, works shown, colour images, a bibliography and sometimes an index.

Finding catalogues and ephemera

Some exhibition catalogues are 'born digital' but the majority are only available as print copies. Many galleries, such as the National Gallery of Australia, will hold physical copies of catalogues from all of their past exhibitions.

Some major museums and galleries have started to provide free digital access to their exhibition catalogues. Monash University Library has also digitised many of the exhibition catalogues held in their Special Collections, which are now available through Monash Collections Online.

You can also search the Monash Library to locate print or digital exhibition catalogues.


Search the Monash Library

  1. Select Advanced Search on the Library homepage
  2. Use the drop down menu to change 'any field' to 'Subject'
  3. Type exhibitions in the search box.
  4. In the following boxes, you can add additional keywords on particular topics/themes/artists/galleries. Add a new line for each. Remember to put phrases in "quotes" (e.g. "National Gallery of Victoria", "Sidney Nolan", "gender identity" etc).
  5. Use the left panel filters to further refine your results.


Monash Collections Online

Other online collections

Graduate Exhibition Catalogues

Our collection is missing a number of art catalogues from Chisholm Institute and Monash University graduate art shows.

Do you have a catalogue to donate to our collection?

If so, please contact the Liaison Librarian for Art, Design and Architecture.

1990 - Current: Graduate Exhibition Catalogues from Monash University