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Archives: Collection Descriptions

SPACES—Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments—is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) public benefit organization that was incorporated in 1978 for the purposes of identifying, documenting, and advocating for the preservation of large-scale art environments and other self-taught artistic activity. Founding Director Seymour Rosen conceived of SPACES as a national (and, later, an international) organization; currently operating out of offices in northern California, it boasts an archives of approximately 35,000 photographs as well as numerous books, articles, audio and video tapes/DVDs, and primary artists’ documents. The archives also include a clipping file, personal letters and correspondence from artists, scholars, researchers, museum and gallery personnel, arts and history/humanities councils, and governmental agencies.



What does SPACES Archives consist of?

SPACES has become recognized internationally as the largest and most extensive archive on this subject. The databases are generally organized into four components:

  1. The site database, which contains historically-significant and varied information on over 1,400 sites in the United States alone, as well as on numerous sites overseas;
  2. The bibliographic database, which includes almost 2,000 multi-lingual entries citing documents relating to art environments;
  3. The exhibitions and events database, a comprehensive chronological record of thousands of museum/gallery displays, conferences, lectures, panels, and other events which featured these artists and their sites, including documented audience figures for each; and, most importantly,
  4. The archival collection, including some 35,000 photographs, site plans, and primary documents produced by the artists, maps, artifacts, video and audio cassettes and DVDs of artist interviews, and other materials related to self-taught artistic activities. This also includes a clipping file, personal letters and correspondence from artists, scholars, researchers, museum and gallery personnel, arts and history/humanities councils, and governmental agencies.

SPACES Collections

SABATO (SIMON/SAM) RODIA’S WATTS TOWERS COLLECTION.

Approximately 17 linear feet of archives, including clippings, correspondence, reports, and photographic prints, slides and negatives by Seymour Rosen. It also includes business records, correspondence, promotional and internal documents of the Committee for Simon Rodia’s Towers in Watts, another 501(c) (3) organization whose mission was to advocate for the Towers, and ephemera from the Watts Towers Art Center.

Watts Towers Finding Aid (pdf)

Watts Towers Digitized Documents

 

ART ENVIRONMENTS, VERTICAL FILES COLLECTION

26.7 linear feet. Originally begun by Seymour Rosen, this collection of vertical files consist of materials such as newspaper clippings, articles, correspondence, pamphlets, maps, and other ephemera on art environments worldwide. These files also includes fifty U.S. state files that detail information on the political organizations of each state, so as to facilitate the nomination of sites to historical landmark status, or to cut through the bureaucratic red tape when trying to save those that are imperiled. View the SPACES Vertical Files Collection Index

 

SEYMOUR ROSEN PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK COLLECTION

13.2 linear feet. The Seymour Rosen Collection of Photographic Work, 1954-1991 (bulk 1954-1991) documents Seymour’s photographic work on art environments, self-taught art, prominant artists work, art exhibitions, architecture, nudes, documentary, and and public events.  The collection consists of three types of photographic media (Transparency Slides, Photographic Prints and Negatives) produced by Seymour Rosen between1954 and 1991.  It also includes Seymour’s own attempt at photographic abstraction, darkroom manipulation, and nude portraiture. 



ROBERT FOSTER PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTION ON ART ENVIRONMENTS

4.2 linear feet. A collection of 35mm slides, black/white negatives, Polaroids, and prints documenting U.S. and Canadian art environments. View the Robert Foster Photographic Collection Index

 

HOLLY METZ COLLECTION ON ART ENVIRONMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES (VERTICAL FILES)

2.6 linear feet. These vertical files cover art environments throughout the United States, and consist of materials such as newspaper clippings, articles, correspondence, pamphlets, maps, and other ephemera. View the Holly Metz Vertical Files Collection Index



 “ART” HAROLD BEAL’S NITT WITT RIDGE COLLECTION

11.5 linear feet. Collection includes the following: Art Beal Foundation records (9 linear feet)
 6 Personal scrapbooks of artist (photos, clippings, personal correspond)
 2 music scrapbooks (incl. letters, contracts, copyrights, 1st songs, sheet music)
 1 oversized box (photos, sheet music, personal papers, pamphlets, ephemera)
 1 banker box (books, personal writings, artifacts)

Art Beal Collection Digitized Documents

Art Beal Environment Description Page

 

ART EXHIBITIONS COLLECTION

4.2 linear feet. Catalogs, flyers, articles, and announcements for art exhibitions worldwide, pertaining to the archive’s focus, from 1935 to present. 

 

ART BOOK COLLECTION

52.5 linear feet. Collection of books  and folios on subjects such as art environments, folk art, architecture, photography, California Art, individual artists, and exhibition books and catalogs.

 

ARTWORKS COLLECTION

Collection of small works by the artist-builders of art environments; these include discrete works gifted to SPACES as well as pieces salvaged from art environments that were dismantled or destroyed. Approximately 100 works in a variety of media.

 

ART PHOTOGRAPHY COLLECTION

11.7 linear feet. Although primarily known as a documentary photographer, Rosen explored his creativity by casting a wide net; among other genres, he produced photograms, happenings, installation art, and a broad range of photographic expression. He exhibited and was acknowledged as a fine art photographer and installation artist during his lifetime, and his work continues to be extensively referenced and reproduced. The collection of photographs and negatives includes approximately 5,000 photographic prints, proofs, and negatives.

 

MICHAEL CORNWELL COLLECTION ON WATTS TOWERS

1.6 linear feet. Consists of newspaper clippings, articles and correspondence pertaining to Cornwell’s service as president of the Committee for Simon Rodia’s Towers in Watts. 

 

SPACES NEWSLETTER COLLECTION

SPACES publised a series of newsletters totalling 11 issues beginning in 1982 and ending in 1991. The purpose was to inform the reader of the status of art environments, review pubications on art environment, and to provide updates on the work the non-profit was doing to support art environment.



 

SPACES actively collects all kinds of materials pertaining to art environments and self-taught art in order to keep the archives updated.

If you have images, books, magazines, clippings, audio-visual materials, ephemera, or other materials that you would like to donate please visit our Share Your Stuff! page or email us!

The SPACES website allows you to save your favorite art environments and share them with your friends or colleagues. Create your own portfolio of your favorites from environments in the online collection.

Send them to your friends, post them on Facebook or to your Twitter account!

Look for this button on pages that can be saved:

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