Build/Live/Work: In Conversation with Elizabeth Driscoll Smith

Elizabeth D. Smith is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History of Art & Architecture Department at the University of California Santa Barbara, specializing in American art and material culture of the twentieth century. Her dissertation, “Build/Live/Work: Artist-Built Environments and the Expanded Vernacular in the Twentieth Century,” examines the ways artist-environment builders responded to new forms of mobility and movement in the postwar era. In 2021, she visited the SPACES Archives to view source materials related to her dissertation. 

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Bottle Village

Finster Fest: The Celebration Continues

Can you introduce yourself, your positions, and your work in the field of art environments? OK: Hi there! I’m Olivia Knauss and starting in December 2022, I joined the Paradise Garden Foundation team as their new Operations Manager. I had a very memorable first visit to Paradise Garden when I was researching the Garden for my graduate thesis at NYU a couple of years ago. When I visited, I rode out a tornado in one of the Garden’s three Airbnb Suites, with the Garden cats, Calvin and Hobbes. Walking through the Garden at night and reading Howard’s signs throughout was incredibly memorable. The experience stuck with me, even after I returned to NYC to finish up my master’s degree and embrace a whole new world of remote work during the onset of the pandemic. When I saw that the Garden was hiring, I had to apply. 

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SPACES Interview: Jenenne Whitfield on The Heidelberg Project

Earlier this year, Annalise Flynn at SPACES connected with Jenenne Whitfield, President and CEO of The Heidelberg Project in Detroit, Michigan, for an update on the acclaimed art environment created by Tyree Guyton. Many thanks to Jenenne for providing this in-depth interview, and we wish her the very best as she transitions into her exciting new role as Director of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, this month! 

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Seymour Inspired Cyanotypes

SPACES Founder Seymour Rosen experimented with photographic processes through the creation of photograms. Photograms are an exposed image without the use of a camera. Items, rather than a negative, are placed on photo-sensitive paper, exposed to light, and their silhouettes remain unexposed. Where light is blocked, chemicals remain unreacted and wash away with water. While Rosen made photograms in his darkroom, the SPACES and Kohler Foundation staff made cyanotypes, a different type of photogram that uses the sun.   

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The Preservation of Prophet Isaiah Robertson's Second Coming House Part II

A big thank you to Ally Spongr of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area for speaking with SPACES about their stewardship plans for Prophet Isaiah’s Second Coming House, a current preservation project of the Kohler Foundation. This week, we present Part II of our focus on the future of the Second Coming House by getting a behind-the-scenes look on the ongoing conservation work of the Prophet’s artwork by the Pennsylvania-based firm B.R. Howard. (To catch up on Part I, click here.) 

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Painting in Progress: An Update from Rock Star Meadow

Rock Star Meadow is a complex of improvisational structures embedded with all forms of creative work installed in a quiet clearing at the foot of a mountain near Woodstock, New York. Nick Della Penna established this site in the early 1980s and was soon joined by creative partner Estelle Ross who passed away in 2016. We spoke with Nick in May of 2022 to learn more about the site and his current work.  

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"Out of Office" Forever with Ann Gappmayer

Ann Gappmayer has worked as archivist for the SPACES Archives since 2017, but has recently started a new adventure—retirement! She took a moment to reflect on her time and the projects she supported; the transfer to Kohler Foundation, the Howard Smith Collection, and the acquisition and digitization of hundreds of slides, images, ephemera, and resources from contributors like Gregg Blasdel, Willem Volkerz, Roger Manley, and many more. 

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The Preservation of Prophet Isaiah Robertson's Second Coming House: Part I

After the passing of Prophet Isaiah Robertson in 2020, the future of his stunning home and art environment in Niagara Falls, New York was uncertain. Fortunately, the Kohler Foundation has been able to step in to secure the future of the Prophet's work through supporting site conservation and facilitating a robust community partnership.  

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ProphetIsaiah sHouse 3.10.22 PhotoCredit Alana Adetola Arts Photography 5

SPACES at the 2022 Outsider Art Fair

Now that the dust has settled, we’re happy to share more about the exhibition of Seymour Rosen’s work that was presented at the 2022 Outsider Art Fair in New York in March – “Here We Are Now: The Ecology of Seymour Rosen and SPACES.”  

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Behind the Lens: Fred Scruton

Fred Scruton travels across the United States from his home base in Pennsylvania to meet with artists and visit their sites. He takes time to get to know them, create a plan, and set up his equipment to photograph and film their art, waiting for ideal lighting conditions. His patience and skill has resulted in some of the most striking photos of art environments the genre has seen. Through multiple visits over years, he has built priceless evolutionary visual timelines of creators and their art—as well as lifelong friendships. Scruton's photographs have been widely exhibited and published, and can be found in the SPACES Archive on various environment pages. He took some time to answer questions about his career in photography and his interest in art environments. 

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Jellybeanville 2016