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Creative Time Records

Call Number



1974-2012, 2020-ongoing, inclusive


Creative Time, Inc.
Creative Time, Inc. (Role: Donor)


236.61 Linear Feet
in 30 record cartons, 63 manuscript boxes, 15 oversized folders, 321 jewel cases, 2 card boxes, 9 oversized flat boxes, 2 tall manuscript boxes, 22 box binders, 1 shared card box, 5 shared record cartons, 1 shared flat box, and 1 shared cassette box


32 U-matic


17 Betamax


30 Digital_Betacam


47 DVDs


234 DVD-R


3 Hi8


33 MiniDV


2 audiocassettes


19 CDs


43.3 Gigabytes
in 1174 computer files


11 websites
in 11 archived websites.

Language of Materials

The majority of the materials are in English. A few items are in French, Thai, German, and Russian.


Founded in 1973, Creative Time is a public arts organization based in New York City. The organization has a history of commissioning, producing, and presenting public artworks worldwide. Three core values guide the organization's work: "art matters, artists' voices are important in shaping society, and public spaces are places for creative and free expression." The materials in this collection document all aspects of the creation, production, promotion, exhibition, and reception of commissioned artworks from 1974-2012. Notable projects in the collection include Tribute of Light, the two beacons of light that illuminated lower Manhattan for six months after 9/11 (2001-2002); Playing the Building by David Byrne (2008); and Wink by Takashi Murakami, among many others.

Historical Note

Founded in 1973, Creative Time is a nonprofit arts organization that supports the creation of innovative, site-specific works by professional artists for public presentation in vacant spaces of historical and architectural interest throughout New York City. Its history of commissioning, producing, and presenting adventurous public artworks of all disciplines began in the midst of a significant period in which artists were experimenting with new forms and media that moved their works out of galleries and museums and into the public realm. Programs sponsored by Creative Time include both the visual and performing arts and are designed to encourage a dialogue between the artist and the community.

Their earliest programs invigorated vacant storefronts as well as neglected public spaces such as the Great Hall of the Chamber of Commerce in Lower Manhattan and the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage. From 1983-2001, Creative Time presented Art in the Anchorage for annual exhibitions of emerging creative practices in art, music, theater, and fashion until its closure in 2001 due to national security.

Creative Time gained early renown for initiating Art on the Beach on two acres of landfill known as Battery Park City, an area targeted for future residential and commercial development. From 1978-1985, this site became a laboratory for artists of all mediums to develop large scale works and collaborate, bringing together architects, sculptors, performers, and musicians. The success of Art on the Beach became a model for the presentation of temporary public art for other city governments and arts agencies.

Creative Time's Citywide program was inaugurated in 1989 and provided a forum for individual artists to control the presentation of their work in public places and for the public to have greater access to artists and their process. Presenting projects on billboards, landmark buildings, buses, deli cups, milk cartons, ATM machines, and the Internet, among numerous other venues, and encouraging artists to address timely issues such as the AIDS pandemic, domestic violence, and racial inequality, Creative Time broadened the definitions of both art and public space throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

From 1973-1986, Creative Time was under the leadership of Anita Contini and continued until Cee Scott Brown took over as director in 1987. Anne Pasternak stepped in as director in 1993 and continued in this position through the 2010s. Today, Creative Time continues to provide hundreds of emerging and established artists with opportunities to create new works that expand their practices and foster career growth. Creative Time's alumni community includes Laurie Anderson, Beth B., David Byrne, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Red Grooms, Jenny Holzer, Marcos Kurtycz, Takashi Murakami, Shirin Neshat, and Elizabeth Streb, among thousands more. Creative Time has remained committed to promoting collaboration within the creative community, frequently partnering with institutions like the The Kitchen, Lincoln Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, MTA Arts for Transit, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


1. Creative Time website,, Creative Time, Inc. copyright 1974-2008.

2. Unknown author, untitled Creative Time press document, unpublished, circa 1985.

3. Creative Time: 20 years of art in unexpected places.

4. Pasternak, Anne and Ruth A. Peltason, ed. Creative Time: The Book, 33 Years of Public Art in New York City (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2007).


The collection has been arranged into four series; the series arrangement is as follows:

Series I. Exhibitions and Projects

Series II. Grants and Development

Series III. Administrative Materials

Series IV. Archived Websites

Series I is arranged chronologically. Series II is arranged first alphabetically by grant funder, then chronologically by fundraising event. Series III is mostly arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Scope and Contents

The Creative Time Records (1974-2012) contains materials that document the organization's commitment to, and history of, commissioning, producing, and presenting public artworks of all disciplines, both nationally and internationally. The bulk of the collection consists of exhibition and project materials from the organization's inception in 1974 through 2012. These materials include extensive production and promotional materials (such as artists' CVs and biographies; blueprints; site and installation photographs; slides, photographs of artists' work in print and digital formats; exhibition catalogs, postcards, and invitations; exhibition reviews; and accepted proposals for Creative Time sponsored projects such as Art at the Anchorage and Citywide) that document all aspects of the creation, exhibition, and reception of the commissioned artworks and projects. Additionally, since many of the projects and exhibitions took place in New York, they reflect the organization's influence on the landscape (as in the rehabilitation of public spaces such as the Great Hall of the Chamber of Commerce in Lower Manhattan and the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage). The collection also includes grant and fundraising materials (applications, reports, and fundraising campaign documents such as mailings and invitations to benefits) that reflect how the organization has financially supported its mission. Lastly, there is administrative material (general correspondence, certificates, art education program documentation, materials related to conference and symposia participation, and materials on the organization's possible merger with another art organization) that reflects the organization's growth.


Access Restrictions

Materials are open without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

This collection is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use materials in the collection in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Creative Time Records; MSS 179; box number; folder number or item identifier; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University Libraries.

To cite the archived websites in this collection: Identification of item, date; Creative Time Records; MSS 179; Wayback URL; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University.

Location of Materials

Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least two business days prior to your research visit to coordinate access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated by Creative Time in September 2006. An additional accession was donated in 2014. The accession numbers associated with this collection are 2006.179 and 2014.179.,,,, and were initially selected as part of the NYC Arts Community COVID-19 Response Web Collection in May 2020-April 2022. The accesion numbers associated with these websites are 2021.031, 2022.031, and 2020.039. In October 2022, crawling of the seeds were discontinued in NYC Arts Community COVID-19 Response Web Collection. In October 2023, was added and the above websites were captured through the use of Archive-It. Archive-It uses web crawling technology to capture websites at a scheduled time and displays only an archived copy, from the resulting WARC file, of the website. The accession number associated with is 2023.055. In November 2023,,,,, and were added. The accession number associated with these websites is 2023.065.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Some audiovisual materials have not been preserved and may not be available to researchers. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact Fales Library and Special Collections (, 212-998-2596) with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Born-Digital Access Policies and Procedures

Advance notice is required for the use of computer records. Original physical digital media is restricted. Born-digital materials have not been transferred and may not be available to researchers. Researchers may request access copies. To request that material be transferred, or if you are unsure if material has been transferred, please contact Fales Library and Special Collections (, 212-998-2596) with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Take Down Policy

Archived websites are made accessible for purposes of education and research. NYU Libraries have given attribution to rights holders when possible; however, due to the nature of archival collections, we are not always able to identify this information.

If you hold the rights to materials in our archived websites that are unattributed, please let us know so that we may maintain accurate information about these materials.

If you are a rights holder and are concerned that you have found material on this website for which you have not granted permission (or is not covered by a copyright exception under US copyright laws), you may request the removal of the material from our site by submitting a notice, with the elements described below, to the

Please include the following in your notice: Identification of the material that you believe to be infringing and information sufficient to permit us to locate the material; your contact information, such as an address, telephone number, and email address; a statement that you are the owner, or authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed and that you have a good-faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; a statement that the information in the notification is accurate and made under penalty of perjury; and your physical or electronic signature. Upon receiving a notice that includes the details listed above, we will remove the allegedly infringing material from public view while we assess the issues identified in your notice.

Separated Material

There is no information about materials that are associated by provenance to the described materials that have been physically separated or removed.

Related Material at Fales Library and Special Collections

A.I.R. Gallery Archive (MSS.184)

Jay Blotcher Papers (MSS.137)

Fashion Moda Archive (MSS.091)

Judson Memorial Church Archive (MSS.094)

Mabou Mines Archive (MSS.133)

REPOhistory Archive (MSS.113)

Harold and Joyce Pomeroy Schwartz Public Art Archive (MSS.171)

Martha Wilson Papers (MSS.175)

David Wojnarowicz Papers (MSS.092)

Collection processed by

Luke Martin and Brent Phillips (2008) and Lauren Stark (2023)

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2024-02-06 14:15:31 -0500.
Language: Finding aid is in English.

Processing Information

Decisions regarding arrangement, description, and physical interventions for this collection prior to 2023 are unknown. In January 2023, an archivist and conservator rehoused Series III: Slides into new binders. Binder and sleeve numbers have been updated accordingly.

The original donated materials were processed circa 2008. Materials were arranged in the following 8 series: Series I: Exhibitions and Projects; Series II: Grants, Development, and Financial Correspondence; Series III: Slides; Series IV: Photo Materials; Series V: Video and Film; Series VI: Audio; Series VII: Mail Art - Marcos Kurtycz; Series VIII: Oversize Series. The collection was reorganized into three series in October 2023, with the original Series III-VIII intellectually incorporated into Series I.

At the time of processing the 2014 accretion, the collection was arranged and described into series based on the order estabblished circa 2008, and the types of materials. Materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes. Financial materials (bank statements, receipts, and invoices), duplicate publications and documents, publications available online, documents with sensitive personal information, blank disks, and system disks were removed. Cups, exhibition signs, a banner, and pins were rehoused. Six flat file folders mistakenly identified as part of Creative Time Records were transferred to the correct collection, Mabou Mines Archive (MSS 133). After processing the accretion, there are no box numbers 104-109.

158 floppy disks, DVDs, and CDs were forensically imaged, analyzed, and arranged in Forensic Toolkit. New York University Libraries follow professional standards and best practices when imaging, ingesting, and processing born-digital material in order to maintain the integrity and authenticity of the content.

In 2023, archived websites were added to the resource record.

Revisions to this Guide

March 2017: Updated by Jacqueline Rider to reflect incorporation of video preservation master and sub-master files.
January 2023: Updated by Weatherly Stephan to reflect rehousing of Series III.
October 2023: Updated by Lauren Stark to reflect processing of 2014 accretion and rearrangement of original finding aid.
December 2023: Updated by Nicole Greenhouse to reflect the addition of archived websites and additional administrative information.


Fales Library and Special Collections
Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012