Artists Space Archive
Language of Materials
The original goal of Artists Space was to support young, emerging artists, specifically those who had not yet had a solo show in New York City. Artists Space became one of the most influential alternative non-profit arts spaces in the Downtown New York scene, hosting a variety of prominent exhibitions including Adrian Piper's "It's Just Art" (1981), Nan Goldin's "Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing" (1989), Douglas Crimp's "Pictures" (1977), and Michael Asher's "Untitled" (1988). The bulk of the material is exhibition files, and includes research files, coordination, opening, reception, sales, touring, and dismantling. This collection also preserves artists' materials (CVs, catalogues, photographic elements), correspondence, drafts of published works, financial records, gallery floorplans and maps, grant applications, loan and legal documentation, and promotional matter in the form of brochures, postcard announcements, newsletters, posters, and press releases.
Artists Space (originally called the Committee on Visual Arts, Inc.) was founded in 1972 by arts administrator Trudie Grace and critic Irving Sandler as a pilot project for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). The original goal of the Committee was to support young, emerging artists, specifically those who had not yet had a solo show in New York City. Quickly thereafter, Artists Space became financially independent of the State Council and over the years became one of the most influential alternative non-profit arts spaces in the Downtown New York Scene. Artists Space's original guidelines stipulated that well-known artists would select other artists to exhibit. Throughout the years, the gallery discarded this model, but retained the "Artists Select Artists" model for one show a year. Throughout the years, Artists Space, as a non-profit arts organization, has retained its commitment to exhibiting new and experimental artworks, and has expanded its scope to include readings, panel discussions, film programs, and special series, including the International Projects Program, Selections from the Artists File, and others. Artists Space moved from its original location at 155 Wooster Street to 105 Hudson Street in 1977, to 223 West Broadway in 1984, and to 38 Greene Street in 1993. In 2012, they opened a second location at 55 Walker Street. The Walker Street and Greene Street locations merged and they opened their current location (as of this writing) at 11 Cortlandt Alley in 2019.
Provocative programming has been the hallmark of Artists Space throughout its history, and a variety of prominent exhibitions are well-represented in the collection, including Adrian Piper's "It's Just Art" (1981), Nan Goldin's "Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing" (1989), Douglas Crimp's "Pictures" (1977), and Michael Asher's "Untitled" (1988). "Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing" sparked controversy, when, due to an objection to an essay by David Wojnarowicz in the catalogue, the National Endowment for the Arts pulled its funding in the wake of Newt Gingrich's moral crusade in Congress. The attendant controversy is well-documented in the collection. Artists Space has also given many artists their first chance at the spotlight, amongst them: Joan Jonas, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Sherrie Levine, Louise Lawler, Laurie Anderson, Barbara Bloom, John Miller, John Baldessari, Jack Smith, Andrea Fraser, Haim Steinbach, Tim Rollins, Lyle Ashton Harris, Ashley Bickerton, Peter Halley, Lari Pittman, Group Material, Stuart Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Laurie Simmons, Anthony McCall, Fred Wilson, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Mike Kelly, Judith Barry, Michael Smith, Robert Longo, and Jenny Holzer.
For a full list of the exhibition history of the gallery, please see: https://wayback.archive-it.org/20123/*/https://artistsspace.org/archive
All efforts were made to preserve the original arrangement of the collection. The collection has been divided into eight series reflecting this arrangement. Within each series, items are arranged chronologically by event or exhibition opening date. The Book Files series is an exception, and is arranged alphabetically, then chronologically. The Media series is also an exception in which items are arranged alphabetically. The archivist transcribed folder titles exactly from original folder titles given by the organization. When they were changed, due to error or omission, they are denoted with brackets. The researcher should expect to find overlapping of materials throughout all series. Oversized archival materials from the various series are listed at the end of the finding aid. The first seven series are available for research while access copies of the media originals are not available. This collection is arranged into the following series:
Series I: Exhibition Files
Series II: Promotional Materials
Series III: Administrative Files
Subseries A: Gallery Organization
Subseries B: Workshops
Series IV: Book Files
Series V: Independent Project Grants
Series VI: Curator Files
Series VII: Photographic Materials
Series VIII: Media
Subseries A: Sound recordings, video recordings, and films
Subseries B: Data Storage
Subseries C: Archived Websites
Scope and Content
Materials in the Artists Space Archive document the workings of this late-twentieth-century art organization and all its attendant functions. Because exhibitions are at the core of Artists Space programming, the bulk of this material includes files that record exhibition research, coordination, opening, reception, sales, touring, and dismantling. This collection also preserves artists' materials (CVs, catalogues, photographic elements), correspondence, drafts of published works, financial records, gallery floorplans and maps, grant applications, loan and legal documentation, and promotional matter in the form of brochures, postcard announcements, newsletters, posters, and press releases. Documentation of Artists Space events and exhibition programming are also preserved in the form of images: slides and prints, drawings, paintings and collages, floppy disks, zip disks, cd-roms, and other digital media containing images, films, and audio. The research materials for the Artists Space 15th and 25th Anniversary publications also provide an instructive history of the organization.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open with some restrictions. Please contact the Fales Library and Special Collections, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212-998-2596.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder. Please contact the Fales Library and Special Collections, email@example.com, 212-998-2596.
Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Artists Space Archive; MSS 291; box number; folder number; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University Libraries.
To cite the archived website in this collection: Identification of item, date; Artists Space Archive; MSS 291; Wayback URL; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University.
The Artists Space Archive was donated to NYU's Fales Library and Special Collections in two batches, in 2010 and 2011.
https://artistsspace.org/programs/segue-reading-series/ was initially selected as part of the NYC Arts Community COVID-19 Response Web Collection in May 2020. In October 2022, crawling of the seed was discontinued in NYC Arts Community COVID-19 Response Web Collection and crawling of https://artistsspace.org/ began in the Artists Space Collection. The website was 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 this website is 2022.052.The accession number associated with https://artistsspace.org/ is 2022.053. In November 2022, https://images.artistsspace.org/, https://texts.artistsspace.org/, and https://artists.artistsspace.org/ were added. The accession number associated with these websites is 2022.058.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Audiovisual and born-digital materials have not been preserved and may not be accessible to researchers.
In August 2022, two discs from Series VIII.B (titled Artists Space Archive: 1970s, media IDs 291.3.0040 and 291.3.0041) were found to be blank and deaccessioned.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
About this Guide
In 2022, the archived websites were added to the resource record and the historical note was updated to include information about the organization's new location.