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Guide to the Artists Space Archive

Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2596

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Rachel E. Greer with Rhyannon J. Rodriguez, 2013.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 19, 2017
Description is in English.

Historical Note

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 its current location at 38 Greene Street in 1993.

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: