Art Spaces Archives Project at CAA 2008 [Press Release]

Posted August 05, 2010 by admin

Art Spaces Archives Project Announces a Panel Discussion
"Collecting the Avant-Garde: The Institutional Perspective--Taming the Untame"
to be held at the College Art Association's 96th Annual Conference
February 20, 2008, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Dallas Ballroom D3, 1st Floor, Adam's Mark Hotel Dallas-Fort-Worth, Texas

Art Spaces Archives Project [AS-AP] ( is pleased to announce a panel discussion entitled Collecting the Avant-Garde: The Institutional Perspective--Taming the Untame, to be held at the College Art Association's 96th Annual Conference on February 20, 2008, from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM in Dallas, Texas, at the Adam's Mark Hotel, Dallas Ballroom D3, 1st Floor. (

The panel will feature Jean-Noël Herlin, Milan R. Hughston, Liza Kirwin, and John Tain. Moderating the panel will be David Platzker, the Project Director of AS-AP, a non-profit initiative formed in 2003 to assess and survey the state of the archives of art spaces throughout the United States.

The presenters will discuss the archives, or archival materials, within their holdings with special attention to the Avant-Garde and Alternative movements. Additionally, the panel will discuss the role their archival materials play in telegraphing, or revealing, underlying historic information about art of the contemporary period.

The goal of the panel is two fold: first to encourage emerging scholars to engage with the history of the avant-garde / alternative movements, and secondly to highlight how institutions are working with and collecting materials of this period.

About the Featured Organizations and Panelists

French-born Jean-Noël Herlin studied philosophy in Germany and law in Paris before moving to New York in 1965. He has been active in the art world since 1970 as the leading antiquarian bookseller in 20th-Century avant-garde publications until closing his shop in 1987, and since then as an appraiser, curator and writer. His ongoing archive project was begun in 1973. He had is first solo exhibition in 2007. His essay "Ephemera junk mail mon amour," appeared in the September-October 2007 issue of Art on Paper.

Before assuming his duties as Chief of Library and Museum Archives at The Museum of Modern Art in September 1999, Milan R. Hughston was a librarian at the Amon Carter Museum from 1979 to 1999. During that time, he published comprehensive bibliographies in Museum publications, including Thomas Eakins (1996), the photography collection catalogue (1993), Eliot Porter (1989), and Laura Gilpin (1986). While at MoMA, he has devoted his energies to planning and coordinating the newly-opened research facilities in Manhattan and Queens. He also established, with May Castleberry, a new program called the Library Council, founded to promote the research resources of MoMA through a membership program and publications of artist books in a series called Contemporary Editions. He is also a founding member of the New York Art Resources Consortium, which coordinates collaborative projects between the research libraries of MoMA, the Frick Collection, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He has also been a frequent speaker on library topics and museum collections at professional conferences, including the Art Libraries Society of North America, College Art Association, Western History Association, and the American Association of Museums.

He has also taken leadership roles in the Art Libraries Society of North America and its Texas chapter and served as Chair of the Art and Architecture Group of the Research Libraries Group.

A native of Clarksville, Texas he received his Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Library Science degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. In 1978/1979, he was the recipient of a Rotary International Scholarship and studied at the University of Manchester, England, post-graduate program in Art Gallery and Museum Studies.

Liza Kirwin is the curator of manuscripts at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. She received her B.A. in art history from The Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park. Her doctoral dissertation, “Its All True: Imagining New York’s East Village Art Scene of the 1980s,” won the Carl Bode Prize for Outstanding Dissertation at the University of Maryland and was a national finalist for The Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize (awarded annually by the American Studies Association).

Her articles have appeared in the Archives of American Art Journal, Artforum, Drawing, The Magazine Antiques, American Art, and elsewhere. She is the author of More Than Words: Illustrated Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art (Princeton Architectural Press, 2005); Artists in Their Studios, Images from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art (Collins Design, 2007); and With Love: Artists’ Letters and Illustrated Notes (Collins Design, 2008).

Dr. Kirwin has organized numerous exhibitions of archival material and manages the Archives’ special collecting initiatives and oral history program. Today she will talk about the Archives’ collections plan and the records of alternative spaces at the Archives of American Art.

Before coming to the Getty Research Institute as an associate curator,
John Tain lived in Paris, where he researched his dissertation project on Matisse
and the Avant-Garde, and also taught at the University of California's Study Center there.
In 2006-2007, he served as a predoctoral fellow in art history at Kenyon College.

At the GRI, he works with modern and contemporary archives and manuscripts, and, among other projects is also working to help expand its holdings in artist's books and photobooks.

About Art Spaces Archives Project

Art Spaces Archives Project [AS-AP] is a non-profit initiative founded by a consortium of alternative art organizations, including Bomb Magazine, College Art Association, Franklin Furnace Archive, New York State Council on the Arts [NYSCA], New York State Artist Workspace Consortium, and The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, with a mandate to help preserve, present, and protect the archival heritage of living and defunct for- and not-for-profit spaces of the "alternative" or "avant-garde" movement of the 1950s to the present throughout the United States.

With funding provided by NYSCA, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, AS-AP has a mandate to begin the documenting process by rooting out both a national index of the avant-garde assessing the needs for archiving and preservation-and helping to establish universal standards for archiving the avant-garde.

AS-AP's belief is beyond simply identifying the whereabouts of centers of activity. There is an underlying need to assess, catalogue, and preserve important formative materials for study by historians with a critical distance from the creation of the material itself.

AS-AP's website -- -- is a virtual resource and finding aid for locating the places and spaces of alternative and avant-garde activity. A central location for information pertaining to reservoirs of archives, tools to assist in archiving, and other aids for scholars interested in the alternative or avant-garde movement in the United States as well as for the locations of activity themselves.

In January 2007 AS-AP merged with the Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture [CCS] at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. For more information about CCS please visit

For additional information regarding the panel or AS-AP please contact Tatjana M. von Prittwitz at or at (845) 758 7587.

For additional information regarding the College Art Association's 2008 Annual Conference please visit CAA's website: