The contemporary art collection consists of more than 68 works produced between 1963 and 1970 (except for 3 works), all of which were acquired directly from the artists with whom he worked. For the most part, the collection consists of important early works —many of which can be considered the major early works— by Lawrence Weiner (27), Joseph Kosuth (8), Robert Barry (8), Douglas Huebler (6), and Carl Andre (4). In addition, it includes works by Vito Acconci, John Chamberlain, Daniel Buren, On Kawara, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Robert Smithson and Neil Williams, among others.
The collection is complemented by Seth Siegelaub's personal archives. This material includes private correspondence with many artists active during the period, original photographs and negatives (mostly made by himself), business records, book and exhibition preparatory documents and maquettes, working notes, press clippings, and other material. Most of this documentation has never been published, and in most cases, never even seen. While much of this material concerns his work with the important artists active during the mid-late 1960s, it also contains material concerning his other art-related social-political projects, such as The Artist's Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement in 1971, and his personal papers concerning his pre- and post-art world life.
The combination of the art collection and archives is a unique historic ensemble; a buried treasure lost in the ruins of art world history: a major art collection coupled with the first-hand private papers, notes and files of one of the most influential independent art organizers active during one of the most important art-historical moments in the second half of the twentieth century. This period, with its fundamental questioning of the function, role and relationships between art, the artist, the art public, institutions and the world at large, already can be seen as a radical turning point in the history of modern art. There is little doubt that this period will take on even greater importance in the future as its ideas and practices become even more diffused and influence the work of new generations of artists, critics and institutions.
What Does The Siegelaub Collection & Archives Want ?
In keeping with the critical spirit underlying the late 1960s, Seth Siegelaub is seeking an institution —or perhaps, institutions— to jointly undertake a continuing project which would use his art collection and archives as a point of departure to create a documentation and research center focussed on the period.
The broad purpose of this center would be to "critically document and study the social, economic and cultural evolution of the art world —art, the artist, and their institutions— since the 1960s", or perhaps even earlier, since 1945.
This project would consist of the following three interrelated elements: (1) The sale of the art collection; (2) The donation of the archives; and (3) The creation of a research center to bring together and initiate critical studies on this theme.
This center, which could have its own advisory board, could organize, for example, activities on this theme and period, including such projects as: (a) a documentation center, (b) the publication of bibliographies, reference works, etc., (c) the organization of conferences, meetings, etc., and (d) the support of research on the theme, etc.
In addition to its projects, the institution(s) and research center could use this collection and activities as a focus to solicit other related works of art, archives and documents from artists, collectors, critics, etc.
While many aspects of this proposed sale—donation—research center project are wide open for discussion, needless to say the interested institution (or institutions) should have the necessary means, and especially, the interest and vision to continue to develop this project over a period of time; ie the patience to see it become a unique and major resource for the period. At the same time, it is also felt that the success of this project must be based, a least at the beginning, on a shared vision, confidence and close working relationship between the institution(s) and Seth Siegelaub.
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For additional information see the "The Siegelaub Collection & Archives" section on the "Links" page.