Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution Acquires the Art in General Records

Visual Arts

The Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, has acquired the archive of the noted New York arts nonprofit, Art in General, which recently announced its closure following nearly forty years of operation. Since its founding, Art in General has been a cutting-edge organization in Lower Manhattan (and, since 2016, in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood), organizing exhibitions and programming that launched the careers of many artists and curators, providing a venue to present work that pushed the boundaries of artmaking. Among the organization’s impressive roster of artists are Marina Abramovic, Byron Kim, Glenn Ligon, Gabriel Orozco, and Kay WalkingStick. Its various artists’ residencies and “New Commissions” program provided the resources, space, and public platform for artists to create groundbreaking works of art that have gone on to be exhibited in major institutions and biennials globally.

“It is a tremendous honor to preserve the legacy of one of New York’s most important non-profit institutions,” said Liza Kirwin, interim director, Archives of American Art. “The Archives is proud to be stewards of Art in General’s historic records, ensuring that they are preserved and available to the public and future generations.”

The Art in General archive comprehensively chronicles their decades of exhibitions and programs and long-standing commitment to diversity and equity in the arts. The more than one hundred linear feet of materials donated to the Archives of American Art include Holly Block’s files, documenting her 18-year tenure as Art in General’s forward-thinking first director.

About Art in General

Founded by artists Martin Weinstein and Teresa Liszka in 1981, Art in General has provided space and funding to local and international artists to realize new work. Art in General has shown more than 2,000 emerging and mid-career artists who have gone on to significant acclaim, including Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alys, Patty Chang, Sharon Hayes, Pierre Huyghe, Joan Jonas, Elizabeth Peyton, Paul Pfeiffer, William Pope.L, Walid Raad, Pipilotti Rist, Dorothea Rockburne, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, among many others. The non-profit announced its decision to close on October 15, 2020, due to the economic pressures of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

About the Archives of American Art

Founded in 1954, the Archives of American Art fosters advanced research through the accumulation and dissemination of primary sources, unequaled in historical depth and breadth, that document more than 200 years of the nation’s artists and art communities. The Archives provides access to these materials through its two research centers, exhibitions, and publications, including the Archives of American Art Journal, the longest-running scholarly journal in the field of American art. An international leader in the digitizing of archival collections, the Archives also makes nearly three million images freely available online. The oral history collection includes more than 2,400 audio interviews, the largest accumulation of in-depth, first-person accounts of the American art world. Visit the Archives’ website at

Contact: Abby Addams