National Endowment for the Arts Artists Archive,

Collection ID:
National Endowment for the Arts. Visual Arts Program
Physical Description:
177 Linear feet
(includes 60,000 slides and approximately 400 videos)
The collection documents over 5,270 artists who received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts national Visual Artists Fellowship Program and its companion regional programs from 1967 to 1997.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection is comprised primarily of the visual documentation each artist submitted with their initial application and contains approximately 60,000 slides; approximately 400 video tapes and some audio tapes. Some files contain additional materials subsequently submitted by the artists, including resumes, personal statements, artists' books, and exhibition catalogs.
Awards given by media were: Painting (1,240); Sculpture (6,410), Photography (866); Craft (844); Works on Paper (600) and New Genres (480).
Artists represented include, from the first round (1967): Mark di Suvero, Dan Flavin, Sam Gilliam, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Robert Morris, Edward Ruscha, Tony Smith, and H. C. Westermann.
Artists from other years, include: Vito Acconci, Terry Allen, Gregory Amenoff, Laurie Anderson, Ida Applebroog, Robert Arneson, Richard Artschwager, Jennifer Bartlett, Joan Brown, Chris Burden, Scott Burton, Enrique Chagoya, John Chamberlain, Mel Chin, Chuck Close, Robert Colecott, Susan Crile, Robert Cumming, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Nancy Graves, Hans Haake, Ann Hamilton, Gary Hill, Robert Irwin, Joan Jonas, Mike Kelley, Barry Le Va, Maya Lin, Mary Lucier, George Maciunas, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, Mary Miss, Meredith Monk, Robert Moskowitz, Bruce Nauman, Alice Neel, Jim Nutt, Dennis Oppenheim, Tony Oursler, Nam June Paik, Judy Pfaff, Adrian Piper, Richard Prince, Martin Puryear, Charles Ray, Faith Ringgold, Susan Rothenberg, Nancy Rubins, Betye Saar, Judith Schaechter, Carolee Schneemann, Joel Shapiro, Alexis Smith, Nancy Spero, Francesc Torres, James Turrell, Richard Tuttle, Bill Viola, Carrie May Weems, Lawrence Weiner, Hannah Wilke, Fred Wilson, Jackie Winsor, Betty Woodman, and Bruce and Noman Yonemoto.
Among the photographers who were recipients of NEA awards and who are represented in the collection are: Robert Adams, John Baldessari, Harry Callahan, Sarah Charlesworth, William Christenberry, Larry Clark, Robert Cumming, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Frank Gohlke, Sherry Levine, Helen Levitt, Robert Mapplethorpe, Joel Meyerowitz, Duane Michaels, Richard Misrach, Cindy Sherman, Aaron Siskind, Hiroshi Sugimoto and William Wegman.
In the field of craft, recipients represented include: John Cederquist, Dale Chihuly, Viola Frey, Michael Lucero, John McQueen, Judith Schaechter, Joyce Scott, Peter Voulkos, and Betty Woodman.

Videos and slides are generally arranged alphabetically by artist name.

Historical Note
Historical Note
In September 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation creating the National Endowment for the Arts. The agency's Visual Artists' Fellowship Program was launched in 1967 and embraced living American artists. Through grants or participation on review panels, the NEA's program reached many of the most influential and critically acclaimed artists of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Not infrequently, fellowships were awarded early in a career, providing a boost of cash and recognition at a key moment in the evolution of an artist's work.

Christine Hennessey
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts, 1997.
Processing Information
Since receipt of the collection, all materials have been rehoused. For preservation, slides were digitized and videos were converted to Digi beta tapes. Item-level cataloging is underway.

Princenthal, Nancy and Jennifer Dowley. A Creative Legacy: A History of the National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists' Fellowship Program, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2001.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research. Contact Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum. Advance appointments are required.
Preferred Citation
National Endowment for the Arts Artists Archive, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright restrictions apply.

Related Materials
The original grant application files that accompanied these visual submissions were transferred from NEA offices to the National Archives and were part of Record Group 288 (identifier 598883). Per federal government record disposition schedules, the files were disposed of in 2014, twenty-five years after the program closed.

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Video recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slides (photographs) Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, American Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Research and Scholars Center
PO Box 37012, MRC970
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012