A champion of under-recognized artists and art forms, Seymour Rosen (1935–2006) was a pioneer in the effort to preserve artist-built environments. As a young man, he was captivated by the art environments that dotted the California landscape. He photographed the sites and advocated for their preservation for some fifty years. Among the works he helped to protect was Simon Rodia’s majestic Watts Towers.
In 1976, Rosen’s photographs were exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In that groundbreaking exhibition titled “In Celebration of Ourselves,” hundreds of Rosen’s images captured the idiosyncratic, roadside scenes of California. The exhibition is largely credited with encouraging Rosen to found SPACES (Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments) in 1978.
This exhibition draws from SPACES archives and features a selection of Rosen’s photographs from that noteworthy show.
SPACES is a nonprofit public benefit organization that was incorporated in 1978 for the purposes of identifying, documenting, and advocating for the preservation of large-scale art environments. Founding director Seymour Rosen conceived of SPACES as a national (and, later, an international) organization. Currently operating out of offices in northern California, it boasts an archive of approximately 35,000 photographs as well as numerous books, articles, audiotapes and videotapes/DVDs, and artists’ documents.
Scholars, artists, preservationists, educators, activists, art historians, collectors and devotees will delve into the complex subject of artist-built environments during a three-day conference at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.
Through a variety of performances, panels, and workshops, attendees will share new ideas and broaden the collective knowledge and appreciation of this unique style of art making that is the focus of a yearlong series of exhibitions at the Arts Center.
The conference, titled The Road Less Traveled, is the third Divine Disorder program of the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT). In addition to the Arts Center and NCPTT, Kohler Foundation Inc. is a hosting partner for the conference.
Sep. 27, 2017 - Sep. 29, 2017Register
This exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding was also provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Kohler Trust for the Arts and Education, Kohler Foundation, Inc. and Sargento Foods, Inc. The Arts Center thanks its many members for their support of exhibitions and programs through the year. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) (nonprofit) organization; donations are tax deductible.
The Road Less Traveled 50th anniversary program was conceived by Amy Horst, deputy director for programming. The exhibitions series was organized and curated by Arts Center Curator Karen Patterson. Special thanks to Emily Schlemowitz, assistant curator, for the curation of Driftless: Nick Engelbert & Ernest Hüpeden and Folk & Fable: Levi Fisher Ames & Albert Zahn, and Amy Chaloupka, guest curator of The World in a Garden: Nek Chand and Volumes: Stella Waitzkin.