The Road Less Traveled Exhibition


Rita Barros

June 4, 2017 - Mar. 4, 2018

Stella fashioned her own personal vision, composing the walls of her small fourth floor apartment with a library of colorful, cast-resin books, and other sculptural objects.

Explore the exhibition

Ends Mar. 2018

About this exhibition

Stella Waitzkin began her career in the 1940s studying painting and drawing with Abstract Expressionists Hans Hoffman and Willem de Kooning in New York City. In the 1960s and 1970s, her ways of working expanded into the disciplines of sculpture, performance art, and film. During this time, Waitzkin’s work flourished under the roof of Manhattan’s cultural landmark, the Hotel Chelsea, a haven for creatives of all walks including Beat writers, jazz and rock musicians, filmmakers, and visual artists.

Over decades, Stella fashioned her own personal vision, composing the walls of her small fourth floor apartment with a library of colorful, cast-resin books and other sculptural objects. In 2007, with the help of the Waitzkin Memorial Trust, the Arts Center became home to an elaborate three-wall section of the artist’s Chelsea environment, and in 2016 acquired more than 100 additional works of Stella’s that will be on view this year.

Photographer Rita Barros (NY) has lived on the tenth floor of the Chelsea since 1980, occupying the apartment where Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey. For more than three decades, Barros has documented the vibrant and ever evolving spirit of the hotel through portraits of neighbors, guests, and friends. Her photographic and written response will illuminate the bohemian community that fortified aspects of both her and Stella’s work.


Rita Barros

Originally from Lisbon, Rita Barros has lived in New York City at the Hotel Chelsea since 1980. For three decades Barros has documented her neighbors, home, and the creative environment of the hotel, encapsulating the diverse and bohemian life that has evolved there through her book 15 Years: Chelsea Hotel.

Her work has appeared in such publications as Newsweek, NY Times, Vogue, ELLE, and NY Magazine and has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in New York, Brazil, Cuba, Portugal, London, and Paris.

The Road Less Traveled Conference

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, 2017