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 drew from SPACES archives and featured 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.
Dig deeper into conference sessions, view panelist bios and abstracts, read session descriptions, and continue the conversation in session forums by visiting The Road Less Traveled conference portal.
Through this web portal, you will be able to share new ideas and broaden the collective knowledge and appreciation of this unique style of art making that was the focus of a yearlong series of exhibitions at the Arts Center.Learn More
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., Herzfeld Foundation 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.