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Baxter Art Gallery records, 1968-1990

Baxter Art Gallery records, 1968-1990

Baxter Art Gallery

Collection Information

Size: 15.5 linear feet

Summary: The records of the Baxter Art Gallery measure 15.5 linear feet and date from 1968 to 1990. The collection documents the activities of the gallery founded by Professor David Smith in 1971 on the campus of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. Documentation includes administrative records, business correspondence, programs and events, exhibition files, and printed material. There are also three films by artist Lillian Schwartz shown at the gallery. Also included are records of the Pasadena Gallery of Contemporary Arts, which was founded after Baxter Art Gallery closed by former director Jay Belloli.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Baxter Art Gallery Art (est. 1969; closed 1985) was the gallery of the California Institute of Technology, Pasedena, California, founded by professor David Smith.

Provenance

The records were donated in 1986 by the Baxter Art Gallery via David Smith and Jay Belloli, Directors, and in 1991 by David Grether, chair of the Division of Humanities at the California Institute of Technology. Additional records were donated in 2011 by Jay Belloli.

A Finding Aid to the Baxter Art Gallery Records, 1968-1990, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.baxtart
Author
Finding aid prepared by Erin Kinhart
Biographical/Historical note
Baxter Art Gallery (1971-1985) was an art exhibition space at the California Institute of Technology, Pasedena, Calif., founded by Professor David Smith.
David R. Smith, professor of Literature, established an exhibition program for Caltech in 1968, as part of the Institute Programs Committee. In 1971 Baxter Art Gallery was formally established as part of the new Donald E. Baxter Hall of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The majority of the exhibitions focused on contemporary art, with a special interest in Southern California artists and art and technology. David Smith became the first gallery director. After years of struggling to find funding for exhibitions, in 1977 the gallery received sponsorship from the Pasadena Art Alliance. Also around this time the establishment of a membership program, Friends of the Baxter Art Gallery, allowed for more educational programs for the exhibitions, such as lectures, informal talks, films, tours, and performances.
Michael H. Smith served as director from 1977 to 1982, followed by Jay Belloli, director from 1982 to 1985. In 1984 the closing of the gallery was announced, despite outcry from faculty and the public. The last exhibition "25 Years of Space Photography" was held at the gallery from May 22 to September 2, 1985. That exhibition continued to tour internationally to over 50 museums under the curatorship of Jay Belloli.
After Baxter Art Gallery closed Belloli established the Pasadena Gallery of Contemporary Arts and worked to find a new exhibition space. This gallery in collaboration with the Pasadena Arts Workshop became the Armory Center for the Arts in 1989 and Belloli served as Director of Gallery Programs.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 7 series.
Series 1: Administrative Records, 1971-1987 (3.3 linear feet; Boxes 1-4)
Series 2: Business Correspondence, 1969-1988 (0.5 linear feet; Box 4)
Series 3: Programs and Events, 1977-1986 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 4-5)
Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1968-1990 (9.1 linear feet; Boxes 5-14, FC 17)
Series 5: Printed Material, 1971-1987 (0.5 linear feet; Box 14, OV 16)
Series 6: Pasadena Gallery of Contemporary Arts Records, 1981-1987 (1.3 linear feet; Boxes 14-15)
Series 7: Motion Picture Film, circa 1970, circa 1975 (0.4 linear feet; Box 15, FC 18-20)
Scope and Contents note
The records of the Baxter Art Gallery measure 15.5 linear feet and date from 1968 to 1990. The collection documents the activities of the gallery founded by Professor David Smith in 1971 on the campus of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. Documentation includes administrative records, business correspondence, programs and events, exhibition files, and printed material. There are also three films by artist Lillian Schwartz shown at the gallery. Also included are records of the Pasadena Gallery of Contemporary Arts, which was founded after Baxter Art Gallery closed by former director Jay Belloli.
Administrative records as well as business correspondence document the day-to-day functions of Baxter Art Gallery. The bulk of this documentation covers the period from 1978 to 1985, especially the period that Jay Belloli was gallery director. Most of the collection (9.1 linear feet) consists of Exhibition Files, which document nearly every exhibition held at the gallery from 1971 to 1985. Of note are detailed records regarding "25 Years of Space Photography," the last exhibition held at Baxter Art Gallery in 1985 which toured internationally through 1990. After Baxter Art Gallery closed, Jay Belloli founded the Pasadena Gallery of Contemporary Art which was to be located at the Armory Center for the Visual Arts. One series of records document the planning that went into this gallery during its short existence.
Provenance
The records were donated in 1986 by the Baxter Art Gallery via David Smith and Jay Belloli, Directors, and in 1991 by David Grether, chair of the Division of Humanities at the California Institute of Technology. Additional records were donated in 2011 by Jay Belloli.
Processing Information note
The collection was minimally processed in 2013 by Erin Kinhart. The Archives of American Art has implemented minimal level processing tactics when possible in order to increase access to more of its collections. Minimal processing included merging all accretions and arranging to the series and folder level. Original folder titles were maintained; contents were verified and not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and contaqiners for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners were not removed. Weeding of tax, personnel, and medical records containing personal information was performed when identified. Motion picture film reels were inspected and re-housed in 2016-2017 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

How to Cite This Collection

Baxter Art Gallery records, 1968-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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