Scope and Contents
The Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art records measure 18.9 linear feet, date from 1973 to 1988, and document the founding of the organization, board activities, general operations and administration, exhibitions, programs, events, and publications. There is a 0.9 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2021 that includes slides; performance and exhibition notes and supplements; newsletters and other printed material; a chronology of exhibitions, projects, publications and activities. Materials date from 1974- 1987.
Founding documents and Board of Director's files contained in the collection include the articles of confederation, by-laws, constitution, director's reports, board meeting minutes, and scattered correspondence of Peter Plagens and Judy Spence, both of whom served as Chair of the Board. These records detail the mission, organization, objectives, and goals of LAICA.
More than half of the records are comprised of exhibition, program, and event files covering LAICA's entire history of operation. Included are exhibition announcements and catalogs; correspondence with artists, curators, and organizers; press releases and other publicity; grant applications and proposals; and photographs, contact sheets, negatives, and slides which depict the exhibition's installation and works of art.
Two series of photographs and slides provide additional visual documentation of LAICA's exhibitions and events, including the installations and work of LAICA's Artists-in-Residence program. Slides depicting LAICA's buildings, offices, and staff activities are also found.
LAICA's production of its publications, including material related to their regular periodical, Journal, is well-documented through correspondence, manuscripts, and editorial files. Also found are unedited transcripts of interviews and material that was not used for publication. Meeting minutes and correspondence represent the activities of the publication committee from the mid 1970s to 1987.
The correspondence of LAICA directors Robert Smith (18 folders) and Ben Marks (one folder) contain information on almost all of the organization's activities, including exhibitions, events, funding, staffing, and general operations. General Operations files include Administrative Files and Financial Files that document members and donors, staff, financial activities, fundraising efforts, income, expenses, and grants.
The bulk of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art records were donated by Judy Spence, the former Chair of the LAICA Board of Directors, in 1986. Additional material was donated in 1997 by her husband, Stuart Spence and in 2021 by Robert Smith, founding director of LAICA.
Found in the Archives of American Art are the Peter Plagens papers, 1941-1987, which include meeting minutes and correspondence relating to LAICA.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Getty Foundation.
This collection was processed by Kym Wheeler in 1993 and Michael Yates in 2007.