Scope and Contents
The papers of Michael Bell measure 4.4 linear feet and date from 1942 to 1988. The papers document his career as an art curator and administrator, artist, and research on Surrealism through correspondence with artists; lecture notes, manuscripts, and other writings; documents from his time on the Registrar Committee for the American Association of Museums, Surrealist artist files, and administrative files; materials relating to exhibitions he participated in such as the "100 Vows of the Sun" exhibition; exhibition catalogs, pulbished manuscripts, and other printed material; and photographs of works by Surrealist artists.
Correspondence is primarily with colleagues concerning grant proposals, plans for seminars, activities of the American Surrealist Initiative, and the American Association of Museum Registrars' Committee, 1977-1979.
Writings consist of notes, lectures, and manuscripts of articles on Surrealist art. Also included is a floppy diskette containing Bell's writings.
Administrative materials consist of material from Bell's time as a member of the American Association of Museum Registrars' Committee. Materials include notes, vocabularies, and formats for condition reports; condition report task force meeting notes, annual meeting notes, and Western region meetings. Other material includes Surrealist artists files compiled by Bell. These files appear to have been compiled for Bell's own research into Surrealist art, but some appear to be related to grants that artists applied for. Artist files consist of resumes, photographs, and printed material.
Exhibition material consists of correspondence, notes, printed material, and some administrative material related to exhibitions that Bell participated. Some of the exhibition include: "Art Exposition 1985," "Human form, Prismatic Color," and "100 Vows of the Sun: Surrealist Sculpture, Painting, and Poetry." The "100 Vows of the Sun" exhibition also includes one audio cassette and one video cassette of related material.
Printed material includes photocopies of articles on Surrealist art collected by Bell for his research, photocopies of articles annoted by Bell, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, and advertisements featuring Surrealist art.
Photographic material is primarily photographs compiled by Bell of Surrealist art arranged alphabetically by artist. There is one large group photograph of Bell and attendees at the opening reception for the "100 Vows of the Sun" exhibition in 1985.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated 1982-1988 by Michael Bell.
The processing of this collection received Federal support from the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, administered by the National Collections Program and the Smithsonian Collections Advisory Committee.
The collection was processed, and a finding aid prepared by Ricky Gomez in 2021.