Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations


Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery
Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, Washington, DC
February 5 to September 27, 2010 

The Morgan Library and Museum
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, New York, NY
June 3 to October 2, 2011 

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design
224 Benefit Street, Providence, RI
March 15 to June 16, 2013

This exhibition celebrates a common document–the list–as a key to the lives of some of the most celebrated artists of the last two centuries.

There are hundreds of thousands of lists in the Archives of American Art. This exhibition includes more than 70 examples from Leo Castelli’s to-do lists to Oscar Bluemner’s illustrated list of works of art.

Whether dashed off as a quick reminder or carefully constructed as a comprehensive inventory, this humble form of documentation provides insight into its maker’s personal habits and decision-making processes. Pablo Picasso itemized his recommendations for the 1913 Armory Show and Alexander Calder’s address book reveals the who’s who of the Parisian avant-garde in the early 20th century. In the hands of their creators, these artifacts sometimes become works of art in and of themselves.

Cover of Lists
companion book to the exhibition, published by Princeton Architectural Press, includes an introduction by John W. Smith and an essay by Liza Kirwin.

Buy the Lists book