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Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, 1960-2015

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/pq2nz

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.
Title: Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, 1960-2015
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1332
Extent: 139.5 linear feet (143 boxes), 16 oversized papers boxes and 48 oversized papers folders (OP), 3 extra oversized papers folders (XOP), AV Masters: 6.75 linear feet (7 boxes, CLP5), and Born digital (BD): 1 linear foot (1 box)
Abstract:Records of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (ACAC) including administrative records; artist files; exhibition files; event records and promotional material; and the records of the Nexus Press, a small press that was part of the ACAC.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Special restrictions apply: Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Separated Material

The Rose Library holds books donated as part of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center records. These materials may be located in the Emory University online catalog by searching for: Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, former owner.

Related Materials in This Repository

Michael Eugene Goodman papers


Purchased from the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, 2015.


[after identification of item(s)], Atlanta Contemporary Art Center records, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Curator of Political, Cultural, and Social Movements Collections, Randy Gue, as part of the Rose Library's holdings in Atlanta history.


Arranged and described at the file level by Laura Starratt, Louis Fagnan, Ryan Kendall, and Kristin Kimberlain, November 2017.

This finding aid may include language that is offensive or harmful. Please refer to the Rose Library's harmful language statement for more information about why such language may appear and ongoing efforts to remediate racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, euphemistic and other oppressive language. If you are concerned about language used in this finding aid, please contact us at rose.library@emory.edu.

Collection Description

Historical Note

The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (ACAC) is a non-profit, non-collecting arts organization dedicated to the creation, presentation, and advancement of contemporary art by emerging and established artists. The organization opened, in 1973, as Nexus, a photography cooperative and the first photography gallery in Atlanta, Georgia. After the organization moved into a former elementary school on Forrest Avenue (later renamed Ralph McGill Boulevard), in the Virginia-Highlands neighborhood in 1976, the organization joined the Forrest Avenue Art Consortium. The new location provided space for artists' studios as well as the Nexus Press and the Nexus Theatre. The Forrest Avenue Art Consortium was renamed the Nexus Contemporary Art Center (Nexus) in 1984 and moved to its current location on Means Street near the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1989. The Hello! Means Street Ball was held to celebrate the move. In 2000, the institution was renamed the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and an event called Ignition celebrated that name change. Funding for the institution has come from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulton County Arts Council, private donations, and admission and member fees.

Nexus Press, one of a small number of presses in the United States specializing in artists' books, was established in 1977 and acquired a Heidelberg printing press in the 1980s. Notable books from the press include I Want to Take Pictures (1987) and Mine Fields (1990), both by Bill Burke, as well as Prentice H. Polk's Photographs (1980) and Clarissa Sligh's Voyage(r): A Tourist Map to Japan (2000). Nexus Press hosted student internships as well as residencies for artists from around the world. Clifton Meador and Michael Goodman were early directors of the Press. JoAnne Paschall was director through much of the 1990s and Brad Freeman was director in the early 2000s. The Press shut down in 2003 due to lack of funding. The ACAC gallery exhibited a number of Nexus Press books in mid-2015.

The ACAC gallery hosts a number of rotating exhibitions every year. Notable is the Atlanta Biennial, highlighting art from the Southeast, which began in 1984. Other exhibitions often feature artists from Atlanta and the Southeast. Major exhibitions include Space Probes (1981), Autobiography: In Her Own Image, Body as Commodity (1988), Forefront: Pat Oleszko (1994), Boy Toys (1998), Here Kitty, Kitty (2000), So Atlanta (2004), Requiem (1999), Africobra: The First Twenty Years (1990), and others. Frequent exhibitors include artists such as Elizabeth Lide, Radcliffe Bailey, Lisa Tuttle, Larry Jens Anderson, Wadsworth Jarrell, Elizabeth Turk, Nancy Floyd, Gretchen Hupfel, and Joe Peragine. International exhibitions featured works by artists from Cuba, Germany (Artists from Cologne), Norway, Israel, and elsewhere.

In 1996, during Atlanta's hosting of the Olympic Games, Nexus organized the Cultural Olympiad to coordinate activities among a number of cultural institutions in the city. Nexus hosted an exhibition entitled Out of Bounds: New Work by Eight Southeast Artists, featuring the work of artists including Dawn Dedeaux of New Orleans, Atlantan Radcliffe Bailey (who also worked with Nexus' Family History Artbook Project), Elizabeth King, Terri Lindbloom, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Eduardo Kac, and Hoang van Bui, who was originally from Vietnam. Nexus Press also published five artists' books by international artists, including Shinro Ohtake's Atlanta: 1945+50, Fernando Lopes's Flag Book, and Darya von Berner's Lupus Viator Atlanta. Von Berner's work was related to her Lupus Viator installation, which involved her traveling to different places and painting a giant wolf that was then painted over and erased.

ACAC hosts a number of annual events and programs to promote and educate the public about contemporary art. ArtParty, an annual event first held in 1983, is the organization's primary fundraiser; held in ACAC's gallery spaces. It features viewing of the current exhibitions and the work spaces of ACAC's Studio Artists, a program that subsidizes studio space for local artists. Home Is Where the Art Is is a series of dinners held in the homes of Atlanta art patrons. In addition, the ACAC hosts the Artist Survival Skills workshop series as well as performances, lectures, symposia, film screenings, and other events, which support current exhibitions or contemporary art more broadly. ACAC also sponsors several programs involving youth in the Midtown/downtown community. The Family History Artbook Project pairs third- and fourth-graders from the Techwood Homes community with artists teaching topics on writing and art, and the As Seen By Teens program, a photography program serving teenagers from the Vine City neighborhood. ACAC also partnered with Mexican cultural entities in Atlanta to host a celebration of Dia de Reyes (Three Kings' Day) throughout the 1990s.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the records of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (1960-2015) and contains administrative records; documents regarding exhibitions, events, workshops, and educational programs; materials collected about artists considered for exhibitions; and the records of the Nexus Press.

General administrative records include documents that record the administrative tasks of the organization including annual staff meeting packets of minutes, agendas and other notes; minutes and notes from the board of directors as well as various committees; planning documents for physical projects and strategic planning; and foundational materials including mission statements and by-laws. Also included is internal correspondence as well as correspondence with outside partners. Financial materials consist primarily of grant applications, receipts, and budgetary spreadsheets. There are also promotional materials either created or collected by ACAC including exhibition catalogs, fliers, membership drive promotions, and public service announcements.

Artist files, collected by the ACAC , contain materials on artists that exhibited at the ACAC as well as those who sent material for consideration for exhibition. Included in these files are resumes and curricula vitae, slides and photographs of art, correspondence, contracts, articles and other promotional materials, as well as other material that offer context on the artists and their work. Most of the artists represented in the files are from Atlanta and the Southeast, but there are files on artists from other national and international artists.

Records related to the planning of events and programs at the ACAC or those in which the ACAC was involved include notebooks, correspondence, memoranda and minutes, funding applications, and background research. There are also promotional materials and lists of advertisers compiled by the organization and administrative materials such as participant lists, contracts, and financial records. The events include ArtParty and other celebratory events such as openings, anniversaries, galas, and festivals. There are also records of educational and youth programs such as As Seen By Teens and the Family History Art Book Program. Also included are records of film and visual arts showings; lectures, talks, and symposia; performances such as plays, dance and poetry reading; and workshops.

Materials on the planning and execution of exhibitions at the ACAC include large numbers of images, planning materials, correspondence and contacts lists, and promotional materials. There are also installation instructions, lists of participants, artist statements, exhibition inventories, notes condition reports and loan agreements, grant applications and budget forms, fact sheets, financial materials, and shipping receipts. The series contains materials from seasonal solo series, biennial shows, group shows, and photo salons. There is a significant amount of material relating to the 1996 exhibition Out of Bounds: New Work by Eight Southeast Artists. The records document well-known artists, such as Adrian Piper, Carrie Mae Weems, P.H. Polk, Alan Sondheim, Arturo Lindsay, Larry Anderson, Joni Mabe, Ellen Banks, Pat Oleszko, Michiko Itatani, Christopher Verene, Luis Camnitzer, and Hew Locke.

The records of the Nexus Press consist of administrative materials, financial records, and author files. There are materials regarding the creation of Nexus Press book catalog including copies of other presses' catalogs, promotional materials for the Press, and mailing lists primarily for further promotion. There are materials about the internship and residency programs as well as information on the Atlanta Book Prize, created by the Press. In addition there are project files for the Olympiad Book project and the Nexus Press Auction. Also included are materials related to strategic planning, marketing, correspondence, and material quotes for the workings of the Press. There are a number of subject files on topics such as bookmaking workshops, other organizations' programs, and book fairs. Financial records consist of budget spreadsheets, invoices and consignment sales receipts, as well as royalty statements and grant applications. Also included are book inventories created by the press and the ACAC gift shop. Author files contain contracts, images, correspondence, promotional materials, and proofs for works created by the press.

Arrangement Note

Organized into 5 series: (1) Administrative records, (2) Artist files, (3) Event files, (4) Exhibition files, and (5) Nexus Press records.

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