L.A. Louver: First Library on the Art Library Crawl

I just found this post hidden in my drafts! This Archive was the first visit on the Art Library Crawl project. I am pleased to show it the light, at last.

I was thrilled to visit L.A. Louver. This significant commercial gallery, founded in 1975, has wooed me from afar with its tantalising mailouts for some time from far across the pond.
I love the feel of the structure, designed by Frederick Fisher in 1997.

Its walls support an impressive program of contemporary local and international work, the gallery stable including David Hockney, Leon Kossoff, Alice Neel, Sean Scully, Tony Bevan and Fred Williams.

I meet the archivist Alice serendipitously in the goods lift [...seeing art with small children in strollers often affords you a look behind the scenes. One ends up in enormous elevators designed for the largest format artworks, which to me causes an enticing sense of shifted proportion]. Alice generously agrees to meet with me the next day (sans children) for a quick chat about her role at the gallery.

Here is Alice amongst the main archives. While I can sympathise with the sense of exposure experienced by an archivist trying to (neatly) manage her workload in full view of patrons, as a patron (and affirmed library stickybeak), I love the glimpse that this design provides into the inner workings of the organisation's information backbone.

Here it is peeking out -neatly- from behind the velvet rope in the upstairs exhibition space. It is shown here framed by the works of Rebecca Campbell.
The shelves on the right contain the physical files, publications and ephemera of the exhibition files, and the shelves on the left contain artist files. Digital archiving is done with Filemaker.

The gallery website provides easy access to their past exhibitions online under 'then', back to 2003. Alice is currently in the process of digitising and publishing the full back catalogue, encompassing the entire exhibition history since the gallery's establishment in 1975. Already the gallery's online presence is meaty. Current and future exhibitions are at 'NOW' and 'next'. These locations also contain generous links to respective current and upcoming shows for their represented artists at other galleries.

The gallery's programs and energetic record keeping has made its archives an important repository for curators and artists over the years.

Gallery Director Kimberly Davis filled me in while I photograph her with her monographs on contemporary artists [in her office here with works by Ben Jackel and Don Suggs].

She expressed pride in the gallery's library and archive. She explains that the organisation spends a lot of time, energy and resources to make it available- both internally and externally. They regularly accomodate a range of scholars and curators from around the world. This patronage reaches far beyond the artists they are involved with. Counting the monographs in her office (as well as co-Director Peter Goulds collection), the gallery maintains a reasonable general library. However, for the artists L.A. Louver represents -such as Hockney and Kossoff- their archive is almost a complete record of everything they have done, enabling a uniquely full understanding of their work. These artists frequently request from L.A. Louver's archive. In fact, they get requests for info from just about everyone [today they had a curator from Vasser in the gallery doing research].
While not an educational facility -they are foremost a working gallery- people respectful of this constitution will continue to reap the rewards of this fine fine-art resource.