Lecture Archive

Including more than 650 lectures from 1952 to the present by visual artists, poets, architects, philosophers, journalists, curators, historians, and choreographers, the Skowhegan Lecture Archive comprises recorded talks delivered by artists and visiting faculty to artists-in-residence during the School's intensive annual summer program in rural Maine. 

To view our complete holdings or to schedule a visit to the Skowhegan archives, researchers may see here. For questions or more information, please contact Paige Laino at plaino@skowheganart.org

The Lecture Archive is a unique resource that reflects the scope and depth of post-war art, especially post-war American art. Individually, these candid, informal talks offer insight into the careers and creative processes of some of the most pioneering artists of our time, and collectively, they form a continuous dialogue on art over the last five decades. The Archive encompasses early recordings by visual artists Ben Shahn (1954, 1955, 1959, 1964) and David Smith (1954, 1956), and more recent talks by Fred Wilson (1995, 2002) and Janine Antoni (1998), as well as discussions with non-visual artists like Buckminster Fuller (1968) and writer bell hooks (1993). Highlights include: five separate lectures by Jacob Lawrence spanning 42 years of his career; a 1967 talk by Ad Reinhardt given just months before his death; a discussion on collaboration between John Cage and Merce Cunningham (1967); Gary Hill addressing time and technology (1996); Vito Acconci on the artist's body in art (1998); and Shirin Neshat on finding the medium (2001). 

Skowhegan's Lecture Archive is available to researchers at the New York library and reading room, as well as at the following housing institutions:

  • The Archives of American Art
  • The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • The Art Institute of Chicago 
  • The Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute 
  • Colby College Museum of Art
  • The Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design at Georgia State University
  • The Getty Center
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Tate Library
  • Yale University 

Buckminster Fuller Lecture, 1968

Kate Valk Lecture, 2013

Reading Room

Skowhegan’s library has long been a favorite aspect of life on campus—from the peculiar collection of books accumulated over time to our iconic lecture archive. A counterpoint to the 14,000-volume art history library on campus, with time this collection will develop a historical framework that reflects the specific interests of generations, and will function as a dynamic reflection of the artists who have spent time at Skowhegan. The reading room offers alumni and scholars access to our newly digitized collection of lectures, as well as Skowhegan’s historic founding documents. Along side these collections, we will build a new collection of artist-published books from our alumni—creating a peer-based library and capturing the practices of our community of artists as they develop.

Alumni interested in submitting their work should email
NYClibrary@skowheganart.org to receive further instruction. Unfortunately, we cannot accept exhibition catalogs.

Oral History

In 2010, Skowhegan began an oral history project to document and shed light on key moments in our history, and complement the Lecture Archive. Through in-depth interviews with instrumental members of the community, he oral histories include reminiscences and anecdotes ranging from Skowhegan’s genesis and nascent years, to its influence in, and relationship to, the broader art world. Partial support for this project was provided by the H. King and Jean Cummings Charitable Trust of the Maine Community Foundation, and many of the interviews were conduced with Liza Zapol, Oral Historian. Oral histories can be accessed by appointment at our New York space by filling out this form or emailing Paige Laino at plaino@skowheganart.org