The Artist Archives Initiative was founded at New York University to promote research and disseminate knowledge about the display and care of contemporary art. The initiative responds to a growing need for art world professionals and academic researchers to work with artists in building information resources to aid future exhibition and re-activation of their work. The focus is equally on the content of these resources and the software technology used to house the information. In addition to creating artist-specific resources, our aim is to stimulate discussion about variability and authenticity in the display of contemporary art through symposia, workshops, and publications.

The first undertaking of the Artist Archives Initiative was to create a “knowledge base” devoted to the multidisciplinary artist/activist David Wojnarowicz. The resource contains technical and historical information about the artist’s films, video, photography, paintings, drawings, and performance work. It also houses interviews that project researchers conducted with people who knew and worked with him. The Wojnarowicz personal papers in the Fales Downtown Collection at New York University serves as a primary source for our research.