Chelsea Cafe Project #19

The Contemporary Art Slide Scheme: a brief introduction

Monday 8 February – Friday March 11 2016

#19, Slide boxes copy 2

Selection of slide boxes from Box 1 (1992-1995), CASS, Chelsea College of Arts Library. Image courtesy of Chelsea College of Arts Library, University of the Arts London.

Established by CHELSEA space Director Donald Smith with the late Stacey Billups, the Contemporary Art Slide Scheme (CASS) documented exhibitions in London from 1992-2007 for educational and research purposes. The majority of the 35mm slides show images of exhibitions that would have otherwise remained undocumented or inaccessible to a wider public audience. The documentation of these exhibitions predates the extensive use of digital photography and social media, which now make images of exhibitions accessible by almost anyone.

Today the master copy of the slides is watched over by the librarians and archivists at Chelsea Library, Chelsea College of Arts preserving them for future generations.

The collection of over 3000 slides makes it virtually inaccessible to the general public, however, in the near future they will be digitised, making visible this essential research material into exhibition history. The last time the slides were displayed publicly was in 2010, when Lisa Le Feuvre presented Donald Smith’s Partial History of Exhibitions 1993-2010 at CHELSEA space as part of the Second Act of #31 Should I Stay or Should I Go?.

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The CASS collection was shown on two projectors by Lisa Le Feuvre for ‘Donald Smith’s Partial History of Exhibitions 1993-2010’ at CHELSEA space as the Second Act of ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?

This display provides a glimpse into the importance of CASS as historical exhibition documentation. Through printed images provided by Donald Smith, and the generous access to the slide collection managed by Gustavo Grandal Montero (Special Collections Librarian), the scope of this resource held within the Chelsea College of Arts Special Collections is introduced.

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List of Works

  1. Selection of slide boxes from Box 1 (1992-1995), CASS, Chelsea College of Arts Library. Image courtesy of Chelsea College of Arts Library, University of the Arts London.
  2. Slide pack 76 ‘Minky Manky’, CASS. Chelsea College of Arts Library. ‘Minky Manky’ was a group exhibition at the South London Gallery, 12 April – 14 May 1995, Curated by Carl Freedman. Featured artists: Mat Collishaw, Critical Décor, Tracey Emin, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas and Stephen Pippin. Image courtesy of Chelsea College of Arts Library, University of the Arts London.
  3. Prints made from slides by photographer Donald Smith, including: ‘Minky Manky’ (slide pack 76); unknown; ‘Sweet Home’ (slide pack 3); Damien Hirst Holding Hands (1984), photographed at ‘Minky Manky’ (slide pack 76).
  4. Cornelia Parker, Neither From Nor Towards (1992), photographed at ‘Sweet Home’, 12 Feb – 11 March 1993, South London Gallery, slide pack 3. ‘Sweet Home’ was a group exhibition featuring work by Anya Gallaccio, Pat Kaufman, Cornelia Parker and Pat Thornton.