The association Archive of Fine Arts manages and processes an extensive collection of documents, especially in the area of Czech and Slovak fine art of the 20th and 21st centuries: catalogues, monographs, invitations, books, photographs etc. The documents are processed using the information system abART (www.isabart.org). The association runs a reading room and the depository in Prague 4, a public library located in DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague 8. Exhibitions are organised all year round in the venue "Malá věž" (Small Tower) in DOX and in the study room in Prague 4. Moreover, the association organises lectures, processes bibliographies and prepares publications.
The Archive of Fine Arts
The Archive of Fine Arts was founded in 1984 as a part of the activities of the Gallery H in Kostelec nad Černými lesy. Its initial focus (Czech and Slovak fine art after 1939) soon extended, the archive opened in many ways, namely regarding its range of fields, period (old art), and territory (foreign and exiled artists). However, its main focus – contemporary Czech and Slovak fine arts – has not changed. The core of the archive is formed by catalogues sorted into several categories: catalogues of independent exhibitions, of collective exhibitions, of art groups, and of individual galleries. There is also a separate section – a collection of typography, comprising of more than 30,000 publications. Apart from catalogues, monographies, books and magazines, the archive also collects, processes and makes accessible other documents that are not systematically archived anywhere else: invitations, posters, print releases, texts, cuttings, photographs, slides, death notices, visiting cards etc. Nowadays it represents the largest collection of documents of its kind in the Czech Republic, comprising of hundreds of thousands of items. The archive also offers duplicate documents for exchange to non-commercial galleries or for sale to other interested parties. More at (https://eshop.artarchiv.cz).
The Archive Depository and Public Reading Room
In 2018 we moved our archives (hundreds of thousands of documents) into a rented depository located in Pod Terebkou 1139/15, Prague 4, Nusle. Here we archive most of our documents, authorial and collective catalogues, a comprehensive typographic collection, magazines, hundreds of invitations, posters, slides, and all other archival materials. In addition to the depository, we run here a public reading room.
The Library and Exhibitions
Since January 2010, the archive has been operating a library on the 1st floor of the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague 8, Holešovice. The library also serves as a reading room with computers, a scanner, and a printer. In the adjacent area of the so-called Malá věž (Small Tower), the Archive holds exhibitions with a topic taken from our archive (Look into the Archive 1: Photographs, Look into the Archive 3: Death Notices, Look into the Archive 7: Slides, Look into the Archive 14: Catalogue).
The Information System abART
Since 2003, the Archive has been developing, giving an input to and operating its own information system – abART, a comprehensive database of Czech and Slovak art available free of charge at www.isabart.org. AbART was developed with the purpose of processing documents and information, with emphasis being given to the most accurate capture, sorting and in-depth (scientific) processing. The basic principle is versatile interconnection of the input data. Information (data) is not taken mechanically, it always refers to source resources, so far predominantly to documents stored in the Archive. By the beginning of November 2022, 177,423 personalities, 102,706 exhibitions and events, and 245,720 documents have been input in the abART system, 3,150,963 basic links have been created, which still means that only a part of the archived documents have been processed. Based on its links, abART can create reports of exhibitions, lists of literature, anniversaries and lists of natives and regional personalities. Sources are quoted within the created records and data is updated daily. AbART is today used by a number of target groups – students, art theorists, cultural workers, journalists, librarians, gallerists, collectors, publishers, information centres and others. Information stored in abART may be shared and distributed under the Creative Commons License Agreement – BY-NC-SA (Provide Author – Do Not Use Commercially – Save License).
The Archive also prepares its own publications; below is the list of those already released:
Edition Divadlo 1961–1970, 2014 (in cooperation with the publishing house Pražská scéna)
Sídliště Solidarita, 2014
Cesty mohou býti rozličné, 2015
Zdenek Seydl a knihy, 2015
Galerie H, 2016
Malá řada Soudobé světové prózy, 2017
Umění jako princip a zákonitost, 2017
Marie Blabolilová: Grafika, 2018
Marie Molová: Sny, 2018
Soudobá světová próza, 2019
František Doležal: Poesie a život, 2020 (ve spolupráci s Jarmilou Štogrovou)
Karel Prager a Družstvo pro výstavbu rodinných domků s ateliéry, 2020
Edice Plamen, 2021
Archive of Fine Arts activities are realized with the financial support of the City Council of Prague, the Czech Ministry of Culture and State Fund of Culture Czech Republic.