For over 15 years, SVA’s Archives, comprising the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives and School of Visual Arts Archives, has been dedicated to preserving and making accessible a rich trove of significant design work—much of it created by preeminent designers, illustrators and art directors who have close ties to SVA. Home to thousands of historically prized design pieces, ranging from posters, packaging and printed ephemera to audio recordings, video and photography, the Archives is a valuable resource to anyone wishing to study an artist’s work in-depth.
Created in 2003 with a founding gift by the renowned designer Milton Glaser, who is also SVA’s acting chairman of the board, the Archives initially consisted of works created and donated by Glaser himself. That soon changed when the Glaser Archives established the foundation for a greater design and illustration archive to which many artists began to donate. The SVA Archives, which documents the history of the College, was launched several years later. “The SVA Archives [became] a natural outgrowth of [the Glaser Archives],” says Beth Kleber, the founding archivist for the Milton Glaser Design Study Center and Archives. “Because a lot of people taught at the school, they created works for the school, they created subway posters, they had exhibitions of their work here.”
The two archival collections are housed within the SVA Library and are available and free to students, faculty, and alumni as well as to the public by appointment. The Archives hold not only the original art, posters and other printed materials of an artist, but also the initial sketches and reference photographs created and used by them. With its vast amount of materials and content, the Archives provides unique insights into an artist’s concept and process. “I think the key to unlocking all these mysteries of how an idea came from conception to completion is to come to a place like [the archives] and look at the materials in person, and see what they feel like,” says Kleber. “The universe of work that’s here is very visually thrilling,” she says. “To see these objects in person all day every day is very exciting to me.”
Check out the SVA Video feature for more. To see more archived work, follow the Glaser Archives′ on Instagram and their #90byMilton hashtag series, a tour of the archives′ favorite pieces by Glaser in honor of his 90th birthday next week.