First published: Winter 1998

‘There is something out there.’ With these words Seymour Rosen, Founding Director of the nonprofit organisation SPACES, helped to introduce the world to the aesthetic genre of art environments – a genre that now has become broadly recognised, respected, and the subject of numerous exhibitions, films, articles, and books. In many ways Rosen was a most unlikely candidate either for parenting the institutionalisation of a genre or for amassing and archiving the tens of thousands of documents, photographs, and ephemera associated with it. Nevertheless, he pursued legitimising, preserving, documenting, and protecting these arts for some fifty years, until his untimely death in September, 2006 at the age of 71.


Born on the west side of Chicago in 1935, Seymour moved with his parents to Los Angeles in the early 1950s; his older brother, Jerry, was in the military in Germany at the time. ‘The 50s [were] a perfect time for a youngster of 17 to come to Los Angeles,’ Seymour wrote, and, invigorated by the ‘new tastes and smells’ as well as by ‘novel forms of creativity,’ he asked his brother to bring him back a German camera. ‘No one knew what impact [Seymour] would have in the photographic community once he had a camera in his hands,’ Jerry later wrote.
 

This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #25.

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