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Ghost of the Tower Installation views of Jay DeFeo's Adaline Kent Award exhibition, Selected Works Past and Present, Emanuel Walter Gallery, 1984.

Arthur Brown had a thing for towers. The famed architect of Coit Tower, Hoover Institution Tower at Stanford, San Francisco City Hall, and San Francisco Art Institute’s 1926 Chestnut Street campus oriented our faux-Italian hillside around a non-functioning tower. There’s no bell and no lookout. Brown’s postmodern gesture came before its time and is now a famous home of ghosts. The SFAI tower also shrouds an indispensable archive of nearly 150 years of art history—spanning the founding documents of the San Francisco Museum of Art to early acid-trip induced exhibitions. Since its founding in 1871—as the first art organization west of the Mississippi—San Francisco Art Institute has lead the formation of new art forms, ideas, and histories. This project reveals SFAI’s singular history as a place where contemporary art history happens, and artists invent the future. Ghosts of the Tower unveils the initial implementation of SFAI's recently awarded Institute of Museums and Library Services two-year grant to digitize and make widely accessible the Exhibitions and Public Programs Collections. In a collaborative project between the Anne Bremer Memorial Library and the Exhibitions and Public Programs department, the collections will be rehoused, processed, catalogued, and selections digitized, beginning in the Atholl McBean Gallery. This public process offers the SFAI community—including students, faculty, and the public—a rare firsthand opportunity to explore the breadth of SFAI’s Archives' fugitive material. The Exhibitions and Public Programs Collection contains a vast store of unique primary source materials, including over a thousand recordings of artist lectures, correspondences, catalogs, installation views, and posters. Within the trove are John Cage’s legendary question-and-answer sessions, San Francisco Art Association’s board approval for the 1878 public presentation of Eadweard Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope, cassettes of Angela Davis’ lectures, Diego Rivera’s fee negotiation for his site-specific fresco, documentation of David Dashiell's seminal 1993 exhibition Queer Mysteries, and images of Mark Bradford’s first ever solo show in this same gallery. Ghosts of the Tower is organized by the Anne Bremer Memorial Library and the Exhibitions and Public Programs department. This project is supported by the Institute of Museums and Library Services grant for Digitizing the SFAIs Exhibitions History. IMLS The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, IMLS grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit imls.gov and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Rebecca Alexander, Library Technician, Special Collections Specialist Jeff Gunderson, Special Collections Librarian and Archivist Hesse McGraw, Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs Katie Hood Morgan, Assistant Curator and Exhibitions Manager Julian Wong-Nelson, Archives Assistant and Digital Specialist