The Belkin Gallery houses archival collections complementing its collections of art and providing a resource for exhibitions, teaching, and learning, and scholarly research. Related especially to contemporary art since the 1960s, the archives include the papers of artists, art historians, and collectors, and contain material in multiple media (textual, graphic, moving image and sound), with a thematic focus on conceptual art, concrete poetry, mail art, performance art, social art history, and cultural history.
The Archives is open to all researchers by appointment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please contact Susannah Smith, Archivist to plan your visit.
Archival holdings can be searched along with with our permanent collection at:
A detailed list of holdings is also available at Memory BC:
Prominent holdings include:
Kenneth Coutts-Smith was a British artist, critic, and historian of art and culture, born September 1929 in Copenhagen, Denmark. His first solo exhibitions in the United Kingdom and France in 1952 were followed by shows in Stockholm in 1953, Strasbourg in 1954, and several shows in London 1957 to 1965. As well as painting during these years, Coutts-Smith also wrote and published poetry, short stories, and a novel Fuglefrith, and began a career as a journalist of art and society, publishing numerous reviews, articles, interviews, and catalogue introductions.
He also was active as a gallery administrator in London from 1962 to 1969, as secretary of the Drian Gallery, London, managing the New Vision Centre gallery, and as organising secretary of the Commonwealth Biennale of Abstract Art. Complementing his activity as an art critic dating from around 1963, Coutts-Smith began to lecture widely in England and accepted teaching appointments at Liverpool College of Art in 1967 and Harrow College of Art, London, in 1968. Critical study of art and society led to two books published in his lifetime, The Dream of Icarus and Dada, which appeared in 1970, and a third The Demise of the Avant-Garde which collected together essays from the decade 1970-1980. In 1970 Coutts-Smith emigrated to Canada, teaching as a professor at the University of Calgary, University of Manitoba, York University in Toronto, and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, continuing to be active as a curator, from 1974 at Gallery 111, Winnipeg, lecturing in Europe, North America and Australia, and producing film and video works as well as mail art and paintings, notably the series Artexts shown in Halifax in 1980. He took considerable interest in contemporary art of Eastern Europe, collecting works by Yugoslav artists, and traveled also to study Canadian Inuit artists in 1975 and Australian aboriginal communities in 1980. Coutts-Smith died in 1981 in Toronto, Canada.
The fonds consists of correspondence, notebooks, manuscripts, drafts and proofs of essays, articles, art reviews, and lectures, books, poetry, short stories and a novel, curricula vitae, drawings, prints, posters, audio and video recordings, films, photographic prints, negatives and transparencies, scrapbook, exhibition catalogues, newspaper cuttings and other periodicals, a collection of material about artists, and miscellaneous items. A library of books collected by Coutts-Smith was received and integrated into the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design Library, Halifax, Canada. Donated by Helen Wright 1990.
For further information please contact: Susannah Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org,
tel: (604) 822-2001, or fax: (604) 822-6689