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Several (Michael) collection on Los Angeles Public Art
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical note
  • Scope and Content
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Rights Statement for Archival Description
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation

  • Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Special Collections
    Title: Michael Several collection on Los Angeles Public Art
    Creator: Several, Michael
    Identifier/Call Number: 0316
    Physical Description: 22.77 Linear Feet 25 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1903-2000
    Date (bulk): 1980-2000
    Abstract: The Michael Several collection on Los Angeles Public Art consists of materials related to public art in Los Angeles. The collection dates from 1903-2000 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1980-2000. The collection includes article clippings, public records, photographs, slides, negatives, memorandums, brochures, art event notices, meeting minutes, project proposals, press releases, and correspondence about public art (murals, paintings, sculptures, etc.) in and around Los Angeles County.
    Language of Material: English.

    Biographical note

    Michael Warren Several was born in Mt. Kisco, New York in 1941 and moved to California at the age of five. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and continued his education at San Jose State University where he received his teaching credential. Several taught in high school for a number of years and also worked as an insurance underwriter. In 1975, he took a position as a legal assistant at the law firm of McCutchen, Black, Verleger and Shea. Eventually, Several turned his interests to artwork and became a writer and historian specializing in the public art of downtown Los Angeles. He conducted extensive research that included over 200 interviews with artists, architects, city planners, and art administrators in connection with research on the public art in Los Angeles, California.
    In 1986, Several formed Urban Art, Inc., a non-profit organization designed to initiate and coordinate projects related to outdoor art located in an urban context. The organization promoted awareness of outdoor public art by sponsoring exhibits and lectures, producing publications, offering educational programs, and encouraging artist involvement in the process of urban design. In addition to Several's duties as president of the organization, he also prepared and led tours to public art sites in downtown Los Angeles, Civic Center, Little Tokyo, and the Bunker Hill areas. The tours explored the relationship between public art and urban design, architecture, politics, social and cultural history.
    In 1990, Several received a cultural grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles, for publishing a series of guides to the public art of Los Angeles. Several went on to publish multiple guides in relation to public art work in Los Angeles: The Eastern Half of the Civic Center, El Pueblo Historical Monument and its Adjacent Freeway Murals (1991), Little Tokyo (1994), A Guide to the Public Art in Lincoln Part in East Los Angeles, and A Guide to 25 of the Most Significant Works on Public Sculpture Located in Los Angeles County.
    In addition, Urban Art, Inc. received a grant from the National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property to identify and conduct a condition survey report by professional conservators of the most significant works of outdoor public sculpture in Los Angeles County. Several served as the historian for the project and helped identify 29 public artworks that should be preserved. Several has written articles for the Public Art Review, the Los Angeles Conservancy organization, and more than 170 comprehensive entries for the web site Public Art in Los Angeles: http://www.publicartinla.com. He has also served as a board member for the Los Angeles Mural Conservancy and the Society of Architectural Historians/Southern California Chapter.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of materials focusing on public art in Los Angeles, California. The documentation covers public art projects, individual buildings, downtown areas, interviews with artists, and general topics such as murals and art. The materials consist of newspaper and magazine articles, public records, photographs, slides, negatives, memorandums, brochures, art event notices, meeting minutes, project proposals, press releases, and correspondence from public agencies, in particular, the Community Redevelopment Agency. Also included, is ephemera, articles, and documents compiled by the Los Angeles Public Library, the Research Library at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the UCLA Art Library. Lastly, there are personal records pertaining to grant applications, drafts of the text from three published guide books, correspondence with artists relating to the accuracy of the text, and documents concerning the sale and distribution of the guides.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Advance notice required for access.

    Rights Statement for Archival Description

    Finding aid description and metadata are licensed under an Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Department of Special Collections at specol@usc.edu. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.


    The collection was given in multiple installments by Michael Several between 2000 and 2010.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], Michael Several collection on Los Angeles Public Art, Collection no. 0316, Regional History Collections, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Art -- Study and teaching -- United States -- Archival resources
    Art, American -- 20th century -- Archival resources
    Chinatown (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Archival resources
    City planning -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
    Little Tokyo (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- Archival resources
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Archival resources
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- History -- Archival resources
    Los Angeles (Calif.) -- Buildings, structures, etc. -- Archival resources
    Mural painting and decoration -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
    Negatives (photographic)
    Press releases
    Public art -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
    Public art spaces -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
    Sculpture -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
    Slides (photographs)
    Several, Michael -- Archives
    Davis, Alonzo -- Archives
    Davy, Woods -- Archives
    Garcia, Margaret -- Archives
    Ruscha, Edward -- Archives