Rediscovering the Archive of Salvatore Meo

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: July 2010 - Project end date: July 2011
Project number: 2010-28
Beneficiary: Fondazione Salvatore Meo

The overall goal of the project consisted in the digitalization of the archives of the artist Salvatore Meo. Archivist Mara Valente began this work in June 2010 and it took her almost 12 months to conclude the project. Her main task consisted in researching papers, photographs and other material in the Meo archives located in Vicolo Scavolino, Rome - which display the majority of the artists' works and will eventually become open to the public. Mrs Valente was in charge of the whole digitalization of this material.
The founder of the Salvatore Meo Foundation, Mrs. Mary Angela Schroth was actively involved in the supervision of the project, having travelled twice to the United States in order to gather precious historical material in New York and Philadelphia as well as Washington DC.
The most important result of this project has been the creation of an archive catalog for the artist, and especially for the artworks by Meo that are present in the United States and Italy. The special dvd which was eventually realized as a result of the whole project work, contains the majority of these photos.

An updated and detailed biography of Salvatore Meo was also carefully produced, thanks to the work of young art historian Christina Orlandini (Ithaca University, New York) and of Antonella Pisilli, Vice President of the Salvatore Meo Foundation.

The digitalization of the Meo Archives was eventually organized in a single DVD:

The project is divided into several folders; each folder will have a specific "guide" to their content. Here is a short synthesis:

1. BIOGRAPHY:
Contains updated versions of Meo's biography in both English and Italian.
2. Catalog of Meo's Works
Contains the inventory of Meo's works in both the Rome studio and the deposit in New York and the complete version for each was organized through the use of the "Access program", with a separate detailed sheet for every work, to include title, dimensions, condition report and location of the work as well as other information related to the artwork.
A second version is available in a reduced form, with thumbnail photos for easy reference.
This was perhaps the most time-consuming aspect of the project, since it was necessary to cull this information from both the New York and Rome archives and to photograph each work, many for the first time. Fortunately, each of Meo's works are generally signed, dated, and titled - enabling thus the archivists to make a complete study of them and also to relate each of them with the entire oeuvre of the artist.

3. Archive on Paper
This section contains sections dedicated to the following:
- Press Review
- Brochures (related to Meo's exhibitions)
- Invitations (related to Meo's exhibitions)
- Manifestos (scanned posters and related material)
- Press Releases
- Personal Letters, and other writings
- Iowa: Meo's residency at the University of Iowa and documentation of works
- Archive Designato: Meo's hand-drawn renditions of his artworks
4. Fotos
This section contains the photos related to Meo, his studio, and his exhibitions and is organized under various headings:
- fotos by Mario Carbone, from 1971
- fotos by Mario Carbone of Meo's studio in 2006
- fotos of Meo's exhibitions
. UArts exhibition in Philadelphia
. Meo's work in the Emilio Villa exhibition, Reggio Emilia
. Meo's exhibition Pavel Zoubok
. Meo performance Rome/Sculpture Center
5. Interviews
- Radio interview with Meo in 1978
- Interview with Sergio Lombardo in 2007
6. Texts
This contains various texts (and translations) on Meo
7. Salvatore Meo Foundation
Contains material on the creation of the Foundation, and its current status.
8. Contacts
9. Artist's Bibliography
This includes a list of all published material, both in English and Italian.

Direct Results of the Project
A part from the research carried out by this project, one of the most important results is the current and future availability of all possible information on Salvatore Meo, his works, and his archive. The dvd will be made available to any interested parties and will be invaluable in the future promotion of the Meo Foundation as well as for contemporary art history in general. Too often, stories such as Meo's are forgotten or lost. With the "Discovering the Archive" project on Meo, this will not be the case.
A second major result will be the possibility to begin work on a catalog raisonné of the artist.
The Salvatore Meo Foundation has received the interest of the famous art historian Prof. Enrico Crispolti (perhaps the world's most important authority on Futurism and author of the catalog raisonné on Lucio Fontana among countless other publications and essays) as curator of this important publication. In addition, the Foundation has secured the interest of De Luca Editore in Rome as publisher. All this was a direct result of the research and completion of the dvd on the Meo Archive.
The Meo Foundation continues to have the complete support of the Pavel Zoubok gallery in New York, which has been of great help in the organization of this archive as well as for the promotion of the artist and the concept of a future catalog raisonné. Zoubok has also created a non-profit entity in Pennsylvania (region where Meo was born) entitled "The International Foundation for Collage and Assemblage". The Meo digital archive will have an important place in this Foundation, making Meo's works available for research and promotion.

The hope is to finance the book project with the help of Prof. Crispolti as well as to initiate a special committee for Salvatore Meo who will subsequently begin fund-raising activities towards this end. The Meo Foundation haa earmarked private entities such as Tiffany, since Meo began his career in Italy thanks to a grant from the Tiffany Foundation in 1949. However, there are many other possibilities on both the national and international level.


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