In November, the publisher Primary Information released Godzilla: Asian American Arts Network, 1990-2001, a monumental, 552-page history of the artists’ collective Godzilla. The archives of the Godzilla Asian American Arts Network and of Artists Space, both in the Fales Library Downtown Collection, were the source of more than 80 images in the book. In many cases, documents from the Godzilla archive are believed to exist nowhere else.
“The Special Collections in Fales Library are key to projects like the Godzilla book,” said its editor and Steinhardt faculty member Howie Chen. “They contain rare materials that unlock important and often underrepresented histories. As a curator and researcher, I appreciate how crucial it was that Fales, together with the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU, had the foresight to collect the Godzilla archive and other documents of the vibrant, alternative art space movement in New York City.”
Curator for the Arts and Humanities Nicholas Martin assisted Professor Chen with his research and provided scans of each document he selected. “The completion of this project is very exciting for me personally,” said Nicholas. “Talking to Howie about the book was one of the things that kept me going when we were still in lockdown, and the finished product is a testament to how dedicated all of the Special Collections staff have been to serving our users throughout the pandemic.”
Chen was impressed by the service level he received. “Working with Nicholas and others in the Special Collections, especially during the pandemic, gave me a true appreciation for the dedication involved in collecting, handling, and giving access to information in the most extreme conditions,” he said. “The experience reminded me that the Latin root “cura”--care--is at the core of the curator’s role.”