The Text Art Archive, based at Bury Art Museum, was established in March 2013 in conjunction with Bury Art Museum, Bury Archives Service and the Centre for Poetics at Birkbeck University of London with the intention of documenting, securing and making easily available information on the history and practice of Language Art. The Text Art Archive holds hundreds of physical and digital items including scanned images, correspondence, artists’ personal documents, audio, video, and original artworks. What makes this art archive truly unique is its mix of original art works and archival material and the fact that it holds the largest dedicated collection of original Language Artworks in the country. The Text Art Archive’s aim is to stimulate critical thinking and writing in the field around the subject and to re-imagine the role of an archive by unlocking its artistic wealth by inviting artists to work with the archive and create new works. The collection includes artworks by Lawrence Weiner, Robert Grenier, Pavel Buchler.
At the moment there are a number of sub-collections which make up the Text Art Archive. The ‘Text Festival Archive’ is a combination of the Text Festival Archive material and the Art collection. The Text Festival is a roughly biannual festival taking place at Bury Art Museum the archive features artwork by renowned international poets and language or text-based artists, exhibition research, material supporting the performance events and publications which were produced between 2005 and 2014.
A second sub-section features International Text Art which hosts new material by relevant and invited artists.
Archive-Specific Commissions sub-collection hosts new artwork and documents created especially for the Text Art Archive.
The Queer Language Art sub-section hosts artworks & research which explore the various themes of Language Art from/about the LGBTQ community.
The Text Art Archive is both a research resource for artists and researchers as well as an active launch pad for new art projects.