Fonds LA.SC153 - Micah Lexier Fonds

Identity area

Reference code



Micah Lexier Fonds


  • 1979-2015 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

10.9 m of textual records
5961 photographs (3546 prints, b&w and col.; 2262 negatives; 563 slides)
31 prints (etchings)
24 coins
19 CD-ROMs
3 3 ½ inch floppy disks
3 enamel coated pins
2 bound volumes
1 printing plate
1 plaque
1 contractor button
1 poster
1 set of hardcover boards

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Micah Lexier (1960- ) has established a national and international recognition as an artist, curator, and avid collector. His artistic practice is rooted in conceptual art and is often characterized by its collaborative nature. He works across a multitude of media which include sculpture, drawing, photography, video, and installation. Lexier’s artworks are often recognized for their engagement with concepts such as time, language, and the everyday, which are emphasized through his preference for process over the end product, and an artistic methodology that centers around documenting, collecting, and organizing.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Lexier studied at the University of Manitoba, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Art in 1982. He went on to earn a Master of Fine Art from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in 1984. Lexier then spent more than a decade living and working in Toronto, before moving abroad to New York in 1999. In 2008 he returned to Toronto, where he has since remained.

In 2015 Lexier received the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts. His extensive exhibition history includes over 100 solo exhibitions and more than 200 group exhibitions. He has also been commissioned to produce more than a dozen public art installations at venues including the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery (1991), Toronto’s Metro Hall (1992), and Toronto’s Bay-Adelaide Centre (2016). His work is in many major Canadian and international collections including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the British Museum, and the Contemporary Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). In 2013, Lexier exhibited a landmark solo show at The Power Plant (Toronto, ON) entitled One, and Two, and More Than Two. The “one” portion of the show presented a 30 year retrospective of his work in the form of an artwork entitled Working as a Drawing. It was complemented by parts “two” and “more than two,” which showcased his practice in collaboration with more than 100 Toronto artists.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the working papers of Micah Lexier. Items include correspondence, sketches, project descriptions and proposals, press clippings, publicity materials, and other documents pertaining to the design and fabrication of artworks.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Materials were originally divided into five series: Individual Projects by Year, Accounting (Sales/Fabrication Receipts), Curatorial Files, Design Files, and Specific Projects. The Accounting (Sales/Fabrication Receipts), Curatorial Files, and Design Files series have been interfiled chronologically into the Individual Projects by Year series by the processing archivist. The original order has been otherwise maintained.

Maintenance of the original order is of particular importance for this collection, due to the significance of archiving to Lexier’s artistic practice. Lexier’s archive has been deliberately structured and the documents have been coded to map their relationship to Working as a Drawing and his oeuvre as a whole. The archive is notably concise and tightly organized, and each year of the artist’s practice was originally reflected in a single banker’s box of documentation (the records have been transferred into Hollinger boxes as part of archival processing).

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is held by the creator. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of photographs, may still rest with the creator of these items. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Several photographs and files in Series 2 are in poor condition due to water damage.

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Lexier’s artwork Working as a Drawing (Vol. 1, 1980 to 2010, Letter-Size, Vertical), 2012, was acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2017. This work and the Micah Lexier fonds are intimately interrelated, as Working as a Drawing involves 470 documents selected from the larger fonds.

An extensive bookwork accompanied the exhibition Working as a Drawing (Lexier, Micah. Working as a Drawing (Vol. 1, 1980-2012, Letter-Size, Vertical). Burnaby: Burnaby Art Gallery, 2012). The bookwork is divided into three sections: 1) each drawing greatly reduced and reproduced in colour, 2) a list of 470 catalogue entries, one for each drawing that includes year, project title, and catalogue number and 3) a 470-page section in which each drawing is reproduced in black and white on its own page. A copy of the bookwork is available in the collection of the Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives.

Related descriptions

Notes area


Several photographs in folder 89-2 are are stuck together due to water damage and require the attention of a conservator.


Title based on the provenance of the fonds.

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Archivist's note

Prepared by Hannah Johnston, 2018. Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019.

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