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Out of the Box: The Archives of American Art’s Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery

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Presentation delivered by Mary Savig, Archives of American Art, Archives Specialist, at the Smithsonian Archives Fair on October 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. ...

Presentation delivered by Mary Savig, Archives of American Art, Archives Specialist, at the Smithsonian Archives Fair on October 22, 2010 in Washington, DC.

With over 16 million items—from passionate love letters to liquor store receipts—the Archives of American Art is the largest collection of primary source material on the history of American art. It presents three thematically centered exhibitions each year in the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery, located in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. Mary Savig will provide an overview of the Archives’ exhibition program, including how staff continue to address the challenge of engaging visitors with archival material.

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  • Acquisition!

Transcript

  • 1. Out of the Box Alexandra Darrow holiday card to Prentiss Taylor, ca. 1951 Prentiss Taylor papers, 1885-1991 Exhibiting Primary Source Material at the Archives of American Art
  • 2. Lucy Lippard papers 16,000 linear feet About 6,000 collections 16 million documents WHAT IS IN THE BOXES? 200 years of primary sources Jennifer Snyder, 2010
  • 3. 16,000 linear feet About 6,000 collections 16 million documents Over 2,000 oral history interviews WHAT IS IN THE BOXES? 200 years of primary sources
  • 4. April 4, 2006 Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery Gallery during DWRC renovation, April 4, 2006
  • 5. April 30, 2004 Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery Joan Lord readying for the first exhibition: Artists in their Studios
  • 6. Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery
    • Inspire visitors to understand the value of historical records and primary source material
    • Teach a nuanced history of American art
    • Narrate relatable personal histories of American artists
    • Encourage further exploration beyond the gallery
    Our goal is to create understandable , informative , and engaging exhibitions as a portal to our collections Robert Scull's East Hampton residence, ca. 1968 Clock-wise from top: Lucas Samaras, George Segal, Robert Rauschenberg, Patty Mucha, and Claes Oldenburg
  • 7. A Thousand Kisses: Love Letters from the Archives of American Art
  • 8. Frida Kahlo to Nickolas Muray, February 16, 1939. Nickolas Muray papers, 1911-1978. Patti Warashina valentine to Robert Sperry, February 14, 1966. Robert Sperry papers, 1951-2002. Moses Soyer to David Soyer, ca. 1940. Moses Soyer papers, circa 1905-1974.
  • 9. AAA Visitor Survey Advised by Zahava Doering, Office of Policy & Analysis
    • Phase 1: Observation
      • Conducted over 2 exhibitions, July and September 2009
      • Observed visitors in 15 minute segments, 3 times daily
      • Reported number of visitors who walked into gallery vs. number who walked past but did not enter
      • Findings
      • 70% of visitors in the NPG corridor walk into the gallery
      • About 15 people every 15 minutes
      • On average, 500 visitors a day walk
  • 10.
    • Phase 2: Conversation
      • Conducted 50 interviews over 3 exhibitions
      • Casually asked a set of open-ended questions about a visitor’s impressions of the gallery
      • Surveyor noted gender and locality of visitor
      • Findings
      • Visitors learned most about items that resonated personally with them, even if the artist was less known
      • Visitors frequently asked for more information about the Archives, the artists, or the documents
    AAA Visitor Survey Advised by Zahava Doering, Office of Policy & Analysis
  • 11. Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations
  • 12. Margaret De Patta’s list of orders, 1946. Margaret De Patta papers, 1944-2000. Franz Kline’s liquor store receipt, December 31, 1960. Elisabeth Zogbaum papers regarding Franz Kline, 1928-1965. Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations
  • 13. Oscar Bluemner’s illustrated list of works of art, May 18, 1932 May 18. Oscar Bluemner papers, 1886-1939, 1960. Eero Saarinen’s to Aline Saarinen, 1954 Aline and Eero Saarinen papers, 1906-1977 Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations
  • 14. Hard Times: 1929–1939
  • 15. Hard Times: 1929–1939 Summer Interns, Delia Murphy and Leah Rand
  • 16. William Bunn’s Sketchbook #4, 1937 William Edward Lewis Bunn papers, 1935-1986 Bunn painting post office mural in Minden, Neb., between 1937 and 1939. Photographer unknown. William Edward Lewis Bunn papers, 1935-1986. Hard Times: 1929–1939
  • 17. Season’s Greetings: Holiday Cards from the Archives of American Art
  • 18.  
  • 19. Even More Out of the Box Ding Ren, July 2, 2010. Photograph by Page Carr.
  • 20. Even More Out of the Box
  • 21. Even More Out of the Box Let’s get this party started October 29, 2010 to February 13, 2011 Guest-curated by Jonathan Weinberg A compliment to the National Portrait Gallery’s, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture Lost and Found: The Lesbian and Gay Presence in the Archives of American Art George Tooker, Daniel Maloney, and William Christopher, 1951. Photographer unknown. William Christopher papers, 1946-1972. Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Civil War exhibition Armory Show 100 th Anniversary Oral History Clips
  • 22. Even More Out of the Box Let’s get this show on the road More Than Words: Illustrated Letters Artists in their Studios Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artist’s Enumerations Traveling Exhibitions George Luks to Everett Shinn, May 18, 1900. Everett Shinn collection, 1894-1953.
  • 23. Thank You
    • Find us At:
    • Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery 1 st floor, DWRC
    • www.aaa.si.edu
    • facebook.com/ArchivesAmericanArt
    • Twitter.com/ArchivesAmerArt
    • Talk by Mary Savig, savigm@si.edu
    Happy Halloween