Oral history interview with Robert Cremean, 1996 September 5
Cremean, Robert, 1932-
Karlstrom, Paul J., 1941-
Fresno Arts Center
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 54 pages
Originally recorded on 2 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 5 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Robert Cremean conducted 1996 September 5, by Paul J. Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, in Cremean's studio, Tomales, California.
The focus of the interview is Cremean's withdrawal from the commercial art market in early 1980 and his subsequent arrangement with the Fresno Arts Center (now Fresno Art Museum) to serve as the main center for his work. Cremean discusses the Fresno project and a related book undertaken by George Blair, the main funder of the museum collaboration; the philosophy behind the arrangement and the desire to take the market out of the relationship between artist and audience; Cremean's commitment to small museums and breaking the pattern of large, wealthy institutions defining culture through limited sampling; Cremean's family background, education, and career; study at Cranbrook; Fullbright to Italy; teaching at UCLA (1956-1959); his move to San Francisco Bay Area (1958); move to Tomales (1963); his relationship to galleries/dealers, mostly in Los Angeles; L.A. "culture wars" of the late 1950s and 1960s; Ferus Gallery against all others; and the victimization of Rico Lebrun's romantic humanism; a series of galleries and several important museum shows including 1976 exhibition of "Vatican Corridor" at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco; autobiographical quality of work and the description of recent series as "opera"; the importance of place; and "love affair" with his valley home in Tomales.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Robert Cremean, 1996 September 5. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Robert Cremean (1932-) was a sculptor from Tomales, California.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators. Funding for this interview was provided by the Pasadena Art Alliance.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001