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Oral history interview with Alison Knowles

Catalog Data

Knowles, Alison, 1933-  Search this
Richards, Judith Olch  Search this
Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project  Search this
California Institute of the Arts -- Faculty  Search this
Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project  Search this
Middlebury College -- Students  Search this
Pratt Institute. Art School -- Students  Search this
Albers, Josef  Search this
Brecht, George  Search this
Callahan, Harry M.  Search this
Chicago, Judy, 1939-  Search this
De Kooning, Willem, 1904-1997  Search this
Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968  Search this
Gordon, Coco, 1938-  Search this
Gottlieb, Adolph, 1903-1974  Search this
Hamilton, Richard, 1922-  Search this
Hendricks, Jon  Search this
Higgins, Dick, 1938-1998  Search this
Johnson, Ray, 1927-1995  Search this
Jones, Joe, 1909-1963  Search this
Kaprow, Allan  Search this
Kuehn, Kathy  Search this
Lauf, Cornelia  Search this
Lindner, Richard, 1901-1978  Search this
Mac Low, Jackson  Search this
Maciunas, George, 1931-1978  Search this
Moorman, Charlotte  Search this
Ono, Yōko  Search this
Paik, Nam June, 1932-  Search this
Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956  Search this
Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008  Search this
Saito, Takako, 1929-  Search this
Schapiro, Miriam, 1923-2015  Search this
Schneemann, Carolee, 1939-  Search this
Schöning, Klaus  Search this
Shiomi, Mieko, 1909-1948  Search this
Silverman, Gilbert  Search this
Spoerri, Daniel, 1930-  Search this
Teitelbaum, Richard  Search this
Tenney, James  Search this
Waśko, Ryszard  Search this
86 Pages (Transcript)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
2010 June 1-2
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Alison Knowles conducted 2010 June 1-2, by Judith Olch Richards, for the Archives of American Art's Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project, at Knowles' home and studio, in New York, N.Y.
Knowles speaks of her family background; her father's (an English professor) influence on her education; her love of nature and isolation as a young girl; her French studies at Middlebury College; her transfer to Pratt Institute to study art; the social and academic environment at Pratt; her inclinations towards abstraction; her first marriage to Jim Ericson; her first studio at 423 Broadway; her early jobs as a commercial artist; her first gallery show at Nonagon, in 1958, and how she subsequently burned the paintings in that show; her second marriage to Dick Higgins in 1960; her Judson Gallery Show in 1962 and how she subsequently discarded those works; her involvement in the Fluxus group; her involvement with the "Cage class," and its early performances; her collaboration with John Cage on the book, "Notations" (1968); her collaboration with Marcel Duchamp on a print (1967); the circumstances surrounding her performance piece, "Make a Salad" (1962), her travels through Europe with Higgins; the birth of her twins; her computerized poetic piece and installation, "House of Dust" (1967) and how it was later vandalized; her move to Los Angeles to teach at CalArts; the rebuilding of "House of Dust" at CalArts; her move back to New York; the processes leading up to several projects and collaborations including "Loose Pages," "Big Book," "Bread and Water," and more; where she finds her inspiration; her thoughts on performance art; her studio environment in Barrytown, N.Y.; the influence and support of Germany on her work and Fluxus in general; her recent work, including "Identical Lunch"; and current challenges she faces as an artist.
She recalls Richard Lindner, Adolph Gottlieb, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Judy Chicago, Josef Albers, Dorothy Podber, Ray Johnson, Dick Higgins, Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, Klaus Schöning, Jon Hendricks, Gilbert Silverman, George Maciunas, George Brecht, Jack Mac Low, Yoko Ono, Mieko Shiomi, Takako Saito, Joe Jones, Marcel Duchamp, Daniel Spoerri, Richard Hamilton, Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, Helmut Becker, Coco Gordon, Jim Tenney, Cornelia Lauf, Rirkrit Tirvanija, Allan Kaprow, Simone Forte, Carolee Schneemann, Richard Teitelbaum, Miriam Schapiro, Miguel Abrau, James Fuentes, Cyrilla Wozenter, Kathy Kuehn, Ryszard Wasko.
Biographical / Historical:
Alison Knowles (1933- ) is an artist and a founding member of Fluxus in New York, N.Y. Judith Olch Richards (1947- ) is a former director of iCI in New York, N.Y.
Originally recorded on 5 mini discs. Duration is 5 hr., 45 min.
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.
Conceptual artists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Fluxus (Group of artists)  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women performance artists  Search this
Performance art  Search this
Artists' studios
Sound recordings
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art