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Oral history interview with Robert O. Preusser

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Catalog Data

Interviewee:
Preusser, Robert O. (Robert Ormerod), 1919-1992  Search this
Interviewer:
Brown, Robert F.  Search this
Names:
Art Center School (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
Boris Mirski Gallery (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Center for Advanced Visual Studies  Search this
Downtown Gallery (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, Mass.)  Search this
Institute of Design (Chicago, Ill.)  Search this
Joan Peterson Gallery  Search this
Massachusetts Institute of Technology  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. School  Search this
Newcomb College. School of Art  Search this
University of Houston  Search this
Davidson, Ola McNeill  Search this
Kepes, Gyorgy, 1906-2001  Search this
White, Minor  Search this
Extent:
106 Pages (Transcipt)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1991 January-October
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Robert O. Preusser conducted 1991 January-October, by Robert F. Brown, for the Archives of American Art.
Preusser discusses the establishment of an art department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his involvement with it first as a visiting lecturer and then as a professor of visual design. He speaks often of Gyorgy Kepes, whom he had known at the Institute of Design, Chicago, in the early 1940s, and who recruited him to M.I.T; he also discusses other faculty members, like Minor White, professor of photography. He gives attention to his courses at M.I.T., 1954-1985; early computer design projects by students; his writings on the importance of visual arts to technology; and his supervision of educational programs at M.I.T.'s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, 1974-85. An extensive part of the interview is held in an exhibition of Preusser's work at the M.I.T. Museum (April 4, 1991), discussing in particular his incorporation of various plastic and metallic materials in his works from the 1960s and 1970s. He speaks as well of the importance of his inclusion in group exhibitions at the Downtown Gallery, New York, ("Newcomers," 1951, and "Recent Arrivals, 1952) and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston ("Collectors Exhibition," 1954), and of his exhibitions at the Boris Mirski Gallery and the Joan Peterson Gallery, Boston, during the 1950s and 1960s, and at various galleries in Houston during the 1980s. Other topics of discussion are his early art instruction in his native Houston, Texas, by the painter Ola McNeill Davidson, 1930-39; further training in painting and design at the Institute of Design, Chicago, 1930-39, 1941-42; Newcomb School of Art at Tulane University, 1940-41; service with a camouflage unit in the U.S. Army, 1942-45; classes at the Art Center School, Los Angeles, 1946-47; his teaching at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1947-54, and at the University of Houston, 1951-54, and his role as co-director of the Houston Contemporary Arts Association, 1948-50.
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Preusser (1919-1992) was a painter and art instructor from Houston, Texas and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
General:
Poor sound quality. The first 35 minutes of the interview have been lost.
Originally recorded on 1 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 18 min.
Provenance:
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.
Topic:
Art -- Study and teaching -- Massachusetts  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching -- Texas -- Houston  Search this
Camouflage (Military science)  Search this
Painters -- Massachusetts -- Interviews  Search this
Painters -- Texas -- Houston -- Interviews  Search this
Painting -- Study and teaching  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.preuss91
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-preuss91