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Oral history interview with James Magee, 2016 September 29-30

Online Media

Catalog Data

Magee, James R., 1946-  Search this
Stieber, Jason, 1973-  Search this
Sound recordings
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Physical Description:
11 sound files (4 hrs., 16 min.), digital, wav; 73 Pages, Transcript
General Note:
Originally recorded as 11 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 16 min.
An interview with James Magee conducted 2016 September 29-30, by Jason Stieber, for the Archives of American Art, at Magee's home in El Paso, Texas.
Magee speaks of his childhood in Michigan; introduction to art in his grandfather's house; memories of his family of origin, discussing religion and music; learning to read in school; sports, running, football, and friendships; Alma College: studying French, poetry, history; travels in high school and college to North Ireland, West Africa; attending University of Pennsylvania Law School [Penn Law]; his father's illness and his own misdiagnosis of M.S.; painting while at Penn Law; travel to Corsica and Paris; Working as assistant to artist Caroline Lee; living in a French monastery; learning and thinking about homosexuality; moving to New York in 1972; the gay scene post-Stonewall; cruising; working and living in Staten Island; living in Manhattan in the Flower District; driving a cab; moving upstate to a former summer camp; working with adults with mental disabilities adults; welding; opera design; working for the UN on bills about Conscientious Objection and the Seabed Initiative; choosing his pseudonym J.R. McCoy; moving from Upstate New York to Texas; working on an oil rig; finding land to create his installation complex the Hill, in El Paso, Texas; concurrently returning to New York City to do legal work at the U.N. and to volunteer for the poor; building the Hill; describes the identities and personas of his alter egos, Annabel Livermore and Horace Mayfield; being diagnosed as HIV Positive; surgery and amputation of his legs; public interest in his work; scholarship about his work; shows and collaborations in sound art and poetry; his romantic relationships; his desired legacy of his work; and his poems or "titles." Magee also recalls Darthea Speyer Galerie; James Rechy; Paterson Sims; Rod McCall; Tommy Koh; Rudy Weingartner; Dr. Richard Brettell; Camilla Carr; Bob Ostertag; Doug Cohen.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with James Magee, 2016 September 29-30. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Additional Forms:
Transcript is available on the Archives of American Art's website.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Lichtenberg Family Foundation.
Biography Note:
James Magee (1946- ) is a painter, sculptor, and creates architectural works of art in El Paso, Texas. Jason Stieber (1973- ) is the National Collector for the Archives of American Art.
Language Note:
English .
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.
Location Note:
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Painters -- Texas -- Interviews  Search this
Sculptors -- Texas -- Interviews  Search this
Record number:
Data Source:
Archives of American Art