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Oral history interview with James and Beth Arient

Interviewee:
Arient, James, 1946-  Search this
Arient, Beth, 1946-  Search this
Interviewer:
Blum, Betty  Search this
Names:
Camp, Jeffrey Thomas, 1944-  Search this
Dawson, William, 1901-1990  Search this
Finster, Howard, 1916-2001  Search this
Webster, Derek  Search this
Extent:
213 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1988 April 27-29
Scope and Contents:
An interview of James and Beth Arient conducted 1988 April 27-29, by Betty Blum, for the Archives of American Art.
The Arients describe their backgrounds and talk about their initial interest in art and early collecting, their philosophy of collecting, their discovery of Eskimo sculpture and their first awareness of folk art. They comment on meeting Howard Finster and their subsequent relationship with him, Finster's relationship with collector Jeff Camp, the marketability of folk art, a 1987 exhibition of part of their collection at Northern Illinois University Art Gallery, and folk art patronage. They recall William Dawson and Derek Webster.
Biographical / Historical:
James Arient (1946-) and Beth Arient (1946-) are folk art collectors from Chicago, Illinois. James Arient is a dentist.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 29 min.
Provenance:
These interviews are part of the Archives' 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 others.
Topic:
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Folk art -- Collectors and collecting -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.arient88
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-arient88

John F. Turner research material on Howard Finster

Creator:
Turner, John F.  Search this
Names:
Arient, Beth, 1946-  Search this
Arient, James, 1946-  Search this
Camp, Jeffrey Thomas, 1944-  Search this
Dickinson, Eleanor, 1931-  Search this
Esman, Rosa  Search this
Finster, Beverly  Search this
Finster, Howard, 1916-2001  Search this
Finster, Pauline  Search this
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-  Search this
Hartigan, Lynda Roscoe  Search this
Hemphill, Herbert Waide  Search this
Jabbour, Alan  Search this
Kind, Phyllis, 1933-2018  Search this
Kirwin, Liza  Search this
Lancaster, Clay  Search this
Nasisse, Andy S., 1946-  Search this
Nutt, Jim, 1938-  Search this
Volkersz, Willem  Search this
Extent:
6.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Interviews
Sound recordings
Photographs
Transcriptions
Video recordings
Date:
circa 1928-2015
bulk 1978-1990
Summary:
The John F. Turner collection of research material on visionary self-taught artist Howard Finster measures 6.9 linear feet and dates from circa 1928 to 2015, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1978 to 1990. John Turner is a California-based curator who compiled this collection in preparation for his book Howard Finster: Man of Visions (1989). Found within the collection are correspondence; numerous interviews with Finster and Finster family members, curators and historians, collectors, and artists; draft manuscripts and research notes; compiled research files on other topics; printed materials and commercial broadcast video recordings; and photographic material, including polaroids annotated by Finster. There is also one series of Howard Finster's papers that include writings by Finster, sound and video recordings of Finster exhibitions and talks by Finster related to those exhibitions, recordings of other speaking engagements, sermons, and other events, a scattering of personal business records that includes a ledger and price list of artwork, and artwork.
Scope and Contents:
The John F. Turner collection of research material on visionary self-taught artist Howard Finster measures 6.9 linear feet and dates from circa 1928 to 2015, with the bulk of the materials dating from 1978 to 1990. John Turner is a California-based curator who compiled this collection in preparation for his book Howard Finster: Man of Visions (1989). Found within the collection are correspondence; numerous interviews with Finster and Finster family members, curators and historians, collectors, and artists; draft manuscripts and research notes; compiled research files on other topics; printed materials and commercial broadcast video recordings; and photographic material, including polaroids annotated by Finster. There is also one series of Howard Finster's papers that include writings by Finster, sound and video recordings of Finster exhibitions and talks by Finster related to those exhibitions, recordings of other speaking engagements, sermons, and other events, a scattering of personal business records that includes a ledger and price list of artwork, and artwork.

Correspondence mostly consists of letters to John Turner from Howard Finster and Finster family members, folklorist Alan Jabbour, Clay Lancaster, Andy Nasisse, and others. There are also letters to Howard Finster from miscellaneous correspondents.

Numerous interviews with and about Howard Finster are found on 47 sound cassettes, and one partial transcript. In addition to interviews conducted by Turner, there are interviews with Finster conducted by Liza Kirwin and Willem Volkerz. Most of the interviews are with others about Finster, including family members, collectors, curators and art historians, and other artists. Interviewees include Jim and Beth Arient, Jeffrey Camp, Eleanor Dickinson, Rosa Esman, Beverly and Pauline Finster, Allen Ginsberg, Lynda Hartigan, Herbert Waide Hemphill, Alan Jabbour, Phyllis Kind, Jim Nutt, and others.

Writings consist of Turner's research notebooks and a typescript draft for his book Howard Finster: Man of Visions. There are some curator's statements and loose notes possibly written by others. Research files include printed material compiled by John Turner on various artists and subjects not directly related to Finster, except for bibliographies.

Papers and other materials created by Howard Finster are arranged into one separate series. These include writings; exhibition files, including video and sound recordings; personal business records; artwork, including album covers and posters; and sound recordings of Finster's public and private talks, sermons, and events. Many of the sound recordings were recorded by Finster himself.

Printed material consists of newspaper and magazine clippings about Howard Finster, exhibition catalogs, announcements, magazines, and art periodicals. There are also 2 videocassettes of commercially released television appearances and music videos.

Photographic material includes photographs, slides, negatives, and transparencies of Howard Finster and his artwork. There are images of Finster and his family, artwork, exhibitions, openings, and events. Some of the images are annotated by Finster.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1967-2005 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Interviews, 1977-circa 1989 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)

Series 3: Writings, circa 1980-circa 1989 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 4: Research Files, circa 1971-2015 (0.5 linear feet; Box 3)

Series 5: Howard Finster Files and Sound and Video Recordings, circa 1970-2001 (1.6 linear feet; Boxes 3-5, OV 9, 11)

Series 6: Printed Material, circa 1975-2010 (1.2 linear feet; Boxes 5-6, OV 10)

Series 7: Photographic Material, circa 1928-circa 2000 (1.4 linear feet; Boxes 6-8)
Biographical / Historical:
John F. Turner is a writer and curator who lives in California. Turner has written books on photography and folk art and is an adjunct curator at the San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum. He has also worked for NBC news and documented the lives of folk artists for many years.

Turner befriended visionary, self-taught artist and Baptist minister Howard Finster sometime in the late 1970s. The research material in this collection was compiled over a decade for Turner's book Howard Finster: Man of Vision (Alfred A. Knopf, 1989).
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also has the Barbara Shissler Nosanow materials relating to Howard Finster, circa 1981; an oral history interview with Howard Finster conducted on June 11, 1984 by Liza Kirwin; and an interview with Howard Finster conducted by James Arient and Howard Finster's own sound recordings of himself from 1981-1982.
Provenance:
The John F. Turner research material on Howard Finster was donated by John F. Turner in 1987 and 2016.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Use of archival visual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Rights:
U-matic videocassette recording Howard Finster exhibition opening: Authorization to quote or reproduce for the purposes of publication requires written permission from John Turner. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Folk artists -- California  Search this
Painters -- Georgia  Search this
Museum curators -- California  Search this
Topic:
Authors -- California  Search this
Folk art  Search this
Self-taught artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Interviews
Sound recordings
Photographs
Transcriptions
Video recordings
Citation:
John F. Turner research material on Howard Finster, circa 1928-2015, bulk dates 1978-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.turnjohn
See more items in:
John F. Turner research material on Howard Finster
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-turnjohn

Beth and James Arient papers

Creator:
Arient, Beth, 1946-  Search this
Arient, James, 1946-  Search this
Names:
Finster, Howard, 1916-2001  Search this
Extent:
1 Microfilm reel (147 items on 1 partial microfilm reel)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Microfilm reels
Date:
1979-1988
Scope and Contents:
The microfilmed Beth and James Arient papers contain 23 letters from self-taught painter Howard Finster and Pauline Finster to the Arients (1979-1987); and photographs of folk artists, some with the Arients, and their work (1980-1988). Among the artists photographed are Elijah Pierce, Mary Borkowski, Jesse Howard, Joe "The Welder" Janosik, Eunice McCloskey, Dow Pugh, Howard Finster, Minnie Black, Nellie Mae Rowe, Lanier Meaders, B.C. Craig, William Dawson, Carl McKenzie, Denzil Goodpaster, S.L. Jones, Carlton Garrett, Frank Pickle, Sam Doyle, David Butler, Luster Willis, "Daddy Boy" Williams, Kid Mertz, Dilmus Hall, James "Son" Thomas, Derek Webster, Raymond Coins, James Harold Jennings, Sarah Mary Taylor, Mary T. Smith, and Clyde "Jungle Boy" Jones.
Biographical / Historical:
Beth Arient (1946- ) and James "Jim" Arient (1946- ) are folk art collectors in Naperville, Illinois.
Related Materials:
The Archives of American Art also holds the oral history interview with James and Beth Arient, 1988 April 27-29.
Provenance:
Lent for microfilming 1988 by the Arients.
Restrictions:
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
Occupation:
Collectors -- Illinois -- Chicago  Search this
Topic:
Folk art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.ariebeth
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-ariebeth

Oral history interview with James and Beth Arient, 1988 April 27-29

Interviewee:
Arient, James, 1946-  Search this
Interviewer:
Arient, Beth, 1946-  Search this
Subject:
Camp, Jeffrey Thomas  Search this
Dawson, William  Search this
Finster, Howard  Search this
Webster, Derek  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Interviews  Search this
Folk art -- Collectors and collecting -- United States  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12114
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212161
AAA_collcode_arient88
Theme:
Chicago's Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212161

Beth and James Arient papers, 1979-1988

Creator:
Arient, Beth, 1946-  Search this
Arient, James, 1946-  Search this
Subject:
Finster, Howard  Search this
Topic:
Folk art -- Collectors and collecting  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)9613
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)211820
AAA_collcode_ariebeth
Theme:
Art Movements and Schools
Lives of American Artists
The Art Market
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_211820

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