An interview of Joel Philip Myers conducted 2007 May 1, by Daniel Klein, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in the artist's home, in Marietta, Pennsylvania.
Myers speaks of his childhood in Patterson, New Jersey; making charcoal drawings as a child and taking private courses in oil painting; choosing to pursue a career in advertising design; attending Parsons School of Design in New York City; working as a package designer for Donald Deskey Associates; being influenced by Scandinavian design he saw in New York City to study abroad in Denmark; studying ceramic design at Kunsthaandvaerkerskolen in Copenhagen; meeting and marrying his wife, Birthe, while in Copenhagen; returning to the United States and going back to work for Donald Deskey; attending Alfred University and receiving his B.F.A. and M.F.A. in ceramics; accepting the position director of design for Blenko Glass Company in Milton, West Virginia with no previous experience in glass; teaching himself how to blow glass in the factory alongside the workers; the intense heat and extreme noise of a glass factory; learning of Harvey Littleton's glass workshop in 1962 in Toledo, Ohio, but being unable to attend; having limited exposure to the glass movement and developing his glass art without knowledge of the work of Littleton and his students; designing 50 to 60 different vases, bowls, decanters, and decorative objects a year from 1963 - 1970 at Blenko Glass Company; creating sculptural glass forms in his penetration pieces for his masters thesis; learning of what was happening in the studio glass world by attending the World Craft Council in 1964 in New York City; Paul Smith discovering his work and thereby gaining some publicity in Craft Horizons; being invited by Littleton to give a workshop at the University of California, Berkeley in 1968; the initial shock of seeing glass sculpture made with no real technique; his early attraction to cold-work in order to work intimately with the surface of the glass; acquisition of his work by the Toledo Art Museum and the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, North Carolina; establishing a glass program at Illinois University in Bloomington-Normal; his attempts to recruit international students; taking a semester sabbatical in Baden, Austria; being heavily influenced by the natural world; the series Garden, Perfume Bottle, Contiguous Fragment, Dr. Zharkov, The Dialogues, and others; teaching at Pilchuck School of Glass; studying the First World War and consequently creating Musée des Beaux Arts ; travels to Japan; his teaching philosophies; the prevalence of independent glass studios in the world today; and plans for the future. Myers recalls Ted Randall, William H. Blenko, Sr., William H. Blenko, Jr., Marvin Lipofsky, Fritz Dreisbach, Richard Marquis, John Lewis, Bob Ness, Bertil Vallien, David Huchthausen, John Popelka, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Joel Philip Myers (1934- ) is a glass artist from Milton, West Virginia. Daniel Klein (1938- ) is an art consultant from London, England.
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 15 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.
The papers of African American painter, printmaker, and educator Marvin Harden measure 2.2 linear feet and date from circa 1936 to 2005. Found within the papers are biographical materials, correspondence, teaching files, exhibition files, printed material, artwork, and photographs. Correspondents include Joyce Tremain, Judy Chicago, Marion Lerner Levine, Jud Fine, Houston Conwill, Sandy Ballatore-Nelson, Nancy Lee Riegelmen, Eugene Anderson, Connor Everts, Pleter Plagens, Jan Stussy, Caroll Toon, William Wilson, and others. Artwork includes a book of etchings Natural Selections (1991).
Scope and Contents:
The papers of African American painter, printmaker, and educator Marvin Harden measure 2.2 linear feet and date from circa 1936 to 2005. Found within the papers are biographical materials, correspondence, teaching files, exhibition files, printed material, artwork, and photographs. Artwork includes a book of etchings Natural Selections (1991).
Biographical material includes papers pertaining to Harden's education and family history, including an essay written by his sister Lura Harden Miller.
Correspondence is with artists, colleagues, and organizations, including Eugene Anderson, Sandy Ballatore-Nelson, William Brice, Judy Chicago, Houston Conwill, Connor Everts, Jud Fine, Marion Lerner Levine, Pleter Plagens, Nancy Lee Riegelmen, Jan Stussy, Caroll Toon, William Wilson, Dobrick Gallery, Eugenia Butler Gallery, Gloria Cortella, Inc., Hank Baum Gallery, Jan Turner Gallery, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others.
Teaching files primarily document Harden's career as an art educator at California State University, Northridge. Materials include teaching awards, assignments, course outlines, notes, and miscellaneous writings by Harden about his teaching philosophy. The files also contain correspondence and photographs with students, a student exhibition guest register, committee notes, memorandums, and evidence pertaining to an employment-related grievance with the university.
Exhibition files include announcements, correspondence, exhibition catalogs, floor plans, insurance documents, loan agreements, photographs, press releases, and price lists.
Printed material consists of announcements and invitations, exhibition catalogs, and a loose clippings scrapbook with articles and reviews about Harden's artwork and exhibitions. Also found is a copy of the first volume of the Journal published by the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art, which includes a photograph of Harden and references to his involvement in developing the organization.
Artwork includes two sketches and an artists' book entitled natural selections which contains 12 aquatint etchings by Marvin Harden.
Among the black and white and color photographs are portraits and snapshots of Marvin Harden, family members, and colleagues, as well as Harden's home, studio, and land at Inwardness Ranch located near Cambria, California.
The collection is arranged as 7 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1950-1991 (Box 1; 5 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1964-2005 (Box 1; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 3: Teaching Files, circa 1964-2003 (Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)
Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1966-2004 (Boxes 1-2; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 5: Printed Material, circa 1964-2003 (Box 2; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 6: Artwork, 1989-2000 (Box 2; 2 folders)
Series 7: Photographs, circa 1936-2001 (Box 2; 7 folders)
Biographical / Historical:
Marvin Harden (1935- ) is an African American painter, printmaker, and educator living and working in California.
Harden received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1963. While there, Harden studied under John Paul Jones, Jan Stussy, and William Brice. He also became friends with UCLA classmate and feminist artist, Judy Chicago.
Harden's first solo exhibition was in 1964 at Ceeje Galleries in Los Angeles, California. His drawings, paintings, and prints have been exhibited widely in museums, galleries, and universities in southern California, and also in New Mexico, New York, and Texas, among other locations. Harden has also been the recipient of artists' fellowships awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.
Harden became a Professor of Art at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in 1968, and in 1984 he received a Distinguished Teaching Award and Exceptional Merit Service Award. During his career at CSUN, Harden established the art department's graduate teaching assistant program.
The Marvin Harden papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Marvin Harden in 2005.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.