An interview of Rockne Krebs conducted 1990 Jan. 27-Feb.3, by Benjamin Forgey, for the Archives of American Art.
Krebs discusses growing up in Kansas City; his early interest in art; childhood art classes at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; his family and their home; studying sculpture at the University of Kansas; influential teachers; attending Naval Officer's Training School; his U.S. Navy service and art education while in the Navy; working in Washington, D.C. as the Public Affairs Officer for Vice-Admiral Frost in the 1960s; his wife Denise and their daughter Heather; meeting Anthony Caro, Kenneth Noland, and Jules Olitski; his "Chevron" series; his interest in planes, light, space, and "dematerializing" sculpture; the influence of Walter Hopps; working with laser specialists and Hewlett Packard equipment; his outdoor city-scale laser sculpture; and his early principal patrons Mr. and Mrs. Philip M. Stern and works created for them. Krebs also describes in detail his laser sculptures for the New Orleans Museum of Art (1971) and St. Petersburg (1975-1976) and comments on economic, political and social aspects of the art world.
Biographical / Historical:
Rockne Krebs (1938-2011) was a sculptor from Washington, D.C.
Originally recorded on 4 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 14 digital wav files. Duration is 7 hrs., 27 min.
These interviews are 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 others. Funding for these interviews provided by the Lannan Foundation.
An interview of Sam Gilliam conducted 1989 Nov. 4-11, by Ben Forgey for the Archives of American Art. Gilliam speaks of his decision to come to Washington, D.C., from Louisville, Ky.; his shift from figurative painting to abstract painting; meeting Washington painters Robert Gates and Tom Downing; the "stature" of Tom Downing in the Washington art scene in the 1960s and Walter Hopps' role; influential exhibitions at the Jefferson Place Gallery and the Washington Gallery of Modern Art; being a Washington artist and a black artist; artist/teachers at American University; the Johnson Avenue Workshop grant; his relationship with Rockne Krebs; the history of the Washington Coalition of Artists; the Corcoran Gallery and the Washington Project for the Arts' relationship to Washington artists; his involvement with the District of Columbia Art Center; teaching; and his working methods. Gilliam also discusses various paintings, processes, materials, ideas and experiments at length. He recalls Gene Davis, Howard Mehring, Ken Noland, Morris Louis, Nesta Dorrance, Alma Thomas, Lou Stovall, Al Nodal, Jock Reynolds, Michael Botwinick, Willem de Looper, Paul Reed, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Sam Gilliam (1933- ) was a painter of Washington, D.C.
These interviews are 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 others.
An interview of Willem De Looper conducted 1992 January 26 and February 29, by Benjamin Forgey, for the Archives of American Art. De Looper discusses growing up in the Hague, in Holland, during WWII; his family and educational background; moving to the United States in 1950; his U.S. Army service; his studies at American University and his teachers including Robert Gates, Ben Summerford, William Calfee, and Sarah Baker; his early experiments with abstraction; his first studio in Washington, D.C.; exhibiting at the Jefferson Place Gallery in the 1960s and later at the B.R. Kornblatt Gallery; working at the Phillips Collection for twenty-five years; and materials, techniques, and influences in his painting. He recalls Tom Downing, the Institute of Contemporary Art (Washington, D.C.), John Gernand, Sam Gilliam, Michael Clark, Duncan and Marjorie Phillips, Harold Giese, William Woodward, Jim McLaughlin, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Willem De Looper (1932-2009) was a painter from Washington, D.C.
Originally recorded on 4 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 23 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.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Painters -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews Search this
Art students -- Washington (D.C.) -- Interviews Search this
Painting, Modern -- 20th century -- Washington (D.C.) Search this
A majority of the collection contains subject and research files documenting the writings of Benjamin Forgey and focuses on urban development, the art scene, and museum and monument building projects in Washington, D.C. Also included are administrative files, photographs, correspondence, and sound cassettes of lectures by Forgey on Washington architecture.
Biographical / Historical:
Benjamin Forgey (1938- ) is an architecture and art critic in Washington, D.C. Forgey wrote for the Washington Star from 1964 to 1981, and then for the Washington Post where he focused on architecture until his retirement in 2006.
Donated 2014 by Benjamin Forgey.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.
United States of America -- District of Columbia -- Washington
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, opened in October 1974. The grounds are west of 7th Street SW on the south side of the National Mall. The 2.7-acre museum and fountain plaza lie south of Jefferson Drive on the former site of the Army Medical Museum and Library (1887-1969). The 1.3-acre sculpture garden lies north of Jefferson Drive. The garden and plaza are two open-air galleries dedicated to showcasing modern sculptures, many of which had been collected and donated to the Smithsonian by the entrepreneur Joseph H. Hirshhorn (1899-1981).
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden was first conceived in 1966, when Mr. Hirshhorn donated more than 5,500 works of art to the Smithsonian. In particular, the idea for the sculpture garden came from by Nathaniel Owings of the international architecture and engineering firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of New York City. Firm partner Gordon Bunshaft carried out Owings' idea, proposing a two-acre sunken garden that would bisect the National Mall. The garden would be 7 feet below ground level with 3 foot high walls, creating a 10 foot deep enclave. A rectangular reflecting pool would dominate the space, surrounded by a pebble walkway. It was an austere Minimalist design with few plants.
The museum and sculpture garden's groundbreaking was in 1969, but Bunshaft's plan for the garden to extend across the Mall created much controversy, as it would interrupt the vista between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument. Work on the sculpture garden was halted by Congress in January 1971. In February, Washington Star art critic Benjamin Fogey suggested turning the garden parallel to the Mall, and making the reflecting pool smaller. These suggestions were adopted, and construction resumed in July.
When the garden opened in 1974, it served as a neutral setting where the sculptures commanded much of the attention. It featured a center court 14 feet below ground level with a rectangular reflecting pool and two flanking terraces. Enclosed within high walls, it successfully reduced traffic noise. However, despite its sunken form, Bunshaft's Minimalist approach made for an uncomfortably exposed, bleak space. There was also no access for strollers or wheelchairs, and the pebble floor was difficult to walk on. In 1977, landscape architect, Lester Collins, of the member Smithsonian's Horticultural Advisory Committee and President of the Innisfree Foundation, redesigned the sunken garden to make it more user friendly. His goal was to provide ramps for easier access and to soften the area with extensive plantings. Construction began in 1979 and the garden reopened in 1981." Construction began in 1979 and the garden reopened in 1981. A pair of long ramps were installed, and the formerly harsh open area was now divided and bordered by lawns and plantings, and shaded by trees.
In 1991, landscape architect James Urban collaborated with Hirshhorn staff to renovate the museum's fountain plaza. Deteriorating concrete surfaces were replaced with granite, as had been called for in Bunshaft's original plan. A wheelchair entrance was added to provide access to the pathway that runs the perimeter of the plaza, and the adjacent Mary Livingston Ripley Garden. Sculptures were installed in new areas of lawn and flowering trees in the plaza's four corners, and also amid small groves of honey locust trees on the plaza's east and west sides. The plaza reopened in 1993.
In 2007, the artist Yoko Ono presented a Japanese dogwood tree to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in conjunction with that year's Cherry Blossom Festival. This, along with nine other trees planted in Washington, D.C., made up part of her Wish Tree project. Visitors to these trees could write a wish on a paper tag and hang it on a branch. This is a custom associated with the Shinto temple gardens of Japan, where Ms. Ono grew up. While the nine other wishing trees were removed, the one in the sculpture garden remains as a permanent installation.
Plantings include weeping beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula'), Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), Boston ivy (Pathenocissus tricuspidata), climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala), lily turf (Liriope muscari), southern magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora), and crabapple (Malus).
Persons associated with the garden include: Joseph H. Hirshhorn (donor, 1966). Nathaniel Owings (architect, original concept, 1966). Gordon Bunshaft (architect, 1967-1974). Benjamin Forgey (art critic, 1971). Lester Collins (landscape architect, 1977-1981). Abram Lerner (first director and curator of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 1974-1984). James Urban (landscape architect, 1991-1993).
Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden related holdings consist of (659 35mm slides (photographs), 6 photographic prints and digital images)
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: email@example.com
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher
Gardens -- District of Columbia -- Washington Search this
Smithsonian Gardens Image Library, Archives of American Gardens, Smithsonian Institution.