The papers of the artist Robert Kushner measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1967 to 2011. The collection documents primarily the early career of Robert Kushner through performance videos and other media artworks, correspondence, notes, lab records, inventories, an exhibition proposal, and subject files regarding critic Amy Goldin.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of the artist Robert Kushner measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1967 to 2011. The collection documents primarily the early career of Robert Kushner through performance videos, other media artworks, correspondence, notes, lab records, inventories, an exhibition proposal, and subject files regarding critic Amy Goldin.
Performances and artworks comprise the bulk of the collection and include video recordings, sound recordings, and motion picture films documenting works by Robert Kushner created between circa 1967 and 1982. Most of the video footage documents live performances of Kushner's pageants and fashion shows that took place between 1972 and 1981, primarily in art spaces in the SOHO district of New York City. In addition to live performance documentation, videos and films include four moving image artworks, recorded music used in performances, and publicity including a television news magazine segment featuring Kushner and his edible costumes. Paper documentation of Kushner's video recordings includes correspondence, notes, lab records, performance programs, edit worksheets, and inventories of Kushner's performance videos. An exhibition file contains documentation of the development of a proposed exhibition from 1999-2000 entitled "Pret-a-porter: Robert Kushner, performance and fashion, 1970-1980."
Subject files compiled by Robert Kushner regarding critic Amy Goldin (1926-1978), Kushner's former teacher and close friend, contain mainly photocopies and a few original documents. Included are published and unpublished writings, letters to and from Goldin, photographs, and biographical material. A small amount of original primary sources related to Goldin are also found.
Collection is arranged in 3 series:
Series 1: Performances and Artwork, 1967-1988 (Boxes 1-4, FC 6-7; 3.7 linear feet)
Series 2: Video Documentation and Exhibition Proposal, 1988-2002 (Box 4; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 3: Research Material on Amy Goldin, 1971-2011 (Boxes 4-5; 0.7 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Kushner (1949- ) is a New York, N.Y.-based painter of the Pattern and Decoration movement and an installation artist who began his career as a performance artist.
Kushner was born in Pasadena, California in 1949 and studied visual arts at the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Kushner met and worked closely with the critic Amy Goldin at UCSD, and his work was strongly influenced by her scholarship and thinking about non-Western visual cultures, particularly regarding Islamic decorative art.
Kushner began his work with fashion, costume, and performance in the early 1970s in New York City. He performed and exhibited in the many SOHO art spaces that emerged at that time supporting avant garde and experimental art, such as the 98 Greene Street Loft, the Kitchen, The Clocktower, St. Mark's Church, and Paula Cooper Gallery. The work evolved from the creation of soft sculptures using found materials, to the creation of costumes and fashion "lines" with nontraditional materials, including fresh food, which he presented in the performance genres of pageants and fashion shows, using models to exhibit his works before live audiences. In 1973, art dealer Holly Solomon became a champion of his work. He was a founding member of the Pattern and Decoration movement beginning in the mid-1970s, and his performance, costume, and paintings are strongly associated with that movement.
Kushner has exhibited his work widely, with major exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art. Kushner's work is included in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Gallery of Art, among many others. He is represented in New York by the DC Moore Gallery.
Donated 2013 by Robert Kushner.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
The records of Holly Solomon Gallery, a New York City gallery specializing in contemporary American art, measure 200.6 linear feet and 0.002 GB and date from circa 1948-2003. The gallery's activities are documented through dealer files, subject files, artists' files, inventories, sales and loan records, administrative and financial records, printed and digital materials, photographic materials of artwork and exhibitions, and sound, video, and film recordings. Also found are records of the alternative space, 98 Greene Street Loft, as well as Holly Solomon's personal papers.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of Holly Solomon Gallery, a New York City gallery specializing in contemporary American art, measure 200.6 linear feet and 0.002 GB and date from circa 1948-2003. The gallery's activities are documented through alphabetical files, dealer files, subject files, artists' files, inventories, sales and loan records, administrative and financial records, printed and digital materials, photographic materials of artwork and exhibitions, and sound, video, and film recordings. Also found are records of the alternative space, 98 Greene Street Loft, as well as Holly Solomon's personal papers.
Alphabetical files span from 1991-2000 and contain correspondence with clients, galleries, and museums, as well as related documentation regarding loans, inquiries, sales, exhibitions, and travel plans. These general files were maintained separately from the gallery's subject and artists' files but may overlap in subject matter.
The dealer files contain gallery correspondence to and from art dealers regarding inquiries on works and artists. These files are sparse and particular to the early 1980s. Subject files are mainly comprised of correspondence but also include printed materials, slides, and other related documents. Subjects include dealers, organizations, museums, clients, art fairs, travel, and projects that the gallery or Holly Solomon worked with.
Artists' files consist of correspondence, printed material, slides, photographs, and scattered inventory records, regarding the sale of artwork, as well as shipping records and insurance claims. Also included is correspondence between the gallery and the artist. There is substantial documentation on artists Kim MacConnel, Nam June Paik, Izhar Patkin, William Wegman, and Joe Zucker. Inventory records include inventory lists created by Holly Solomon Gallery as well as an art inventory card file. Inventory cards note the title, date, and size of the work as well as the dates and movements of the work, and may include a photograph. Some documents are also found in digital format in series 14, Born-digital records.
Administrative records contain general office materials such as phone messages books, staff notebooks, exhibition guest books, and business diaries, exhibition documentation, notes, and mail from prospective artists. Records primarily cover the 1980s and 1990s. In addition to business diaries, Holly Solomon also created "Dear Diary" binders which contain a collection of contact information and notes on clients and events. Some of these diaries were maintained for specific events. Some documents are also found in digital format in series 14, Born-digital records.
Sales and loan records consist of in and out sheets, consignments, and sales invoices. Also in this series are sales and loan logs and files that track the same information but from different access points, including sales by artist. Financial records document the financial activities of the galleries, apart from sales, and include shipping records, tax and insurance information, and accounting statements and reports. Also in this series are sales and loan logs and files that track the same information but from different access points, including sales by artist. Some documents are also found in digital format in series 14, Born-digital records.
Printed material consists of artist clippings, gallery exhibition catalogs, press releases, posters, and miscellaneous books, magazines, and clippings regarding the gallery. Included are clippings pertaining to the Pattern and Design art movement. Photographic material includes photographs and slides documenting artists' work and gallery exhibitions. Sound, video, and film recordings include artworks created by gallery artists, performances recorded live at the gallery, and the publicity Holly Solomon, the gallery and its artists received. The work of video artist Nam June Paik is highly represented through some of his video artworks, as well as television interviews with him. Prominent artists William Wegman and Laurie Anderson are also represented through original artworks and publicity. Publicity videos include Holly Solomon herself, being interviewed for television and documentaries.
The records of 98 Greene Street Loft include a large quantity of sound, video, and film recordings of poetry readings, live music, art, and theatrical performances that took place from 1971-1973, as well as scattered paper records such as play scripts, photographs, a guest book from 1971, printed material, and posters.
Holly Solomon's personal papers consist of biographical documents, correspondence, memorabilia, printed material, motion picture film, and photographs collected by Holly Solomon throughout her life. Included are school records, letters, notes and cards from friends and artists she represented at her gallery, photographs, invitations, event fliers, and other mementos. Printed material, mostly magazines and newspapers document her accomplishments.
Sound and video recordings include recordings collected by the Holly Solomon Gallery documenting the gallery itself and the artists it represented. Recordings include artworks created by gallery artists, performances recorded live at the gallery, and the publicity Holly Solomon, the gallery and its artists received. The recordings range from before the gallery's opening in 1975 until after its closure in 2002, with most recordings coming out of the 80s and 90s. The work of video artist Nam June Paik is highly represented within the series through some of his actual video artworks, as well as through numerous documentaries and television interviews with him. Prominent artists William Wegman and Laurie Anderson are both represented through original artworks and publicity.
Born-digital records consist of documents recovered from floppy discs included in the collection.
The collection is arranged as 14 series:
Series 1: Alphabetical Files, 1991-2001 (Boxes 1-9; 8.5 linear feet)
Series 2: Dealer Files, 1980-1990 (Box 9-10; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 3: Subject Files, circa 1975-2002 (Boxes 11-25; 15.0 linear feet)
Series 4: Artists' Files, circa 1975-2002 (Boxes 26-47; 22.0 linear feet)
Series 5: Inventory Records, 1975-2001 (Boxes 48-66, 157-162; 25.0 linear feet)
Series 6: Administrative Records, circa 1980-2003 (Boxes 67-81, OV 202; 15.1 linear feet)
Series 7: Sales and Loan Records, circa 1975-2001 (Boxes 82-87; 6.0 linear feet)
Series 8: Financial and Legal Records, circa 1969-2001 (Boxes 88-114, 191, 192; 27.7 linear feet)
Series 9: Printed Material, circa 1968-2002 (Boxes 115-135, 193-194, OV 203-222, RD 223; 23.5 linear feet)
Series 10: Photographic Material, circa 1969-2000 (Boxes 136-156, 194-196, 201, OV 224; 22.2 linear feet)
Series 11: 98 Greene Street Loft, circa 1969-1973 (Boxes 166-169, 194, FC 197-200, FC 228-236, OV 225-227; 5.6 linear feet)
Series 12: Holly Solomon Personal Papers, circa 1948-2002 (Boxes 170-182, 194, FC 237-241; 13.6 linear feet)
Series 13: Sound and Video Recordings, circa 1966-2001 (Boxes 183-190; 7.6 linear feet)
Series 14: Born-Digital Records, (ER01-ER04; 0.002 GB)
The collection has been minimally arranged into series based on the found arrangement upon receipt, assumed to be the original arrangement of the gallery. Folders have been arranged within series and general folder contents verified, but in most cases, item level arrangement has not been completed.
The Holly Solomon Gallery was established in 1975 by Holly Solomon and her husband, Horace Solomon, at 392 West Broadway in New York City's SoHo area. The gallery focused on contemporary art.
The gallery represented artists such as William Wegman, Nam June Paik, Laurie Anderson, and Robert Kushner. In 1983, the gallery moved uptown to 724 Fifth Ave at 57th, but then moved again in the early 1990s back downtown to SoHo at 172 Mercer Street. After the gallery closed Holly Solomon continued to deal art from the Chelsea Hotel until her death in 2002.
Holly Solomon was born Hollis Dworken in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1934. She started college at Vassar College, and later transferred to Sarah Lawrence College where she graduated in 1955. In 1953 she married Horace Solomon. Holly Solomon was an aspiring stage actress and was enrolled at Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio shortly after moving to Manhattan. Although she was not a successful actress she and her husband began collecting art and were fans of the Pop Art movement. In 1969 the couple opened an alternative work and performance space for artists named 98 Greene Street Loft. The space provided a venue for poets, actors, and artists to work and perform. Solomon wrote and produced a five part documentary from performances at 98 Greene Street, and in 1972 it was shown at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. 98 Greene Street Loft closed in 1973. Holly Solomon was also a proponent of the Pattern and Decoration, or "P and D", art movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Many of the artists featured in her gallery were involved in the P and D movement including Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel, Ned Smyth, and Brad Davis.
The collection was donated in 2010 by Thomas and John Solomon, Holly Solomon's sons.
This collection is access restricted. Use requires written permission. Financial and Legal Records (Series 8) are closed to researchers until they can be processed to a more detailed level. Contact Reference Services for more information.