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Oral history interview with Lowery Stokes Sims, 2010 July 15-22

Interviewee:
Sims, Lowery Stokes, 1949-  Search this
Sims, Lowery Stokes, 1949-  Search this
Interviewer:
Richards, Judith Olch, 1947-  Search this
Subject:
Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
African American art museum curators  Search this
Theme:
African American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)15846
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)292616
AAA_collcode_sims10
Theme:
African American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_292616
Online Media:

Lowery Stokes Sims papers, circa 1981-2017

Creator:
Sims, Lowery Stokes, 1949-  Search this
Sims, Lowery Stokes, 1949-  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Video recordings
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
African American art  Search this
African American art museum curators  Search this
Theme:
African American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)21726
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)398599
AAA_collcode_simslowe
Theme:
African American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_398599

Lowery Stokes Sims papers

Creator:
Sims, Lowery Stokes  Search this
Extent:
24.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound recordings
Interviews
Video recordings
Date:
circa 1981-2017
Scope and Contents:
The papers of African American art historian, curator and art administrator, Lowery Stokes Sims, measure 24.5 linear feet and date from circa 1918-2017. Included are correspondence; photographs of Lowery and others at events; notes and journals;printed material; exhibition records and administrative records from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Museum of Art and Design and other organizations; VHS videos, DVD and audio cassettes of interviews with Sims regarding artists and exhibitions; and research files on artists.
Biographical / Historical:
Lowery Stokes Sims (1949-) is an African American art historian, curator and art administrator. Sims was the first African American Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972-1999), then served as Executive Director, President then Adjunct Curator of the Permanent Collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem (2000-2007), and Senior Curator and then Chief Curator of the Museum of Art and Design (2007-2015).
Provenance:
The collection was donated in 2019 by Lowery Stokes Sims as part of the Archives' African American Collecting Initiative funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.

Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
This collection is access restricted; written permission is required. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Access, with permission, to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Rights:
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:
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Arts administrators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art museum curators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
African American art  Search this
African American art museum curators  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Video recordings
Identifier:
AAA.simslowe
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-simslowe

Oral history interview with Lowery Stokes Sims

Interviewee:
Sims, Lowery Stokes  Search this
Interviewer:
Richards, Judith Olch  Search this
Creator:
Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project  Search this
Names:
Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project  Search this
Extent:
110 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2010 July 15-22
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Lowery Stokes Sims conducted 2010 July 15 and 22, by Judith Olch Richards, for the Archives of American Art's Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts project, at Sims' home, in New York, N.Y.
Sims speaks of her family background; traveling to the south as a child; growing up in the Bronx and Queens, New York and being raised Catholic; the careers of her family members; her favorite subjects in elementary school; attending Queens College where she discovered art history; getting a sense of race and gender politics while earning her B.A. at Queens College; her participation in the "SEEK Program" which opened her up to African art and Black literature; her work at the Brooklyn Museum with Joy Sales teaching children about African art; the importance of her legacy and mentoring and working with other female African American art historians like Thelma Golden, Kellie Jones, and Leslie King-Hammond; her two-month trip to Europe following undergraduate school where she visited London, Greece, Turkey, Rome, and Amsterdam; her studies in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins University where she met David Boxer; completing her thesis on Africa architecture and her decision to leave the program upon receiving her Master's degree; the beginning of her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as an assistant museum educator and her work with Irvine MacManus and William Miller; her decision to become a curator at the Met; her interactions with Henry Geldzahler, Philippe de Montebello, and the Menil family; the racism and sexism she encountered in her experiences at the Met; her work on an American realist exhibition; conflicts between department heads at the Met; her work on the "Ellsworth Kelly: Recent Paintings and Sculptures" exhibition in 1979; Her work on a Robert Beverly Hale show; her difficulties in working on the 1979 Clyfford Still exhibition; attending Columbia University and teaching at Queens College; her decision to get her Ph.D. at the City University of New York, beginning in 1981 where she studied under Robert Pincus-Witten; her interest in Wifredo Lam beginning in 1982 and her introduction to his widow, Lou Laurin-Lam; her dissertation on Lam and her stay with Lou Laurin-Lam in the Bastille area of Paris in the spring of 1993; the completion of her Ph.D. in 1995; and the submission of her dissertation to the University of Texas Press and its publication in 2002. Sims also recalls her promotion to the position of associate curator at the Met in 1980 and her work to include more women and artists of color within the museum's collection; her work on a John Marin exhibition and "The '80s: A New Generation" exhibition of 1988; her collaboration with the American Federation of the Arts on a series of exhibitions in the 1980s; her work on Kaylynn Sullivan and Hannah Wilke for the "Art & Ideology," show in 1984; co-curating the show "Art as a Verb: The Evolving Continuum: Installations, Performances, and Videos by 13 African-American Artists" with Leslie King-Hammond at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1988-89; her first major exhibition, "Stuart Davis: American Painter," in 1991 and her collaboration with William Agee and William Lieberman; her work on the "Richard Pousette-Dart, 1916-1992" show in 1997-98; and the "On the Roof" exhibitions at the Met and "Abakanowicz on the Roof" in 1999. Sims also discusses her decision to leave the Met and take a position as the executive director of the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2000; hiring Thelma Golden; the technological and financial progress made during her tenure; The Studio Museum's Artist-in Residence program; her work with the New York City Cultural Institutions Group; her work on the exhibitions "The Challenge of the Modern: African-American Artists 1925-1945" in 2003 and "Frederick J. Brown: Portraits in Jazz, Blues, and Other Icons" in 2002; her position as president of the Studio Museum; her part-time teaching work; the exhibitions "Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary" in 2008-09, "Bigger, Better, More: The Art of Viola Frey" in 2010; "Dead or Alive" in 2010, and the "The Global Africa Project" from 2010-11; her work for the ArtTable organization; the changes she's seen in the art world since the beginning of her career; and her plans for future projects including a monograph on Robert Colescott.
Biographical / Historical:
Lowery Stokes Sims (1949- ) is a curator, art historian and art administator in New York, N.Y. Judith Olch Richards (1947- ) is former director of iCI in New York, N.Y.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 memory cards as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 40 min.
Provenance:
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.
Restrictions:
This transcript is open for research. Access to the entire recording is restricted. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Occupation:
Art historians -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art museum curators -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
African American art museum curators  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.sims10
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sims10

"Elsewhere" : a conversation with Thelma Golden

Author:
Golden, Thelma  Search this
Enwezor, Okwui  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Subject:
Golden, Thelma  Search this
Studio Museum in Harlem  Search this
Type:
Articles
Interviews
Place:
New York (State)
New York
Date:
2001
Topic:
African American art museum curators  Search this
Call number:
NX1 .N737
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_631092

The Whitney's golden years

Author:
Coker, Gylbert  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Subject:
Golden, Thelma  Search this
Whitney Museum of American Art  Search this
Black male: representations of masculinity in contemporary American art (Exhibition)  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
New York (State)
New York
Date:
1999
Topic:
African American art museum curators  Search this
Call number:
NX164.N4 B5X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_680920

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