The records of the New York artist-cooperative Park Place, The Gallery of Art Research, Inc. and the Soho contemporary art gallery Paula Cooper Gallery measure 135.3 linear feet and 0.001 GB and date from circa 1961 to 2018. The collection documents the founding of the Park Place Gallery and its artists through correspondence, artists' files, photographic materials, financial records, printed and digital materials, and scattered business records. The bulk of the collection is Paula Cooper Gallery records; nearly two-thirds of which are artists' files containing a variety of materials such as correspondence, printed materials, and photographic materials. Also found is additional business correspondence, business records, financial records, and printed materials for Paula Cooper Gallery, as well as a handful of records from Paula Johnson Gallery. There is an 85.5 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2023 that includes artist files, exhibition files, correspondence, audiovisual material, archtectural plans and miscellaneous business records from Paula Cooper Gallery. Materials date from circa 1970-2018.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of the New York artist-cooperative Park Place, The Gallery of Art Research, Inc. and the Soho contemporary art gallery Paula Cooper Gallery measure 135.3 linear feet and 0.001 GB and date from circa 1961 to 2018. The collection documents the founding of the Park Place Gallery and its artists through correspondence, artists' files, photographic materials, financial records, printed and digital materials, and scattered business records. The bulk of the collection is Paula Cooper Gallery records; nearly two-thirds of which are artists' files containing a variety of materials such as correspondence, printed materials, and photographic materials. Also found is additional business correspondence, business records, financial records, and printed materials for Paula Cooper Gallery, as well as a handful of records from Paula Johnson Gallery.
The collection is divided in three series, one series for each gallery represented in this collection. The records in each series are not comprehensive and do not represent the full scope of operations at each gallery. Due to the original arrangement of materials, some records related to Park Place Gallery are found in Series 3, and scattered records related to Paula Cooper Gallery are found in Series 2. Researchers are encouraged to reference both series.
Series 1, Paula Johnson Gallery records, contains six folders and includes an artist file for Bob Thompson; two ledger pages of accounts receivables; scattered exhibition announcements and flyers; two photographs of artwork by Vernon Lobb; tax records, and a handful of legal organizational records.
Park Place, The Gallery of Art Research, Inc. records are filed in Series 2 and is arranged in five subseries: correspondence, business files, artists' files, financial records, and printed materials. The correspondence is between gallery employees and clients, museums, and other galleries regarding artwork inquiries, sales and exhibitions. Business files are limited in scope and include documents related to the founding of the gallery, a guest book, and one folder of legal and financial records. Artists' Files for eight of the ten Park Place Gallery artists are found: Dean Fleming, Peter Forakis, Tony Magar, Tamara Melcher, Forrest Myers, David Novros, Edwin Ruda, and Leo Valledor. Not present in this collection are files for Mark di Suvero and Robert Grosvenor. Artists' Files contain a variety of materials including artists' statements, bibliographies, biographies, correspondence, exhibition flyers, interview transcripts, clippings and other printed materials, and photographic materials. Financial Records include check ledgers, a general ledger, paid bill receipts, sales invoices, tax forms, and other miscellaneous financial and banking records. Printed Materials include newspaper clippings, gallery announcements, an interview transcript, a handwritten gallery floor plan, and a poster for the 1964 Park Place Invitational Show drawn by Mark di Suvero with artists' names handwritten by Robert Grosvenor.
The bulk of the collection is the records of Paula Cooper Gallery, Series 3. This series contains similar materials as Series 2 and is arranged in the same five subseries. Correspondence includes responses to appraisal requests (1968-1997) and copies of outgoing gallery correspondence from 1985-1999. Business Files contain documentation related to advertising and renovations to the gallery, as well as an artwork inventory book from the early years of the gallery's operation. The bulk of this series is comprised of Artists' Files which contain varied materials such as correspondence with artists, museums, and galleries regarding installations, artwork fabrication, and other business; biographies and bibliographies; exhibition files; printed materials; and photographic materials of artwork and installations. There is considerable documentation for artists Jennifer Bartlett, Peter Campus, Zoe Leonard, Elizabeth Murray, Alan Shields and the estate of Tony Smith. Sales invoices, consignment records, payment ledgers, cancelled checks and other financial materials are found in Financial Records. Printed Materials are comprised of some newspaper and magazine clippings, an interview transcript, and a copy of a manuscript.
There is an 85.5 linear foot unprocessed addition to this collection donated in 2022 that includes artist files, exhibition files, correspondence, audiovisual material, architectural plans, and miscellaneous business records from Paula Cooper Gallery. Materials date from circa 1970-2018.
The collection is arranged as 4 series:
Series 1: Paula Johnson Gallery, 1963-1967 (Box 1; 6 folders)
Series 2: Park Place, The Gallery of Art Research, Inc., 1961-1973, 1989 (Boxes 1-4, 50-51, OV 52; 4.1 linear feet)
Series 3: Paula Cooper Gallery, 1962-2006 (Boxes 4-49, 51; 45.7 linear feet, ER01; 0.001 GB)
Series 4: Unprocessed Addition, circa 1970-2018 (Boxes 53-138, OV 139-146; 85.5 linear feet)
The artists' cooperative Park Place, The Gallery of Art Research, Inc. opened in November 1965 at 542 West Broadway, showing the work of ten young contemporary artists. The cooperative did not represent an art movement, but frequently exhibited large-scale, non-figurative, geometric paintings and sculptures.
Many of the gallery's artists had attended art school in California and shared similar ideas about art, community, and collaboration. Since 1962, they had been informally exhibiting together at 79 Park Place and other various New York City locations under the name Park Place Gallery. With the successes of their informal exhibitions, and the loss of their lease at 79 Park Place, the group formalized their cooperative under the umbrella non-profit, Art Research, Inc. in 1965.
The cooperative was comprised of five sculptors, five painters, and five collectors. Members included sculptors Mark di Suvero, Peter Forakis, Robert Grosvenor, Tony Magar, and Forrest Myers; painters Dean Fleming, Tamara Melcher, David Novros, Edwin Ruda, and Leo Valledor; and collectors Virginia Dwan, Allen and Betty Guiberson, J. Patrick Lannan, Vera List, and John and Lupe Murchison. The collectors each donated an artwork by one of the artists for sale in the gallery, as well as financed the gallery's annual operating budget. As compensation, each collector was given one major work of art by each artist every year.
Paula Cooper (nee. Johnson) joined Park Place Gallery in 1966 and she became director in late 1966-early 1967. Previously, from 1964-1966, she ran Paula Johnson Gallery, showing artwork by Bob Thompson and other young artists.
Park Place, The Gallery of Art Research, Inc. had its first group show in February 1966. In addition to showing art, the gallery occasionally held jazz sessions and other art-related gatherings. The gallery physically closed at the end of July 1967. However, Paula Cooper continued managing the sale of artwork and organized exhibitions at various locations. The final exhibition of Park Place Gallery artists was held at M.I.T. in late spring of 1968.
Paula Cooper opened Paula Cooper Gallery in Soho at 96 Prince Street in 1968. Her gallery is often credited as being the first gallery in Soho and thus paved the way for the migration of uptown galleries to the neighborhood. From the beginning, the gallery showed primarily conceptual and minimalist art and she continued representing some of the Park Place artists. Artists represented by Paula Cooper Gallery and found in this collection include Jennifer Bartlett, Dara Birnbaum, Peter Campus, Michael Hurson, Zoe Leonard, Robert Mangold, Elizabeth Murray, Cady Noland, Adrian Piper, Ulrich Rückriem, Edwin Ruda, Alan Shields, the estate of Tony Smith, Joseph White, Chris Wilmarth, Kes Zapkus, and many others. The gallery continues to operate in Chelsea on West 21st Street.
Sources consulted include "Reimaging Space: the Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York" by Linda Dalrymple Henderson, published by Blanton Museum of Art, 2008; and, "Art and Space: Park Place and the beginning of the Paula Cooper Gallery," by Liza Kirwin, 2007 (http://www.aaa.si.edu/exhibitions/paula-cooper).
Related collections found among the holdings of the Archives of America include a sound recording of a lecture given by Paula Cooper (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston sound recordings, May 18, 1983-February 8, 1984); audio tapes which include Paula Cooper (Bruce D. Kurtz video and audio recordings and papers, 1966-1995); and two silent 16mm films by Kenny Schneider (Park Place Gallery artists films, 1967.)
Park Place, The Gallery of Art Research, Inc. records and Paula Cooper Gallery records were donated by Paula Cooper, director of the galleries, in thre accessions in 2006, 2009 and 2022.
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 and born-digital records in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.
All collection material in boxes 1-52, except photographs: Permission to quote, publish or reproduce requires written permission from Paula Cooper. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Art galleries, Commercial -- New York (State)
Park Place, The Gallery of Art Research, Inc. records and Paula Cooper Gallery records, 1961-2006. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collection Care Preservation Fund