The papers of Los Angeles photo and video artist Eileen Cowin measure 20.1 linear feet and 29.56 GB and date from circa 1900 to 2020. The papers include biographical materials consisting of school records, identification cards, an interview transcript, and other personal files; personal and professional correspondence; writings for essays, video art pieces, panels, and lectures; teaching files; project files containing grant and fellowship records, files for Cowin's Los Angeles Metro Public Art Project, and other commission files; exhibition files documenting Cowin's group and solo exhibitions including Still (and all): Eileen Cowin, 1971-1998, a retrospective of Cowin's work; printed material; video artwork including laserdiscs of ...and Their Daughter Married a Prince, "Speaking Woman," and "Scarcely Had They Uttered," as well as sketches and and etching of family; photographic material of Cowin, family, friends and colleagues, proofs and prints of works; and personal business records consisting of artwork donation records, business records with galleries, and insurance and inventory lists.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Los Angeles photo and video artist Eileen Cowin measure 20.1 linear feet and 29.56 GB and date from circa 1900 to 2020. The papers include biographical materials, correspondence, writings, teaching files, project files, exhibition files, printed and digital material, artwork and sketchbooks, sound and video recordings, and photographic material.
Biographical material consists of diplomas, passports, rolodexes, faculty identification cards, legal papers, interview transcripts, and miscellaneous documents in hard copy and digital formats.
Personal and professional correspondence is with family, friends, artists, collectors, gallery owners, museums, and universities. Notable correspondents include Carl Chiarenza, Darryl Curran, Maria Gonzalez, Robert Heinecken, Ellen Korsower, William Larson, and Aaron Siskind.
Writings include notebooks, annotated appointment calendars and wall calendars, lectures, essays, drafts and notes, artists statements, guest registers, and some writings by others. A few lectures and one essay are on sound and digital video recordings.
Teaching files are mostly related to material from California State University, Fullerton. There are a few documents from Franconia College and other universities where Eileen Cowin taught workshops or had faculty appointments. The files include student evaluations, promotion notifications, and limited correspondence.
Project files include professional files, such as grant applications, artist residencies, and symposiums. Also found are art project proposals, publication agreements for art projects, and commissions,. Files contain correspondence, printed and digital material, application forms, research notes, and photographic material.
Exhibition files include announcements, catalogs, reviews, correspondence, price lists of artwork, and assorted material for Eileen Cowin's group and solo shows.
Printed material consists primarily of clippings, exhibition catalogs, announcements, books, periodicals, and clippings.
Artwork includes 26 videocassettes of Cowin's artwork, 1 sketchbook, drawings, 4 digital audio recordings, and a few college art projects.
Photographic material includes press prints, digital photographs, proofs, contact sheets, slides, negatives, transparencies, and test shots. There are photographs of installations and artwork as well as images for exhibition mock-ups. There are also batches of "research photographs" which were used for reference. Also included are portraits and snapshots of Cowin, photographs of Cowin with friends and colleagues, and photographs of family.
Personal business records consisting of equipment lists for insurance, gallery files, addresses and contacts, and artwork donation files.
The collection is arranged as 10 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1927-2015 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 1, 24, ER01; 0.016 GB)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1969-2018 (3.9 linear feet; Boxes 1-4, 24, 28, ER02-ER03; 0.199 GB)
Series 3: Writings, 1963-2014 (2.4 linear feet; Boxes 4-6, 24-25, ER04-ER06; 11.88 GB)
Series 4: Teaching Files, 1974-2008 (0.3 linear feet, Boxes 6, 25, ER07; 0.171 GB)
Series 5: Project Files, 1979-2019 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 6-7, 25-26, OV 30, ER08; 9.35 GB)
Series 6: Exhibition Files, 1979-2012 (1.5 linear feet; Boxes 7-8, 26, ER09; 0.001 GB)
Series 7: Printed Material, 1966-2014 (2.6 linear feet; Boxes 8-10, 17, 26, OV 20, ER10; 0.011 GB)
Series 8: Artwork and Sketchbooks, 1964-2014 (3.2 linear feet; Boxes 10-13, 17, 26, 28, ER11; 0.076 GB)
Series 9: Photographic Material, circa 1900-2020 (3.2 linear feet; Boxes 13-16, 18-19, 26-28, OVs 21, 31-32, ER12-ER13; 7.86 GB)
Series 10: Personal Business Records, 1972-2017 (0.6 linear feet; Boxes 27-28)
Biographical / Historical:
Eileen Cowin (1947-) is a photographer and video artist who lives in Los Angeles, California.
Eileen Cowin was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947. She graduated from the State University of New York, New Paltz in 1968 and received her master's degree in photography from the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago in 1970. At IIT, she studied with Aaron Siskind and Arthur Siegel.
Cowin was involved in the L.A. experimental photography scene that began in the mid-1970s led by Robert Heinecken and Darryl Curran. In the early 1980s, Cowin gained initial prominence with staged photographs of family and friends in various roles, work in keeping with The Pictures Generation emerging at the same time on the East Coast.
From 1971-1975, Cowin taught photography at Franconia College in New Hampshire, and later became a professor at California State University, Fullerton, where she continued to teach until retiring in 2008.
Cowin's artwork has been featured in over 40 solo exhibitions and over 165 group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. She has received numerous awards for her art and worked on many public art projects.
The Eileen Cowin papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by Eileen Cowin in 2015 and 2021.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
One box of correspondence with Michael Dorris and Louise Erdrich and one box of correspondence with Robert Fichter are ACCESS RESTRICTED; use requires written permission.
Biographical material; personal and professional correspondence; project files; teaching and education files; photographs of Curran, others and works of art; exhibition and loan files; works of art; and printed material relating to photographer and educator, Darryl Curran.
Biographical / Historical:
Darryl Curran (1935-) is a photographer and educator in Los Angeles, California.
Donated 2016 by Darryl Curran.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.