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Oral history interview with Larry Jordan

Interviewee:
Jordan, Larry, 1934-  Search this
Interviewer:
Karlstrom, Paul J.  Search this
Names:
Berman, Wallace, 1926-1976  Search this
Brackage, Stan  Search this
Conner, Bruce, 1933-2008  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
DeFeo, Jay, 1929-1989  Search this
Deren, Maya  Search this
Duncan, Robert Edward, 1919-  Search this
Ernst, Max, 1891-1976  Search this
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997  Search this
Hedrick, Wally, 1928-2003  Search this
Herms, George, 1935-  Search this
Jess, 1923-  Search this
Jordan, Patricia M., 1937-1989  Search this
McClure, Michael  Search this
Nauman, Bruce, 1941-  Search this
Rexroth, Kenneth, 1905-1982  Search this
Extent:
6 Sound cassettes (Sound recording, analog)
100 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound cassettes
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1995 Dec. 19 - 1996 July 30
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Larry Jordan conducted 1995 Dec. 19-1996 July 30, by Paul Karlstrom, for the Archives of American Art, at the artist's home, in Petaluma, Calif.
Jordan discusses his family background in Denver; his attraction to contemporary avant-garde; his brief time at Harvard, and his mental breakdown and return to Denver; his move to San Francisco in 1954 because of the artistic and literary atmosphere there; meeting Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Duncan and other poets and his initial introduction to the creative community in San Francisco; his friendships with Jordan Belsen, Michael McClure, Wally Hedrick and Jay DeFeo; the San Francisco Renaissance, the beat era, and what it means to be "beat;" the distinction in intensity between bohemianism and the resurrection of the self during the beat era, the social impact of the anti-establishment movement; and the difference between artists and political activists.
Jordan discusses his influences and important moments in his experimental film career; the surrealist methods for social changes as seen in film; the west coast filmmakers focus on the interior and mystical; the rivalry in the film world; his association with Bruce Conner and their founding a film society together in 1956 and establishing an experimental theater; meeting Joseph Cornell and his invitation to assist him with films, their time spent together, Cornell as a filmmaker, preparing Cornell boxes, and the influence of Cornell on is own art. He discusses his own art; his role as an artist in society; the religious aspect in his art; his place in the avant-garde film world; the major influences in his art; and the concept of death and the celebration of the mind as a major theme in his film and artwork.
He recalls Wallace Berman, Stan Brackage, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Maya Deren, Robert Duncan, Max Ernst, Allen Ginsberg, Wally Hedrick, George Herms, Jess, Patricia Jordan, Michael McClure, Bruce Nauman, and Kenneth Rexroth.
Biographical / Historical:
Larry Jordan (1934- ) is a filmmaker and collagist from Petaluma, Calif.
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. Funding for the transcription of this interview provided by the Pasadena Art Alliance.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Topic:
Filmmakers -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Collagists -- California -- Interviews  Search this
Beat generation  Search this
Art -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.jordan95
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-jordan95

Wallace Berman papers

Creator:
Berman, Wallace, 1926-1976  Search this
Names:
Bengston, Billy Al  Search this
DeFeo, Jay, 1929-1989  Search this
Di Prima, Diane  Search this
Duncan, Robert Edward, 1919-  Search this
Fonda, Peter, 1940-  Search this
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-  Search this
Heinecken, Robert, 1931-  Search this
Herms, George, 1935-  Search this
Hirschman, Jack, 1933-  Search this
Hopper, Dennis, 1936-  Search this
Jess, 1923-  Search this
Johnson, Ray, 1927-  Search this
Jordan, Patricia M., 1937-1989  Search this
Lamantia, Philip, 1927-  Search this
McClure, Michael  Search this
Meltzer, David  Search this
Miller, Henry, 1891-  Search this
Patchen, Kenneth, 1911-1972  Search this
Perkoff, Stuart Z.  Search this
Ruscha, Edward  Search this
Sherman, Donald  Search this
Wieners, John, 1934-  Search this
Extent:
5 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Drawings
Sound recordings
Photographs
Date:
1907-1979
bulk 1955-1979
Summary:
The Wallace Berman papers date from 1907 to 1979 (bulk 1955-1979). The collection measures 5 linear feet and presents a cursory overview of Berman's career as an assemblage artist and poet. The collection contains business correspondence, letters from other artists and writers of the Beat movement, writings by others, scattered artwork by Berman, photographs by Robert F. Heinecken, and sound recordings of poetry readings.
Scope and Content Note:
The Wallace Berman papers, 1907-1979 (bulk 1955-1979), measure 5 linear feet and present a cursory overview of Berman's career as an assemblage artist and poet. The collection is valuable not only for its documentation of the work of Wallace Berman, but for its documentation of the California beat movement of the late 1950s through the early 1970s.

Found are numerous letters, writings, poems, and other published material which portray the thoughts, attitudes, and trends popular in a prominent underground culture which eventually led to radical changes in America and American art. The collection contains business correspondence, letters from other artists and writers of the beat movement, writings by others, scattered artwork by Berman, and photographs by Robert F. Heinecken. In addition, the collection contains files for Berman's mail art publications Semina and S.M.S. Also of note is the large volume of printed material (2.7 feet), much of it in the form of books and other published material. Sound recordings include poets Michael McClure, Kenneth Patchen, David Melzer, and another unidentified writer performing their work.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into nine series which generally reflect material type.

With the exception of the letters in Series 1, each series is arranged chronologically. The original arrangement of the letters has been maintained, with a chronological arrangement of miscellaneous business letters and an alphabetical arrangement of the letters from Berman's more prominent colleagues.

Series 1: Letters, 1957-1979, undated (box 1, 0.5 linear feet)

Series 2: Notes from Interview, 1967 (box 1, 1 folder)

Series 3: Writings by Others, 1972, undated (box 1, 6 folders)

Series 4: Artwork, 1956-1976 (box 1, 4 folders)

Series 5: Semina, 1955-1967 (boxes 1-2, 26 folders)

Series 6: S. M. S., 1968 (box 2, 1 folders)

Series 7: Printed Material, 1907-1976 (boxes 2-5, 2.7 linear feet)

Series 8: Photographs, 1956-1976 (box 5, 6 folders)

Series 9: Sound Recordings, 1962-1965 (box 5, 6 folders)
Biographical Note:
Wallace Berman was born in 1926 in Staten Island, New York. In the 1930s, his family moved to the Jewish district in Los Angeles. After being expelled from high school for gambling in the early 1940s, Berman immersed himself in the growing West Coast jazz scene. During this period, he briefly attended the Jepson Art School and Chouinard Art School, but departed when he found the training too academic for his needs.

In 1949, while working in a factory finishing antique furniture, he began to make sculptures from unused scraps and reject materials. By the early 1950s, Berman had become a full-time artist and an active figure in the beat community in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Many art historians consider him to be the "father" of the California assemblage movement. Moving between the two cities, Berman devoted himself to his mail art publication Semina, which contained a sampling of beat poetry and images selected by Berman.

In 1963, permanently settled in Topanga Canyon in the Los Angeles area, Berman began work on verifax collages (printed images, often from magazines and newspapers, mounted in collage fashion onto a flat surface, sometimes with solid bright areas of acrylic paint). He continued creating these works, as well as rock assemblages, until his death in 1976.
Provenance:
The Wallace Berman papers were donated by Tosh Berman, Wallace Berman's son, in 1992.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy. Use of audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
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:
Assemblage artists  Search this
Topic:
Works of art  Search this
Poets  Search this
Collage  Search this
Art -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area  Search this
Assemblage (Art)  Search this
Beat generation  Search this
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Sound recordings
Photographs
Citation:
Wallace Berman papers, 1907-1979 (bulk 1955-1979). Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.bermwall
See more items in:
Wallace Berman papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-bermwall
Online Media:

Patricia Jordan papers

Creator:
Jordan, Patricia M., 1937-1989  Search this
Names:
Anger, Kenneth  Search this
Beattie, Paul, 1924-1988  Search this
Berman, Wallace, 1926-1976  Search this
Brakhage, Stan  Search this
Cornell, Joseph  Search this
Duncan, Robert Edward, 1919-  Search this
Herms, George, 1935-  Search this
Jess, 1923-  Search this
Jordan, Larry, 1934-  Search this
Snyder, Gary, 1930-  Search this
Extent:
2.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Illustrated letters
Mail art
Photographs
Date:
1870
1949-1984
Summary:
The papers of San Francisco based Beat photographer Patricia Jordan measure 2.3 linear feet and date from 1870, 1949-1984. The papers include correspondence, much of it illustrated and with Beat artists and poets, writings, exhibition files, printed materials, photographs, and artwork.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of San Francisco based Beat photographer Patricia Jordan measure 2.3 linear feet and date from 1870, 1949-1984. The papers include correspondence, much of it illustrated and with Beat artists and poets, writings, exhibition files, printed materials, photographs, and artwork.

About one-half of the collection consists of correspondence; many items of which could be considered works of art or mail art. There are letters, illustrated letters, photographs, collages, postcards, greeting and holiday cards, and exhibition invitations. Letters are addressed to Patricia Jordan, her husband Larry, and/or daughter Lorna and are from family and friends, including many Beat artists and poets such as Kenneth Anger, Steve Arnold, Paul Beattie, Wallace Berman, Stan Brakhage, Jess Collins, Joseph Cornell (with whom Larry Jordan studied in 1965), Robert Duncan, George Herms, and Gary Snyder. Family letters are from Patricia's parents, sisters, daughter, and husband Larry.

The papers contain a large number of photographs and are primarily portraits taken by Patricia Jordan of friends and family including her husband Larry, daughter Lorna, Geroge Herms, and Wallace Berman. Many of the subjects are not identified. Some photographs are candid snapshots, while others are prints and test prints of images featured in the 1975 exhibition, "A Kind of Beatness," at Focus Gallery in San Francisco.

The remainder of the collection is comprised of scattered writings, exhibition files, printed material, and artwork.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 6 series

Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1950-1977 (1.1 linear feet; Box 1, OV 4)

Series 2: Writings, circa 1959-1970s (0.1 linear foot; Box 2)

Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1962-1978 (0.1 linear foot; Box 2)

Series 4: Printed Material, circa 1920-1984 (0.2 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 5: Photographs, circa 1870-1970s (0.7 linear feet; Box 2-3)

Series 6: Artwork, 1949-circa 1970s (0.2 linear feet; Box 2-3)
Biographical / Historical:
Patricia Jordan (1937-1988) was a photographer and integral part of the Beat circle in San Francisco during the late 1950s and 1960s. Through her photography, she captured intimate portraits of the artists and poets in San Francisco at that time. Patricia Jordan, née Topalian, married Larry Jordan, assemblagist and avant-garde filmmaker, in the late 1950s. They lived in San Francisco, Larkspur, and finally settled in San Anselmo, California. Patricia and Larry Jordan had one daughter, Lorna, born in 1960.
Provenance:
Patricia Jordan donated her papers to the Archives of American Art in 1988.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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.
Topic:
Photographers -- California -- San Francisco  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Beat generation  Search this
Genre/Form:
Illustrated letters
Mail art
Photographs
Citation:
Patricia Jordan papers, 1870, 1949-1984. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.jordpatr
See more items in:
Patricia Jordan papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-jordpatr
Online Media:

Robert Edward Duncan and Jess Collins scrapbook for Patricia Jordan

Creator:
Duncan, Robert Edward, 1919-1988  Search this
Collins, Jess, 1923-2004  Search this
Duncan, Robert Edward, 1919-1988  Search this
Subject:
Jordan, Patricia M.  Search this
Type:
Albums
Date:
1959
Topic:
Artists' books  Search this
Collage  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)11139
See more items in:
Patricia Jordan papers, 1870
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_11139

Poem by a north mountain

Creator:
Collins, Jess, 1923-2004  Search this
Collins, Jess, 1923-2004  Search this
Type:
Artworks
Date:
1960s or 1970s
Topic:
Poetry  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)13966
See more items in:
Patricia Jordan papers, 1870
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_13966

Jess: artist file, [photographs]

Artist:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Physical description:
1 folder
Type:
Photograph
Artist files
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Image number:
VFM VF001550
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_140059

Jess : o! tricky cad & other Jessoterica / edited by Michael Duncan

Title:
O! tricky cad & other Jessoterica
O!
Author:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Duncan, Michael  Search this
Duncan, Robert 1919-1988  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Physical description:
191 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Catalogs
Date:
2012
20th century
Topic:
Collage, American  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1001288

Jess, 1923-2004 [Folder]

Alternate name:
Burgess Collins  Search this
Additional name:
Collins, Burgess  Search this
Contents:
Folder(s) may include exhibition announcements, newspaper and/or magazine clippings, press releases, brochures, reviews, invitations, illustrations, resumes, artist's statements, exhibition catalogs.
Topic:
Artists  Search this
Location:
Art & Artist files at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/ National Portrait Gallery Library
Art & Artist files at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library
Data source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:SILAF_29892

Jess, paste-ups : December 16, 1972 to January 28, 1973 / Museum of Contemporary Art

Author:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, Ill.)  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Physical description:
7 leaves in portfolio : ill. ; 25 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
1972
[1972]
Call number:
N6537.J47 A4 1972
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_810113

Jess : to and from the printed page / Ingrid Schaffner ; prologue by John Ashbery ; essay by Lisa Jarnot

Author:
Schaffner, Ingrid  Search this
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Jarnot, Lisa 1967-  Search this
San Jose Museum of Art  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Physical description:
112 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 27 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2007
C2007
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_827044

Word pictures : Jess, Ray Johnson : paste-ups moticos and assemblages 1951-1997 : December 1-December 4, 2005, Art Basel Miami Beach, Booth J4 / [essay by Michael Auping]

Title:
Jess word pictures Ray Johnson
Jess : word pictures
Ray Johnson : word pictures
Author:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Johnson, Ray 1927-1995  Search this
Auping, Michael  Search this
Hackett-Freedman Gallery  Search this
Art Basel Miami Beach  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Johnson, Ray 1927-1995  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2005
Call number:
N6537.J47 A4 2005
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_834987

Jess : Odyssia Gallery at The Art Show ... February 15-19, 1989 ; John Berggruen Gallery ... March 15-April 15, 1989 / essay by Madeleine Burnside

Title:
Tricky cad
Author:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Burnside, Madeleine  Search this
Odyssia Gallery  Search this
John Berggruen Gallery (San Francisco, Calif.)  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004 Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
[31] p. : col. ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1989
[1989]
Call number:
N6537.J47 A4 1989
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_651365

Translation / Jess ; introduction by Robert Duncan

Author:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Duncan, Robert 1919-1988-  Search this
Odyssia Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004 Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
xiii, [32] p. : ill. ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1971
Call number:
N6537.J47 A4 1971
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_651601

Caesar's gate : poems, 1949-50 / Robert Duncan ; with paste-ups by Jess

Author:
Duncan, Robert 1919-1988  Search this
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Physical description:
xlix, 73 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1972
Call number:
PS3507.U629 C3
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_655598

Lyn Brockway, Harry Jacobus, and Jess : the romantic paintings

Author:
Brockway, Lyn  Search this
Jacobus, Harry  Search this
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Wiegand Art Gallery  Search this
Palo Alto Cultural Center  Search this
Subject:
Brockway, Lyn  Search this
Jacobus, Harry  Search this
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Physical description:
46 p. : ill. (some col.), ports. ; 19 x 22 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
California
San Francisco Bay Area
Date:
1990
1990]
20th century
Topic:
Painting, American  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.B8568 W6 1990
N40.1.B8568W6 1990
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_422720

Jess, a grand collage, 1951-1993 / organized by Michael Auping ; with essays by Michael Auping, Robert J. Bertholf, Michael Palmer

Author:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Auping, Michael  Search this
Bertholf, Robert J  Search this
Palmer, Michael 1943-  Search this
Albright-Knox Art Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004 Exhibitions  Search this
Jess 1923-2004 Interviews  Search this
Physical description:
245 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 x 29 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1993
Call number:
N40.1.C6857 A9j 1993
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_456613

Jess : emblems for Robert Duncan : [exhibition] San Jose Museum of Art / essay by John Yau

Author:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Yau, John 1950-  Search this
San Jose Museum of Art  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004 Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
1 v. (unpaged) : chiefly ill. ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1990
C1990
Call number:
N40.1.T35 Y35 1990
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_398135

Jess, paste ups (and assemblies), 1951-1983 / Michael Auping

Author:
Auping, Michael  Search this
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art  Search this
Newport Harbor Art Museum  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004 Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
157 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1983
C1983
Call number:
N40.1.C6857 A9
N6537.J47A4 1983X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_227217

The four seasons & other paste-ups : [exhibition] 1980, Odyssia Gallery, New York / Jess ; with various texts assembled by the artist

Author:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Odyssia Gallery  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004 Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
[31] p. : ill. (some col.) ; 19 x 26 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Date:
1980
Topic:
Collage, American  Search this
Call number:
N40.1.C6857 O2
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_163682

Translation / Jess ; introduction by Robert Duncan

Author:
Jess 1923-2004  Search this
Duncan, Robert 1919-1988-  Search this
Subject:
Jess 1923-2004 Exhibitions  Search this
Physical description:
xiii, [32] p. : ill. ; 26 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1971
Call number:
N40.1.C6857 D9 1971
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_20460

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