The records of the New York City contemporary Gracie Mansion Gallery measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1972-1991. Most of the records date from the gallery opening in 1982 and later. The bulk of the collection consists of printed material and exhibition loan files that document the activities of the gallery and the East Village art scene. Loan and consignment files are found for numerous artists including Michael Bidlo, Buster Cleveland, Claudia DeMonte, Rodney Alan Greenblat, Stephen Lack, Ed McGowin, David Sandlin, Hope Sandrow, David Wojnarowicz, Rhonda Zwillinger, among others. Also found are scattered business records.
Scope and Content Note:
The records of the New York City contemporary Gracie Mansion Gallery measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1972-1991. Most of the records date from the gallery's opening in 1982 and later. The bulk of the collection consists of printed material and exhibition loan files that document the activities of the gallery and the East Village art scene. Loan and consignment files are found for numerous artists including Michael Bidlo, Buster Cleveland, Claudia DeMonte, Rodney Alan Greenblat, Stephen Lack, Ed McGowin, David Sandlin, Hope Sandrow, David Wojnarowicz, and Rhonda Zwillinger, among others. Also found are scattered business records.
Extensive printed material includes newspaper and magazine clippings, exhibition catalogs, and artists' files. Exhibition loan files are found for artists, exhibitions, and art fairs. These files contain consignment and loan agreement forms, correspondence, exhibition announcements, newspaper and magazine clippings, negatives and slides of artwork and exhibition installations, and a handful of color photographs of artwork or exhibition locales.
Scattered business records include correspondence, returned consignment forms from 1982-1987, donation records and materials related to art auctions, artist commissions, various lists, materials related to the Gracie Mansion Museum Store, notes, and a variety of other documents related to gallery operations.
The collection is arranged as 3 series:
Series 1: Printed Material, 1972-1991 (Boxes 1-2, 6; 0.80 linear feet)
Series 2: Exhibition Loans, 1982-1991 (Boxes 2-4; 2.25 linear feet)
Series 3: Business Records, 1982-1991 (Box 5; 1 linear foot)
Painter and dealer Joanne Mayhew (b. circa 1947) changed her name to Gracie Mansion in 1982, and opened a gallery in the bathroom of her East Village apartment in March of that same year.
Gracie Mansion's first "Loo Division" exhibition was of her friend's photographs. The previous year, Gracie Mansion helped organize the "Limo Show", for which she rented a limousine and parked it on the corner of Spring and Broadway with fellow artists Buster Cleveland and Sur Rodney Sur. There, dressed as tourists, they served champagne and tried to sell their artwork to passersby.
This grassroots approach to the art market came to typify the emerging East Village art scene. Frustrated by the closed system of the SoHo and 57th Street galleries, in 1981-1982 several young artists and artists' groups began organizing shows and forming makeshift galleries of their own for fun and profit in the more affordable dilapidated East Village. The artwork they sold, predominately paintings, were also more affordable than those in SoHo.
The press quickly picked up on the East Village phenomenon and Mansion, who borrowed her name from the New York City mayor's official residence, had a charisma that made her and her gallery one of its favorite subjects. After three well-attended shows in her apartment, her landlord put a halt to her exhibitions and she moved her gallery to a larger space at 15 St. Mark's, then shortly after to 337 East Tenth Street between Avenues A and B. An integral part of the East Village art scene by the mid-80's, the Gracie Mansion Gallery, ran with the assistance of Sur Rodney Sur from 1983-1989, was one of the best known in the East Village during this boon.
Mansion specialized in large group exhibitions, theme shows that dramatically restyled the gallery, and the creative marketing of small affordable art. She represented a synthesis of painting and sculpture, art and environments, as opposed to single isolated objects. Among the artists she represented were Claudia DeMonte, Rodney Alan Greenblat, Ed McGowin , David Sandlin, Hope Sandrow, David Wojnarowicz, and Rhonda Zwillinger.
Eventually, Mansion relocated the gallery to SoHo and then Chelsea before closing in 2002 to focus on private dealing and the secondary market.
The Gracie Mansion Gallery records were donated in 1991 by Gracie Mansion, founder of the Gracie Mansion Gallery.
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York Search this
Inventory cards track artwork entering and leaving the gallery. Each card lists a work's artist, title, date, media, and measurements. Most cards include a photograph of the artwork, and most cards further list the ultimate action taken regarding the work (sold, returned to artist or gallery, consigned, etc.), the list price or paid price, exhibition and catalog history, and the history of price quotes given for the work. The gallery used a number of abbreviations for the transactions on the inventory cards:
NFS - Not For Sale
RTA - Returned to Artist
o/c - On Consignment (from)
o/a - On Approval
OOG - Out of Gallery
O/L - On Loan (from)
TGF - Top Gallant Farm
There are no inventory cards tracking pre-Columbian art and artifacts in the collection. The cards represent works from both the New York gallery and Zurich gallery.
The cards are arranged into ten overlapping groups established by the gallery representing transactions, such as sales and consignments, loans, returns, and other general art movement. Within each category, most of the cards are alphabetized by artist and thereafter by title, but occasionally an artist's work is divided into categories (for example by media) before being arranged alphabetically by title:
Returned to Artist
Sold and/or Returned to Artist
Returned to Artist
Old Top Gallant Farm Sculptures
Emmerich Private Sold
Last Active Inventory and Sales
See Appendix for a list of artists' names represented by the Artist Inventory Cards in Series 8.1.
Appendix: Artists' Names Represented in Artist Inventory Cards in Series 8.1.:
Arp, Jean (Hans)
Bannard, Walter Darby
Becher, Bernd and Hillar
Best, Mary Ellen
Cohen, Elaine Lustig
de Amaral, Olga
de Chirico, Giorgio
de Clercq, Louis
de Kooning, Willem
de Valdivia, Marco
di Suvero, Mark
Du Maine, H.
Edgerton, Dr. Harold
Griefen, John Adams
Horne, Bernard Shea
Langlois and Martens
La Noue, Terence
Le Gray, Gustave
Lohse, Richard Paul
On Consignment from Peter Marks
McDermott & McGough, Messrs.
McDonnell, Joseph Anthony
Nadar, (Felix Tournachon)
Offord, J. Milton
Paik, Nam June
Quisgard, Liz Whitney
Rutherford, Louis M.
de Saint Phalle, Niki
Sutton, Pat Lipsky
Talbot, William Henry Fox
Unger, Mary Ann
Van Dongen, Kees
Van Gogh Manuscript
Van Stalbent, Adrien
Van Velde, Bram
Waid, Mary Joan
Ward, Cora Kelly
Watkins, Charlton E.
Wols, Alfred Otto Wolfgang
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center.
Access of diaries and appointment books required written permission.
André Emmerich Gallery records and André Emmerich papers, circa 1929-2009. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Leon Levy Foundation.