The papers of New York video artist and painter Robert Wiegand measure 10.9 linear feet and 0.001 GB and date from 1953 to 1994. Found within the collection are biographical materials, correspondence, art project and exhibition files, printed abd digital materials, video art, photographs, and industrial and miscellaneous video recordings. About one-half of the collection is comprised of video recordings.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York video artist and painter Robert Wiegand measure 10.9 linear feet and 0.001 GB and date from 1953 to 1994. Found within the collection are biographical materials, correspondence, art project and exhibition files, printed and digital materials, video art, photographs, and industrial and miscellaneous video recordings. About one-half of the collection is comprised of video recordings.
Biographical materials include school yearbooks, video and paper documentation from his 1991 wedding, and photograph and video documentation of his funeral and memorial service in 1994. Also found are resumes and Wiegand's SoHo live/work artist permit from 1976.
Correspondence is comprised primarily of letters written by Wiegand, some in digital format, and a handful of letters received. Outgoing letters mainly concern Wiegand's video production work for hire and other personal financial matters. Letters received relate primarily to Wiegand's painting sales, and are from James McLeon, Vivian Browne, Susan Larson, Burt Chernow, and Alexandra Rose. Additional correspondence can be found in the project files.
Project files include documentation of the 1968 inagural "10 Downtown" exhibition, the City Walls mural project, a multimedia art work created through the Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT) project called Changes, the products of the 1978 trip to India, including the video work Snapshots of an Indian Day, the "Madama Butterfly" video production produced by Wiegand, and the artist panel series ArtistsTalkonArt. The files contain a wide variety of documentation, such as correspondence, event flyers and press materials, photographs, slides, and videos.
Printed materials include exhibition and event announcements and catalogs, clippings and reviews, magazine publications, and published books that contain Wiegand's work. There is also one scrapbook compiled by Wiegand for his 5th One Man Show of Paintings at the Phoenix Gallery in New York City.
Video artworks created by Wiegand, often made in collaboration with his wife Ingrid, include Georges, Julie, Moran, Omar is El Uno, Nat, Walking (interstices), Face-Off, and How to tell an artist with Dr. Sheldon Cholst. Photographs include a combination of personal and professional photographs, although most of the materials are slides of artworks and events. Of note are slides from the "Bicentennial Banners" exhibition that Wiegand was invited to participate in and that was on display at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum in 1976.
The last series contains over 4 linear feet of all other video recordings and includes industry productions, independent projects, performance documentation, work samples, and works by others. Notable among these productions are documentation of Pamela Stockwell's reenactment of the Tomkins Square Park riots of 1988 and footage of performers Carolee Schneemann, Trisha Brown, Laura Foreman, and Leonard Horowitz, among others.
The collection is arranged as seven series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1953-1994 (Boxes 1-2, 11; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence and Letters, 1962-1990 (Box 2; .3 linear feet, ER01; 0.001 GB)
Series 3: Project Files, 1968-1992 (Boxes 2-3, 11; 1.1 linear feet)
Series 4: Printed Materials, 1959-1990 (Boxes 3-4, 11; .7 linear feet)
Series 5: Video Art, 1970-1982 (Boxes 4-5; 1 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, 1953-1994 (Boxes 5-6; 1 linear feet)
Series 7: Other Video Recordings, 1968-1992 (Boxes 6-10; 4.7 linear feet)
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Nelson Wiegand (1934-1994) was a painter and video artist who worked and lived in New York City. Robert Wiegand's interest in art extended well beyond the point of creation, and throughout his life he worked not only as painter, but also as a teacher, advocate, and documentarian of the arts in New York City.
Born in Long Island in 1934, Wiegand attended the State University of New York, College of Buffalo and received a degree in arts education. He returned to New York City and became active in the artist community in SoHo. He was one of the co-founders of the SoHo Artists Association, an artists' organization formed to advocate for legalizing artist loft live/work spaces in lower Manhattan in the 1960s.
Wiegand married his first wife Ingrid in 1964, and they collaborated on many creative endeavors. They adopted two children from India, Indira and Pratap (also known as Peter), and separated in 1990. He married painter Lynn Braswell in 1991.
As a painter, Wiegand's work was highly geometric and influenced by the Abstract Expressionist movement. He exhibited paintings in one-man shows in New York City at the Phoenix Gallery and at the Levitan Gallery. In 1968, Wiegand participated in the first "10 Downtown" exhibition, where artists exhibited in their own studios in a move to overcome exclusive gallery representation practices. After painting a few exterior house murals, Wiegand co-founded City Walls, a New York City mural project that was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Through this project he became responsible for a handful of the murals in lower Manhattan. In 1968, Wiegand collaborated with Lloyed Kreutzer, a Bell Labs physicist specializing in lasers, to create the installation work Changes as part of Experiments In Art and Technology's (EAT) 1968 competition bringing together artists and engineers. It was then shown at Wiegand's studio in 1969. Wiegand was also one of the co-founders of ArtistsTalkOnArt, an artist run non-profit organization that continues to program weekly artist panel discussions in Soho, NY. It was co-founded in 1974 by Wiegand, Lori Antonacci, and Douglas Sheer, with Irving Sandler, Cynthia Navaretta, Bruce Barton and Corinne Robins joining the first board of directors in early 1975.
Wiegand became interested in video in the 1960s after using it as a documentary tool in the successful effort to legalize loft living in lower Manhattan. He then began creating video artworks, many of which were collaborations with his wife Ingrid. They received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1977 to produce a documentary on middle class life in India called Snapshots of an Indian Day. It was shown at The Kitchen and Anthology Film Archives before being acquired by the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY. In 1980, with the help of his students from the Global Village Intensive Video Workshop, Wiegand directed, shot, and edited the Brooklyn Opera Society's production Madama Butterfly at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and Tea House, and the production aired on WNYC-TV 13 as part of its Other Voices: New York series.
From 1971 to 1980, Wiegand ran his own commercial video company, Wiegand Video, where he produced corporate and industry training films. From 1980 to 1987, he worked as a project manager and producer for Square Twelve Productions, continuing to produce commercial work. His clients included the American Society for Mechanical Engineers and International Business Machines.
Wiegand also taught art and video production at the Staten Island Academy from 1961-1971, studio and television production at the New School for Social Research from 1980 to 1984, and field production at the Lehman College City University of NY. He also taught in the New York City C.E.T.A. program in media training and was a visiting media production instructor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Towards the end of his life, Wiegand changed careers and became a social worker. Robert Wiegand died in New York City in 1994, just after his 60th birthday.
Twenty sound cassettes of interviews and lectures were removed from the collection and returned to the organization that created them, ArtistsTalkOnArt. A few video cassettes are still found in the collection from that series.
The collection was donated by Lynn Braswell, Robert Wiegand's widow, in 1998 and 2000, and in 2014 by Ingrid Wiegand, Robert Wiegand's first wife.
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Use of original papers requires an appointment.
The donor has retained all intellectual property rights, including copyright, that they may own.
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