An interview of Jean Milant, conducted 2015 July 20, by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, for the Archives of American Art at Milant's home in Los Angeles, California.
Jean Milant discusses growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and his French and German heritage; his introduction to art instruction in high school and further studies at the University of Wisconsin; his trips to Europe and New York City as an undergraduate art student; his time as a graduate student at the University of New Mexico, and his work at the Tamarind Institute printmaking program and his introduction to Los Angeles; his work at Tamarind with Ed Ruscha, Sam Francis, Ed Moses, and Ken Price, among others; the beginnings of Cirrus Gallery and Cirrus Editions and his search for backers for the two endeavors; his partnership with Terry Inch as a backer for Cirrus. Mr. Milant also describes the decision to move his gallery and printmaking shop to downtown Los Angeles in 1979; the support of Robert Egelston and the collector Donald Marron and other collectors who first subscribed to his print editions; his experiences in France with Minnie de Beauvau-Craon; the gallery and museum scene in Los Angeles in the early '70s and '80s; his efforts to promote Los Angeles as a vibrant center of art, including trips to Europe in the early '70s to show his artists; the creation of Ed Ruscha's prints using food; working with Bruce Nauman and John Baldessari to create prints; the creation of the Los Angeles Visual Arts group of L.A. art dealers; his involvement with the creation of the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art in 1974; his work with the artist Guy de Cointet and Mr. Cointet's early performances at Cirrus Gallery; the opening of MOCA in 1984; his desire to create a think-tank institute to help create a viable future for art. Mr. Milant also recalls Garo Antreasian, Newton Harrison, June Wayne, Frank Gehry, Robert Irwin, Eugene Sturman, Matsumi Kanemitsu, Ken Tyler, Riko Mizuno, Irving Blum, Gerry Rosen, Robert Overby, David Trowbridge as well as Chris Burden, Greg Card, Karen Carson, Craig Kauffman, Marian Goodman, Alain Rivière, Charles Christopher Hill, Steven Leiber, Viva, Michel Auder, and Jonas Wood, among others.
Biographical / Historical:
Jean Robert Milant (1943- ) is an art dealer and publisher in Los Angeles, California. Hunter Drohojowska-Philp is an art critic and writer from Beverly Hills, California.
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.
A lecture and interviews of twenty-two Southern California painters and sculptors, conducted and recorded by Los Angeles art critic Merle Schipper.
Interview tapes and Schipper's fragmentary notes are available for Greg S. Card, Tony Delap, Robert Graham, Frederick Hammersley, Marvin Harden, Craig Kauffman, Claude Kent, Charles Kessler, Harry Kipper, Jay Phillips, Charles Seliger, Peter T. Shelton, Judith Simonian, David Trowbridge, and John Van Hamersveld.
Only tapes are available for John Anderson, Joyce Cutler-Shaw, Gordon Onslow-Ford, Helen Pashgian, Frederick Stallknecht Wight and Rita Yokoi. Only Schipper's fragmentary notes are available for the DeWain Valentine interview. A tape of Craig Kauffman's May 9, 1979 lecture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is also included.
John Anderson interview is on the Gordon Onslow-Ford tape.
John Van Hamersveld interview is on the Harry Kipper tape.
Frederick Stallknecht Wight interview is on the Joyce Cutler-Shaw tape.
Rita Yokoi interview is on the Helen Pashgian tape.
Biographical / Historical:
California art critic and curator of the Fine Arts Gallery, California State University; b. in 1922.
Donated 1988 by Merle Schipper.
Untranscribed interviews; use requires an appointment and is limited to AAA's Washington, D.C. office.