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Interview about Bob Thompson with Kenneth Young

Creator:
Young, Kenneth, 1933-  Search this
Wilson, Judith  Search this
Subject:
Thompson, Bob (Robert Louis)  Search this
Type:
Sound Recording
Date:
1986 November 8
Citation:
Kenneth Young and Judith Wilson. Interview about Bob Thompson with Kenneth Young, 1986 November 8. Judith Wilson papers, 1966-2010. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Record number:
(DSI-AAA)24817
See more items in:
Judith Wilson papers, 1966-2010
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_item_24817

Night Push, (painting)

Painter:
Young, Kenneth 1933-2017  Search this
Medium:
Acrylic on canvas
Type:
Paintings
Owner/Location:
Johnson Collection, The 100 Dunbar Street, Suite 203 Spartanburg South Carolina 29306 Accession Number: 2022.03.02
Date:
1972
Topic:
Abstract  Search this
Control number:
IAP 68670862
Data Source:
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_ari_480081

Bob Thompson papers

Creator:
Thompson, Bob, 1937-1966  Search this
Names:
Billiard Place  Search this
David Anerson Gallery  Search this
Donald Morris Gallery  Search this
Sluggs Jazz Club  Search this
The Billard Palace  Search this
Whitney Museum of American Art  Search this
Baraka, Amiri, 1934-2014  Search this
Beskind, Dorothy Levitt  Search this
Bridwell, Margaret  Search this
Covi, Dario A.  Search this
Crodel, Charles, 1894-1973  Search this
Cruz, Emilio, 1938-  Search this
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-  Search this
Martin, Mary, 1913-  Search this
May, Mary Spencer  Search this
Ratcliff, Carter  Search this
Schapiro, Meyer, 1904-  Search this
Spellman, A. B., 1935-  Search this
Thompson, Bessie  Search this
Thompson, Carol  Search this
Wilke, Ulfert, 1907-1987  Search this
Wilson, Judith, 1952-  Search this
Young, Kenneth, 1933-  Search this
Extent:
2 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Video recordings
Photographs
Date:
1949-2005
Summary:
The papers of New York African American figurative painter Bob Thompson measure 2 linear feet and date from 1949 to 2005. The collection includes biographical material, videocassettes, correspondence, writings by Bob Thompson and others, exhibition files, scattered personal business records, printed material, photographs, and photograph albums. The correspondence is mostly between Carol Thompson, the artist's wife, and others concerning Bob Thompson's artwork.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York African American figurative painter Bob Thompson measure 2 linear feet and date from 1949 to 2005. The collection includes biographical material, videocassettes, correspondence, writings by Bob Thompson and others, exhibition files, scattered personal business records, printed material, photographs, and photograph albums. The correspondence is mostly between Carol Thompson, the artist's wife, and others concerning Bob Thompson's artwork.

Biographical material includes certificates, school memorabilia, biographical chronologies, a memorial program and obituaries, and a transcript of "Bob Thompson: His Life and Friendships" panel discussion with several notable artists commenting on Thompson. There is also a video recording copy of a 1965 film by Dorothy Levitt Beskind titled Bob Thompson Happening which was made to accompany a 1999 exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art.

Carol Thompson's correspondence is with various galleries, dealers, and friends primarily concerning Bob Thompson's artwork and posthumous exhibitions. There is correspondence with art historian Judith Wilson, the artist's mother Bessie Thompson, David Anderson Gallery, and Donald Morris Gallery.

Writings by Bob Thompson include church speeches, a letter to the editor of Louisville Courier Journal, a poem, and an artist statement. There are also writings about Thompson by others, including his mother Bessie Thompson, wife Carol Thompson, and artists and friends, including Margaret Bridwell, Dario Covi, Carl Crodel, Emilio Cruz, Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, Mary H. Martin, Mary Spencer May, Carter Ratcliff, Meyer Schapiro, A. B. Spellman, Ulfert Wilke, and Ken Young. The writings by friends are mostly in the form of recollections by friends that were gathered as a memorial tribute to Thompson.

Exhibition files consist of material related to posthumous group and solo exhibitions of Bob Thompson's work.

The majority of the personal business records are posthumous and include inventories, loan and consignment forms, sales and appraisal records, and scattered correspondence.

Printed material includes exhibition catalogs, magazine and newspaper clippings about Bob Thompson, blank postcards of artwork, posters, and press releases.

There are photographs of Bob Thompson, family, and friends, including many artists, shot in various locations in New York City and Provincetown, as well as in Spain, France, and Italy. There are images of Thompson's Rivington Street studio, the Billiard Palace and the Slugs Jazz Club in New York City, exhibitions, events, street scenes, and artwork. There are four photographs albums, one of the Thompson's wedding, two of exhibitions (one is disbound), and one personal album with many photographs of friends and family, including the artist's mother Bessie Thompson and wife Carol Thompson.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as 7 series.

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1953-2003 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Carol Thompson's Correspondence, 1971-2000 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 3: Writings, 1949-1998 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 4: Exhibition Files, 1978-2001 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1965-2001 (0.1 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 6: Printed Material, 1960-2005 (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 1-2, 4, OV 5)

Series 7: Photographs, 1951-2000 (0.7 linear feet; Boxes 2-4)
Biographical / Historical:
Bob Thompson (1937-1966) was an African American figurative painter who worked primarily in New York City.

Thompson was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1937. He attended Boston University as a pre-med student, but quit the program and returned to Kentucky to attend the University of Louisville and study painting under German expressionist artist Ulfert Wilke. As a student, he spent a summer in Provincetown, Massachusetts and immersed himself in the art communities there. In 1958, Thompson moved to New York City and reunited with several artists he had met in Provincetown and participated in some of the earliest "happenings," somewhat informal art events or gatherings usually involving performance art and music, in 1960. He became a regular at the jazz clubs The Five Spot and Slugs and became friends with several jazz musicians. Many of Thompson's paintings reflect his interest in jazz. He also formed friendships with writers Allen Ginsberg and LeRoi Jones. In 1960, he had his first solo exhibition at the Delancy Street Museum.

The same year as his first solo exhibition, Thompson married Carol Plenda and the couple lived in Paris from 1961-1962 after he received a Whitney Foundation fellowship. They lived in Ibiza, Spain the following year. Thompson painted prolifically while abroad, and when he returned to New York City in 1963, he brought many paintings with him. He quickly found representation by Martha Jackson Gallery and the gallery featured Thompson's work in solo exhibitions in 1963-1965. His reputation grew and more exhibitions across the country followed.

In late 1965, Thompson and his wife traveled to Rome, Italy, where he continued to study art and paint. Thompson died in Rome in 1966 at the age of 28 from a drug overdose not long after receiving gall bladder surgery.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Elaine Plenda, the artist's sister-in-law, in 2006, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of video recording requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
"Bob Thompson Happening" (1965) video: Permission to publish, quote or reproduce requires written permission from Joanne Elkin. Contact Reference Services for more information.
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:
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
African American artists  Search this
Artists' studios -- Photographs  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Photographs
Citation:
Bob Thompson papers, 1949-2005. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.thombob
See more items in:
Bob Thompson papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw95cbba908-2706-4ba6-8bb0-58c271c29d62
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-thombob
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Sam Gilliam

Interviewee:
Gilliam, Sam, 1933-2022  Search this
Interviewer:
Young, Kenneth, 1933-  Search this
Names:
University of Louisville -- Students  Search this
Downing, Thomas, 1928-1985  Search this
Noland, Kenneth, 1924-2010  Search this
Extent:
1 Sound cassette (Sound recording)
28 Pages (Transcript)
1 Sound cassette (Sound recording)
28 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sound cassettes
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1984 Sept. 18
1984 Sept. 18
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Sam Gilliam conducted 1984 Sept. 18, by Kenneth Young, for the Archives of American Art.
Gilliam speaks of his childhood in the South; discovering his talent and his early attraction to art; his education at the University of Louisville; how his philosophy of art developed; the influence of music; techniques and materials; early shows of his work; Washington artists he knew. He recalls Thomas Downing and Kenneth Noland.
Biographical / Historical:
Sam Gilliam (1933-2022) was a painter from Washington, D.C.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives' 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 others.
Restrictions:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
Occupation:
Painters -- Washington (D.C.)  Search this
Topic:
Painting -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Painting -- Technique  Search this
African American artists  Search this
African American painters  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.gillia84
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9e140966b-3d43-4a5a-9cc1-e096a6ec849f
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-gillia84
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Sam Gilliam, 1984 Sept. 18

Interviewee:
Gilliam, Sam, 1933-2022  Search this
Interviewer:
Young, Kenneth, 1933-  Search this
Subject:
Downing, Thomas  Search this
Noland, Kenneth  Search this
University of Louisville  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Citation:
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Sam Gilliam, 1984 Sept. 18. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Painting -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Painting -- Technique  Search this
African American artists  Search this
African American painters  Search this
Theme:
African American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11449
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212129
AAA_collcode_gillia84
Theme:
African American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212129
Online Media:

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