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Arnold Mesches papers

Creator:
Mesches, Arnold, 1923-  Search this
Names:
New York University  Search this
Ciment, Jill, 1953-  Search this
Danto, Arthur Coleman, 1924-  Search this
Marshall, Kerry James, 1955-  Search this
Miami Dade College  Search this
Miller, Henry, 1891-  Search this
Motherwell, Robert  Search this
Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969  Search this
Siqueiros, David Alfaro  Search this
Storr, Robert  Search this
Wayne, June, 1918-2011  Search this
Zinn, Howard, 1922-2010  Search this
Extent:
13.6 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Collages
Diaries
Drawings
Sketches
Date:
1939-2015
Summary:
The papers of New York City and Gainesville, Florida based painter Arnold Mesches (1923-2016) measure 13.6 linear feet and date from 1939-2015. The collection documents Mesches' politically-engaged career and work process through biographical material, correspondence, writings, gallery and exhibition files, project files, subject files, teaching files, personal business records, printed material, and photographic material. Project files comprise a bulk of the collection and include grant files, activism files, project notebooks, and over 100 art project files containing drawings, source material, and photographic material for individual artworks.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York City and Gainesville, Florida based painter Arnold Mesches (1923-2016) measure 13.6 linear feet and date from 1939-2015. The collection documents Mesches' politically engaged career and work process through biographical material, correspondence, writings, gallery and exhibition files, project files, subject files, teaching files, personal business records, printed material, and photographic material.

Biographical material includes addresses, family papers, interview transcripts, life documents, identification cards, a residency file, resumes, biographical statements, and travel records. Correspondence is both personal and professional in nature and is with wife, novelist Jill Ciment, family, friends, artists, museums, galleries, and magazines. Notable correspondents include Arthur Danto, Robert Storr, June Wayne, and Howard Zinn. Single items of correspondence are from Kerry James Marshall, Henry Miller, Robert Motherwell, and Ben Shahn.

Writings include manuscripts of unpublished novels and short stories, autobiographical writings, recordings of dreams, introductions to artists, a journal, memorials, project proposals, statements on art and politics, notes from Mesches' psychotherapy sessions, as well as numerous outlines, fragments, and notes.

Gallery and exhibition files document dozens of Mesches' gallery and museum exhibitions, including his 2013 retrospective at Miami Dade College, Arnold Mesches: A Life's Work.

Project files consist of grant files, activism files, project notebooks, and art projects. Activism files pertain to the Los Angeles Peace Tower, Arts Coalition for Freedom of Expression, and the pardon of muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Project notebooks contain preliminary sketches, technical notes including color palette and paint formulas, Polaroids of in-process works, and source material. Over 100 art project files further detail individual works, and include preliminary drawings in pen, pencil and charcoal, as well as collages, source material, and Polaroids. Several of Mesches' serial works are well represented here, including Anomie, Comings Attractions, and The FBI Files.

Subject files consist of a sequence of alphabetical files maintained by Mesches as reference material. Teaching files document posts at New York University and other institutions and include course descriptions, lists of materials, course notes, newsletters, reference articles, and correspondence.

Personal business records include documentation related to donations, Mesches' estate, gallery representation, inventories, properties, artwork shipment, supplies, and website design.

Printed material documents Mesches' career as both political illustrator and fine artist. Found here are brochures, leaflets, and Frontier and The Nation magazines featuring illustrations by Mesches. Calendars, newsletters, clippings, announcements, exhibition catalogs, and press releases document Mesches' gallery and museum exhibitions.

Photographic material includes hundreds of photographic prints, contact sheets, slides, and negatives of Arnold Mesches, Mesches' family and friends, studio, and artworks from his seven decade long career.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as ten series.

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1960s-2012 (0.2 linear feet, Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1949-2014 (0.8 linear feet, Box 1)

Series 3: Writings, 1958-2013 (1.1 linear feet, Box 2-3)

Series 4: Gallery and Exhibition Files, 1979-2015 (0.8 linear feet, Box 3)

Series 5: Project Files, 1950s-2014 (5.3 linear feet, Box 3-8, 15, OV 16-19)

Series 6: Subject Files, 1939-2000s (1.3 linear feet, Box 8-9)

Series 7: Teaching Files, 1992-2004 (0.2 linear feet, Box 9-10)

Series 8: Personal Business Records, 1983-2015 (0.5 linear feet, Box 10)

Series 9: Printed Material, 1950s-2000s (1.5 linear feet, Box 10-11, 15, OV 20)

Series 10: Photographic Material, 1940s-2010s (1.9 linear feet, Box 12-15)
Biographical / Historical:
Arnold Mesches (1923-2016) was a painter in New York, New York and Gainesville, Florida. Born in the Bronx and raised in upstate Dunkirk, New York, Mesches studied advertising design in high school before moving to Los Angeles in 1943 to study art at the Jepson Art Institute and Chouinard Art Institute.

Mesches began his career as a scenic painter for Hollywood while honing his own style as a fine artist and illustrator influenced by the political landscape and social realism. As a result of his political activity and involvement in the Communist Party, the FBI opened a file on Mesches in the 1950s, and began tracking his activities. The file, obtained by Mesches through a Freedom of Information Act request in 1999, became the basis for one of his most famous series, The FBI Files.

Throughout his life, Mesches was a socially-oriented figurative painter working in an expressionist style, mining the daily news and the current political landscape for subject matter, including the Cold War, the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and the Vietnam War. Mesches was also one of the organizers of the 1966 Peace Tower artwork in Los Angeles and contributed illustrations to Frontier magazine throughout the 1950s, and The Nation magazine from 1960s-1980s.

In the early 1980s, Mesches relocated to New York City with wife, novelist Jill Ciment.

Mesches held several teaching posts over the course of his career, including at the New School, New York University, and the University of Florida.
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives of American Art in 2017 by Jill Ciment, Mesches' widow.
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.
Occupation:
Painters -- California -- Los Angeles  Search this
Painters -- Florida  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Political aspects  Search this
Art -- Study and teaching  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painting -- Technique  Search this
Politics in art  Search this
Interviews  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Transcripts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Collages
Diaries
Drawings
Sketches
Citation:
Arnold Mesches papers, 1939-2015. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mescarno
See more items in:
Arnold Mesches papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9415d73fe-0b7a-41fc-a1a6-7ac35ec38ac6
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mescarno
Online Media:

Elin O'Hara slavick : bomb after bomb : a violent cartography / foreword by Howard Zinn, essay by Carol Marvor, interview by Catherine Lutz

Title:
Bomb after bomb : a violent cartography
Author:
Slavick, Elin O'Hara  Search this
Zinn, Howard 1922-2010  Search this
Lutz, Catherine  Search this
Mavor, Carol 1957-  Search this
Subject:
Slavick, Elin O'Hara  Search this
Physical description:
111 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Art
Place:
United States
Date:
2007
C2007
Topic:
Bombing, Aerial, in art  Search this
Cartography in art  Search this
Maps in art  Search this
Military policy  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_902529

A people's history of the United States : 1492-present / Howard Zinn

Author:
Zinn, Howard 1922-2010-  Search this
Physical description:
729 p. ; 25 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
2003
Topic:
History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_714847

Howard Zinn : a radical American vision / Davis D. Joyce ; foreword by Noam Chomsky

Author:
Joyce, Davis D. 1940-  Search this
Chomsky, Noam  Search this
Subject:
Zinn, Howard 1922-2010  Search this
Zinn, Howard 1922- Political and social views  Search this
Physical description:
268 p., [4] p. of plates : ports. ; 24 cm
Type:
Biography
Book reviews
Place:
United States
Date:
2003
Topic:
Historians  Search this
Historiography  Search this
Politics and government  Search this
History  Search this
Call number:
CT275.Z73 J69 2003
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_718313

A people's history of the United States, 1492-present / Howard Zinn

Author:
Zinn, Howard 1922-2010  Search this
Physical description:
729 p. ; 21 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
2003
C2003
Topic:
History  Search this
Call number:
E178 .Z75 2003
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_733473

You can't be neutral on a moving train : a personal history of our times / Howard Zinn

Author:
Zinn, Howard 1922-2010  Search this
Subject:
Zinn, Howard 1922-2010  Search this
Physical description:
viii, 214 p. ; 24 cm
Type:
Biography
Place:
United States
Date:
1994
C1994
1945-
Topic:
Historians  Search this
History  Search this
Philosophy  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_477444

SNCC, the new abolitionists

Author:
Zinn, Howard 1922-2010  Search this
Subject:
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)  Search this
Physical description:
246 p. 22 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Southern States
Date:
1964
[1964]
Topic:
African Americans--Civil rights  Search this
Civil rights  Search this
Call number:
E185.61 .Z49X
E185.61.Z49X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_44268

A people's history of the United States / Howard Zinn

Author:
Zinn, Howard 1922-2010  Search this
Physical description:
614 p. ; 25 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1980
C1980
Topic:
Civilization  Search this
Call number:
E169.1 .Z53 1980X
E169.1.Z53 1980X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_177192

Three strikes : miners, musicians, salesgirls, and the fighting spirit of labor's last century / Howard Zinn, Dana Frank, Robin D.G. Kelley

Title:
3 strikes
Author:
Zinn, Howard 1922-2010  Search this
Frank, Dana  Search this
Kelley, Robin D. G  Search this
Physical description:
174 p. ; 23 cm
Type:
Case studies
Place:
United States
Date:
2001
C2001
20th century
Topic:
Strikes and lockouts  Search this
Labor movement--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_629868

The Port Huron project : reenactments of New Left protest speeches / Mark Tribe; essays by Rebecca Schneider and Nato Thompson

Title:
Mark Tribe
Reenactments of New Left protest speeches
Author:
Tribe, Mark  Search this
Schneider, Rebecca  Search this
Thompson, Nato  Search this
Tribe, Mark  Search this
Subject:
Carmichael, Stokely  Search this
Chavez, Cesar 1927-1993  Search this
Davis, Angela Y (Angela Yvonne) 1944-  Search this
King, Coretta Scott 1927-2006  Search this
Potter, Paul  Search this
Zinn, Howard 1922-2010  Search this
Physical description:
67 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
2010
1963-1969
1969-1974
Topic:
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements  Search this
Performance art  Search this
Politics and government  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_994678

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