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Robert R. McElroy photographs of happenings and early performance art.

McElroy, Robert. R., creator.

Available at Special Collections  SPECIAL COLLECTIONS - CONTACT REFERENCE  (2014.M.7 ) and other locations()

  • Title:
    Robert R. McElroy photographs of happenings and early performance art.
  • Author/Creator: McElroy, Robert. R., creator.
  • Creation Date: 1959-2012
  • Biographical/Historical Note: Robert R. McElroy was an American photographer who documented happenings and performances in New York during the late-1950s through the mid-1960s by artists including Jim Dine, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Whitman. In 1963 he became a staff photographer for Newsweek magazine and continued to work there until his retirement in the late 1980s.
  • Arrangement: Organized in two series: Series I. Photographs and media, 1959-1970, 1981, 2003-2012; Series II. Papers, 1960-2010.
  • Physical Desc.: 34 linear feet (72 boxes, 1 flatfile folder).
    9 computer discs ; 4 3/4 in. originals..
    9 videodiscs (DVD) ; 4 3/4 in. originals..
  • Summary: The archive is largely comprised of McElroy's photographs documenting happenings, performances, and exhibitions by New York artists from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. Included are vintage black-and-white prints, negatives, and contact sheets, as well as a smaller group of color prints and slides. It also contains a number of prints created by Pace Gallery in 2012. A significant portion of the collection features photographs of works by Jim Dine, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, and Robert Whitman. Also present are correspondence, clippings, and exhibition ephemera.
    The artist files in Series I form the bulk of the archive and contain photographs of artists' performances and exhibitions. These also include images of artists at work, rehearsals, exhibition openings, and works of art. The majority of the prints, contact sheets, and negatives are black-and-white but some color prints and slides are present. Notable performances found in this series include Dine's Car Crash (1960), Kaprow's Service for the Dead (1962), Carolee Schneemann's Chromelodeon (4th Concentration) (1963), and Whitman's American Moon (1960). A large portion of the series features Oldenburg's work and includes performances such as Circus: Ironworks/Fotodeath (1961), Ray Gun Theater (1962), and images of Oldenburg working on pieces for The Store (1961). The photographs in Series I include both vintage and modern prints. Some artist files also contain image CDs of McElroy's photographs or DVDs of artists' works and performances.
    Also in this series are photographs of events, performances, and group shows organized by gallery such as Ray Gun Spex at Judson Memorial Church (1960), Environments, Situations, Spaces at Martha Jackson Gallery (1961), and New Realists at the Sidney Janis Gallery (1962). There is extensive documentation of the Reuben Gallery, founded by Anita Reuben in 1959. McElroy's involvement with the New York art scene can be seen through the various events that he photographed such as the conferences, artist parties, and exhibition openings that are filed in this series. Also included are image CDs of various events and performances photographed by McElroy; some discs were created by Pace Gallery.
    The third section of the series contains prints of McElroy's photographs created by Pace Gallery for the exhibition, Happenings: New York, 1958-1963 (2012). This includes both black-and-white and color prints organized chronologically by event.
    Lastly, a small number of photographs of happenings taken by other photographers are filed at the end of the series. Included are later prints of photographs taken by John Cohen, Scott Hyde, Fred McDarrah, and Lucas Samaras.
    Series II is comprised of McElroy's personal papers including correspondence, clippings, and ephemera. Correspondence ranges from 1963 to 2008 and contains both personal and business correspondence. Included are letters from artists such as Dine, Oldenburg, Richard Serra, and Whitman. The majority of the correspondence is business-related and pertains to image requests for publication or exhibition, and to copyright issues. Some files also include loan agreements, receipts, and notes written by McElroy. Clippings contain articles about artists, galleries, or performance art, and some feature McElroy's photographs. This series also contains a small quantity of artist or gallery ephemera and miscellaneous papers.
  • Language: English
  • Notes: Partial gift of Evelyn McElroy in memory of Robert R. McElroy.
  • Form/Genre: Black-and-white photographs
    Black-and-white negatives -- New York (N.Y.) -- 20th century
    Chromogenic color prints
    Color slides
    Gelatin silver prints -- New York (N.Y.) -- 20th century
    Photographs, Original
    DVD -- United States -- 21st century
    Born digital
  • Subjects: Dine, Jim 1935- Kaprow, Allan Oldenburg, Claes, 1929- Whitman, Robert, 1935- Schneemann, Carolee, 1939- Samaras, Lucas 1936- Reuben Gallery Judson Memorial Church (New York, N.Y.) Martha Jackson Gallery Sidney Janis Gallery Art, American -- 20th century Conceptual art Happenings (Art) Performance art
  • ID/Accession Number: 2014.M.7
  • Access/Rights: Open for use by qualified researchers, except audiovisual materials which are unavailable until reformatted.
  • OCLC Record Number: 899281740
  • Source: GRI Library Catalog

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