James A. McGrath papers concerning William T. Wiley, 1950-2010

A Finding Aid to the James A. McGrath Papers Concerning William T. Wiley, 1950-2011, in the Archives of American Art, by Eden Orelove

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Table of Contents:



Biographical Information

Arts educator James A. McGrath was a high school art teacher at Columbia High School in Richland, Washington where he taught William T. Wiley in the mid-1950s. They remained life-long friends. Later, McGrath worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe as Director of Arts, Professor of Painting, and Dean. In 1973 he became Director of Arts, Humanities and Culture in the Department of Defense and was stationed in Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Taiwan and the Philippines. He also worked for the United States Information Agency in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Republic of the Congo. He continues to be active as an arts education specialist.

William T. Wiley (b. 1937)is a contemporary artist painting and teaching primarily in the San Francisco area. His artwork is associated with the Bay area Funk Movement. Wiley studied at the California School of Fine Arts and completed his MFA in 1962. One year later he joined the faculty of the UC Davis art department along with artists Robert Arneson and Roy DeForest. Wiley's students included Bruce Nauman and Deborah Butterfield.

Wiley's first solo exhibition was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1960, and he had works in the Venice Biennial (1980) and Whitney Biennial (1983), as well as major exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. His artwork is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among many others. Wiley was the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship Award in 2004 and, in 2009, the Smithsonian American Art Museum presented a retrospective exhibition of Wiley's career.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The papers of arts educator James A. McGrath concerning artist William T. Wiley measure 2.4 linear feet and date from 1950-2011. Many of the papers date from Wiley's high school days and include correspondence, writings, student files, printed materials, photographs, and artwork.

Wiley's high school student files consist of exams and two Columbia High School yearbooks with contributions from Wiley. Correspondence includes mostly letters written from Wiley to McGrath, some of which are illustrated. There are also Christmas cards, postcards, prints and a wedding invitation and photograph of Wiley and his wife Mary. Wiley writes about his artwork, family, travels and his mother's death. There are also letters to McGrath from Wiley's first and second wives, Dorothy and Mary, his mother, and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Mark Tobey.

Printed materials include exhibition catalogs and announcements, news and magazine clippings, and the books Distraction, Lyrica and Almost Old/New Poems, all illustrated by Wiley.

Artwork by Wiley includes block prints, sketches and drawings, poems, paintings, prints and posters. Photographs are of Wiley's high school yearbook staff, art work and exhibitions, and a dinner honoring Wiley. There is a signed high school photograph of Wiley and a booklet of photographs of an exhibition of McGrath's art. There are also slides of artwork by Wiley, Bob Hudson and Bill Allan.

Arrangement and Series Description

The papers have been arranged by material type and chronologically thereafter. The papers were originally housed in manila envelopes, which had notes detailing the contents of each item. The records were re-housed for preservation purposes and the original envelopes have been retained and placed in the folders with their corresponding documents.

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:

Subjects:

  • Wiley, William T., 1937-

Subjects-Topical:

  • Illustrators--California--San Francisco
  • Painters--California--San Francisco
  • Performance artists--California--San Francisco
  • Sculptors--California--San Francisco

Types of Materials:

  • Christmas cards
  • Drawings
  • Illustrated letters
  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Poems
  • Postcards
  • Prints
  • Sketches

Names:

  • Wiley, William T., 1937-
  • Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008
  • Tobey, Mark

Provenance

The papers were donated by James A. McGrath in three accessions between 2010-2011.

Separated and Related Materials

Six Documenta catalogs, originally donated to AAA with the James A. McGrath Papers Concerning William T. Wiley, were deaccessioned and transferred to the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

The Archives of American Art also holds several collections related to William T. Wiley including an oral history interview conducted by Paul J. Karlstrom, October 8-November 20, 1997 and the William T. Wiley illustrated journals on microfilm reel 910. The University of Washington holds the papers of James A. McGrath.

How the Collection was Processed

The collection was processed by Eden Orelove in 2011.


How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The James A. McGrath papers concerning William T. Wiley are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

How to Cite this Collection

James A. McGrath papers concerning William T. Wiley, 1950-2011. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: High School Files, 1953-1956
(Box 1; 5 folders)

This series contains files related to Wiley's student work from Columbia High School in Richland, Washington. Included are exams, two yearbooks, an original page from a yearbook designed by Wiley, a story letter and a letter of recommendation written for Wiley by McGrath.

Box Folder
1 1 Student Exams, 1953-1954
1 2 Story Letter, 1955 April 9
1 3 Yearbook, 1955
1 4 Letter of Recommendation for Wiley, 1956
1 5 Yearbook, 1956

Series 2: Correspondence, 1958-2011
(Box 1; 0.4 linear feet)

Correspondence is mostly comprised of letters written from Wiley to McGrath. Included are Christmas cards, illustrated letters from Wiley and his mother to McGrath, postcards, prints and a wedding invitation and photograph of Wiley and his wife Mary. Wiley writes about his artwork, family, travels and his mother's death. There are also letters to McGrath from Wiley's first and second wives, Dorothy and Mary, and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Mark Tobey.

Correspondence is arranged in chronological order. Some letters include attached photographs, printed material or artwork.

Box Folder
1 6 Illustrated Letter, 1958-1959
1 7 Letters from Mark Tobey and Robert Rauschenburg to McGrath, 1958-1961
1 8 Letters, 1967-1969
1 9 Christmas Story, circa 1970s
1 10 Exhibition Catalog and Letter, 1972
1 11 Postcard, 1978
1 12 Letter and Prints, 1981 November 5
1 13 Christmas Card Print "Cute Rules", 1982
1 14 Letters and Photographs, 1986
1 15 Letters, Photocopied Photographs and Poems by Michael Hannon and Mary Wiley, 1991-1992
1 16 Illustrated Letter from Dorothy Wiley to James McGrath, 1994
1 17 Christmas Card, 1994
1 18 Letters and Photocopied Print, 1995
1 19 Illustrated Letter and Prints, 2001-2004
1 20 Letter, Notes, Wedding Invitation and Photograph, 2005-2006
1 21 Christmas Print, 2007
1 22 Postcards, Photographs and Letters, 2009
1 23 Assorted Correspondence, 2010
1 24 Letter, Exhibition Announcement and Print, 2011
1 25 Letters and Postcards, undated

Series 3: Printed Material, 1953-2010
(Boxes 1-3 and OV 5; 1.0 linear foot)

Printed materials include exhibition catalogs and announcements, newspaper and magazine clippings, and the books Distraction, Lyrica and Almost Old/New Poems, which are illustrated by Wiley.

The materials are arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder
1 26-29 Flair Magazines, February 1950-January 1951
1 30 Flair Annual, Signed by the Editor and McGrath's Students, 1953
(Oversized item housed in box 3, folder 1)
1 31 Flair Annual, 1953
(Oversized item housed in box 3, folder 2)
1 32 Newspaper Clipping, 1954 March 5
1 33 Inscribed Book, 1955
1 34 The Diary of Anne Frank Play Poster, 1957 February 16
(Oversized item housed in OV 4)
1 35 Exhibition Booklet and Tickets, 1957
1 36 Artforum Magazine, December 1970
(Oversized item housed in box 3, folder 3)
1 37 Catalog Published by the Berkley University Art Museum, 1971
1 38 Arts Canada Magazine, June/July 1971
1 39 Arts Canada Magazine, Spring 1974
1 40 Allan Frumkin Gallery Newsletter, Fall 1976
1 41 Exhibition Catalog, 1981
1 42 Newsweek Article, 1981 January 12
1 43 Exhibition Catalogs and Gallery Announcements, 1983-1987
1 44 "An Evening in Honor of Jim McGrath" Event Announcement, 1986 February 20
1 45 "Profile of a Mentor" by C.M. Hobson, 1986 June 13
1 46-50 Exhibition Catalogs and Announcements, 1988-1998
1 51 "Art in the Woods" Exhibition Article, 1996
Box Folder
2 1 Exhibition Announcements, 2004-2007
2 2 Distraction, Book Illustrated by Wiley, 2007
2 3 Overview Newsletter, Spring 2007
2 4 Lyrica, Book Illustrated by Wiley and Exhibition Announcement, 2008
2 5 Smithsonian American Art Museum Calendar Newsletter, Fall 2009
2 6 Exhibition Announcements, 2009-2010
2 7 Almost Old/New Poems, Book Illustrated by Wiley, 2010
2 8 San Fransisco Chronicle Feature Story on Wiley, 2010
Box Folder
3 1 Oversized Flair Annual, Signed by the Editor and McGrath's Students, 1953
(from box 1, folder 30)
3 2 Oversized Flair Annual, 1953
(from box 1, folder 31)
3 3 Oversized Artforum Magazine, December 1970
(from box 1, folder 36)

Series 4: Artwork, 1954-1991
(Boxes 2-3 and OVs 4-6; 0.7 linear foot)

Wiley's artwork include block prints, drawings, poems, paintings, prints and posters. They range from informal sketches on a paper towel and pieces of wood to intricate prints and paintings, including "Harpoon for the Dreamer."

Box Folder
2 9 Drawing on Paper Towel, circa 1954-1955
2 10 Drawing on Piece of Wood, circa 1954-1955
2 11 Poem and Drawing on Board, 1955 May 10
(Oversized item housed in box 3, folder 4)
2 12 Art Students' Signed Artwork Dedicated to McGrath, 1955
(Oversized item housed in OV 6)
2 13 Block Prints, 1955
2 14 Illustrated Letter/Poster 1955
(Oversized item housed in box 3, folder 6)
2 15 Three Drawings and Poems, 1955-1957
2 16 Poster with a Painting and Hand-Copied Poetry, 1977
(Oversized item housed in OV 5)
2 17 "For Your Guessed" Slippers, circa mid-1980s
2 18 "Harpoon for the Dreamer," Print Illustrated by Wiley, 1986
(Oversized item housed in OV 5)
2 19 Letter, Poems and Print, 1990-1991
(Oversized item housed in box 3, folder 5)
Box Folder
3 4 Oversized Poem and Drawing on Board, 1955 May 10
(from box 2, folder 11)
3 5 Oversized Letter, Poems and Print, 1990-1991
(from box 2, folder 19)
3 6 Oversized Illustrated Letter/Poster 1955
(from box 2, folder 14)
Box
OV 5 Oversized Poster with a Painting and Hand-Copied Poetry, 1977
(from box 2, folder 16)
OV 5 Oversized "Harpoon for the Dreamer," Print Illustrated by Wiley, 1986
(from box 2, folder 18)
Box
OV 6 Oversized Art Students' Signed Artwork Dedicated to McGrath, 1955
(from box 2, folder 12)

Series 5: Photographic Materials, ca. 1950s-2010
(Box 2; 7 folders)

This series houses photographs of Wiley's high school yearbook staff, exhibited works, a dinner honoring Wiley and slides of Wiley's, Bob Hudson's and Bill Allan's artworks. Additionally, a signed high school photograph of Wiley and a booklet of photographs of McGrath's exhibition are included.

Box Folder
2 20 Slides, circa 1950s
2 21 Photograph of High School Yearbook Staff, 1955
2 22 High School Signed Photograph of Wiley, 1955 December 24
2 23 Exhibition Photographs, 1975
2 24 Booklet of Photographs of McGrath's Exhibition, 2002
2 25 Photograph of Wiley and McGrath, 2009 September
2 26 Photographs from a Dinner Honoring Wiley and Letter from Photographer Betty Taira, 2009-2010