A Finding Aid to the Robert Wiegand papers and video art, 1953-1994, in the Archives of American Art, by Crystal Sanchez
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by by a grant from the Mellon Foundation through the Council of Library and Information Resources' Hidden Collections grant program.
Table of Contents:
- Biographical Information
- Overview of the Collection
- How to Use the Collection
- Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Robert Nelson Wiegand (1934-1994) was a painter and video artist who worked and lived in New York City. Robert Wiegand's interest in art extended well beyond the point of creation, and throughout his life he worked not only as painter, but also as a teacher, advocate, and documentarian of the arts in New York City.
Born in Long Island in 1934, Wiegand attended the State University of New York, College of Buffalo and received a degree in arts education. He returned to New York City and became active in the artist community in SoHo. He was one of the co-founders of the SoHo Artists Association, an artists' organization formed to advocate for legalizing artist loft live/work spaces in lower Manhattan in the 1960s.
Wiegand married his first wife Ingrid in 1964, and they collaborated on many creative endeavors. They adopted two children from India, Indira and Pratap (also known as Peter), and separated in 1990. He married painter Lynn Braswell in 1991.
As a painter, Wiegand's work was highly geometric and influenced by the Abstract Expressionist movement. He exhibited paintings in one-man shows in New York City at the Phoenix Gallery and at the Levitan Gallery. In 1968, Wiegand participated in the first "10 Downtown" exhibition, where artists exhibited in their own studios in a move to overcome exclusive gallery representation practices. After painting a few exterior house murals, Wiegand co-founded City Walls, a New York City mural project that was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Through this project he became responsible for a handful of the murals in lower Manhattan. In 1968, Wiegand collaborated with Lloyed Kreutzer, a Bell Labs physicist specializing in lasers, to create the installation work Changes as part of Experiments In Art and Technology's (EAT) 1968 competition bringing together artists and engineers. It was then shown at Wiegand's studio in 1969. Wiegand was also one of the co-founders of ArtistsTalkOnArt, an artist run non-profit organization that continues to program weekly artist panel discussions in Soho, NY. It was co-founded in 1974 by Wiegand, Lori Antonacci, and Douglas Sheer, with Irving Sandler, Cynthia Navaretta, Bruce Barton and Corinne Robins joining the first board of directors in early 1975.
Wiegand became interested in video in the 1960s after using it as a documentary tool in the successful effort to legalize loft living in lower Manhattan. He then began creating video artworks, many of which were collaborations with his wife Ingrid. They received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1977 to produce a documentary on middle class life in India called Snapshots of an Indian Day. It was shown at The Kitchen and Anthology Film Archives before being acquired by the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY. In 1980, with the help of his students from the Global Village Intensive Video Workshop, Wiegand directed, shot, and edited the Brooklyn Opera Society's production Madama Butterfly at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and Tea House, and the production aired on WNYC-TV 13 as part of its Other Voices: New York series.
From 1971 to 1980, Wiegand ran his own commercial video company, Wiegand Video, where he produced corporate and industry training films. From 1980 to 1987, he worked as a project manager and producer for Square Twelve Productions, continuing to produce commercial work. His clients included the American Society for Mechanical Engineers and International Business Machines.
Wiegand also taught art and video production at the Staten Island Academy from 1961-1971, studio and television production at the New School for Social Research from 1980 to 1984, and field production at the Lehman College City University of NY. He also taught in the New York City C.E.T.A. program in media training and was a visiting media production instructor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Towards the end of his life, Wiegand changed careers and became a social worker. Robert Wiegand died in New York City in 1994, just after his 60th birthday.
Overview of the Collection
Scope and Contents
The papers of New York video artist and painter Robert Wiegand measure 10.3 linear feet and date from 1953 to 1994. Found within the collection are biographical materials, correspondence, art project and exhibition files, printed materials, video art, photographs, and industrial and miscellaneous video recordings. About one-half of the collection is comprised of video recordings.
Biographical materials include school yearbooks, video and paper documentation from his 1991 wedding, and photograph and video documentation of his funeral and memorial service in 1994. Also found are resumes and Wiegand's SoHo live/work artist permit from 1976.
Correspondence is comprised primarily of letters written by Wiegand, which were saved onto floppy disks and printed out, and a handful of letters received. Outgoing letters mainly concern Wiegand's video production work for hire and other personal financial matters. Letters received relate primarily to Wiegand's painting sales, and are from James McLeon, Vivian Browne, Susan Larson, Burt Chernow, and Alexandra Rose. Additional correspondence can be found in the project files.
Project files include documentation of the 1968 inagural "10 Downtown" exhibition, the City Walls mural project, a multimedia art work created through the Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT) project called Changes, the products of the 1978 trip to India, including the video work Snapshots of an Indian Day, the "Madama Butterfly" video production produced by Wiegand, and the artist panel series ArtistsTalkonArt. The files contain a wide variety of documentation, such as correspondence, event flyers and press materials, photographs, slides, and videos.
Printed materials include exhibition and event announcements and catalogs, clippings and reviews, magazine publications, and published books that contain Wiegand's work. There is also one scrapbook compiled by Wiegand for his 5th One Man Show of Paintings at the Phoenix Gallery in New York City.
Video artworks created by Wiegand, often made in collaboration with his wife Ingrid, include Georges, Julie, Moran, Omar is El Uno, Nat, Walking (interstices), Face-Off, and How to tell an artist with Dr. Sheldon Cholst. Photographs include a combination of personal and professional photographs, although most of the materials are slides of artworks and events. Of note are slides from the "Bicentennial Banners" exhibition that Wiegand was invited to participate in and that was on display at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum in 1976.
The last series contains over 4 linear feet of all other video recordings and includes industry productions, independent projects, performance documentation, work samples, and works by others. Notable among these productions are documentation of Pamela Stockwell's reenactment of the Tomkins Square Park riots of 1988 and footage of performers Carolee Schneemann, Trisha Brown, Laura Foreman, and Leonard Horowitz, among others.
Arrangement and Series Description
The collection is arranged as seven series.
- Series 1: Biographical Material, 1953-1994 (Boxes 1-2, 11; 1.5 linear feet)
- Series 2: Correspondence and Letters, 1962-1990 (Box 2; .3 linear feet)
- Series 3: Project Files, 1968-1992 (Boxes 2-3, 11; 1.1 linear feet)
- Series 4: Printed Materials, 1959-1990 (Boxes 3-4, 11; .7 linear feet)
- Series 5: Video Art, 1970-1982 (Boxes 4-5; 1 linear feet)
- Series 6: Photographs, 1953-1994 (Boxes 5-6; 1 linear feet)
- Series 7: Other Video Recordings, 1968-1992 (Boxes 6-10; 4.7 linear feet)
Subjects and Names
This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following index terms:
- Brown, Trisha, 1936-
- Browne, Vivian E., 1929-1993
- Chernow, Burt
- Foreman, Laura, 1936-2001
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- Horowitz, Leonard
- Larson, Susan
- McLeon, James
- Phoenix Gallery. (New York, N.Y.)
- Rose, Alexandra, 1946-
- Schneemann, Carolee, 1939-
- Stockwell, Pamela
- Painters--New York (State)--New York
- Video art
- Video artists--New York (State)--New York
- Video recordings
The collection was donated by Lynn Braswell, Robert Wiegand's widow, in 1998 and 2000.
Separated and Related Materials
Twenty sound cassettes of interviews and lectures were removed from the collection and returned to the organization that created them, ArtistsTalkOnArt. A few video cassettes are still found in the collection from that series.
How the Collection was Processed
The collection was processed in 2012 by Crystal Sanchez.
How to Use the Collection
Restrictions on Use
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Ownership & Literary Rights
Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce requires permission from Lynn Braswell, 320 Riverside Dr., New York, N.Y. 10025.
Some of the videocassettes in this collection have been digitized for research access and are available at Archives of American Art offices.
How to Cite this Collection
Robert Wiegand papers and video art, 1953-1994. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Detailed Description and Container Inventory
Biographical Material, 1953-1994
1.5 Linear feet
Series contains records related to Robert Wiegand's life and career. These include various resumes written for teaching, video production and the arts world. School records include report cards, a diploma from SUNY's College of Buffalo, received in 1957, and Wiegand's school yearbooks from 1952-57. Handwritten and typed bibliographic lists of sources that mention Wiegand are also found. Of note are guest registries from early Phoenix Gallery one-man shows and Wiegand's Soho live/work artist permit from 1976. Fifteen VHS videocassettes and two 8mm videocassettes document personal events such as Wiegand and Lynn Braswell's 1991 wedding and Wiegand's funeral and memorial service in 1994. Also among these recordings are interviews with Wiegand about his work and various home movies.
Folder 2 contains a 5.25 floppy disc in addition to what is assumed to be a paper copy of the contents of the disc.
|1||3-4||Report Cards and Diploma, 1947-1964|
|1||5-10||School Yearbooks, 1952-1957|
Personal History Documents, 1963-1987
Contains a draft card, a horoscope, a family coat of arms document and a video rental form.
|1||12||Soho Artist Studio Permit, 1976-1979|
|1||13||Art Show Guest Registries, 1959-1966|
|1||14||Bibliography Lists, 1959-1978|
Video Interviews, 1987-1988
Wedding Videos, Photographs and Other Material, 1991 June
Includes 5 videocassettes (VHS), photographs, slides, program, and napkins from Robert and Ingrid Wiegand's wedding. Three videocassettes are numbered 1-3, one is labeled "Wedding Line", and one is labeled "Wedding Master".
Home Movies, Videos, 1979-1990
Oversized material housed in Box 11, Folder 1.
Funeral and Memorial Service Videos and Other Materials, 1994 June 3
Contains photographs, programs, notes, and 4 videocassettes (2 VHS and 2 8mm) of Robert Wiegand's funeral and memorial service held on June 3, 1994.
Oversized material from Obituaries, 1994
Oversized material from Box 2, Folder 3.
Correspondence and Letters, 1962-1990
0.2 Linear feet
Correspondence is comprised primarily of letters written by Wiegand, and a handful of letters received. Outgoing letters are found in the form of floppy disks and paper records assumed to correspond to the contents of floppy disks.
Outgoing letters primarily concern job hunting and other personal financial matters, but other types of documents are scattered throughout the series such as television series pitches, lecture notes on artist talks, scripts for video works, draft resumes and bios, and cover letters for job applications. One folder contains correspondence written by Wiegand to his son's teachers.
Letters received include sixteen original letters containing feedback and inquiries about artworks. Letters are from James McLeon, Vivian Browne, Susan Larson, Burt Chernow, and Alexandra Rose, among others. Additional correspondence can be found in the project files. Personal cards consist of a handful of commercially produced greeting cards received by Wiegand. One postcard is from 1962, while the remaining are greeting cards that date to the early 1990s.
5 1/4 inch
|2||12||Letters Received, 1971-1989|
|2||13||Personal Cards Recieved, 1962- circa 1990|
Art Project Files, 1968-1992
1 Linear foot
Series contains documentation of projects Robert Wiegand co-founded or co-produced. Each project contains a combination of press materials, event flyers, clippings, photographs, correspondence, and several projects also contain video documentation (9 VHS videocassettes and 2 U-Matic), including Snapshots for an Indian Day, Madama Butterfly, and ArtistsTalkOnArt.
Documents include oversized photographs of each of the 10 artists in the inaugural "10 Downtown" exhibition. City Walls documentation includes lists of the murals, clippings, business correspondence, and many photographs and slides taken of mural projects. Photographs notably include images of the buildings before the murals were painted, and some finished murals that no longer exist. Documentation of the Experiments in Art and Technology project by Wiegand and Lloyd Kreutzer called Changes (subtitled "an Image-Theater Environment") include postcards, publicity, and photographs. India materials include a project proposal, postcards, press clippings, a poster, and video for multiple projects that resulted from the Wiegand's trip to India in 1977, including Snapshots for an Indian Day, Indiamedia, and Indiawall. Video elements are found for Snapshots only. Wiegand's "Madama Butterfly" project is represented in this series by a video of the piece he produced for WNYC-TV.
ArtistsTalkOnArt is documented with committee lists, a grant proposal, and solicitation letters to artists, as well as videos of panels created and hosted by Wiegand, including Leonard Horowitz, Amy Ernst, Pat Passlof, Burt Hasen, and Philip Pavia. Also found are flyers, postcards, and videos documenting a benefit for the organization in 1989, with performers Carolee Schneemann, Laura Foreman, and Matthew Courtney among others. Additionally, a performance compilation video from 1990 features artists Akiva, Kevin Carter, Vernta Nemec, Dennis Downey, and Marther Weisman.
"10 Downtown" (1968), 1968-1978
Oversized material housed in Box 11, Folder 4.
|2||City Walls, 1968-1982|
|2||16||Flyers, Exhibitions and Writings, 1968-1975|
Press Materials and Clippings, 1968-1982
Oversized material housed in Box 11, Folder 3.
|3||1||Changes, Experiments in Art and Technology, 1968-1969|
Snapshots of An Indian Day, 1978
Madama Butterfly, Production, 1979-1980
|3||ArtistsTalkonArt (ATOA), 1986-1992|
5 1/4 inch
|3||8||Programming Records, 1986-1990|
1989 Benefit, Videos and Flyers, 1989 May 22
Includes two videocassettes (VHS) labeled ATOA Benefit in addition to flyers and postcards for the event. One tape is listed as camera original.
"There's A Song" Videos, circa 1990
Pat Passlof Video, 1990 January 19
Burt Hasen Video, 1992 February 21
Philip Pavia Video, 1989 January 9
ATOA Performance Compilation, circa 1990
Oversized Photographs from "10 Downtown" Exhibition, 1968
Oversized content from Box 2, Folder 14.
Oversized Material from
City Walls, Press Materials and Clippings, 1968-1982
Oversized content from Box 2, Folder 17.
Printed Materials, 1959-1990
0.5 Linear feet
This series includes exhibition announcements, flyers for video screenings, scrapbooks, clippings and reviews, magazines, and books that feature Wiegand. A scrapbook compiled by Wiegand for his 5th One Man Show of Paintings in New York at the Phoenix Gallery was dissasembled and contains an artist statement, photographs of paintings, and newspaper clippings from 1957 to 1966. Clippings and reviews include newspaper articles about Wiegand and his work from 1959-1976. Magazine publications featuring Wiegand include The Art Gallery Magazine (1971), US Dept of Housing and Urban Development National Community Arts Program (1973), Arts Magazine (1974), and Novum Gebrauchs Graphik (1976). Among the books is a 1976 monograph, Video Art, in which Wiegand's work comprises an entire chapter.
|3||13||Exhibition Announcements, 1959-1991|
Disassembled Scrapbooks, 1957-1976
Folder 1 of 2 contains a scrapbook disassembled by the processor. Folder 2 of 2 contains pages from a previously disassembled scrapbook with materials from 1959-1962.
Clippings and Reviews, 1961-1976
Oversized material housed in Box 11, Folder 2.
10th Street Days, 1977
|3||17||Video Screening Flyers, 1978-1990|
Magazine Publications, 1971-1977
|4||3||Video Art, 1976|
Oversized Clippings and Reviews, 1961-1976
Oversized content from Box 3, Folder 15.
Video Art, circa 1970-1982
1 Linear foot
Series contains video artworks created by Wiegand, often in collaboration with Ingrid Wiegand, found on three VHS videocassettes and nine U-matic videocassttes. In addition to video, other records in the series include an essay on video art written by Wiegand and a list of video artworks with descriptions. More writings on artworks can be found in the correspondence folders.
Georges is a video about Georges Noel and his relationship to video and audio feedback. Julie is a video dance work featuring dancer Julie Finch, two cameras, and a switcher. Tom Lillard stars in Moran, where both the acting and the video dissolve together while performing a segment of Samuel Beckett's novel, Molloy. Omar is El Uno features five audio tracks that are expressive of the layered construction of soundtracks for video. Nat explores the single room occupancy hotel of a resident at the end of his life. In Walking (interstices), Ingrid Wiegand layers three realities of daily life with her camera. And Face-Off features both Robert and Ingrid Wiegand in a two-channel work which seeks to simultaneously explain video signals and the nature of relationships. Lastly, How to Tell An Artist provides Dr. Sheldon Cholst with a platform for expressing his views on the subject from the perspective of a Psychiatrist. Chameleon Compilation is a clip reel including most of these works that was shown at the Chameleon Club in NYC in 1988.
|4||5||Video Art Writings, circa 1980|
Georges, circa 1970
Julie, Moran, Omar is El Uno, 1974
Video contains three separate artworks on a single cassette.
Walking (interstices), 1975
How To Tell An Artist with Dr. Sheldon Cholst, 1982
Chameleon Compilation, 1988 February
1 Linear foot
This series contains photographs and slides of Robert Wiegand and his work. The photographs include portraits, family photos, artworks, and images of Wiegand's studio at the time of his death in 1994. The slides are mainly of artworks and were accessioned in binders labeled as Master Slides and Duplicate Slides, which were disassembled. Note that the binder labeled duplicates contained unique images in addition to duplicates from the binder labeled master slides. Actual duplicate slides are filed under the heading "duplicate slides of artworks," and the unique slides found in this binder were separated during processing and filed by subject. These include slides of the 1976 "Bicentennial Banners" exhibition, later artworks, slides of "The Buffalo Statement", and slides of works by other artists that were used for teaching.
|5||4||Photographs of Robert Wiegand, 1953-1994|
|5||5||Photographs of Robert and Family, circa 1970-1990|
|5||6||Photographs of Artworks, 1959-1966|
|5||7||Photographs of Studio, 1994 May|
|6||1||Master Slides of Artworks, 1954-1989|
|6||2||Slides of "Bicentennial Banners" (1976), 1976|
|6||3||Slides of Later Artworks, 1977-1990|
|6||4||Slides of "The Buffalo Statement," 1971-1972|
|6||5||Slides for Teaching, circa 1961-1971|
|6||6-8||Duplicate Slides of Artworks, 1957-1989|
Other Video Recordings, circa 1975-1989
4 Linear feet
This series contains video recordings that are neither Wiegand's artworks or personal recordings, but other types of recordings he produced, as well as a few tapes made both others found with his papers. Categories of recordings in the series are industry productions, independent projects, performance documentation, work samples, and works by others.
Industry productions are mainly educational and training videos made for companies such as IBM, Dynalloy Company, DJR Associates, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Also found is a tape made for the New York State Higher Education Opportunity Program called The Sentence II. Wiegand's process involved using low quality video equipment to storyboard and write scripts in the pre-production phase, and these tapes are found among the finished projects, along with occasional paper documentation.
Independent projects include unedited footage, excerpts, and finished programs that Wiegand created for small organizations and individuals. Notable projects include Bob Towbin's B-Day Special, a home-movie-artwork hybrid video created by Ingrid and Robert for Bob Towbin's 35th birthday, The Night Before The Night Before Christmas, a project produced by Wiegand that aired on DCTV, an Arts Mag episode produced by Ingrid Wiegand, and clips of Angelique Martin's talk show, edited by Robert Wiegand. Wiegand also shot, edited and produced Pamela Stockwell's reenactment of the Tompkins Square Riot. All the unedited footage of the reenactment, in addition to the finished edited piece, are in this series. The printed materials series contains paper documentation related to a few of these videos.
Performance documentation contains video of performing artists Trisha Brown, Leonard Horowitz, Carolee Schneeman, and Laura Foreman, among others, and four compilation tapes of performances Wiegand shot. Trisha Brown's Line-Up performance also includes an interview with her. Eight hours of raw footage of performances at the East Village performance club, ABC No Rio, are also found.
Work samples include compilation clips of Wiegand's works. They were used for teaching and soliciting production work. The first two videos are components of a single work, video and narration, yet neither of them are an edit master. Works by others include two tapes that are tools Wiegand may have used in the creation of his videos, a calibration tape and a sales tape for a video title making tool. Eyes on the Prize is an off-air taping of the well-known documentary.
International Business Machines,
Ideas... Another Opportunity, 1981
New York University,
The Sentence I, circa 1985
Tenba Bag Corporation,
Tenba Bag, circa 1985
Killian Set-Up, 1981 January 13
FMS 80/81, 1982
Basic Electricity, circa 1985
|7||American Society of Mechanical Engineers|
Robotics and the Management Challenge, 1983
Unedited Footage, circa 1985
Edited Version, circa 1985
Abstract Footage, Unedited, circa 1975
Aerobis-t-r-e-t-c-h with Paula, Entire Program, 1985
Angelique Martin, Talk Show Excerpt, 1984
Arts Mag: Avant-Garde Art, Entire Program, 1979
Bob Towbin's B-Day Special, circa 1975
Documentary Boat Ride in NY Harbor, Unedited Footage, 1988 July 4
Interview with Unknown New York Artist, Bolles, circa 1975
Tandoor Line Footage, Unedited, 1982 July 26
The Night Before The Night Before Christmas, 1976
|9||Pamela Stockwell's Tompkins Square Police Riot|
Edited Documentary, 1989
Unedited Footage, 1988 October 12
ABC No Rio, East Village Performance Club Unedited Footage, 1988
Cat Torture I and II, 1989 May
Five Media Works Compilation Tape, circa 1980
Line-Light Ensemble, 1988 June 6
Leonard Horowitz at ABC No Rio, 1989 January 15-22
|9||Performance Compilation Tapes|
Bob and Ingrid Wiegand, Compilation of Works, circa 1980
Performance Footage, Unedited, circa 1980
Performance Compilation, Unedited, circa 1980
Line-Up, circa 1977
Work Samples, Clips Without Narration, circa 1985
Work Samples, Video Narration without Clips, circa 1985
First 10 minutes is the Demo Tape without the narration on "Demo #1", the rest of the tape is the remnants of Wiegand's Elevator training tape.
Work Samples, Clips for Teaching, circa 1985
|10||Works by Others|
Eyes on the Prize, Commercial Production, 1986
Mindset Video Titler M-1000, Sales Video, 1986
New Jersey Nightly News, Calibration Tape, 1985