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Aleksandra Kasuba papers, 1942-2013, bulk 1960-2000

Aleksandra Kasuba papers, 1942-2013, bulk 1960-2000

Kasuba, Aleksandra, 1923-

Environmental artist, Sculptor

Collection Information

Size: 5.9 linear feet

Summary: The papers of sculptor and environmental artist Aleksandra Kasuba measure 5.9 linear feet and date from 1942-2013, with the bulk of the material from 1960-2000. The collection documents Kasuba's career through biographical material, correspondence, interviews, lectures and writings, extensive project files, printed material, a scrapbook, artwork, photographs, and motion picture film.

Biographical/Historical Note

Aleksandra Kasuba (1923-), a Lithuanian-born sculptor, best known for her innovative architectural environments has lived in New York and New Mexico.

Provenance

Donated 2013 by Aleksandra Kasuba.

A Finding Aid to the Aleksandra Kasuba Papers, 1942-2013, bulk 1960-2000, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.kasualek
Author
Finding aid prepared by Joy Goodwin
Biographical/Historical note
Aleksandra Kasuba (1923-), a Lithuanian-born sculptor, best known for her innovative architectural environments has lived in New York and New Mexico. She attended the Kaunas Art Institute and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vilnius, Lithuania from 1941-1943. She studied with the sculptor, Vytautus Kasuba, whom she married in 1944. In response to the Soviet Army's occupation of their country, Aleksandra Kasuba and her husband emigrated to the United States in 1947. By 1963, Aleksandra Kasuba, her husband, and two children had moved to the Upper West Side in New York City. At the start of her career, Kasuba received commissions to make ceramic tiles for use in furniture. About the same time, she was also collaborating with architects in designing mosaic wall installations for public works. Aleksandra Kasuba's commissioned projects have included a plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., and wall mosaics for the Container Corporation in Chicago, and 560 Lexington Avenue in New York City. Some of Kasuba's mosaic compositions were made as individual pieces to be included in museum and gallery exhibitions.
Aleksandra Kasuba has also devoted her career to designing alternative living environments. In the late 1960s, Kasuba built dwellings that she referred to as Space Shelters, which were made from a fabric of her own design. In 1970, the American Craft Museum featured Kasuba's tensile-fabric structure in an exhibition "Contemplative Environments." She has also used nylon fabric to build her alternative or live-in environments. In addition, Kasuba has held several faculty positions. She taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York City from 1971-1972 and was an artist-in-residence at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1976 and the Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science in 1977. Kasuba has received awards from the American Institute of Architects in 1971 and 1972; in 1983, she was granted a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Aleksandra Kasuba has written several books, including a memoir published in 2001. Kasuba's husband, Vytautus died in 1997. Since 2001, Aleksandra Kasuba has been living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she purchased a tract of land in the desert to continue her work on experimental housing.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged in 9 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1969-2005 (Box 1; 0.25 linear ft.)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1967-1998 (Box 1; 0.25 linear ft.)
Series 3: Interviews, 1976-1983 (Box 1; 0.2 linear ft.)
Series 4: Lectures and Writings, circa 1976-1986 (Box 1; 0.25 linear ft.)
Series 5: Project Files, 1960-2013 (Boxes 1-4, Film cans FC 8-10; 3.4 linear ft.)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1950-1988 (Box 5; 0.2 linear ft.)
Series 7: Scrapbook, 1971-2010 (Box 6; 1 folder)
Series 8: Artwork, circa 1943-2001 (Boxes 5-6; 0.6 linear ft.)
Series 9: Photographs, 1942-1949 (Boxes 5, 7; 0.7 linear ft.)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of sculptor and environmental artist Aleksandra Kasuba measure 5.9 linear feet and date from 1942-2013, with the bulk of the material from 1960-2000. The collection documents Kasuba's career through biographical material, correspondence, interviews, lectures and writings, extensive project files, printed material, a scrapbook, artwork, and photographs.
Biographical material contains artist's statements, biographical data, letters of recommendation, and a citation from the American Institute of Architects. General correspondence mostly consists of invitations to lecture at academic institutions and professional associations. There are letters between Kasuba and interior design firms, publishers, museums, and academic institutions. Included are letters from Columbia University, Museum of Modern Art, and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. Correpondence relates to commissioned projects, proposed exhibitions, and the scheduling of workshops and speaking engagements. Also found is correspondence with Thomas Whitridge about the publication of a monograph by Kasuba.
The collection includes three interviews with Kasuba and a panel discussion between the artist and Nina Freudenheim. There is a transcript of a 1976 interview by Jerilyn Berlind. Lectures and writings include draft lectures and an essay on art by Kasuba. Included is a typescript of an article about Kasuba's work.
Extensive project files provide detailed documentation on Kasuba's installations, exhibitions, and space shelters mainly from 1960-1990. Included are a variety of materials: correspondence, proposals, contracts and agreements, sketches of models, clippings, photographs, and motion picture films of work. Also found are files relating Kasuba's book projects and her participation in symposia and competitions.
Printed material includes exhibition catalogs, announcements, and brochures; news and magazine clippings document various projects, including Kasuba's wall mosaics, shell dwellings, and alternative living environments. A scrapbook consists mainly of news clippings and reviews on Kasuba's work.
Artwork consists of sketches and drawings used as preliminary designs for Kasuba's projects. Photographs are of Kasuba's wall mosaics, reliefs, space shelters, and live-in environments. Also found are slides and three slide binders of wall installations, shell dwellings, and environments made of tensile fabrics; included are slides used for lectures.
Provenance
Donated 2013 by Aleksandra Kasuba.
Processing Information note
This collection was processed in 2014 by Joy Goodwin. Motion picture film reels were inspected and re-housed in 2016-2017 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Aleksandra Kasuba papers, 1942-2013, bulk 1960-2000. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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