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Biographical Note | A Finding Aid to the David Bourdon papers, 1941-1998

David Bourdon papers, 1941-1998

Biographical Note

David Bourdon (1934-1998) was an art critic, editor, and author who worked primarily in New York City.
David Bourdon was born in 1934 in California but moved to New York City to attend Columbia University and continued to live there for most of his life. He wrote for numerous art publications and was known for his sharp insight and wit. From 1964 to 1966 and 1974 to 1977 he served as art critic for the Village Voice, was assistant editor of Life magazine from 1966 to 1971, associate editor of the Smithsonian Magazine from 1972 to 1974, and art critic for Vogue magazine from 1978 to 1983 when he became senior features editor. Bourdon was also a senior editor for GEO magazine in the early 1980s and New York correspondent for du magazine for about three years in the 1970s. He was a frequent contributor to Art in America, and, in the summer of 1977 produced a show-by-show review of the entire New York art season. Bourdon also served as president of the U.S. section of the International Association of Art Critics.
Bourdon was friends with many artists, including Andy Warhol, whom he met in the 1950s while Warhol was working as a commercial artist. Bourdon wrote a book on Warhol (1989) and was involved in the some of Warhol's Factory projects, including the 1963 series of Elvis Presley silk screens. Bourdon wrote about the Manhattan art world of the early 1960s and was one of the early writers on the Minimalist moement. He also wrote about the Earth Art movement in the 1960s-1970s and was friends with Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer. He wrote Designing the Earth: the Human Impulse to Shape Nature which was published in 1995. He also wrote books on Christo (1972) and Alexander Calder (1980).
David Bourdon died in 1998 at the age of 63.