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Gene Davis papers, 1920-2000, bulk 1942-1990

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Series 8: Artwork , 1930-1985, bulk 1968-1971
2.2 Linear feet
Boxes 15-16, 18, FC 21-34

Artwork includes a wide variety of material, including conceptual art, photographs, drawings, and moving images. Conceptual works include "The Artist's Fingerprints Except for One which belongs to someone else," created by Davis, and documentation of the 1969 "Giveaway," a collaboration between Davis, Ed McGowin, and Douglas Davis. Records related to the "Giveaway" include printed artist statements from Douglas Davis, Ed McGowin, and Gene Davis, and photocopied correspondence and notes documenting the event. Artworks by others include a conceptual writing piece by Juan Downey, and documentation of a happening by Wendy Stern, which includes witnessing "Air Displacement," a happening performed by Gene Davis in 1970.
Sketches appear to be ideas for stripe paintings, some with detailed notes written by Davis. Art photographs include a range of compositional experiments and appear to have been taken by Davis. Drawings are mainly informal drawings of Davis made by others. A Handmade sign reading "Allan Kapprow [sic] Happening" is also found.
Moving images include both film and video, with two finished works and 13 super 8 film reels which appear to be Davis's initial experiments with the medium. "Patricia" is a black and white 16mm film of a closely composed face of a woman changing facial expressions. Unlike the super 8 films, "Patricia" has an identifying title frame and appears to be a finished work. "Video Puzzle" documents a happening in a gallery in 1971 and may be the only surviving video from Davis's period of experimentation with video art.
The super 8 films contain a variety of content. Four of the reels contain static, rhythmic compositions of Davis's stripe paintings. Two of the reels indicate they were made in a class setting and contain compositions of interior lighting and close ups of faces. Another two reels are labeled "Masks, Corcoran," and contain static shots of Davis and others posing with handmade masks. Four additional reels contain street footage of kids in a park, young people gathered outside, Davis's dogs, and the exterior of his Pennsylvania Avenue studio.
Still images from additional video art by Davis videos are found in series 7, Photographs. Additional information about the Giveaway event is found in series 3, Correspondence, series 5, Writings, and series 7, Photographs. Additional moving images are found in series 1, Biographical Materials, series 4, Business and Estate Records, and series 7, Photographs.
Description Container Select
The Artist's Fingerprints Except for One Which Belongs to Someone Else
, 1971
15
30
Giveaway
Documentation, 1969
15
31
A Novel
by Juan Downey, circa 1968
15
32
Self Portrait in Washington
by Wendy Stern, 1970
15
33
Art Photography, circa 1979
15
34
Drawings, circa 1930-1968
15
35
Handmade Sign for Allan Kaprow Happening, circa 1965
15
36
Sketches, circa 1960-1985
15
37
Moving Images
Patricia
, circa 1970
1 film reel
black and white, silent
16 mm
Motion picture film stored separately in film can numbered FC 21
15
38
Video Puzzle
, circa 1971
1 videoreels (1/2 inch)
black and white, sound
15
39
Art Films of Stripe Paintings, 1969
4 film reels
color, silent; film boxes labeled "stripe paintings" and numbered 1-4
Super 8 mm
Motion picture film stored separately in film cans numbered FC 22-25
15
40-41
Abstract Compositions from Art Classes, circa 1969
2 film reels
color, silent; film boxes labeled "film made in class" and "A.V. class"
Super 8 mm
Motion picture film stored separately in film cans numbered FC 26-27
15
42
Davis and Students Posing with Masks, circa 1969
3 film reels
color, silent; film boxes labeled "Masks, Corcoran"
Super 8 mm
Motion picture film stored separately in film cans numbered FC 28-30
15
43-44
Street Films, circa 1969
4 film reels
color, silent; film reels and boxes labeled "negro kids, my first film", "Hippies," "ants, Old Studio"
Super 8 mm
Motion picture film stored separately in film cans numbered FC 31-34
16
1-2
Unidentified Motion Picture Film, circa 1970
2 film reels
Unprocessed, exposed film
Super 8 mm
16
3
1 Motion Picture Film Reel from Box 15, Folder 38
FC 21
4 Motion Picture Film Reels from Box 15, Folder 40-41
FC 22-25
2 Motion Picture Film Reels from Box 15, Folder 42
FC 26-27
3 Motion Picture Film Reels from Box 15, Folder 43-44
FC 28-30
4 Motion Picture Film Reels from Box 16, Folder 31-34
FC 31-34

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.