Scope and Contents
The papers of New York art critic, writer, educator, and painter, Gregory Battcock, measure 10.6 linear feet and date from 1952 to circa 1980. The collection includes biographical material, correspondence, published and unpublished writings, artists' files, personal business records, printed materials, scrapbooks, photographic materials, and artifacts that detail his involvement in both the mainstream and fringe art scenes of the 1970s.
Biographical materials contain address lists, six appointment books, a diploma and certificate, family history, identification documents, interviews, resumes, obituaries, a William Paterson College of New Jersey teaching file, and membership files for The Bronx Museum, International Association of Art Critics, and other organizations. Correspondence is with Battcock's mother, Elizabeth; friends and colleagues Peter Frank, John George, Al Goldstein, Braniff Livingston, Robert McGeehan, Julio Neri, Judith Van Baron, Ron Whyte, and others regarding social events, reprint permissions, book projects, travel arrangements, real estate, and freelance work.
Writings and notes include personal journal entries, drafts for articles and essays, manuscripts for published and unpublished works including "The Story of Film" and Breaking the Sound Barrier: A Critical Anthology of the New Music, his dissertation titled "Constructivism and Minimal Art: Some Critical, Theoretical and Aesthetic Correlations," book proposals, lectures, limericks, restaurant reviews, notes and writings by Jorge Glusberg and Vivienne Thaul Wechter.
Files for artists contain mostly printed material on Gisela Beker, Cee Brown, Jon Carsman, Christo, Jerry Dreva, Jacques Halbert, Emil Hess, Les Levine, Naoto Nakagawa, Nam Jun Paik, Harry Partch, Lil Picard, Philip Pocock, HA Schult, Andy Warhol, and others. The file for Salvador Dalí contains one video recording. Battcock's personal business records include contracts and payments for his writing, real estate papers, business agreements, papers regarding his father's estate, a loan agreement for Andy Warhol's "Self Portrait," and files detailing the theft of two painting by Malcom Morley from Battcock's residence.
Found in printed materials are clippings, exhibition announcements and catalogs, flyers, post cards, magazines, press releases, issues of Trylon & Perisphere and Gay magazines, and other material that features Battcock's writings. Additional clippings of Battcock's writings that appeared in the New York Free Press, New York Review of Sex and Politics, Domus, The Soho Weekly News, New York Arts Journal, Gay, and other publications are contained in ten scrapbooks.
Photographs are of Battcock, colleagues and friends, works of art from his personal collection, travel, and artists Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Nam Jun Paik, Julio Neri, Rolando Peña, Stephen Varble, and Scott Burton. Several keys with a detached keychain labeled 'studio' are in artifacts.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Gregory Battcock papers were donated in 1992 by Nancy Mahl, an artist who occupied a studio in Jersey City, N.J. that had formerly been leased by a moving and storage company, and who came upon Battcock's papers in the building. The papers had been shipped to the Jersey City building without the knowledge of Ron Whyte (executor of Battcock's estate) and the Rev. Paul William Bradley, who had arranged to have Battcock's papers stored after his death. Additional papers were donated 2003 by Rev. Paul W. Bradley, who inherited the papers after the death of his partner Ron Whyte.
Also found at the Archives of American Art is an audio interview recorded on December 11, 1969 with Gregory Battcock for the University Roundtable radio series. The recording forms part of the WFUV radio interviews relating to art, 1969-1973 collection.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Smithsonian Institution Collections Care and Preservation Fund.
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Sarah Mundy in 2017 with funding from the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care Pool Fund, using accelerated processing strategies implemented by the Archives to increase information about and access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing included arrangement to the series and folder levels, adhering to the creator's original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.