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Oral history interview with Rafael Ferrer, 1990 Sept. 19

Ferrer, Rafael, 1933-

Conceptual artist, Painter


Collection Information

Size: Sound recording: 4 Sound cassettes; 157 Pages, Transcript

Summary: An interview of Rafael Ferrer conducted 1990 Sept. 19, by Cynthia Veloric, for the Archives of American Art Philadelphia Project.
Ferrer speaks about his childhood in Puerto Rico; his education in Catholic school and military school; his interest in music including his professional work as a drummer in Latin jazz bands both in Puerto Rico and New York City; studies at Syracuse University and the University of Puerto Rico; his interest in painting; meeting the surrealist Eugenio Granell and Granell's influence, including Ferrer's involvement in the 1950's with surrealists in Puerto Rico and Europe, and a discussion of his feelings on Dada and surrealism; the shift toward conceptual and process art in the 1960's; moving to Philadelphia in the 1960's, teaching at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) and exhibiting at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; installations and exhibits in New York City in the late 1960's and 1970's, including his twenty year association with the Nancy Hoffman Gallery; the deflected fountain piece at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the transition to handmade art works and then to painting and figurative works partially inspired by Alex Katz; collectors Sydney and Frances Lewis; and several commissions.

Biographical/Historical Note

Rafael Ferrer (1933-) is a painter and conceptual artist from Puerto Rico and Philadelphia, Pa.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.

Language Note

English .


The digital preservation of this interview received Federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

How to Use This Collection

Transcript: 35mm microfilm reel 4777 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Transcript: Patrons must use microfilm copy.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Rafael Ferrer, 1990 Sept. 19. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.