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Ivan C. Karp papers and OK Harris Works of Art gallery records, 1960-2014

OK Harris Works of Art (Gallery: New York, N.Y.)

Collection Information

Size: 80.3 linear feet

Summary: The Ivan C. Karp papers and OK Harris Works of Art gallery records measure 80.3 linear feet and are dated 1960-2014. The collection documents the operation and activities of the contemporary art gallery founded by Ivan C. Karp in the SoHo area of Manhattan. Exhibition files, artists' files, printed material, and photographic materials reveal the wide range of artists represented by OK Harris and the gallery's role in introducing Photo-realism to the public. Also included are administrative files, prints by OK Harris artists, business and personal correspondence, 39 journals by Karp spanning a period of 62 years, and other personal papers. Material pre-dating the 1969 establishment of OK Harris Works of Art consists of printed items and a few letters.
Correspondence, both professional and personal, is with museums, galleries, art dealers, art collectors, and graudate students. Artists John Baeder, Deborah Butterfield, John Clem Clarke, John DeAndrea, Leonard Dufresne, Robert Ginder, Duane Hanson, and Tom Wesselmann are among the correspondents.
Admininstrative files concern the daily operation of OK Harris Works of Art. Included are instructions regarding administrative functions and forms for routine activities to enable employees to conduct business in Ivan Karp's absence. Along with files about other items occasionally sold at the gallery, there are files about projects of interest to the Karps and sample announcements, invitations and advertisements.
Exhibition files document group shows, collectibles and antique exhibitions, summer invitationals, and special event exhibitions at OK Harris Works of Art. The files include photographs and slides, schedules, lists of titles and prices, artists' resumes, installation layouts, reviews and publicity materials, and other items.
Thirty-four linear feet of artists' files are comprised of biographical information, correspondence, publicity and other printed material, photographic materials, and records regarding transactions with OK Harris. John Baeder, Muriel Castanis, Don Celender, Ralph Goings, John Kacere, Richard McLean, Robert Rohm and John Salt are among the most extensively documented artists.
Printed material produced by OK Harris Works of Art includes exhibition catalogs, exhibition announcements, invitations, checklists, price lists posters, and notices of gallery sponsored events and activities. Printed material from other sources consists of exhibition reviews, articles about Ivan and Marilynn Karp, OK Harris Works of Art, and the gallery's artists. These appeared in art and general periodicals, newspapers, exhibition catalogs, and books. Also found are posters, reproductions of artwork, and miscellaneous printed items. Artwork consists of 40 prints by artists affiliated with OK Harris. Most are signed; 2 are black and white prints, the remainder are color lithographs. Included is Radical Realism I, a set of 6 prints issued by Mother Lode Editions, 1972.
Thirty-two linear feet of photographs, negatives, slides, transparencies and digital images are of artwork by OK Harris artists, exhibition installation views, and miscellaneous subjects. Photographs of artwork by 59 OK Harris artists are found in binders called "Artists' Photo Books." Installation views of exhibitions held at OK Harris Works of Art during its 45 year history fill 61 binders. Miscellaneous subjects include OK Harris office space, galleries and staff. Also found are photographs of group shows, art fairs, and gallery artists' exhibitions at other venues.
The Ivan C. Karp papers consist mainly of photocopies of 39 of his journals covering the period 1950-2012 (bulk 1991-2012). There are a number of obituaries from print and internet sources along with other biographical information, published verisons of brief interviews conducted for various purposes, writings, a few materials relating to business and academic activities, and some photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note

OK Harris Works of Art (1969-2014) was a gallery, in New York, N.Y., representing contemporary artists. The gallery was established by Ivan Karp.


Marilynn Karp, wife of Ivan C. Karp, donated scattered papers in 2011 and 2013, and the bulk of the collection in 2014.

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Language Note

The majority of the collection is in English; some material is in French and German.