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Joan Kron papers, 1959-1971

Joan Kron papers, 1959-1971

Kron, Joan


Collection Information

Size: 1.4 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York City art entrepreneur, curator, and journalist Joan Kron date from 1959 to 1971 and measure 1.4 linear feet. The papers include correspondence, scattered financial records, notes and writings, printed material, photographs, a sound and video recording, and project/exhibition files concerning Kron's involvement in the 1960s with the exhibtions of the Arts Council of the Young Men's/Women's Hebrew Association (YM/YWHA) of Philadelphia and her business, the Beautiful Bag and Box Co.

Papers relating to Kron's volunteer chairmanship of the Arts Council of the Young Men's/Women's Hebrew Association (YM/YWHA) of Philadelphia include general files concerning the administration and operation of the organization, as well as exhibition files for Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary (1962) and Museum of Merchandise (1967). Files generally consist of correspondence, clippings and other printed materials, notes and writings, photographs, and financial documents. The exhibition files for Art 1963/ A New Vocabulary include a typescript "Dictionary Suggestions" by Billy Kluver which contains slang terms with creative definitions, and photographs of Claes Oldenburg, Billy Kluver, Joan Kron, Sam Maitin, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Audrey Sabol, George Segal, Jean Tinguely, and Robert Watts. The files for Museum of Merchandise contain a painting on paper by Geoffrey Hendricks, a drawing by Ray Johnson, a photograph of fabric designer Karl Rosenberg, a photograph of a wedding dress design by Christo, and a 1/2" open reel videotape made by Nam Jun Paik of Kron's appearance on The Tonight Show.

The records of the Beautiful Bag and Box Co., an art entrepreneurial business created by Kron and her colleague Audrey Sabol, include correspondence, a ledger of sales and deposits, income tax records, miscellaneous invoices, notes and writings, clippings, miscellaneous printed material, and photographs. Also found are project/product files for Art Museum Store, Temporary Tattoos, Durable Dishes designed by Roy Lichtenstein, Eat Pin likely designed by Robert Indiana, Art on Billboards, and Stunning Stationery. The file for project Art on Billboards contains postcards from Allan Kaprow and Jim Dine expressing interest in the project, and a photograph of Edwin and Audrey Sabol on a motorcycle posing in front of a billboard designed by Roy Lichtenstein. There is also a 7 inch audio reel tape recording of a radio program, "Hey, Look at That," containing comments about billboards from Kron, Roy Lichtenstein, architect Robert Venturi, and Evan H. Turner, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Biographical/Historical Note

Joan Kron (circa 1928- ) is a curator from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Kron was an early member of the Arts Council, a volunteer organization within the Young Men's/Women's Hebrew Association. The Council was committed to bringing new and avant-garde programs in dance, theater, poetry, crafts, and the visual arts. With Audrey Sabol, Kron started The Beautiful Bag Co. through which they realized such projects as Roy Lichtenstein's dinnerware. Another less successful project involved putting art on billboards, resulting in one Lichtenstein billboard.


Donated 1987 by Joan Kron.

Related Materials

Also found in the Archives are selected papers of the Young Men's/Women's Hebrew Association Arts Council that were loaned by Judith Golden for microfilming, and are now available only on microfilm reels 3898. Another small collection of printed material from the YM/WHA records was donated by Acey Wolgin and microfilmed on reel 4340, and transferred to the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library's vertical files.

A Finding Aid to the Joan Kron Papers,
, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical Note
Joan Kron (circa 1928-) is a fashion and style journalist in New York City, but began her career in Philadelphia as an advocate of avante-garde artists and co-founder of The Beautiful Bag Co. which worked with artists to produce commercial household and fashion art products. Kron worked on projects with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Indiana, among others.
Joan Kron was born circa 1928 in New York. She studied at the Yale University School of Drama from 1946-1948, graduating with a degree in costume design. She married surgeon Dr. Samuel Kron and lived in Philadelphia during the 1960s. For almost a decade, Kron volunteered as chairman of the Arts Council of the Young Men's/Young Women's Hebrew Association of Philadelphia (YM/YWHA.) The YM/YMA Arts Council focused on promoting and hosting new and avant-garde programs in dance, theatre, poetry, crafts, and the visual arts. Under Kron's leadership, the YM/YWHA Arts Council curated
Arts1963/A New Vocabulary
(1962) and
Museum of Merchandise
Kron's work with the Arts Council allowed her to build business partnerships with several artists. She partnered with Andy Warhol to produce a line of perfume, "You're In," packaged in silver Coca-Cola bottles, with Robert Indiana for a Love Ring, and other products and projects associated with the exhibitions of the Arts Council. Then, around 1964, she partnered with colleague Audrey Sabol to form The Beautiful Bag and Box Co. and continued to explore commercial products created or designed by artists, including a line of dinnerware "Durable Dishes" designed by Roy Lichtenstein, a series of billboards displaying art work and the Eat Pin, most likely designed by Robert Indiana.
Kron began her career in journalism in the late 1960s by contributing an article about a cannabis harvest in an upscale neighborhood to the
magazine in 1969. She continued to write for the magazine until after her divorce. She moved to New York City in 1971 and was hired by
New York
magazine. She researched and wrote a special issue about the blossoming SoHo art district. Kron then focused the remainder of her career primarily on writing, and worked for a number of magazines and newspapers, and published several books. As of 2010, she was living in New York City and working as contributing editor at large for Condé Nast's
magazine, primarily covering the subject of cosmetic surgery.
The collection is arranged as 2 series:
Series 1: Arts Council of the YM/YWHA of Philadelphia, 1959-1971 (Box 1-2, OV 3; 0.6 linear feet)
Series 2: Beautiful Bag and Box Co., 1963-1969 (Box 1-2; 0.8 linear feet)
Donated 1987 by Joan Kron.
Processing Information
The collection was minimally processed and microfilmed shortly after receipt and a finding aid prepared by Jean Fitzgerald in 2010.

Additional Forms Available

The bulk of the collection is available on 35 mm microfilm reels 4224-4225 at Archives of American Art offices, and through interlibrary loan. Researchers should note that the arrangement of the collection as described in this finding aid does not reflect the order of the collection on microfilm. Additionally, a reel-to-reel audio tape recording "Hey Look at That" was transferred to CD in 2003.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.

How to Cite This Collection

Joan Kron papers, 1959-1971. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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