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Joan Semmel papers, 1949-2013, bulk 1960-2013

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged in 8 seres:

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  • 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.
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Series 1: Biographical Material , 1949-2013
0.6 Linear feet
Box 1

This series includes 6 videocassettes about Joan Semmel and her work. Awards and certificates are: Mencion de Honor, Salon de Marzo, 1967; Art Directors Club 58th Annual Exhibition 1979 Merit Award; NEA Visual Arts Fellowship Recipient Certificate, 1980; Citation presented by The Cooper Union, 1984; 71st Annual Guild Hall Members Exhibition honorable mention, 2009; The Cooper Union Alumni Association Golden Legion membership certificate, 2011; and WCA Lifetime Achievement Award with program and photographs, 2013. Educational records consist of high school, Cooper Union and Pratt Institute diplomas, and Pratt Institute transcripts. Financial records consist of a receipt for rent and utilities for an apartment in Buenos Aires and notes on the cost of plane tickets between Spain and the United States. Teaching credentials are a New York State provisional teaching certificate and New York City substitute license; a federal employment application for work as a substitute outlines her qualifications in detail.
Files are alphabetized by folder title, and videocassettes about Joan Semmel and her work are arranged chronologically.
Description Container Select
About Joan Semmel and Her Work
EyeTango Films/ARTifacts Television Pilot Segments, Demo , undated
1 videocassettes (vhs)
1
1
"What Follows…Joan Semmel", undated
1 videocassettes (vhs)
1
2
"Joan Semmel Paints a Portrait," Paul Tschinkez, Art NY, CUNY TV , 1995
1 videocassettes (vhs)
1
3
"Joan Semmel A Passion for Painting," ART/New York: A Video Series on Contemporary Art, Tape No. 42 , 1995
2 videocassettes (vhs)
1
4
"Not for Sale: Feminism and Art in the USA during the 1970s" by Laura Cottingham, Hawkeye Productions, , 1998
1 videocassettes (vhs)
1
5
Address Book, circa 1960s
1
6
Awards and Certificates, 1967-2013
1
7
Curricula Vitae, circa 1973-circa 2013
1
8
Driver License; Passports, 1963-1997
1
9
Educational Records – Certificate, 1952
1
10
Educational Records – Diplomas, 1949-1973
1
11
Educational Records – Transcripts (1952-1970), 1970, undated
1
12
Financial Records, 1968, undated
1
13
Teaching Credentials , 1963-1964
1
14

Series 2: Correspondence , 1973-2013
1.2 Linear feet
Boxes 1-2

Professional correspondence concerns exhibitions, sales, loans, consignments, donations of artwork for fundraising, insurance, reproduction rights, publication permissions, panel discussions, symposia, visiting artist and summers school appointments. Also included are letters of recommendation written on behalf of colleagues and students.
The majority of the personal correspondence consists of letters from Semmel's long time partner, novelist David Markson. Also included are photocopies of reviews and portions of Markson's published writings – some annotated or inscribed – a letter from his daughter, Johanna, paperback book covers from several of his novels, and the program from his memorial service. There are few letters from José Antonio Nieto with whom Semmel also had a personal relationship. Other correspondence is with tenants who sublet Semmel's loft at various times, and the management company for her apartment. Letters to Semmel concern her will, estate planning, taxes, and real estate owned by a relative; also found are a few letters of a purely social nature from friends. Copies of letters sent by her are about jury duty, problems with her retirement account, a parking ticket and similar subjects. Also found is a color photocopy of a holiday card sent by Joan Semmel and John Hardy featuring Hardy's illustration of the two of them painting.
Correspondence is arranged by year.
Description Container Select
Professional Correspondence , 1973-1980, undated
1
15-25
Professional Correspondence, 1990-2013
2
1-22
Personal Correspondence, 1984-2013, undated
2
23-24
Personal Correspondence – David Markson , 1981-2010, undated
2
25-28
Personal Correspondence – José Antonio Nieto, 1974-2007, undated
2
29

Series 3: Interviews , circa 1970s-1986
0.2 Linear feet
Box 2

This series consists of audio visual recordings of two interviews with Joan Semmel. There are two copies of the interview conducted by Calvin Albert for his television show, "Art Beat." The interviewer and purpose of the other recording is unknown.
Description Container Select
Joan Semmel, Edited, undated
2 Videoreels
2
30
Joan Semmel Interviewed by Calvin Albert, "Art Beat" #4, LTV , circa 1970s-1986
1 videocassettes (vhs)
1 videocassettes (u-matic)
2
31

Series 4: Writings , 1970s-2009
0.7 Linear feet
Box 3

Articles are "Women and Sexuality" written for Redbook but never published and the published version of "Sexual Imagery in Women's Art," written with April Kinglsey, that appeared in Women's Art Journal. Proposed titles for Semmel's unpublished book about women's erotic art changed over time and included "Sexual Imagery in Women's Art," "Erotic Art by Women," "Through the Object's Eye," "A New Eros," and "Imaging Eros."
Among the writings about Semmel are "Feminist Theory as Applied to Through the Object's Eye Art Exhibit by Joan Semmel" by Toby Everett and "Sensuality, the Nude and the Dismantling of Sexist Imagery" a paper by Lisa A. Roberts presented at the Young Scholars Conference, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and University of Virginia Commonwealth. Also included are student papers and a seminar presentation.
Illustrations for Semmel's book arrived in two unlabeled binders and there is no internal evidence suggesting their order. The disbound volumes now bear the arbitrary tiles volumes A and volume B.
Description Container Select
Writings by Semmel
Articles, 1974-1980
3
1
Book about Women's Erotic Art
Outline, 1970s, 1970s
3
2
Manuscript, circa 1980
3
3-6
Illustrations, Volume A (dismantled), circa 1980
3
7-9
Illustrations, Volume B (dismantled), circa 1980
3
10-12
Contract, 1974
3
13
Letters, 1974-1975
3
14
Letters from Agent and Publishers, 1995-1996
3
15
Submissions, circa 1975
3
16
Research Material, 1970s-2009
3
17-20
Statements, 1980s-2006, undated
3
21
Talks – Unidentified Venues, undated
3
22
Talks - Wexner Center, Ohio State University, 2007-2008
3
23
Writings about Semmel, 1980-1995, undated
3
24

Series 5: Project Files , 1972-2000
3 Folders
Box 3

Project files document two exhibitions curated by Semmel. Also included are statistics documenting the status of women in art departments – as studio instructors, their representation in exhibitions, art history courses, slide libraries, etc. – with a letter from Semmel (representing the Ad Hoc Women's Committee of WEB, a national coalition of women in the arts) outlining goals and concerns.
Description Container Select
Contemporary Women: Consciousness and Content (1977 October 1- November 7), The Brooklyn Museum of Art School , 1977
3
25
Private Worlds (2000 May 31-July 8), 1999-2000
3
26
Status of Women in Art Departments, 1972-1973
3
27

Series 6: Teaching Files , 1970s-2000
0.4 Linear feet
Boxes 3-4

This series consists primarily of slides and a reading list for a course about contemporary women artists developed and taught by Semmel for the Rutgers University women's studies program, circa 1978. Also documented are programs at Skowhegan and Sommerakademie in Austria where Semmel served as an instructor for one summer at each school.
Description Container Select
Contemporary Women Artists Course, Reading List , undated
3
28
Contemporary Women Artists Course, Slides (by artist, A-Z, unidentified) , 1970s
3
29-31
Internationale Sommerakedemie für Bildende Kunst Salzburg , 2000
4
1
Post-Tenure Review, 1995
4
2
Recommendations, 1996-1998
4
3
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, 1991
4
4

Series 7: Printed Material , circa 1960s-2013
2.2 Linear feet
Boxes 4-6, OV 8

All printed material mentions Semmel or includes reproductions of her work. Included are exhibition catalogs, announcements, articles, and reviews. Posters announce exhibitions, talks, summer sessions, and lectures. Miscellaneous printed items include advertisements for Semmel's exhibitions, press releases, newsletters, lecture announcements, notices of studio tours, and school catalogs.
Five binders of printed material organized by record type were dismantled; now housed in folders, the contents of each binder retain the original order. Loose printed material, sorted by record type, is arranged by year.
Description Container Select
Printed Material, Volumes 1-5
Volume 1: Catalogues, etc., 1975-2013
4
5-6
Volume 2: Solo Exhibitions, 1975-2013
4
7-8
Volume 3: Group Exhibitions, 1976-2012 , 1976-2012
4
9-10
Volume 4: Reviews, undated, 1973-2004
4
11-13
Volume 5: Reviews, 2002-2013
4
14-15
Articles/Reviews, undated, 1960s-2013
4
16-22
Exhibition Announcements, undated, 1979-2013
4
23
Exhibition Catalogs – Group Shows , circa 1960s-2013
5
1-19
Exhibition Catalogs – Solo Exhibitions, 1961-2013, undated
5
20-22
Miscellaneous Printed Items, 1960-1980, undated
6
1-2
Posters, 1990-1992, undated
6
3
Oversized Posters (from Box 6, Folder 3), 1990-1992, undated
OV 8

Series 8: Photographic Materials , circa 1965-2013
0.6 Linear feet
Boxes 6-7

Photographs of people include portraits of Semmel, views of her in her studio, at home, and with others. Among the friends and colleagues pictured are: writer David Markson, painter John Hardy, José Antonio Nieto; and feminist artists Judy Bernstein, Mary Beth Edelson, Eunice Golden, Nancy Grossman, Harmony Hammond, Miriam Schapiro, Sylvia Sleigh, and May Stevens. This series includes slides, photographs, and color photocopies of Semmel's paintings. Of particular interest are source materials consisting of color and black and white photographs, photocopies of photographs, and digital images used for paintings and commissioned portraits.
This series is arranged by subject.
Description Container Select
Joan Semmel , circa 1965-2015
6
4
Joan Semmel with Friends, circa 1980s-2013, undated
6
5
Paintings by Semmel, executed 1970s-2006 (35-mm color slides), undated
6
6
Paintings by Semmel, executed 1978-1991 (dismantled binder; color photocopies) , undated
6
7-9
Paintings by Semmel, executed 1970s-2000s, , undated
7
1-4
Exhibition Installation, Unidentified Venue, undated
7
5
Exhibition Installation, Lerner-Heller Gallery, 1979
7
6
Source Material , undated
7
7-11
Source Material - Portrait Commissions, undated
7
12

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.