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Museum of Contemporary Art interviews, 1979-1986

Museum of Contemporary Art interviews, 1979-1986

Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, Ill.)

Collection Information

Size: 8.0 linear feet

107 video cassettes (U-matic) ; 3/4 inch.

Summary: The Museum of Contemporary Art Interviews measure 8 linear feet and contain video interviews with 35 artists, curators, and an art collector, conducted by the staff of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago between 1979 and 1986, on 107 U-Matic videocassettes.

The first set of interviews are with contemporary artists who had solo exhibitions at the museum between 1979 and 1985, including Chuck Close, Roger Brown, Eric Fischl, Peter and Ritzi Jacobi, Steve Keister, Sol Le Witt, and collector Dennis Adrian, whose Chicago art collection was exhibited in 1982. The remainder of the series contains four sets of interviews and other footage relating to exhibitions and programming, including the 1979 exhibition, "Wall Painting - Ryman, Hafif, Pozzi, Jackson, Yasuda;" the 1981 exhibition, "Kick out the jams: Detroit's Cass Corridor 1963-1977;" and the 1983 exhibition and educational program, "Eleven Chicago Artists," created with Chicago's N.A.M.E. gallery, which traveled to area high schools featuring short video documentaries about each artist that were created from the footage on the tapes in this collection. The last set includes interviews with architects Dirk Lohan and George Danforth and historian Franz Schulze, created for the 1986 program "Mies van der Rohe Remembered," celebrating the centennial of the architect's birth.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago was founded in 1967 with Jan van der Marck as its first Director.


Donated 1986 by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' Hidden Collections grant program.

A Finding Aid to the Museum of Contemporary Art Interviews, 1979-1986, in the Archives of American Art
Biographical/Historical note
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago was founded in 1967 with Jan van der Marck as its first Director. The period from 1979 to 1986, represented in the videorecordings in this collection, was a period of physical expansion for the Museum, as well as a period when audiovisual components of artworks and exhibition design were increasingly incorporated into exhibitions and other programming. In 1979, a physical expansion of the museum begun in 1977 was unveiled with the opening of four new galleries, signaling an increased capacity for showing local and emerging contemporary artists and engaging the community.
The museum's education department began using video to create a rich record of solo and group exhibitions mounted at the museum, and created short video programs to reach out to new audiences. For their 1979
Wall Paintings
exhibition, artists were interviewed while making their work in the museum, creating a visual record of the ephemeral works on display and the process of their creation. Video interviews with Detroit artists were created in preparation for a 1981 exhibition showing contemporary artists in the Cass Corridor community of that city. In 1983, Museum staff collaborated with Chicago's N.A.M.E. gallery to create the traveling exhibition
Eleven Chicago Artists
, which combined artwork with video documentaries showing artists at work and talking about their creative process. The exhibition traveled to city and suburban schools around Chicago. And on the centenary of the birth of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1986, interviews were conducted with Mies' grandson, Dirk Lohan, also an architect, as well as architectural historians George Danforth and Franz Schulze.
Arrangement note
Collection is arranged as one series.
Series 1: Interviews with Artists, Collectors, and Curators (Boxes 1-8)
Donated 1986 by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Processing Information note
The collection was fully processed and a finding aid prepared by Megan McShea in 2015 with funding provided by the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Hidden Collections" grant program.

Additional Forms Available

Some of the video recordings in this collection have been copied for research access and digital copies are available in the Archives of American Art officices.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Restrictions on Use

Tapes are for study purposes only. Editing or duplication of these tapes requires prior written permission from: Museum of Contemporary Art, 237 East Ontario Street, Chicago, Ill. 60611.

How to Cite This Collection

Museum of Contemporary Art interviews, 1979-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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