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Papers relating to art commissioned for the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1992-1998

Zilczer, Judith, 1948-

Curator

Collection Information

Size: 0.4 Linear feet

Summary: The papers relating to art commissioned for the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, compiled by Judith Zilczer, measure 0.4 linear feet and date from 1992-1998. Papers kept by Zilczer in her capacity as a member of an advisory committee to the General Services Administrations (GSA) Art-in-Architecture Program, charged with recommending works of art to decorate the federal Ronald Reagan Building and International Center. The collection documents the process that resulted in the selection of three works of art: Martin Puryear's Bearing Witness, Stephen Robin's Federal Triangle Flowers, and Keith Sonnier's Route Zenith. The records also document the role of the committee as advocates for the artists when Stop Work Orders for Puryear and Sonnier were issued due to massive construction overruns.

Biographical/Historical Note

The U.S. General Services Administration allocates up to ½ of one percent of the estimated construction costs of a Federal building for commissioning works of art. The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, at Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Streets, had an estimated construction cost of $350 million, but became the most expensive federal building ever constructed at a price tag of more than $818 million. Judith Zilczer served on the panel to make recommendations concerning the type and location of works of art for GSA's consideration. Other panelists were Charles Atherton, Charles Blitzer, M. J. Brodie, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Jack Cowart, James Ingo Freed, Tom Green, George Gurney, Lester Hunkele, and Alec Simpson. Because of their deliberations, Puryear, Robin, and Sonnier were awarded commissions. While these papers document Zilczer's interactions with committee members and others, they concern only her participation. The story behind the Reagan Building GSA commission forms a significant chapter in the history of late twentieth-century public patronage.

Provenance

The papers relating to art commissioned for the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center were transferred from the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on July 9, 1998, where Zilczer worked as curator.

Related Materials

Language Note

The collection is in English.