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

Biographical 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.