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Robert Delford Brown papers, 1964-2009

Robert Delford Brown papers, 1964-2009

Brown, Robert Delford, 1930-2009

Performance artist

Collection Information

Size: 3.7 linear feet

Biographical/Historical Note

Robert Delford Brown (1930-2009) was a performance artist in New York, N.Y. Brown was a participant in events as-art, happenings, in New York, during the 1960s. He frequently performed in the persona of a religious leader and founder of his own religion, The First National Church of the Exquisite Panic, Inc.


Donated 2010 by Lynda Roscoe Hartigan who purchased the collection at auction.

Scope and Contents

The papers of painter, sculptor, and performance artist Robert Delford Brown measure 3.7 linear feet and date from 1964-2009. The papers document his career as an artist and in particular the arts space "church" he founded in New York City, known as The First National Church of Exquisite Panic, Inc. The collection consists of biographical material, correspondence, church records, printed material, photographic material, and video records of performance art. Brown's early career is documented in one scrapbook containing photographs, notes, and press materials.

Biographical material includes a career summary, one diary, one interview transcript, and two interview recordings on videocassette. Correspondence is minimal and includes four letters written by Brown and letters and postcards from others. Printed material consists mostly of books and event announcements documenting Brown's career. Photographs depict his travels in Brazil and China, artwork, and a collaborative event in Paris. Video recordings depict a solo performance art piece and three collaborative performance art events.

Records of the First National Church of Exquisite Panic, Inc. include items produced for events, such as graphics, a t-shirt, "teachings," as well as reproductions of artwork created as part of the church. Also included are founding documents and manifestos.

One scrapbook contains detailed documentation on Brown's career from 1964 to 1974. Included are photographs and press materials for his "Meat Show" event, additional records of the founding of his church, and photographs of various events and happenings at his church. People depicted in the photographs include Brown, Claes Oldenburg, and art critic Mario Amaya, among others.

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

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