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Robert Delford Brown papers, 1964-2009

More Information

Erin Kinhart
Scope and Contents
The papers of painter, sculptor, and performance artist Robert Delford Brown measure 3.9 linear feet and 7.98 GB 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 and digital 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.
Artwork includes works on paper incorporating stamps and text from around 2002 to 2008, as well as artwork documentation for ephemeral and performance artworks including Originale (1964), Out of Order Please Use Toilet Down the Hall Across the Lobby (1965), Free Striptease with Drum and Bugle Corps Accompaniment (1966), The Great Building Crack-Up (1967), Mr. Jesus Christ Contest (1972), Turd Forest (1972), and others.
Donated in 2010 and 2018 by Lynda Roscoe Hartigan who purchased the collection at auction.
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a minimal level and described in a finding aid in 2012 by Erin Kinhart. Born-digital materials were processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2019 with funding provided by Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund. A 2018 addition of artwork was processed in 2019 by Ryan Evans.