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Robert Kushner papers, 1967-2011

More Information

Megan McShea
Scope and Contents
The papers of the artist Robert Kushner measure 4.6 linear feet and date from 1967 to 2011. The collection documents primarily the early career of Robert Kushner through performance videos, other media artworks, correspondence, notes, lab records, inventories, an exhibition proposal, and subject files regarding critic Amy Goldin.
Performances and artworks comprise the bulk of the collection and include video recordings, sound recordings, and motion picture films documenting works by Robert Kushner created between circa 1967 and 1982. Most of the video footage documents live performances of Kushner's pageants and fashion shows that took place between 1972 and 1981, primarily in art spaces in the SOHO district of New York City. In addition to live performance documentation, videos and films include four moving image artworks, recorded music used in performances, and publicity including a television news magazine segment featuring Kushner and his edible costumes. Paper documentation of Kushner's video recordings includes correspondence, notes, lab records, performance programs, edit worksheets, and inventories of Kushner's performance videos. An exhibition file contains documentation of the development of a proposed exhibition from 1999-2000 entitled "Pret-a-porter: Robert Kushner, performance and fashion, 1970-1980."
Subject files compiled by Robert Kushner regarding critic Amy Goldin (1926-1978), Kushner's former teacher and close friend, contain mainly photocopies and a few original documents. Included are published and unpublished writings, letters to and from Goldin, photographs, and biographical material. A small amount of original primary sources related to Goldin are also found.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated 2013 by Robert Kushner.
Funding for the preservation of the video and sound recordings and motion picture film digitization was provided by Bridget Moore.
Processing Information
The collection was processed to a preliminary level by Joy Weiner in 2014. Motion picture film was inspected and re-housed during a motion picture film preservation assessment project in 2016. All sound recordings and moving image material were digitized for preservation and access in 2018 with funding provided by Bridget Moore. The preservation of the video recordings used the original video reels and videocassettes as sources as much as possible, but in some cases duplicate tapes re-mastered from the originals in 1988 or 1999 were found to be in better condition than the original recordings. In such cases, duplicate tapes were used as sources for the new digital preservation masters. Legacy re-mastered tapes that were not used as sources for preservation were removed from the collection, leaving the digitized original recording as the authoritative archival record of the event. Paper documentation of the analog re-mastering projects is found in Series 2. Regardless of the source's generation, digital preservation and access copies now exist for all the unique content found among the original and duplicate tapes.