Skip to main content

Robert Wiegand papers and video art, 1953-1994

Robert Wiegand papers and video art, 1953-1994

Wiegand, Robert, 1934-1993

Painter, Video artist

Collection Information

Size: 10.9 linear feet

Summary: The papers of New York video artist and painter Robert Wiegand measure 10.3 linear feet and date from 1953 to 1994. Found within the collection are biographical materials, correspondence, art project and exhibition files, printed materials, video art, photographs, and industrial and miscellaneous video recordings. About one-half of the collection is comprised of video recordings.

Biographical/Historical Note

Robert Wiegand (1934-1993) was a painter and video artist in New York, N.Y.

Provenance

Donated 1998 and 2000 by Lynn Braswell, Wiegand's widow and in 2014 by Ingrid Wiegand, Wiegand's first wife.

Related Materials

Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by by a grant from the Mellon Foundation through the Council of Library and Information Resources' Hidden Collections grant program.

A Finding Aid to the Robert Wiegand papers and video art, 1953-1994, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.wiegrobe
Author
Finding aid prepared by Crystal Sanchez
Biographical/Historical note
Robert Nelson Wiegand (1934-1994) was a painter and video artist who worked and lived in New York City. Robert Wiegand's interest in art extended well beyond the point of creation, and throughout his life he worked not only as painter, but also as a teacher, advocate, and documentarian of the arts in New York City.
Born in Long Island in 1934, Wiegand attended the State University of New York, College of Buffalo and received a degree in arts education. He returned to New York City and became active in the artist community in SoHo. He was one of the co-founders of the SoHo Artists Association, an artists' organization formed to advocate for legalizing artist loft live/work spaces in lower Manhattan in the 1960s.
Wiegand married his first wife Ingrid in 1964, and they collaborated on many creative endeavors. They adopted two children from India, Indira and Pratap (also known as Peter), and separated in 1990. He married painter Lynn Braswell in 1991.
As a painter, Wiegand's work was highly geometric and influenced by the Abstract Expressionist movement. He exhibited paintings in one-man shows in New York City at the Phoenix Gallery and at the Levitan Gallery. In 1968, Wiegand participated in the first "10 Downtown" exhibition, where artists exhibited in their own studios in a move to overcome exclusive gallery representation practices. After painting a few exterior house murals, Wiegand co-founded
City Walls
, a New York City mural project that was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Through this project he became responsible for a handful of the murals in lower Manhattan. In 1968, Wiegand collaborated with Lloyed Kreutzer, a Bell Labs physicist specializing in lasers, to create the installation work
Changes
as part of Experiments In Art and Technology's (EAT) 1968 competition bringing together artists and engineers. It was then shown at Wiegand's studio in 1969. Wiegand was also one of the co-founders of
ArtistsTalkOnArt
, an artist run non-profit organization that continues to program weekly artist panel discussions in Soho, NY. It was co-founded in 1974 by Wiegand, Lori Antonacci, Bruce Barton, and Douglas Sheer.
Wiegand became interested in video in the 1960s after using it as a documentary tool in the successful effort to legalize loft living in lower Manhattan. He then began creating video artworks, many of which were collaborations with his wife Ingrid. They received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1977 to produce a documentary on middle class life in India called
Snapshots of an Indian Day
. It was shown at The Kitchen and Anthology Film Archives before being acquired by the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY. In 1980, with the help of his students from the Global Village Intensive Video Workshop, Wiegand directed, shot, and edited the Brooklyn Opera Society's production
Madama Butterfly
at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and Tea House, and the production aired on WNYC-TV 13 as part of its
Other Voices: New York
series.
From 1971 to 1980, Wiegand ran his own commercial video company, Wiegand Video, where he produced corporate and industry training films. From 1980 to 1987, he worked as a project manager and producer for Square Twelve Productions, continuing to produce commercial work. His clients included the American Society for Mechanical Engineers and International Business Machines.
Wiegand also taught art and video production at the Staten Island Academy from 1961-1971, studio and television production at the New School for Social Research from 1980 to 1984, and field production at the Lehman College City University of NY. He also taught in the New York City C.E.T.A. program in media training and was a visiting media production instructor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Towards the end of his life, Wiegand changed careers and became a social worker. Robert Wiegand died in New York City in 1994, just after his 60th birthday.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as seven series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1953-1994 (Boxes 1-2, 11; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 2: Correspondence and Letters, 1962-1990 (Box 2; .3 linear feet)
Series 3: Project Files, 1968-1992 (Boxes 2-3, 11; 1.1 linear feet)
Series 4: Printed Materials, 1959-1990 (Boxes 3-4, 11; .7 linear feet)
Series 5: Video Art, 1970-1982 (Boxes 4-5; 1 linear feet)
Series 6: Photographs, 1953-1994 (Boxes 5-6; 1 linear feet)
Series 7: Other Video Recordings, 1968-1992 (Boxes 6-10; 4.7 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of New York video artist and painter Robert Wiegand measure 10.3 linear feet and date from 1953 to 1994. Found within the collection are biographical materials, correspondence, art project and exhibition files, printed materials, video art, photographs, and industrial and miscellaneous video recordings. About one-half of the collection is comprised of video recordings.
Biographical materials include school yearbooks, video and paper documentation from his 1991 wedding, and photograph and video documentation of his funeral and memorial service in 1994. Also found are resumes and Wiegand's SoHo live/work artist permit from 1976.
Correspondence is comprised primarily of letters written by Wiegand, which were saved onto floppy disks and printed out, and a handful of letters received. Outgoing letters mainly concern Wiegand's video production work for hire and other personal financial matters. Letters received relate primarily to Wiegand's painting sales, and are from James McLeon, Vivian Browne, Susan Larson, Burt Chernow, and Alexandra Rose. Additional correspondence can be found in the project files.
Project files include documentation of the 1968 inagural "10 Downtown" exhibition, the
City Walls
mural project, a multimedia art work created through the Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT) project called
Changes
, the products of the 1978 trip to India, including the video work
Snapshots of an Indian Day
, the "Madama Butterfly" video production produced by Wiegand, and the artist panel series
ArtistsTalkonArt
. The files contain a wide variety of documentation, such as correspondence, event flyers and press materials, photographs, slides, and videos.
Printed materials include exhibition and event announcements and catalogs, clippings and reviews, magazine publications, and published books that contain Wiegand's work. There is also one scrapbook compiled by Wiegand for his 5th One Man Show of Paintings at the Phoenix Gallery in New York City.
Video artworks created by Wiegand, often made in collaboration with his wife Ingrid, include
Georges
,
Julie
,
Moran
,
Omar is El Uno
,
Nat
,
Walking (interstices)
,
Face-Off
, and
How to tell an artist with Dr. Sheldon Cholst
. Photographs include a combination of personal and professional photographs, although most of the materials are slides of artworks and events. Of note are slides from the "Bicentennial Banners" exhibition that Wiegand was invited to participate in and that was on display at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum in 1976.
The last series contains over 4 linear feet of all other video recordings and includes industry productions, independent projects, performance documentation, work samples, and works by others. Notable among these productions are documentation of Pamela Stockwell's reenactment of the Tomkins Square Park riots of 1988 and footage of performers Carolee Schneemann, Trisha Brown, Laura Foreman, and Leonard Horowitz, among others.
Provenance
Donated 1998 and 2000 by Lynn Braswell, Wiegand's widow and in 2014 by Ingrid Wiegand, Wiegand's first wife.
Separated Materials note
Twenty sound cassettes of interviews and lectures were removed from the collection and returned to the organization that created them, ArtistsTalkOnArt. A few video cassettes are still found in the collection from that series.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed in 2012 by Crystal Sanchez.

Additional Forms Available

Some of the videocassettes in this collection have been digitized for research access and are available at Archives of American Art offices.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

Restrictions on Use

Ingrid Wiegand has retained copyright where applicable to videos she co-produced. AAA has been given a non-exclusive license to reproduce and display.

How to Cite This Collection

Robert Wiegand papers and video art, 1953-1994. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available