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The Robert C. Morgan Conceptual Art Collection of

Correspondence, Interviews, Artists’ Books, Monographs,

Catalogs, and Ephemera

Featuring John Baldessari, Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler,
Sol LeWitt, and Lawrence Weiner

Robert C. Morgan (b. 1943) is an internationally renowned American art critic, art historian, curator, lecturer, poet, and painter. He completed his dissertation, “The Role of Documentation in Conceptual Art: An Aesthetic Inquiry,” at New York University (School of Education) in 1978. It was the first dissertation on Conceptual Art in the U.S. and was later rewritten, updated and published as Conceptual Art: An American Perspective (McFarland & Company, 1994).

The present collection springs from Morgan’s assiduous research and writing, and provides copious evidence of and discerning insight into the enduring phenomenon of Conceptual art, with particular attention to Lawrence Weiner, Robert Barry, Peter Downsbrough, John Baldessari, Dan Graham, Douglas Huebler, Seth Siegelaub, Allan Kaprow, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, and Ed Ruscha, to name a few. The collection includes artists’ books, monographs, catalogs, cards, posters, recordings, correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, and so forth, and represents the work of more than 100 artists, writers, curators, and editors.

From John Baldessari’s Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line
(Best of Thirty-Six Attempts)
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Morgan has curated retrospectives of Allan Kaprow and Komar and Melamid, as well as many other exhibitions including such artists as Carolee Schneemann, Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, Mel Bochner, and Muntadas. In addition to Conceptual Art: An American Perspective, Morgan is the author of Art into Ideas: Essays on Conceptual Art (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Between Modernism and Conceptual Art (McFarland, 1997), The End of the Art World (Allworth Press, 1998), Robert Barry (Karl Kerber Verlag, 1986), and Bernar Venet 1961–1970 (Éditions des Cahiers intempestifs,1999), among many other articles and books. He is Professor Emeritus of Art History at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and, since 2011, a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg. Morgan lives and works in New York City.

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Outside the Frame

For years people have been concerned with what goes on inside the frame. Maybe there’s something going on outside the frame that could be considered an artistic idea.

— Robert Barry, 1968.

Quoted from Lucy Lippard. Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object.
University of California Press, 1997.

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Selected Highlights from the Collection

click images to view larger (then use arrow keys to view all images as a gallery)

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Carl Andre. Quincy. Wrappers. Title page colophon on glassine laid in as issued. Addison Gallery of American Art, 1973.

Quincy is an artist’s book that provides immediate insight into Carl Andre’s development as a sculptor. In lieu of creating an exhibition catalog for his 1973 solo show at the Addison Gallery, Andre hired a commercial photographer to document landscapes from his hometown, Quincy, Massachusetts. These stark black-and-white photographs depict scenes and raw materials that were the inspiration for much of his work.” [Primary Information]

 

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“Savvy about publicity, [Seth] Siegelaub was keenly aware of the importance of staging group exhibitions as events and points of discussion. The identification of artists with a group and with a specific dealer would enable the public to place them. Thus in early 1968 he organized two shows featuring the work of three artists affiliated with him, Carl Andre, Robert Barry, and Lawrence Weiner. The two exhibitions were not only highly publicized but also supplemented with well-documented public symposia featuring the artists.” [Alexander Alberro. Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity. The MIT Press, 2004.]

With a page by each artist, this was the announcement for the first of these two important exhibitions/symposia.

  “Carl Andre, Robert Barry, Lawrence Weiner.” Announcement in four parts in an unprinted envelope for an exhibition and symposium held at the Laura Knott Gallery, Bradford Junior College, MA, February 4 – March 2, 1968. Organized by Seth Siegelaub.

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Carl Andre, Robert Barry, Daniel Buren, Jan Dibbets, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, N.E. Thing Co. LTD., Robert Smithson, Lawrence Weiner. July, August, September 1969 / Juillet, Août, Septembre 1969 / Juli, August, September 1969. Wrappers. Seth Siegelaub, 1969.

July, August, September 1969 was an exhibition organized by Seth Siegelaub consisting of works by eleven artists at eleven separate geographical locations. The trilingual catalogue—in English, French, and German—both documented and reproduced the diverse works, which ranged from fleeting events and performances to museum shows and open-ended environmental interventions. In each case, the respective artist was responsible for providing information on the work’s materials and design.” [Primary Information]

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Terry Atkinson, David Bainbridge, Michael Baldwin, Harold Hurrell, and Joseph Kosuth, eds. Art-Language: The Journal of Conceptual Art, vol. 1, nos. 1 – 2, 1969 – 70. Wrappers. Contributors include, in addition to the editors, Sol LeWitt, Dan Graham, Frederic Barthelme, Stephen McKenna, and Ian Burn, among others.

“It is an astonishing but inescapable conclusion that we have reached: namely, that the seemingly erudite, scholastic, neutral, logical, austere, even incestuous, movement of conceptual art is, in fact, a naked bid for power at the very highest level—the wrestling from the groups at present at the top of our social structure, of control over the symbols of society.” [Michael Thompson. “Conceptual Art: Category and Action.” Art-Language, no. 2, p. 82.]

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“John Baldessari: The Tetrad Series, 1999.” Folded poster for an exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, April 16 – May 21, 1999. Image of “Necessary Facts.” Printed on both sides. 18 x 18 inches.

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John Baldessari. Fable: a sentence of thirteen parts (with twelve alternate verbs) ending in fable. Cruciform binding (two-way foldout). Anatol AV und Filmproduktion, 1977.

“Part of the work is a horizontal foldout of thirteen pictures. On all but one of the images the artist has written nouns or adjectives in yellow, which are to be read syntactically from left to right. The center picture represents the verb, and is intersected by a vertical foldout of images with alternative verbs written on them.” [Coosjie van Bruggen. John Baldessari. Rizzoli, 1990.]

 

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John Baldessari. Title page and two leaves of Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts). Fourteen leaves printed in full color (twelve photographs, title page, and colophon) in a printed paper sleeve. Edizioni Giampaolo Prearo/Galleria Toselli, 1973.

Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts) is the third artist’s book conceived by John Baldessari consisting of fourteen loose sheets. Twelve pages document photographically the artist’s attempts to throw three orange balls in the air to form a straight line, the best of thirty-six attempts [thirty-six being the length of a roll of color photographic film]. Two additional pages for the book’s title and colophon. Images memorialize the pure beauty of conceptual game playing and the sky-scape of Los Angeles.” [Specific Object]

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Robert Barry. All the Things I Know But of Which I am Not at the Moment Thinking—1:36 PM; June 15, 1969. Wrappers. Stedelijk Museum, 1974.

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Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, and Lawrence Weiner. January 5 – 31, 1969. Comb binding. Seth Siegelaub, 1969.

January 5–31, 1969 was organized by Seth Siegelaub. This publication, rather than accompanying an exhibition, functioned as the exhibition’s primary manifestation, being the only physical object on display during the show’s run. In addition to presenting images of their work, each artist (apart from Robert Barry) also supplied a brief statement on the nature of their practice.” [Primary Information]

“The exhibition consists of (the ideas communicated in) the catalog; the physical presence (of the work) is supplementary to the catalog.” [Seth Siegelaub]

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Jan Dibbets, Robin Redbreast’s Territory/Sculpture 1969. Wrappers. Seth Siegelaub and Verlag Gebr. König, 1970.

A classic artist’s book by the Dutch artist Jan Dibbets, which documents his research on the European robin.

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Peter Downsbrough, APCS, August 12, 1985. Written on “Page One,” one of a series of Downsbrough postcards.

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Peter Downsbrough. Notes on Location. Wrappers. The Vanishing Rotating Triangle, 1972.

Notes on Location is Peter Downsbrough’s first book. His “prolific book practice extends a vocabulary from his minimalist sculptures. His sparse configurations of lines, planes and words (most often using single conjunctions, prepositions, verbs and nouns) serve as iconographic signs which underline and reveal the space of the page, and explore the relationships between forms.” [Printed Matter]

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Dan Graham. For Publication. Wrappers. Inscribed and signed to RCM. [Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County, 1975].

 

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Dan Graham. Some Photographic Projects. Wrappers. John Gibson, [1970].

 

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Hans Haacke, “Business: As Usual.” Announcement card for an exhibition at John Weber Gallery, New York, April 9 – 30, 1988. Printed on both sides.

 

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Hans Haacke, APCS, postmarked September 12, 1984. Written on “The Lord’s Prayer” postcard by Haacke.

 

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Douglas Huebler, “Crocodile Tears: The Great Corrector,” [1984?].

 

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Douglas Huebler. November 1968. Wrappers. Seth Siegelaub, 1968.

“The significant event in terms of the history of artists’ publications was [Seth] Siegelaub’s Douglas Huebler exhibition in November 1968. There, for the first time, the exhibition appeared principally as a catalogue. The nature of Huebler’s work was such that it functioned equally well on the paper or on the wall, so viewing (or owning) the ‘original’ work, became, in effect, beside the point.” [Cornelia Lauf and Clive Phillpot. Artist/Author: Contemporary Artists’ Books. D.A.P./American Federation of Arts, 1998.]

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RCM’s typewritten notes on Douglas Huebler and Rendle Leathem, General Systems Theorist, “think-work conversation ‘Scienart of the Future,’” Cambridge Research Institute, Jan. 17, 1973, 6 pages.

Many years after the event, after RCM sent him a copy of the note, Huebler responded (TLS is in the archive): “I had no memory of that night until I saw them. Really strange! (Only because I still agree with my old ideas … forgot I’d mentioned them.)”

 

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Allan Kaprow. Allan Kaprow: Collagen, Environments, Videos, Broschüren, Geschichten. Bound in printed corrugated cardboard. Inscribed and signed to RCM in 1986. Museum am Ostwall, 1986.

Catalog designed by the artist for a retrospective of his work. Kaprow invited colleagues to write about his work and included are texts by RCM, Barbara Smith, and Jean-Jacques Lebel.

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Joseph Kosuth, Christine Kozlov, Michael Rinaldi, and Ernest Rossi. Non-Anthropomorphic Art by Four Young Artists: Joseph Kosuth, Christine Kozlov, Michael Rinaldi, Ernest Rossi: Four Statements. Wrappers. Lannis Gallery, 1967.

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Sol LeWitt. The Location of Straight, Not-Straight & Broken Lines and All Their Combinations. Wrappers. Sol LeWitt and the John Weber Gallery, 1976.

This artist’s book comprises LeWitt’s holographic instructions and drawings documenting The Location of Straight, Not-Straight & Broken Lines and All Their Combinations.

 

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Muntadas. Announcement postcard for “Spectacolor Lightboard.” Muntadas’s spectacolor lightboard project in Times Square, June 17 – June 30, 1985. The artist’s New York and Barcelona address is rubberstamped on the verso.

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“The Offices of [Peter] Fend, [Coleen] Fitzgibbon, [Jenny] Holzer, [Peter] Nadin, [Richard] Prince & [Robin] Winters.” Business card. “Practical esthetic services adaptable to client situation / Our consultation includes a review of your needs and suggestions for realistic action,” [ca. 1979 – 81].

 

Peter Nadin and Jenny Holzer “tried out the short-lived idea of working as a conceptual collective, joining Peter Fend, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Robin Winters and a prefame Richard Prince to form the white-shoe-sounding Offices of Fend, Fitzgibbon, Holzer, Nadin, Prince & Winters. The group rented an office on lower Broadway and offered, according to its business card, ‘practical esthetic services adaptable to client situation,’ which Nadin recalls as a mostly serious attempt to redirect the impulse to make useless art objects into some kind of socially helpful work for hire. But the collaborative fell apart fairly quickly as a result of disagreements.” [New York Times, June 29, 2011]

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Ed Ruscha. Twentysix Gasoline Stations. Wrappers with glassine jacket. Third edition. N.p., 1969.

First published in 1963, Twentysix Gasoline Stations has become established as seminal in the history of artist’s book. Johanna Drucker has written: “Thirty years later, with a quarter of a century of mainstream art world activity between, the aspect of shock-effect and humor has diminished somewhat. But in 1963 this work read against the photographic landscape of highly aestheticized image-making work which carried photography’s claims to art status forward on the double engines of fine art imagery and/or humanistic critical vision (the Edward Weston, Ansel Adams tradition on the one hand and the Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans tradition on the other).” [Johanna Drucker. The Century of Artist’s Books. Granary Books, 2004.]

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Michael Snow. Cover to Cover. Wrappers. The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and New York University Press, 1975.

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RCM conducted interviews with many of the major artists involved with Conceptual Art. Many of these tapes have never been transcribed.

Included are taped interviews with Marina Abromović, John Baldessari, Robert Barry, Hans Haacke, Douglas Huebler, Allan Kaprow, Komar and Melamid, Joseph Kosuth, Lucy Lippard, Ed Ruscha, Seth Siegelaub, Michael Snow, Bernar Venet, John Weber, and Lawrence Weiner.

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Lawrence Weiner. “Lawrence Weiner at Wide White Space.” Single-fold announcement for an exhibition at Wide Open Space, Antwerp, opening June 20, 1969. Contains the text of Weiner’s “Declaration of Intent.” English, Dutch, and French.

Wide White Space was a significant art gallery in Antwerp, Belgium, between 1966 and 1977. It showed many contemporary artists, including Marcel Broodthaers, Gerhard Richter, Joseph Beuys, Carl Andre, Daniel Buren, Dan Flavin, and Lawrence Weiner.

 

 

 

 

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Lawrence Weiner. Green as Well as Blue as Well as Red. Wrappers. A note from Weiner (on his “Moved Pictures NYC” business card) gifting the book to RCM is laid in. Jack Wendler, editor, 1972.

This is Lawrence Weiner’s ninth book. According to Weiner: “The book came about because of an exhibition of the work at Jack Wendler’s gallery in London. I asked Jack if he would make a book and he said yes. He found a printer and the book was made.“

“A true classic and a cornerstone of conceptualist artists’ books.” [Printed Matter]

 

 

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Lawrence Weiner. TLS, August 1988.

Weiner writes: “NOSTALGIA SUCKS . . . WE SHOULD BE CONCENTRATING ON THE RELATION OF WHAT WAS TO WHAT IS. / NAU  EM  I  ART  BILONG  YUMI  /  THE  ART  OF  TODAY  BELONGS  TO  US.”

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Lawrence Weiner. “A Second Quarter: A Film of Lawrence Weiner.” Folded poster announcing the screening of Weiner’s film at Kino Klick, Berlin, December 10, 1975. German and English. 23 1/2 (w) x 16 1/2 (h) inches.

 


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Some of the artists, writers, curators, and editors included in the collection:

Abromović, Marina
Acconci, Vito
Agnetti, Vincenzo
Alberro, Alexander
Aliaga, Juan Vte.
Anastasi, William
Andre, Carl
Applebroog, Ida
Atkinson, Terry
Ay-O
Bainbridge, David
Baldessari, John
Baldwin, Michael
Barry, Robert
Beckman, Ericka
Beuys, Joseph
Birnbaum, Dara
Bloom, Barbara
Bochner, Mel
Boetti, Alighiero
Bourel, Michel
Brecht, George
Buren, Daniel
Burgin, Victor
Burgy, Donald
Burton, Scott
Cage, John
Castoro, Rosemarie
Celant, Germano
Celender, Don
Chaves, Jonathon
Colpitt, Frances
Cortés, José Miguel G.
Darboven, Hanne
DeJong, Constance
Dias, Antonio
Dibbets, Jan
Downsbrough, Peter
Dwan, Virginia
Froment, Jean-Louis
Fulton, Hamish
Ghinea, Virgil
Gintz, Claude

Glass, Philip
Glimcher, Marc
Goldstein, Ann
Graham, Dan
Haacke, Hans
Hendricks, Geoff
Higgins, Dick
Holt, Nancy
Holzer, Jenny
Hsieh, Tehching
Huebler, Douglas
Hughes, Robert
Hurrell, Harold
Jonas, Joan
Judd, Donald
Kaprow, Allan
Kawara, On
Kepes, Gyorgy
Knowles, Alison
Komar and Melamid
Kosuth, Joseph
Lawler, Louise
Lawson, Thomas
Levine, Les
LeWitt, Sol
Lippard, Lucy
Lockhead, Colin
Long, Richard
MacWilliam, David
Mangual, Adriana
Manzoni, Piero
Marioni, Tom
Martin, Richard
Marzona, Daniel
Matta-Clark, Gordon
McLennan, Toby
Meyer, Ursula
Mollet-Viéville, Ghislain
Morgan, Robert C.
Morris, Robert
Motherwell, Robert
Müller, Grégoire
Muntadas

Nadin, Peter
Nauman, Bruce
Neidich, Warren
Oldenburg, Claes
Oppenheim, Dennis
Palau, Marta
Pious, Phyllis
Porter, Liliana
Rorimer, Anne
Rose, Bernice
Rosler, Martha
Ruscha, Ed
Sans, Jerome
Schlatter, Christian
Schmid, Joachim
Schwartz, Arturo
Serra, Richard
Sharp, Willoughby
Sherman, Stuart
Siegelaub, Seth
Smithson, Robert
Snow, Michael
Snyder, David
Šuvaković, Miško
Szeemann, Harold
T., Ernest
Tiscornia, Ana
Trini, Tommaso
Ukeles, Mierle Laderman
Venet, Bernar
Vicuña, Cecilia
Vostell, Wolf
Walls, Michael
Walther, Franz Erhard
Wasko, Ryszard
Weber, John
Wegman, William
Weiner, Lawrence
Weintraub, Linda
Weir, Ted
Wendler, Nell Ely
Wilson, Ian
Yermakov, Greg

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